Thursday, 20 October 2011

Warmth, Comfort and Smiles from Lap Quilts

            This year we’ll once again help the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba with their Lap Quilt Project.  Touch quilts are found to be therapeutic for elderly people, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s.  They are created out of a variety of distinct textures and colours which can have a calming effect, besides providing warmth and comfort to the seniors. The quilts are about 90 cm square so that they can fit nicely on the lap of someone in a wheelchair.
“Each quilt should have a variety of distinct textures, such as corduroy, flannel, terrycloth, satin, cotton – the more textures, the better.” Anna Maendel, a teacher at Fairholme Colony instructed. She had come to Elm River last winter to tell us about the quilt project after learning about it at a Special Area Groups (SAG) conference in Winnipeg.
Thinking this an ideal project for Hutterites for a number of reasons, she decided to pursue it. Since Hutterites are avid sewers, there are always lots of leftover pieces around that are just too good to throw out. What better way to use them, than in quilts! Furthermore, we were in the middle of winter, where there’s more time for indoor activities like sewing. There’s just something warm and cosy about a few women getting together to create quilts with the wind howling a sub-zero song outside. Most importantly though, this is a very worthwhile project and would benefit residents of senior's homes for many years.
Many families were involved with this special project, either sewing or contributing material. “I’m so happy that I’ve finally found a way to use those little pieces that keep piling up!” One mother told us enthusiastically. “Of course, I can’t just throw them out.”
This was a project where all ages can be involved; one little girl diligently stacked and sorted the pieces. “I have a dress like this!” she informed my sister, Shirley, an avid quilter sewing nearby. “And this one is like the quilt on my bed.”
“When you’re done, bring the quilts to the living room and I will sew on the buttons,” My mom offered, not allowing the ‘grandmother’ label to slow her down much or stop her from offering her own well-practiced touch. Buttons, thick yarn or even little zippers can be added to the quilts; as seniors enjoy fidgeting with things like that.
After sewing for more than two months last winter, it was extremely gratifying to see a stack of 250 simple, still beautifully pieced lap quilts which the Alzheimer Society than distributed to local senior homes. Just recently we received thank you notes from Lion’s Prairie Manor and The Douglas Campbell Lodge, both in Portage and Third Crossing Manor in Gladstone, expressing their heartfelt gratitude: “Thank you for participating in this project. You have enhanced the quality of life and brought smiles to the faces of those who received these lovely quilts.”

This is an ongoing project. Should you be interested in helping to sew quilts, you may contact the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, who always gratefully accept vulunteers.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians1:3


  1. Hallo Linda,
    das ist ein großartiges Projekt. Ich kann mir gut vorstellen, wie sehr sich Alzheimer Patienten darüber freuen.Ein gutes Fingertraining. Ihr wart wirklich fleissig.
    Schöne Grüße, Johanna

  2. After reading this post, I miss those community projects.

  3. Which community projects are you talking about, Katie?

  4. Wow! You sure made a lot of quilts! I think we made half that much in the span of month. They're small, but a lot more work than one would think.

  5. Wow! That is a very loving project and a very good cause..I'm sure the quilts mean a lot to those who enjoy them!


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