Quilters giving veterans hugs through their work

‘It’s a hug from the whole country’

Published on April 18, 2014
From left, Joann Langille, Carol Walton and Marion Dotton stand with their quilts of valour at the Tatamagouche Library. The ladies are members of Sunrise Quilt Guild who have been part of a project to make quilts for wounded veterans. Gwydion Morris – Special to the Truro Daily News

TRURO- A Tatamagouche quilt guild is giving back to veterans the best way they can: creating quilts made with pieces from across the nation.

The Sunrise Quilt Guild makes handmade quilts of valour for injured veterans by using blocks of fabric collected from other guilds in each province and territory in Canada.

“It’s a hug from the whole country,” said Carol Walton, a member of the guild.

The guild has existed for 15 years, but it only began making quilts of valour more than a year ago when a Nova Scotia representative piqued their interest in the cause during a Quilt Canada event, said Walton. In the last year, the guild has made about 40 quilts for the initiative and the completed quilts go to veterans’ hospitals, armed forces bases, or anywhere there’s a veteran.

One guild member has a son in the army, but the guild’s has no other connection to the military. The ladies in the guild still feel it is a privilege for them to be making something comforting for the men and women who have given up so much for Canada, said Marion Dotton, another member of the guild.

“This is something we can do,” said Dotton.

The quilts of valour project often receives letters from the veterans who have received a  quilt. Many are touched and keep the quilts at the foot of their beds. Some veterans won’t even use the quilt as a blanket, said Joann Langille, another guild member.

“One man wouldn’t use it, he just hung it up on his wall,” Langille said.

The quilts given to veterans are covered in all things Canada: moose, and maple leafs adorned the one shown to the Truro Daily News.

“They’re very Canadian,” said Walton. “That makes it a little more special.”

The guild has about 20 members, and six or seven can work on a quilt at a time, although eight can knock elbows if needed, said Walton.

“You have to be very friendly with each other.”

The quilts of valour initiative began in Alberta and as of April of last year, 3,920 quilts have been sent to wounded veterans.