Warmth, Comfort, Smiles = Lap Quilts
Written by: Linda Maendel on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
After sewing for more than two months last winter, it was extremely gratifying to see a stack of 250 simple, yet beautifully pieced lap quilts, which the Alzheimer Society distributed to local senior’s 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 ideal project for Hutterites for a number of reasons: Hutterites are avid sewers, consequently 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 homes for years to come.
“Each quilt should have an assortment of fabrics, 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.
Altogether there were about twenty seamstresses creating lap quilts in their homes and some also contributing fabric. “I’m so happy that I’ve finally found a way to use those little pieces that keep piling up!” One mother proclaimed. “Of course, I can’t just throw them out.”
This is definitely 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.
This year we’ll once again help the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba with their Lap Quilt Project. These 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 to fit nicely on the lap of someone in a wheelchair.
This is an ongoing project. Should you be interested in volunteering your services, you may contact the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba: [email protected]