Group aims to make quilts for military members, veterans at day-long event

BIG RAPIDS — Some people sew to make clothes. Some sew to mend socks. Some sew to give thanks.

One group of area women will use their needles to display their gratitude to America’s servicemen and women during a national event aimed at creating quilts to provide a touch of comfort to those who have served.

The Old Jail Quilters, a local chapter of the national Quilts of Valor organization, will be observing National Sew Day with a 12-hour long quilting bee on Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Old Jail, 220 S. Stewart Ave., Big Rapids. The women will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m., completing as many quilts or quilt tops as possible.

Quilts of Valor is a national organization founded in 2003 by Catherine Roberts. The group’s goal is to provide service members and veterans with quilts in an effort to provide some comfort. The quilts are distributed both overseas at military bases and stateside at military hospitals or through private presentations to individuals. The local chapter began in October and has finished 12 quilts for distribution since its inception.

To celebrate National Sew Day, members of the Old Jail Quilters invite the community to come and help sew during the day.

“You don’t need to bring a sewing machine if you don’t want to,” said group member Deb Sweet. “You can iron or you can cut fabric. We need people to come for one hour or for 12 hours, whatever they can.”

The day’s plan also includes food and door prizes, which the group would be happy to have donated. They also could use donations of red, white, and/or blue fabric, batting material and backings.

“We’re looking for people to come help us make the quilts or to donate door prizes or money, and we’ll use it to buy fabric,” said chapter chair Mary Picucci. “We’re also looking for people with longarm quilting machines to do the quilting.”

Making and distributing quilts to veterans is the group’s way of honoring their service, explained Picucci.

“I was asked by a veteran, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It’s my generation telling your generation thank-you,'” she said. “The idea is to show gratitude to them as veterans.”

The Old Jail Quilters do have a handful of sponsors for the event already, including Preferred Office Machines, Creative Loop, Crossroads Quilt Store and the Old Jail. Anyone interested in sponsoring the event or making a donation can contact the group by email at oldjailquilters@yahoo.com.

The Old Jail Quilters meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Old Jail and they sew during their meetings. For more information on Quilts of Valor, visit qovf.org.