North Okanagan quilters, including (front, from left) Deb Matheson, Jan Aarsen, Paulette Webb, Sharon Eby, Marie Freeman-Marsh, Carol Cooney (back from left), Klia Cawston, Leslie Fargo and Randy Piccini recently answered the call for quilts to be created and sent to Humboldt in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team’s bus tragedy. (Photo submitted)

Okanagan quilters answer call for Humboldt

North Okanagan quilters make 43 quilt tops to be sent to Saskatchewan

Quilters rally when a call goes out for quilts.

A call came for quilters to make a specific block (quilt pattern) in the team colours of the Humboldt Broncos, the Saskatchewan Junior A hockey team involved in a tragic bus collision on their way to a playoff game on April 6. The crash killed 16, injured 13 and affected the entire country.

The team’s colours are green, gold, white, black and dark green.

The word was sent to friends/students mostly in the Armstrong, Enderby, and Vernon areas, (with a group also in Salmon Arm and one in Kelowna). Guidelines were given for the size of quilt requested, for those who wished to send more than just blocks.

The organizers wanted to get 200 quilts to give to the families whose loved one died, to the players, the staff, the billet families, hospital personnel, and the emergency response teams involved.

Fabrics and batting were being donated, long-arm quilters were ready to donate their services to stitch the three layers together, and guilds and individuals were volunteering to bind the quilt (finish the edge) and attach the unique Broncos’ label on the back of each one.

The blocks started pouring in.

“Friends of these friends also became involved and made blocks too,” said Armstrong’s Carol Cooney, involved in the quilt project. “Fabrics were cut to add strips between the blocks and make borders and bindings. Some quilt tops came in ready to send away, others just needed borders.”

Cooney said kits were made and many quilters took these home to complete. A sewing day was planned and on May 3, a small but dedicated group of quilters met at Pleasant Valley Quilting in Armstrong, where the majority of quilt tops were completed.

Klia Cawston, the owner of this quilt shop, generously donated fabrics for borders, as well as offering the classroom to finish the quilts. Quilters also donated fabrics and funds to go towards the shipping. Most of all they donated their skills of sewing, in this gift from the heart.

On May 7, 43 quilt tops with bindings were sent to Humboldt for this cause from this group.

“It took many hands, and many individuals taking time from their usual pursuits to make this happen,” said Cooney. “At times like this, there isn’t really anything that most people can do, but this is something quilters can do to help.

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