What began as a small chapter of Northwest Quilters in 1974 has grown into a devoted coalition of members driven by a love of fabric and the desire to give back to their community. In their first year, they donated 600 blankets; last year: 2,473. Among their recipient list of community organizations is Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East. Last year, they handmade 28 quilts for each homeowners’ children as a welcoming gift upon moving into their first home.
Several quilts, over the years, came from “Build a Block” – an interactive program open to the public during their annual showcase. Every March, participants take part in arranging cut out square and triangle fabrics into individual blocks. From there, a quilter sews 20 blocks together to form the top layer of one twin-size quilt. The result is a colorful design pieced together by sometimes as many as 40 people.
“We thought the aspect of an entire community helping to make this one quilt made sense for Habitat,” Carol, Committee Chairman for Comforting Quilters, said.
As a partner with Habitat for nearly 20 years, she and 30+ members have made hundreds of blankets for families celebrating first-time homeownership. Kris, Committee Member and Habitat Liaison, oversees the creation from start to finish. Each quilt is made with intention; paying careful consideration to what kind of blanket a three-year-old daughter would like to what an 18-year-old son would need.
It is a full community effort; nearly all their fabric comes from donations. From individual donors discovering Comforting Quilters through their website to their own members thinning out personal collections, the vibrance of each quilt goes beyond pattern choice. With the need for such warmth in high demand, it takes a willing hand to craft such a piece with this amount of care.
“You have to love quilting in order to do what we do,” Kris said.
For the Comforting Quilters crew, creating these keepsakes is an extension of themselves. Having an abundance of patchwork materials tucked away at their own homes, this acts as a necessary output for their creative compulsion. And fueled by the inclination toward providing lasting comfort to those in need as well as those working to better their lives through programs such as affordable homeownership, the members contribute a small peace of mind that can last a lifetime.