COOS BAY — For about 30 years Quilts for Giving has been bringing comfort and smiles to patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities across the Bay Area.
The local group, which consists of about 20 quilters, produces and donates about 30 lap-size quilts a month to Bay Area Hospital and South Coast Hospice. In 1989, founder Bev Gowen began the quilting group with five other women who were interested in both sharing their passion for quilting and giving back to their community.
Originally called Quilts ‘N Things, the group has continued on with Gowen’s vision and has gone on to create and donate hundreds of quilts to people in need in Coos County. With a commitment to increasing their inventory, the group will sew twice a week out of the home of fellow member Joan Glasgow.
Delaine Nored, a member since 2014, said the sewing studio at Glasgow’s home is perfect for the group as they’ve created their own customized workstation featuring six permanent sewing machines and a cutting table.
“We’ve set up our little workshop pretty well,” said Nored. “We have lots of shelving where we put our donated fabric and supplies.”
For the most part, Nored said the group will receive its quilting materials through community donations or from its members who not only volunteer their time, but their own materials to make the quilts.
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The group will also receive plenty of unfinished quilt blocks which it will eventually re-purpose into new quilts. With over 2,000 hours logged in last year, the group is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
In addition to sewing, tying and batting its quilts, the group will also perform “color blocking” techniques where they’ll transfer embroidery designs onto a block and have folks in assisted living facilities color them.
Every month, members will travel to South Coast Hospice and Bay Area Hospital to deliver the quilts to its pediatric unit, its infusion clinic as well as the Kids’ HOPE Center.
Nored said besides her love of quilting seeing the positive impact the quilts have on folks and how much meaning they hold is what really keeps her going.
“When I retired and moved into town this was really the only thing I wanted to do,” said Nored. “A big part of it is the relationships, the friendships the comradery you develop with the group.”
Quilts for Giving will be featured at the Coos Sand ‘N Sea Quilt Guild’s annual quilt show Sept. 21-22 at the Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon in Coos Bay. For those interested in learning more about the group or how to join, email member Bev Kauffman at Bevekk67@wildblue.net.