Written by Diane Martin —
MOUNTAIN AREA — The members of the Sierra Mountain Quilters Association have revved up their sewing machines to support and comfort those in need in the Sierra foothills and Central Valley.
The quilters know that lovingly made quilts can help those in stressful situations feel more relaxed, comfortable, and secure. Since 1981 the members of the Sierra Mountain Quilters Association have contributed their time and talents to make and donate small quilts to those in need of comfort.
On Feb. 4, the members of the Sierra Mountain Quilters Association participated in an evening program of sewing cuddle quilts. More than 150 of these colorful and warm quilts were donated during 2015.
The members enjoy the comradery and the fun of producing quilts in a large group. However, throughout the year, many guild members sew these quilts in small groups or by themselves. Some use kits put together by volunteers, others use a more free hand approach. Either way, these small blankets provide a comforting cover for those who receive them.
Sometimes called comfort quilts, these small quilts are given to children at Valley Children’s Hospital, to children in crisis or a transition stage, and to folks who use wheelchairs.
Besides cuddle quilts, SMQA members also sew wheelchair bags and tote bags. The wheelchair bags are especially appreciated by people served by Oakhurst Healthcare and Wellness Centre. The tote bags are distributed to women receiving services after being affected by domestic violence. Other recipients include Sierra Ambulance, Victim Services (Bass Lake), Mountain Crisis Center (Mariposa), Helping Hands, and the Oakhurst Sheriff’s Office.
The Sierra Mountain Quilters Association is seriously committed to its mission of community service. SMQA awards college scholarships to local high school seniors interested in pursuing learning in the fiber arts and has donated fabric and sewing notions to Kings Canyon Middle School to help students participate in an after school sewing program. These supplies were well utilized as evidenced when, last year, the students attended an SMQA meeting to show members the results of their efforts and told inspirational stories about their experience in the sewing program.
Guild members have also sewn Quilts of Valor for the men and women in our Armed Forces and Footprint Quilts for the Valley Children’s Hospital.
The members of SMQA share a love of quilting and sewing and are happy to have the opportunity to serve their mountain community and beyond. If you love to sew and would like an opportunity to serve your community, SMQA invites you to attend a meeting. Meetings are held on the first Thursday evening of the month from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Oakhurst Community Center.
See our website for more details: www.sierramountainquilters.org