When a tiny infant is born early at RVH, it’s wrapped lovingly in a hand made quilt. When a woman arrives at the new Elizabeth Fry home in Barrie, she can wrap herself in a hand made quilt. Children arriving into care with Children’s Aid society can cuddle with a hand made quilt, as can people in dialysis at Stevenson Memorial Hospital. Barrie Police and Firefighters have a supply of hand made quilts for occasions when their comfort is essential.

It may seem a tiny thing, but members of two different quilting guilds in Barrie are stitching love and care and community commitment into designs of fabric, and adding quilt batting for warmth.

Georgie Lackie, a member of the Simcoe County Quilting Guild, tells me that in one nine month period, 198 quilts were stitched by guild members and delivered for use at the Seasons Centre, Orillia Crisis Centre, Couchiching House in Orillia and My Sister’s Place in Alliston. Carol Duncan and Marion Hay, guild members who live in Wasaga Beach, undertake to cut batting and distribute fabric remnants to stitching volunteers.

“We don’t really know which members sew,” says Georgie. “The quilts just arrive, miraculously, sometimes as many as 40 at one meeting.”

The Simcoe County Guild meets monthly, on the fourth Thursday, at 1 pm at the Army Navy Air Force Club on George St, in the upstairs room. And often on the Friday after, workshops are held at the Simcoe County Museum, augmenting with practical application a topic dealt with the day before.

For instance, Collingwood’s Carmille Remme demonstrates liturgical quilts and her “Holy Grail” quilt greeted visitors to a liturgical show recently.

And while the Simcoe County stitchers are busy with their Cuddle Quilts, the women who belong to Kempenfelt Quilters Guild are equally productive, stitching up Small Comforts quilts for the preemie ward at Royal Victoria Hospital. Mary Grenier coordinates the efforts of the Kempenfelt Quilters Guild.

One might wonder about the popularity of quilting, imaging perhaps pioneer women stretched over a frame, recycling grandmother’s dresses, or leftover fabric from new curtains.

Well, quilting today offers not only the traditional art form, but vibrant colours, abstract quilts, bed quilts, art quilts. Many teachers of quilting make their livings creating patterns, attending the speakers’ circuit, sharing and inspiring others.

And while the Simcoe County Guild has a waiting list for membership, they certainly welcome guests to their monthly meetings. You can reach this guild by contacting Georgie at rlackie@mspec.on.ca

Kempenfelt, on the other hand, is a newer group and has room for new members. They meet on the third Thursday each month, at 7:30 pm at Grace United Church, Cook & Grove streets. Visitors are always welcome, with an admission charge of $4. Check out this group online at geocities.com/kqguild.

For further information, call club president Margaret McCarthy at 733-3679. The Kempenfelt Quilters slogan is “making friends one stitch at a time.”

As I talked with Georgie Lackie about her quilting enthusiasm, it became clear that there is a creative, colourful and very generous spirit alive in the members of these quilting guilds. This age old craft is alive and well, and I’m told Home and Garden Television features quilting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Not to be stuck in the past, you can join quilters guilds on line as well, and participate in chat rooms for information sharing and companionship.

Wow! So much ability, so much commitment. Thank you, for every stitch you give away!

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