Knotty Grandmas: Edmonton seniors quilt for a great cause
It’s the kind of club you’d hope to belong to in your golden years – laughing, joking, hot coffee and good friends connecting over their love for a shared hobby.
The St. Andrew’s Quilting Club has been around for over 50 years. Initially, they formed to make quilts for workers heading north to build the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations in the Arctic. Now, they exist to raise money for local charities through their annual quilt sale at St. Andrew’s United Church in west Edmonton.
Every Tuesday morning, a group of energetic retirees meet to make handmade blankets in the basement of St. Andrew’s.
“I look forward to seeing them every week,” said Molly Jenkins while enjoying some coffee and cookies with her club mates. In retirement, Jenkins says it’s refreshing to use some of her talents for good “because we have some very skilled quilters here.”
“Everybody had their own niche and we work together very well,” Jenkins continued. Each lady brings a certain strength to the quilting table. While some are excellent designers, others sew like no other. Some bring the softest cookies, while others tell the best jokes.
It’s a dynamic that’s been working very well. The most successful quilt sale so far has netted $10,000 for local charities.
“Immediately after the sale is over, we start working on the next year,” said Lynn Tedder, the unofficial “office manager” of the bunch. Tedder studied quilting as a young woman, and any quilt made under her watch will be of the finest quality.
“The amount of hours we put in is incredible,” said Tedder.
Depending on the pattern or complexity of the quilt, it could take a week of six to eight-hour days to complete. So it’s no wonder the largest, most intricate quilts will go for as much as $300 to $400, though Tedder assured there will be plenty of sizes and price points to choose from at their sale on Oct. 13.
All of the supplies are donated to the club, so 100 per cent of the proceeds from the sale go to charity. The quilts that don’t sell are donated to local women’s or homeless shelters.
“It might be the only thing that [the recipient] really owns,” Tedder said. “That’s their quilt… somebody cared enough to make that quilt.”
For the ladies of St. Andrew’s, it’s knowing their masterpieces will comfort others that continues their desire to quilt.
“They’re made with love and caring and you usually make it for someone that will cherish it,” said Vera Sexsmith. “It’s like a teddy bear – you can cuddle up with it, you can carry it around if you want to, and when you’re sick it gives you comfort.”
Made with this kind of love, it would be hard to not feel the warmth. The St. Andrew’s Quilters annual charity quilt sale is on Saturday, Oct. 13.
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