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‘Sew Day’ production line pieces quilts to recognize, comfort area veterans

‘We have a long waiting list...’

Volunteers were busy cutting, sewing and ironing last Saturday, Feb. 4, in Mt. Idaho at a Quilts of Valor Sew Day, organized by Camas Prairie QOV chapter. Pictured at the cutting board are (L-R) Robin Herrman and Sandra Aiken, with Beth Mager ironing in the background.

Photo by David Rauzi
Volunteers were busy cutting, sewing and ironing last Saturday, Feb. 4, in Mt. Idaho at a Quilts of Valor Sew Day, organized by Camas Prairie QOV chapter. Pictured at the cutting board are (L-R) Robin Herrman and Sandra Aiken, with Beth Mager ironing in the background.



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Volunteers were busy cutting, sewing and ironing last Saturday, Feb. 4, in Mt. Idaho at a Quilts of Valor Sew Day, organized by Camas Prairie QOV chapter. Pictured are Kathy Miller, a side view of Jean Melching, with Sue Miller and Marietta Hanson in the background.

— Work was falling to pieces last Saturday. Busy hands operated sewing machines while others moved rotary cutters across fabric, which would head to the stitchers, later to undergo the hot pressure of irons.

“We couldn’t have done anything without our pressing fairies,” one woman said. But ensuring stitched seams were steamed flat and true was among all the essential steps in turning fabric into handmade quilts that would soon be bestowed upon area military veterans.

Thirteen women turned out Feb. 4 at the Robin Herrman residence in Mt. Idaho as part of Quilts of Valor (QOV) Sew Day, a national event for the organization that recognizes honorably discharged active duty military veterans with a gift of a quilt, both as a recognition of service and as an item of comfort. This is the first time for participation by the Camas Prairie QOV chapter, which since its formation seven and a half years ago has produced 280 quilts with volunteer labor, donated supplies and a little fund-raising.

“It’s a wonderful way to meet with other women and spend time in a positive environment,” said Kathy Warford, chapter member who helped coordinate the event where at the time eight quilts – in various stages — were in production.

The chapter makes its quilt presentations at Memorial and Veterans day events to former service members nominated by the public, primarily focusing on those within the greater Grangeville area and into White Bird, and Harpster to Nezperce. Nomination forms are available in Grangeville at the Idaho County Veterans Center, and at Home Grown Quilts and Quilt Treasures.

“We have a long waiting list,” Herrman said. “Our emphasis is getting quilts to the older generations…,” with Warford finishing the thought, “…while they’re still here.” More than 100 nominations are on the production list, so the chapter – which averages 30 to 40 quilts a year – has a continual demand they’re not likely to get ahead of anytime soon.

“We’re trying our best to get done as many quilts as soon as possible,” Warford said, adding an encourager for others to get involved with the chapter, whether as members or to help in areas of donated supplies, fund-raising or labor. For example, some people are not members but have volunteered to make a quilt for a veteran.

“And we encourage people who make these quilts that they can present them,” Warford said.

“And any long-arm quilters who want to donate their time?” Herrman asked. “We’d be really, really happy,” Warford finished.

On average, a Quilt of Valor quilt costs $250 in supplies to produce. Any money raised locally goes through the national QOV to ensure accountability for spending by the local chapter, according to organizers. Finished quilts, pending distribution, are displayed by the chapter in Grangeville at the Idaho County Courthouse, Idaho County Veterans Outreach Center, and V.A. Clinic.

As much as it honors veterans, the gift of a quilt, according to organizers, has been gratefully received by recipients with stories of some portion of their service and how this helped to provide comfort or closure to their experiences. One volunteer related what a recipient – with lingering trauma of his military service — had told her: “That all went away when you gave me that quilt.’”

“We hear lots and lots of stories,” Warford said, which is why many of the volunteers sew these quilts.

“And there are some of us who don’t want to do anything but sew quilts,” Herrman said.

For organization information, contact Herrman, 983-0070.



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