The Quilting Bee
Local guild makes quilts for hospital patients
In May 2015, Diane Peterson nearly died. After two major surgeries in five weeks and a pulmonary embolism she was not supposed to survive, she gradually began to get her life back on track – piece by piece.
“I was already a long-time member of the Mudsock Quilters Guild making quilts for Riley Children’s Hospital and a volunteer at my church, but I felt that God wanted me to do something else,” she says.
During a follow-up visit to the Community Health Pavilion at 146th Street, Peterson met with the volunteer coordinator and asked if the hospital had a quilt program. She was told that the hospital had some volunteers who sewed throughout the year in order to make quilts for those who found themselves in the hospital on Christmas Day but with approximately 150 patients expected to be on campus during the holidays, they could always use another hand.
“When I heard that, I went back and talked to the Guild and told them that this was a good cause we could put our efforts into,” she says. “That’s how the Quilting Bee began.”
In January 2016, 29 members of the Mudsock Quilters Guild convened in a Pavilion meeting room and got to work. Over the next 12 months, they pieced together 143 quilts for the holidays. As word spread about their work, they received a $6,000 grant to continue their efforts and the following year, 50 women completed 240 quilts. Peterson says she has some quilters who have made more than 20 by themselves while others donate the quilt tops and allow the Quilting Bee to finish them. The project has grown to such a degree that the guild now has a storage space at the medical pavilion to hold all their supplies and donations, which continue to roll in month after month.
“The biggest thing about this is that it is a win-win for everyone,” Peterson says. “I have the pleasure of being the administrator of the program, so I get to watch the sewers train and fellowship with one another and create something special for someone they will never meet.”
A handful of guild members handle the distribution of the quilts on Christmas Eve and Peterson says it is an amazing thing to witness. The patients are often alone and have no idea that anyone is coming to see them, but they light up when they are presented with a handmade quilt of their own.
“We still make quilts for the kids at Riley as well, but they get their quilts at discharge due to the hospital’s sterilization rules,” she says. “We also do pillowcases and quilts for DCFS and law enforcement as well.”
Peterson says the Mudsock Quilters Guild is always on the lookout for new members or beginning quilters who want to join the Community North Quilting Bee, which meets on the third Monday of each month from 9:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the Community Health Pavilion 9699 E. 146th St. in Noblesville.
“We used to teach classes, but now we say if you go to the quilting bee, you will learn,” Peterson says. “We will show you how to cut and sew a simple pattern and even if you don’t finish the quilt off, we have someone who will.”