Bobbie Schaller has sewn quilts for the past 15 years, and for the past five she’s pitched in for Quilts of Valor, making about a dozen quilts for the Jefferson County chapter of the national nonprofit organization.
“This thing is older than I am,” Schaller said of the Singer Featherweight machine she used as part of the Quilts of Valor’s fifth annual winter Sew Day. “But it works like a charm, just like me.”
The Singer, dating from the 1930s, is an heirloom Schaller inherited from her husband’s aunt.
Sew Day was held at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge on Feb. 2.
Each quilt is presented to an American military veteran in the area, typically during the annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies at the Marvin G. Shields American Legion Post 26 building in Port Townsend
“I love the look on the recipients’ faces,” Schaller said. “It’s so rewarding, it makes me cry.”
While Schaller hummed away at her Singer, Linda Fultz of Nordland and Lill Greenwood, who lives on Four Corners Road, mapped out how they would turn their quilt patterns into quilt tops.
At the start of her second year with Quilts of Valor, Fultz estimated she’s contributed to at least half a dozen quilts. Greenwood figured she’s contributed to about 10.
“I go for stars and animals in my quilt patterns,” said Fultz, who plans to incorporate a painting she did of a bald eagle into one of her upcoming quilts. “And of course, anything with the red, white and blue. I’m always looking for new ideas online.”
Greenwood shares Fultz’s fondness for collages. Both credited Kathey Bates, team leader of the annual winter and summer Sew Days, with supplying patterns aplenty for the group.
With 18 quilters working in the Elks Lodge on a Saturday morning, Bates informed the group after one of the four walls of the already crowded room they were working in lost power to its outlets, so they could relocate their plug-in cords and continue their labors.
Bates was hand-stitching a quilt she’d festooned with anchors of various sizes after she’d checked that at least one of the Memorial Day recipients would be a Navy veteran.
“We only have nine names so far for Memorial Day, but we still make as many quilts as we can, because quilts don’t spoil,” Bates said. “We’re always looking for more volunteers to help us sew quilts but we’re also looking for more applicants to receive quilts.”
Bates emphasized that, while the quilts are intended for veterans, no proof of service is necessary to be a recipient.
“Just fill out an application, and we’re good to go,” Bates said.
Those interested can fill out an application at Quilts of Valor’s national site, www.qovf.org, and the request will be forwarded to the local chapter.
For further details, email Bates at email@example.com.