Guild makes, donates quilts to wounded veterans

Published 6:02 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Red, white and blue.

Those are the colors of six handmade quilts displayed Wednesday at the Pamlico River Quilters Guild meeting. These quilts aren’t just a display of patriotism, stitched together by several guild members. They are an offering to those who’ve been injured while serving their country.

For five years, guild volunteers have been making these large lap blankets, measuring about 60 inches by 68 inches, to donate to wounded veterans. They are a patchwork of fabrics: red stripes here, blue and white chevron there; some blocks contain patriotic quotes, others are eight-pointed stars made with delicately patterned fabric. Each quilt bears a label reading, “Thank you for your service. The Pamlico River Quilters Guild.”

Pieced together by volunteers, the quilts are then handed over for longarm machine stitching, which provides an overall design across every block. It’s a project several of the women in the guild look forward to.

“I have a sewing room and I have one bin that’s full of red white and blue fabric,” said Kathy Belski. Belski said she creates a quilt each year to be donated to veterans. “I just feel it’s necessary. I give a lot, or most, of the quilts I make to charity. I also give two quilts a year to Quilts of Compassion that takes the quilts to disaster victims.”

Pamlico River Quilters Guild has a partner in a quilt-shop owner in Jacksonville who makes sure the quilts get to wounded veterans via Quantico Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, according to committee chair Mary Thomson.

Pat Zeising, who has been quilting for 10 years and a member of the guild for three, said this was her first time participating in the project, and making her donated quilt was an opportunity for her to personally honor injured soldiers.

“It’s to show how proud we are of them, and it’s a nice way to say thank you,” Zeising said.

For Weslene Molon, the gesture is one of support — a support that was not present when her husband came home from the Vietnam War.

“I’m a Marine Corps wife through and through, and I am all for supporting our sons and daughters that put their life on the line,” Molon said.

There’s no way to give an accurate number of hours poured into the project, Thomson said, as quilters work on these projects in between other ones.

While some of the women do an entire quilt on their own, others work jointly to piece together a single quilt — a united effort by the Pamlico River Quilters Guild to show their support.