Updating traditional form of quilting with a long-arm

Jane Laut, Janet Gray, Diane Hogarth and Joanne Foster-Komendat were on hand for the ribbon cutting at Heart to Hearts’ AGM May 3. Photo credit: Sally Smith
Posted on: May 18, 2018

Sally Smith

It’s hard not to get excited about quilting when you’re among ladies who quilt for pleasure and creativity. On May 3, at Heart to Heart Quilts Lanark County’s Annual General Meeting, a new long-arm quilting machine was unveiled.

From a functional necessity to today’s colourful art pieces, quilting is seeing a renaissance, and the women of Heart to Heart are putting their nimble fingers and mathematical minds to work for the broader community. Heart to Heart quilters produce about 30 baby quilts per month which are gifted to the Smiths Falls Community Hospital Auxiliary (SFCHA). Every baby born at the Smiths Falls site of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital receives a quilt. The Auxiliary, in turn, donates back to the quilters.

Diane Hogarth, Joanne Foster-Komendat and Katie Hoffman are looking forward to learning how to use the new long-arm quilting machine. Photo credit: Sally Smith

This money covers costs of making the quilts and also the cost of some fabrics for lap quilts. The lap quilts are given to community members living with debilitating diseases or conditions. Since early 2013, Heart to Heart quilters have provided over 1400 baby quilts. Members also support the SFCHA by contributing items for the Christmas Bazaar.

Now, with the acquisition of the long-arm machine, Heart to Heart quilters will be able to keep pace with the many quilt requests. Using this new machine, a quilt top, batting and flannel layers can be fastened to the machine and completely quilted, ready for binding, within two hours.

A major part of the financial support for the $14,000 long-arm machine came from TD Securities Underwriting Hope Fund (TDSUHF) with the help of Bradley McConnell, Managing Director with TD Securities Inc. Over the past five years Heart to Heart has applied for and received funding from the Hope Fund and has been able to purchase equipment (sewing machines, laser printer, steam iron) and materials (fabrics and batting). In return, Heart to Heart designs and makes a large quilt for the annual TDSUHF charity auction.

Binding is hand-stitched on after the machine quilting is done. Photo credit: Sally Smith

Through the years quilting has moved from the traditional hand-quilting of blankets for warmth to the present day visible form of ‘art’ in hangings, runners, place mats, and ‘mug rugs’, among others. Where once material for quilts was scraps from worn-out clothing, today quilters are able to buy (if they want) brilliant materials expressly for the craft. In many ways, it’s become true art – design, colour, perspective, story.

Heart to Heart quilters meet at St. Paul’s United Church, 25 Gore St. W. in Perth, north wing, upstairs on the third floor the first and third Thursday of the month, September to June, from 9 to 2 p.m. For more information go to hhqlc.ca or contact them by email at info@hhqlc.ca.