We heard a sweet story this week from Beaverton’s Quilter’s Corner quilt shop. One of their customers decided to celebrate her birthday by buying $100 in fabric to donate to the Coffee Creek Quilters prison quilting program. We don’t know who the anonymous donor is, but we truly appreciate her generosity. We are also grateful for Quilter’s Corner’s support of our program. Owner Deb Messina often features CCQ in her monthly newsletter and the shop serves as a drop-off location for donations of fabric, sewing machines, and quilting supplies. You can learn more about Quilter’s Corner and sign up for their newsletter on their website, quilterscornerstore.com.
CCQ recently donated quilts made in our classes at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility to Kinship House, a Portland nonprofit that serves kids in foster care. We received a touching thank-you letter.
Dear Coffee Creek Quilters,
We truly appreciate your selecting Kinship House as the beneficiary of your efforts. Your decision to provide your handmade quilts to children in foster care was heart felt and very touching.
We had several children walk up with wide eyes to the selection available and touch the blankets with hesitant hands, as though they could not believe that something so beautiful could be meant for them.
One young girl was told by her foster parents that she already had enough blankets at home, that she did not need another one. But for several weeks she would ask to see a certain quilt, blue and brown with pictures of kittens. For some reason this particular quilt called to her. Finally she convinced her Dad to let her trade in one of her blankets to be able to take that blanket home. The day she was allowed to carry it out the door, she cradled it in her arms so tenderly. I am sure that blanket will be with her for many years.
Everyone who heard where the quilts came from understood the importance of the connection between those making the quilts and the children and families receiving them. They felt the love, the sorrow and the hope that each blanket represented.
We are truly grateful to have been a part of your program!
You can learn more about Kinship House at their website.
People often ask us how we structure our quilting classes at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.
In some ways it’s the same as a class in a quilt shop. Instructors explain the basics of cutting strips of fabric with rulers, rotary cutters, and mats. Students learn to thread a sewing machine, sew quarter inch seams, and follow a pattern.
In other ways, CCQ classes are very different. Prison security rules require that we count every pin, needle, and rotary cutter blade before taking them in to class. We pass through a metal detector before entering the dining room where class is held. And there are restrictions on the color of clothing we can wear, such as no blue jeans.
Our goals are similar to quilt shop classes, but with some differences. We want our students to become proficient in quilt-making techniques. But we also strive to teach patience, perseverance, problem-solving and the importance of quality work. We work to nurture our students’ self-confidence and self-esteem, attributes that we hope will enhance their success at living in the community after release from prison.