Top Navigation

Archive | Prison quilting

CCQ student quilts entered in Quilt Index

Oregon Quilt ProjectCathie Gleeson, an instructor in our Tuesday morning prison quilting class, ventured out on the windiest day of the year to have two CCQ student quilts documented at the Oregon Quilt Project’s DocDay in Lake Oswego. Quilt experts at the event identified the blocks, fabric, and batting; measured each block, sashing, border, and the quilt overall; noted quilting patterns and techniques; and photographed the quilts.

Information gathered at DocDay will be entered in the Quilt Index, a project of the Quilt Alliance. The database currently contains records on more than 80,000 quilts. Anyone can access this information 24/7 at no charge.

Quilt historian Mary Bywater Cross encouraged us to have two quilts documented. The quilts chosen are representative of the hundreds of quilts made by women incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for donation to organizations throughout Oregon. Mary explained that the quilts don’t have to be of great value, antiques, or to have traveled the Oregon Trail. They merely need to reflect quilting in Oregon. She believes our students’ quilts qualify as a unique example of the value of quilting. We do too.

Prison quilting

Quilting at a men’s prison

SRCI prison quilting programSeveral years ago, CCQ published a document to help others start similar programs teaching quilting in prisons. We’re thrilled to hear that Snake River Correctional Institution has done just that. SRCI is a men’s prison in Malheur County, Oregon.

Five men participate in the SRCI program, meeting four hours each week for 18 months to make donation quilts. So far, the quilting program has given away 17 quilts to community agencies including Harvest House, Treasure Valley Children’s Relief Nursery and the in-house hospice unit at SRCI.

The Malheur County Argus Observer newspaper recently published a touching feature story about the SRCI quilting program. We’re providing a link to “Prison inmates crafting care” so you can learn more about it.

If you’re interested in starting a prison quilting program in your area, we invite you to read The Coffee Creek Quilters Program: A Guide for Starting Quilting Classes in Correctional Facilities.

Prison quilting

Class time with Coffee Creek Quilters

Class time at CCCFPeople 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.

Prison quilting