Quilting Classes Return to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility

CCQ instructors Diane Leveton, Joclyn Thornburg, Carol Dyer, Gwen White, and Laura Spurrell

At Coffee Creek Quilters we’re thrilled to announce that we are again teaching quilting classes at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. The life skills program shut down in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic started. Oregon correctional facilities were especially hard hit by COVID and have been cautious about allowing volunteers back in.

CCQ President Laura Spurrell said some CCQ volunteers aren’t able to return to the classroom, as might be expected in a four year hiatus. So the organization is actively recruiting new volunteers. “We need more classroom teachers so we can offer additional classes,” Laura said. “We also need volunteers to fill other roles such as fabric sorting, kit making, and organizational tasks.”

Laura invites all who might be interested in volunteering with Coffee Creek Quilters to an information session on Saturday, March 16th at 9:30 am. It will be held at St. Francis Church’s Wisdom House, 8818 SW Miley Rd, Wilsonville.

CCQ first started teaching quilting in 2002 at the Wilsonville facility to provide a positive, hands-on program that gives our students an opportunity to learn and practice many life-enhancing skills. Quilting teaches patience, perseverance, problem-solving and the importance of quality work. Our goal is to nurture students’ self-esteem, so they will be more successful living in the community after release from prison.

We are currently teaching two classes per week — Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Each student makes three quilts during 12 to 24 months in the program. The first two quilts are donated to a variety of organizations that serve hospital patients, terminally ill adults, and foster children. Students may keep the third quilt they make, or give it to a loved one.

Both students and volunteers are excited that the program is starting up again. “We start with practicing sewing a quarter inch seam, one of the basic skills in quilting,” Laura said. “One of our new students was so proud of her efforts that she showed it off to everyone in the class.”

Gwen White, a long-time CCQ teacher, said “It totally warmed my heart to listen to all the students’ exclamations of delight this past week in the Monday class: ‘I am so so glad to be here,’ ‘look at this pretty fabric,’ ‘I did it,’ ‘I did not think I could do anything like this,’ and ‘I never imagined I would be able to quilt in prison. I can’t wait to tell my family.’”

Coffee Creek Quilters will hold a fabric sale on June 15, 2024 to support the prison quilting program. Details will be posted on our website when plans for the sale are set. We are unable to accept donations of fabric, notions, or sewing machines at this time.