A group of Huntsville quilters is working to wrap military veterans with patriotic quilts as a show of appreciation for their service.
Liberty Piecemakers is the new Huntsville chapter of a national organization, the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
Founded in 2003 by a woman whose son was deployed in Iraq, the national organization is comprised of more than 600 groups with 10,000 members in all 50 states and several other countries.
April Goss of Owens Cross Roads founded the Huntsville chapter after the last of her five children left the nest and her husband Bill, a retired lieutenant colonel who now works for ManTech International Corporation at Redstone Arsenal, left the military.
Goss made her first quilt when she was 13 years old and as a mother, often handmade her children’s Halloween costumes. She also took part in many Quilts of Valor projects over the past 15 years before deciding to form a local chapter.
As a member of another group, the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville, she “put the word out” to fellow members and other friends that Liberty Piecemakers was forming. As many as 37 people answered the call.
They now meet monthly for “stitch and sews” at local sewing shops, Patches and Stitches or Huntsville Sew Creative.
It takes many meetings of the group to complete a quilt, but many people work on the project at home.
Completed quilts are presented as awards to worthy veterans who are nominated on the Quilts of Valor website, said Goss, adding that older veterans are given precedence.
Goss spoke in July at a meeting of the Heritage Quilters about Quilts of Valor. Local quilter Barbara Black presented her handmade quilts to her husband, retired Maj. Charles “Will” Wilkins and his longtime friend, retired Maj. David Aday, both of Huntsville and both former Marines. It was the first such presentation locally.
More volunteers are invited to join Quilts of Valor and help make quilts for future presentations.
“We need to have quilters (who are) willing to give use of their time (and) have a willingness to give back to our Soldiers,” Goss said. “It’s a good way to say thank you.”
Experience is not required, she said.
“You can be a beginner. You don’t even have to be a quilter,” Goss said, noting the need for help with cutting, separating fabric, and promoting the group.
“Sit and sew” meetings are alternated on a weekday and a weekend every other month to accommodate members with full-time jobs, she said.
One meeting spot only has eight sewing spaces, so “not everybody can come every time,” Goss said.
But everyone who wants to show appreciation to veterans is welcome.
For more information about Quilts of Valor or to join the Libery Piecemakers of Huntsville, visit the national group website at qovf.org. To reach the local group by email, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org.