Down By the River members sew for veterans


PORTSMOUTH- Down by the River Quilt Guild met over the weekend to participate in National Sew Day, dedicating it to the Quilts of Valor Program.

The group has benefited the organization in the past, but not for National Sew Day and they were able to manage 56 blocks to completion, but also took home kits to make 125 total.

“We accomplished a lot for National Sew Day, but we do have the kits going out with members and we have new fabric being donated all of the time,” President of Down by the River Quilt Guild Lisa Keyser said. “So, we could always do more.”

The Quilts of Valor Program raised over 6,000 blocks last year and gave all credit to volunteer guilds.

“Without the support of our members and the many individuals, guilds, and organizations, we would not be as far along in our mission of wrapping our military veterans and service members in comforting and healing Quilts of Valor,” the website said, sharing the credit to their success.

The Down by the River Quilt Guild blocks will be enough to make 10.5 quilts as is and Keyser believes it is important, because Quilts of Valor currently has a backlog of 299 veterans waiting for quilts, sometimes for 24 months.

The squares are 12.5 inches in size and 12 typically go into a standard quilt. The theme this year was the split back star block. Keyser and the group downloaded the pattern from the program’s website. Keyser also explains that anyone in the community may download the pattern, make blocks, and then donate them to the guild, which will see that they get used. They are accepting them to the end of December.

“There are so many stories that we hear about veterans, and I don’t think they always get the recognition nowadays that they have in the past. I like the mission of Quilts of Valor, which is to touch members of service who have experienced war with comforting and healing quilts of valor,” Keyser explained. “We do have several members within our quilt guild who have veterans in our guild. It is an interest I’ve always had, and it is something I brought on when I started. I just think it is an honor.”

Keyser is also interested in working to fix the backlog problem by searching for local individuals who would assist in sewing the blocks into quilt tops.

Once sewn, the blocks will make the top layer of the quilt and then the group will prepare the rest of the process with the other two layers consisting of batting and backing. There is also a need when it comes to presentation of quilts to veterans in our area, which Keyser hopes to accomplish as well moving forward. Keyser is searching for assistance in this effort.

“I think our part of Ohio needs represented. We do have a lot of veterans in our area just by judging on our Quilt Guild members’ loved ones alone; we have a lot of them here to honor,” Keyser said. “I thought it was sad when I read that the backlog is 299 veterans for Ohio.”

Keyser is excited about the opportunities in the future, including the expansion of Quilts of Valor, the annual Portsmouth Public Library showcase, and much more. To accomplish big goals, the group is always looking for new members, which can be new or experienced individuals.

“New members are always welcome. No experience is necessary. We have new members that are just starting and members who have been sewing for 40 years,” Keyser said. “Everybody is welcome.”

To participate, call Keyser at 304.437.1350 or email her at [email protected]

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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