Archive 2008 - 2019

Comforting Those in Need

by Deborah Burke Henderson

Residents Participate in Charity Quilt Project to Benefit Individuals in Need

By Deborah Burke Henderson

Thanks to the spirit of volunteerism demonstrated by Cathie Healy and Susan Mogren of Holliston and 11 other women from surrounding towns, The Power of the Quilt Project, will soon distribute nearly 30 colorful comfort quilts to men and women undergoing chemotherapy and children facing hardship who are living in shelters.

“This is truly a community effort,” Healy remarked. “It’s amazing to think just how many hands touch these quilts before they go to their intended recipients.”

Healy is not a quilter but has found many ways to support the project since its inception in 2003. With a keen eye for measuring and cutting, Healy also handles the “ironing” station and coordinates fabric colors, working with Mogren to create take-home comfort quilt-top kits.

Healy and Mogren are just two pair of hands touching these quilts for The Power of the Quilt Project, part of the Service and Justice Ministries of the Unitarian Universalist Area Church in Sherborn, now in its 14th year.

At this quilt-a-thon, Sewfisticated Designer Fabrics of Framingham donated nearly 40 pounds of cotton fabrics. These materials are measured and cut by project volunteers like Healy and Mogren. Other hands sew the fabrics using any one of a dozen traditional quilt patterns with interesting names like “Nine Patch” and “Alternate Rail Fence.” Some will place strips and squares on a makeshift muslin “design wall” in Alliance Hall in the church’s lower level to get an idea of what a finished product might look like. Others will take home and assemble the quilt-top kits Healy and Mogren made.

Once the quilt “top” is sewn together, Healy and other volunteers will “sandwich” cotton batting between the top and a snuggly, flannel bottom layer. The project calls for quilts made with flannel backing because that material is so comforting and warming to the touch; it is especially appreciated by those individuals undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Then a choice is made to either hand tie the quilt layers together or machine stitch them. The machine stitching is done through a “free motion” process or generated by a Longarm stitching machine using computer software to produce elaborate stitch patterns covering the entire quilt and securing the layers together.

Seven quilts created over the summer months were generously Longarm stitched as an in-kind donation by the husband-wife team at Creative Longarm Partners in Marlborough - more hands and hearts interested in supporting this charity quilt project.

Volunteers will add on the binding and hand sew project labels, identifying each quilt as part of The Power of the Quilt Project. Another volunteer drives the stack of completed, handmade lap robes to a medical facility in Boston where the quilts are delivered to a nurse on the infusion ward, just before being handed out to individual recipients.

At this gathering, nearly 30 quilts were completed. Twenty-three were made at home and finished with a label at the quilt-a-thon; four were created entirely during the eight-hour span.

“We want to bring a little joy and comfort to those in need,” Healy added. “This is a great project, and I’m happy to contribute to it. A lot of love is put into making each comfort quilt.”

Three quilt-a-thons occur each year, and the next is on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Monday, January 15, 2018. Volunteers of any ability are welcome. If you are interested in attending, email PQP Coordinator Diane McNamara at

Established in 2003, The Power of the Quilt Project is a community service project that touches the lives of many – those giving and those receiving. More than 2,200 colorful quilts have been produced and donated during that time. For more information about the project, visit or check out the project blog at