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Club gathers to stitch Quilts of Honor

Photo by Brandon Hicks

Becky Sydnor sews as Cindy White arranges quilt squares for a quilt.

Quilters with the Sycamore Stitchers Quilt Club joined together to stitch for a good cause during a stitch-in 
The quilters were creating quilts for Quilts of Valor, a program that gives quilts to active military service members and veterans who have been touched by war.
Members of Sycamore Stitchers gathered at Sycamore Shoals State Park for an all-day stitch-in, where members worked on creating quilt blocks, quilt tops or finishing quilts that would be given to veterans through the Quilts of Valor program.
The club was introduced to Quilts of Valor by member Betty Briscall, who met the Southern Appalachian Quilts of Valor coordinator at a local quilting class.
“I was interested in this program because I have a father and a brother who are veterans,” Briscall said. “When I heard about it, I realized a great opportunity had come along.”
Club member Jeanie Johnson said the Sycamore Stitchers participate in a service project each year and selected Quilts of Valor to be this year’s project.
“We were looking at which project to do this year,” Johnson said. “We felt this was a good project.”
Briscall is making one quilt especially for her brother, which will be presented to him at his home in Illinois by the local Quilts of Valor chapter there.
During the stitch-in, Briscall was working on making quilt blocks for the QOV 10th anniversary. Briscall said quilters from around the world will make the quilt blocks, which will be joined together to make quilts.
Katie Nidiffer was working to join together quilt blocks to form a quilt top, that would later be finished out to make a quilt. She said she enjoyed making quilts for veterans.
“I think we owe the veterans all we can give them,” Nidiffer said. “They did a lot, and continue to do a lot for this country. They don’t always get the recognition they deserve. If we can do something to make them happy and bring a little bit of comfort to them, that is great.”
Susan Lane, Southern Appalachian Quilts of Valor coordinator, said the quilt pieces made during the Sycamore Stitchers stitch-in could be given to the QOV organization to be finished out, or the quilters could finish the quilt themselves and then submit it to the Quilts of Valor.
Lane explained some quilts could be made for a specific recipient, like a family member or friend. Other quilts were made for the general veteran public and were distributed as requests came in. After a request is made, the local QOV chapter will present the quilt, along with a presentation case, to the veteran.
The quilt will include a tag that shows the first name and last initial of who made it.
There are requirements for Quilt of Valor quilts. The quilts must be made a certain size and high-quality fabric and batting are recommended. While patriotic themes and colors are suggested, they are not required.
“We want it to be a quality quilt to show our appreciation to our veterans,” Lane said.
Johnson said the stitch-in had a good response and brought in three new members to the Sycamore Stitchers.
“It has been a good day,” she said. “Everyone is here working in red, white and blue. We want to get as much done as we can for the Quilts of Valor.”