Calling all quilters — The Geneseo Quilt Guild is inviting area quilters to join them at their annual “Sit-n-Sew” on Monday, May 14, at the Geneseo Community Center.

Calling all quilters — The Geneseo Quilt Guild is inviting area quilters to join them at their annual “Sit-n-Sew” on Monday, May 14, at the Geneseo Community Center.

The group will meet from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the community center to assemble charity quilts.

Each year, the Quilt Guild makes and distributes “Love Quilts” to anyone with a need, and “Quilts of Valor” to honor veterans.

Dawn Rettig, of the Geneseo Quilt Guild, said, “All area quilters are invited and while everyone may stay the entire time, people are free to come when they like and leave as needed.”

There will be a variety of cotton fabrics available to all quilters. Terry Austin, of Moline, area representative for QC Quilts of Valor; and Janette Dwyer, of Atkinson, Love Quilt chairman, will provide help and instruction.

Near the conclusion of the quilting session, there will be a “show and tell” time for members to share individual projects in addition to showing the quilt tops that are assembled at the “Sit-n-Sew.”

In 1998, the Geneseo Quilt Guild began their Love Quilt project as a means of giving back to the community.

Guild members donate their time, talent and fabric to create quilts throughout the year. The quilts, hand-quilted, quilted or tied, are completed in all shapes and sizes.

Dwyer, Love Quilt chairman of the Geneseo Quilt Guild since 1998, said, “We accept quilts of any size and find a home for each quilt. Our Guild has donated Love Quilts to a number of facilities or individuals in need.”

Some of the destinations of the quilts are the Henry County Health Department, to Hurricane Katrina victims, Russia, Kosovo, Iowa Children’s Hospital, people with cancer, people who have lost their belongings in house fires, and “to anyone who is in need or asks for one,” Dwyer said.

One of the main focuses for the Guild is to make about 40 quilts with pillowcases each year for the children who attend the Henry County Royal Family Kids Camp in July, a one-week residential summer camp for abused, abandoned and neglected children in the Henry County area.

Dwyer said the camp quilts fit on the child’s bed at camp. The children take the quilt on their bed home with them each year. Each year the child attends camp, they are given a quilt and pillowcase.

From 2001 to 2018, the Guild quilters have provided 849 quilts for Royal Family Kids Camp.

The group has donated a total of 1,718 quilts and pillowcases since 1998.

Each quilt that passes through Dwyer’s hands before being distributed receives a label sewn on the back that reads “Geneseo Quilt Guild -You are Loved!”

“I just want the person who receives the quilt to know that they are loved and as I am making each quilt, I pray for the person who will receive the quilt,” she said.

Terry Austin knows her work with the local Quilts of Valor “is the right thing to do.”

Before her late husband became ill and died in 2013, he told his wife that leading the local Quilts of Valor group was right.

“I came from a military family, we have a son who is a veteran and in my heart, it was a perfect fit me,” Austin said. That was six years and 850 quilts ago.

She is the area representative for the QC Quilts of Valor and is a member of both the Mississippi Valley Quilt Guild and the Geneseo Community Quilt Guild.

At the “Sit-n-Sew” on May 14 in Geneseo, Austin will have blocks available for quilters to work on so that her Quilts of Valor group can put them together.

Quilts of Valor is a national nonprofit foundation. Quilts are awarded to military service members and veterans who have been touched by war.

A Quilt of Valor is a lifetime award, Austin said, and added that about 200 quilts are made and given to area veterans each year.

Most of the quilts are made in colors of red, white and blue, although there is no pattern or color requirement.

“The quilts are a ‘thank-you’ to the recipient,” Austin said.

She said the QC group receives names from the Quilts of Valor website and from “word of mouth,” and then creates a quilt for each service member.

The quilt may be delivered in person or presented during celebration gatherings held twice each year.

“Freedom is not free,” she said. “The cost of freedom is the dedication of the lives of our military men and women. The Quilts of Valor are to wrap those people in love, to honor them and to tell them they are prayed for and are supported.”

For Austin, the involvement in Quilts of Valor has been a journey and she said, “After losing my husband, this has kept me grounded,” she said.

For more information about Quilts of Valor, visit qovf.org.

For more information about the Sit-n-Sew, contact Pat Trego at (309) 933-0055.