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What started off as a desire to teach youth ages 11 to 14 how to sew, has resulted in two beautiful quilts this community can be proud of.
The quilts will be on display at Town Hall as well as Huntsville Public Library just in time to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
More than 200 youths and many adults have participated in free sewing classes for the past two years, usually held at local public libraries on school professional development days. That initiative by local sewers Mary Spring and Terri Howell was made possible thanks to three Pay It Forward grants of $2,500 each through the District Municipality of Muskoka. Those grants have enabled the organizers to buy seven sewing machines and the required materials to teach youth how to sew, as well as the servicing costs associated with the machines and the required protective cases for the same.
“Last year we applied for a grant and we asked if we could also use some of the money to make a Canada 150 quilt and we would invite anybody who wanted to contribute to it,” explained Spring, who attended Huntsville Council at its June 26 meeting with Howell to introduce the initiative and ask council to hang one of the quilts on display at Town Hall.
She said the project generated the participation of 94 people ages 9 to 93, who attended a workshop at the Huntsville Annex over three days. They each created a square for the quilt with their vision of Canada. Organizers also visited Chartwell where both female and male residents contributed to the quilt. The squares are as diverse as the people who put them together.
“I think the most interesting part of this quilt were the stories that people told as they were sewing,” said Spring.
Organizers said the response to the project was overwhelming and so two quilts were created. One will go to the Huntsville Public Library to thank the library for loaning their annex for free, while the other could be displayed at Town Hall for people to enjoy as Canada prepares to celebrate their 150th.
“We would be honoured to have that. The story behind it is as beautiful as the quilt itself,” said Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison, who asked Councillors Jonathan Wiebe and Jason FitzGerald to receive the quilts on behalf of the municipality.
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