Quilt of Valor

Ronda Jackson, left, and Becky Riley, right, demonstrate a bed turning Wednesday afternoon at Quilt Essentials.

A local quilting group is set to show off its creations Saturday while looking for military veterans to whom it can present the comfort of a handmade quilt.

Laramie Quilts of Valor is hosting a bed turning at 2 p.m. Saturday at Quilt Essentials, 314 S. Second.

A bed turning is essentially a social event during which a quilter shows off her work. Quilts are artistic expressions, but with a pragmatic side, namely providing warmth on a bed. Historically, fine quilts were often stored on unused beds, and during a bed turning, a quilter gathers friends around the bed on which the quilts are displayed to talk about the patterns and history of each piece.

During Laramie Quilts of Valor’s bed turning, group members will talk about quilts they’ve been working on for the last couple years. The group was started in 2017.

“We have quite a few quilts in our inventory right now, and we’re trying to give them away,” said member Becky Riley.

Riley said the group is also hoping to attract new members interested in sewing quilts on behalf of military veterans.

“It was started basically a core group of women who said, let’s get this off the ground and going,” Riley said of the local group.

The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a national organization that got its start in 2003 with the aim of presenting veterans high-quality, handmade quilts as way to provide comfort and thank them for their service. Chapters around the country, including two others in Wyoming, have since given away more than 200,000 quilts.

Riley, a quilter whose husband is a Vietnam veteran, said quilts are a tangible item that lets a veteran know his or her sacrifices are appreciated.

“I have seen veterans who could really be wrapped in some warmth and welcomed home,” she said. “That’s pretty much the bottom line for me.”

Group members meet every other month at Quilt Essentials to sew together, while also working on quilts on their own time. Some quilts boast red, white and blue color schemes, while others showcase brown and gold colors with natural themes. Each is a unique work of art with a pattern unlike any other.

Riley said any Albany County veteran is eligible for a quilt, and a nomination form is available on the Laramie group’s website or the national website. Forms are also available at Quilt Essentials.

Anthony McGann, who spent 10 years on active duty, including six years in the Air Force, said he was surprised to receive a quilt from the group earlier this year.

He described the quilt as consisting of a patchwork design, with fabric pieces in red, white and blue, plus pieces with stars and flags on them. The center pieces, arranged in a square surrounded by a cross of white squares, have eagles on them.

“I sleep under it every night,” he said.

McGann said he appreciated the group’s efforts to recognize and thank veterans.

“They were very gracious in asking me if I would accept one, and I happily agreed,” he said.

Laramie Quilts of Valor is also selling raffle tickets for a Christmas tree skirt and matching table runner, quilted by Stacee Watson and Linda Dunlap. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six and are for sale at the quilt store. The drawing will take place at 3 p.m. Nov. 24.

Riley said proceeds from the raffle will support the purchase of materials for future quilts. The materials alone for each quilt cost several hundred dollars, not to mention the hours of volunteer labor behind each piece.

Riley said Laramie Quilts of Valor is most interested in collecting nomination forms so it can put its quilts to use.

“We really want nominations so we can give them away,” she said.

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