“The reason that your quilts resonate with so many is because it often comes at a time when our service members are the most vulnerable.”
In 2006, Lezley Zwaal, a local Edmonton quilter presented quilts to three Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who were recovering in hospital from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. It was a message of thanks and an offering of comfort. From these humble and compassionate beginnings Quilts of Valour – Canada Society (QOVC) was born. Now, in 2021, this non-profit organization has presented over 17,700 quilts to injured Canadian Armed Forces members. These quilts are made by volunteer quilters from coast to coast across Canada. They want to show their appreciation, gratitude, and respect to CAF members, past and present for their bravery and commitment to Canada and its citizens.
Over the years many have helped build the organization into what it is today, from corporate donations and discounts to the opening of the online store in 2020. Quilt designers have offered their patterns without charge allowing QOVC to reproduce and sell their work. For years, volunteers have purchased fabrics using their own funds to sew Hug Blocks. These 9½ inch square fabric block patterns are then assembled into Quilts of Valour.
Earlier this year, QOVC embarked on a collaborative project with Nova Scotia artist, Patrick Milner. His numbered print, Field Poppies #1 was reproduced on quilters cotton and released as a poppy panel. The artwork captures the meaning, reverence and emotion so often associated with the iconic poppy. This symbol of remembrance, service and sacrifice is well represented among the Quilts of Valour.
As Remembrance Day approaches, and Canadians take time to honour and remember the fallen, Quilts of Valour – Canada Society is embarking on yet another initiative to make even more quilts. The 11 in 11 days challenge has volunteer quilters across Ottawa each sewing and finishing one quilt a day from November 1 to November 11. This commitment of time, expertise and resources is testament to their depth of commitment and care and typifies QOVC volunteers.
Photo Courtesy of Whitehorse Star: Vince Fedroff