Skip to content

A decade of quilting for guild

Wendy Squires unfolds a quilt she recently stitched up for her mother. The Port Coquitlam resident spent weeks on the internet searching for the right material to include in her bed cover.

Wendy Squires unfolds a quilt she recently stitched up for her mother.

The Port Coquitlam resident spent weeks on the internet searching for the right material to include in her bed cover.

She found a cloth with cards on it, representing one of her mom's favourite pastimes.

There's also a block covered with red poppies, paying tribute to her wartime years.

And then there's the fabric she discovered from New York that has a crossword puzzle with the word Marmalade, a spread her mother adores.

"I was so lucky to find it and having that word was an extra bonus," Squires said, her finger running down the letters.

The machine-sewn quilt may offer hints of her mom's life but it's also a symbol of love.

Most quilters, Squires said, tend to sew for family and friends to honour the bond they share. Many times, they quilt for special occasions like births, graduations or marriages to celebrate a happy day.

The gesture of visible warmth and friendship can - depending on the quilt - serve a variety of purposes.

For example, a newborn or senior can use a quilt as a practical wrap. A newly hitched couple can hang a quilt over their bed as a reminder of the support they have for their union. Or a school nurse can cover a sick student as a way to comfort.

"I think people see quilts as quality, which can be hard to come by these days," Squires said. "It's something they will probably have for the rest of their lives.

"It's also special because it's made just for them."

This weekend, Squires will be exhibiting a few of her pieces - along with 120 members of the Tri-City-based Blue Mountain Quilters' Guild - to mark the group's 10th anniversary.

Show committee chairperson Gladys White said the display is aimed at giving viewers an idea of how much time and energy goes into making a quilt and to see how the craft is evolving.

These days, modern textile art quilts using multimedia like paint, ribbons and beads are common and images of people's faces lasered onto material are also trending, said Squires and White, both of whom took up the creative art at local night classes years ago.

On average, the women sew two or three larger quilts a year plus half-a-dozen covers for babies.

"It can be a fairly expensive hobby," said White, noting new colours and patterns come out annually as do high-tech machines and software programs.

The pair enjoy sharing their passion with the guild, a non-profit social organization mostly made up of Tri-City women who meet on the first Friday of the month at the Wilson Centre to hear from guest speakers, take part in demonstrations and show their progress.

The group also hosts workshops and retreats, and holds draws and auctions to raise money for library books (this year, it donated $850 to the Port Moody Public Library for quilting reads).

Squires said the guild is also proud of its outreach involvement.

It donates about 100 quilts a year for preemies at the Royal Columbian Hospital as well as lap covers for seniors' care homes.

Soon, it plans to sew quilts for the 10 rooms at the Crossroads hospice in Port Moody.

In addition, community quilts are also contributed tocharities to raffle off. Past recipients include the BC Professional Firefighers' burn unit at Vancouver General Hospital, Mackin House and Port Moody Station Museum. This year's community quilt went to the Port Coquitlam Heritage and Cultural Society.

And, at this weekend's exhibit, the guild will raffle off a king-sized quilt with proceeds going to Crossroads and PoCoMo YouthServices.

"Weare working for the community all the time," Squires said, "and that gives us a lot of pleasure."

The Blue Mountain Quilters' Guild Decade of Quilts show runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Montgomery middle school (1900 Edgewood Ave., Coquitlam). Admission is $5. The event is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 604-461-4267 or 604-941-5945 or visit

[email protected]