Area quilters have been stitching together an effort to provide aid to the war-torn country of Ukraine’s children.
A project started by two Jacksonville women in March hopes to raise money to send to UNICEF-Children of Ukraine.
Barbara Suelter says she saw the devastation in the Eastern European country on her television and was moved to do something: “I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ I had to do something. So, I got on the phone. I had just received an email from a pattern designer in Australia. It was a pattern for a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine. I thought, ‘We could do that. We will do something with sunflowers.'”
Using the Australian design and a sewing technique called paper piecing, Suelter called her long-time friend and sewing partner LaVerne Roy. The two ladies went on to employ the volunteer help of Jacksonville and Mt. Sterling sewing groups and numerous others from the community to make the sunflowers. Roy, who put together the kits to make the sunflowers, says many people donated their time and fabric: “I actually made up kits including the yellow fabrics for the petals, the various shades of brown for the centers, and the pieces of blue for the backgrounds. Many of these fabrics were actually in a collection of fabrics that we had among the Senior Quilters out at the Jacksonville Area Senior Center. We used what we had. Luckily, we had lots and lots of it. People have been super, super generous in donating things to help us.”
The sunflowers were then sewn onto and made into a variety of items including place mats, table runners, table toppers, pillows, purses, and tote bags among others with the intention of raffling off the items to raise money.
The centerpiece of the raffle is a 49-square inch quilt made with 13 of the sunflowers.
Suelter says if you’d like one of the items, buy a ticket for the upcoming raffle to benefit UNICEF: “They are a $1 apiece or 6 tickets for $5. We will be drawing on Tuesday, July 26th at 10AM. The drawing will occur at the Jacksonville Area Senior Center. We will number the tickets. I have had a couple of people ask if they could just put their tickets in for one item or another. My answer is ‘no.’ We’re not going to do the drawing that way. All of the tickets will go into one big bucket and we will just simply draw out tickets for each item as we go.”
The Jacksonville Senior Center is located at 1309 South Main Street. You do not need to be present to win. Tickets for the raffle are available for purchase at Times Square Sewing Center located at 63 East Central Park Plaza; Sew Sweet Quilt Shop at 1205 West Walnut Avenue or by calling Barbara Suelter at 309-678-7716 or LaVerne Roy at 217-245-4016. Suelter and Roy will also take direct donations to UNICEF if you do not wish to purchase a raffle ticket.