When you walk into the home of Betty Petkau, it is normal to see her dining room table covered with carefully cut pieces of fabric, and her sewing machine. Her spare room also serves as a storage room for the stacks of finished blankets, ready to be given away. 

This 84-year-old woman has a heart for people and a strong desire to offer beautifully crafted blankets to anyone in need. 

She first learned to make blankets at the age of 15 while living in Mexico, but she only made this into a full-time hobby around 35 years ago. 

Petkau says she moved to Canada and found herself needing a hobby. On top of raising 11 children, working in home care, and volunteering in the community, Petkau somehow found time to make blankets for other people.

Betty Petkau stands in a room with stacks of blankets she has sewn.Betty Petkau has given away 1,000 blankets that she has carefully sewn together. She has around 40 more blankets that are ready to be given away. Petkau is hoping some of these blankets will reach refugee families that are settling into the Steinbach area.

 She has been working on this hobby for nearly 35 years. 

“The first year when I started, I think I had (made) over 100,” she recalls. 

Now that she has reached 1,000 blankets, Petkau has stopped counting. 

Her blankets have reached many people, in Manitoba, across Canada, and in other countries. 

“Lots to Mexico,” Petkau says. “And in Winnipeg, to three places; Salvation Army, Union Gospel, and Siloam Mission.” 

Petkau now wants to get her blankets to refugees who are coming to Steinbach.

A stack of blankets patched together, and embroidery added to them.Betty Petkau frequently receives donations of fabric for the blankets she carefully pieces together. She takes great care in matching the various types of fabric to create beautiful blankets.

She has also carefully pieced together blankets for her children and grandchildren, and sometimes has added embroidery to patches on the blankets. 

While Petkau recovers from another stroke, she is eager to return to making blankets and spreading some love and warmth to as many people as possible.