They call themselves the Heartland Quilters, and their shop east of Steinbach is referred to as the Quilters Playhouse. Doris Toews says they are a group of about a dozen ladies that get together two times a month.
"We just eat, laugh, share ideas and the end product is quilts that go out to bless someone," notes Toews.
The quilts are donated to four different charities. They are Quilts of Valour which gives quilts to service men and women who are suffering after returning from a tour of duty, Project Linus Canada which gives quilts to children for various reasons, Siloam Mission and Mennonite Central Committee.
"We leave it up to each quilter to determine which (charity) she wants to support," explains Toews. "Some people make all children's quilts because that's where their heart is. I have a daughter in the military and so I give mine to Quilts of Valour. And Odile obviously has a heart for MCC. So people find where their heart goes."
In 2013, the Heartland Quilters donated about 175 quilts to charity. Last year they donated 169 quilts and earlier this year they made a donation of 157.
"My ladies don't seem to be losing their passion," exclaims Toews. "We're just making them like crazy and we're loving every minute."
Toews notes it is difficult to know whether or not the art of quilting is growing. But she says they welcome younger quilters and need them to carry the torch.
For her, this love for quilting blossomed after her children moved out of the house. She says after years of cooking, cleaning and acting as a taxi service, she was suddenly left with nothing to do.
"I said 'God you need to give me something to do that's productive, that's going to touch other lives as well'," recalls Toews. "He gave me quilting, that's why I do it. It not only gives us an outlet for our creative energy but it allows us to bless other people who need it."
According to Toews, most women don't care to know exactly how much they are spending to make a quilt. But, she says for the supplies alone, an average quilt costs about $100. And then of course on top of that is the hours of labour. But Toews is quick to point out they have a lot of very generous donors who have dropped off a lot of fabric and they also get a good deal on their batting. She says at the end of the day, people who love to quilt, love the idea that their work is blessing those less fortunate.
The Heartland Quilters are gearing up for the Christmas Craft Sale at Clearspring Centre in November. Toews says they will also host a quilt show next year.