Sudbury volunteers stitch gifts of good will, comfort

A group of volunteers in Sudbury has turned a hobby into a helping hand.
Huguette Larose and Susan Cardinal show off the memory quilt that Susan made for Huguette's late husband "Pete" while he was dying in Sudbury's hospice this year. (Jessica Pope)
A group of quilters in Sudbury have been donating hand-made quilts to people in hospice to bring comfort at the hardest time. We aired the story of one such quilt and how it made a difference for both the recipient and his surviving spouse. 7:09

A group of volunteers in Sudbury has turned a hobby into a helping hand. 

The Sudbury and District Quilting and Stitchery Guild has been busy all year sewing special quilts for people in need, including kids in the care of the Children's Aid, women recovering from addiction, and people dying in Sudbury's hospice. 

Huguette Larose knows first-hand what a comfort a small square of fabric can be in a time of grief and pain. She lost her husband of 57 years—known to most as "Pete"—to bone cancer this year.

He went to the Maison VALE Hospice to live his final days.

"It was hard," she said. "I invited all his friends and all his family to come and say 'bye'."

Before he died though, Pete was to be given a memento of his life—a personalized memory quilt.
A section of the special memory quilt Susan Cardinal made for Huguette Larose's terminally ill husband. "He loved his shed," said Larose. "I could [still] see the chimney and some smoke coming out." (Jessica Pope)

The small ornamental quilts are made at the request of the hospice by people in the Quilter's Guild. Each one is selected by the person in hospice as representative of themselves. 

Larose said her husband looked at the options, but didn't see one that was quite right for him. 

"And I told that to Sylvie [the volunteer coordinator], and she says, 'I know just the person who would make you one specially for him," she said. 

'Meant to be'

Larose, who is herself a member of the guild, didn't know it at the time, but her fellow quilter and casual acquaintance Susan Cardinal happened to be working on something new. 

"This one I had already started," said Cardinal. "It was the very first landscape I ever started, but it didn't have a tractor on it, it wasn't quite finished... [but] I got to work that day and brought it up the next day." 

Larose said as soon as Pete saw it, with it's tractor and shed, he knew it was the one for him. 

"He loved his shed," she said. "He had a wood stove in it, and ... in the fall or the winter, he would go sit and meditate in his shed with the nice warmth of the fire."

Larose said now that Pete is gone, she looks at the memory quilt hanging in her dining room, and thinks of her husband. 

"I could see the chimney and some smoke coming out of it [still]."

Larose said she also thinks of Susan Cardinal, who she now considers a friend. 

For her part, Cardinal said she feels she gets more out of her quilting than she puts into it. 

"Something that I do for fun—it's a hobby—to think that it could mean so much to somebody else is pretty touching, really." 

Cardinal estimates the Sudbury and District Quilting and Stitchery Guild, which celebrates 35 years in 2015, donated 250 hand-made memory quilts to people in hospice in the last year. 


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