The Quilts for Survivors workshop was full of volunteers, working on quilts for residential school survivors on Saturday.Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Local Timmins Ontario quilters celebrated National Quilting Day by stitching together works of art for residential school survivors.

Quilts for Survivors’ workshop was filled with conversation and the sounds of sewing machines as they hosted its monthly binding marathon on Saturday, March 18. To celebrate the day, people were creating blocks for future quilts.

They were joined online by fellow quilters from Illinois, British Columbia and other places across Ontario, learning the pattern of the block from Vanessa Genier, Quilts for Survivors’ founder.

She says the variety of patterns and colours that come out of these marathons is incredible.

“They pick whatever colours they want, and just the way they pick the colours, it just changes up the block,” Genier said.

So far this year they’ve made 313 quilts for residential school survivors, and they have 200 requests for May projects.

“There are always more requests, and we’ll keep working at it,” said Genier. 

These events are held on the second Saturday every month, and anyone who is interested in quilting, or the work that Quilts for Survivors does is welcome to join the online group through their Facebook page.

“Quilters, supporters of what we do, everybody’s welcome to join,” said Genier. 

Quilting is Genier’s passion, and she says that when people ask her about her hobbies, they don’t believe her answer.

“I go home from here and I go sew,” she said with a smile. “This is what I love to do. It’s my job but it’s also still my stress reliever, it’s how I relax at night.”

Genier will be stopping in the Orillia area in April to drop off quilts for survivors in the Chippewas of Rama First Nation and meet the survivors there.

The person helping Genier arrange the visit timed it so that she could meet all the Rama survivors receiving quilts.

Genier said that their sewing retreat, Orange You Glad We’re Sewing, which will run from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, is a huge focus at the moment.

This will be the first time they’re holding the event which will include education on the residential school system, the stories of survivors and plenty of quilting.

“We’re working hard and it’s coming together,” she said. “I hope it’s going to be a good way to show why this work and the support for it is important.”

Registration for the sewing retreat is open now and more information is available at

By Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 23, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Timmins, Ontario

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