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Utah News

Quilting For A Cause: How A Cache Valley 4-H Club Is Celebrating Women's History

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Becky Mitchell
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2020 marked a few anniversaries in women's history and 4-H clubs are still doing their part to celebrate with quilting. I took the oppertunity to join a 4-H club in Cache Valley as they worked on their sewing projects. 

Sewing is a historical craft that a lot of women in Utah have taken part in. That’s why, when COVID-19 hit, the family consumer science 4-H program decided to start a quilt making sewing project to help celebrate women. 

The 4-H program received a grant to hold a conference that celebrated women's history. When the event was canceled due to the pandemic, the grant money went towards a quilt making service project instead. 

Jolene Bunnell wrote the grant and headed the quilting project. She said the quilts are being donated to the nonprofit group Sleep in Heavenly Peace. 

“What they do is they make beds for kids and people who can't afford [one]. There are four chapters in Utah,” siad Bunnell.

When the project started, Bunnell said she only expected to get 34 quilts. But in one day, 45 clubs in 17 counties across Utah signed up to make a quilt.

“Right now we're at 80 quilts that have come in, we only provided 66 quote kits, but people have just donated it in addition to that,” said Bunnell. 

I joined a meeting with a The American Girl 4-H club here in Cache Valley to learn about the quilt making process. The club helped make three quilts for the project.

The 4-H pledge was said at the beginning of the meeting before members started their projects. The American Girl 4-H club is a service centered club so making quilts was right up their alley. 

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Credit Becky Mitchell
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“We have an ongoing project to serve in the world by providing a variety of things for children in Zimbabwe, and clothing and fabric, we make hats, and we've sewn backpacks and collected school materials,” said club leader Becky Mitchell.

Lots of steps go into making a quilt. The girls split up the tasks in a conveyer belt like manner. There was a girl stitching the squares, another pressing the fabric with an iron and a third sewing fabric with a sewing machine. 

Emily Veibell mainly pressed, or ironed, the fabric. She also helped with the quilt tying, which she said is her favorite part.

To do this, she pulled a piece of thread through the fabric, but not all the way, she said, or you will have to start over. 

“Then you come back on the other side. You want to get it close to where your first entrance was," said Emily. "Then you tie [the thread]  like you'd be tying your shoe. And then you [tie it again] to make sure that it's secure and then you snip them.” 

The project was challenging but the girls said it was worth it in the end. Zoey Naef said her favorite part was looking at the finished product. 

“It was really fun for me. But the thing is, we put like a lot of blood sweat and tears into this mainly just blood,” siad Zoey. 

Overall, the project was a great way for members of the club to get involved. 

“We tried to work with each girl with what abilities they had. And we found that the older girls did more of the sewing, the younger ones did more of helping us pin and press,” said Mitchell.

The project was supposed to end in December but clubs are still finishing quilts.