The Kachemak Bay Quilters recently started making quilts to give to local veterans, like the one pictured here during a First Friday exhibit Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. The quilting group donates much of its product to others. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

In their first First Friday showcase, Kachemak Bay Quilters focus on giving back to others

Some people make art to have a creative outlet, something just for themselves. Others, like the Kachemak Bay Quilters, take a more altruistic approach.

The quilting club, which has been around for more than 30 years, recently was showcased in its first ever First Friday art exhibit on Nov. 3 at the Homer Council on the Arts. Their blankets covered and brightened the walls like so many canvases, such that it didn’t matter that their works of art were practical, too — they were just as interesting to look at as any other art installation.

The members of the Kachemak Bay Quilters Members Karrie Youngblood and Linda Wagner said it’s a group of people who just like to quilt, but that service is at the heart of what the club does.

Through its Burn Out Victims project, the group makes and donates quilts for adults and children who have lost their homes to fire. Quilts are also given to the Haven House Child Advocacy Program, as well as small quilts to go with teddy bears that are donated through a separate program.

The group recently brought on a new service project, Youngblood and Wagner said, the Quilts of Valor. A national program, it involves making quilts to donate to local veterans.

“A lot of us have relationships with veterans,” Youngblood said. She’s also involved with the national group.

The quilts will be presented to local veterans for the first time on Fourth of July in 2018. Youngblood said the group hopes to work with the local VFW to make it a good presentation. They expect to have over 20 quilts made for the veterans by then, Wagner said.

The Burn Out Victims project was the group’s very first service project, and is one they’ll continue to participate in, Wagner and Youngblood said.

“Giving a quilt is like giving somebody a hug,” Youngblood said. “And, you know, when they’re in crisis, it’s nice to let people know that your community cares.”

“And most of them are made from donated materials,” Wagner added.

Most material donations can be dropped off during the group’s meetings at the Kachemak Center, she said.

The club also works to reduce waste by using their material scraps to make cat and dog beds which are donated to the local animal shelter.

It can take anywhere from a week to a month or even several years to make a quilt, depending on the project, Wagner and Youngblood said.

“This is a passion for us,” Youngblood said. “… People think that, you know, sewing is just a hobby. It’s not, it’s really a passion, because we put our hearts and souls into the quilts that we make, and so we really feel that giving that back into the community is more important.”

The group meets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday at the Kachemak Center.

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The Kachemak Bay Quilters spend a lot of their time creating quilts for victims of house fires, like the ones shown here during a First Friday exhibit Nov. 3 at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Passersby inspect the work of the Kachemak Bay Quilters during a First Friday exhibit Nov. 3 at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer. The quilting group has been around for more than 30 years. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

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