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Fidget quilts made at P.E.I. library donated for those with Alzheimer’s and other disabilities

Kay Wall, left, of New Annan and Elaine Burrows of Summerside sit down behind their sewing machines to start putting together their fidget quilts.
Kay Wall, left, of New Annan and Elaine Burrows of Summerside sit down behind their sewing machines to start putting together their fidget quilts. - Bradley Collins

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Susan Paddock was signing out some quilting books at the Summerside Rotary Library one day when assistant librarian Hazel Birch asked if she knew what fidget quilts were.

When she responded, “Yes,” Birch said: “Well, we would like to have some of these quilts for our toddler story time. Would you be interested in offering the opportunity for people to learn how to make them?”

Paddock’s answer was, “Sure, that would be good.”

When Gloria Schurman, director of the East Prince Seniors Initiative (EPSI), heard about the library’s beginner quilting club making fidget quilts, she asked if they would make some for seniors as well.

The quilts are activity mats designed to safely stimulate and soothe people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, ADHD, head trauma or people recovering from strokes.

Now, Paddock, a Summerside quilter, is offering her time and expertise and the library is offering the facility for anyone who wants to try their hand at the craft.

Recently, they hosted a fidget quilt quilting bee at the Summerside Rotary Library.

Out came the boxes of multi-coloured material, the scissors started flying, designs were put together and the sewing machines started churning away.

“People can play with what I made. It’s really fun, and someone’s going to enjoy it.”
-Hayley Drummond

Every quilt or mat they make is different, depending on how they customize them.

The quilts will be donated to care facilities and caregivers.

Holly Doke of Summerside and her 12-year-old daughter, Hayley Drummond, put a lot of love into everything they make, whether it’s crafts or baking.

Doke thought making fidget quilts would be something fun to do with her daughter because “she’s very creative and crafty.”

“Plus, it’s an added benefit that somebody will be able to enjoy them.”

Hayley came to the quilting bee because her mother said the quilts would be going to people who would love them.

She thought she would get the chance to express herself in the craft as well.

“People can play with what I made. It’s really fun, and someone’s going to enjoy it,” added Hayley.

Originally, the idea started with the quilts being made for toddlers. And if this round goes well, they’ll do a second one for the little fellows.

It’s a community service and Paddock thought it was a good idea for Birch to create this program for the library to see if it drew attention.

“You have to start somewhere.”

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