Cathy McNie, Gerda Van Der Zweep and Nellie Rasmussen with the quilt they created. -Image credit: Leah Blain/Salmon Arm Observer

Three ‘Crazy Crafters’ come together for memorial quilt

By Leah Blain, Observer contributor

When Peggy Roberge passed away on August 7, 2016, she left many to mourn, not only her husband, Romeo, her three children and nine grandchildren, but also many close friends.

Many of these friends met a few times a month at a group Peggy co-founded, the Crazy Crafters. Together they would do any kind of craft, quilt, paint Ukrainian Easter eggs, Christmas centre pieces, or learn about essential oils, or just sit around to enjoy each other’s company having coffee and goodies. The group, which meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic hall, soon grew to 25 members.

“She just loved the group,” says Nellie Rasmussen.

Not long after she started the group, Peggy was diagnosed with cancer. On her good days, if she could, she would still come. It was special to her and she loved the friendly supportive atmosphere that characterizes the group. After Peggy passed away, Romeo gave her remaining quilting material to them.

“We didn’t want to touch it,” says Nellie, “not right away. It was too emotional. We put it in a closet and closed the door.”

But earlier this year they decided they needed to pull it out for a special project.

“Peggy had made a quilt for one granddaughter a year before. Another granddaughter (Cassie) in Kamloops is graduating this year and we thought we would make one for her with the material.”

“Peggy would be thrilled we’re doing this,” says Cathy McNie, who started the Crazy Crafters with Peggy. They found out from Romeo what colours Cassie liked – earth tones.

“We all came together,” says Gerda. “It was a group effort.”

They each did three or four squares in the disappearing 9 patch pattern. As they brought back their own finished products, they laid it out on a table to figure out how they wanted it pieced together then Gerda did the backing, the batting, stitched it all together and Cathy did the binding.

“I think it was kind of a healing process,” says Cathy. “It was a labour of love. It was a healing journey.”

“We’re amateurs and not perfectionist. Our stuff isn’t perfect,” says Nellie “but when it all came together, it was gorgeous. It is perfect.”

As they fold it back up, Nellie shows them how she was taught by her grandmother to fold and they put it in its plastic tote bag. They’re going to send a note to Cassie along with the quilt.

Nellie says it was hard for them to pull out the material that first time, but she had a strong motivator to do this quilt.

“For me it was the thought of Cassie being wrapped around it and thinking of her grandma. I hope it feels like her grandma is giving her a big hug.”

-Editor’s note: After a well-deserved break, we welcome Leah Blain’s columns back to the Shuswap Market News. Friends and Neighbours will run every second week.