Comforter project expands as 29 years of Quilt Happenings comes to an end

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By Shirley Murtha

For 29 years, Ginny Wutka produced Quilt Happenings in summer, late fall and early spring at Lost Acres Orchard. The Happenings included a lecture on some aspect of quilting history, new and vintage quilts, kits and fabrics for sale, news of area quilt clubs and light refreshments from the Farm Kitchen. For the summer Happening, the kitchen made available an extensive buffet enjoyed by patrons sitting outdoors under the apple trees.


Comforter Project quilts were delivered to the Salvation Army in Hartford. From l., Nancy Grant, a project volunteer; Mabel Thompson of the Salvation Army; and Megan White, Grant’s granddaughter. Photo by Ginny Wutka

This past summer marked the end of these delightful events, as Wutka’s focus has shifted to the making of comforters to be donated to the needy—the Comforter Project. A few years ago, Wutka introduced the idea of volunteers coming to her home at the orchard to put together these coverings, for which she found suitable places for donation.
The number of people interested in working on this project has increased greatly, as has the need for completed comforters.
Volunteers can help in one or several of the many steps that lead to the finished product: donating fabric; cutting the fabric into the squares needed or delivering the fabric to other volunteers who will cut it; sewing the squares together either at home or at the orchard; basting the layers of backing and batting to the pieced top; and then finishing the piece by tying the layers (making a small knot in an even grid across the entire piece) and adding the binding. In addition, volunteers hold tag sales to raise money for the purchase of the batting or assist in the shipping costs for delivery of the comforters.
Since September alone, 55 comforters have been delivered to Port Arthur, Texas, which was devastated by Hurricane Harvey this past August, and 35 have been delivered to Santa Rosa, California, where fires left hundreds of residents homeless in October. In addition, 36 comforters, quilts and baby quilts have been delivered to the Salvation Army Transitional House on Marshall Street in Hartford. The latter is the only shelter in the state that allows families to remain together during their stay. A comforter (and a baby quilt if appropriate) was given to each family for Christmas.
If you are interested in helping out in any way with this ongoing project, contact Ginny Wutka at