Quilts hand to hand, heart to heart


As you head north on water street in Sparta, once you pass the hustle and bustle of midtown, and your mind starts tossing up random softballs for your ego to knock out of the park, you are passing an amazing place on the right hand side: Quilt Corner.

Located at 219 North Water street, Quilt Corner seems like a humble home with a white fence for decoration and some nice plants hanging out in the shade. As you step towards the front door there is a small bench on your left, with four throw pillows. Sandwiched in between the dragonfly pillow and the red-truck-overflowing-with-sunflowers- pillow is the pillow that most accurately describes Quilt Corner, with these three words: “love grows here.”

Crystal Treu and Connie Bakken are a perfect example of the saying “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” As a mother and daughter team their thoughts, speech and actions could win a gold medal for synchronized patterns. At one point Crystal had to take a phone call and her mother just continued on from where Crystal had left off, flawlessly.

At Quilt Corner they hand out quilt after quilt to those in need of warmth and comfort. Quilt Corner does not need to know where the quilts are going, or to whom, just that someone who needs one will get one. They put full faith in the requestor, as long as they promise to hand the quilt off personally. “Our way of business is person to person, hand to hand. We do not want them set aside ‘Just in case.’” Crystal stated. “We want them going to people who need them right now.”

Quilt Corner has sent over one thousand quilts directly to those in need of the comfort and warmth they provide. Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, are on the list of reasons quilts are sent out, but so are the more basic reasons of being homeless and those being looked after by caregivers. For the homeless, Crystal states that a lighter quilt is given so that it will not be too heavy for the person to carry around, as they are usually nomadic. Connie says that if a caretaker needs one for the person they are caring for, the caregiver also gets one … comfort for the comforters.

Connie spoke of Rockport, Texas, (population just a thousand over Sparta), and how Hurricane Harvey had brought so much damage and destruction. Connie had been to Rockport for a praise concert event, so this one hit close to her heart. She heard from her friend, Dawn Teal, that even a year later there were still one hundred and fifty people still living in tents. Connie had a cousin taking his bees down to Texas and she asked him if he could take a hundred quilts with him and get them to those people … he said yes. So, as you can see, a lot of the quilts get handed out by word of mouth, and in the exact time of need.

Bakken and Treu made sure to say that everything about the quilts is donated. “The batting (material in the middle portion of a quilt) is either donated, or we buy it with the money we get from donations,” Bakken claimed.

 “In addition to the material, all the time is donated as well. There is not a penny wanted for what we do here,” Treu remarked, brandishing the same smile her mother wears.

The dynamic mother/daughter duo said that two needs are being met within the charitable action: first, there is the need for quilts to be made for so many in predicaments and desperate situations, and secondly, there is the need for passionate quilters to keep quilting. “They love it so much, and they simply have run out of people to quilt for in their family and friends network,” said Treu. By putting these two needs together, they have made so many people happy. The quilters themselves also feel joy that they are quilting for such a noble cause.

With all of this going on with such zest and determination, one might wonder how Quilt Corner supports itself as a business. Crystal was quick to point out that the majority of the store is retail. All the materials and items needed to make cool quilts are available to all seeking the creative endeavor. For all of those desiring to venture into the quilting world, classes are offered right in their store, which has a large area set aside for quilting. Connie said that quilts are often made with the intention of being given as gifts for weddings, graduations, birthdays, holidays and gender reveals. She said that the military folks often have valor quilts made too.

Crystal and Connie said that once in awhile they do receive letters of thanks and appreciation, which is not why they do it, but at the same time it makes them feel good inside.

Currently Quilt Corner is getting quilts ready to make their way to Kentucky, where flooding has created a pocket of diminished hope for those affected. This time it will be one of their husbands who will be making the heartfelt journey, carrying comfort and compassion for those who are in need of it the most at this time.    

More information about Quilt Corner, such as classes, donations and hours of operation, can be found on their website at quiltcorner.net.

Monroe County Herald, Benny Mailman, Quilt Corner, charity, Sparta, Quilts, Crystal Tree, Connie Bakken, human kindness, Love


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