Sylvie Potts (left) and Rollande Allen with one of their handmade quilts. Prior to Christmas, the two sisters donated 25 quilts for children to Valoris for Children and Adults of Prescott-Russell. Photo: Reid Masson

It was once again a warm Christmas for children at Valoris.

On December 14, thanks to the help of members of the community, Rollande Allen and Sylvie Potts of Vankleek Hill donated 25 of their handmade quilts to foster children of Valoris for Children and Adults of Prescott-Russell. The two sisters worked throughout the year, collecting supplies and creating the multi-coloured blankets in time for Christmas.

It’s a project begun by Rollande more than a decade ago.

“It’s very close to my heart,” says Allen, who approached Valoris, which offers various mental health services to support children, youth, and their families in Prescott-Russell, after she had made some quilts for another sister’s adopted children.

The two sisters don’t only make quilts for the children at Valoris. They make all types of quilts in both adult and children sizes – all of which are donated to individuals or groups. Many of their quilts are donated to schools, community groups and or sports teams, where they are raffled off to raise funds.

Finding supplies a key component

Obtaining sufficient supplies to make the quilts is the most difficult part of the project, say both sisters, who absolutely love making the blankets.

The two sisters receive fabric from friends and relatives to help with their quilt making. They often receive inspiration from the fabric itself. Photo: Reid Masson

“I check (Facebook) Marketplace every day,” says Potts. “If someone has a roll of material, I’m off on the road.”

“We go through the internet and magazines to find stuff,” Allen adds.

While donated material is always welcome, one must make sure it is clean and suitable for use. Some of the donated fabric Potts and Allen receive is either dirty or odorous.

For the past few years, Potts lived in the United States, where she would buy fabric and send it to Allen to create the quilts. But last year, she moved back to Vankleek Hill and purchased a new sewing machine of her own, which allowed her to join in on making quilts and take some of the load off her sister.

“I thought, if Rollande can do it, I can do it too,” says Potts of the guidance provided by her sibling.

Inspiration from fabric

The two sisters often find inspiration in the fabric they receive and store in multiple locations through the large sewing room at Allen’s home in Vankleek Hill.

“We’ll start a quilt with a panel we have,” Allen explains. “And then you make your creation.”

“We don’t follow a pattern,” says Potts. “Each one is different.”

With 2022 now in the rear view mirror, Allen and Potts have already begun making quilts for next year’s Christmas donations.

“The best part about making quilts is gifting them,” Potts says.