Hundreds of handmade quilts will be on display during the annual Mudsock Quilters Guild quilt show Nov. 11 at Cornerstone Lutheran Church, 13450 E. 116th St. in Fishers, but none will be for sale.
Each of the one-of-a-kind quilts will be given away on Christmas morning to patients at Community North Hospital.
Guild member Diane Dimpfl started the program six years ago. She said she was receiving care at Community North in Noblesville and was inspired to volunteer there after she recovered. While she was training as a volunteer, she asked if the hospital had a quilt program.
“This is the most famous sentence in my life, because it totally changed my life,” she said.
The hospital didn’t have a quilt program at that time, but wanted to start one, she said, because “there’s no place lonelier than Christmas morning in the hospital.”
During the holidays, patients often have visitors on Christmas Eve, Dimpfl said, but not Christmas morning. Through the quilt program, those patients each receive the comfort of not only a beautiful quilt, but the knowledge that someone cared enough to make one just for them.
Dimpfl said the first year of the program, guild members made about 100 quilts and didn’t have enough for all the patients in the hospital. This year, they’ll have at least 300 quilts to distribute, and each of those handmade works of art will be on display during the quilt show.
The show started soon after the quilt distribution program, Dimpfl said. They had never had a show before because the equipment for displaying quilts is expensive to rent. But then Dimpfl had a suggestion.
“I said, ‘Well, why can’t we just drape them over the church pews?’” she said. “And that’s what we did our first time, which we still do at Cornerstone Lutheran Church. Every inch in that sanctuary, which is quite large, is covered with a quilt.”
Each quilt is numbered, and visitors can vote for their favorite. There’s no charge to attend, but they do ask for a $5 cash-only donation, with all donations going back to the program.
Dimpfl said those funds help with quilt supplies, such as backs and batting.
If there are quilts left over after Christmas morning, the guild donates them to other programs, Dimpfl noted. For example, they contributed about a dozen quilts to relief efforts following this year’s wildfires in Hawaii.
There are more than 200 members in the Mudsock Quilting Guild, she said, and about 75 of those have donated one or more quilts to the show this year. Some of the more prolific quilters have donated up to 30 pieces.
The guild offers classes and workshops for quilters to improve their skills, Dimpfl said. They also run a storeroom at the Community Health Pavilion in Noblesville, managed by Sally Sandilands and several other volunteers.
“All of our fabrics in our storeroom are donated by members,” Sandilands said. “We also get a lot of outside sources that contact us. We have beautiful fabrics in there. Mudsock members can shop for fabrics and it’s free to them to shop because they’re making a charity quilt with that fabric.”
She said the storeroom is open two days a month — the second Tuesday and the third Monday. It’s not just a storeroom, she said, it’s also where they host programs and come up with ways to challenge their fellow quilters.
“We will make a brown-bag mystery challenge,” she said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get in that bag. You just have to make a quilt out of it.”
They also have not-so-mysterious kits for those who simply need inspiration, and UFOs — unfinished objects — which Sandilands said are quilts “that people have turned in because they don’t want to mess with them anymore.
“So we just have things like that to keep people busy. And that’s how we end up with 300 quilts.”
Sandilands is one of the guild members who donates multiple quilts to the quilt show and Christmas-quilt program. She said she’s probably turned in 30 pieces this year, and she looks forward to the annual quilt show.
“It’s fun to look at all of them,” she said. “Sometimes I see one that I made, and I forget that I made it.”
For more about the Mudsock Quilters Guild, visit mudsockquiltersguild.org.
If you go
Who: Mudsock Quilters Guild
What: Annual Mudsock Quilt Show
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 11
Where: Cornerstone Lutheran Church, 13450 E. 116th St., Fishers
How: A $5 cash donation to support the guild’s Christmas quilt program
Why: 300 colorful handmade quilts on display