Everyone staying in the new Haida Gwaii Hospital-Ngaaysdll Naay will get a warm welcome thanks to islands quilters.
While construction workers were busy building the new 16-bed hospital, quilters in Skidegate, Queen Charlotte and Sandspit were stitching 27 brand-new quilts to make each patient room feel like home.
“I think you need to have something in the room that’s cheerful, that’s warm, that wraps a person up in goodwill and happiness,” says Anne Mountifield, who made two quilts for the hospital.
Mountifield said the whole idea started with long-time quilter and former Queen Charlotte General staffer Peg Waldron, who phoned up quilting group members across the islands when the hospital construction got underway.
Waldron measured one of the new patient beds to make sure the quilts would have a good border edge and a tuck-in for a pillow.
As a group, the quilters settled on large, simple quilt squares and sturdy fabrics that can endure lots of washing.
They also decided that every quilt would have a unique design, but bright, cheerful patterns were key.
Growing up, Mountifield remembers that she and her brother got to bundle up in a special quilt any time they were home sick — made in the 1930s or 1940s, its top was a splash of primary colours.
“I remember having measles, being miserable with them, and having this amazing multi-coloured quilt,” she said.
“It was lovely.”
Mountifield said all the quilters volunteered their time, and Peg Waldon and Linda Lewis provided batting at cost plus shipping.
“The fabrics in the quilts came from each quilter’s personal stash,” she added.
“We can never have too much fabric, never.”