Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

Quilting a little warmth for the most vulnerable

When they moved to Red Deer years ago as children, they didn’t know anyone, so they spent the summer working on something comforting — making quillows.

When they moved to Red Deer years ago as children, they didn’t know anyone, so they spent the summer working on something comforting — making quillows.

Katrina Russel, 28, and her older sister Courtney Jasper, 31, are now trying to turn the art of making the small quilted blanket with a pocket for a pillow into something comforting for the less fortunate in Red Deer.

They have organized Warm Bodies Warm Hearts, an 8- to 10-week program for Notre Dame High School students, who will can learn the basics of quilting in their free time, while at the same time help out the community.

Russell is a stay-at-home mom who has a knack for quilting, and Jasper is a teacher at Notre Dame.

Russell hadn’t been sewing for quite a few years but when she was expecting her second son, she picked up quilting again because she wanted to make a blanket for his crib.

Last year she made quillows for her nieces and nephews “because we had them when we were kids. … You can fold up the quilt into a pillow, use it as a pillow or a quilt or you can tuck your feet into it. It’s nice and cozy.”

“I kind of got the idea that I would love to be able to donate some to the community.”

But she wasn’t sure she would have enough time to do it on her own, and got talking with Courtney about teaching it at Notre Dame. “We’ll be keeping it a simple quilt for those with not too much experience.”

The classes start this month. They are currently accepting donations of quilting cotton, batting and thread.

“It’s a great hobby and especially awesome if you can also do it to contribute to our community as well,” said Russell.

The quillows will be donated to a charity in Red Deer, possibly one that helps out young people.

Donations of quilting materials can be made by contacting Russell at or for more information, go to their Facebook page: Warm Bodies, Warm Hearts.

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