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City woman’s labour of love turns scrappy into happy

Published on

Journal Staff

Sarnia’s Ruth Johnston is a woman on a mission.

Using donated scrap material from two pandemic-impacted causes, she has made and given away more than 100 quilted comforters to women and children in need this year.

First, Johnston created more than 50 quilts from leftover cloth that a group of local seamstresses used to sew medical caps for Bluewater Health staff this spring.

That mountain of comfort was bundled up and sent to an orphanage in Sierra Leone, Africa.

Then, after an employment skills training workshop in Woodstock, Ont. was forced to shut down, her sewing machine endured a second workout.

A plaque above Johnston’s workroom table reads: When life gives you scraps, make quilts.

“COVID has given me a lot of scraps this year,” she said. “It was a labour of love, with some days more labour than love, but the smiles I envision has made it all worthwhile.”

The latest 52 quilts are heading to a second-stage housing facility in Woodstock for victims of domestic violence. Johnston worked at that city’s interval home before retiring at the age of 75 and moving to Sarnia two years ago.

The old-fashioned comforters are warm and sturdy enough to be dragged from bed, to couch to wherever little people like to go, she said.

And there’s enough to gift each woman and child living at the facility, with extra to spare if all units fill up at Christmas.

“I was gifted these remnants along with leftover batting and thread, and it only seemed fitting that they be made into quilts,” she said.

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