CLEVE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Carmel Baxter likes to think that the quilts the Cleve quilters made, now comfort some of the people who lost everything in 2020 summer bushfires.

The Cleve Country Quilters from the small town on South Australia’s Central Eyre Peninsula gathered regularly for weeks and made 10 beautiful quilts for families who had lost everything in the nearby bushfires. Highways and Byways supported the project.

The 20 or so Cleve quilters aged between 25 and 80 gave the completed quilts to the SA Quilters Guild to distribute to people. The women used the remnants from the ‘bushfire’ quilts to make bib-style clothing protectors for some residents at the local aged care home.

It isn’t the first time the Cleve women have come to the rescue. When disaster strikes, the quilters respond in the way they know best, by gathering their supplies, harnessing their good will and heading down to the local RSL hall where they have been given a permanent spot to quilt. They are well set-up with old desks from the local school and chairs from the defunct CWA.

“We do a lot locally. We make quilts for the nursing home, the hospital and we make Christmas placemats for many of the residents. We also make quilts for other charities when we get a request,” Carmel said.

Making the ten quilts for bushfire-affected families was a way the local women could respond to a heartbreaking disaster nearby. Though the quilts left Cleve, their making helped build a community spirit.

“Coming together each week and making quilts, usually for someone else, helps build a sense of community. We love sewing and our group really exists to sew and to give quilts away,” Carmel said.

“Sometimes we hear back from someone who has received a quilt from us, but we don’t expect that because the people receiving our quilts are usually going through great difficulties.”