Sisters make 1000s of quilts to comfort children.

Powell; Wyoming; United States


Sisters and octogenarians Joyce Lynn and Joann Bentz in a pile of some of the over 1000 quilts they have made.
Photo by Ilene Olsen, Powell Tribune.

In 2015, two sisters, Joyce Lynn, 86, and Joann Bentz, 84, of Powell, Wyoming finished their 1,000th quilt over a period of a little over 11 years. As reporter Ilene Olsen noted: “All 1,000 quilts have been, or soon will be, donated to hospitals and other organizations where they are given to children suffering from life-threatening conditions. Bentz and Lynn started the project jointly in July 2004 at Bentz’s suggestion that they make “a few quilts” and send them to St. Jude’s Research Hospital to comfort children who were being treated for cancer. But they soon found that, ‘Once you get started, you just can’t quit,” Bentz said.’ Much of the fabric the sisters used in the quilts was donated and some of the millions of yards of thread used to embroider and construct the quilts was paid for by three separate donations from the local Order of the Eastern Star. The sisters cut, piece, add batting to, and machine quilt fabric that they embroider by machine; they keep their embroidery machines running, with the aid of computerized designs, for six to eight hours per day. Bentz’s machine has more than 5,000 hours and approximately 131 million stitches on it, and the counter on Lynn’s machine shows 4,322 hours and more than 113 million stitches. The machines were new when the sisters started their project. In a phone conversation with the sisters, they reported that they had made at least an additional 1,000 quilts that they gave to many other individuals and organizations.”

Written by Olsen, Ilene;MacDowell, Marsha;Luz, Clare;Donaldson, Beth (2017)

MacDowell, Marsha; Luz, Clare; Donaldson, Beth. Quilts and Health. University of Indiana Press, 2017. Page 107.

Quilts and Health

  • Quilts and Health

    Documentation Project

    Michigan State University

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