Helen Carr gives her heart to area children through the annual donation of handmade heart-themed quilts and blankets.
Sixteen of the brightly colored pink, red and white creations will make their way into the arms of children — in time for Valentine’s Day — through the Annapolis Chapter of Project Linus, which meets at the Severna Park Community Center.
Carr is an active 88-year-old Project Linus volunteer who, for nearly a decade, has been sewing, knitting, and crocheting blankets and afghans for the charity, which delivers handmade blankets to county children who are seriously ill, traumatized or in need.
Helen’s Hearts began as an annual project about five years ago as a way to engage Project Linus’ talented pool of local volunteers. “It’s more gratifying to work as a group,” Carr said, “like a dance, a ballet, or a finely tuned team. I chose hearts because I’m an incurable romantic. Hearts and love are easily recognized, and I have a heart for the children.”
It takes nearly a year for Carr’s designs to become a reality. She begins by choosing patterns, selects the fabrics and then teaches individual workshops on each pattern during the regular monthly Project Linus meetings. Participants learn the quilting technique particular to each pattern, and then they make a block, or two, for the completed quilt from pre-cut kits prepared by Carr. She devised four designs for this year’s endeavor and shared workshop duties with chapter coordinator Linda Gorman.
Her most unique quilt this year is a cozy puff type that was all the rage in the ‘70s.
Volunteers returned so many completed blocks to Carr that she was able to assemble more quilts in a wider variety of sizes than she ever expected. In addition to the quilts, Carr utilized the remaining fleece, which is used for backing the quilts, to create seven crochet-edged fleece blankets.
When asked what she plans for next year, Carr said, “I want to pass the torch along and challenge Project Linus to carry on and get creative with all styles of blankets.”
Project Linus meets at Severna Park Community Center on the third Saturday of the month, September through June. Additional information about Project Linus is available online at www.linusannapolis.org.