By Tracy Kinderknecht, CPN Senior Support Network RN

Two retired ladies had to find something to do with their time when the coronavirus forced an end to activities at the CPN Center at the Elder Village in Rossville, Kansas.

Felicia Brown (left) and Barbara Smith’s giving spirit shines in their handmade quilts.

Barb Smith, a retired hair stylist, had just spent a few weeks at the Rossville Manor following foot surgery and remembered the need for some colorful, pretty lap robes. The wheels started turning, and she enlisted the help of Felicia Brown, a retired nurse, to join her in making some new lap robes for the facility. Barb, a descendant of the Degraff family, and Felicia, whose husband was a descendant of the Boursaw family, both had a stash of fabric that needed to be put to a good use. They started the Lap Robe Project in April with a goal of 25 blankets by the end of July. The ladies must have sewn day and night, as they met that goal, and as of mid-September, they have made 110.

Each lap blanket takes about 3 yards of fabric to complete. Assorted patterns and prints are cut into two-three and 1.5 inch strips that are sewn onto an 8-by-8 inch square of plain cloth used as a foundation. After the strips are sewn on the foundation, it is pressed and trimmed to the eight-by-eight inches, then sewn into rows of four squares. The lap blanket takes 20 squares — five rows of four squares. A backing is then pinned to the sewn squares, stitched around, turned right side out and tied with crochet thread to complete the blanket. Barb had some triangles already cut from another quilt project that she incorporated into some of the blankets.

Fifteen blankets were given to the Oakley Place, a memory care home within walking distance of the Elder Village. The Manor at St Mary’s will receive 40 lap robes, and the Rossville Manor will get 55 blankets.

This project has given the two ladies something to do, and they used their fabric to spread joy — such a beautiful and needed gift. As long as these ladies have material and time, they will keep up on this project and gift more nursing homes with their love.