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Quilting for kids: Former European seamstress makes quilts for child cancer patients

Posted: Monday, Mar 17th, 2014

Katrina Peter of Huron, who makes quilts for pediatic cancer patients, displays the tag she puts on each quilt. Next, she holds up a quilt for an 18-month-old child. And next, she is piecing together a new quilt on her kitchen counter. PHOTOS BY SHILOH APPEL/PLAINSMAN

Once a seamstress in Europe and an employee for Raymond (a producer of textiles, fabrics, garments, designer wear, engineering and aviation), Huron’s Katrina (Katharina) Peter is no stranger to the world of fabric and thread.

“My whole life consists of a sewing machine,” said Katrina with a laugh.

Today, she works both day and night creating quilts for the cancer patients of Sanford Children’s hospital in Sioux Falls.

Peter started her endeavor about two years ago. “I started because there are sick children, all cancer patients, and they don’t have anything,” said Peter.”There are mainly children that have nothing and nobody.

There are parents who don’t even care that their children are sick. The children are in the care of the hospital through the welfare system.”

Katrina creates and compiles the quilts she makes for her granddaughter, who works as a paramedic at the children’s hospital.

“Every time my granddaughter comes home she takes them to the nurses and she distributes them to the children that don’t have anything,” said Katrina. Many of the children receive their quilts on release day, when they are able to leave the hospital.

Katrina is always happy to hear the stories of how the quilts brighten up the lives of each individual child.

“One I did, it was all horses. I heard back from them that the little boy who got it was so excited because he was going to be a cowboy, too,” Katrina said with a smile.

Katrina said that she has done 70 quilts since last Thanksgiving, with the 70th one in progress. Each one is about two foot by two foot, as the recipients are as young as 18 months to toddlers and young children.

Not affiliated with a quilting club, she does all of her quilting at home.

“I do it on my own time,” said Katrina.”You have to like it to do it. You have to really understand what those kids are going through.”

Katrina herself understands. Her husband passed away of cancer.

“On some of my hardest nights, when I couldn’t sleep, I would do this,” said Katrina.

“I enjoy what I’m doing and I just enjoy doing it because it goes to the children, that‘s all I can say. If this brings them a little bit of happiness, then that is the least I can do for them.”

For the complete article see the 03-16-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-16-2014 paper.

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