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Sweeney continues to quilt for a Camp Knutson cause

Laurie Sweeney is one of many quilters who gives generously of her time and creativity by donating quilts to the annual Camp Knutson Quilt Auction.

In addition to quilting, she also loves fishing, which is what she happened to be doing when reached on the phone earlier this summer.

Sweeney began quilting in the late 1990s, when she decided to take a leave of absence from her job teaching math and French in the Brainerd School District. After a few weeks of being home, she needed something more to fill her time.

Sweeney remembers going to the Country Fabrics Quilt store in Brainerd at 5 p.m., buying a new sewing machine, picking out fabric and a pattern, and being shown how to use a rotary cutter. All of that before the store closed at 5:30 p.m.

She has been busy quilting ever since. Sweeney has donated quilts to the auction since 2001, and this year she has given three quilts: two queen and one child’s size.

“Well, your family can only use so many quilts, and Camp Knutson is such a wonderful cause, I decided to start donating to the quilt auction,” Sweeney said about how she decided to donate quilts to the Camp Knutson Quilt Auction. “I get to do what I like to do, and Camp K gets the benefit.”

Camp Knutson partners with organizations that provide summer camp experiences for children with disabilities and/or special needs, giving them a time to immerse themselves in nature in order to experience the freedom and fantasy of childhood.

This year Camp Knutson will hold its 27th annual quilt auction to benefit the camp.

Sweeney, who now lives in Deerwood, takes her quilts to Anita Whichello of Brainerd to do her machine quilting. Sweeney likes to have her quilts functional and sturdy because she believes that quilts are made to be used.

Midway through the conversation, Sweeney, who was fishing on the Whitefish Chain, had to stop; she was catching a fish in the very same waters of Camp Knutson. Luckily for the camp, she’s as good at quilting as she is landing fish.

View Sweeney’s quilts and all the other quilts that will be on display Saturday, Aug. 10, at Camp Knutson in Crosslake. Viewing of the quilts and silent auction are from 9-11:30 a.m., with the live auction at noon.

This year the live auction will be limited to 135 quilts to shorten the auction time, because organizers know that some folks love fishing just as much as quilts.