From almost the start of Kat Drinkwater’s career as a nurse at East Texas Medical Center three years ago, she enjoyed handing out quilts to patients.

As her work brought her in contact with many people with chronic diseases and terminal illnesses, she wanted to do more to comfort patients at the hospital who were nearing the end of their lives.

“People love handmade quilts, and most people have never had a quilt that was theirs,” said Ms. Drinkwater, 28, of Alba.

Two years ago she created “Covered in Love,” which provides quilts for ETMC patients nearing the end of their lives while at the hospital.

Using a quilting blog she created to keep track of her own creations, she recruited other volunteer quilters who wanted to support the cause.

Since then, Ms. Drinkwater said she has collected more than 150 quilts made by over 100 quilters, some who have lived as far away as New Zealand.

The homemade quilts come in a variety of patterns and often include small details that resonate with patients and their families.

“Almost always when we take them, there will be something where they’ll say, ‘this is perfect,’” said Perry Edwards, an ETMC chaplain who delivers the quilts.

The quilts are also used as a tool to bring comfort to families.

“Handmade quilts brighten and warm up a room and give the family something to talk about,” Ms. Drinkwater said. “It’s also meaningful to the family to have something to take home that covered their loved one in their final stage of life.”

Ms. Drinkwater works part time and is in college to become a nurse practitioner, but said she quilts about 15 to 20 hours a week. She said she is happy she has been able to use her hobby to help others.

“A homemade quilt is like a hug that you send off in the mail,” Ms. Drinkwater said. “You can send it to be where you’re not.”

How to help:

If you are interested in contributing to Kat Drinkwater’s quilt project, she asks that quilts be 45-by-60 inches, and be machine washable and dryable. She also accepts quilts she calls UFO’s - unfinished objects - and will gladly complete them.

For more information, visit her website at

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