Posted on 41 Comments

A Message from Ukraine

Quilt by Olga Kozitskaya


(All photos courtesy of Sign Maksym Kapusta)

As I watch the terrifying events taking place in Ukraine, I can’t help but be devastated by all that is happening in that beautiful country. I have gone to Kyiv several times through the years to teach and was always impressed with the talent of the quilters in my classes. I worry about their safety and think of the many friends I have made there through the years.

I want to share part of a message from one of my Ukrainian friends, Lena, along with pictures Lena’s husband took of the amazing quilts she and her fellow quilters have made so that you can have a connection to those students as well. In Lena’s message, she speaks of thanks for the concern we have for her country and of her fellow quilters who I got to know on my visits there and then describes her life now.


Макаревич Мария. “Калейдоскоп 2012”                                                                                                                                                  Maria M. Kaleidoscope 2012


It seems that of everyone you could know in Kyiv, I was left alone…some went to Lviv and some to other Western parts of the country. My family did not have such an opportunity and we were forced to stay in the very heart of Kyiv, me and my husband Maxim. My mother also remained in Kyiv, but to my great regret, we are separated from her by the Dnieper River, and the bridges are closed for the duration of the war.


Королева Елена. Калейдоскоп-кристалл “Радуга над Манхэттэном”. Lena K. Queen Helena. Kaleidoscope-crystal “Rainbow over Manhattan”. Dedicated to Jinny Beyer


So far, everything is fine with me, there are still a lot of food supplies, there will be enough medicines for several months. I’m at home, dressed to go out, waiting for the bombing. We don’t have a basement or a bomb shelter here. There is a nearby Fairmont hotel with underground parking. And there is a metro station within a five-minute walk, but it is not deep. In addition, the sirens warning of the bombing stopped working.


Этим квилтом я начинаю рассказ о нашей новой выставке. Перед вами работа Янчуковской Нины Михайловны Калейдоскоп “Восток”                                                                                                                                                            Here is the work of Nina Mikhailovna Y, Kaleidoscope “East”


We very much feel the support of the whole world, including the Americans, and this warms our souls.

You won’t believe it, but when I think that a bomb might hit my house, I don’t think it will kill me, but what will happen to my supply of fabrics and my quilts. I am especially worried about the quilt that I dedicated to you.



Матиенко Тамара. Калейдоскоп “Цветок Лотоса”                                                                                                                      Matienko Tamara. Kaleidoscope “Lotus Flower”


To many, it would seem silly to worry about your quilts and fabric at time like this but many a quilter would understand how Lena feels about the possibility of leaving it all behind. Our hearts and souls have been stitched into those quilts which contain fabrics that we collected along the way…another part of the journey.

41 thoughts on “A Message from Ukraine

  1. Those are beautiful quilts and it would be a shame if they have to lose them. It would be an even bigger shame if we lose the quilters. I have been praying for the country and citizens of Ukraine ever since Putin started talking about taking over Ukraine. I will continue to do so.

  2. Thank you for sharing this message, and the beautiful quilts done in Ukraine.

  3. What a horror!!! Not only to worry about your Husband, Mother and ones Self, but you life’s work. Your very soul goes into your quilts and your fabric. The very thought of having to walk off and leave it breaks my heart. All my Prayers are with these brave people.

  4. Thank you for sharing the incredible quilts and part of the message from Lena. I have been thinking of the Ukrainian people and am so sad for the horrific attacks they are suffering. I remember you sharing the fine workmanship and artistry of the students in your classes. Always awe inspiring. The quilt dedicated to you is so intricate and colorful. I don’t know the words to describe my feelings when I look at it. I appreciate knowing how Lena feels about her quilts and fabrics. I hope she and her family will be safe and well.

  5. Thank you for sending this. I was just asked if I knew anyone in Ukraine. Now I do thru you. Our quilts are made with love. All quilters understand the fear of losing quilts and fabric stashes. Living in earthquake and now fire storm country, I have a bag by the door to run with. That bag contains the quilt my grandmother made and the quilt that I made for my husband. It is so insane to see this happening.

    1. I can relate to leaving in a panic. Nebraska in US gets tornadoes. I haven’t suffered from one thankfully. I too have a bag and all photos on Internet.

  6. These quilts are so very beautiful. All of our hearts are broken thinking about what all these people are going through. We are certainly blessed to be living in our beautiful country. Let us all pray that this ends soon and that we can help them re-establish their lives as well as they can.

  7. What beautiful quilts that reflect the talents and souls of these dear quilters! My heart aches for each of them as they face such an uncertain future…even just tomorrow. Prayers will be ongoing as long as this senseless war endures. 🙏🏻

  8. Thank your for sharing your friends thoughts and the pictures of the quilts that can remind us of the real people behind them. We have friends that have returned from Kiev after living there for 10 years. My heart breaks as they relay messages they are getting from those dear to them. Praying for protection and peace for Ukraine.

  9. From the bottom of my heart I ache for the misery and unknown these people face and feel. When this is all over with please let us know in what ways we can help.. I for one can donate a lot of stashed fabric and quilt supplies..

  10. Thank you so very much for posting this beautiful and haunting letter from your friend. I can’t begin to imagine the horrors these people face and I am so impressed with their spirit and perseverance. We pray for a swift end to the senseless atrocities these brave people face so heroically.

  11. 3/4/22 Thank you, Jinny, for keeping us in touch with “real” news of this invasion through your friends. I hope they all remain safe and away from the bombing… Sooo hard to grasp that this is happening in 2022. As treasured as our quilts are, life is more precious. Many thoughts and prayers for Ukraine.

  12. Thank you for sharing your friend with us. I’m sure she is glad to hear from you.

  13. First, thank you for sharing this personal news with us. Reading this account tonight brought tears to my eyes…tears for all the love that reaches across oceans in our quilting world to the victims of this senseless war, tears for those struggling to leave, tears for those forced to stay like your friend, tears of hope that the Ukrainians prevail and that it ends quickly. Jinny, please keep us informed as we all pray for your friends, and when it ends, perhaps you can organize our sending fabric to you for shipment to them. My heart is crying.

    1. Beth, thank you for sharing both this blog,as well as your post. That all of our prayers can come together through our quilting world; to hear so personally of those living through this hell ; slams into our hearts for our fellow quilters and all people being attacked and killed for no reason

  14. I know that God makes no mistakes or wrong decisions, so I pray His protection, provision and wisdom as you live through this evil.

    For Leah through Jenny

  15. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ukranian people at this horrendous time. I wish I could take each one of you and embrace you and tell you we will make sure you are all right. But no one can make those assumptions at this time. Just know that you are all in our thoughts all day every day and hopefully someday we will be able to be together and share with you our warm thoughts and see your beautiful quilts in person.

  16. A great message, Jinny. I pray for all of the Ukraine. God please save the people and their country 😢🙏🙏

  17. Sometimes, I think our art is all that saves us during these horrible times.

  18. I am praying for Ukraine and for all the Russian people who hate this war as well. If you lose your fabric, just contact me and I will gladly share.

  19. Yes, thank you for sharing this letter with us. One can’t imagine what it must be like to be right in the middle of this horrible war. But hearing your friend gives us a glimpse and that helps us understand to some degree.
    The quilts you shared are absolutely amazing, true works of art.
    Prayers for all of Ukraine!

  20. I’m considering now how to make a charity quilt to donate when it’s possible. Thanks

  21. Quilting is such a strong connection between cultures. We bond with each other through the acts of cutting, sewing and sharing. Aren’t we lucky to have found such a wonderful passion!

  22. These quilts are so beautiful. It is so heartbreaking to watch the news and see what these brave people are doing to protect their country. You just sit here and watch and want to hug them and their children so much to give them whatever little comfort you can. Please convey how much Americans care for them.

  23. Thank you for sharing this letter. The message reminds us to continue to keep these beautiful people in our prayers. If those supplies are lost, and we pray that is not the case, maybe we here could send supplies to her to help resupply Lena’s. Of course nothing can replace the love that is sewn into each quilt. May God bless them and keep them in His loving arms. And May this war come to an end.

  24. Dear Jinny, Thank you!! so much for sharing this beautiful and also heartbreaking update of your dear friend Lena and her family & countrymen. Lena’s quilts are such a work of art and love (we know that as serious quilters; it always an expression of the heart). Conrad (my husband and also fellow quilter) and I echo the sentiments already posted on this platform. We will continue prating for protection and deliverance and prompt end to this senseless war. We also agree with Laura Wagner’s suggestion: please let us know how we can help, in providing quilting supplies if/when needed. May our loving Father make His presence known to all the innocent, the people impacted by the power hungry leaders.

  25. My heart breaks for the people of Ukraine. I so hope this awful invasion ends soon. With all the destruction and bloodshed that has occurred already, I fear their lives will not return to normal any time soon.

  26. My heart and prayers are with all of you! What beautiful quilts!!

  27. Thank you Jinny for sharing Lena’s beautiful letter and the wonderful quilts made by these wonderful women. May God keep them all safe.

  28. Ukraine is a world away from New Zealand but we still very much feel for the all people of that country, especially quilters and their amazing quilts. Lena is very brave and I am sure there are hundreds like her who are suffering in such an horrific event. My heart goes out to them all. May Peace come quickly.

  29. This a sad and worrying time, it is ever consuming, hearing the news, watching on TV the terrible helpless people of the Ukraine, it breaks my heart. What will it take to stop this madness . Is there some way that the women of the world could help change things for the people of the Ukraine.

  30. This situation is so very sad for the entire world. Such a loss of not just buildings, but of homes, families, traditions, and treasures. A culture that has provided the world with gifts of beauty and love. My heartache reaches deep in my soul for you and your country.

  31. Thank you for this post,Jinny. Both heartwarming & heartbreaking

  32. Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful quilts and information from your friend. The whole war is inexcusable and I pray for the safety of all of Ukraine.

  33. Thank you for sharing! My heart aches for Lena! She and her family are in my prayers!

  34. My heart cries for the people of Ukraine. Many times each day I cry out for mercy for these precious souls and for the defeat of evil. When this ends, let us be prepared to share quilting supplies with the quilters of Ukraine so that they may stotch their sorrows and pour their stories into quilts.

  35. Our thoughts and prayers are with you too from Canada.
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful quilts with us and news of your friend. We pray and hope for the end to all this suffering.

  36. Thank you for sharing their messages. We need to continue to keep praying for the people of Ukraine, for them to be safe and for the end of the Russian invasion. May God bless them and keep them in His loving arms. Holly Virgen Mary please keep them in your arms too and May this war come to an end.

  37. Please keep us updated. A first hand account of living history. Prayers for you all. Be safe.

  38. Please keep us updated. A first hand account of living history. Prayers for you all. Be safe.

  39. It occurs to me that we could each donate one special quilt to our guilds. Then the guilds could have an auction – silent or otherwise to raise money for Ukraine. There are over 2300 quilt guilds in the US. If each guild sold at least 30 quilts for $100 each, the would be almost $7,000,000. But, if we really marketed and each guild sold 50 each for $200 each that would be 23,000,000. Maybe Jinny’s business or her guild could be the overall organizer. Jinny’s suggestions would carry weight.

    And we could challenge other guilds, metal workers, wood workers, jewelry makers, and other artists to also get involved.

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