You don’t have to be a longtime quilter to understand the power of quilts. A quilt is much more than fabric joined together. It can be an expression of love, sympathy, joy, hope or caring. Just as the quilt can be all of these things, so can the process itself. Just joining two little pieces of fabric together can mean so much more than it appears. I was reminded of this by way some emails we recently received.
Amanda in Michigan contacted us recently. She and her friend Merry have joined us on the Quilters Quest Bus Trip. Last year, Amanda brought her Aunt Barbara and mom, Carol. On the Quest, Carol bought fabric to make a Mariners Compass she wanted to auction off at the national reunion of submarine vets (her husband is one) that is happening in Pittsburgh in September. Before she could start the project, she had a massive stroke and was hospitalized in a rehab facility for three months. She has limited use of her right side and speech is difficult and not always understandable. Carol insisted that the quilt still be made and, with the help of Barbara and Amanda, it was completed. This was Carol’s first goal and now she has another she’s working towards – to ride our Quilters’ Quest bus again in November.
David from Sydney, Australia, has an enthusiasm which can’t be matched. He is a brand new quilter who only started quilting in November last year. He had done dyeing, handspinning, knitting, and weaving all his life but arthritis forced him to stop knitting altogether and to cut back on spinning and weaving. His doctor suggested trying other things that use different movements to keep my hands agile. Sad when he thought he’d have to give up crafting forever, quilting has given him something to get excited about and something to aim for. He is currently working on Golden Album, Carnival and Columbia. David writes: “Quilting has taken over my crafting world! I love the idea that if I can draft it, I can make templates, and turn it into a quilt! The possibilities just astound me.”
Quilting gives us something to strive for, it brings us joy and it can also comfort. One of our local customers, Suzie, lost her son, Johnny, when he was only 31. After his death, quilting comforted her. She chose to make of quilt of simple squares remembering a quilt she made while caring for Johnny when he broke his leg a year earlier and how they enjoyed the time they spent together. While others worried that she was locking herself away, Suzie says, simply, that the process was comforting to her.
There is a wonderful exhibit taking place through July 26 in nearby Herndon, Virginia, called Sacred Threads. It was created to share the experiences of quilters whose stories would be a source of healing and strength. Here is one just one example of the quilts in the exhibit and the story behind it.
“I remember the first time I met my future sister-in-law, Annie. She was working in a residential facility. As she turned down a hallway, an elderly resident abruptly bellowed out, ‘Hey Annie! Give us a jig!’ Suddenly, this tiny, energetic woman with bouncy red curls joyously pranced and danced as laughter ensued.
“Annie was diagnosed with terminal multiple myeloma cancer in September, 2014. How do you live life knowing you are facing certain death? In Annie fashion, she recently donned my daughter’s tutu and jigged. With this quilt, I honor her spirit. Grieving, smiling, remembering, I attach that silly little tutu!”
Our lives are often incredibly busy and often this craziness translates to our quilting. While there is nothing wrong with quick quilts and timesaving methods, I hope you take the time to enjoy the process and the challenge, comfort, reminiscing, or pure joy you can derive from it.