Quilts Stitched with Love: A Story with Many Chapters
Years ago, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. As most of us would, I just wanted to fix things. make things better. Do something. There wasn’t a lot I could do to help. I had just finished contributing a block for a healing hands quilt to be given to someone in my quilt group that was battling with cancer. I knew that I needed to make a healing hands quilt for my friend Jodi. I like to think of this as Chapter 1 to my story.
I gathered her family and many, many friends and had them choose a fabric from a collection I had put together. They drew their hand prints on paper, which I transferred to fabric for raw edge applique. They also wrote notes filled with love and well wishes, which were added in later near each hand.
It was important for me to find a unique and artful way to display the many loving hands I had collected for my warrior friend. The hands eventually found their way into an unending circle with the notes of love weaving throughout their fingers.
Jodi loved the quilt. It travelled to chemotherapy with her every week, where she shrouded herself under it, like a big hug from all her friends and family. She is now 6 years cancer-free and the quilt now resides, center stage on her bed, continuing to cover her each night with the love of her friends and family.
Then there is a Chapter 2. . . . I wrote a lot about Jodi’s quilt and other community minded quilt projects on my own blog, PatiFried.com/healing-hands-quilt as I was working on them. During this time, I received an email from a reader, wanting to make the quilt for her brother fighting cancer. I happily shared all my tips and tricks with her. She created a lovely quilt for her brother and announced that he was on the way to recovery!
A few weeks ago, I got a call from Cynthia, who had known my friend Jodi for many years more than I had. “Pati, someone I know has just been diagnosed with cancer. Would you consider making a quilt like Jodi’s for my friend Brit?” she asked. Here was my chance to prove that a non-quilter could tackle this project. I answered, “No, but I would be happy to help YOU make it!” There was a long pause of silence, and then she replied, “But, I don’t know how to quilt.” I just smiled and said,”I know.”
And so we have Chapter 3 – Over the past few weeks, I have been coaching Cynthia with all the steps involved before a single stitch is placed. She gathered fabrics that she felt reflected her friends life and interests. She called out to family and friends to collect hand prints, notes, and fabric choices. She did a wonderful job. I loved watching the project evolve.
Now it was time for me to help. We determined the layout, tweaking the hands and fingers to give movement and flow. After fusing everything in place, I stitched around each hand with a buttonhole stitch. It was time to add a border. Cynthia said she had been looking for fabric that would reflect the time her friend spent in Italy every year, but couldn’t find anything. Well, it just so happens that I had designed a line of fabric years ago that was inspired by Italian pottery. I ran to the basement and pulled out my old stash – it was the perfect finish to her creation. Next it was off to the longarm quilter.
Kathy August did a wonderful job of quilting. The echo design in the quilting actually leaves an opportunity to add more notes if wanted.
In the center of the quilt, “B” for Brit is surrounded with well-wishes from friends and family. The notes are lovely and the hands have such creative and thoughtful poses.
And so, another chapter is completed. Brit’s Quilt is finished and has been given to Brit. I have received a few emails from her friends and family thanking me for my part. I am so proud of Cynthia for tackling this project. She did an awesome job!
I don’t know Brit, but I do know a lot of people that love her. I wish her good health during her journey.
This is a photo of our muse, Jodi’s Quilt, from Chapter 1. It is now about 7 years old and still loved daily.
And this is the Chapter 2 quilt. The one that my blog follower, Pamela Kersey, made for her brother. What a lovely quilt! And what a lovely family!