Monday, August 23, 2010

Quilting: The "Thread" of Life

Every Monday morning, I try to start the work week with a project or article that speaks to the positive influence quilting has on my life or the lives of others. It's a great way to set the tone for the week while validating the hobby (and now vocation) I have enjoyed for more than 35 years. Marica Heckart sent me her quilting story and has allowed me to share it here.
"We three young mothers were busy raising children, with little time for getting together. That was 46 years ago.
Even though living on a farm found her busy with gardening and helping her husband work the land while raising a family, Ruth had become quite the quilter. She quilted by machine, yet she could also do beautiful hand quilting. Along came Sue and I, visiting Ruth, who provided the enthusiasm to quilting. Ruth assured us it really wasn’t that hard. I was to participate in the Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) and thought it would be nice to have a quilt to raffle off for my team. The only catch: the event was 10 days away. Ruth very calmly said, "We can do it." And so a quilt was made and raffled off, and thus the quilting bug began.
Sue is the artist—she can look at fabrics to help us choose appropriate values and colors. Sue suggested we make a quilt for a little boy with cerebral palsy. A fantastic creation was made, and received with tears. Our goup of three became six. Sue then suggested a quilt for the Relay for the next year, and another one was created with Sue's help. The winning raffle ticket was pulled at my church one Sunday morning, and the lady who won it was ecstatic. She had no grandchildren and none on the way, but knew exactly where the quilt would be donated. We all had tears in our eyes as she said, 'This is going to Provident House, in Cleveland, Ohio.'
After many years, Ruth, Sue, and I, longtime school classmates, renewed our friendship. Now that our families have grown, we all gather once a week and are joined by four other friends. We either make individual projects or a special quilt to be given away. (The African man in the photo above was put together with lots of remnants, some upholstery material, and leather scraps, making this quilt so vivid it truly speaks to the viewer.) And Ruth, bless her heart, does all the quilting with her longarm machine.
Friendship is precious, and what a delight to be 66 years old, enjoying the "threads" of life through quilting.”

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