Sunday, September 16, 2007

A few good quilters can change the world

For the past few years I have been happily interviewing quilters for articles that appear in The Quilters World magazine. Tough job, but someone has to do it. :)

The one element that seems to thread its way across the entire quilting community and pops out in each individual is the unselfish sharing. Not just fabric and pins, but caring enough to do that extra something. Many share by expanding their stitching to design and teaching. Whether it is devoting oneself to educating and encouraging beginners like that dynamic duo of Diana McClun and Laura Nownes or giving comfort to women and children, there are quilters stepping up and accepting the challenge to provide information, services and quilts.

Gwyned Trefethen of Sherborn, MA, makes delectable art quilts, but she is also founder and coordinator of The Power of the Quilt Project that provides quilts for women undergoing chemotherapy treatment and children facing hardships.

Of course Trefethen is not alone in her generous use of quilts for those in need. ABC Quilts, Linus Quilts, Amy Simms project to benefit Alzheimer Disease research, even quilts for Kosovo and Heartbeat quilts....the list continues to cover every need. Even quilts for stray cats and dogs housed in shelters. The quilt photographed here comes from the Wrap Them In Love 2007 gallery of donated quilts.

Some -- many -- make quilts in private, donating in secret. Not accepting praise or acknowledgment. Two such women live in my home town. For decades, probably even longer than I've been aware of, Carolyn and Kathleen have bought fabric, gathered scraps from whomever donated, and cut squares, pieced them together into baby quilt tops, added batting and flannel backings, knotted and bound each quilt, added a label and sent them off to missions and missionaries. The women's fellowship of the LaFayette Congregational Christian Church often gathered around these little quilts to knot and pray and maybe even gossip (just a little), but the ones who kept this project alive was always Carolyn and Kathleen. How many quilts have they donated? Don't ask them, they don't know. But if you only estimate 20 per year -- a very low estimate I'm sure -- that's at least 800 quilts. What we could all accomplish if we just decided that each year we'd make 10 quilts for charity.

As we approach the holiday season when we begin casting around for a way to help others and are overcome with the spirit of giving -- perhaps making a charity quilt will fill your need to share a bit of your own heart with those less blessed.

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