Monday, September 22, 2008

Quilters Rock! (part one): Quilts for Healing Hearts

I've met a lot of quilters online over the past few years, quilters of all ages, lifestyles and personalities, but the one thing they all seem to have in common is a heart of gold. When someone is hurting or in need, quilters come through. This story is just one more example.

One of my online quilting groups welcomed a new member early this year, and in the months that followed, she had a string of misfortunes, from a cancer diagnosis, to surgery, to the tragic death of a family member. Thoughts, prayers and good wishes flew through cyberspace, but you just can't send a real hug through email. Coincidentally though, this new member happens to live very near my hometown. Maybe a real hug wasn't out of the question, but could we make it a group hug?

Plans were made in secret, and within days I started receiving quilt blocks in the mail, as well as donations to help with supplies. Meanwhile, our new member and I made plans to meet at our local quilt guild meeting. Mind you, in all my years of quilting, I had never had the courage to attend a meeting on my own. To finally get a personal invitation was just the push I needed -- and what better time to present the quilt from the online group that brought us together?

So last week I finished the quilt, with lovely blocks from quilters all across the country. It came together beautifully:

And what a joy to present this gift in person! She was truly surprised and touched. I enjoyed the meeting and plan to attend again, but being able to give this "group hug" and share all our best wishes was truly the highlight of my day. What a blessing to be part of such a caring group... yep, quilters do rock.

As a bonus, we had enough blocks to make this quilt AND send twenty blocks to another group member who has recently lost a loved one. She received her blocks in the mail today, and I can't wait to see how she decides to use them.

There's even more to the story, but I'll save that for another post. One hint, these two weren't the only ones to get a surprise. ;o)