Saturday, November 17, 2007

the power of a quilt

It takes a long time to fly from Stuttgart to Salt Lake. So, inevitably, at some point in the flight, I flip through the airline magazine (in this case Delta's Sky magazine). And guess what I found? An article on quilting!

Actually, it was about a program run by the Delta employees to provide Salt Lake's Primary Children's Medical Center with quilts for their patients. And it was such a neat article because it said wonderful things about the power of a quilt!

The program is called "A Quilt for Every Bed" and Delta employees make quilts that are passed on to the children in the medical center as something to comfort them in their scary situation.

The article gave several examples of children who were immediately comforted by the quilt and who kept it near them at all times, and how, even after they left the hospital, the quilt remained a favorite comfort. There were even stories of children who died and the parents chose to have the quilt buried with them as a symbol of giving the child "security and comfort even in death."

I really liked what a lot of the parents and employees of Delta and the hospital said about the quilts.

Things like "...the quilts remind the children of home. Nothing can replace the love that goes into each stitch." And, "It was symbolic of comfort and security and love that someone cared enough to make that quilt for a total stranger." And also, "We feel like quilts add another dimension of healing for children and their families."

The more I quilt and learn about quilting, the more I realize how incredibly powerful the craft is. What I find most fascinating about the history of quilting, is how much it permeates individual lives.

In the 19th century families often found great comfort and symbolism in quilts. In fact, pioneers crossing the American continent to move West would often bury their dead in their quilts, too. Partly as a substitute for a coffin they didn't have the time to build, and partly to help comfort the family by leaving something of significance behind with their loved one. Families migrating were often given the gift of a quilt from friends who they would never see again.

Again and again, quilts became something tangible to symbolize our most powerful feelings of comfort and love. And it's nice to know they are still doing the job!

If you want to make a quilt for Primary Children's, then take a look here. Not a quilter? Click on the link anyway...they have a long list of things you can do!



Confections said...

Hi, Heather,

I began quilting about 12 years ago. It is such a wonderful creative endeavor. Because I am such an addict about my fabric, I have lots of extra in my stash. That's what inspired me to make my Ragamuffin handspun rag yarn this year. I love your quilts, and your new tags that I saw on your "Gruesse aus"... blog.

I was an exchange student in Germany many years ago at the University of Cologne and I recently determined where my father's ancestors came from in Germany--a small town in the Saarland region. I have it on my list of places to explore on my next trip across the Atlantic.

Have a great Thanksgiving with your family!

Cheryl at Confections/Stelladanza

heather said...

Thanks, cheryl!! I checked out your shop this morning and you have beautiful work! Hope to see in Germany, soon!

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