Just after we learned of Elizabeth’s heartbreaking diagnosis, my mother-in-law suggested we make a caring quilt for our school’s beloved teacher. As one who had no experience with quilting, I thought “Sure, we can totally do that!” Thankfully, a number of skilled, passionate women in our community joined the effort. Our end result: 2 wonderful quilts, one pillow and a chain of prayer flags–involving more than 525 pieces of fabric, 125 squares decorated by children, teachers, staff and parents, more than 20 classrooms, numerous trips to Joann Fabrics, 10 sewing machines including 2 long-armed machines, many, many hours and many, many tears.
I must express my extreme gratitude for those who made this gift of love possible: Rei Tilton and Dena Nishek, who lead the sewing efforts by taking the images in my head and making them come to life, Diane Hullet, who lent her beautiful space, experience and quirky perspective to our project, our incredible long-armed quilters: Karen Burgess, former Horizons teacher, and Deborah Howe, owner of The Quilted Elk in Lyons–both who volunteered their time and machinery at no cost. I must also thank Horizons Community Group for jumping in when needed, moms including Jaime, Callie, Kristine, Brooke, Julie (and more!), Hope for her tears, Julie Cohen for her connections and the teachers who took classroom time to give their students a voice. Lastly, I send thanks to Jim, the manager of Joann Fabrics, who gave Elizabeth’s quilt an ongoing discount for all materials purchased. It truly made a difference.
Our community has created an incredible gift to Elizabeth that we hope will bring her comfort, love and healing. We know it will mean a great deal to her to be physically surrounded by our love and caring messages from our children. Thank you so much to everyone who supported this effort!
This poem, found in Diane’s quilting space, will accompany Elizabeth’s quilt and seemed to represent much of the work on this project:
Love is a quilt…a quilt is love.
Both love and a quilt should be:
Soft enough to comfort you,
Straight enough to cheer you,
Generous enough to enfold you,
Light enough to let you move freely,
Strong enough to withstand adversity,
Durable enough to last a lifetime,
And given gladly from the heart!-From “Quilts are Forever” by Kathy Lamancusa contributed by Julie Dye