BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together.
Today’s, What’s Your Story?, will touch your heart (you may want to grab a tissue!). It’s one of love, fate, and hope that all stem from a single quilt.
Thank you Marie D. for sharing your beautiful story…
About seven years ago, I was involved in a quilt guild that was making quilts to send to Wounded Warrior. The quilts were given to men and women who had served in the armed forces and returned wounded. Like all of the other ladies in the group, I made a quilt to send which was a scrappy stars and stripes pattern. The quilts could not be labeled and all donations were anonymous. As I finished the last stitch in the binding, I hugged it tight and said a little prayer for the recipient and packaged it for shipment and didn’t think another thing of it.
Five years later, I’m scrolling through Facebook and I get a message from a boy I had dated in high school. We were high school sweethearts, but our lives took different paths. Mine took me to college and a career and I never knew where he ended up until I received that message. We began chatting frequently, talking about everything from spouses to children to everyday life. I found out that he had enlisted in the Army shortly after I left for college and was with the 101st Airborne. During his career, he had been to Afghanistan and came home wounded.
One day while we were chatting he asked me if I fixed quilts since he had seen my posted photos. He said he had a quilt that he needed to be repaired due to wear and tear. He said he had received it while in the hospital and it was very important to him to get it fixed. I responded that normally I don’t do repairs, but for him, I would make an exception. We then made arrangements to meet so I could see what I had gotten myself into.
On the day we were to meet, it seemed that nothing could go right. Traffic, car problems, and the weather had me praying to just make it to my destination safely. When I did finally make it, I was exhausted and cranky and honestly wanting to pick up the quilt and go. Of course, I couldn’t simply do that, so I met with my friend and his lovely wife and we chatted for a long while waiting on the weather to clear.
When it came time to depart, I remembered the reason for the trip and asked to see the quilt. I was thinking in the back of my mind that this could be next to impossible. When he brought the quilt in and showed me the damage, you could have knocked me over with a feather. He brought in the very quilt I had donated to Wounded Warrior. The tears immediately began to flow. What are the odds that someone I knew would end up with that quilt, especially when he needed it most? Once I composed myself enough to speak, I explained why I was so emotional. Then it was his turn to be speechless. He then explained how he had always felt comforted whenever he covered up with the quilt and how he was still using it to cope with severe PTSD.
After that, I was so happy to repair that quilt. To this day, he still uses it whenever he has a bad day and it still does the trick. So now whenever I make a quilt to send to our servicemen and women, I always hug it tight and say a little prayer for whoever receives it so that they may also know the comfort of a quilt made with love.
– Marie D.
As we listen, learn, and grow, greater inspiration enters our lives and our capacity to care expands. No matter how simple you believe your story to be, it’s worth sharing. Share your story >
Behind every quilt is a story, and we want to hear yours! BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together. As we listen, learn, and grow, greater inspiration enters our lives and our capacity to care expands. No matter how simple you believe your story to be, it’s worth sharing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when submitting your story:
– We prefer stories under 500 words in Microsoft Word or Google Documents format. – There is a limit of 2 photos per article. – Stories should relate back to sewing and quilting. – When sharing personal details, do keep in mind that your story could be published. – We won’t publish your name without your permission, and we reserve the right to edit your story. -If your story is chosen to appear in an issue of BLOCK, we’ll be sure to send you a complimentary copy!
Here are some examples of quilting stories and comments that have touched our hearts and made us smile:
“Back in February 2019, there was a horrific snow and ice storm that hit our little corner of the world, and I was snowed in at Hamilton (I live about a 45-minute drive away from Quilt Town, USA.) At this same time, a group of gals were attending a retreat in town, and being that quilters are some of the best people around, they took me in as part of their retreat (and even added me to their Facebook group!). Some taught me how to use a machine and cheered me on as I stitched together a charm square pillow. They shared their meals with me, and completely welcomed a stray right into their little family. I still keep in touch with some of the wonderful friends I met at that retreat!” -Mary B.
“I think I was born to quilt. I remember as a little girl walking through the dime store and wishing I had money for packets of fabric squares. My dad was a JC Penney manager. Managers received packets of 8” x 10” pieces of paper with small pieces of fabric glued on them. That is how they ordered fabric for the stores. Dad often would bring his “book work” home with him and order while watching football on Sundays. Once ordered, he would throw the papers away. I would take them, tear off these tiny bits of fabric, and try to hand sew them together. My favorite department in the store was pieced goods. My favorite people were Bernadine, a farm wife who worked in that department, and Dad, who always had a dime for a skein of embroidery floss. I was a teenager before I earned enough money to buy fabric, but I remember going down to the basement and being happy the fabric came in three different color ways. Then my grandpa gave me his mother’s quilting frame. In my 20’s I would save my lunch money and buy fabric. Dad’s store closed in 1989. When I first saw the story of Missouri Star Quilt Company, I saw that JC Penney sign in the store and cried. And then I had to show that article to Dad! Your store will always hold a place in my heart, how fitting you opened it in an old JC Penney store. I love your story! Dad is 89 now, and in a nursing home, but the pieced goods was both our favorite department. I’m in my 60s now, and I still tuck away a little money until I can buy fabric. And my favorite thing, still to this day, is taking bits of fabric and sewing them together.” -Erin D.
UFOs By Lisa B.
“I suspect that, second only to stash size, the number of unfinished projects a quilter has is the greatest cause of shame and guilt. We’ve spent a good bit of money on whatever we have sitting there half sewn together, and probably considerable time as well. So it seems a waste, doesn’t it, to allow the effort it would take to finish it keep us from doing just that. Half-finished objects are simply of no use.
“Like most quilters I know, I had multiple unquilted tops and multiple projects that were in various stages of completion. I had begun working full-time and didn’t have the time and energy to devote to it like I once had. One week, I received the terrible news that someone very close to me was experiencing severe medical issues. The week I found out, I remembered a top I very much liked that would be perfect for this person and I was able to quilt it and gift it by the end of the weekend! I had fretted over that beautiful top sitting in a drawer for two years, but I was so very thankful to have it that week. Had I quilted it any earlier, I would have surely given it to someone else, and then had nothing when I wanted it most.
“After that top, I started noticing that my sewing machine was not being as dependable as it once was. Since I still had very little time to devote to the hobby, I didn’t replace it and found myself sewing less and less. Then, I saw my dream machine for an incredible price. I decided it was the perfect time to replace my machine, and jumped on the offer before it was gone. Now, you may have noticed that I have twice already mentioned that I don’t have much time to devote to the hobby, so what better to work on than my own unfinished objects! It’s patterns and fabrics that I picked out, and half the work is already done! I am thoroughly enjoying making the most of the time I do have to finish quilts and table runners and pillows—whatever I started and abandoned years ago.
“Obviously, it makes no sense to keep cranking out half-projects and letting them pile up, but within reason, I would try not to let it weigh me down too much. There very well might be a time in the future when you’re very glad to have them.”
“I heard of Project Linus after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when Missouri Star sent thousands of blankets to Texas. I researched the organization but discovered there was no chapter to serve NW Missouri. So, I called the nationwide headquarters, applied for a chapter and began making blankets for kids. Blankets are security, a sense of comfort when life is hard. We attach a poem to each blanket we give, that reads, ‘Linus has a blanket that’s all his very own. It comforts and sustains him when he’s feeling quite alone. He knows that others love him for ’twas made with special care, and because it means so much to him, it’s carried everywhere. You too can have a blanket that’s created just for you to comfort and support you when you’re feeling rather blue. It’s yours to keep forever, so you may always know that others out there love you and to you, our blessings go.’”—Barbara O.
Rainbow Quilts By Mary G.
“I had only been quilting, if you want to call it that, for less than a year when I found out I was pregnant at the end of 2016. I was all geared up to make a baby quilt for my new arrival and turned to Missouri Star on Youtube to teach me how to make one properly. Sadly though, I lost my baby girl 18 weeks into my pregnancy. The little blanket I had started for her, I finished quickly and had with me to wrap her in at delivery. I cherish that I was able to give her at least one present from Mom.
“In the months that followed, I found out I was pregnant again. I decided this time to make a rainbow-colored quilt for my soon-to-be rainbow baby. I watched many Missouri Star tutorials before getting started because I wanted to get it right! Plenty of time and money was spent getting beautiful fabrics in every color of the rainbow. After I had made it through the first trimester of this pregnancy, it was time to get started on the rainbow quilt. I only made it through the beginning stages of my rainbow quilt, however, before I found out that my rainbow baby didn’t make it. I lost another baby girl at 18 weeks again, all in the same year.
“Although my grief was intense, I decided to finish the quilt and gift it to my sister who was also pregnant at the time, with her own rainbow baby. This quilt became my therapy. It meant so much to me to be able to finish it and hand it over to her as a gift from my babies to hers. It took me a long time to finish the quilt, but I did and I was able to gift it to her just before she gave birth to her son. It was a really special moment for both of us and she now keeps the quilt hanging in her home.
“At the beginning of 2019, I found out I was finally pregnant again. I was determined to keep my mind occupied during this anxiety-filled pregnancy with some quilting therapy. After sewing up a few receiving blankets, I figured I’d give making another rainbow-colored quilt a shot. I really, really wanted to wrap my newborn baby in one. While searching for some more baby quilt ideas, I came across a Missouri Star tutorial on how to make a rag quilt. I thought it was so cute and simple enough; I could do it without feeling anxious about the results. Happily, I gave birth to my double-rainbow baby boy on September 11, 2019. I couldn’t believe I was finally able to wrap my baby in that rainbow-colored blanket and bring him home.
“I know to some people, they just see blankets, but to me, quilts are so much more. There are prayers and hopes and unspoken dreams all sewn into those fabrics and given to others as an expression of warmth and love. Rainbow baby quilts have become a passion for me. I understand deeply what they represent and I am always humbled to give one.”
High School band director, Andrea Dinkel, has been making headlines with her beautiful quilts! With Andrea’s combined passions of quilting and teaching, she is making a wonderful impact on the lives of her students at Galena High School in Kansas.
Picture above: Andrea with the Half Square Triangle Quilt she made using a pack of Waterfront Park 10″ Squares from MSQC.
But what does quilting have to do with teaching band? Andrea is raising funds to get new instruments for her students by making and selling quilts and purses. At a time when school funding is low, Andrea is using her talents to raise money so that her students can have a better educational experience. We think this is AWESOME! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, quilters truly do have the kindest hearts. 🙂
Andrea makes sure that she times the sales of her quilts with grant opportunities so that she always has a sponsor to match the funds. This is very helpful as band equipment costs thousands of dollars. So far, she has worked together with her students to raise funds for two additional timpani in the percussion section as well as concert chimes. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished with a sewing machine, fabric, and a little ingenuity. Keep up the good work, Andrea!
Pictured above: A few tote bags made from Kansas City sports team’s fabric (Andrea is originally a Kansas City girl!).
Read more and watch a short clip about Andrea Dinkel and the Glena High School band’s efforts HERE from fourstateshomepage.com!