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Thread: Has quilting ever helped you through a difficult time?

  1. #1
    Senior Member marciacp's Avatar
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    I would love to hear any stories some of you may have
    of how quilting has helped you through a difficult time.
    I will start it off with my story.

    11 years ago today, Sept. 15th, 1999, we were having
    a large youth gathering at our church. There were
    about 400 youth in attendance that night. As the
    program was getting underway, a gunman came into
    our church and opened fire. Before it was over, he
    killed 7 (4 teenagers, and 3 young adults), wounded 7,
    and then took his own life. Both of my children, ages
    16 and 15 were there at the time. Thankfully, neither
    one of them were killed or wounded, but as I'm sure
    you can imagine, this event changed their lives forever.

    Our church and that event was all over the national news
    for weeks and months, and for a full year afterward, we
    had camera's, news people, etc. at every single service,
    filming us, interviewing people and the like. When
    all this hit the news, two different groups of quilters from
    across the country participated in gathering 6" blocks, and
    then someone quilted it and we now have two quilts
    hanging in our church that were given out of the kindness
    of people we didn't even know, sending their love to
    us through the stitches in those quilts. Perhaps some
    of you on this board made one of those blocks in one
    of those two quilts.

    About a year after this happened, some of the ladies knew
    that I knew how to quilt and asked me if I would teach a
    beginning quilting class at the church. I did, and we had
    25 ladies in the first class, and another 25 in the second
    class. Everyone who came to learn how to quilt was
    grieving in some way or another from the shooting, and
    dealing with finding ways to help themselves heal.
    We finally formed a group that met every Thursday night and as many as 15 to 20 attended every week, just to sit and sew and enjoy the fellowship. We laughed together, cried together, shared each others stories, and made
    many quilts. It was amazing how much therapy came
    from those weekly quiltmaking sessions. The group still meets, to this very day.

    For me personally, I was able to make many new friends,
    and share my passion for quiltmaking. Also, when 9/11
    happened, I designed a patriotic sampler quilt called
    "America Still Shines". Our group made 20 of those
    sampler quilts and then 4 of us took them to NYC and
    distributed them to families of rescue workers, firefighters,
    police officers, and the widows of some of these workers.
    It was amazing to see how touched each one was to get one
    of these quilts and how just by receiving the quilt, it seemed
    to be some measure of healing, no matter how small.

    I am amazed at the power a quilt made with love and
    thought and then given to someone special, has for both
    the quiltmaker, and the recipient of the quilt. I know
    that starting this quilting group at our church after our
    tragedy helped so many, me included, and then we were able to help others who went through such a horrific
    tragedy by passing on a quilt to them.

    Well, that's my story - would some of you share yours?
    Have a Great Day!
    Marcia

  2. #2
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    What a powerful story!! I remember that event and praying for all involved. Quilting can be healing.

    I have given several quilts to people who are hurting or sick and as I work on them I pray for that person. I make sure to tell them that when the quilt is given.

    At the moment I don't have story to share, I am having an emotional day, we are putting one of our dogs down in about 2 hours and all I can think of is memories of her with my children.

  3. #3
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Marcia, what a wonderful story of life after tragedy.
    I don't have a particular story but quilting ALWAYS relieves stress for me, even if I'm just in my sewing room cleaning up or shopping for fabric, but most of all, hand quilting.
    I love your story :)

  4. #4
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
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    I can't put my story into words right now because Macia yours was such an incredible one it really makes mine seem so small of a reason for starting quilting. I will tell it later. Thank you for sharing this with us. God bless you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member stitchingmemories's Avatar
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    Marcia, your story touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing with us and I pray your church family continues to heal. God bless you and all you do for others!

  6. #6
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    Hi Marcia,
    What a touching story. I do not have a story to tell, but for most of us who are retired, doing quilts it is like a therapy. We use our free time(which for most of us is all day) to do something for someone and at the same time we enjoy what we do.

  7. #7
    Senior Member marciacp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim's Gem
    What a powerful story!! I remember that event and praying for all involved. Quilting can be healing.

    I have given several quilts to people who are hurting or sick and as I work on them I pray for that person. I make sure to tell them that when the quilt is given.

    At the moment I don't have story to share, I am having an emotional day, we are putting one of our dogs down in about 2 hours and all I can think of is memories of her with my children.
    Gayle,
    I'm so sorry about your dog. That is such a hard thing
    to do. My prayers are with you.
    Marcia

  8. #8
    Senior Member marciacp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjomomma
    I can't put my story into words right now because Macia yours was such an incredible one it really makes mine seem so small of a reason for starting quilting. I will tell it later. Thank you for sharing this with us. God bless you.
    Hi CJ,
    Please don't ever think your story or situation is small.
    When it is happening to you, it is big and important.
    I would love to hear why you started quilting. Feel
    free to share it whenever you would like.
    Marcia

  9. #9
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    Marcia-
    I can't even begin to fully understand how traumatic that was for you, your family and your community.
    Mine is a little story compared to that. My dear stepdaughter was going through a very hard time (bad choice in friends etc.) in high school and it was impacting us all. My church was having an auction and I made a wallhanging to donate. It really was comforting to be able to escape for a little while to work on it and gratifying when someone bought it.
    lots2do

  10. #10
    Senior Member Maksi's Avatar
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    What a wonderfull story. And what a big impact this is in your life! I do believe in the power of praying, the power of positive thinking and I do believe in the power of a quilt made with love.

    Quilting helped me trough a lot of hard times and when my mom heard she was sick and would die within 3 months I rushed to finish the quilt I want to give her for her birthday. I was thinking I have loads of time and didn't hurry at all untill we heard she was diagosed by cancer. I knew I had to hurry finishing her quilt. I did! On the 25th of july this year she unwrapped a beautiful quilt just made for her. She used it a lot and on her funeral the quilt was draped on a high chair besides her.

    It is a small story compared to yours but I just want to tell how important quilting is for me and how healing also.

    Quilting and being creative with fabrics always help me trough.

  11. #11
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim's Gem
    What a powerful story!! I remember that event and praying for all involved. Quilting can be healing.

    I have given several quilts to people who are hurting or sick and as I work on them I pray for that person. I make sure to tell them that when the quilt is given.

    At the moment I don't have story to share, I am having an emotional day, we are putting one of our dogs down in about 2 hours and all I can think of is memories of her with my children.
    Quite right, powerful story indeed!! WOW!!! Glad you hooked up with quilting for whatever reason.

    Gayle - I'm soooo sorry for you, I ended up doing that a couple weeks ago and it hurts from the bottom of your heart. {{{HUGS}}}

    I started quilting when my son was about 3 yrs old. I didn't have any family around, lived in the country (I use to be a city girl), on a dead end street with only 3 houses (including mine)! Joined a play group for son and a friend (that I met there)talked me into coming to a guild meeting, as I've been a sewer since around 8-9 years old, why not. Needless to say I got hooked!! Found out how much I loved doing hand quilting and applique.

    I found hand quilting and applique very theraputic during tough times.

  12. #12
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    Yes Marcia, quilting is helping me right now in a very difficult situation,as does the friends I have found on this board, without that I am not sure i would get through each day. Thank you

  13. #13
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    Wonderful story. I picked up the hobby of quilting during bad times. My story is very self absorbing and not something I'm proud of but I will say that after my divorce I made a quilt for my three children of all the fabrics that I had used during our marriage. They were from various projects, curtains, halloween costumes, coverlets. We lost everything in the divorce the house forclosed...times were bad. I lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment with 2 preteen and one teen. Long story short, my kids loved the quilt and used it everyday until I had to store it. you see I had no idea what I was doing I just threw this thing together so the pattern and the workmanship are horrible. They argue over who is gonna get the quilt when I'm gone. So since I had to put it away in storage I told each of them I would make any quilt they wanted. And that began my obsession. And I'm thankful to my ex, little does he know that his leaving brought many good things into my life. And thankful for my children that inspired me to keep stitching. And thankful that I'm still here to see how they've grown and what wonderful people they turned out to be.

  14. #14
    Magdalena's Avatar
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    My whole heart jumped with compassion as I read your story. It is wonderful that love and hope continue to surround your congregation. My first quilt was a memorial quilt for my Mother. My brother died in June 2001. I kept my brother's shirts, from personal to work, his patches and badges from the military and his pillow case. I started the quilt with no idea how to do it - pure prayer and luck. I started the quilt on September 10, 2001. So, I worked on my quilt through the 9/11 tragedy. My brother served in the Army and US Coast Guard. He would have been there for his country, no questions asked. There were many tears running down my face as I pieced this quilt together. Tears for my brother and tears for my country and those that were victims of this terrorist act. All the memories your heart and mind remember as you quilt - all the tears, some laughter. I actually, added pictures of my brother onto the quilt too. I finished it by adding his badges, his medals, dog tags and a dog tag that reads, "Never Forget". It was too sentimental for my Mama, so she asked me to take care of it. When I moved into my new home, the first thing I hung up was a cross my Mother gave me, and then the quilt. I think of my brother, Vicente Jaime, everyday.

  15. #15
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    I do and actually currently am. My boyfriend lives in Alabama (I live in Wisconsin) and he's going through a rough time with his family so I actually haven't heard from him for two months. No matter what the circumstances are (except maybe if he's overseas) if you don't hear from your boyfriend for two months you kind of wonder where the relationship part is or even if there is one and you just don't know it. I'm really trying hard to keep faith that things will work out, but not having any contact is torture. And then I got all this other stuff going on...work has been on my case about stocking slower, living with my family has its quirks (I don't live with them entirely by choice), and all my friends moved away so I don't really have anybody around. If I go anywhere, its pretty much because I have to go to work or I got asked by my mom to go on a car ride with my younger brothers. I was so desperate to go out that I went out with my brother and his friend to a town half and hour away (did have fun, though). I'm lonely and depressed and been eating comfort foods to deal with it all (I emotionally eat). The emotional eating wouldn't be so bad except that its "holiday season" and Wal-Mart is now stocking up on Halloween candy. You know, more things to eat. Sometimes after a crappy day at work I'll pass by the candy isle and go something like "Hmmm...a bag of candy corn for breakfast sounds nice". I try not to, but when you get chewed out by the manager for taking so long stocking your department its like "F*** it! I want the bag of bite sized Milky Ways." I'm just completely unhappy.

    I've been planning out this quilt made out of Kittie shirts (Kittie is an all-female Canadian metal band for those who don't know). I had the idea for myself a while back, but back then I didn't have a boyfriend who I was trying to think of a Christmas present for. I remembered it while listening to one of Kittie's albums while paging through a quilting catalog I had just got. I thought it would be the perfect Christmas present for Tim. We met on the official Kittie boards and they're our favorite band. The project has got me so psyched and excited and I actually feel happy about something. Tomorrow I'm starting the process of buying the actual shirts and I'm really stoked about it. Of course, I get to thinking about it and realize I'm making this totally awesome gift for someone who hasn't called for two months and it makes me sad. But other than that it's been fun to work on and I'm really enjoying myself.

  16. #16
    Magdalena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim's Gem
    What a powerful story!! I remember that event and praying for all involved. Quilting can be healing.

    I have given several quilts to people who are hurting or sick and as I work on them I pray for that person. I make sure to tell them that when the quilt is given.

    At the moment I don't have story to share, I am having an emotional day, we are putting one of our dogs down in about 2 hours and all I can think of is memories of her with my children.
    My heart goes out to you. My cat is very sick, and we may have to do the same thing. Your dog is blessed to have loving parents. Take all your memories, mentally sew them together and create a quilt in your head. Go back to that quilt when you need comfort and good thoughts of your precious dog.

  17. #17
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Marcia, you and your church family are in my thoughts and prayers. I cannot even imagine the pain you have all been through.

    Quilting has been my lifeline for several years. It is the one thing that gets me out of bed since my husband died. Everyone around me told me I should be comforted knowing that he had been in so much pain and was ready to go. He might have been ready, but I was not ready. I don't know how I would face each day alone without quilting to comfort me. It is therapeutic to make quilts that will bring happiness to others.

    I am almost ready emotionally to begin a quilt made from his cotton shirts. I think this will also be good therapy for me.

  18. #18
    Super Member Ps 150's Avatar
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    Last summer I had an emergency appendectomy, where the doctors found my cemented internal organs so I had to have a full hysterectomy 6 weeks after my appendectomy. To cope with the pain of never having more children, my husband suggested learning how to quilt...something I always planned to learn in my "old age" when I had more time. I had 6 weeks of recovery time so I bought "Quilting For Dummies" and never looked back.

    Earlier this month my step-sister's fiancee was killed in a motorcycle crash. As I grieve for her, I quilt. And now, I'm creating a quilt for her now. It's sort of designing itself as I go and it has helped so much. As has the amazing family on here. I can't lean on my own family here because they're leaning on me (my step-sister and I are the oldest so the younger ones lean on us). But, I can come here and there's an amazing family that makes quilting so much more personable. No matter what one of us faces, it's guaranteed that someone else here has faced this and come out the other side.

  19. #19
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I remember hearing about the shootings at your church, so so sad.
    I give most of my quilts away, to someone I think should have one or needs one. Right now I'm making one for DGD's friend's Mom, taking treatments for brain cancer. Makes your heart feel better to bring a little comfort to someone.
    I gave My MIL a quilt when she lost a Son 4-27-2010. She told me many,many times how much she liked it and that it was the prettiest quilt she had ever seen. She told me on the phone Monday that she thanks me every morning when she makes her bed.
    I like giving the quilts to someone I or a family member knows and I get feed back as to how much they enjoy it and happy to have it.
    This is how quilting helps me to help others.

  20. #20
    Senior Member AnnieF's Avatar
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    Almost 3 years ago, my husband and I were in Florida visiting my daughter (I live in Rochester, NY....a good 23 hours away). We had planned on flying home on Saturday morning, but the airlines cancelled all flights when the weathermen up north predicted a blizzard (it never happened). They told us that maybe they could fly us out Tuesday evening. My daughter needed her house back and we needed to get back for work....but over and above that I just had a very strong feeling that we needed to rent a car and drive home Sunday morning. To make a long story short, 1/2 hour into the ride, my brother called to tell me that my mother was dying and I should hurry home because they didn't think she would last the day (she hadn't been sick when I left the week before). I was frantic to get back quickly, but had to accept that it wasn't going to happen. I had started a hand quilting project for the vacation...a simple black wholecloth with spiraling circles large stitched all over in bright colored pearl cotton. This one piece of quilting kept my sanity (with the help of my DH) for the whole ride home. My mother passed away 2 hours after the first phone call but she had her family (minus me) with her. I called the quilt "spiraling out of control" because that's what it kept me from doing. It won a second place prize in my guild's quilt show for the hand quilting....but I really think it was this story attached to it that won for me.

  21. #21
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    After our Mom passed, my sister and I were completely disowned by our 7 brothers. It came out of the blue and we still don't know why. I doubt that we ever will. We always thought we had a close family and never dreamed that this would happen. I was already a quilter and I talked my sister into starting. Quilting kept our minds and hands busy and gave us something else to share. When I look back, I know that quilting helped save our sanity. We have always been close, but now are even closer. We talk every day and at least part of our conversation centers on quilting.

  22. #22
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    Gave me goosebumps reading the story. May God Bless you and all involved!

  23. #23
    Junior Member missionslady's Avatar
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    Marcia, I remember that story well, as I grieved just imagining the horror and emotional pain for your church family. However hearing your personal story makes it all the more real. I had sewn clothing for my children when they were in school, but there just never seemed to be time to quilt back then. In 2002 I joined my local quilt guild excited to finally step into the world of quilting. I had barely gotten started when I became ill and underwent surgery (a colon re-section) followed by complications. Four months later I had to have a second colon resection. God gave me tremendous grace to walk through this time, and along with it, I found that my desire to quilt only increased. I subscribed to several quilting magazines, watched quilting shows on TV, and dreamed of the quilts I might one day make. As soon as I was well enough to get to my sewing room, I was in there quilting, and I've never stopped. I find it therapeutic to body and soul. I always have several projects in progress; hand quilting, machine quilting, and smaller projects such as pillows, table runners and tote bags. I began a sewing group at my church 13 years ago, over time it has grown substantially with quilting being our primary emphasis. We make charity quilts and also quilts for our missionaries to use in their ministries. Even now, quilting is a comfort to me as I grieve the loss of both my mother and grandson who passed away this summer in totally unrelated circumstances. Quilting is a blessing not only to the recipients of the quilts we make, but also for those of us who make them. Thank You Marcia for sharing your story and for helping us focus on the blessing quilting is in each of our lives.

  24. #24
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loopywren
    Yes Marcia, quilting is helping me right now in a very difficult situation,as does the friends I have found on this board, without that I am not sure i would get through each day. Thank you
    Glad that you find comfort from your friends here on the message board. I think this is a place that comforts most of us in time of need.

    I have no big story to tell but have been touched by how many of the members have worked through bad times with their quilting. For me quilting helps me help others while helping myself. Running off a bunch of string blocks is the best stress reducer I know of. Planning a special quilt for a family member or friend makes me think of all the good times we had together, etc. Hugs to all of you, May in Jersey

  25. #25
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    Marcia, the same thing happened at my church in 1980. A school teacher came in the back door of the church yelling this is war and started shooting. 7 were killed, including my dad. The youngest killed was a little girl only 7 yrs old. Numerous members were injured. I believe members of our church made the trip to talk with members of your church when it happened there. It gets easier but it changes your life forever. God bless you!

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