It’s another free week, which means I once again get to tell you about some of the people I spend time with regularly. This time I want to tell you about my church’s quilting group. We call ourselves the Helping Hands Ministry, and twice a month we meet to create lap quilts (40 inches by 40 inches) to distribute to local hospitals, the Veterans’ Home, pregnancy centers, and anyone we feel needs the warmth of a quilt made by loving hands. I started sewing for this group when I first joined this church about fifteen years ago, but couldn’t attend their “quilting bees” until I retired from full-time teaching.
Fairhaven Ministries in Hudsonville, MI sponsors us by providing the room for us to work, a storage area for our materials and tools, and by covering the cost of the thread, quilt batting and backing fabric. A memorial gift in the name of one of the founding members paid for several machines that are kept at the church so we don’t have to haul our own machines in. Most of the fabric for the quilt tops is donated, and we’re always receiving boxes and bags of stuff. It’s a challenge to combine all these bits and pieces into decorative squares. Often we’ll find a pattern we like and will have fun experimenting with different colors and prints. And sometimes the donations will include partially finished quilts, and we’ll incorporate them into new projects.
We each have our jobs: some of us create the quilt tops, others pin them to the batting and backing, others tie them, and still others finish them off. At mid-morning we stop for a break, and we share what’s happening in our lives and offer prayers and support for each other. Working together for a common goal helps us form a special bond, and I look forward to my Tuesday mornings with these ladies.
When we get twenty or so completed the quilts are delivered to the chaplain at the hospital or the director of another ministry for distribution. But we are all encouraged to take quilts to give to anyone who’s going through a rough time and is in need of comfort. I’ve given some to friends who are going through difficult medical procedures, others to people dealing with grief, and still others who are facing incredible challenges. It’s a small token of our caring, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.
The ladies of the quilt group come from all walks of life and from various backgrounds, but we share a love of sewing, a joy in working together, and a desire to offer comfort through our creations. These women are the inspiration for quilting group in The Stitching Post Romances, two (so far) books I co-wrote with Stephanie Michels. Click on the covers to find out more about each book.