Warm Stitches

My good friend Betty had a stroke last week. As a 10-year cancer survivor, recurrence is always the first concern when anything happens. They put her in the hospital, of course, and did a long series of tests. The tests ruled out any cancer (thank you, Lord!) and were inconclusive on other causes. She and her husband have been traveling in Asia for the past 5 months, and I suspect (though my license as an MD has lapsed:)) that may have something to do with it. Anyhow…on with the story. During the first days of Betty’s illness, I felt a real helplessness. They were busy doing tests in a hospital in a larger town quite a distance away. Our annual community theatrical (?) production was taking place, and I couldn’t get over to see my friend. Though we kept in touch by phone and text, it was a long three days before I could get over for a visit. When I finally got to the hospital, it was worse than I had thought. She was worn down from the testing and sleepless nights of worry. I knew I had to do something, but I couldn’t decide what that would be. Then…it came to me.

Knowing that she would be experiencing many hours of testing and rehabilitation in the next weeks, and also knowing that she is always cold, I decided to make her a quilt. (As I write that sentence, it makes me think of old Micky Rooney movies when they come upon a problem, and say, “I know…Let’s put on a show! Similar, yet different!)

So, that’s what I did. I searched my computer archives for photos that exemplified the joyful person that Betty is. Photos of our “Gr8888” group of beach pals, and Bible verses that are meaningful to me, and hopefully to Betty.

Several months ago, I purchased a bolt of muslin fabric – definitely one of the best purchases I’ve made in a while. I went through my “stash” of fabrics and embellishments and got started!

I started by getting out my trusty “self healing” cutting board (with built in graph) and rotary cutter, and made quick work of cutting out my squares and strips.

I have found that it is possible to print photos on muslin, just using a square of muslin taped onto a piece of card stock, and putting it through my regular printer. This is a great tip, since I’ve spent a fortune in the past, purchasing special “computer fabric” which then doesn’t fit into my project.

I spent a happy two days (as the house went to pot and poor Sugarman ate sandwiches) piecing and embellishing Betty’s quilt. It was time well spent!
On Wednesday, the Gr888 were reunited for a couple of hours (this is a rare occurrence since Hurricane Ike, when two of our friends left the island and moved in to the city), and I was able to give Betty her quilt.

She was thrilled, and read and caressed each square. Her favorite was one with a photo of her mother (I had scanned in this photo of her late mom several years ago, at Betty’s request -so I had it in my computer). I added a quote from Abraham Lincoln, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” I added a little cross to that square – from a stash of tiny crosses that my mother found at a garage sale!

Anyhow, I will say that it was a huge success. Our Betty can carry the love of her beach pals with her through these next weeks of discomfort, wrapping her in the love and warmth of happy memories.

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