Quilting for Community

I have kept track over the years of all the quilts I have made.  Since moving back to this town, I have had several occasions to work with students or make quilts for others.

I have worked with students at several schools.  My teaching experience was with grades 1-3 and I have to admit I was worried about working with 4th graders until I realized they were really not much older than third. Then I was asked to work on a project at a middle
school. I never wanted to teach middle school. I almost turned it down but my grandson was in that class. I gave it a try. It was great fun. Then a 9th grade opportunity came and I realized they were just bigger kids. In fact, the kids were so talented I had to keep changing my plan.

They were supposed to make a quilt to raise money, but because of the talent, we made four smaller quilts very different in style. I have no idea if they raised any money. I think the kids wanted to take them home.

Everywhere the kids have been able to do more that I expected. I have two feather weight sewing machines and find them to be perfect with kids. They roar right along. It was fun to watch the  4th grade boys who were fascinated with the “old-fashioned” machine and examined it carefully to see how it worked. They were a lot better than I am at threading a needle. Sometimes I have an assortment of quilting friends join me in these projects. When I got to the older kids, I ran the show by myself with the teacher correcting papers at his desk and grinning at our enjoyment.

So the list of quilts is over 600 and counting… Fifty plus years of quilting. I do have to admit that really half of them are just quilt tops.  I did find a source to unload many of the lap sized ones when a guest speaker at our quilt guild told us about QOVF, Quilts of Valor Foundation, which sends lap size quilts to returning veterans. My guild supported me on some, providing backs and long arm quilting. I did end up sending just the tops and they handled the completion.

All of this led to more chatter at the pool. When you exercise your jaw (and other parts) at the pool twice a week, you begin to know your companions. Since discussion of religion and politics is a “no-no” with these friends, we talk weather and trips, grand kids, schools and activities, sometimes knitting and sometimes quilting.  The pool is small, only ten people and we don’t really swim. The pool is located at a rehab hospital and all of us there have a doctor’s reason to be there.

I’m there because of my two shiny titanium knees which were replaced nine years ago: both at once, five days in a hospital and five at rehab seeing a physical therapist several times a day. Whew. I’ve become quite familiar with the recreational director who has  many duties although I am not sure what they all are. She got me my handicap sticker and made sure I could heat coffee in the microwave and transport it to a table before I left rehab. She also asked me to make a bed, but since I often don’t bother at home she let that slide.

As recreational director she also arranges an exhibit at the center. Every spring there is an exhibit of art work by the senior citizens, patrons of rehab, kids involved in therapy. Twice I gave them small quilts to exhibit and when I told her I had more, she set up a one woman show. My quilts hung for three months and when she did not have someone to take the next three months, I  gave her more.

The comments by my fellow pool friends and even strangers waiting for physical therapy was wonderful.
All this is a led up to my pool quilt project… Next time.

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