twisted

Twisted Quilt is Finished!

I haven’t finished a quilt for such a long time.  This one feels great! Partly because I started it in June, 2017 so it has been around for a while.  But also in part because I am donating it to the Mercyful Quilt drive that I have been hosting over these past weeks.

Surely I am not alone in the feeling of intention that comes along when making a quilt for a specific purpose.  When I began making this quilt, I chose it because I love the Twisted pattern, the lattice look of it.  I was happy because I mainly used scrappy bits that I had in my stash.  It was just a nice project. However as I began quilting it, I knew it would be a nice piece to donate to the Palliative Care unit at Mercy Hospital.  Once I decided to donate it, my mind constantly wandered, thinking about the purpose of this particular quilt.

twisted

I chose to use a grid pattern for the open sections within the lattice.  This was a bit time consuming.  I did mark the lines with a Frixion pen – though they still have some wobble to them. But I wanted them to be as straight and uniform as I could get them. I marked and quilted a one inch grid on each spot. This gave me plenty of time to think while I quilted.

twisted

As my mind wandered, I found myself thinking about both family who might choose my quilt for their special family member who was actively in the dying process.  I do not hold any grand illusion that because they have this quilt in hand, the process becomes easy.  I have been there. I know that whether given one or twenty five handmade quilts, the process doesn’t become easier.  But it is something. It might reduce the sterility of the hospital room a tiny bit.  Maybe taking the quilt home will bring comfort to the family as they grieve. It gave me great satisfaction to think that maybe by donating this quilt, I am bringing a little bit of solace to the family as well as comfort to the person who died.

twisted

Modern, bright florals on the front and soft roses on the back. So sweet.

Since starting this quilt drive, I have received so many comments that compliment the staff who support patients as they die.  Many of us feel the same – that this is such a special calling and certainly a very difficult job much of the time.  Collectively we are grateful for these angels who are able to provide care for patient and family at this time of life.  Personally, when I think of someone dying, I almost always find myself remembering when my first husband died. It is only natural I suppose; this was a huge, life altering event in my and my children’s life.  He died in 1994 after experiencing an aneurysm in his brain stem.  He was flown to a trauma care hospital and they took care of him (and me) for the next two days.

This was such a stressful, terrifying time in my life.  I was only 33 and he was 36.  We had three young children.  I spent that weekend in a shocked, fearful state of mind.  The staff there were amazing.  Mark had a nurse that spent about 36 hours with him, without going home.  She just stayed with both of us. I remember asking her how she could do this job.  I asked her why she stayed so long, and how many of her patients actually survived.  She sat with me and explained she felt honored to care for him and me both as we faced this change.  She told me that less than 20% of her patients survived.  But she felt called to do this work. She told me that most of the nursing staff don’t last a very long time in this type of work, but for the time she was able to, she wanted to do this type of nursing. She was an angel and while I can hardly remember her face, I do remember her words.

There was also a chaplain who came in and out quite a number of times to check on me.  Memories of him are a bit of a blur but I know he was there and supportive.  At a time like this, there are many decisions to make and having someone who wasn’t emotionally involved is so important. I am not sharing all of this as a call for pity.  I am fine and my boys are fine.  We will always miss Mark but memories of him have become a sweet part of our life.  I am sharing it to describe how needed and comforting it was to have this team of people who deal with death on a daily basis and thus were able help me to deal with it.  They helped me to make decisions when I was reeling with shock and grief.  They told me what to expect next, why they were doing each process, what Mark might be experiencing as time went on.  They were such a comfort at such a scary, sad time.

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My Mercyful Quilt is backed with a soft vintage sheet.

So, making this quilt caused me to reflect.  It gave me time to think about providing what we can to help people we will never meet.  I thought about how being kind to a faceless person feels good.  Quilting this piece made me realize how important it is to pay it forward.  I received comfort from a team such as the one at Mercy Hospital.  It is my turn to help the next person going through a difficult time.

Now this one is done so I can look forward to quilting the next one.  I have two quilt tops in line to work on.  I have a few holiday projects in process but I think it is ok to work on those first and then tackle the next Mercyful quilt.

Mercyful Quilts – destined to bring comfort to others.

Look at the stack that is waiting to be picked up! I believe we are at twenty quilts so far and more are on the way.  My gratitude intention for Thanksgiving this year is easy.  I am over the top grateful for each of you and the amazing, gorgeous quilts you are sending to me for Mercy Hospital.  Quilts have arrived from Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts and all over California.  AMAZING!! I hope you will continue to feel a desire to work on this drive.  Share it with your quilting groups, post about it on your blog or Instagram feed and tag it #Mercyfulquilts.  The need is ongoing.  If you cannot contribute a quilt, you may want to make a couple of blocks for Covered in Love.  This program serves the same need at a hospital in Texas.

Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Linking this finish up at a few fun places.  Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

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37 thoughts on “Twisted Quilt is Finished!

  1. Carole @ From My Carolina Home

    What a touching story, Bernie. There is just so much need in our world for kindness and caring. It seems that everywhere is suffering. I agree, it is gratifying to be able to give something back, to pay it forward for all the blessings in our lives to those who need comfort.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Happy Thanksgiving Carole. You are always paying it forward by supporting various needs with your blog and your sewing. I know you relate well to these feelings. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

      Reply
  2. Roseanne

    Hi Bernie. I can hardly see to type, but here are a bunch of {{{{{hugs}}}}} just for you. Thank you for sharing that deeply personal story with us. I believe there is a calling for many vocations like nursing. It is not a choice I would make but being a police officer, fireman, teacher, or even a politician is certainly a calling. My nephew is about to turn 28 and has been a police officer since he was 23. All the negativity he sees used to bother me, but when you talk to him he has the opinion that he can make a difference and impact some kids lives. What a beautiful stack of quilts for a wonderful cause. Happy Happy Thanksgiving to you! ~smile~ Roseanne

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Yes – many professions require certain abilities that are not commonly found. I am sure it can be nerve-racking to have a police officer in the family. But what an honorable choice in career. Thinking of the firefighters working on the Camp Fire which is about 70 miles from me. Thousands of them working so hard to put it out – some of whom lost their own homes in the fire. All of these people deserve our gratitude. Also – love the post on your blog too. I headed right over to her Go Fund Me page to donate. Such a terrible situation in Paradise. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

      Reply
  3. Katherine

    Thank you for sharing your story Bernie.
    Being a nurse, I’ve cared for dying patients and the family. It is very difficult and we grieve with the families.
    God bless those nurses and the entire staff at that hospital and all over this great country of ours! They provide such a wonderful service.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    Reply
  4. cassandra mckee

    Bernie, this is a beautiful quilt made for a beautiful purpose. Thanks for sharing your story. Sending you love and gratitude this Thanksgiving!

    Reply
  5. Wendy Tuma

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful quilt, Bernie, as well as a bit of your story. Those who care for those of us who lose a loved one are special people indeed. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Reply
  6. Quiltdivajulie

    Oh, Bernie – what an eloquent and heartfelt post. The Hospice nurses who cared for my mother during her final weeks were amazing people – and they spent time caring for me as well even though I was multiple states away. Angels indeed. Thank you for what you’re doing to help others!!

    Reply
  7. Barb N

    Angels among us! Such a blessing to have one intercept your life. And such a gift to be able to give back. Leaves me thinking of ways I can help more in our own community. Thanks, and a very special Thanksgiving for you!

    Reply
  8. Mari

    Beutiful quilt, Bernie! That cross hatching must have taken forever, but it really paid off. Any “wobbles” will be absolutely hidden after the wash. Hope you have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving. Life can be painful, frustrating, and unfair, but there is always room for gratitude. I love how you’re showing this by example in your own life today. Blessings, my friend.

    Reply
  9. Louise Hornor

    They’re beautiful, Bernie. Both your quilt and your words! I agree completely that having a destination in mind for a quilt changes my intentions during the quilting process. As my hands move, I often say out loud, “I’m stitching in my hopes for you. Hopes for peace, for comfort, for love.”

    How long will you be accepting quilts? I have two finished, although I had some dye that ran on one of them and I need to try to remove the staining.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    Reply
    1. Heather Johnson

      Did you get the dye out yet? If you have not seen her blog yet, go to colorways by Vickie Welsh. She has a post (how to save my bleeding quilt) that walks through getting the dye out. Hasn’t failed me yet. Good luck.

      Reply
      1. louise hornor

        Thanks, Heather. I did get most of the dye out using Dawn blue dishwashing liquid. My quilt had a lot of red in it, but it was one turquoise fabric that ran. You just never know!

        Reply
  10. Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl

    What a wonderful quilt finish, Bernie, and thank you for so eloquently sharing your thoughts and previous experience with such wonderful care. I am very thankful to have “met” you online and with your family a very wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  11. B2

    Bernie, you are such a lovely, loving person. People like you are rare. As soon as I get my mother-in-law’s quilts, I’ll send them to you. 💕💕💕

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Happy Thanksgiving! Also, thank you for your sweet compliment. I can’t wait to see the quilts you are sending over! Have a wonderful day with your family.

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Preeti. It makes me happy when the quilting works out how I hoped for (this is not always the case!). Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Kaholly

    Quite a story, Bernie. Thank you so much for sharing. Your quilt is beautiful and will bring comfort and warmth to someone very special. I have goosebumps clear down to my toes.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Karen – I am so happy with the quilt and appreciate the input you gave me on the quilting. You were right. Simple is often best and the crosshatch worked out great!! Take care. B.

      Reply
  13. Laurie Lasala-Tuttle

    Happy Thanksgiving Bernie, and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Beautiful quilt finish, and thank you for caring. ❤

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Laurie – It is serendipitous that this opportunity to help came to me. I am so happy to work with these nurses and provide beautiful quilts for these families. It is deeply satisfying. Hope your long weekend has been lovely so far!

      Reply
  14. Patty Jasper

    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. I am glad that the nurses and staff at the hospital were able to support you. It is so hard for all when someone so young passes. As ICU nurses we deal with death on a daily basis. When the treatment can no longer cure someone we shift our focus to providing comfort for that patient and their family. The quilts can be a huge help with this new focus. Someone once asked me how I deal with the daily emotions of losing patients. To me it becomes a shift in my practice to trying to provide a dignified death for someone. Another colleague stated that it is a privilege to be in someone’s story at this time. We all play role no matter how big or how small. Right now you all are playing a role in someone’s story. Thank you for all quilts you have provided and for those that are still on their way.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you for the note Patty. Your perspective is so helpful. I am happy to play a role in someone’s story, no matter how small it might be. Take care, B.

      Reply
  15. Linda (txwxgeek on IG)

    Love your quilt – those beautiful bright fabrics on the front and that wonderful vintage flowered sheet on the back – and your post really touched me. My Mom was lovingly cared for by cardiac angels each time she went to Oklahoma Heart Hospital, and my husband was saved by two young, brilliant, compassionate cardiologists in Texas. I believe theses folks are gifts from God! 😊
    Happy Thanksgiving Bernie!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      There are so many amazing people out there, right? We are lucky to have them when we need them most. Have a great weekend Linda!

      Reply
  16. Kathleen McCormick

    We had a good friend die in a hospice house. She was so peaceful there and the staff were terrific – as you said. Thank you for sharing your story; glad there were people with you who made a difference. You are certainly paying it forward, and helping others do the same.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Kathleen. This is a completely rewarding project and I am so happy to see the response from everyone. It makes me really happy to help out with this!

      Take care. B.

      Reply
  17. Anja @ Anja Quilts

    It looks great. Your story shows just how important this charity is to you. It definitely takes special people to work in this field. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Michelle, Thank you for your note. Lately, I think it is good for all of us to remember to be kind – the world has more than enough negativity to go around. So, if we try to balance that out, so much the better!

      Reply

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