Good morning! Just popping in to let you know I am guest posting over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict today. I am thrilled to tell you that Mercyful Quilts is one of the recipients of the quilts made for the 2019 Hands2Help event hosted each year by Sarah!!
Each day this week on Sarah’s blog, a representative for the charitable organizations receiving quilts this year is posting about their group or charity. I have a post about Mercyful Quilts on her blog today. I hope you will hop over to read more about the event and if you choose to, it would be great to sign up and participate! Check back each day this week and learn more about the other wonderful groups you might want to make a quilt for.
Thanks to Sarah for hosting this amazing annual event. This is the ninth year of Hands2Help!! Amazing, right? Thus far, over 1,450 quilts have been made and donated to a variety of groups. I have participated a couple of times and it is very rewarding!
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.
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.
As my mind wandered, I found myself thinking about the 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.
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 childrens’, 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. Mark wanted to be an organ donor and that process was somewhat involved. 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.
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.
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Today is National Kindness day. What better day to write an update about the Mercyful Quilts project?
On Monday of this week I had the pleasure of watching my friend Patty pick up the first batch of Mercyful Quilts. It was a lovely thing to watch her oooh and ahhh over each and every quilt in the stack. She and her colleagues are thrilled to have these quilts and to know that more are on the way.
Patty and I with a quilt designed and made by Yvonne Fuchs.
While she was here, we talked about the ways that the team at Mercy Hospital supports their patients and the patient’s family while they say good bye to each other. Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, CA has a large, specialized Oncology Center and Cardiac Center as well as their Surgical ICU unit. As such, they regularly support patients who are in the process of dying. I commend these nurses and social workers for providing loving comfort to their patients and families as they go through the dying process.
The quilt drawer on a Comfort Cart at Mercy Hospital.
Patty explained they have Comfort Carts which are used by their Palliative Care team. Two doctors, a nurse, a social worker and a chaplain make up this team. Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organization as follows:
provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated.
The Palliative Care team at Mercy Hospital are the people who decide what sorts of items would be most helpful to the families and keep the comfort carts full. These carts might contain religious items such as spiritual reading material in a variety of denominations and rosaries, flameless candles, CD players with music, scented lotions, pamphlets and information on the dying process, Mercyful quilts and some pillowcases. They also have hand casting kits available as some families want to make one to take home with them. The team works with the family and patient to provide kindness, comfort and support to make the dying process as peaceful as possible.
Staff at Mercy Hospital are so grateful for your gorgeous quilts.
In the photo above, from left to right, is Lori M., palliative care nurse, Candy K., Nurse Manager for the ICUs, Patty J (my friend and a nurse on the Surgical ICU unit), and Emma C., social worker for Palliative Care. This team is very appreciative of the quilts being donated to their hospital. As for me, I am in awe of the comfort these professionals provide at a time when it is most needed.
While Patty was here I asked whether there were any special needs she knew of with regard to the quilts we are making. She asked that if possible, we make a few quilts with colors or fabrics which might appeal to men. Also, if possible, it would be great to have some patriotic quilts which would be meaningful to veterans of our country. I think both of these are great ideas. So far, we do have a number of ‘gender neutral’ quilts but a few leaning to a male design or color palette would be great. I have not yet made a Quilt of Valor but this is a great opportunity for me to do so. It is on my list and will be started after the holidays. Have you made a QOV? Would you like to donate one to this group? If so, I am happy to facilitate that for you!
Thank you so much to all who have sent quilts, or are making and sending quilts now. Your kindness is greatly needed and very much appreciated by the team and patients at Mercy Hospital. Leave any questions in the comments and I will be back in touch as soon as possible.
The quilts are arriving and I am overjoyed!!! I want to share the stack that have accumulated thus far. They will be picked up by my friend Patty in a few days to bring to Mercy Hospital and I want to journal this event on the blog before the quilts are gone. So far I have received thirteen quilts!! Amazing, right? Patty has been sharing the progress of this quilt drive with her co-workers at the hospital and they are stunned by the generosity of our community. It is very satisfying to call myself a part of this on-line quilting tribe. I couldn’t ask for a sweeter group of people to inspire me to be a kinder person and better quilter!
Axel’s Quilt, Pieced & Quilted by Preeti Harris
The quilt above was the very first quilt to arrive. This is Axel’s Quilt from Preeti who blogs at Sew Preeti Quilts and lives in Washington DC. Thank you Preeti!! Fantastic color, I love the combination of gray and yellow. This is a gorgeous quilt.
Three beauties, pieced and quilted by Shirley Bruner.
Above you see three gorgeous quilts. Each one was sent to me by my friend Shirley Bruner from Missouri. Her blog is called The World According to Me and she pieced and quilted each of these. The blue and green quilt in the middle is flannel backed making it extra cozy.
A few things of note – I love the outlined hummingbirds, they appear to be in flight and did you notice she constructed the flower baskets with selvages? Very creative!! Thank you so much Shirley!
Two colorful quilts, pieced and quilted by Adele, @bayougirlquilts
These two quilts came all the way from Metairie, Louisiana! Adele D. sent them to me. I don’t know Adele very well (yet!) but I did peek at her Flickr account, @bayougirlquilts and she is very talented!! There is so much color and lots of fun patterns to be seen on her page!! Both of these color combinations are wonderful. I love red with aqua and the green with cheddar yellow is so pretty!
Black, White & Brights, Pieced & Quilted by Sophia Day.
This bright, cheerful quilt was made by my friend Sophia. She used a black, white and brights combination to make this wonky triangle quilt. I love that she echo quilted some straight lines within each of the triangles. Sophia and I have been friends for over twenty years and belong to the same guild, of which she is president this year. Thank you Sophia!!
Jelly Roll Quilt Top, Pieced by Jill M.
Here is a quilt top that arrived from Jill M, a blog reader who splits her year between Canada and Arizona each year. She was about to leave on a month long trip and wanted to contribute so I told her I would finish the quilt for her. I will keep you posted on this one. It is a lovely jelly roll race quilt using stunning fabrics in jewel tones. I look forward to working on it! She even made a scrappy binding for it which is wonderful.
Blue Rain, Fletched, and You & Me; designed, pieced and quilted by Yvonne Fuch.
Finally, there are six quilts donated by Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl This clean, modern style is uniquely her own. I posted a video yesterday on Facebook taken of me while I unboxed these beauties. If you missed it, click here! I was thrilled to see these in person after having read about many of them on her blog.
Pulsing Plus, Layered Diamonds; designed, pieced and quilted by Yvonne Fuch.
One of the quilts above was made by another quilter. Yvonne won it at a silent auction in support of a fundraiser that happened on Instagram last summer. This is the quilt is on the far right. (If one of Yvonne’s quilts intrigues you, I just want to let you know that the patterns for several of them are available in her shop.)
All of these quilts are spectacular and I know the nurses and patients at Mercy Hospital will be comforted by these gifts. These quilts will be taken to the hospital on Monday. Thank you so much for all who donated or are in the process of making a Mercyful Quilt. You are bringing comfort to a family when they need it most. When I talked with my friend Patty she estimated that they use 8 – 10 quilts each month. At this time, I have about 35 quilts promised for this drive so that means we are fulfilling the need for three to four months. Amazing!!! There are a few quilters who have said they would like to contribute more over time which is awesome.
I will share more of the Mercyful Quilts as they arrive. There is quite a bit of sharing going on over on Instagram. If you share your donations or your work in process for Mercy, please tag it #mercyfulquilts and tag me @needleandfoot so I can find it! Thanks everyone! Have a wonderful day and be sure to find time to enjoy a bit of stitching.
Last but not least, have you entered the giveaway that is happening for the November Blogger Bundle? If you are in the US, please click here to enter. For international readers, head on over to Sandra’s blog to enter!
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About a week ago, I received a note from my friend Patty. She is a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, CA. She is also the mother of a sweet girl that Julia has been friends with since middle school. Patty told me about the quilts they use at Mercy to comfort dying patients. They ask the family of the patient if they would like to wrap their loved one in a quilt to bring comfort and security as the person goes through the dying process. After the person passes away, the family keeps the quilt along with memories of comforting their loved one until the end. Unfortunately the community service group that was providing quilts for Mercy has become unable to do so. She wondered if I might know of quilters who would want to make quilts for the hospital. There are several organizations who do this sort of project; Covered in Love being a very popular one. I have contributed blocks once or twice for CIL and think their work is amazing. Becoming aware of a similar need right in my backyard was eye-opening.
In less than a blink of an eye, I replied to Patty telling her I am happy to help as much as I can. Hoping to finish a few quilts quickly, I decided to pull two WIPs and focus on finishing them. I had a box of large 10″ HST’s that I created about two years ago. I had intended to make a twin size quilt with them for the spare bed up in our little house in Downieville. Like so many projects, it was put aside and left unfinished. But I am glad this happened because there were enough blocks to make a comfortable lap-size quilt. I love the shades of purple, green and tan I used and feel it would be great for both male or female recipients.
I played around with the layout several times before deciding on this pattern. Once I made that decision, I spent a quick session squaring up the blocks. They went together in no time and I had a quilt top. It is very motivating to me to make a quilt for a cause that is so near and dear to my heart.
Mercy Hospital is renowned for their cardiac care. In 2015 my mother received incredible care at Mercy as she underwent a completely unexpected triple bypass and mitral valve replacement. She was in CCICU for two weeks and my family was (and still is) so very grateful for the care and support she received. Actually we all received care and support as they go the extra mile at Mercy to assure the patient’s family fully understands what is going on with their loved one. We always felt we could ask questions and get help at any time. It is no surprise to me that they have this quilt gifting program.
The Merriam-Webster definition of Mercy includes ‘compassionate care of those in distress’. So many of us have provided quilts for compassionate reasons, to help those in need or distress. I want to support this program at Mercy Hospital. Currently I have two quilts in process for them. The other quilt is my Twisted quilt top which is a cheerful floral quilt that looks much like lattice work in a garden. This project was already pin-basted and ready for quilting. Since I was further along with that project, I decided to begin quilting it several days ago. I am making swift progress with that one. I would love to have it finished and bound asap because they are out of quilts at this point in time. Once that is completed, I will baste and quilt this HST quilt.
If you feel called to support Mercy Hospital, I would love to hear from you. Do you have a quilt top that is not yet intended for anyone? Might you finish it up and mail it off? I would be happy to bring it to Mercy. California readers, local readers? Would you be able to help out? I plan to mention this at my guild meeting next week to see if there are others who might be able to contribute. If anyone has any ideas with regard to programs like this, please leave a comment. I would really like to gather support for Mercy Hospital and provide them with quilts.
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! Be sure to grab a few minutes with your sewing machine. 🙂
Linking with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict! There links are at the top of the page, under Link Ups.