Nellie"s Needles

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I make cuddle quilts for children who are ill. Most of them are made as my contribution to the Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild's service project of providing quilts for all the children who come to the Ronald McDonald House in Knoxville, Tennessee. Occasionally, a friend or family member will tell me of a child in their lives who needs the comfort of one of my quilts. Such is the story of the latest one I donated.I make blocks from scrap fabrics when I'm between projects or am stuck in the process of creating one. These 6" scrappy blocks are sewn out of left-over fabrics and trimmings from my other projects and those of friends who've given me what they would normally discard. They're fun to make and I like to imagine a child exploring and discovering little treasures of color and pattern ... that this would be a distraction from their pain or circumstances.
The story of this quilt began with my making up a bunch of these blocks on a Sunday in late September ... just because. Later that day my sister telephoned and said, " I know of a young boy who needs one of your quilts. He's a student of my daughter out in California." I believe in serendipity ... that I had already begun making this quilt for that particular child.

I just received a thank you letter from my neice. She enclosed a photo of the quilt surrounded by the classmates of the little boy who got the quilt. The children sang spiritual songs and prayed for Daniel while holding hands around the quilt.His mother wrote, "Daniel was thrilled and amazed at the stitching that went into the blanket. It came at an opportune time as he was hit by a wave of nausea and was feeling quite lousy. The blanket gave him something to cuddle up with afterward."

His grandmother (and day companion) wrote: "Thank you so much for thinking of Daniel and for brightening his life with this beautiful quilt. He keeps it in the living room where he spends a great amount of time and enjoys snuggling under it."

Daniel wrote to my neice:
I love that picture he drew ...that big happy, toothy smile. I'm thankful that my creation has given Daniel some comfort and a bit of diversion from his illness and chemotherapy.

Each quilt I make for these children is a form of prayer for me. A prayer of thankfulness for my having had healthy children and gratefulness for the good health of my grandchildren.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Renwick Gallery Tour Group

The Renwick Gallery of Washington D.C. arranged an art and craft buying tour of the the Southeast. Knoxville was one of its destinations. Events were planned for them throughout the area. A group of ten artists and quilters from the Smoky Mountain Quilt guild set up a two hour show/sale to present work especially for the people on this tour.
We each had a table plus a bit of space behind it. This was my set up, complete with a running slide show of a whole lot of my quilts on an iBook. Sixteen pieces were in this display. Four of them were "crinkle quilts". The rest were wall quilts that I'd made through the years ... many of them award winners of those ribbons hanging in Studio South.

These are three of the five quilts on the back side of my display. The pink one sold. YEAH! I had printed up 4 description sheets for each of my creations. All the sheets for 3 pieces were taken for future consideration by the patrons. A future email or phone call purchase would be an even bigger YEAH.
"Coming Unstrung" 28"x24"

A major attraction for this event was a "bed turning" presented by Merikay Waldvogel. We had set up an old bedframe and rigged a foundation to hold a big stack of quilts. She had brought many old quilts from her collection plus several from other people as well.
However the "turning" began with "The Sunday Quilt" which is a newer quilt that has won numerous awards and appears on the cover of a book. It was designed and made by a group called the "Out of Towners". Each of the members is a Smoky Mountain guild member and all were represented in this two hour show. Merikay narrated stories, histories, and information as she peeled back each quilt in the stack.

This was a very short, but sweet event. Seven thousand dollars worth of quilts was purchased. YIPPEE YEAH!