In January, Martha Eaves lost her 17-year-old grandson Joe to a longtime respiratory ailment. His favorite blanket, a quilt she had made for him when he was a baby, remained on his bed as he grew older, and eventually traveled with him to his hospital room.
Inspired by the special place this quilt had held in her grandson’s life, Martha, President of Minnesota Quilters, issued a special challenge to her membership – to create baby blankets that would be donated to Neighborhood House and shared with families expecting children.
Today, we’re delighted and grateful to receive 100 beautiful baby blankets, handmade with love by Quilters from throughout Minnesota.
Martha’s story, as shared in Minnesota Quilters’ March newsletter, is included below:
“Many of you already know that January was a hard month for me. My dear grandson Joe, who was almost 18 years old, died after being hospitalized for a long time respiratory ailment he had lived with since birth. When Joe was hospitalized, my son grabbed his favorite bed quilt which was the baby quilt that I had made for him (one each for Joe, Jon and Sam his triplet brothers, of the same pattern but different colors) so many years ago. When I saw that quilt in the hospital, I was at first embarrassed as you can imagine what it looked like after so much wear and tear, but my son liked the tag I had put on it so many years ago, “Sunny Days Ahead” and I knew Joe still liked to sleep under it every night- even though I had since made him newer quilts and bigger quilts with brighter colors and foxes!
Like the other many gifts that Joe bestowed on me, one was his unconditional love of the world. As with the many times that I have given a quilt, whether to a family member, friend, or an anonymous child, I hope to convey that same feeling in the gift. Sometimes you work really hard on something and become so attached to it that you hesitate to use it for its original intention. Sometimes, you had a vision of the quilt you wanted to make, but the outcome of your hard work does not totally live up to your vision. These feelings may make it hard for you to give away the quilt, or want to give it away only under certain conditions or restraints.
I, too, have experienced those hesitations and doubts. Here is how I have come to reconcile those thoughts. If I have lots of doubts, and I cannot reconcile those feelings, then I just keep it and make a substitute. But I truly believe that quilts bring with them more than just warmth, but your own inner spirit and loving thoughts. It is truly a gift, even when you give that gift to a total stranger. And there are many total strangers who can benefit from that love in this world.
So while Joe was very sick, one night I came home from the hospital and cut 2 ½ inch strips of every butterfly fabric that I had and sewed them together. And now, I too have a contribution for the President’s Butterfly Challenge. It is not as fancy as I wished, but it is soft and colorful and I know a child will like it, as Joe would. I hope you are considering doing a quilt for the Challenge also.”
To learn more about the great work of Minnesota Quilters, visit their site at http://www.mnquilt.org/