The Fishy Quilt

I have always said quilts have an incredible power within the boundary of their binding.  Here is the story of a simple little quilt and the incredible healing power it had.

A year ago, I received an interesting request from a fellow quilter.  She was working with a project called “Keeping Children Warm for the Holidays.”  She explained that she herself had committed to making 55 quilts.  She had completed ten and was working on the eleventh.  She had seen pictures of quilts I had made and asked if I would be willing to donate a quilt to this cause.  I thought about her request as I my eyes traversed the small mountain of quilts I had made throughout the year.  If she could commit to making that many quilts, certainly I could live with one less quilt.  I found a simple little quilt made of novelty fish fabric.  It was bright and cheery and perfect for the occasion.  I boxed up the quilt and sent it on its way.  What happened next is something I’ll never forget.

I received a quick note from my fellow quilter telling me the quilt had arrived safely.  She thanked me for my donation and went on to explain she had sent the same request to me as she had to 300 other quilters -- 299 quilters said "no."  I was the first person to say "yes."

A couple months went by and then I heard from her again.  The quilt now had a home with a little girl named Samantha who was 18 months old.  Earlier that year, a fire broke out in Samantha’s home.  She lost her mother, her father, her brother, and her sister.  She was the only one to survive.  My heart went out to this little girl as I thought about the enormity of her loss.  A couple weeks later, I received a letter in the mail.  It was forwarded to me from my new found quilter friend.

Dear Keeping Children Warm for the Holidays,
Thanks so much for making Samantha’s day.  She has been very sad since the fire that killed her family.  Her first word was “fishy.”  She loves the fish quilt.  Please thank whoever made it!  She loves it.  She will not leave the house without it.  I am very glad that there are people like you out there.  We need more like you.  If Samantha could talk better, I know she would say “thanks.”  I send my love out to you for the holidays.
Signed, Samantha’s foster family
(name withheld to protect Samantha's privacy)

The tears streamed down my face as I carefully tucked the letter back in the envelope.  Such a simple little quilt and what a difference it made.  Do quilts hold a special power within them?  You decide.  I already know my answer.  As quilters, we can, and we do, make a difference in this world, one quilt at a time.   -- Deb Hopkins

Check out Andrea's Fishy Quilt that she calls "One Fish Two Fish" and her great label!


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