Monday, April 12, 2010

Taken by Surprise

One fact has been brought home to me in the aftermath of Frank's death: I have many wonderful friends who will go out of their way to help and support me. 

Last week I stopped by the house to pick up my mail. No one was working that day so I thought I'd walk through and enjoy the peace and quiet for a moment. I noticed I had a voicemail on my iPhone, so I checked it. One of my quilting friends from Florida, Sharen, left a message saying I should check my US mail box because something was waiting for me. 

Intrigued, I continued to wander around the house. The mailbox had held the usual bills and circulars, but no notice of a package waiting at the post office. Then I saw it. Apparently the mail carrier had left a package for me at the house the day before. The workers set it carefully aside where I'd see it, but where it would be safe. Oddly, it wasn't from Sharen; it was from another quilting friend, Aileen, in California. And it was a good sized brown cardboard box. 

With all the self-control of a child I opened the box and my jaw dropped. Inside was this lovely, lovely quilt. Aileen included a letter of explanation. 

My quilt group, A Pocket Full of Mysteries, the quilters who make my mystery quilt patterns, had organized this project. Each block -- 82 in all; there's a block on the back -- was made by one of the members. The blocks arrived from all over the US and from many foreign countries. There are embroidered, paper-pieced, appliqued and embroidered blocks -- personalized with the block makers' names and locations. It is no exaggeration to say that the love and care that went into each block clings to my quilt like a fragrance. Quilters all over the world organized this project, made the blocks, designed a setting, assembled the top, quilted the sandwich, bound the finished quilt and labeled it. Words are quilted into it -- words of comfort as well as the names of quilts I've designed for the group. 

Aileen's wonderful letter touched me deeply. She wrote (in part), 
I consider myself a writer, but words failed me when I heard about Frank. I spent a lot of time moaning, "It's not fair,'' as did so many of your quilting friends. And as quilters do when we can't reach out and hug, we sewed ... May our threads wrap you in love and hold you near when you need us ... May we have many more years of stitching together. 

I sometimes think a quilter is the perfect recipient for a gift quilt. She understands the care and work that go into the project. In this quilt every stitch is very dear to me, and I will cherish it always. I can't wait to move into the house and display my quilt proudly on my bed.

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