Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hands2Help - Welcome Our Final Guest Blogger, Julie!


Hi, all!

Welcome to Sunday, and our final guest blogger for Hands2Help!  I don't know about you, but I can't believe that next Sunday is the beginning of the final link-up week for the Challenge!  This year's event has just flown by - but we've got a great post today to put a cherry on top of it all.  Our guest blogger is my friend Julie, who blogs over at Pink Doxies.  We met a couple of years ago when she started a linky party and asked me to help promote it.  We've had many conversations since then over ways to grow your blog, and I'm learning a lot from her - she has a fascinating blog that you really should check out.  So without further ado, I'll turn the blog over to her!

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Hands2Help came along last year when I was still a fairly new blogger, and just keeping my head above water. I watched the excitement here on Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and knew it was somehow different from other blog hops, quilt-alongs, etc. I was impressed with the tutorials Sarah wrote to help other quilters with the inspiration and skill needed to turn out quilts as a comfort to others. Her attention to her own quilt ministry helped me understand the importance of providing quilts for people living through desperate times. Of course, I was all in this year when I saw the announcement.



I was excited enough that my quilt was finished in the first few weeks of the announcement. I picked neutral colors so it would be good for either gender, but bright colors from my scraps to be interesting. I played with blocks as I went along, and it was a joy to make. 


I rallied my nearby friends that quilted offering free long arming for the quilts, and one decided to join in. My dear friend, Irene, turned her scraps into a stunning quilt! I'm so happy she discovered Sarah's enthusiasm and blog because Irene gives extraordinary amounts of her own time toward charity quilting, Little Dresses for Africa, Hospice, and so on. They are kindred spirits. Irene has experienced many journeys of standing by a loved one's side as they work through the end of life, and move on. She understands that a quilt is as much for the recipient as the family as the caretaker as the maker. It is a circle of support meant to show we acknowledge the sorrow and the joy of being alive. She has taught me so much about the depths of compassion.

So, I told a few more friends about Sarah's project, and heard them say they couldn't make anything good enough. No amount of encouragement made them change their minds. Part of me heard the real words, and another part heard them saying:

"I'm not ready to deal with that."

"Sickness, struggle, my own limits make me uncomfortable."

I backed off. It was okay. I think you have to come to this point on your own. Maybe it's a little like walking into a room for what might be one of your last visits with a good friend. What do you say? You can say, 

"You are loved."

"I love you."

Beyond those words, and beyond religious convictions, I can't think of anything else I would need to hear. Not that I 'was a great person'--I'm not even 'good' sometimes, or that I did great things. I'm quite ordinary in my deeds, but I would need to hear and understand that I was loved.

Giving a quilt, and allowing someone to see the work, the love I infused in my choice of color and pattern, and even the evident mistakes in my work is a sign of loving. Loving without exception. One person made that quilt for another person--even if they didn't know who it was meant for at the time. The act of covering yourself with the love, and allowing it to warm and comfort you completes the circle. 



I feel deeply about this project, and both these quilts are headed to Texas for Kat's Covered in Love Project. If you are inclined, there is still time. There's always room for one more quilt. If you're not ready, there's always next year.

To Sarah, Kat, Emily, Nita, and all who share in this event, thank you for allowing Irene and me to join you. 

                                  ~Julie Stocker, a.k.a. Pink Doxie Mama 
                                    Pink Doxies: Fiber Art & Textiles




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Thank you, Julie!  What a lovely reminder of why we make quilts, and what the work of our hands becomes when we give it with love!  If you are reading this post, but haven't joined in the Challenge this year, I hope you will take it to heart and join us next year - or even this year if you want to jump right in!  There's still time - the final day to link up a quilt will be Friday, May 27th at midnight - if you want to finish up a quilt really quickly.  But if you're not a speed sewer, you can always start on a quilt for next year!  God honors the work of our hands and makes beauty from ashes.  What we make in love is always beautiful!

See you next week for the beginning of the final link-up week!  Finish up your quilts, take beautiful pictures, and be prepared to go visit and cheer on your fellow participants!

Hugs!

Sarah

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful post and very thoughtful, thank you Julie.

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  2. Thank you for these beautiful words. I always lurk when H2H comes around, and this reminds me why I should just jump in.

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  3. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Julie! I'm so glad the mission of Covered in Love resonated with you.

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  4. I read this with tears in my eyes. Thank you for these beautiful words, Julie.

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  5. So well said. I had a friend with cancer and I rallied other friends to write something meaningful on a block and I stitched them into a quilt. She loved it, said it reminded her of all the people that had been a part of her life. What I was deeply surprised by was that her mother and sisters actually fought over who got to keep the quilt, it meant so much to them. That was when I realized that while my goal was accomplished for my friend, the results were much bigger than that. I'm sorry I don'thave time to participate in this round, but it's definitely on my radar for next time.

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  6. Beautiful post. I am a new quilter and my 2 quilts are in the wash right now. Getting ready to send them out. They aren't spectacular pieced quilts, but they are great quilts for someone in need. They will know that someone cared. And that is what counts.

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  7. This was beautifully written, Julie. Sarah, thank you for inviting Julie to guest blog with her loving words. I think part of why I am able to sew for others who are in need is that I recognize how incredibly lucky I am right now. Most of my own family and circle of friends are healthy, so I have lots of space in my life to reach out to others. I know sorrow comes to all of us, so it's important to me to sew during my time of good fortune. Every quilt is made in gratitude and love.

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  8. The post is beautiful. I know from first hand experience how important a work of love is. The work was all colors and all different blocks. But that did not matter. It was the love that someone made the effort. Not knowing who will receive the quilt but knowing someone cared enough to send love in the forn of a quilt.
    Kathleen Mary
    My blog kathysnest32.wordpress.com

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  9. Very insightful and beautifully said :)

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  10. Beautiful post beautiful quilt.

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  11. To Julie and you,also,Sarah. My favorite quote is from Mother Teresa -- We can't all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.

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  13. So beautifully said. I follow and enjoy Julie's blog. She is an excellent quilter.Joining Hands 2 Help has truly been a blessing in my life. Sending much heartfelt thanks to Sarah and Julie.

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  14. Julie and Irene, your quilts are beautiful! Thank you so much for supporting H2H this year!

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