I asked Karen to write something about what charity activities she was involved with. Being very modest, she didn’t want me to write anything; but with much coaxing, she agreed because, frankly, I couldn’t remember everything! 🙂 Here is her story of how she became involved, helping in her community.
In 2007 I had the idea to have a quilt group at our church. The church had other missions such as the Needleworks Group that knitted or crocheted afghans for people in nursing homes and cancer patients in the hospital. I had been a part of that group and had the idea that a quilt group would involve a different group of people and those of us who didn’t know how to quilt would be learning from those more experienced. The ball got rolling and the Loving Hands Quilt Group was formed.
I did not know how to sew, in fact, hand sewing a button or torn clothing was a challenge and it never turned out well. I had no interest learning how to sew when I was growing up. In Junior High School I was required to take the Home Economics class in which I had to make a patchwork pillowcase. This was the extent of my sewing experience. By going on the internet I found many articles and Youtube.com many videos that I could play over and over and learn step by step each part of the quilt.
Our first project was making lap quilts for the homebound, sick, and those who were mourning the loss of a loved one. Half of our group were new to quilting, and I was new to sewing all together. The experienced ladies were very gracious and showed us how to sew simple patterns, such as the 9 patch. We used scrap donated materials, cut the squares, arranged the squares and started sewing them together. This is a photo of my very first completed lap quilt. These first quilts were tied with floss rather than machine or hand quilted to finish them.
In the summer of 2008 I started to make them at home at the request of my sister Diane Stewart, so that my great-nieces would be able to give them to the elderly ladies at church at the Feast of Tabernacles as well as residents of their local nursing homes.
Eventually some of the quilts we made went to the poverty stricken Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
We also made preemie quilts for babies at Mott’s Children’s Hospital in the NICU.
September 2008 Prayers & Squares
A friend of mine at church found out about the Prayers & Squares – Prayer Quilt Ministry and talked about it at one of our Loving Hands Quilt Group meetings.
“Each Knot Represents a Prayer: The idea behind these prayer quilts is simple. A heavy thread is used to take stitches through the quilt layers, and the ends are left free to be tied with square knot. As each knot is tied, a silent prayer is said for someone in special need, who then receives the finished quilt.”
The Prayer Quilt Ministry has 3 commandments:
- Remember the Prayers & Squares motto: “It’s not about the quilt, it’s all about the prayers.”
The purpose of your ministry must be to promote an active prayer life among the participants, not just to make and give away quilts. Strive to involve as many people as possible in your prayer efforts.
- You must ASK before you give the gift of a prayer quilt; surprises are not appropriate. Ask if the person to receive the quilt will accept your gift of prayer. Ask what they would like you to pray for. Ask what information about their situation may be shared with others.
Do not accept any form of payment for a prayer quilt; it is a gift of love and prayer which cannot be bought or sold. Those who request or receive prayer quilts must not be made to feel obligated to Prayers & Squares in any way.
You can read about how the Prayer Quilt Ministry was born by reading the story about 2 year old Kody who was in a coma following heart surgery and how this first prayer quilt touched his life and the lives of others.
Mary Ann and I decided to start a chapter of the Prayers & Squares. Our new Chapter #818 was born in September 2008. Over the past couple of years we have made many prayer quilts and prayer squares.
My Aunt Kay, who was battling liver cancer, received our first Prayer Quilt from this ministry in the fall of 2009 and held it with her at all times. Even when she could no longer move, she had us covering her with the prayer quilt always, it comforted her. In December of the same year, we sat next to her in the morning before dawn, my Mother and I, holding her hand on the prayer quilt when she passed away. The prayer quilt gave her so much comfort and peace.
This last picture depicts a prayer quilt that was made for a woman battling cancer. Anyone who visited her in her hospital room, family, friends, other patients, as well as doctors and nurses, would tie a knot in it and say a prayer for her.
In the winter of 2009-2010 I had been looking for an organization who donated quilts to sick children and the elderly in nursing homes. It took some searching but I finally found a wonderful non-profit organization called Quilts For Kids.
Quilts For Kids Inc. is an international non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization. Volunteer quilters create quilts for children in hospitals who have life threatening illnesses such as cancer and for children who have been abused. At that time I sent in a request for 3 quilt kits to sew at home and send back to their headquarters. Once I received the kits and was sewing them, I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to give the quilts to children locally in our state of Michigan. I checked their website again, and at that time there were no chapters in Michigan. It took no time to make the decision that I wanted to start a chapter here in Dundee, MI. I contacted Quilts For Kids and started the process to become a Chapter. On February 2, 2010 I was approved to become the Dundee, Michigan Chapter of Quilts For Kids.
I started to get the word out to my sewing and quilting friends, sent out mailings, setup the Dundee, MI Website of Quilts For Kids, designed up flyers and more. We are growing sewers and quilters from all around our area. Currently we are providing quilts for children at University of Michigan’s – Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI as well as the Monroe County Child Advocacy Center in Monroe, MI. If you would like to help sew or know of someone who would like to volunteer to sew or donate fabric or funds for our Michigan Chapter, please visit our website.