Quilting For Peace
I am not a quilter. The only quilt I ever made was baby size.
But I really enjoyed reading Katherine Bell's Quilting For Peace:
Make The World A Better Place One Stitch At A Time. It shows so many
ways groups and individuals use crafts talents (and sometimes recycled
or discontinued materials) to make a real difference.
There are not enough shelter beds for 750,000 people who are
homeless on any given night in America. Many end up sleeping in
doorways or under bridges. When Flo Wheatly started thinking on the
problem she asked her kids to give her old clothes and designed a
quilt sleeping bag. The first year she and her family gave away
eight. Then people started donating materials and time. These days
The Sleeping Bag Project distributes 6,000 bags a year along with
To The Top and Quilts of Valor create quilts for wounded
warriors. The former was started by a bereaved mother who lost her
only son in Afghanistan. Between the two groups over 18,000 quilts to
injured veterans. Volunteers from as far away as Iceland have been
involved in creating them.
Emergency responders encounter children in their most vulnerable
moments at crises such as fires, domestic violence scenes, and
domestic violence calls. Firehouse Quilts makes a special kind of
quilt--large enough to comfort a child but compact enough to fit into
a fire truck cab--to be distributed by these modern day heroes.
Those are just three of the dozens of organizations richly
described in Quilting For Peace. There is even one, Mother's Comfort
Project, that makes cage comforters for animals in shelters that
actually increase adoption and decrease euthenasia rates. Each
chapter gives ways to learn more about and help a specific group.
Many of the patterns are included.
Motivated readers may find groups to link up with in person or
...or come up with ideas of their own. That's what happened to
me. When I started reading the book I had just come from a coffee
hour the UMaine International Students Organization puts on Friday
evenings during the school year. Recently, to combat fears of
prospective international students, we made a You Are Welcome Here
video. So those words were on my mind. Suddenly an idea popped into
my head. Maybe hand crafted useful objects could help reassure
international students of their being very much wanted. Some could be
quilts. But some could be other things. I knit and crochet beautiful
scarves. Some people make mittens and socks. And nothing says loving
like something from the oven. You know? This could be a way also to
build more university-community connections. I guess the summer will
be a good time to get things started.
On a personal note, I'm about to take the bus to Orono for the first
day of our fabulous Clean Sweep: the yard sale all the other yard
sales wish they were. I am wondering what effect the pouring rain
will have on attendance.
[Unsolicited advice for anyone who is not exactly up for a day or
night's weather. What you can't change is the precip, lack thereof,
temp etc. What you can change is your attitude. So unless you're in
the middle of something like Hurricane Katrina, be happy and your day
will go better. Trust me on this].
A great big shout out goes out to my clean sweep crew, our fearless
and peerless leader, Lisa, and all who are willing to brave the
elements to glean the treasures we have to offer.
Sent from my iPod