People, Pillows, Love and Second Chances

Quilt's are love. That's something I've believed for a long time. The time and energy it takes to make them is no light endeavor. Quilters don't make a quilt unless they really want to. Piecing together the top from cut bits of fabric, quilting all the layers together, and finishing it with binding on the edges takes a lot of work and time. The completed quilt itself is something that will keep you warm and can be hugged. Quilts are love.

I work with a lot of quilts. Sometimes I make new quilts out of old fabrics. Sometimes I work with other quilts that have been what we call loved to death. That means the once perfect patchwork is getting worn through, the threads might be breaking or batting from the inside coming through. At this stage, some get demoted to being dog beds or tossed in the trash. I like to do my best to repurpose the salvageable parts and make something new. That way these quilts, made with love, can continue on with a new life and new purpose.

Recently I was asked to work on a special project for a local organization called Chosen Vessel Ministries. They serve women who have been incarcerated or are in substance addiction recovery. They help them to understand that they are still loved, to love themselves and find purpose in their life. These are women that many in society would be quick to write off or overlook.

This program takes the time to reach these women who are at their lowest and lift them back up with love. This is no simple or easy undertaking, yet their director, Linda Barnes, has been at it for years. She leads programs that help women better themselves and rebuild their families. She hosts individual and group counseling sessions in the Memphis area and she also leads workshops for women serving sentences in prison.

She asked if I could create some pillows that would make the local offices feel more home like, to make the space a bit more comforting. This project seemed like the perfect way to give a second chance to quilts and fabrics that have been cast aside. She requested pillows that would work with the existing paint and furniture and a few brighter ones for the children who visit. So I set about making a dozen pillows.

Some of them are made with fabrics that were formerly bed sheets. Some of them are made from former quilts that had been worn through in places. On one older quilt I discovered someone had embroidered meandering flowers on the backside, like a secret garden. I was able to cut out sections that didn't have holes to make some of the pillows. As I sewed up each pillow I put in a prayer of hope and love. May they bring comfort to those who need it, may everything and everyone know they are loved, find purpose and fulfilling ways to serve.

The work of Chosen Vessels Ministries is based on the scripture, "I was in prison and you came to visit me," Matthew 25:26. You can find out more about them by clicking here.

The pillows for children with newer fabrics.

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