Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Stitch In Time

I have to admit that I don't consider myself very crafty. Part of it is a time issue.  I just don't always make time to do things like that for myself.  Another part of it is some issues I have with perfectionism. Sometimes, I drive myself absolutely crazy if I make something and it's not just so. But I'm working on it.

My mom did teach me to cross stitch as a young girl though, and that's a hobby I do still like to do.  Over the years, I've made placemats, pillowcases, baby bibs and even a Thanksgiving-themed apron for my aunt.  Currently, I mostly do baby bibs for family and friends. The first reason for that is time. They don't take nearly as long as some the projects (I spent YEARS working on a picture I cross stitched for my mom as a gift at my wedding). The second reason is that I can do it in the car while Kyle drives us to and from therapy and doctor's appointments.  Fortunately I don't tend to get carsick, and I can still visit with Kyle while I work.

The biggest trend these days in crafting seems to be quilting, a skill I have never even attempted, although it's something I do admire.  We have several handmade quilts that have been given to us as presents, and they are some of my very favorite things.  Grace even has several that were handmade for her, and we still use them to snuggle.

These are the flyers for the quilt raffle fundraiser.
Yes, quilts are very special.  And we certainly have a story about a special quilt.

Several weeks ago, a longtime family friend, Helen Brinkman, contacted my mom about the possibility of doing a quilt raffle as a fundraiser for the INAD study.  She had a quilt that was entirely handmade by a neighbor of hers, that's been gone for many years now. 

Helen said she was cleaning up the house and came across the quilt, which had been preserved in her cedar chest. It was the last quilt made by her friend, the late Flossie Simonin. After checking to see if either of her sons wanted the quilt, Helen decided she wanted to do something really special. She told me that she just couldn't bear the thought of it ending up on a $5 rack at an antique store someday.

We took this photo for a news item before the quilt was raffled off.
She partnered with her church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Hillsboro, to do the quilt raffle, and they started selling tickets just before Easter.  Tickets were $1 each or six for $5, and when Grace and I stopped by the church to get our photo taken for a news item, they had already sold over 100 tickets.

We offered to let them sell tickets at the newspaper office, and they also sold them at the church's annual spaghetti dinner (it's always one of our favorite fundraisers).  Our newspaper editor, Mike, had to make posters for the spaghetti dinner, because they were afraid the quilt would smell like garlic if it was on display at the dinner. Mike contended that might be a perk.

All the kids took a turn at mixing up the tickets, including one of Grace's classmates, Conner.
They decided to draw for the quilt on Mother's Day, and we decided we would go to the church that day to show our appreciation for all they had done for our family. 

After the service was over, they let each of the kids take a turn and mixing up thousands (yes, you read that right, I wrote thousands) of tickets before the official drawing, which was done by the former pastor's son, Jeff Sandlin.  The lucky winner was Tracy Austin, and the raffle itself raised more than $2,100.  The church added an extra $500 donation to the pot from their spaghetti dinner.

Jeff Sandlin drew the winning ticket for the quilt raffle!
We were completely blown away.  The kindness and generosity of our AWESOME community continues to astound us over and over again.  One of the most touching parts of the story was a donation from the quilter's son. He sent a contribution to Washington University for the study, and said he felt like his mom would have been pleased at how the quilt was used.

The official check presentation with the lucky quilt winner.
I may never take up quilting, but I will keep working on my cross stitch projects. Who knows, maybe someday they will be used for a really special fundraiser.  I can't think of anything better.


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