Grief Quilting

This past year has sure been something. The timeline is a little different for all of us depending on where we live, but about a year ago this week, things started to get a little scary. 


The Kelly Quilt in Rainbow - Kitchen Table Quilting
This quilt was auctioned off and the proceeds were donated to the local chapter of the United Way after forest fires devastated communities near my home in Oregon. 


We have all been affected by the pandemic in different ways and to different degrees, but we have all been affected. We have all missed out on a lot of the best parts of life for the past year and many of us have lost friends or loved ones - there is a lot to grieve. Grief is usually more isolated - an individual, a family, a town, or a region might experience a trauma and they grieve together. This past year grief has happened on a much larger scale - it is happening to all of us. 


Many of us have turned to quilting to help us cope and grieve what we have lost. Isn't it amazing that we had quilting to get us through it? It has been exciting to see an influx of first-time quilters and I have loved watching the quilting community grow as we support each other. 


2019 Quilts to be Donated
A stack of quilts that I donated to Project Linus last year.


This week on Instagram, I will be sharing stories of grief and how quilting helped heal. Several quilters have been kind enough to share their experiences and they are powerful. I think it helps to remember that grief is a part of life that we all experience, but we can work through it. 


It is amazing how quilting can be personally healing for us as the quilter, but it can also lead to healing for others. Whether we donate proceeds from a quilt, gift the quilt to a grieving friend or family member, or donate quilts to an organization, they continue to heal. 


Black Lives Matter Wall Quilt Pattern - Kitchen Table Quilting
I wrote a pattern for this mini quilt this past year and it was temporarily available in my shop - all of the proceeds from the pattern sales were donated to Campaign Zero.


About 6 years ago I had a miscarriage and was really struggling - I was surprised how difficult it was to recover emotionally from the experience and ended up making this quilt as a way to cope (you can read more about it here).  


charley harper baby quilt

We had waited several years after our 2nd child to try for a third and the loss of that pregnancy was devastating. I didn't want start a big project or something complicated, but I wanted to do something with my hands. I pulled out some beloved Charley Harper prints and some coordinating fabrics and got to work on a simple patchwork quilt.

DSC_7633-Edit

The process of making the quilt was soothing and healing. A few months later I was able to gift this quilt to my cousin for her new baby boy, and about a year later we welcomed our own baby boy into our family.

This past year, I have focused on making projects that I love and keeping my hands busy. I have worked to make more meaningful connections through social media. We have now done two Quiltalongs (Tessa and Violet). All of these things have helped.

Has quilting helped you this past year? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments. Make sure to follow along on Instagram to see the stories that I will be sharing from other quilters. 

8 comments

  1. Yes! Quilting has been a blessed retreat from everything happening in the world. In addition to the pandemic, I lost my mom right before Christmas. Sometimes I want a quilt project that challenges me, and sometimes I just want something mindless and easy to just sink into. Quilting can provide both, and I'm so glad to have it to turn to.

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    1. Oh I am so sorry - this is such a difficult time to lose a family member. I agree that quilting is great for mindless work and for challenging projects - it is such a blessing!

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  2. I started 4 quilts last year and just threw myself into quilting so I didn't have to think about the pandemic. 2 quilts are done, the 3rd one almost done and the 4th is on the floor so I can sandwich it. Sorry about your loss. Blessings to you and the new baby.

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  3. Quilting has been a blessing this year, but I've alternated with high productivity and with lack of any focus at all. Wishing I had been a quilter following my own miscarriage over 40 years ago. Your baby is just perfection!

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    1. I have had a lot of ups and downs this past year too - there are times when it is good to have busy hands and there are times when it is good to rest.

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  4. I lost my mom in October. She was an avid quilter and knitter. As I was going through her fabric and yarns I stumbled upon a few UFO’s that she had tucked away. It was very unusual for her to not finish a project once she started it. That was just how she was. So I have taken on finishing those UFO’s. It gives me great peace to hold and work on the fabrics her hands had also touched. I know she would love for them to be finished and gifted.

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    1. That is so wonderful! And I imagine that it would bring her a lot of joy to know that you are finishing them. What a wonderful way to honor your mother.

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