When you work at a quilt store, your customers become like family. They share with you the projects they are working on, tell the stories behind the quilts, and you learn when and why they started quilting. The employees at Quilt Expressions are often asked for their opinion on which quilt pattern to use, help finding fabrics that work best together and help determine which quilting design will work best with the quilt top. We have the honor of admiring their finished projects before they are wrapped up for gift giving.
This morning, we had the privilege of recognizing a milestone with one of our friends, Phyllis. Phyllis is a familiar face at Quilt Expressions, spending the majority of her time on the long arm side of the store. New customers often take a peek at what our long arm customers are working on, and Phyllis always greets them with a smile and is willing to answer any questions they might have.
Like many of us, Phyllis started sewing when she was in the seventh grade in her school’s Home Economics class. As an adult, she sewed most of her three daughters’ clothes and created handcrafted gifts from the scraps. In 2008, after retiring, she was able to dedicate more of her time to making quilt tops. She sent a couple of tops in to Quilt Expressions for us to quilt. In 2012, her daughter gave her a gift certificate and told her that it was to be used for our long arm class. Phyllis took the class in August 2012 and came in to quilt her first quilt top one month later.
Today, 26 months after taking the class, she quilted her 100th quilt. That in itself is an accomplishment. However, what makes her story so inspiring is what she does with her quilts. Most of her quilts are either donated or given away as gifts. Last year, Phyllis donated 45 quilts, and she already has 25 completed quilts in her donate pile for 2015.
Donating quilts to those in need is an endeavor that is dear to Phyllis’ heart. When her daughter was just twenty five years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. She was treated by and later passed away at St. Luke’s Children’s hospital. A good majority of the quilts that Phyllis donates are to the hospital. She makes lap-sized quilts for the older boys and girls, from 9 – 23 years of age. As she makes each one, she thinks of her daughter. Sewn into each quilt is the generosity and care of a mother’s love, with the hope that the recipient will find comfort beneath it’s folds.
Thank you, Phyllis, for your inspiring spirit of giving.