It is something you want to touch. You want to feel the textures of the different pieces of fabric. You want to feel the puffy areas between the stitching. And then you want to run your fingers over the names.
The edge of the quilt displays 108 names embroidered in gold thread. The more you know about these names, the more significant this quilt becomes.
The Women of Spirit quilt began as a way to raise funds for outreach. Everyone who made a $100 donation to the ministry could place the name of a special woman on the quilt.
As the names came in, they often came with stories. Alice Smith was honored as a teacher who "loved all her students and had a wonderful sense of humor." Edna Craik's name was put on the quilt by a woman she had helped bring back to the Lord. Jacqueline Gerrans was honored by her daughter. Leona Prestridge was remembered by a loving niece for going with her to a Pat Boone concert: in the rain.
You begin to realize that these are the kind of women who deserve the loving attention it takes to hand-stitch a quilt. Lydia Diller, of Hagerstown, Maryland, made the thousands of tiny, even stitches. Mae Baer, of Mercersberg, Pennsylvania, did the work of piecing the fabric together to make the pattern. "If you don't like it," she said when she presented the final design, "tell me. Don't tell someone else."
But she didn't need to worry. "We call it the miracle of the quilt," says former editor Penny Wheeler. "It's just a wonder that we found a pattern that all the women on our staff could agree on."
The money raised by the quilt is helping WoS continue ministry to the women in women's shelters and prisons.
Women of Spirit is currently working on a third quilt. Forty names have already been submitted. "When you see how much affirmation has been given by this first quilt, you just have to do it again," says former marketing representative Ginger Church. Even if you don't get to touch this quilt, you can still feel the love it shares.
To add a name to the next quilt, Click here