By Patricia Belyea
POULSBO WA If I could make a generalization about quilters, I would say they care about home and hearth, comfort and care.
Last night I spoke to Kitsap Quilters, a generous guild that meets in charming Poulsbo, Washington. The meeting hall at First Lutheran Church is huge, with lots of room for seating the guild’s 100 or so members.
Along the perimeter, signs on long folding tables announced the group’s various activities: an immense library, an innovative gadget library, a free fabric exchange, an in-house quilt program, cuddle quilts for at-risk babies, doll quilts for local emergency services, and quilts for hospice patients. (The guild is also active with Quilts of Valor.)
I was standing at the Hospice Quilts table when Gladys Schultz delivered four quilts—ones she made in the last month. These were not low-grade, no-one-wants-this-fabric kind of quilts. They were spectacular in design and expert in their craftsmanship.
Gladys is displaying one of her donated quilts in the large photo. The Nancy Crow-style blocks were UFOs from another member with Gladys adding sashing, artistic quilting on her mid-arm, and binding.
These quilts, given to patients in their final days, are delivered to the hospice facility affiliated with Harrison Medical Center. The comfort of a quilt made by a complete stranger is such a special gift—not just for the patient, but later for the bereaved family.
As my 89-year old father continues his battle with stage four lung cancer, I know that one day he will be in hospice care. When the time comes, I’ve reminded my mother to take the quilt I made for him, My Father’s House, to the hospice ward of Jubiliee Hospital in Victoria. It’s my intent to be at my father’s side but I also want my love for him to radiate through my patched-together creation.
I salute Gladys for her amazing work. And so does her guild as Gladys will be the featured artist at their show next February.