Katie had a quilt (mentioned in an earlier blog posting) which she took with her to the hospital, by grace. I think I also mentioned that I am very much a BEGINNING seamstress, yet I had made that particular quilt, with help from Rita, who is an ADVANCED seamstress (among her many other talents). It was very well-loved, all the way to the day Katie passed away. She took it everywhere she went during her illness, to every scan, procedure and appointment. She slept with it. I have been sleeping with it myself, since she passed away. This is a photo of it, folded so that you can see both sides. It is soft as a whisper, threadbare in places, torn open in others from wear, use, love, service. It has satin binding and is flannel on one side, with cotton quilt fabric on the other. The colors (primarily yellows) coordinate well. The quilt fabric has different state flowers on it. When we were really bored, sometimes we would study those. I am so grateful to be the person whose hands made a gift that gave Katie comfort every single day.
Since Katie got so much comfort from that blanket, I was thinking how good it might be to make them for other kids...particularly those who may end up at the hospital in shock, like we did. If you had to go to the hospital suddenly, possibly far away from home, would it be nice to find a soft, thick, warm, handmade blanket at the end of your unfamiliar bed? I think it might. I spoke to several friends who sew, and everyone agreed.
Maribeth is one of those friends. MB is a cancer survivor herself. Whenever she would sing a solo in church, I would sit in a pew, listening and crying, because I was so happy that she survived. She is one of the first people I called the day that Katie's tumor was discovered. She has been a rock for me throughout this whole nightmare, one of the people I can bare my deepest feelings to, complain, laugh, be appropriate or inappropriate with, dark or light...and know that whatever is, is okay. She and I (and Katie) share a similar sense of humor, and she NEVER patronizes. She loved Katie dearly, and they had quite the bantering relationship over the years.
MB's daughter, Taylor, was one of Katie's teenage role models. We call her "da bomb," because she is so pretty, talented and sweet. Katie and I would always go to see MB and Taylor perform in local musical theatre productions. Katie loved watching her friends on stage, and they inspired her to try the BPA Theatre School, which she loved very much.
When Katie was sick, she and Taylor spent many hours watching their favorite movies, sitting on the couch or on Katie's bed, relaxing together. Katie could just be silent with Tay, and they could do nothing, very happily together. Taylor was a great comfort to Katie, and brought joy to her last weeks. She was one of the few people who were always welcome in Katie's room.
Taylor decided to take on the quilts as her Senior Project in high school. She is going to assemble simple quilt kits for people to purchase; the proceeds will go to Children's Hospital, and the blankets can be sewed from the kits, and donated to the Hospital, if the buyer wishes.
So today, MB and I tried our hands at sewing a prototype, since we need one to show to family and friends who will want to buy the kits. It is flannel on one side, and cotton quilt fabric on the other, with satin binding, like Katie's. It turned out well, and it was really fun to work on it together. I can see this becoming a good thing; it's therapeutic, and a good time to chat, while accomplishing something worthwhile. As the project gets underway, I will post more info.