After using the theme of QUILTS with children at the shelter and the Seniors Group at the community center, it was time to bring the same theme to my dearest original Quilt Group friends.
I consider myself flexible...I have to be. When I was told I couldn't use the private room with my group, I was happy to spread out the quilt in the main living area. I've bragged about how we can gather around the quilt and the world behind us disappears. Well, maybe not.
Where is the Magic in The Magic Quilt?
The Quilt didn't seem to be doing its' job of blocking out the world. I had to holler over the pounding of a new remodeling job. I had to ignore the gentleman behind me who repeatedly announced, "You are my Sweetheart!" I had to assist numerous residents who wandered towards the colorful quilt with a concern, or a desire to take away some of the intriguing books or props. And as much as I love the animals at the Center, I kept having to shoo Thomas (a gigantic hound dog) from the snacks at our table.
Maybe it was just the pounding that set everything off. Like an elementary classroom on a rainy day, everything seemed agitated. At one point I looked across the table to see my dear mother, who was once a writer and collector of books, tearing 2 pages out of one of mine. I rushed around the table and handed her a quilted bib to examine, then tucked the book away.
The Last Word
But despite all the distraction, we did manage to sing some songs and share some stories. We even made a list of all the words that came to mind with the idea of a quilt.
Our goal was 45 words and Margaret came up with the last one. "Sleep" she said softly, with a smile. I loved that.
One More Try
The next week I lugged the same stuff back. We had the private dining room to ourselves this time. The magic returned to the quilt and I had to smile as I listened to the quiet voices around the table.
One of my favorite book lovers kept gasping at the beautiful designs in a book of quilts. Then I looked over a few minutes later and she was reading a poem called "Colors" to Harriet.
Harriet and Neva admired a patchwork design made years ago, by a good friend of mine. Then Rita and Libby spread out a piece of stitched work that was even older. It was made by Rita's mother. I was touched to know the "Quilt Theme" had inspired Rita to bring in something special to share.
And then we pulled out the words we'd written a week earlier on squares of paper. The women reminded me of quilters longs ago, deciding which colors looked good next to each other...changing their minds and shuffling the squares...
Our Word Quilt
And before long the words were laid out the way they liked. Their words...comfort, soft, safe...
And what I learned...
Sometimes I need more than the quilt to bring folks together to focus. The walls helped give our second group a more thoughtful gathering. But I guess the quilt was still doing its' welcoming job even in the middle of the large living space with dogs and pounding. There were folks who joined us for just a while, or listened to us sing from across the room. There were even caregivers and staff members who stopped by to add a remark or to flip through a book.
Maybe I don't always need to isolate the Quilt Group. Hmmm?
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.