For the last several years, The Quilter’s Trunk, 10352 S Western, has had a program where its customers make quilts and pillowcases for AND families. These handmade gifts bring hope and comfort to families as they make the journey from victim to survivor.
The publicity surrounding this program caught the attention of an AND supporter and survivor, Joanie. * She came to the office in the fall with quilt squares that belonged to her great grandmother. She wondered if they could be used to make a quilt for someone.
Rita Ryan, AND’s domestic violence counselor, and Kristy Arditti, AND’s children’s therapist, were extremely touched by Joanie’s kind gesture, but decided that if a quilt was to be made from what might be historically significant family squares, it should be made for her. They decided they would do this as a surprise for Joanie for Christmas.
Enter Mary Ann Hutchinson. Mary Ann, a quilter from St. Louis Missouri, was contacted by a mutual friend in a quilter’s guild. Mary Ann was intrigued with the project and agreed to look at the squares and try to incorporate them into a new quilt. She was not afraid of the delicate squares as she had experience with restoring and reproducing historical quilts. She asked for $100 to buy the materials for the quilt, but said she would donate the money back when she finished, which she did. She also said she would try to provide some history about the squares.
Rita and Kristy presented Joanie with the beautiful lap quilt pictured below. Mary Ann was able to use many of the squares to recreate it. Joanie learned from Mary Ann that the quilt squares appeared to be “feedsack” fabrics. In the 1930’s, companies bagging and selling feed for farm animals bagged the feed in printed fabric bags. Women used the bags to make clothes for their children and the leftover pieces were used for quilts. Mary Ann called this practice, “Recycling at its best.”
For Joanie, this was more than just recycling. She said through her tears that “No one had ever given her a gift like this.” She added that she felt the shapes and colors of the quilt in many ways reminded her of her life, a kaleidoscope of the past and present. The quilt gave her the hope and joy needed to look forward to the future and take her life in a new direction.
The holidays are a time to reconnect with family. When someone’s family is broken through losses like abuse, it isn’t always easy to find a way to make that connection. Thank you, Mary Ann Hutchinson, for helping AND piece together Joanie’s family history and reconnect her with her great grandmother. It made for a historical and healing holiday!
*Joanie is a fictitious name used to protect the identity of AND’s client.