Creative Inspirations

The Quilters Christmas Gift

I know of no other group of people that are more giving than quilters.

On November 8th my sister Niña called me from her car as she and her boyfriend drove out of Paradise, California through the flames of the now infamous Camp Fire, leaving behind her home to burn to the ground.  The horror and profound loss of this instantaneous event left all of us stunned and feeling helpless. Besides the obvious basic needs, I wanted to send her comfort and joy.  Through the rallying of many quilters, a quilt was constructed and sent to them. 

In brief, here is the story of it’s making as written in the card that was sent with the gift:

“Dear Nini,

After the initial shock of your fire ordeal, my mind wandered through your destroyed home room by room seeing all you had lost. It was traumatizing because, while we all know that stuff is just stuff, so much of it represented comfort, heritage and memories.  

With that in mind I decided that what you needed most right now is comfort, and along with that, new memories and new heritage.  You needed a new quilt STAT!  You got to enjoy my quilt gifts to you and you got to enjoy the quilts you made for yourself, both now lost, so here is a new opportunity to enjoy another one while you cuddle up and feel the love that made it.

Here is the back story:

I knew there was no way I could make a new quilt fast enough so I sent out an email to a few of my quilters friends telling them the story of your loss and asking for a 12” block.  People jumped at the chance to help and spread the word. Blocks came tumbling in from Georgia, Maine, California, Vermont and New Hampshire and from people I have never met!  Someone even did the quilting for it as a gift and another stranger donated a gift certificate to a local quilt shop so I could get most of the fabric needed to complete it!  

I was able to gather everyones photos and on the front of this card you will see their smiling faces.  Each one said it was their honor to contribute.  There is a lot of love dripping from this quilt and a lot of tears of witness to it.  I hope you enjoy this as a symbol of new beginnings and of how there are really are people is this world who care. And it just so happens, most of them are quilters!

Love, Jane

P.S.  It is interesting to note that many of the people who made these blocks were going through their own ordeal; under-going chemotherapy, preparing for a bilateral lung transplant, caring for a friend in her last few days on this earth, hobbling with a back injury, colds and the flu. And of course making Thanksgiving dinner!! These are not only a gift of art but gifts of time and strength.

P.S.P.S  Some of the blocks came in after the quilt top was completed so I turned them into pillows that harmonize with the quilt.”

the quilt
Ninis pillows
QUilters care collage

“Dear quilters,

Last night I slept under a gorgeous quilt made by your hands. I swear I could feel the tender loving care enveloping me, AND it arrived the same morning as my new bed!  [She had been sleeping on a blow up mattress on the floor]
The destruction of my home and personal belongings has been difficult, but the hardest part is losing “things” with memories and connections attached to them. …family treasures, vacation mementos, friend’s gifts, art, and it just goes on from there. While those things are gone, I also lost my community. All of you who participated in creating this new memory and piece of art for me, are  now a part of my new community and my rich new memories! 
I have my first treasure with names and faces attached! Every block is cherished, and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Thank you so much! Love, Niña

Niña and I Easter 2018 in her lovely backyard, now gone.

16 thoughts on “The Quilters Christmas Gift”

  1. Wow, Jane, had no idea your sister was among those hit ny this awful tragedy. So sorry for her loss, but so glad she has you and your generous quilter friends supporting her. A heartwarming story… Merry Christmas…

  2. Thank you sooooo much for sharing this story. Wishing you and David a wonderful holiday and healthy, creative new year,


    Sent from my iPad


  3. Jane this is the sweetest story. My quilt group made me a quilt also. Such big hearts! Much love, Sally

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Yes Sally, so touching. I remembering seeing your post of your quilt too which is how I finally figured out you had lost your home in the Santa Rosa fire!!! Wish I could have participated for you. Such a brave person you are and such a model of how to keep embracing our art as therapy. Merry Christmas! ox

  4. I love this, I really do. Seeing these words today helps me somehow. It really was/is a beautiful thing that all of you did for us Sis! Thanks again. Love, Nini

    On Sun, Dec 23, 2018 at 3:26 AM janebalshaw creative studios wrote:

    > janebalshaw creative posted: “I know of no other group of people that are > more giving than quilters. On November 8th my sister Niña called me from > her car as she and Joe drove out of Paradise, California through the flames > of the now infamous Camp Fire, leaving behind their home to b” >

  5. Jane, what a beautiful thing you did for your sis….. I just love this blog you wrote😉👍🏼❤️
    I can’t wait to see the quilt in person.

  6. So many people lost everything, it was such a terrible tragedy. What you and your friends did for your sister was wonderful. There are so many kind hearted people.

    1. Thank you Karen. What little comfort we could have offered them…. all of them are still struggling so. Amazing what one has to go through to get up and running again! So happy she has nice quilt to curl up under.

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