There are man reasons why people quilt. Like, perhaps, all forms of handwork, quilting seems to incite introspection, dreams, memories, and much more as our mind and soul become immersed in the process of making something. There is something very powerful in quilts as well as the making (and receiving!) of quilts. I thought I would offer up what others are saying, and doing, in regards to this topic.
First up is a website I found, Quilt Therapy, where you can find free patterns as well!
The author of the site states how they came across their first quilt through a classmate whose grandmother made quilts. They asked to have one made for them and have never looked back as they discovered the magic and therapeutic nature of quilts! The author states:
“You see, I was orphaned when I was 11-years-old and lived in five different foster homes (my four siblings and I were sent to live in different places), never really feeling at home or loved in any of them – I was alone and lonely, no matter where I lived. I knew that if I could make a quilt that would give someone a feeling of home and love, then that’s what I needed to do! I have been quilting ever since and have gleefully made ‘home and love quilts’ for other kids, some of whom needed the little bit of snuggly love that only a quilt can bring – no matter where they are!”
Another individual, Rona the Ribbeter, writes an article, More Than a Hobby, Quilting is Therapy: How quilting changed my life. Her story is really wonderful and likely not uncommon as we are all seemingly looking for a place where we belong? She talks of utter anxiety and panic attacks and how she was really a recluse. She quilted but was alone. Through various small steps, such as working for a fabric store and learning how to talk to people, she slowly grew as a person and a quilter.
She began to connect to people, sharing ideas and projects and learned to be more confident in all aspects of life. She began teaching and found confidence and more! She states:
“Quilting has literally brought me to life. Quilting has given me a path, a purpose. Quilting has given me strength and courage. We are more than just random people with a similar ‘hobby’. We are a community. A tribe. Thick and thin, we are Quilters.”
Up next is a simple blog post about quilting and the devastating nature of current events and how that can impact our well being. Cooking Up Quilts by Beth Sellers is not a blog about mental health but her one particular post, and her journey into a mini quilt, is relevant to everyone I think. She states, “While I don’t think this post is actually a mood killer, it does come from a place of sadness. It has to, because the sadness I feel is the inspiration for this mini quilt.” Her post refers to a Dallas shooting in June of 2016, but it could clearly be about any of the incredibly devastating acts of violence that happen all too often. Her mini quilt journey is a journey into contemplation as well as a journey into design. It all stems around expressing oneself in times of weakness and the paths that lie within finding solace? It is a subtle and beautiful little quilt!
The last article to examine is from nextavenue. The Creative Art of Quilting by Marijke Vroomen Druning is an article that talks of how quilting can restore/maintain one’s health. This article is fascinating and enlightening. It speaks of several individuals who have had experience with the health properties of quilting, such as Ricky Tims. Another is Dana Howell, program director of the occupational therapy department at Eastern Kentucky University. Having experienced the benefits of quilting and the quilting community Howell went on to write about the restorative nature of quilting. Druning states the following in regards to Howell:
“Quilting can help patients regain mobility, particularly if they have had a neurological deficit from a stroke or brain injury, said Howell. ‘There are multiple studies to show that actually performing a task is much better than simulating it,’ she added. You can have a patient picking fabric and reaching for it with her or his dominant arm, she explained. ‘Even if they don’t have the motor control to actually quilt at that moment, we can do lots of things to engage them in the quilting process.’”
This particular article has a lot of fascinating information and well worth the read, as are all the other articles I have offered up. I think anyone who quilts, or loves quilts, can easily understand the healing and nurturing nature of quilts!
If you want to check out more Quilty goodness, check out these!