Another Quilting Bee

There is nothing quite like quilting being shared with friends, however when you share the love that goes into a quilt with a complete stranger the love ties together an entire community. It is this very same “community bond” that has been going on very many years and every year it amazes me how loving our community is to those in need.
This year was the 18th year that the Interfaith Hospitality Network has held a Quilting Bee. This is the 18th year that it has been held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center as far as I am aware. I would say that it is the 18th year that it was held by the same Stake in the church, but the stake has changed since then. It was originally the Cypress Texas Stake but it is the Klein Texas Stake now. Still the same community is affected by this charity. Those affected by it have grown over the years, however. Instead of only impacting the lives of those that go through the NAM (Northwest Assistance Ministries) Charities it also impacts those that go through the SOS (Society of Samaritans) of Magnolia. Both charitable foundations service our stake boundaries and directly impact the lives of those people in our area. The IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network) is a big charity chair in the community and I am grateful to be apart of a church that chooses to participate in fulfilling these needs instead of hide from these needs. Local people helping local people.
Anyway, this year I was the Quilting Specialist in our ward (Memorial Springs Ward). This is one of my four “callings” in the ward. The Quilting Specialist is a special calling in our area because of the Quilting Bee and how closely knit our Stake is to it. Like I said this has been going on for 18 years. In 18 years, it is likely that you will get called to this position at least once if you have any sewing skills at all. My mother has served. I knew my time would come, eventually. 
I was actually quite grateful to take the calling because I was around in the original Stake when the Quilting Bee was originally started. I knew what the “spirit” of the Quilting Bee was. I felt that the spirit had been lost in the mundane task of getting the quilts done. We had forgotten what it was all about, I felt. The entire purpose of the Quilting Bee is to learn to quilt and to share your talents with those in needs. It is not about perfection or about turning out the most quilts. It is about love, learning, and sharing. This does not mean that we should turn in awful projects, but it does not mean that they have to be intricate pieces of art either. It means that what we make with our hands with love, touches peoples lives with our hearts. The beauty of it is that we may not know what the impact of each quilt is, we just know that we did them and what the final count is for the year. The lasting impact is unknown. The lives that are touched will be forever marked on the hearts of those receiving these gifts of love. That is the spirit of the Quilting Bee.
This year, it was my turn to lead the troops so to speak and get the job done. To help the Memorial Springs Ward not only meet the Klein Texas Stake’s challenge to turn in so many quilts, but to rise above that. To go above and beyond. My personal goal in this as the Quilting Specialist was to get sisters that had never sewn or quilted before sewing. I accomplished that. We had a phenomenal turn out. As a result, we had a great success in this year’s Quilting Bee on a ward level.

He we are with our first 11 quilts tagged and ready to turn in. Left to right: Tracy Jackson, Me (Stacey Sansom), Sister Goodrich, and Sister Ririe.

We found that our Sister Missionaries were a great asset on the quilting front. I am sure they were not aware that they would be sewing a lot when they opened their mission call a few months ago, but they learned that we do things a little differently here in the Klein Texas Stake and they got a lot of service hours in. For what it was worth, they both knew how to sew and we used every minute of service they were willing to offer between their teaching appointments. They were awesome in helping get things done!

The work is not done the day of the event. Here are some of the ladies in the Memorial Springs Ward tying a quilt to submit. Left to right: Unknown individual (she sat down and helped us), Tamlyn Peltier, and Tracy Jackson. The best part of this event is that you meet some new and interesting people from the community. There is plenty of work to be done and you can sit down and help wherever there is room for you. We welcomed the help.

There is a lot of work that goes into getting quilts ready to submit the day of the Quilting Bee, but we have to have something to do that day. This quilt was assembled as a group effort. Tracy Jackson took it home and finished assembling the quilt top, however. I then took it and basted the layers together on my mother’s long arm quilting machine. The quilt was then bound and completely ready to go aside from needing to be tied the day of the event.

The beautiful Sister Missionaries serving in the Memorial Springs Ward – Sister Riorie and Sister Goodrich (left to right). They were a big help in getting quilts ready this year. They helped sew a lot of bindings on quilts.

Ready to turn in another 8 quilts. Left to right: Sister Riorie, me (Stacey Sansom), and Sister Goodrich.

The submitted quilts on display in the chapel. It is amazing to see them all draped over the pews. What you cannot see from this picture is that they go from wall to wall (to the left and the right). It is amazing. This year there were 425 quilts submitted on the day of the Quilting Bee. That does not include the ones that were not completed and will be submitted in the following couple of weeks. I have one here that needs finishing for example. The Memorial Springs Ward submitted 21 quilts today. When we are done we should have 24-25 quilts submitted. It was a successful year. Many lives will be touched this year by these quilts.

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