By Christine Smith
When Bill Topash saw the quilted wall hanging, he knew it had a special story to tell, and as he accepted the quilt on behalf of the Mountain View Hospital Hospice program, he encouraged the quilters to tell their stories.
Topash is a volunteer hospice coordinator for the hospice department, and the quilt is a group project from a group of women at the United Methodist Church.
It has been donated to raise funds for the patients and their families who are in the care of the hospice program.
Titled "Beautiful Bessie," the quilt tells a colorful story of home and farm. Each square was sewn by a different seamstress, and each quilt block reflects that person.
Before it arrived at the hospital, the quilt was presented to the church's congregation where Pastor Janet Farrell blessed it.
The completed wall hanging is on display at the reception desk by the front door of the hospital. Raffle tickets are $2 each, or six tickets for $10. The hospice fundraiser will be completed during the month of November. The hospice staff can answer questions at (541) 475-3882, Ext. 2310.
There are 13 blocks in all. Some were assembled by novice quilters, some by more experienced ones. Carol Elliott completed the center block, of Bessie, adding a real miniature cowbell to her work.
"I just like cows," she said. Maura Schwartz completed the first square she has ever tried. It is the top left block. Another member of the group found the pattern for her. Not knowing that one can cut the pattern apart and add a seam allowance to cut her fabric pieces, Maria figured out all the pieces by carefully folding and cutting by hand.
Mina Hartshorn's beautiful square on the bottom row is a work of art, featuring a farm house with a blue door.
"I just figured that a farmhouse needs lots of flowers growing around it. The pattern was originally 32 pieces, so I combined and redrew some of them," she said.
Many blocks represent the personal experiences of their makers. Judith Bowden's block (at the left edge) has a hot air balloon worked into the design. Judith experienced a balloon ride at last year's Collage of Culture.
"I like the balloon, but I won't go again. No, it wasn't the ride, it was the landing," she said. Pat Hastings patterned her block (on the bottom row) after a horse her granddaughter owns, whose name starts with a W. There is a big W in her design, which features a barn and rope-lined windows with horses in them.
Dorothy Zimmerman's block (at the top right hand side) has a person in the window of the barn, wearing fabric inspired by a stole that the church pastor wears.
Another block is interactive. Tracy Matthews fashioned hers with barn doors that open to reveal a cow. (Hers is in the lower right corner.)
During her presentation, Schwartz noted that at a recent lecture about quilting, the presenter made the point that "quilts, especially community quilts like this one, are an incredible fabric of our community, literally binding it together."
The quilters completed the wall hanging in less than a month, beginning at the first of March. Each block was quilted by its maker, and then the blocks were pieced together by a small group of the more experienced sewers. A signature piece is on the reverse side with the names of all the quilters.