Goodbye Grumblings

Find the good

Quilters sew comfort

In May, the Alberta city of Fort McMurray burned. People across Canada watched as residents fled with what little they had time to pack or could carry. Videos of near escapes, of cars driving through smoke, of houses in flames riveted our attention. Seeing the images and listening to the stories told in shell-shocked voices was heart-wrenching. We donated, we watched the stories, we hoped or prayed for the people and the community. I thought about people returning, later, to a burnt, unfamiliar landscape without trees to soften it.

The Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild decided to offer comfort in quilt form. The group put out a call for squares in the colours of the Alberta flag, hoping for enough to make 10 quilts.

From across Canada squares came, from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland. Hundreds and hundreds of squares — enough to make a hundred quilts. Once the group is finished assembling the quilts in October, a moving company will take them to Fort McMurray for free.

I was thrilled to hear about this gesture of love and support on the morning news. I can sew what I need to sew — hems, buttons, straightforward holes. It’s a challenge for me to do those little things without entangling myself and poking holes in my fingers, and I truly admire people who know how to sew and who create beautiful projects. I find the accomplishment of making a quilt rather marvellous. And after sleeping under a handmade quilt recently, I have a new appreciation for the comforting feeling of a good, solid quilt.

I like to imagine these quilts as works of art permeated with love and kind thoughts, sewed in with every stitch, by strangers on different continents. When they are delivered to people who have had to start over, I’m certain that the gesture and the quilts themselves will provide physical comfort as well as an emotional lift. But there’s another great thing about a gift like this. It makes people feel good to do something good for others. I’m certain that the people who devoted their skill, energy and time to this project felt helpful, useful and kind. That’s an excellent double benefit right there!

The fire was destructive and terrifying, and nothing can erase it. But hearing about the kindness of strangers who got organized and motivated people from around the world to help…. this is some good I’m very glad to have heard about.

And there’s more good being done by quilters! This week I received an email newsletter from Yarn Forward, an Ottawa store that offers supplies and classes for quilting, sewing, crocheting, knitting, etc. I came across an item describing quilters getting together in the heat of summer to make Fidget Quilts.

Fidget Quilts are small, about 60 to 80 centimetres square, and incorporate a variety of colours and textures. They provide comfort for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients, who often move their hands restlessly over their clothing or bedding. They may have ribbons, buttons trapped within layers of fabric, zippers, hidden pockets, and even small toys firmly attached.

I’m grateful that I heard about these kindnesses, because they remind me that there are an awful lot of talented and thoughtful people out there, going about their business and quietly making the world a better place.

Please share your stories about the good people do, through crafts or any other way. You can reach me at susan at or leave a comment on the blog.



About GrumblingSusan

Word lover. Story addict. Daydreamer. Optimist. Ottawan. Treehugger. Scouter.

One Reply

  1. You have found some very good news! Thanks for passing it along.
    I’m going to look up this fidget quilt thing…

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