Sunday, November 4, 2012

Project 40

Dad's Quilt in progress.  Held by my sons.

This story is a bit windy.  If you are looking for the Project 40 details just scroll to the bottom.

Years ago my Dad requested that I make him a quilt.  And not just any quilt...He wanted a King-size quilt!  So I started it.  I made the top in a reasonable amount of time.  Then the real question arrived---How do I quilt this thing?!!  I finally made the executive decision to hand quilt it (yes, you read that right!).  Truly, I must have been on hallucinogens to think that it would ever be completed. 

Well years passed and I worked on it in dribs and drabs.  I would make some headway and then lose interest or life would squeeze quilting out of my day/week/month. 

Then a terrible thing happened.  Everything changed.  My Dad had a stroke following heart surgery this year and is now being cared for in a nursing home.  Oddly enough, hand quilting has helped me through these past months.  I've stitched and prayed.  I showed the quilt to my friend, Sarah, and she pushed me to work on it every day and get it finished.  I have. 

As I near completion on this quilt, my heart is sad.  Lots of regret.  Sorrow over things past, things that will never come to be.  I wanted my Dad to love this quilt and feel my love and God's love stitched into it. 

I doubt my Dad will ever come home from the nursing home.  He's very impulsive and frequently confused.  My siblings and I can't figure out how to keep him safe without 24-hour care. 

I'll keep this quilt in hopes that my Dad will come home to his King-size bed again, but my heart of hearts knows the truth.  He won't.

As far as giving him the quilt anyway, this mega-quilt would certainly overwhelm my Dad's room at the nursing home.  Gee, it might even be as big as his room. I can just hear the nurse screaming "Code Quilt" as they try to keep The Quilt from smothering the poor man!

Dad goofing off with Grandchildren December 2011
So the quilt is not meant to be.  I know you're thinking, "Well duh, Girl!  Make a smaller quilt!"  You're right, but he already has a more reasonable sized quilt from me.  So he really is covered in the quilting department...I just wanted him to have this special quilt.  Ok, enough about the quilt.

Since his stroke, my Dad forgets that his children love him, care about him, and visit him regularly. 
It's heart-wrenching to see the anguish he goes through.
I want to make my Dad (and lots of other nursing home residents) a gift that he can hold onto and "remember" our love.  I want my family and others (that's YOU!) to be able to help make these gifts.

Project 40 was born to meet this need.

We are making lap blankets for nursing home residents.  (My Dad is not the only one that needs to "remember" that he is loved).

"40" stands for 40 inches.

Here's what you do:
Knit or crochet a 40 inch long strip from washable yarn.

40 inches is the only number that you need to remember.

You choose everything else.
You choose the width to make your strip, the stitch pattern, to knit or crochet, the color...
Use whatever yarn you have as long as it is washable.

(as far as the "washable" part...These blankets will most likely go through an industrial laundry on occasion.  If the yarn isn't washable, their beloved blankie may turn into a pot-holder.  So yes, the washable part is important!)

You can then mail your completed strip(s) to me at Strip Central. 
I'm listing a Post Office address here. 
Please let me know when you mail something and I'll be watching for it.

Pam Stahl
P.O. Box 1875
Mt. Juliet, TN 37121-1875

My dear Mother-in-Law promises to help me sew the strips together to make toasty warm lap blankets filled with love from all of  us.  We will keep making these blankets as long as people will help make strips. 

Project 40 blankets will be delivered first to the nursing home where my Dad resides and then to others....hopefully many others.

May God use our hands to greatly love those that feel forgotten.

Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  
    Ephesians 5: 9-10


  1. Sounds like a great project! I'll make at least one strip, and I'll share this info with my yarning group at church. We're small, but we get a lot done!

    1. Thank you, Thank you!! We're thrilled to have your "yarning" group join in!!

  2. I'm working on this. Tomorrow I may have to knit all day to calm my nerves. After all it's Election Day!

    This is going to be a great blog! I'll be hanging out here a lot.

    1. Sounds like a good idea. Election day kind of makes my stomach churn and my head hurt. You're right, it's a good day for crafting.

      Thanks for the encouragement, Karen!

  3. Your Dad's king sized quilt is gorgeous. He would want it on your bed.

    The kids make me smile.

    1. That picture with my boys is really dated. They both made gagging sounds when they saw me posting it. :)

  4. What a story. I do know how difficult it is when your love one is in the nursing home. My mother has been in a nursing home for almost 9 years due to a stroke. I made her a quilt but I am not sure she really appreciated it. I don't knit or crochet or I would help you. Project 40 will be a blessing. Good luck.

  5. I would love to participate. How big are you making these blankies? 40 by what. I may get carried away and make a whole blankie just need to know how big would be the min and max. Sounds like a great project.

    1. I'm thinking squarish...around 40 x 40. No rules on the second measurement though...I just need strips to be 40" long so that they will all fit nicely together. If it was quilting, I wouldn't be so concerned because I could whack off extra or sew on another chunk of fabric as needed.

      Thanks so much for jumping in to help!!

  6. The quilt is so lovely. I too have used handquilting as a therapy during the last few months. It feel comforting to have the weight of it on my lap. Best wishes for project 40. Just finishing first strip tonight.

  7. I'm regularly amazed at the peace that fills me as I pull the thread through needlefuls of fabric.

    I'm looking forward to your strip!

  8. Love your dad's quilt. The story and the love you have put in to it.

  9. What a great project!!!! So wonderful to see it come to fruition. Patti

  10. When my sister was in the hospital, I took a quilt and spread it on her bed just for the duration of my visit. Perhaps your father would enjoy having his quilt visit while you do. Then you take it home and bring it back next time or on special days. Just an idea.