Quilters, Quilts and Angels

We have a great story to share with you today. It’s longer than our usual posts but I think you’ll find it’s worth the space.

QMMS 120022 COVER shadow 2004 Quilters, Quilts and AngelsYou may know that for every volume of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, we have a team of testers. They’re regular quilters who volunteer to make blocks before publication. It’s important to QM and it helps ensure our instructions are accurate and error-free.

flowerpower Quilters, Quilts and Angels

Flower Power by Reesa Zuber is shown in the Tester's Gallery of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 5.

Reesa Zuber was a block tester for Volume 5. She must be one of those people who never sleeps—she also has two quilts in the Tester’s Gallery (Flower Power, page 84; Bingo Crazy, page 87).

bingo Quilters, Quilts and Angels

Bingo Crazy is another Tester's Gallery quilt made by Reesa Zuber.

This is a story Reesa shared with us. It’s about women, friendship, survival and support. Oh, and there’s a quilt thrown in there, too.

foursome Quilters, Quilts and Angels

From left: Libby Penhallegon, Dyane Hurson, Reesa Zuber and Lynne Milford.

In Reesa’s own words:

One of the greatest blessings in life is great friends. These three ladies, Dyane, Libby and Lynne, are that for me. We all worked together at Washington Middle School in Yakima, WA and have known each other for more than 30 years.

We all moved on from that place, but the friendships endured. Others have come and gone but these women remain a constant. We have experienced some of life’s highs and lows together and are there for one another. The uniqueness of each person has enriched our friendships.

foursome333 Quilters, Quilts and Angels

Lynne Milford

Lynne has always been the one to lead the way. She is one truly interesting and “crazy” girl. She was in the Peace Corps, traveled all over, has been on the ski patrol, and never passed up an opportunity to try something new. She has sewn quilts and costumes and she knits for others.clipartsmart 230x300 Quilters, Quilts and Angels

When Lynne was diagnosed with breast and lung cancer over the last ten years, she brought her strength and positive attitude to the fight.

When the cancers returned, she faced each day with a positive and winning outlook. When I “grow up,” I can only hope to face the world with her strength.

Nazareth Parking Lot Quilters, Quilts and Angels

We love to go places with Lynne. We let her drive because she has the “parking angel” on her shoulder. She always finds a parking spot right in front.

She has always done so much for others, we wanted to create something for her. We decided that Lynne needed a quilt for her current fight and we made an angel quilt.


angelquilt Quilters, Quilts and Angels

The angel quilt made by three friends for Lynne Milford

I had been testing blocks for Quiltmaker. The flowers are an adaptation of Abloom (Block #401, page 24 by Barbara Cherniwchan). The three of us, Libby, Dyane and Reesa, worked together to create a quilt to wrap Lynne with the “wings of an angel” and beautiful flowers. Lynne is one special lady who deserves any advantage she can have to fight this latest trial.

In Libby’s own words:

Lynne has been fighting cancer for about 20 years now, with about 14 years of remission.

Where do I start? Lynne and I were single together back when this group of ladies first discovered each other. We were both recently divorced and it was wonderful to find such an amazingly diverse person to share tears, fears, and laughter with.

Reesa is the real quilter in the group; I’m more a Jack-of-all-trades. This whole thing started when she suggested that she wanted to make a quilt for our friend Dyane (who doesn’t quilt) and I piped in that I wanted to help.

We had so much fun doing that project that when Lynne got her bad news that the cancer was back yet again, I suggested we continue the fun—because Lynne really needed an angel right now. Dyane was not to be left out and the project began.

When Lynne got home from the hospital (for about the third time) and we went to her house, quilt in hand, she exclaimed “My angels have arrived.”  Reesa and I just looked at each other and laughed. It was as if she knew exactly what we were up to.

In Dyane’s own words:

At some time in our lives we have all needed an angel. When Reesa came up with this idea, I found it so fitting. We are four friends with an angel on each of our shoulders, always taking care of us.

I love you Reesa, Libby, and Lynne.

And finally, a few words from Lynne herself:

…The quilt my friends made for me is very special. It’s a reminder of how wonderful  friendships are. Another friend, Arta, who was in her 80s at the time, recognized how special our group was and reminded me on several occasions, “You are so lucky to have these friends. Never let them go.” All of her friends had passed away and she missed them.

We’ve had many special times together, but on one dreary gray, snowy day when I was recovering from surgery, Reesa and Libby called and said they were bringing over some soup. They appeared outside my window with groceries in hand waving, smiling and dancing in the snow.

foursome1 Quilters, Quilts and Angels

Four "BFFs": Best Friends Forever

I’ll tell you—it was the best pick-me-up I ever had. Their smiles and laughter lifted my spirit. We sat down together around my table, my dancing angels and I, telling fun stories and eating  homemade soup. My thankful heart felt how fortunate I was. A few days later, my other dancing angel, Dyane, came over from work during her lunch hour and prepared a delicious soup to warm my chilly bones.

I love their quilt and look at it every day. They have stood by me not only during the fun times, but during many hospital days as I recovered from surgeries. I can’t thank them enough. Arta was right. I’m so lucky.

To her friends, Lynne says this:

…you brought tears to my eyes and put a lump in my throat again!  Only my BFFs can do that to me. I’m so fortunate to have you all in my life. I knew how much I needed your friendship throughout my life, but I never knew how much I was going to need your support. Thank you for sharing our story and again, a big thank you, my BFFs, for the quilt.

Love you, Lynne

Do you have friends who have supported you during a difficult time? Please leave a comment and tell us about it—because we can all take courage from stories like this.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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5 Responses to Quilters, Quilts and Angels

  1. Reesa Zuber says:

    I am Reesa and today is 2-15-2015. The above article is about me and my best friends. I haven’t read the article for awhile and just revisited it. Our group of four is now two. Dyane died suddenly April 2013. It was such a shock because she was so young and the most fit. We lost Lynne just after Thanksgiving 2014. Her twenty year cancer battle finally bested her. But she did it courage and fight, humor and fun, and a roadmap on how to live live life to the fullest. I miss them everyday. Love to you both!!!

  2. cheryl from MO says:

    I love your story and I love what you did with this block!

  3. Cathy says:

    When I first began my blog, I became friends with a group of other quilt bloggers. Then, three years ago I met them in person at a quilt retreat here in Ohio. What a fun weekend that was! Firm friendships were born and we continued to stay in touch despite the distances between us.

    Shortly after the retreat, my husband was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, a debilitating, terminal lung disease. For months I struggled to keep him as healthy as possible while working full time and taking care of my two children. One bleak December day, I came home from work, began dinner and catching up with my husband’s needs.

    He informed me there was a parcel on the front porch – which I needed to bring in.
    Thinking it was something one of the kids ordered, I was really surprised to see it was addressed to me.

    Inside the box was a beautiful quilt and matching pillowcase. Each of my quilting blogging buddies had made blocks, one put it together and another quilted it. They each signed the back of the quilt. The note attached to the quilt said they couldn’t hug me in person, but to wrap myself in the quilt and feel their love, prayers and support.

    I stood in the kitchen and cried. After I recovered, I showed the quilt to my husband who agreed the gift was truly stitched with love.

    That night, I put the quilt on my bed and it’s been there ever since. It was a tremendous comfort to me, especially when my husband passed away last April.

    I count that quilt as the most wonderful gift anyone has ever given me.

  4. wordygirl says:

    When my mother passed away unexpectedly, my dear friend Tami–as much a sister as a friend–called and said, “If you need me, I’ll be there.” This despite the fact that she was living on the other side of the country and was extremely ill herself. If I had needed her she would have joined me. Just knowing that made a world of difference. When it was tough, packing up Mom’s things or simply getting through the day without my mom, I would think, “If it’s still this bad in a couple of hours, I can call Tami and she’ll fly out.” By the time a couple of hours had passed, I’d pulled myself together. The thought of my dear friend’s unwavering support helped me do that.

    Since then, Tami has passed on. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, and our bond still strengthens me. Missing her, I am reminded to treasure the beloved friends who are still here with me.

    Many thanks to the four friends who shared such a beautiful story.

  5. What a wonderful way for me to start my Monday. This is the first think I read on the computer today. Very heartwarming. My thoughts are with all four of you.

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