Personalized Quilts and Pockets of Encouragement – Stitching the Gift of Compassion – Quilting Daily

Custom quilts to comfort a friend going through a tough time or to honor the memory of a loved one can take many forms. These personalized quilts can be as private as making memorial quilts from the ties or flannel shirts of a beloved grandfather or as public (but no less heartfelt) as worldwide endeavors like The Names Project – AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Handmade Breast Pockets sent to Melanie Testa for her Breast Pocket Project.

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight the work of Melanie Testa and her inspiring story about raising awareness of the choices women have when facing surgery for this disease (Quilting Arts Magazine October/November 2014).

Her story-well documented on her blog and through social media-parallels that of many women who receive a heartbreaking cancer diagnosis. What is quite different about Melanie’s journey to health is how she used the creative energy of her vast support network, including family, friends, and even strangers, to help her heal.

Soon after her surgery, Melanie started a transformative project, The Breast Pocket Project, to honor survivors like her who had undergone mastectomies and had chosen to forgo further body-altering surgery.

Melanie asked for–and received–hundreds of beautifully decorated shirt pockets. Some honored survivors, some memorialized loved ones, and some pockets simply expressed messages of hope and encouragement.

I hope Melanie’s example inspires you to make a difference in your own community in any way you can, whether it is picking up needle and thread and making a breast pocket for our reader challenge, creating an uplifting journal quilt or comfort quilt, or volunteering with kids in need.

We can all make a difference, one stitch at a time.

Note: Every challenge pocket submitted to Quilting Arts will be published in the April/May 2015 issue. To be sure you get your issue with all the Breast Pockets, now would be the perfect time to subscribe to Quilting Arts Magazine.

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