Ten years ago.
I was standing in my workout clothes in the middle of the gym.
Surrounded by televisions blaring different channels, overhead music on the speaker system, and the clanking and slamming of weights being lifted and dropped.
I remember wondering why all the sudden it was quiet.
Why everyone had gathered around one television and the music had stopped.
We all stood there, staring up at the wall-mounted TV.
At 20 years old, I wasn’t truly sure what I was looking at, or what it meant.
How it would impact anything, everything.
I watched live as the first tower fell.
We carpooled back to our homes in silence.
When I got home I turned on the radio, told my mom what was going on.
I got the radio on just in time to hear about the second tower, and then the Pentagon.
I stayed glued to the radio until I was late to work.
I worked at a bank at the time, which of course was a tricky place to be in the middle of a crisis. We had to be there. To be confident and appropriately “cheerful”. To help people not panic and pull all their money. There was absolutely no options for staying home, or even keeping abreast of the news. Having a TV on, or even the radio was not an option. To say I was frustrated is an understatement.
Later that day, I went to attend class at BYU. They were all canceled.
Although I did not suffer personal loss in the events that day, it was perhaps the first time I felt connected to a community outside my own. Connected in a way that defied distance, ideology, or age. And when, eight years later, I was able to stand in New York City for the first time, I wanted to somehow tell those people there that I knew. That I had seen and remembered. That despite the fact that we were complete strangers, we were neighbors, too. Brothers. Sisters. That back home in a little city, we were praying for and loving them. Putting messages on our billboards. Raising money. Because that’s what people do when they love each other. They take care of each other.
We remember, New York City.
And we love you, too.
PS Billboard pictures were taken with a black and white film camera one year after, out the window of a moving car. Pardon the focus.
I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write this post because there is just so much to say. I was amazed, over and over this past week, at the depths of people’s hearts. Seriously. This has been a great opportunity for me to really see how good people are. I think sometimes I get so caught up in the the mean, or insensitive, or cruel things some people do, that I forget that most people have really, really good hearts.
At one point, I counted more than 75 people there working on quilts. (I have lots of pictures of the actual event, but due to the nature of quilting, each picture has a less than flattering view of someone’s backside–and I’m sure they don’t want it out there for the world to see…) My final head count was 96 volunteers throughout the day–and that’s just who signed in. I am so grateful for everyone who spread the word–via Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and email. Our local news station even picked it up and helped tell people. (Thanks Channel 4!)
It definitely took a lot of help to pull this off, and the help is still needed. (More on that later) First, a big huge thank you to everyone who came and helped tie. I literally couldn’t have done it without you. 3 or 4 quilts this weekend maybe. Not more than 40.
Second, thank you thank you to those who donated–whether it was fabric, batting, cookies, money for shipping, yarn–you made this possible.
Also, a grateful thank you to Kimberly and the Fat Quarter Shop (who donated this beauty for quilts).
She has one of the kindest hearts, and was one of the first to respond to my asking for donations. (And if you even need fabric, or patterns, of ANY kind, just go to her site and buy it. You won’t be sorry. Seriously.)
Alli at Robert Kaufman Fabrics was also quick to respond with more beautiful fabric. To all of you, thank you doesn’t seem sufficient, but it is so, so, sincere.
Here are the stats:
36 completed quilts
8 nearly complete (still need binding or tying)
15+ kits out to volunteers
19 kits still need to be completed (see update)
I can finish up the ones that are nearly done…but I’m going to need help with those 19 kits. Many hands make light work, and all that. SO, if you’re willing to finish up a quilt or two, I’d be much obliged. Unfortunately, I can’t ship the materials out to anyone, so hopefully I have enough volunteers around here to help me finish.
UPDATE: The kits are spoken for, friends. Of course, you’re still welcome to get the materials for a quilt, finish it up, and bring it by, and I’ll get it out to CO. You guys are amazing. Really and truly.
For those of you who asked how these are getting to Japan, I will be donating them through Quilter’s Newsletter’s call for quilts. That way, I can ship them to Colorado instead of Japan, and they will ship them to Japan.
If we can get this all done, that’s more than 70 people who will sleep a little warmer.
This has seriously been an amazing event. Please, please comment and let me know if you’re able to take a kit and finish it.We’re hoping to ship the first batch today or tomorrow, and the rest in about 2 weeks.
PS: Another big thank you to Amy, Launi, Wendy, and Sachiko, who used their blogs to get the word out, too. xoxo
Completely floored by the response to my quilts for Japan post.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Stay tuned for the amazing stats in the next few days.
(And if you’ve emailed or commented in the last few days and haven’t received a response, I’ll get to you, I promise! I’ve gotten a lot of email lately about this event, and I’m still working on it. Thanks for being patient! xoxo)
There’s not much to explain, really. There are people who need help, and warmth. I know how to help that.
Saturday, March 19th
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1075 W 1100 N (church building)
Come tie quilts to be donated to Japan. If you have twin or larger sheets, batting, or yarn you can donate, bring those as well.
Cookies provided. :)
Anyone who comes to help for at least an hour, or who donates materials will be entered to win a prize.
Please, if you’re in the Utah valley area, consider coming to help, if you’re not in the area, please donate as you are able to whatever relief effort you can.
Comment with any questions. Pass the word along to anyone who is willing to help.
Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.