When you are part of the crafting community – be it crochet, knitting, spinning, weaving, embroidery, quilting or something else – we all have our own acronyms:
SABLE: Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy
UFO: UnFinished Object
WIP: Work In Progress
SIP: Sock In Progress
These quirky little terms are part of what makes each of us one small flower in a greater garden that is a wonderful stitching community. So when Shannon Downey came across a huge UFO at an estate sale, she felt moved to purchase it.
But this wasn’t just a simple granny square blanket that needed finishing. It was a huge, and incredibly well organized, embroidered quilting project of the United States with each state’s flower. And it was left unfinished by 99-year-old Rita Smith.
Shannon Downey took up the torch on Rita’s project. Just one problem – Shannon doesn’t quilt. The stitching community came to Shannon’s aid.
This community we all take for granted, from Connecticut, Alabama, Maine, and beyond, all came together to finish Rita’s final project.
When a friend shared this story with me from the Washington Post, I was truly touched by the care of Shannon to realize the importance of finishing this project and the outpouring from the stitching community to help Shannon get this special project completed on Rita’s behalf. Each person had a different reason for getting involved, but it was Shannon, and 100 different volunteers, who came together and built a special bond. They all came together through social media, a platform that rarely does anything positive these days, for a positive reason.
I am very proud to be a member of the greater stitching and fiber arts community. This is the community that understands, while we often tease, we never want to have a pile of WIPs and UPOs. We encourage each other when we get stuck on a project and we celebrate each completed sweater and blanket.
So if you have read this far, I leave you all with two final thoughts. First, thank you to Shannon’s team of stitchers for taking on this wonderful challenge. Second, know if you receive a hand-made item from someone, they weren’t looking for the “cheap way out of a gift” (as I have often heard). Far from it. Someone thought enough of you to spend a lot of time, thought, effort, and money, to create something unique and special for you instead of just running to a store and picking up a gift card. Enjoy that gift. I have gifts people have made for me and I have made many over the years for those I care about and love. They are all precious to me. Just like I am sure this was a precious project to Rita. And it was just as precious to Shannon and her team.