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January 27, 2010: A Flight of Inspiration

Late last fall, I happened to see a photo of a gorgeous antique quilt scheduled for publication in a future Love of Quilting magazine issue. An unknown American maker appliquéd ten large eagles diagonally, wingtip to wingtip, in the center of her quilt, then bordered it with smaller eagles. Made around 1875, the quilt is in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

I had already been thinking about making a quilt for the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a project begun in 2003 to provide quilts for wounded American soldiers. I had met Catherine Roberts, the foundation's originator, at International Quilt Festival in Houston earlier in the fall.

The design for my quilt landed in my head as gradefully as a magnificent bird swooping into its nest. In just a few days, I created a medallion with single eagle at its center, surrounded by sections of blue and white stripes and an outer border of simple, elegant stars.

Synchronistically, as I stitched in my sewing room, contentedly sipping coffee and tuned to National Public Radio, a program about bald eagle-watching in Iowa arrived on the air. I learned that the American Eagle was nearly extinct in the 1960s, with fewer than 4,000 alive in the continental US. Now, 2500–4000 bald eagles winter along the Mississippi between Minneapolis and St. Louis. Eagles' nests have been reported in all 50 Iowa counties.

My Quilt of Valor is complete now, and I look forward to a day when I may be able to hand it personally to a soldier at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC. I hope it will comfort a valiant American warrior whose wings have been clipped in service to country.

After receiving a quilt, one soldier wrote:

While on my last deployment I was wounded during a combat operation. I had to endure a long and difficult hospital recovery process that is hard to explain. After returning to Ft. Riley, I was placed in the Warrior Transition Battalion to continue treatment. I was going through a difficult time until one day when I was asked to go see the Chaplain. He presented me the quilt you made and I had to fight back tears. I had no idea people really cared so much. Please keep up your hard work. You are bringing a warm and much needed Welcome Home to so many people that need it.

Today's Fortune Cookie Fortune:
You will participate in National Service.

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 by Registered CommenterMarianne Fons | Comments1 Comment | References4 References

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Reader Comments (1)

I want to see a picture!!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Lever

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