Quilting love and comfort in Gresham
The Thursday Morning Quilting Group began after a tragedy befell a young couple from California.
On the one-year anniversary of the death of their infant child, the couple decided they wanted to find a way to celebrate rather than focus on loss and sorrow.
They reached out to groups around the region asking for donations of quilts to give to newborn babies at their son's hospital's neo-natal intensive unit.
A family member in East Multnomah County passed on the request to the congregation of the Troutdale Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1515 S.W. Cherry Park Road, and member Janet Nelson organized the making and sending of 20 quilts to California.
The idea resonated with another of the founding members of the group, Marylou Nordstrom, because she too had lost a daughter only a few days after birth.
"I love this because I don't need to be sad while doing something for other people's children," Nordstrom said.
But rather than stop there, the quilters decided to turn the one-time event into a weekly tradition. Now the group, who never came up with a name beyond the Quilting Gals, meets at 10:30 a.m. every Thursday at the church. They use the time to catch up with one another, and of course work on quilts.
"It gets us out of the house," Nelson said. "It gets so boring otherwise, but during quilting we can spend time with each other. How long it takes us to finish depends on how long we talk."
Since their beginning in 2012, the Thursday Morning Quilters have made about 600 quilts. Those have been donated to children's hospitals, members of the congregation who have had a baby, those who need a lap quilt, birthing centers, and churches in Gresham with warming centers.
Nordstrom also keeps a couple of quilts in her car in case she meets a family in need of something to keep their baby warm.
"We keep our ears open, and where there is a need we deliver them," Nordstrom said.
Supplies for quilts come from many people and places, which makes it fun for those who meet because they are always discovering interesting patterns.
The backing is donated by a motel in Seaside as they rotate out old sheets, while it's not uncommon for members to discover a bundle of material that has been left on their doorstep.
"People buy material with the good intentions of making quilts, but often never get around to it," Nordstrom said. "We are happy to take their unused material and turn it into quilts that may warm a hospice patient, or comfort a grieving parent."
The quilting group is open to anyone who wants to attend and help make quilts. Park in church lot and head around to the back door.