Quilting Community Lifts our Family After Loss
Melanie’s Makers, friends, and family,
Robert here. I wanted to share a new blog post with you, about an amazing group-quilting project managed by Melanie’s mother – known by many as Mama Lisa.
Read on, to see this inspiring story about a Facebook quilting group’s community rally after losing Melanie – and their gift of lovingly-made quilts for our children.
Please also continue to make use of Melanie’s videos and legacy to inspire you!
In the Midst of Sorrow, a Communal Idea was Born…
Our sweet Melanie died on Jan. 12, 2022. For more on that story, check out the documentary, Made With Melanie.
In the days following her passing, an amazingly thoughtful and utterly gut-wrenching phenomenon happened. Her quilting and crochet tribe responded in every way possible to let us know how much she is cherished and missed.
The outpouring of love was overwhelming. Literally tens of thousands of comments on social media, cards, and flowers at her Celebration of Life, phone calls, messages, and tears.
It’s hard to describe in words how much it meant to her family and friends. On behalf of the family, THANK YOU. We are forever grateful for your cascade of love.
A Note from Mama Lisa
Melanie offers premium classes on her website. When you sign up to take one of those classes, you are granted access to the private Melanie’s Makers Facebook group. As Mama Lisa, I am an admin there and quickly found the group wanted to do something more.
Just 15 days after we lost Melanie, I was contacted by several Facebook Group members who wanted to create a community quilt. This idea wasn’t new, as we had tried it before when Melanie had her first surgery but it never came together and I was still stricken with grief. I was really hesitant and thought, “How can I possibly do this?” But the idea just wouldn’t fade. I needed time.
The Idea – A “Stay at Home Quilt-Along Group” Quilt by Melanie’s Makers
The original idea was to use the house block from the Stay at Home Quilt-Along, but that wouldn’t be as easy for her group. The block was only available through her premium classes and many members of her tribe had already done it.
Carolyn Martin Fackler and I thought of various blocks used for friendship quilts when I had a light bulb moment: Melanie’s last YouTube tutorial, Heart Log Cabin Quilt Block! It’s an easy block that makes a heart motif. How perfect is that coming from the love of her makers!
But the original block in her tutorial was very small. So, we developed the same block with a few changes in size of strips to come up with a larger block. I posted the information on the project and the link to the tutorial on her Melanie’s Makers Facebook page with a deadline to get blocks returned to Carolyn by the end of April 2022.
The Quilt Community Response
Within minutes, there were dozens of comments by makers wanting to make blocks! Carolyn communicated to each of the makers and ensured we had weekly updates in the group along with pictures of the blocks.
She then took all the blocks, set them on point, matched up great fabric for borders, and sewed them all together by June.
The sentiments on the blocks included notes sent from her Makers. It was an amazing outpouring of love and support that provided enough blocks to make three quilts and a wall hanging.
A few months later, I did a Facebook Live in Melanie’s Makers group to reveal the quilt tops. A total of 234 blocks were received from 34 states, plus Canada, the UK, and Australia to make the quilt tops for Ainsley (daughter), Eli (son), Mama Lisa (mom), and a wall hanging for my studio. Each of the quilt tops was shown on Facebook Live as they were unboxed. I was completely floored. They are so beautiful!
Oh Goodness, Now I Have to Finish Them…
I was so happy to have them completed and see the outpouring of love, but now I needed to get them quilted. Between grandkids coming to visit, dark days of grief, a heavy workload for my full-time job, medical issues and not being sure I wanted to face the emotions, I put it off.
Her amazing community never pressured me, asked or even hinted at getting them completed. I think they were all so happy that they had made it to me and that was enough.
So, I set myself a deadline. I wanted to have Ainsley and Eli’s sets quilted, bound and labeled to take back with me to California to mark one year since Melanie passed away. I sewed binding down on the plane and added the labels when I got to California and then gave them to the kids.
Gifting The Quilts
I gave each of the kids their quilts. Robert took some videos and pictures and I told them the story behind them. Both kids were fairly quiet and subdued in response.
Understanding how these quilts came together and why was a lot to take in. As the days passed, I knew how much they loved them as both quilts were cuddled, slept under, laid on their beds, and talked about.
More Quilts to Come
I still have to put my quilt and wall hanging together, so there will be more about this project in the future. I am incredibly thankful for Carolyn’s assistance, coordination, and friendship throughout the whole project, and hope to meet her in person sometime in the future.
To all of Melanie’s Makers, you are the reason Melanie made lovely things and shared that love to teach you all. Your love in return is awe-inspiring and I wish I could meet you all in person and say thank you!
Robert here again, thank you so much for being on this journey with our family. Continuing to watch Melanie’s videos, engage here on her website, purchasing classes etc, really help our family!
If you’re interested in what’s been going on in my life check out my latest blog post about my new film Interpreters Wanted coming soon. Also I wrote a post about my appearance at the Super Bowl with the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Robert and family