Quilt squares sell as memorial to dead, fund-raiser for the dying in hospice HOWARD COUNTY HEALTH

June 01, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Usually when Susan Petrie and Edie Range make quilts, only their closest family members and friends see their handiwork. Now, the entire county will be able to see a hand-crafted quilt they are making for Hospice Services of Howard County.

The memorial quilt will commemorate the nonprofit organization's 15th anniversary. County residents can remember deceased family members and friends by purchasing a square on the quilt, which will be exhibited throughout Howard County once it's completed.

The women say requests are continuing to come in and it's difficult to determine when the quilt will be finished.

Names are embroidered on each square for a contribution of $50 or more.

Hospice officials hope to raise about $8,300, which will go toward the general fund, bereavement services and other programs needed to operate the Columbia organization.

"Once we get the thing totally finished, we'll display it everywhere," said Mrs. Petrie, office manager for Hospice Services.

The quilt will hang at the Howard County Library, The Mall in Columbia, and other sites.

The women said the quilt is an appropriate symbol for Hospice Services, which provides help and support to Howard County families and patients who face life-threatening illnesses or death.

"A quilt kind of exudes caring and warmth," said Mrs. Range, a volunteer care-giver at Hospice Services.

"We want people who come here to feel like they're relaxed and at home right away," said Mrs. Petrie, whose quilts and cross-stitchings adorn the walls of the hospice offices.

The memorial quilt consists of 166 squares made from different fabrics.

White strips of cloth, symbolizing the deceased person's journey through life, crisscross the unfinished quilt.

"It's a never-ending process whether you're here or not," Mrs. Petrie said. "You're never alone, you join your family and friends who have gone on before you."

Ms. Petrie has already embroidered 22 names on the quilt; eight more await her.

Each square is made from a different printed fabric, ranging from old-fashioned calico to modern tie-dye.

"Each square is different because everybody's life is different," said Mrs. Range, who used scraps of fabric from children's clothing and other quilting projects.

Both women have been making quilts for at least 20 years. They said it takes about two hours to choose, cut and stitch one square. It takes about 30 minutes for Mrs. Petrie to embroider one name.

When Mrs. Petrie has finished sewing the names, Mrs. Range will connect the squares and add a four-inch border, possibly decorated with hearts.

Despite the long hours, the two women said they enjoy quilting.

"It's like the glue that holds you together," Mrs. Range said.

To contribute or inquire about the quilt, call 730-5072.

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