The Quilt that Love Built

by Hal Gray
courtesy photo | Fiber artist Judy Dales stands by the quilt she pieced together from fabric that was given for her seventy-fifth birthday celebration.

GREENSBORO – Judy Dales, a member of the Greensboro United Church of Christ (GUCC), unveiled at the October 17 worship service a quilt she made in recognition of her seventy-fifth birthday celebration last year by Greensboro. Judy has been undergoing treatment for cancer for three years, and she says she didn’t think she would see her seventy-fifth birthday. At her birthday celebration, guests were asked to bring a piece of fabric as a small gift. 

She told the congregation during this week’s worship service “My heart sank a bit when I saw the fabric – it was an eclectic selection to say the least. But when I got home and sorted through the pile and read the notes, I was amazed, impressed, and so touched. People had gifted me not just fabric, but special fabric. Fabric that was meaningful, that was precious and had often traveled with them through a lifetime.”

“For example, Janney Johnston shared with me a piece of silk that she acquired when she traveled to Thailand to work on an archeological dig. This trip was the dream of a lifetime, and the silk fabric was a memento of a special time in her life that she chose to share with me. Then there is a piece of a tie and a scrap of lace that are from the garments Tom and Eleanor Guare wore at their wedding.” Along with the quilt are the notes people provided with their piece of fabric.

Judy continued “Working with the special fabrics reminded me over and over again what a great community we live in and how much I am loved, which is the best gift of all.” She told the congregation “You have all been with me throughout my cancer journey and for that, I thank you.”

“Originally, I thought of the quilt as ‘The Birthday Quilt.’ Then I started calling it ‘The Pandemic Quilt’ because making it got me through some of the darkest hours of the last year, when we were confined to our houses and cut off from almost all human contact. In fact, I now realize that my birthday celebration was truly a pandemic event – a chance for all of us to come together (outside, of course, and properly masked) to celebrate and forget about Covid for a few minutes at least. My final title for the quilt is ‘The Quilt that Love Built’.”

Judy hopes the quilt will eventually go to the Greensboro Historical Society.

“It is an artifact of the pandemic and I believe future generations will be fascinated by it and the little bit of our history it represents.”