Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Big Heart

Penny Barnes has a big heart. Recently she showed it, sending this gorgeous heart quilt made of very fine, soft flannels. Penny is a quiltmaker and long-arm quilter who lives in Iowa, and we are friends through Facebook. Some day I hope to meet her in person. 

A little over six months ago, Penny lost her husband, Don. It was a heart event, and in the blink of an eye, he was gone. He was 62. 

Quiltmakers rally around their own in difficult times. It's just what quiltmakers do. A Facebook group of friends from around the globe made heart quilt blocks, and Teri Lucas assembled the blocks into a quilt for Penny. My block was a drawing, partly unfinished to represent an incomplete love story.

Approaching the six-month anniversary of Don's death, my heart attack was an upsetting reminder to Penny. So, she did what a quiltmaker would do; she pulled out some extra special flannels she'd been saving for just the right occasion, and sat down at the sewing machine.

Six days after she heard the news about my untimely visit to the hospital, there was a package from Penny at my door. I was amazed when I opened it.

There was a lovely personal inscription on the label. In addition to that, Penny said the quilt was a reminder to take care of our hearts, physically, mentally and spiritually. It was also a reminder that beautiful things can come from a heart that is hurting. The days she spent working on the quilt were difficult, but she got through them by focusing on creating. Thank you, Penny, from the bottom of my heart!

This very special 'Big Heart' quilt will be on display this weekend only, Friday and Saturday at the 22nd Annual Airing of the Quilts, to start the spring show season here in the Portland metro area. For information about the 22nd Annual Airing of the Quilts, click here


  1. What a wonderful gift--for both of you.

  2. She's one in a million! "spring show season in Portland".......is there someplace to check for shows? I'm visiting in April, though I wish I could be there sooner to see your special quilt.
    I hope you are on the mend and getting well.

  3. So touching! What a wonderful gift! Take good care of yourselves Bill and Penny!