Are you ready to smile and be inspired? Last week I saw this adorable picture of a quilter stuck on the Grand Princess cruise ship (quarantined off the coast of California) because a few people on the ship had tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Belinda Dill was mentioned in part of an article from CNN about how people were coping in quarantine.
Well, that picture reached out and grabbed my heart – even though we had never met, I felt like we were kindred spirits! Remember when I took my sewing machine on vacation last year?
That feeling of connection with her led me to do something I’ve never done before – to contact a complete stranger through social media! So I found Belinda’s profile and sent her a quick note. I figured she was getting tons of messages now that she was famous and she probably wouldn’t answer, but I sent that message anyway – asking her how she was feeling and if she needed anything to help her finish that quilt.
I was so happy when a little while later she answered. Through the miracle of technology we were thousands of miles away from each other and chatting through Facebook messenger. Belinda was just getting settled into a hotel where she will have to live in quarantine for at least 2 weeks (they say) and at the same time, I was in my kitchen making dinner for my family.
My kids were not pleased that I was distracted by my phone and their dinner was taking longer to make. They were not at all as excited as they should have been when I told them that I had made friends with the quilter in quarantine!
The more I chatted with Belinda and got to know her, the more inspired I was by her optimism and courage. Belinda has been deaf since birth, but she communicates very well by reading lips and speaking.
Imagine how frustrating it must be (and probably scary at times) to be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and not be able to understand people because all of a sudden everyone around you is wearing a face mask!
But in all our messages she is never negative or upset – just grateful to have her sewing machine and quilt to keep her busy, and happy that she and her husband are virus free so far.
Belinda told me that as she was packing for her cruise to Hawaii, her kids told her she was crazy because she wanted to bring her sewing machine. ‘There are so many things to do – you won’t want to sew!’
But at the last minute she grabbed it, along with all the pieces of this huge wedding ring quilt she was working on.
As we chatted about the sewing machines we own we found that (besides wanting to sew on vacation) we have sewing machines in common too. I have a Janome like the one she brought on the ship with her (mine is hot pink). Plus we both have Berninas in our sewing rooms. Isn’t that funny?
I sent her a link to my sewing studio video tour, and then she sent me a tour video of her sewing room. It was so much fun. I’m posting her video to the video player that will play in this blog post. Make sure you watch!
I wasn’t the only person who reached out and offered to send Belinda supplies. When she received the box I sent, she messaged me this picture with a big thanks. Some of the things are supplies that I sent her, and some are from other new friends she has made. With the backing, batting, and thread I sent her, she can now finish that queen (or king) sized wedding ring quilt!
Our sewing and quilting community is truly made up of the most kind, courageous, and generous people I know. I mean, really… can you think of a handmade gift that takes more time to make than a quilt? Or costs more money, lol? But we just keep making quilts and giving them away!
I’m going to keep in contact with Belinda but as of the date of this post, she is healthy and positive – hoping to be released soon from the hotel where she and her husband are in quarantine together. She has no fever and no symptoms of the virus.
I’m so glad she didn’t listen to the nay-sayers and she took her sewing machine with her on that cruise.
Belinda’s story has made me decide to take a sewing machine on every vacation I go on for the rest of my life!
I hope all my readers are enjoying some extra time at home as we wait for this crazy pandemic to be over. Someday it will be something we look back and laugh at. We’ll all probably have an extra quilt or two that we call our ‘coronavirus quilts’ because we were able to make them with all the extra time we had to spend at home sewing!
Stay safe and healthy!
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