Mar 21, 2008

The Piecemakers Quilting Group Of Henderson, Nevada

Charlie Gibson of the ABC Evening News has awarded "The Piecemakers" Quilting Group in Henderson, Nevada as the ABC News "Person of the Week".

This small group of quilters at the Central Christian Church in Henderson, Nevada (just outside of Las Vegas) has made and given away over 800 quilts from their quilting ministry to patients battling cancer. The small quilting group was originally begun by one of the quilters, the late Joyce Koonz, who was, herself, battling cancer. In spite of her own challenges, Joyce still wanted to reach out and support other cancer patients going through chemo-therapy.

She gathered together a group of quilters and they quickly taught others to cut, sew or quilt. The small initial group grew to include anyone willing to help, whether they thought they could sew or not. Group members all work together, some cutting, some sewing, some writing on Bible verses by hand onto the quilts and all coming together and offering up a prayer as a quilt is completed.

As group member Dorothy Fletcher says "The verses that are on the quilts we picked are to bring comfort, to bring peace and to bring hope."

Filled with beautiful and uplifting Bible verses amidst the nine patches, the split rails, and lots and lots of appliqued hearts, the handwritten words only seem to further echo the obvious handprints I could feel written on each quilter's heart.

Originally, the quilts went to members of the church, but now they go out to anyone who needs them. The ABC news team showed one woman receiving the gift of her lap quilt and caught the deep emotion such a gift the tears streamed down her face. A quilt takes many, many weeks to make and the group is a small one, but they all work hard and quickly, with anyone helping in any way that they can.

As Dorothy Fletcher says"We just never know where these quilts are going to end up. It brings comfort to the person, sometimes to the survivors after their loved ones have passed on. And that's a double blessing."

It did my own heart such good just watching this news piece. I was so moved that I left my own on-line message at the news site. I was already the 170th person to do so...and it took me a while to sign up and sign in!

Having spent the last four years of my own life....sewing both at home and at a downtown Salem, Oregon church...endlessly making comfort quilts for others, it made me realize just how much it truly means to those who receive them. Almost as much as it means to those of us who are blessed in the making of them.
I have been amazed at the comments left both at the ABC website on this news story, and the e-mails that I have personally received. There are so many people who desperately want a quilt for a loved one battling cancer or who want to donate to this group in some way.
I can tell from the hundreds of comments that the story received that this little group must be absolutely overwhelmed by the requests. I have been happy to accept some of the e-mails that accidentally came to me because of this story and try to give suggestions on how to donate locally in their own cities or towns, or how to reach local quilting groups for a donation of a quilt.

Watching these quilt makers, this wonderful group of "Piecemakers" only reminded me of how this just might be the 'piece' we all seek.For the Henderson, Nevada group are truly "Peacemakers' in Quilting.
ABC link to Henderson, NV 'Piecemakers', see video of newsclip upper right:

Check out my own related links for our quilting group here in Salem, OR:
Salem (Quiltathon) Community Quilters
Patriotic Heartstrings Quilting Project


Quiltdivajulie said...

Thanks for posting this ~ I missed the story on tv...

Samira said...

Charlie Gibson's report on your quilting activities touched me deeply. I wish I had known of it several months ago, when my brother's wife was battling pancreatic cancer, a fight she lost. I live in San Francisco. Do you have a group here?

Although I have never quilted before, I can learn quickly.

I knit baby blankets, as well as blankets for adults. I have recently inherited a huge supply of yarn and I would be honored to knit for your group and ship the pieces to you. I would also like to make a donation to your group. Please, send me the address to which I can mail it. Thank you.


Samira Baroody

Michele Bilyeu said...

Dear Samira, That was such a lovely note that you left! You need to know that here, in Salem, Oregon, we are a different group of quilters than the group in the news. We do exactly the same kinds of things and that is why I posted about the Henderson group in my blog. I was so proud that volunteer quilters were being recognized on the evening news!

The group that is in Henderson,NV like most quilting groups, is a small group of about one dozen quilters...just about what our little group, here in Salem, Oregon is. They have recently started a email site, I believe, To my knowledge they have received hundreds and hundreds of letters and offers and requests since Charlie Gibson put them on the news and honored them so greatly with the award. I know they would be just as touched by your comments as I am. I have emailed information on how you might make donations in your local area and how you might find groups like the Henderson one, or like ours, that you might join there in San Francisco. Please check your mail, or even the spam mail for AOL since you mailbox might not automatically open for my return letter to you. Thank you so much for your comments!

Matsy said...

I was blessed to have een able to see the group of quilters on Friday evening. You group of women are a group of "angels" I too know someone that your quilt would really uplift. He is a Chiropractor, educator, Elder in his church and music instructor in his church as well. This man was recently diagnosied with Hodgkins Disease and although he has had chemotheapry it do not go well and he must repeat it, the x-ray also did not shrink the tumor that his doctors had hoped it would. The irony of this is here is a man that heals with his hands and now uses his energy to heal others and can not heal himself. He is strong in his faith but I think that receiveing this quilt would be like a band of angels hugging him at all times, how awesome would that be, please let me know what a quilt with sceipture would cost me so that I can send it to Dr. Robertson, that you again so very much for the hearts that God has given you all, you are by no means "selfish" and God has stored your riches to be received here on Earth. Thank you again, and remember that God loves you and so do I! Be blessed and continue your good works!

Anonymous said...

please post an e-mail address or telephone number for the Henderson,NE Christian Church Quilting Group. I would like to donate to them. I just read about the women who knits. I also knit. I have more fabric than I will ever use now. I would leave my number, but I do not want it published. Thank you, Aileen

Anonymous said...

I have a question about one of the steps the Piece makers Quilting Group did in the news feature 3-21-08 on ABC News. I have sent them an email but have not received an answer. Where did they get or how did they make the templates used to write the scriptures on their quilts? Please post answer on you web site for others to read also. Thanks

Michele Bilyeu said...

Just another quick note to my readers to let you know, that I am not a member of the group "The Piecemakers", but I do know from reading about them at the ABC website linked above in my post, that they have been overwhelmed with offers, donations and requests beyond their capabilities to answer or fulfill...they are trying their best with so much attention and requests. If you have emailed me, personally, I have given you my suggestions and tips and so forth and that's the best I can do from here. The ABC website lists their address and phone number...but again, they are being overwhelmed so please remember and respect that! I'll help if I can within my own knowledge base and limiations by email only.

Anonymous said...

Just an observation: The first paragragh of the story states the qroup is from Henderson, NEBRASKA and then the following paragragh has the group located in Henderson, NEVADA.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Good eyes. Keen observation. Slip of the typo finger and a malcorrection by spell check=post production problems ;)

Anonymous said...

I have a very good friend, she is young, with Overian cancer, she had surgery last yr, went thru Chemo,,,we just found out the cancer is back. She is having surgery the 29th of this month and then will begin Chemo again. How do I send money to get her a quilt?
Leslie Doner

Anonymous said...


rachelhanna5696 said...

hi i may only be 12 and adults may think i shouldnt even talk.but i think that u people are doing good things my mom told me to check this place out since i want to try to figure out a cure for cancer with animals since humans are diffucult i want to help with any cancer society i can.i know how it feels to almost lose someone you love i thought i would lose both my parents a couple years ago and now i worry for my grandma. ever since i found out my mom had cancer i wanted to be a docter that could help cmon u cant blame me i didnt want to lose my mommy but as i got to turn 10 i realized "okay i suck in health class i know more about animals than humans" and thats when it hit. What was my point????
anyway thank you people for careing about cancer victims.
Rachel hanna
P.S. if you want to talk to me about how i should keep my mouth quiet or want to say nice stuff about this email me at . oh yeah my mom says hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

I like your blog. There are some really interesting articles featured by our experts on the bizymoms Henderson community experts page.

Anonymous said...

the phone no. for central is 702-735-1000. if you go to thier web sight and look for the central christian church of las vegas nv. when on the thier web sight go to getting help @ central and you will get thier e-mail address.