The comfort of quilts

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Busy Bee Quilters are sending 32 quilts to New York

By Leslie Moriarty

Herald Writer

SNOHOMISH — Quilts are comforting. Just ask any of the members of the Busy Bee Quilters.

"They are comfort, whether to a victim or to the person who is making one," said Judy Pedersen, a member of the group.

And that’s part of the reason the group decided to make quilts after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Those quilts, 32 in all, are going to be sent this Thanksgiving week to family members of those who served and died in Fire Department of New York’s Ladder Company 4, Engine 54.

"They took a very big hit," quilter Brenda Norris said. "They lost a number of their crew."

The quilt-making therapy began as the idea of member Laurie Giddings, whose husband, John, is a local firefighter. Their friend, Andy Speier, also a local firefighter, was originally from New York and worked in the Ladder Company 4 before coming here.

Speier went to New York shortly after the attacks to help with rescue efforts and returned with information about the 14 firefighters of Ladder Company 4, Engine 54 who died in the aftermath of the attack.

At about the same time, local quilters were talking among themselves about what they could do to help the victims of the attacks and their families. Of course, they decided to make quilts.

"We sent around the telephone tree and the e-mail tree, telling everyone to make quilt blocks for quilts to send to New York," Norris said. "Within the first week we had so many blocks."

When they heard about Ladder Company 4, they decided they wanted to make personal contact with that company and give the quilts to the families who lost their loved ones.

So the 185-plus members of the quilting club began sewing and sewing, and two months later they’ve put together 32 quilts.

Some of them are red, white and blue and carry patriotic themes. Others are a hodge-podge of bright colors.

And among the quilts is a special one made by Sultan member Scott Hansen. He actually made the quilt several years ago while grieving the loss of his younger brother, Ty, whose death at age 24 hit Hansen hard.

So Hansen, a full-time working father, took up quilting as a way to comfort himself. The quilt, in deep blues, reds, greens and browns, depicts the cabin where the brothers liked to spend time.

Hansen has since made a label telling of the quilt’s history. On it he wrote, "My hope is that this quilt will comfort you in your loss as it has comforted me."

The group wants it to be given to a woman who lost several members of her family who served in Ladder Company 4.

The club members found that keeping their hands busy making quilts comforted them, too.

"Doing this helps you connect to what the victims and their families are going through," Pederson said. "After the attack happened, I couldn’t watch the news. I went in a room and began quilting."

Member Kelly Milbauer said, "I felt like everything was out of control. There was nothing I could do there (New York). But I wanted to take some action."

Norris said the quilts show that someone took the time to care.

"Quilts are something tangible that you can keep forever," she said. "They are more personal than writing a check, although we all did that, too."

You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436

or send e-mail to moriarty@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

K-9 Hobbs and Sgt. Jason Robinson pose for a photo after Hobbs’ retirement ceremony at the Edmonds Police Department in Edmonds, Washington on Thursday Jan. 26, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Police dog Hobbs retires after nearly 10 years on the Edmonds force

The German shepherd had 520 deployments, 166 arrests and 113 evidence finds with his handler, Sgt. Jason Robinson.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and the victim of a brutal attack in 2018 answer questions from reporters on Jan. 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
White supremacists sentenced for racist beating at Lynnwood bar

A federal judge handed out stiffer sentences than prosecutors had asked for in a series of sentencing hearings Friday.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville State of the City address set for Feb. 1

Mayor Jon Nehring will highlight 2022 accomplishments and look to the future. Questions from the audience will follow.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A move to require voting and a bicameral chasm on vehicle pursuits

It’s Day 19 and the mood is heating up as the third week of the 2023 legislative session comes to an end.

Most Read