October 10, 2016
Farallon Technical Editor Bonnie Willis turned a lifelong hobby into a source of comfort for children with serious illnesses.
Bonnie, who has ensured the quality of Farallon’s documents for the past 10 years, has been a needleworker from childhood. During long Midwest winters, Bonnie learned to knit and crochet, and tried her hand at needlepoint before discovering her niche in cross-stitching. “Eventually, however,” Bonnie says, “every needleworker runs out of family, friends, and wall space for the things s/he makes, and needs to find other outlets.” Thanks to the Internet, charity groups that welcome hand-crafted creations of volunteers are easy to find.
Bonnie currently is involved with Love Quilts USA, a group of volunteers who hand-stitch quilts for children with life-threatening and life-altering illnesses. Stitchers from all over the world cross-stitch squares incorporating the theme chosen by the child or parent, and send the squares to a quilter for assembly and delivery to the child. Quilt themes have included super heroes, princesses, world landmarks, sports, Disney characters, and even Pokémon.
As Bonnie discovered, contributing to a quilt can be an investment of emotions as well as time. “I remember the first time a child I had stitched for passed away. It was heart-wrenching, and I thought, what was the point of doing all this stitching if the child was going to die? But then I learned that the Love Quilt made for this child brought great consolation to the family as a memory of the comfort it had brought to their child. I now know I am stitching love for both the child and the family into each square.”
Bonnie estimates she’s stitched several hundred squares for Love Quilts USA. “I recently finished a hockey square for a sports-themed quilt. Next I’m starting a square for a ‘Thank Heaven for Little Girls’ quilt.”
Farallon clients benefit greatly from the command of content, structure, and grammar Bonnie applies to each document. The Farallon family and complete strangers benefit even more from her generosity and compassion.
Love Quilts USA Facebook page