April 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm Leave a comment

Once again, I’ve spent much of the last week pursuing quilt-related activities while not getting any actual quilting done.  My guilt on this front is partially assuaged by the fact that I’m attending a guild retreat this weekend, at which I should get a ridiculous amount accomplished.  But I can’t complain too much, because while my quilts-in-progress continue to gather dust, I am very proud to have 20 pillowcases ready to donate to ConKerr Cancer.

Pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer

Pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer

In case you haven’t heard of this wonderful project, ConKerr Cancer was started by Cindy Kerr in 2002, after she started making pillowcases to brighten up her 12-year-old son’s hospital room as he received treatments for the cancer that would ultimately take his life at age 18.  When she saw how he enjoyed the pillowcases, she started making them for other children in the ward at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and gradually got other friends and volunteers in on the project.  From those simple beginnings, over 175,000 pillowcases have been distributed, and chapters have started in Canada and South Africa as well as all over the U.S.  Cindy Kerr has been recognized as a 2008 L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth and received Martha Stewart’s Dreamers Into Doers award.

Basically, it’s an extremely worthy cause, accessible to all levels of sewing ability, and is a great way to burn through yards of child- and teen-appropriate stash fabric while feeling really good about it.  My guild has adopted ConKerr Cancer as one of our ongoing service projects, but until now I hadn’t mustered up to act on it.  Directions for the basic pillowcase are on the site; I preferred the result from the Hot Dog technique, which was almost like a magic trick.  If you make one of these, just take the first one on faith:  it actually works extremely well, it  just feels deeply strange.  But it does result in a completely enclosed edge where the pillowcase body fabric meets the cuff, which I thought was nicer.

In addition to the 20 donation pillowcases, I made one for myself, and this is why.  Last summer, on the advice of my chiropractor, I bought a custom SleepNumber pillow to help with my chronic neck problems.  The system is pretty neat:  they have a variety of inner cores, outer shells, and protectors that you mix and match to create your perfect pillow, depending on whether your priority is luxury, hypoallergenicity, or postural support.  I chose a contoured foam core, a memory foam outer shell, and a protector that has silver woven through it as a natural antibacterial measure.  They have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is a good thing, or else I never would have been able to bring myself to buy a — wait for it — $150 pillow.  Yikes.  But within just a few nights, I was sleeping better, my neck felt much improved, and I knew that $150 was a small price to pay.

However, that’s not the reason why I need a brightly colored batik pillowcase.  That reason occurred probably about a month later, when we drove to Indianapolis for vacation.  We’d be away for a week, so naturally I wanted to bring my new pillow so I wouldn’t exacerbate my neck trouble.  We left Monday evening and drove just over the West Virginia – Ohio border, where we spent the night.  Tuesday morning we got up, had a leisurely breakfast, and continued west.  We were just passing Zanesville, OH, about an hour from our motel, when I realized we’d left my pillow on the bed.  My husband called the motel while I turned the car around, and a nice lady from housekeeping said that oh yes, they’d found the pillow, they had it in lost and found, no problem.  An hour later, we pulled back up to the motel, to find that the shift had changed, the lady he’d spoken to had left, and no one knew where my pillow was.  Another tense half hour passed before it was located.

Now, we were not operating on a tight schedule.  We had planned to make some stops in Columbus and arrive in Indianapolis sometime mid-afternoon, but we had no fixed plans.  Nevertheless, losing two and a half hours of vacation over a pillow had me really frustrated and angry with myself.  So angry, that I was still seething by the time we were driving past Zanesville again.  So angry, that I didn’t realize I was going over 80 mph in a 65 zone until I saw the lights in my rearview mirror.  The policeman was very nice and polite, but the ticket was the last straw.  I decided that our vacation was cursed, that I never should have left the house.  There’s an airport in Columbus, and at that point I was fully prepared to have my husband drop me there and let me make my way home, skipping our vacation and possibly hiding under the bed for the rest of the week.

But fortunately, one of our planned stops in Columbus was the Krema Nut Company.  I had heard about them from a coworker who’d attended a convention in Columbus, and thought it would make a nice change from fast food for lunch on the road.  We went to their peanut butter sandwich lunch counter, where (much like the custom pillow process) you can select your choice of fresh bakery bread, type of peanut or other-nut butter, and topping.  I had a cashew butter and spicy raspberry jam sandwich on freshly baked whole wheat bread, that was assembled before my eyes, wrapped in waxed paper, and handed to me in a brown paper bag.  Our sandwiches, plus pretzels and little elementary-school-cafeteria-sized cardboard cartons of milk, came to less than $10 total for the two of us, and by the time I’d finished my sandwich I had abandoned all thoughts of flying home and was back in the proper vacation mindset.  We went on to have a wonderful time.

So although everything turned out fine, I never again want to risk leaving my super-special pillow behind anywhere.  Therefore, I now have an extremely loud pillowcase for whenever I travel.  I hope it doesn’t keep me awake at night, but at least I don’t have to worry that it will ever again blend into the bedding.  Unless there’s a Grateful Dead-themed hotel somewhere I don’t know about…

My batik pillowcase

Unforgettable... that's what you are...


Entry filed under: New Projects, Quilt Guild, Travel. Tags: , .

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