Wait! Isn't that backwards? Don't we make lemonade out of lemons?
I remember a new quilter telling me that her husband could not understand why she bought perfectly good fabric, cut it up into little pieces and then spent hours putting it back together again. "Why not just do a puzzle?" he asked.
When you think about it logically he may have had a point. But a craft like quilting defies logic - and under the maker's hands, becomes a work of art.
Lemons, as we all know, have many health benefits. One lemon contains over 50% of the vitamin C we need for one day. Lemons are also known to reduce high blood pressure, aid in digestion and have numerous other health benefits. Unfortunately lemons can be a little bitter all by themselves. So once cut up and mixed with a sweetener and water, we really have no desire to put them back together again.
A quilt however, contains little bits of fabric - that may in the beginning, look a little like the pieces of a cut up lemon - a little sour. Not surprisingly many of the fabrics we put together may not appeal to us at all in the whole. And in fact in the beginning quilts were often made of old clothes, old curtains and bedding. A quilter would put them together with other fabrics and piece by piece - create a large piece of fabric (the quilt top) that is sweeter than how it began.
The health benefits of quilting and finishing a quilt are both physical and mental. A finished quilt contains enough "vitamin - see" to pull just about any quilter out of the winter blues and warm toes at the same time. But the act of pulling little bits of fabric and sewing them together to make different shapes and even scenery can have even more health benefits than we know.
Health professionals worldwide have studied the art of quilting and conclude that it can improve cognitive function, memory, and overall mental health. Quilting also provides a sense of accomplishment and pride, which can boost self-esteem and confidence. It also decreases stress levels and causes the feeling of a sense of accomplishment as it increases the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin - the reward chemicals in our brains. As a result, it also lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. An entry in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows evidence that quilt making decreases the blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate.
Over the last several years quilting has also been recognized as a powerful tool for healing trauma. It can provide a creative outlet for people to express their emotions and find peace. A simple google search will reveal scores of vets returning from front line combat who have healed PTSD through quilting.
And that in my mind - is making a beautiful healthy lemon out of lemonade.