A blanket of comfort

Quilters craft special work for friend who lost grandchild

A hundred years ago it was routine for groups of women to hold quilting bees as a way to come together and support a member of the community who was grieving or needed help. Today it’s happening again as a group of Spokane Valley-area women come together to create a quilt for a friend dealing with the loss of her young granddaughter in California.

Noreen Skogen has worked at the Quilting Bee for more than a decade and teaches classes there. Her husband, David, is a detective with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. “Everyone wants to do something,” said Kathy Burns, who quickly helped organize the quilt-making effort for Skogen. “We don’t know what to do.”

Skogen’s friends are struggling to find an appropriate way to respond to Skogen’s loss because of how her granddaughter died. According to a story in the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, 3-year-old Kalli Skogen died after she accidentally shot herself. The gun was the personal weapon of her father, a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy.

About 20 women gathered Tuesday morning at the Quilting Bee to get instructions for the quilt design, which includes angels. “These are all ladies who are friends of Noreen’s or have taken a class from her,” Burns said.

The design of the quilt was selected with Noreen in mind. “Noreen liked angels,” Burns said. “I think Kalli was a special little angel.” The women also planned to put a photo of Kalli on the quilt. They had a picture showing a blond girl with a huge, bright smile on her face.

The women selected cloth, cut it, ironed it and prepared to stitch everything together in time to finish the quilt by the end of the week. Edee Hunt, who took classes from Skogen and worked with her husband, said she thought making a quilt was a great idea. “They are salt of the earth,” she said. “You have to feel for her. I know how much pain it has caused them.”

Quilting Bee owner Jackie Wolff said she was happy to donate the cloth for the quilt and help the effort along. She said Skogen has five children. “Children are her life,” she said. “Her heart is as big as she is. She puts being a mother before all.”

Wolff is hoping the quilt will be a comfort. “I think she’s put herself in mother mode and is taking care of her children,” she said. “That’s why we’re going to take care of her when she comes home.”

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