The Blanket Book Project

At some of the hospitals where I have worked, I was known as the “blanket” chaplain.  I come from a long line of knitters, crocheters and quilters, and these skills are part of my heritage and identity.  When I first read about prayer shawls, I was intrigued. I had made a few of my own, but now I was too busy to knit. Several hospital departments had sources for blankets that were to be given to patients at the end of their lives.  My question became Why not give a blanket to anyone who needs to know they are loved?  Thus, I now call these blankets “Love blankets” and I give them to any patient who has a need to feel loved.  If the patient has a faith tradition that includes prayer, I call them “Prayer blankets.” I usually ask, “What is your favorite color?” or “Do you have a hobby?” and then attempt to find a blanket that fits.

Over time, I have collected and written several stories about the patients receiving these blankets. When I shared the idea of compiling these into a book, one person wondered, “Could we offer copies of this book to people who are part of its creation at a special price or even free?”  What a fantastic idea! Most of the knitters, crocheters and quilters who donate to this cause have no idea to whom the blankets are given and how much they are treasured.

Imagine the impact of knowing that a blanket fashioned out of brightly colored pieces went to a young woman getting chemo for breast cancer or to a woman who misses her grandfather, and her clearest memory is of the two of them going fishing. A fleece blanket appears in her room while she is sleeping, covered with pictures of fish!  Some of these stories are about grief and longing. Other stories are about those who feel they just don’t deserve something so nice and offer to pay for it.
Some patients will ask, “You mean, I get to keep this beautiful quilt?”

My goal is to fashion a written record of the history of blankets, the meaning behind them and how love blankets have impacted the lives of patients at the hospitals in which I have served.  My blog is sprinkled with stories about blankets as well as other meaningful encounters. The book that will eventually include some of these stories, as well as others, will be written in honor of those who have donated their time, love and skill.

Please consider donating to our project.  Your support will make it possible for us to share our book with those who most deserve it - the creators of our blankets.
We anticipate needing approximately [phone redacted] books, and to do this, we will need approximately $10,000.  Our hope is that we will be able to print the first run in early October, 2019.  It's amazing how many people are already part of this project! 


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Patricia Taylor Johnson 
Oak Park, MI
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