In 2011, author Sonja Hakala gave away three quilts to people with Parkinson’s disease at a symposium on this chronic neurological condition organized by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Now, a few years later, she’s written Piecing for Parkinson’s to help others make simple, beautiful quilts to give away to people in need.
It was, as the old song goes, the “start of something big.”
You see, both of Sonja’s parents (Gus and Marcia Hakala) died of complications of Parkinson’s disease. Her father passed away before she started quilting but her mother was the recipient of many handcrafted treasures from table runners, holiday wall hangings, a quilted Mother’s Day card, and two bed quilts.
A few months before she died, Sonja’s Mom asked her for a small quilt because the bed-sized versions were too heavy.
Unbeknownst to either of them, Mom’s request sparked the idea which became the Parkinson’s Comfort Project, a non-profit dedicated to gathering and disbursing handmade lap quilts to people with Parkinson’s disease. To date, over 300 quilts (donated by quilters from all over the country) have been given to people who treasure them for their beauty as well as their warmth and comfort.
Along with the board of the Parkinson’s Comfort Project, Sonja organizes two quilting days a year, and dubbed them Piecing for Parkinson’s days.
That’s where this new quilting book came from, full of instructions about two different ways to quilt-as-you-go, and a simply elegant way to do simple machine quilting on your home machine.