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99-year-old passes away before finishing massive quilting projects, 1000 strangers rally to finish

November 1st, 2019

Sometimes the universe directs you, it gives you subtle signs that tell you what you’re meant to do. That’s exactly what happened for one woman when she walked into an estate sale and saw the most beautiful, unfinished, quilting project she’d ever seen. Turns out the project was started by a 99-year-old lady who didn’t have time to finish before she passed on. When the woman enlisted the help of her Instagram friends, she never expected 1,000 strangers would rally together and help her finish the quilt!

This 99-year-old passes away before finishing this beautiful quilt project, so 1,000 strangers rally to finish it!

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Twitter Source: Twitter

99-year-old, Rita Smith, was a name that Shannon Downey had never heard before, little did she know, Rita would inspire her and many of others! Unfortunately, Rita is no longer with us, but that didn’t stop her from touching thousands of strangers’ hearts.

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Flicker Source: Flicker

Shannon is an antique fanatic, she’s an embroider by profession who frequents estate sales looking for unique items. After 99-year-old Rita passed away, Shannon went to an estate sale at Rita’s home in Mount Prospect, Illinois. There she found something, unlike anything she’s ever seen before.

There it was, hanging on the wall, an unfinished quilt, the flowers of those states. The embroidery was brilliant, Shannon had to have it!

When Shannon saw it she was speechless, all the flowers from the 50 states embroidered to perfection, the beautiful flowers of the states enlarged and in detail. In the middle was a map of the United States, a square surrounding with a different flower in each box.

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Instagram Source: Instagram

She quickly bought it before anyone else had the chance, what she saw next had her fighting back tears. Rita hadn’t had time to finish the project and Shannon knew she had to do something about it.

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Instagram Source: Instagram

Shannon found a box with more than 100 prepped pieces of fabric, it was the 48 states Rita didn’t have time to finish.

After buying every last piece from Rita’s project, Shannon realized she had one little problem she was an embroider but had no idea how to quilt, so she took to social media and reached out to her friends on Instagram.

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Twitter Source: Twitter

Shannon couldn’t believe the outpour of people that reached out to help. People reached out from all over the country, before long, Shannon had 1,000 strangers ready and willing to help.

Soon people were posting their progress on Instagram using the hashtag #RitasQuilt.

Shannon began collecting addresses and sending the pieces out to the volunteers to get them embroidered. They have until November 15th to send them back, once Shannon receives them they’ll be head to Chicago to a team of 30 stitchers to complete the quilting process.

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When Shannon of @badasscrossstitch put out a call for help on this unfinished embroidery & quilt project she bought at an estate sale, I immediately volunteered. It's honestly not the best timing for me: I have countless unfinished projects, the holiday season is coming up fast, and I am way behind. But something told me that this would be a special project, and that it would feel good to contribute to something larger than myself. My instincts were right. I have been struggling lately with the whole idea of whether to make what sells, or make what I love. This project offers a break from that thinking, and a chance to hone my skills. I've never stitched anything like this before and I'm learning a lot. This project is special to me for a number of reasons and I'm feeling so grateful for it today. And if you've read this far, I'm grateful for you, too 💖 P.S. This project is going viral; get ready for more news about it in the near future! Follow along with all of us at #ritasquilt #handembroidery #collaborativeart #communityquilt

A post shared by JoAnn McGranahan (@vintagerefashioned) on

After that, the quilt will be donated to a museum and put on display for everyone to enjoy. This quilt is a testament to the power of community, the fact that all these strangers are coming together to complete Rita’s vision is so inspiring!

99-year-old passes away before finishing massive quilting projects, 1000 strangers rally to finish.

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Source: Inspire More

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