The thickly crocheted blanket was cream-colored and heavy, the kind that folds perfectly and lies beautifully on the sofa, waiting to be used.
So I wrapped myself up to the ears. I get cold easily, and the blanket was delicious and warm.
Lots of us remember our beloved blankies (mine was pale yellow with satiny edges, and if you rolled up a corner you could gently tickle your own cheek). There's a reason we call some blankets "comforters."
Let's face it: Handmade blankets are best. Who chose the colors, the patterns, the design we're wrapped in? A real person who cares.
I first wrote about Quilting for Kids two years ago, when the Cabarrus-based group had been quilting for children at the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital for about a year. That first year, the group gave some 60 quilts to the hospital.
About a week ago, Quilting for Kids delivered another 41 new quilts and crocheted blankets. In the past three years, group founders Carol Schmidt and her daughter Jayne Ortiz and their colleagues have delivered more than 350 quilts to the hospital.
The largest run about 48 by 48 inches. Small quilts are used for premature infants.
Two children who got quilts this time had received one before. It's hard to imagine kids in the hospital once, much less again and again.
A child who is threatened - that has to be the worst horror any of us can imagine. A child who is comforted, cared for - that has to be the sweetest image we can call forth.
Each quilt has a paper pinned to it with the maker's ID. Hospital staff fill out a form to tell quilters about the child who received it.
Was it wrapped around a baby girl who had been on a ventilator for weeks to give her lungs time to develop? Did a child with leukemia get wrapped all in blue or yellow?
I have met the women who make these quilts. Their faces lit up when they talked about giving their quilts away, sometimes to parents who spoke another language, sometimes to children whose exhaustion and sadness broke their hearts.
I've seen the quilts and blankets. Blue backgrounds and multi-colored flags; Old Glory waving in red and white stripes. Yellow; green and red cars racing around one square and yellow bees buzzing around another.
Schmidt told why the quilters choose their cloth so carefully: Sick children need to be wrapped in the bright, beautiful idea of health and freedom from pain.
It's easy to care. It's easy to help, if you can use a needle or a crochet hook. Quilters for Kids will take newly knitted, crocheted or sewn quilts (no wool, to avoid allergy).
The group needs help. Many, many children would love to sink into the folds of soft cloth stitched or worked by hand by someone who cares.