the ming men quilt


About four years ago I went to a physician who practices integrative medicine, a field that blends medical practices from both East and West. My immune system was not working well and he decided that I needed an acupuncture treatment known as Ming Men. Ming Men refers to a point on the body between the second and third lumbar vertebrae and opposite the navel. Placing needles along the points that connect to Ming Men is supposed to stimulate Chi and improve one’s immune system. If you’ve never had acupuncture it would help to know that the patient is lying down when they insert the needles in you. The doctor leaves them in place and returns about half an hour later. You are to remain motionless and often they turn out the lights so you can relax. It may be hard to believe but even with 30 needles in you it can be relaxing. I have had many profound realizations and epiphanies of all sorts on the acupuncture table. I guess it’s all that Chi racing around.

Anyway as I was lying in the dark with needles all over my body I began visualizing a bunch of Ming warriors coursing through my veins trying to give me strength. As I thought about it some more I started to see the faces of the Ming Men as the people in my life who give me strength. In short, my community–my peeps–are my Ming Men. They are the ones who inspire me, help me battle negative thoughts, hold me accountable, and keep me strong. I think that whether they recognize it or not, everybody has Ming Men in their lives who root for them and help them ward off the slings and arrows of life.

One of those people in my life is Quinn. I have spent most every Tuesday and some Fridays for the past two and a half years taking fitness classes from Quinn. Sometimes it’s been a bootcamp class, but most of the time it’s kickboxing or weight training. On good days and bad, sleep-deprived or just getting over a respiratory infection, I knew that at a given time that Quinn would be there to give me a great workout and some much-needed endorphins.

Alas the time has come for Quinn to get married and move to Iowa. When I heard this news I thought about all of the other people in that class on those Tuesday mornings who would miss her and about friendship quilts.

In the 19th century it was customary when someone left the community for each member of the community to make a quilt block or embroider one to be combined in a quilt for the person who was moving. I somehow wanted Quinn to take a piece of each of us with her to Iowa but also wanted her to have something extra warm for her new home.

So Bill and I chose some fabrics from our Wild Bunch line that we thought she’d like. We used the super-duper warm Quilters Dream Puff/Minkee combination that I blogged about a few months ago and made her a simple, but very large throw. Given that we backed it with Minkee having people sign their names on the back wouldn’t work. So we made a cloth storage bag for it and had everyone write a message with a Sakura fabric pen on the bag. We printed out “Thanks Quinn” in a font we liked and then traced it onto the bag with a thick Sharpie.

I will figure out a new Tuesday fitness routine and without a doubt a new Ming Man will magically wander into my life. As someone once said to me, “With goodbyes come hellos.” But I’ll really miss my Tuesdays with Quinn.

It’s easy for all of us to see the Ming Men in our lives. What I never want to forget is the importance of being a Ming Man back to those same people.

3 thoughts on “the ming men quilt

  1. Love accupuncture
    Love the idea as to who serves as warriors in our lives
    Love the creative idea of a signed sack.

    I’m curious about 1 thing – what does the quilt look like? Was design was warrior worthy? Ok that is 2 things – but related.

    I love your thoughtful blogs.

  2. Leslie,

    The quilt was just a panel of one of our fabrics with a 1″ cream frame and another one of our fabrics on an outer border. Super simple because we’ve got a ton of deadlines. I don’t think it needed to look like a warrior quilt because the gift is for her, not me, you know? I wanted something that would work in her new home and “play well” with her other furnishings. I do, however, want to do a warrior quilt for myself one of these days that explores the idea in the design of the quilt. Thanks for your kind words.

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