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Oncology Nurse Makes Something Beautiful

Published on May 13, 2020

Oncology nurse Lisa Cummings, BSN, RN, OCN, quilts as hobby and has an optimistic view of life as a result.

“When life brings you scraps and leftovers, be creative and make something beautiful,” she says.

So she does, and sometimes it ends up as a gift in a patient’s hand. Her latest quilt “Dances with Color” is the latest example.

She Started Quilting at a Young Age

Cummings shares that a lap quilt for a school project in fifth grade fired up her creativity with cloth, patterns, and needles. She enjoys putting colors together and pleasing the eye. 

“The best part of making quilts is to give them away and see the reaction of those who receive them. My quilts are made to be used, washed and repeat,” she says. “I expect my quilts to be worn out from years of use, not put on a shelf for some future generation.”

How did “Dances with Color” come about?

“Every one of my quilts has a different story. Usually I start a quilt with a particular recipient in mind. This quilt did not start out that way.  In February I decided to make a quilt out of my scraps and leftover stash. Every quilter knows of what I speak.”

After a visit to Traverse City’s downtown book store with her son to admire the quilts they had on display, her son pointed out one made entirely of triangles because it made his eyes move all over the quilt. She thought the idea would make a great scrap quilt, pulled out her left-over fabrics, found 12 fabrics that worked well together, and started cutting strips, which then turned into triangles which were then sewn into strips. 

“I kept adding triangles until the size was right. My husband states that the size of my quilt is never determined until I finish creating it, which is true,” she says. “I felt the red triangles on the sides framed the quilt well. As the quilt came together I felt it danced with color, hence I named it Dances with Color.”

While in the strip cutting phase, Cummings met her patient. She knew Dances with Color was meant as a gift for her patient, finished it quickly and delivered it before the pandemic isolation protocols were put in place.

“I did not make it for publicity,” she says. “I made it out of love for a patient who is having a difficult time and felt the patient needed something tangible to feel loved.”