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Using Stitches To Help Pass The Time For Hospital Patients and Families

With needle and thread, artist Lillis Taylor of Birmingham, Alabama, has created a diversion for women enduring extended hospital stays during high-risk pregnancies or anxious waits with infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

As an artist-in-residence with UAB Hospital’s Arts in Medicine program since 2014, Taylor leads embroidery workshops to teach patients and family members how to create individual embroidered squares that she sews into quilts for them to take home.

“I find embroidery to be an act of meditation,” Taylor says. “For a lot of the patients I work with, their time in the hospital can often seem like a jailsentence. It can be very lonely and frightening. Embroidery is a straightforward skill that is easy to pick up, and it allows them to focus on the positive aspect of doing something kind and loving for their child.”

Taylor says the relaxed, repetitive nature of embroidery is conducive for conversation. This gives nervous mothers and women who are expecting the chance to talk – and bond – while they sew.

“They start chatting with each other about why they are there, and they realize how much they have in common. It builds a support community for them,” she says. “Then, when they go home, they have a blanket or pillow that they made, and it gives them a pleasant memory from this emotional time.”

For taking the time to help, we honor Lillis Taylor as a Whataburger Hometown Hero!

Whataburger is proud to recognize everyday heroes who make their communities special. Check out some of our other Whataburger Hometown Heroes here.

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