by Charlene Paul
Paying it forward sums up the way Bev Qualheim lives her life. Bev is the president and founder of Ministering Angels in Logandale, Nevada. She runs Bevscountrycottage.com and mediates Bev’s Country Cottage Neighborhood on Facebook.
Bev’s ministering spirit was sparked at a very early age while living in England. “My babysitter taught me how to knit when I was seven years old,” Bev said. “Mom let me pick out whatever wool – yarn in England – I wanted,” she continued. “I knitted a little square with my own needles, held it up, and said, ‘This is going to warm somebody.’ I was hooked.”
In 1980, after delivering her first son seven weeks early, Bev felt alone and overwhelmed. “I had no one to help me – no church members and my family was so far away,” she explained.
One afternoon when she walked into the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to visit her tiny son, she saw that he was wearing a yellow and green knitted hat. “I was relieved and grateful that someone made something just for him,” said Bev. “When I left that day, I knew I had to do the same thing to help other moms. I wrote a monthly paper newsletter to share my knitting and crocheting patterns with others,” she continued. “There are so many new babies in need of warm hats, booties, and blankets.”
Shortly after moving to Logandale from Wisconsin in 2003, Bev and a friend hit upon the idea of starting a crafter’s group where women could get together once a month to work on projects, and Crafting Angels was born. The women worked on yarn projects as well as quilts to give to various charities and hospitals. “A lot of the women were older, but there were a few young moms who brought their babies,” Bev said.
As the years progressed, fewer and fewer women showed up. Some moved away, some of the older women passed away, and the young moms were busy with their growing families. In 2017, Bev and another friend TC Carson decided to take a break.
A year later, while watching a church conference, Bev was intrigued that so many of the talks centered around ministering. One speaker after the other expounded on the need to minister to the needs of friends, neighbors, strangers, and refugees. “It felt like God was telling me something,” she explained. “It was obvious that I needed to start the group up again, but I wasn’t comfortable with calling it Crafting Angels anymore.” Bev explained that she wanted people to understand the group would be about more than just churning out craft projects; they would be creating items to meet the needs of others.
After much thought and prayer, Bev chose the name Ministering Angels. Her group meets on the first Friday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Relief Society room of the Logandale Stake Center. “We meet there because it is big enough to put on a quilt or two, but our group is strictly non-denominational,” Bev explained. “Everyone is welcome, and all hands are needed.”
Today, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide visit Bev’s website and belong to her Facebook page. She gets letters and emails from people who thank her for teaching them about service and helping them find their purpose. One lady who had been so depressed she had considered suicide, decided to crochet something to share after finding Bev’s website. She wrote to Bev that she would never have guessed that would be her answer.
And women aren’t the only ones who get involved in the yarn works. Men also join in and share their creations.
“One person can make a difference,” said Bev. “The lady who knitted that little hat for my tiny son so many years ago made me feel the need to do something, so I did. Now people from all over are ministering in their own areas of the world. That sweet lady couldn’t have known what her act of kindness would start.”
Bev’s advice is to be watchful of neighbors, friends, and others. “Be mindful and prayerful and do your best to help them,” she said. “We can’t always pay it back, but we can always find a way to pay it forward.”
Ministering Angels can use hats and scarves for the homeless, mittens for kids and adults, six-inch granny squares to make into blankets for palliative care patients, and newborn through toddler-sized hats as well as kids blankets for the local Native American tribe. With Bev’s permission, here are two of her original patterns:
Bev’s Women’s Conference Scarf
(Copyright Beverly A. Qualheim 2018)
Gauge: 2 rows =1″ 24 rows = 1 foot
1 skein Simply soft yarn or approximately 300 yds/270 m)
size I (5.5 mm) crochet hook
Row 1: Double crochet in the 4th chain from your hook. (your initial “chain” now counts as a double crochet).
♥Skip 1 chain, make 2 double crochets in next chain (makes a “V”), repeat from ♥ across. Chain 3, turn.
Make ONE DC in middle of the first “V,” ♥ skip next stitch, make 2 double crochets in middle of next “V.” Repeat from ♥ across. Chain 3 and turn (You end up with 9 “V”s across).
Repeat Row 2 until scarf is 60″ long (approximately 144 rows), or desired length.
End off and weave in ends.
Bev’s Garter Stitch Scarf
(Copyright Beverly A. Qualheim 2018)
Basic scarf use Size 10 (6 mm) knitting needles
Worsted weight #4 yarn or wool
Cast on 18 stitches
Knit every row until scarf is 5′ long. (For kids make them a bit shorter)
Bind off each stitch and cut yarn. Weave in ends.
For more information on Ministering Angels and their needs, please visit Bevscountrycottage.com/ma-kits.html. You can find her on Facebook at Bev’s Country Cottage Neighborhood. Or contact Bev directly at firstname.lastname@example.org