Category Archives: Donation Quilts

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Twisted Quilt is Finished!

I haven’t finished a quilt for such a long time.  This one feels great! Partly because I started it in June, 2017 so it has been around for a while.  But also in part because I am donating it to the Mercyful Quilt drive that I have been hosting over these past weeks.

Surely I am not alone in the feeling of intention that comes along when making a quilt for a specific purpose.  When I began making this quilt, I chose it because I love the Twisted pattern, the lattice look of it.  I was happy because I mainly used scrappy bits that I had in my stash.  It was just a nice project. However as I began quilting it, I knew it would be a nice piece to donate to the Palliative Care unit at Mercy Hospital.  Once I decided to donate it, my mind constantly wandered, thinking about the purpose of this particular quilt.

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I chose to use a grid pattern for the open sections within the lattice.  This was a bit time consuming.  I did mark the lines with a Frixion pen – though they still have some wobble to them. But I wanted them to be as straight and uniform as I could get them. I marked and quilted a one inch grid on each spot. This gave me plenty of time to think while I quilted.

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As my mind wandered, I found myself thinking about both family who might choose my quilt for their special family member who was actively in the dying process.  I do not hold any grand illusion that because they have this quilt in hand, the process becomes easy.  I have been there. I know that whether given one or twenty five handmade quilts, the process doesn’t become easier.  But it is something. It might reduce the sterility of the hospital room a tiny bit.  Maybe taking the quilt home will bring comfort to the family as they grieve. It gave me great satisfaction to think that maybe by donating this quilt, I am bringing a little bit of solace to the family as well as comfort to the person who died.

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Modern, bright florals on the front and soft roses on the back. So sweet.

Since starting this quilt drive, I have received so many comments that compliment the staff who support patients as they die.  Many of us feel the same – that this is such a special calling and certainly a very difficult job much of the time.  Collectively we are grateful for these angels who are able to provide care for patient and family at this time of life.  Personally, when I think of someone dying, I almost always find myself remembering when my first husband died. It is only natural I suppose; this was a huge, life altering event in my and my children’s life.  He died in 1994 after experiencing an aneurysm in his brain stem.  He was flown to a trauma care hospital and they took care of him (and me) for the next two days.

This was such a stressful, terrifying time in my life.  I was only 33 and he was 36.  We had three young children.  I spent that weekend in a shocked, fearful state of mind.  The staff there were amazing.  Mark had a nurse that spent about 36 hours with him, without going home.  She just stayed with both of us. I remember asking her how she could do this job.  I asked her why she stayed so long, and how many of her patients actually survived.  She sat with me and explained she felt honored to care for him and me both as we faced this change.  She told me that less than 20% of her patients survived.  But she felt called to do this work. She told me that most of the nursing staff don’t last a very long time in this type of work, but for the time she was able to, she wanted to do this type of nursing. She was an angel and while I can hardly remember her face, I do remember her words.

There was also a chaplain who came in and out quite a number of times to check on me.  Memories of him are a bit of a blur but I know he was there and supportive.  At a time like this, there are many decisions to make and having someone who wasn’t emotionally involved is so important. I am not sharing all of this as a call for pity.  I am fine and my boys are fine.  We will always miss Mark but memories of him have become a sweet part of our life.  I am sharing it to describe how needed and comforting it was to have this team of people who deal with death on a daily basis and thus were able help me to deal with it.  They helped me to make decisions when I was reeling with shock and grief.  They told me what to expect next, why they were doing each process, what Mark might be experiencing as time went on.  They were such a comfort at such a scary, sad time.

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My Mercyful Quilt is backed with a soft vintage sheet.

So, making this quilt caused me to reflect.  It gave me time to think about providing what we can to help people we will never meet.  I thought about how being kind to a faceless person feels good.  Quilting this piece made me realize how important it is to pay it forward.  I received comfort from a team such as the one at Mercy Hospital.  It is my turn to help the next person going through a difficult time.

Now this one is done so I can look forward to quilting the next one.  I have two quilt tops in line to work on.  I have a few holiday projects in process but I think it is ok to work on those first and then tackle the next Mercyful quilt.

Mercyful Quilts – destined to bring comfort to others.

Look at the stack that is waiting to be picked up! I believe we are at twenty quilts so far and more are on the way.  My gratitude intention for Thanksgiving this year is easy.  I am over the top grateful for each of you and the amazing, gorgeous quilts you are sending to me for Mercy Hospital.  Quilts have arrived from Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts and all over California.  AMAZING!! I hope you will continue to feel a desire to work on this drive.  Share it with your quilting groups, post about it on your blog or Instagram feed and tag it #Mercyfulquilts.  The need is ongoing.  If you cannot contribute a quilt, you may want to make a couple of blocks for Covered in Love.  This program serves the same need at a hospital in Texas.

Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Linking this finish up at a few fun places.  Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

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Pillowcases for Kids

I found myself with a bit of time to sew over the weekend. One of the people I follow on Instagram, Caroline or @stitchesbrew, is involved with foster children who are aging out of the system.  She has been collecting handmade items (mainly quilts and pillowcases) to give to these 18 year olds who are trying to make a go of it on their own. I think this is a very worthwhile effort and I am happy to support it. Eighteen years old is so young to be completely on your own and while pillowcases and quilts won’t make it easy, it will let the kids know that someone cares about them.

In an afternoon, I was able to put together three pillowcases for the kids. I used some sweet fabric that my sister gave me a few months ago. (You might remember reading about this but if not, here is the post.) Making these three cases hardly made a dent in the yardage she gave to me. I know she is happy that some of the fabric was used for such a good cause.

The large scale of the fabrics lends well to something like these pillowcases. I added a tiny stripe of Daysail by Bonnie and Camille to add a pop of color.

These pillowcases go together so quickly. I used the ‘burrito tutorial’ that was posted by Leslie of The Seasoned Homemaker. If you haven’t tried this method before, give it a try. It is foolproof and the results are very polished.

These are packaged up and ready to be mailed to Michigan. Hopefully they will bring a smile to the recipients.

Linking to my usuals. Please take a look at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Square Dance

This week I finished up Square Dance. It was well over a year ago that I started this quilt. For some reason, it was put aside and ignored for a long while. Now that it is done, I am really pleased with the cheerful colors. The pattern is a simple one based on squares of two different sizes and simple borders on each, bringing the blocks to 9″ when finished.

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Putting the quilt together was a breeze. Quilting it, on the other hand, was not. Back in March, I was reading Cynthia’s posts over at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. She showed some quilts that she had finished up using some oversized daisy flowers. I loved it and thought it would be great for this quilt. I planned to put a flower in the center of each block. Additionally, I placed one on the intersection of each set of blocks.

img_20160407_4762 My machine was most uncooperative and I stitched about 1/4 of the quilt before I realized that my bobbin tension was way off and I had to unpick all of that quilting. Ugh. Not my favorite task. There really wasn’t a choice though. On the bright side, the tension was so far off that the stitches were totally loose on the back side and came out easily.  These frustrations were resolved when I found the Magic Bobbin Genies that I recently posted about. The small washers helped a great deal. I have had these issues sporadically and I am hoping this resolution works out over the long haul.

I requilted (is that a word?) the first section and finished up the rest. I think it is very cute – though it looks much better on the front than the back. I pieced the backing as I was determined to used some stash up. I love the way the backing came together but backing a quilt in solids means that every FMQ wiggle is accentuated. That’s ok. I am making progress with each project. For now, I am just going to look at the front side!

img_20160407_4763  The colors are great, as is the motif I chose for quilting Square Dance. Finally, look at the binding. It is adorable. I found this red and yellow print on a sale table at Ben Franklin and it was a steal.

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Tomorrow I will wash it and enjoy that cozy crinkle that the quilt will have once it is out of the dryer. Earlier this year, I signed up to participate in Hands 2 Help Charity Quilt Challenge organized by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. When I signed up, I wasn’t entirely sure what I would donate but I think this quilt will bring comfort to it’s recipient.

Update:  I shipped this quilt off to Kat for her Covered in Love program and she let me know it had arrived. I hope it will be used by someone in the near future.

The timing of this finish is good as I am now in the process of piecing my black and white Stepping Stones quilt. There is black and white flying all over in my sewing room these days. The blocks are looking really good though. I am pretty excited about this one!

Linking to all sorts of sites. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups!

Quilting for a Cause

I love to help. Doing something to help another makes a person feel good inside, it is gratifying. Quilting to help others is like the perfect combination for me, adding even more value to my favorite pasttime. I have donated six quilts over the past couple of years. However, donating a whole quilt takes a fair amount of time. Donating a few blocks here and there takes almost no time at all and gives me with a sense of participation and satisfaction. Remember when I posted about making the heart blocks for victims of the fires in California last summer? That was a very easy, satisfying project to contribute to. Here is another.

Reading through my blog feed on Bloglovin last week, I stumbled across Kat & Cat Quilts, a blog that was new to me. (It is amazing how many quilt blogs are out there. So much to read, so much inspiration to take in.) Anyway, this blog, written by Kat, sponsors an ongoing project called Covered in Love. Kat is a nurse in a med-surgical unit at East Texas Medical Center. She supports the dying process for some of her patients. Knowing the comfort it provides the patient, and the family of that patient, she tries to provide a quilt for patients nearing the end of their life in the hospital. As the family transitions and grieves the loss of their loved one, they are able to keep the quilt as a treasure to bring them comfort.  Below are seven quilts that were made with the blocks donated in October, 2015.

This is no small undertaking for Kat and while she does have quite a number of quilters that donate blocks, she spends a lot of time piecing and quilting and finishing these wonderful quilts. I believe she has some quilters that help with this as well.

Each month she specifies the block she will be working with, provides a tutorial and the color scheme.  This month she is asking for simple I-Spy blocks, using adult themed novelty fabrics in the center.  For a quick look at the tutorial, click here. I jumped in this month and made two blocks to contribute.

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These are a breeze to cut and piece. My only issue was my lack of novelty prints. I was really scrounging to find fabric that I could fussy cut and get a 2 1/2″ center block from. My stash includes lots and lots of juvenile prints but not many for adults. I shipped two blocks off to Texas with the hope that they are included in a quilt for one of the patients at East Texas Hospital.

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For the bicycle fabric, I cut into a piece of fabric I have been hoarding from Kate & Birdie, called Bicycle, in the Bluebird Park line. I love this line and haven’t decided what to do with it yet. What? Make a quilt with it? Hmmm…. maybe I will.  😉 For now though, I have cut off a corner and fussy cut two bicycles from it. They look so sweet.

I wanted to share this project with you in case you want to participate. We all follow our list of favorite blogs and I am very happy to add Kat & Cat Quilts to the list. If you are aware of other projects like this, I would love to hear about them. Leave a quick comment for me.

Linking to Let’s Bee Social today!

 

Fastest Quilt in the West

A few weeks before Christmas I wrote a post about this baby quilt top that I made using orphan blocks purchased at a little  shop in town. I added some solid blocks and borders and created it in a matter of a couple of hours. This week it is a finish; a satisfying, bright, cheerful finish!  It was a joy to put someone’s blocks to good use.

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I spent quite a bit of time deciding how I wanted to quilt this. It was a perfect slate for practicing but I wanted to stay with a theme that a child would enjoy. As I tend to do, I turned to Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt, for inspiration. Her site overflows with inspiration and tutorials for all sorts of motifs. Please take a look if you haven’t yet seen her site. You will surely find something that motivates you to play with some FMQ. At first I stitched turtles. Lots of turtles. They were cute but mine didn’t have enough personality. I tried kitties. Same thing. I liked them but I didn’t love them. A little more time spent found me stitching dragonflies and bumblebees, again, very cute but not what I wanted. Then I found her birds. I combined two tutorials. This one called Baby Birds and this one called Spring is in the Air. These were so much fun to stitch. Lori’s quilting is near perfection and as such, very precise. Mine… not so much. I like to sketch the design and go back and forth, filling in as I like.

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I love them. I drew a wavy line for the branch and from there I just stitched. I think they are sweet simplicity.

This quilt is a busy one. There is a lot of color and movement with the layout of the HST blocks. Because I just had this incomplete set of blocks, it was difficult to piece it in a fashion that made sense. In an effort to keep it relatively calm and avoid having any child that plays with this quilt being overcome with dizziness, I kept the quilting simple on the main body of the quilt. I think this allows the baby birds to be a calming point of focus and the multicolored part of the quilt is less overwhelming. Before I started to  quilt it I stitched in the ditch along the length and width of the rows of blocks. I wanted to be sure that the quilt was solid before I worked on the birds, especially since they are front and center on the quilt. After thread sketching the two birds and the branches, I worked on the plain blue squares. At first I was going to do simpler birds but it seemed like too much. Instead, a simple cross hatch worked out wonderfully.

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I quilted the HST blocks along the seam lines. The purple border was fun. I played with Lori’s tutorial, Do the Twist and came up with this. My twist is elongated and filled the border quickly.IMG_20160112_4455

The green border was quilted with simple straight lines that I allowed to cross in each corner. No marking needed – nice and simple.

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The backing and binding were from a piece of yardage I have had in my stash for over twenty years! I remember buying it at a WalMart when we lived in Pennsylvania so that dates it to anywhere between 1992-1994. It was in a clearance bin and I probably paid a few bucks for several yards. I love that I finally found a use for it and it looks perfect with this quilt. The quilting doesn’t really show on the busy print but the colors (particularly the shade of green) couldn’t be better.

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The binding is machine stitched on both front and back so it should hold up for lots of laundering. I have not yet washed it and with the bright batiks used for the HST’s, I will put a lot of Color Catchers in with the wash. Crossing my fingers that nothing bleeds.

I am actually a bit sad to give this one away because of the birds but really, it will be better to have it loved by a child than sitting in my sewing room.

Linking to Freemotion by the River, Let’s Bee Social, Freemotion Mavericks, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finish it up Friday. All links can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Quilter’s Call to Action

Hi Everyone –

As I have written, California has been under siege with fires up and down the state. One of the really awful ones, the Butte Fire, is burning in Amador County. At this point, we are thankful that it is 75% contained. However, it’s damage has been horrible. Over 75,000 acres have burned with a current loss of 535 residences. (Information obtained at Yubanet.com.)  Everyone’s worst nightmare, right? The loss of your home and all of your precious belongings and then having to rebuild. It must be an overwhelming situation for these people.

In comes Kerri of “Kerri’s Quilting” in Lakeport, CA.  She is putting together a few quilts for some of the quilter’s that lost not only their homes, but their quilting supplies and fabric. I think this is such a sweet thing to do. Providing something handmade as an expression of love and concern will hopefully bring comfort to some of our fellow quilters.

Would you like to help? Here is what Kerri wants:

“If you would like to help turn ashes to beauty please make a quilt block – applique a heart in the center of a CUT 10” square using pastel colors, sign your name and town and mail to Kerrie’s Quilting 1853 N. High St. Lakeport, CA 95453.
The blocks will be set together to make quilts for at least 5 ladies that I know of who lost all their sewing/quilting things in the fire.
The deadline for mailing is October 8th.”

Here are two blocks that I made the other day. Just a simple heart appliqued in the middle of a ten inch block.

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I hope you will create a block, sign it and mail it to Kerri. How wonderful for people from across the country to show their concern for these Amador County quilters!  Let me know if you have any questions. Also, for a quick tutorial on making an appiqued heart block, see this post at Quilting Jetgirl.

For those of you who saw my messy, messy sewing room the other day, here is an updated picture. As I was told by Deb at Frugal Little Bungalow, it was time to ‘Redd Up’ that room, which is apparently Pittsgburgh-speak for cleaning up a mess.  😉 Success!

IMG_20150916_3869Much easier to work in!

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Of course it didn’t last long because I was sewing this weekend. But it is still, it’s much better than it was.

Remember the post about the elephant baby quilt I made for my friends that are having a baby via surrogate mom in Mumbai, India? Their daughter, Emerson, arrived today via planned C-section!! I can’t even imagine how exciting this is for TJ and Margot after so many years spent working, hoping and praying to become parents. I am so happy for them and hope their transition from India back home is safe and uneventful.

Finally, this is why I love giving a quilt.  Look at this text that I received out of the blue the other day. Lil is my niece and I made her a t-shirt quilt about a year ago. (Story is here.) Warms my heart!

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Linking to Connie over at Freemotion by the River.