Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Donation Quilts

I make quilts for fun, really, and for trying out new things.  I like to give them to people, sure, but I often make them without a specific recipient in mind.  A few years ago there was a dearth of new babies in my family and immediate circle of friends. There were no big milestone-type occasions for me to plan a quilt around. So I started looking around for places to which I could donate quilts.  The first place I found was Quilts For Kids, which was mentioned to me on an online community to which I belong on LiveJournal. Quilts for Kids is a nation-wide organization which distributes quilts to children’s wards and NICUs in hospitals across the nation.  Their quilt donation method is great: they give you cut fabric for a top and more fabric for the backing, with instructions on how to layout and sew the fabric, and then you piece it, provide batting, and quilt the whole thing together. You mail it back to the organization. Ordering a kit is easy and the patterns are too. The main thing is to add color and comfort to kids in hospitals. This is a worthy cause to which I have been contributing pretty regularly. I’ve made several quilts for them, and have posted about one of them here:

A few months ago I was perusing the Quilts for Kids website and noticed that there is a local chapter of the organization, in San Francisco. The organization encourages people to work with local chapters as that enables them to contribute to local hospitals, etc. I contacted Patti, who runs the local chapter and learned that she does things a bit differently. She asks people to make a top and then she provides batting, backing and quilting. She’s got a long arm machine (over which I admit I am jealous). I like this idea. It lets me play with color and design, and experiment on new techniques, etc. and STILL be able to donate the quilt.
Right now Patti is working with the Ronald McDonald house in SF, which provides housing for kids who come here for treatment and their parents. Unfortunately, Patti told me, the House has some returning kids, teenage boys who have had a recurrence of cancer. I immediately set about to make a quilt for one of the boys. Now teenage boys often have specifics likes, dislikes and ideas about what befits a boy/young man. I looked in my stash and pondered and pondered (and bought a couple of brown fat quarters), and finally came up with this:

The design is called “Warm Wishes” and is one which I’ve used, and about which I’ve blogged here, before. It is an extremely versatile design. Every quilt I’ve made using this design has a totally different feel. Consider these:

In any case, I made this one in blues, green, and browns, and shipped it off to Patti. She finished it, and gave it to the House. I am glad it found a good home, and glad to cheer somebody in need, and so thankful that my hobby can be useful and meaningful to others. I’ve already started planning the next one, though it’ll have to wait a bit.
Here is the picture of the finished quilt for the Ronald McDonald House in SF:

If anybody reading this is interested in contacting Quilts for Kids, the link is at the bottom of my blog page.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In the name of Research!

A quilter and librarian posted the following on an online community of which I am a member (on LiveJournal). She's doing research on quilt-related bloggers and their readers.
Dear (few, select) readers, if you have a moment or 5, please help the lady out. Thanks!

If her link doesn't work here, try this:

Begin her request:

Help a librarian and quilter! You could win Storyboek fabric from Birch Fabrics.
Take the quilt survey and you could win!

Dear Quilters,

I am a quilter and librarian at the University of South Alabama. I am working on a research project involving the information-seeking and community participation habits of quilt bloggers and their audience. In plain English, that means I am administering a survey designed for quilt bloggers and their readers with questions regarding things such as where they look when they are looking for information about quilting, whether they participate in in-person communities such as guilds, etc. The survey will run from 9/15/11 to 10/15/11.

I am studying this because I love quilting and I love learning about information-seeking habits. Since research and publication are required for tenure at my university, I am also hoping to be able to publish an academic article based on the survey. I also think that quilt guilds, bloggers, and librarians would benefit from this research.

It would really help me out if as many quilters as possible took the survey. To sweeten the pot, one lucky survey participant will win fat quarters of Birch's Storyboek fabric. The winner will be selected randomly from survey participants.

The confidential survey has 26 questions and should take at most 30 minutes. This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of South Alabama.

Take the quilt survey and you could win!


Ellen K. Wilson
Instructional Services Librarian
University Library, University of South Alabama
ewilson (at)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I love Halloween.
I do. I love it. I love the silliness, and the spookiness (and candy, of course, candy). I love dressing up for it and the kids getting dressed for it. When they were little I made their costumes, though at some point that stopped being cool for them. I still think it’s cool. I dress up at work, more than my students do, in fact. 
I also like it because it’s the time of year when many stores suddenly carry items I like. I like them all year but they are often hard to find in other seasons. Things that have to do with ghosts and cemeteries, and skulls which my husband likes a lot. And stripey tights. Let’s not forget those.
At this time of year the fabric stores carry all sorts of Halloweenish material, and when I was last at the store, I saw cute fabrics and, getting caught up in the Halloween mood, I bought some:
Seriously, how could I resist those sparkly bats? And that crazy looking vulture??
So I got the fabric and then I set about making some wall hangings. I made this one for us:
And the flip side? My “Quilting Bees” fabric so I can hang it up in my sewing room when it’s not in Halloween mode.
Then I also made this:

And this one has masks on the reverse. I have posted it on Etsy and maybe somebody else will get as much joy out of it as I do.
The small piece is basically a four-patch while the larger one is a nine-patch (the only difference is the pieces are rectangles as opposed to the traditional squares). I have used sashing in both to bring out the main fabrics, especially the cemetery one. And the whole thing is bordered with a purple patterned fabric. These pieces are super-simple in design so as to emphasize the fabrics. I made loops out of ribbon so they can be hung on dowels or with tacks or pins.
These were quick and gratifying, and a lot of fun.

Now back to my regularly scheduled challenging quilts…