Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I feel like Tigger....

.... because bouncing is what Tiggers do best!

I have been bouncing....from one project to another.  Starting with these beauties -- from fabric we bought in Houston.....
 ....to playing with some of my 1.5" squares.....
 ....to making a charity baby quilt from donated flannel strips.....
 ....to another charity baby quilt....
 ...to playing with my yummy pink fat quarters that range from the palest of pink to an orange sherbert to a deep deep pink.
So, I haven't finished anything (yet) in the last two weeks -- but I've played with lots of fabrics, patterns, and used up some scraps as well as finally cutting some fabrics I've loved.  Who knows what this week will bring.

I hope you are finding time to play with fabric -- whether it's bouncing like Tigger or devoting yourself to a single project until it's done.  It's all good!

Keep piecing, Jan

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Quilts Beyond Borders

Have you heard of this organization?  It is remarkable and was founded in 2007 by delivering 230 quilts to orphans in Ethiopia.  Since that time, they have sent over 2,600 quilts to Ethiopia, Haiti, Japan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Uganda, Burundi, Cameroon, and Russia.  Currently they are working to send quilts to the Forgotten People organization that services Arizona Navajo people living, in many cases, without electricity and running water. They are cold.  This is shameful!

Whether you prefer to donate your charity quilts locally or globally, you have to admire their Mission Statement:

To provide quilts to children in need, especially orphans living in under-served areas of the world where the warmth of a quilt is needed at night.

I don't have permission to share "before and after" pictures from their brochure that shows spartan bunk beds lined up side by side (the children appear to have to crawl into (or up to) their bed from the foot.  There is no room between the beds.  The "after" picture shows wonderful colorful quilts draped at the foot of each bed.
If you've ever been to a major quilt show, you know the charity organizations' booths are normally at the very last aisle of the quilt exhibits.  They are not in high traffic areas -- by a long shot.  While in Houston last fall, we walked by the QBB booth and were drawn to the packets of fabric, finished quilts, and a few items for sale.  In reading their brochure, this was the paragraph that drew me in and led me to sign up to make a quilt (or quilt top) within the next year:

More than 140 million children in the world today have lost one or more parents.  Sub-Saharan Africa is the home to an estimated 50 million orphaned children. More than one in three orphans will have lost  a parent to AIDS.  In Ethiopia alone, there are currently about 5 million orphans.

I was all in!  It was reaffirmed when I read that besides their school uniforms, this will be the only personal possession of many orphans.  Heartbreaking!

This is an organization that makes it as easy as possible on us quilters when it comes to donating.  You can donate unwanted fabric.  You can donate a quilt top (42"x48" to 42"x60").  You can donate your long arm quilting.  You can donate $15 which pays to send 6-8 tops to a volunteer longarmer.    They will also take frequent flier donations, publicity, researching grant opportunities, and sales of quilts for fundraising.
Seriously -- you don't have to send a finished quilt.  These three tops will be going to a longarmer next week along with some leftover scrappy binding.  

I know many quilters are called to serve and donate locally and I understand and admire that.  I make two small baby quilts for the local hospital every month.  A small church quilting group I belong to is making pillowcases (with members furnishing pillows) for local children who are removed from their homes and put in foster care.  I know many of you make quilts, layettes, and pillowcases for local organizations.  What I don't always understand is the position that it's "either - or".  Why can't it be "both" with the generosity of quilters being spread locally and globally?

I am not looking for an answer because this is a personal matter.  We quilt for so many reasons - creativity, gifts, inspiration, peace, energy, fulfillment, art, healing.....I suspect we rarely need to quilt to keep our families warm these days.  But there are opportunities throughout the world help keep others warm.

I would encourage you to see if you have a quilt top (or quilt) you've fallen out of love with or fabric you are tired of or scraps or a pattern you want to try -- to look at QBB's website and see if you feel moved to help them out.  Postage to ship it is the only expense.
This very simple brick quilt is their recommended pattern (3" strips cut across fat quarters) and these are the fabrics that I picked up from their booth.  The two Scrappy Trip Around the World tops (pattern by Quiltville) are from my 2.5" strip bin that exploded when I opened it.  It's certainly more under control but I have enough 16" strips to make at least one more.  The smaller strips are being subcut for another Cross Quilt.  I need to get something in my quilt room under control!

Even if you don't donate to this wonderful organization -- I would suggest you look at their website for a reminder of why quilters are special and we should all be proud to use that title in describing our art.

Keep piecing!  Jan

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thank you, McCall's

Free is good right?  At least free quilt stuff is good.

I've just had a chance to review the new Free Modern Quilt Patterns from McCall's Quilting and McCall's Quick Quilts and once again, the generosity of publishing companies comes through.
This 10 page booklet is available here at no charge and includes three different patterns, good instructions and plenty of detail about how much fabric you need.  One just happens to be a throw sized "quilt as you go" which I have done periodically and really like.  There's something so satisfying about the quilting being done when the piecing is over.  It won't work for all patterns, but it certainly does in the one here.
Beth Hayes' editorial introduction asks the question "what is a modern quilt"and I'll let you read her answer.  What I personally think is important is that "modern" isn't necessarily synonymous with "easy" or "fast".  Clearly some are -- they are huge pieces of fabric sewn together with a bold look.  But I'm not sure that's the norm as we're watching "modern quilting" evolve.
I do not consider myself a "modern quilter" but I have been influenced by the simple (but not simplistic)  use of fabrics and colors in the last year or two.  I do like the bold lines and the visual impact.
So, if you're looking for triangles or strips, or squares -- then you may want to look at Free Modern Quilt Patterns -- there are great instructions for creating fun quilts!

Whatever your preference, I suspect you agree that free quilting stuff is good....and creating is a blast!

Keep piecing, Jan