Nov 222013

I have found two places so far that are collecting quilts for victims of the recent tornadoes in the American Midwest. I haven’t seen any for the typhoon victims in the Philippines, if anyone else knows of any collection drives, let me know in the comments.

Peddler’s Way Quilt Company in Illinois is collecting quilts (size not stated, I think bed sizes would be most welcome) and other goods. Go HERE for more info.

And Quilts of Compassion in Ohio is taking quilts of any size, quilted or tied, and also afghans (for you knitters and crocheters out there). Go HERE for more info.

Now back to my sewing machine so I can finish up a few to send off.

 November 22, 2013  Posted by at 8:08 pm Charity Quilts No Responses »
Mar 202013

I’ve been on a piecing binge lately. I should be finishing, not piecing more tops, but I’m on a roll and can’t stop. I’ve been tackling the clutter in my sewing room by turning it into quilt tops! You know the stuff, not quite UFOs but the odds n ends – from lone blocks to half-done sets of blocks to quantities of scrap strips – which you have been ignoring for years or decades.

Now it’s all old fabrics, dull colors, nothing inspiring, not the stuff you work with today. But still usable, just not anything that excites you any more. So – use it up, quickly. Make quilts big enough for lap or bed quilts and donate them to an appreciative charity, and you’ve cleared your sewing room of all that old energy.

And quick, no fuss tops are fun to make. Here are two I made to use up a pile of poorly cut strips:

The first one started with some not-quite-charm squares, or rather, charm not-quite-squares. Then I added the strips until I ran short. I had a little bit leftover but not enough for another round. Because I had 16 blocks (no, I didn’t count them before starting, that would spoil the fun) and wanted to make a twin-size quilt, and wanted to add a little color, I found some green and blue fabric I wanted to use up and cut wide strips. I added those to the top and bottom of each block. Now I could set them in a 4×4 layout and get a rectangle suitable for the center of a twin quilt. Plus the top and bottom strips allowed me to trim the blocks during assembly to make them fit, as they were not the same size (because of my casual sewing).

Then, to avoid ironing many seams over, I decided to use a bit of sashing to assemble it all. Rooting around in my “fabrics for charity quilts” stash unearthed a roll of dark 6 1/2 inch wide strips. I cut 2 inch strips from them (the approximate size of the initial strips that started the blocks). I assembled it four blocks together into four sections, then those put together the same way. After that, a border strip for stability, which will end up an inner border once the quilt is done. I am going to quilt it as is, then add (and quilt) the borders.


But I had a few scraps left. So, starting with the trim from the green and blue used to lengthen the first blocks, I sewed more strips around. First I used up the 2 inch strips, then I dug out the slightly larger golds from my strip basket (which holds trimmings from slicing up yardage). For speed, I wanted wider pieces for the next round, and cut up a bunch of browns (I seem to have a lot of brown fabrics).

Once up on the design wall, I liked it! But it’s square. Could it be a lap quilt? I went and checked the Hopes and Dreams site and yes, the minimum size is 35×44. It was just 40×40, a border would make it big enough, so I added one. I think I like it better without, but I want to donate it so it has a border (not shown).

 March 20, 2013  Posted by at 10:38 am Charity Quilts 1 Response »
Mar 072013

Okay, I admit they are small. No way would I finish three bed-size quilts in two days even if all they needed was binding. Which is what all three of these needed, plus labels. I finished two small art pieces for AAQI, and if I’m on the ball I’ll get them mailed out tomorrow. The other is for me, still needs a custom label but it’s hanging on the wall in my office until I get around to it.

The first AAQI quilt was a test of an idea for using up triangle scraps, in this case some very small scraps. As I quilted it, (trying out the potential texture of one of the few fancy stitches my old machine has) the little white triangles reminded me of cabbage moths. So I found a fabric with cabbages on it and cut them out and appliqued them on. I’d have liked them bigger but that’s what I could find in my stash. They’re fused, then free-motion stitched around the edges.





The second AAQI quilt used some strips leftover from cutting the pieces for the cabbage moth piece. I added some scrap almost-white (it looks white in the pics but is a very pale Fossil Fern print), but the end result was pretty boring. What to do? Add more. Spirals are fun to cut out. Fuse down and free-motion stitch around the edges, and it’s done. Rather, it’s done now, after adding a binding.

I used quick triangles to serve as a sleeve and added the label the same way, so once bound they were done, but of course I didn’t bother to take a picture of that part.




The third finish was a quilt I’ve been working on for myself for about a year. Off and on, of course. I kept it in my office and hand quilted it in small bits while watching videos online in the evenings, something I do occasionally. I could have finished it off a lot faster quilting it on the machine, but wanted to put more of myself into it. The words are from an exercise in The Artist’s Way, which I worked my way through last winter. Now that it’s done and hung, I need to dig out another hand-work project.





One more bound today needs a sleeve and label, two more waiting for binding, then on to basting a growing pile of tops and back to quilting. I’d like to get a few more quilts finished this month, before garden fever gets me.

 March 7, 2013  Posted by at 11:12 am Charity Quilts, Finishing 1 Response »
Jan 312013

Announcing the UFOs4Charity Project!

What is it, you ask? Part one: make charity quilts from my UFOs. I phrase it that way because many of my UFOs are not bed-quilt size projects, so they require some creativity to make bigger quilts from them. Part two: to encourage other quilters to do the same.

The idea for my project began with the urge to clear out all the clutter from my sewing room – projects I’d lost interest in, blocks from swaps that never made it to project status, leftovers from projects, stray blocks, scraps, and cull fabric. I’ve always enjoyed donating quilts to charity, and realized I could combine the two by taking my quilt clutter and turning it into charity quilts. I’ve set a personal goal of 100 quilts donated (yes, I have that much clutter in here), but you don’t have to promise that many to join in. One will do.

For that matter, you don’t have to use your UFOs to make charity quilts. But why not finish up a UFO or three and donate the result? You get the darn thing out of your closet and someone in need gets the warmth and comfort of a quilt. The same goes for the rest of your sewing room clutter. Turn it into charity quilts and you get the warm fuzzies of giving, someone else gets a warm quilt. I call that a win-win. Clearing your clutter also gives you space for new projects. I love new projects, don’t you?

Keep watching this blog for more about this project, I’m still brainstorming. Ideas? Suggestions? Leave a comment (I do moderate to keep spam out, so be patient).

And I will, of course, write about the quilts I make. So I’d better go make some, ttyl.

 January 31, 2013  Posted by at 8:04 pm Charity Quilts No Responses »
Jan 042013

Now that 2013 is underway, it’s time for the “here’s what I plan to do this year” post. So – here’s what I plan to do this year –

1) Finish at least 24 quilts. I am ever optimistic about how much I can get done in a year, even though years are a lot shorter than they used to be. I managed to finish 12 quilts last year, on top of moving, selling the old house, establishing new gardens and orchard here, and generally a very busy year outside the quilt studio. So this year I should be able to finish twice as many, right? No problem (she says in January).

To help me along in the finish department I plan to do the 2013 Finish-Along, this year hosted by SheCanQuilt.  In fact, I’ve sat on a couple that are waiting for bindings in order to have them qualify as finishes for the Finish-Along.

2) Follow along with Leah Day’s Express Your Love quilt project (with lessons on filler quilting) except I’m going to do a Spirit Horse instead of a goddess. With a lovely flowing mane like the hair on Leah’s goddess, begging for lots of filler quilting. I haven’t actually drawn my horse yet, he’s still in my head. The same post linked above has some other things going on I plan to follow along with, like UFO Sundays.

3) Hoffman Challenge. I did this once before (nah, didn’t win), have toyed with doing it again but most years I don’t think about it until about 3 weeks before the deadline and that’s a little late to order the fabric and get a quilt made. This year I have already ordered it and have an idea how I want to use it. I did break my No New Fabric rule to get it though. Guess I’d better make sure I follow through on this one, make it worth the guilt. All other fabric for it will be from stash.

4) Another Improvi-Robin from Venus de Hilo. I had so much fun with the last one I have to do it again. And I already know what I’m sending for my starter piece – but it will remain a secret until it’s in the mail. Interested? Deadline for joining is Jan. 14.

5) Work entirely from stash. (Except for the 1/2 yard of Hoffman fabric for their challenge, that is.) I have plenty, more than I can comfortably store and organize. I’ve had it in my head to try and use up my ENTIRE stash before buying any new fabric. I decided to make this an aspiration rather than a goal or challenge, because I expect to end up with all darkish browns at some point. That might be more challenge than I want to deal with. Though it does have possibilities – hmmm – well, no rush, I’ve got years yet before I reach that point.

6) Overhaul this website. I want to add a lot more content. First up will be a regular “UFO of the Week” post, which will start as soon as I have a few posts written ahead so I can stay regular. Looks like I’m going to need a Week in Review post every week as well. More tutorials are planned, no promise on when they’ll get posted since they rely on photos, and I tend to get behind on editing. I also need a few piddly little things like a newsletter sign-up. And redo my banner which is a little bit too long. Boring stuff like that.

7) Last but greatest, what should be a big announcement but I’m still working out the details, my newest project – UFOs4Charity. I’m setting a personal goal to finish as many of my UFOs as are suitable, and donating them to charity. I will donate to any charity that accepts quilts, whether long-established like the Linus Project or short-term disaster relief like eQuilter’s Hurricane Sandy drive.  And I want to inspire all the rest of you to follow along and do the same. Those half-done projects buried in the bottom of plastic bins because you no longer like them? Someone else will love them if you only get them finished and shipped. I plan to provide helpful info on how to do that quickly and easily, so look for more about this soon.

Dec 242012

I’m still working on a few more quilts to send to Sandy victims, people who have lost their homes. I’m hoping you are too, if you are able. is NOT accepting any more quilts, they have been inundated. Blankie Depot at will accept new handmade twin and queen quilts (for adults) through Feb. 15 only. Equilter is still accepting quilts, preferably twin or queen, I have not seen an end date. They are aiming for 5000 quilts collected. See this page for details (do not send quilts to equilter).

 December 24, 2012  Posted by at 8:57 pm Charity Quilts No Responses »
Nov 302012

I’ve finished another charity quilt, this one for a local charity fund-raising auction. Last two years I’ve donated wall-hangings. This year my husband said, “I think something big enough to use would be more popular.” For someone who likes the quilts I’ve hung on the walls at home, he still thinks they go on a bed. So I made a crib quilt, but it’s pretty enough to go on the wall, should the new owner want to hang it up.

I think the quilting took longer than the piecing, but it’s done, photographed, and delivered. I put a flannel back on it, first time I’ve worked with flannel but it was fine. And so soft! As soon as I pieced the backing I thought, “I want a flannel back on the horse quilt.” Then I remembered I’d already made a backing and had it all basted and waiting. Oh well.

Next up on my agenda – Christmas gifts. I won’t be posting about them just yet, for obvious reasons. As soon as they are done I have a twin-size quilt basted and ready to quilt. I’m planning to donate it to Equilter’s drive to collect 5000 quilts for Hurricane Sandy victims. I wanted to do more, but that’s life. I’ve already sent 5 quilts East, if I only manage one more that’s good enough.

Long term, I want to turn all of the “clutter” in my sewing room into charity quilts. “Clutter” is all the UFOs that are useable (some are too arty, and I still want to finish them), scraps, orphans, and cull fabrics. Easily 100 quilts worth, at least if they are all crib sized. The real questions is, how fast can I sew them?

 November 30, 2012  Posted by at 11:32 am Charity Quilts No Responses »