Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Human Element of Charity Sewing: Day 4

Julie Stocker, 2014

January for Charity: The Logic
Behind the Project

1. I am storing too much fabric.
2. People need something with which to cover themselves.
3. I will make them quilts.

How simple is that? Deeper down, it's far more complex. You have to appreciate the Devil is always in the details.

When we think about making charity items, there are things to consider:

1. Does the item work or fit the needs of the recipient?

2. Is it a cost effective use of my time? For instance, would it be cheaper for me to donate money for the same item to be purchased in the place my item is going? For one, it would infuse the economy there, perhaps funding a small start up company and supporting local families. 

3. Is it cost effective for the organization to ship it? Do the shipping costs outweigh the cost of the item I'm sending?

I've been asking these questions and many more to people involved in what I'm doing, and others currently making charity items. They are hard to really know the truth about. We think that if we already have the fabric for the quilts, dresses, etc., and the time to make them, we are sending a quality item that may not be able to be replaced by a factory made blanket, clothing items, etc. Sometimes these items aren't available at all. But in all my analytical breakdowns, I completely failed to see another component in the big picture. My mom pointed this out to me:

We are sending hope when we 
send something handmade.

We are one person making something 
for another person. 

We bring the human element into the picture. We have put our lives on hold to do something for someone else. We are hoping the recipient sees that we took time to make this one thing special for them. That we stitched the word love into it somewhere. That we took care to stitch it well. That we could have just thrown the thing together willy-nilly, but thought they might like something beautiful in their life while the rest of it was unsure. That we want them to have some of the same blessings we are grateful for in our own lives: warmth, security, and hope.

I believe we should surround ourselves with what is good, beautiful, and true. Charity sewing fits all three. 

Do you know that if you only make one block a month for charity it will be enough to sash into a quilt by the end of the year? Isn't that an incredible idea?

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


Afton Warrick said...

You bring forth an excellent point. I've often been presented with charity sewing endeavors and thought, "Grief, for the amount of effort and time that it is going to take to to make $10 for the cause, I'd rather just give you $10. The same goes for quilts as gifts, as I could have picked up the most expensive item off a friend's registry in leu of the time and effort that goes into a handmade item. However, it is a good idea for me to balance these thoughts with your mother's perspective.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Your mom is wise. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I need to make a plan for baby quilts for our local children's hospital.

PaulaB quilts said...

Hi, this is my reply to this post and the one before. I really was pleased with your conclusion that it's love we are giving. That is universal. I'm very lucky to be in a guild which donates to all local charities, some being local branches, like Project Linus, which I love doing for our Children's Hospital here in Madison WI. We are the Monona Quilters, a town surrounded by Madison. Lots of needs here, the VA hospital, halfway houses, NICU, etc. We donated about 300 items this year, from about 40-50 members. We see the appreciation here. A friend of mine in WA State goes to a small church where the folks make quilts which they ship to Africa! Why? Says my friend. There is a wasted resource.
I had not done the last week,s blocks before the En Provence reveal and was disappointed in the finish, much too cluttered for my taste. So I will use my magenta stars separately and see what happens later.
I quilted years ago, stopped and restarted. I don't see why some folks make a distinction between older and more modern fabrics. The modern ones seem to follow the Cotton and Steel trend. I just use whatever I've got if the fabric is good cotton and it fits my needs. I do love modern quilting and am getting into more improv lately. Julie, I appreciate your blog so much, you give us lots to think about. Thanks.

GranChris said...

We are in the middle of making pillowcases for Children's Hospital. Last year it took a little pushing on my part but we got 255 done. I'm hoping for more this year. I donated 25 quilts, mostly lap size last year at my quild. I pieced and quilted the quilts but needed help with binding and fabric donations. Fabric is expensive these days, shipping is expensive, life is expensive but I love to sew and make quilts and give them away. Do the best you can, that's all anyone can ask of you.

Unknown said...

I am happy to know so many sewists have answered the 'call' to make charity quilts/comforters. Like Julie's Mom said - it is the personal touch - the giving of ourselves to others - For me, there is delight in knowing that somewhere in the world there is a family keeping warm together under the comforter that I created. People in my area know that I sew a lot of charity items, and often show up with bags of scraps, yardage, left over blocks. I find them on my porch. At church someone will bring a bag. I don't turn down any!! If I don't feel I can use their gifts, I find another place to give them. Sometimes fabric that is heavier, very dark, etc. gets made up into 'doggie' beds for the our local shelters. This is a good way to use up all the batting scrap - light weight, but comfy. One of my banner thoughts is: The more generous I am with my resources - the more seems to come to me. Keep giving ladies!!

Stitchin At Home said...

Sewing charity quilts soothes my soul. It may be only one quilt at a time but that's one more person receiving as you said the gift of love and ourselves.

Barb Neiwert said...

Donating a charity quilt is like giving an anonymous donation. The recipient doesn't know the giver, and the result can be awe that someone they don't know cared enough to send the very best. That can be a very uplifting experience for someone!

Kate said...

Your mom has a very unique and wise perspective.

Robby said...

Ah, your mom's thoughts are mine for my charity quilts. Mine go to places where the recipients need a little extra love, a little extra faith in humankind and to know they matter. OTOH, the financial giving we do goes to places where cash is the most efficient tool for the charity. This is an interesting series I just stumbled on, I look forward to reading more.