Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Quilting Focus on Giving Thanks: A Link Up

More Quilts Headed for MCC Relief

Like many quilters, I have a long list of projects I want to do. Some are more complicated blocks to try my piecing skills at, and others are just fun fabric I would love to use. I have my stacks of good stash, and my stacks of scraps, dated or donated fabrics. The frugal quilter says as soon as I use up the less desirable stack I am allowed to touch the good stuff. (I know so many of you think the same way.) But during a quiet quilter bloggers' retreat last weekend, I was roasted for not touching my gorgeous fabrics. My precious pre-cuts had not even been opened from a year ago!

I felt a little guilty then for having so many, and still scouting for less expensive yardage to make charity quilts with. I sat there sewing on the above bindings, and stewed about it. They might be right. That night I made up my mind to let these be my last charity quilts for the year, and get back to some more personal sewing. Surely I had done enough already.

That thought lasted about 12 hours. I heard through the grapevine that MCC had  put out a call for an extreme shortage of comforters/quilts, and a high demand for the relief project. Clutch in, and shift back into that mode. I had one top promised for the week ahead, and when my company left on Saturday, I stretched those blocks made by a friend to make two tops. 

Red, Yellow, & Green Sashing: 60" x 80"

A Real Thanksgiving Project

In the end of September I was approached by a woman to make a simple comforter top. She said her extended family got together each year, set up quilt frames, and tied several comforters as a project while they caught up through the afternoon. I was a little slack-jawed thinking about it. I turned over and over in my mind the number of times my own family had gotten together, and there we sat around talking. If this is the season of thanksgiving, why couldn't mine and other families do the same? It was such a simple, brilliant idea really. What a way to truly offer thanks!

Green Plaid Sashing Gives a 
Completely Different Look

Tips for Making It Quick

The 5.5" four patch blocks in both these comforter tops were made by a friend, and none were squared up when I got them. Instead of fretting over it or wasting precious time with a ruler, I chain pieced each to another 5.5" square. Those in turn were sewn with mates, and so on until I had close to a 80" row. I chose sashing based on what plaid I had enough yardage of, and mixed and matched when I ran out. Using a full 1/4"-3/8" seam took out the stress of everything coming together, and made for solid seam widths. Truly, you have understand this is not the method for a perfectionist, but this is not where perfect counts. Warm works!

While I was piecing all the sashing, I used up bobbin after bobbin of odds and ends colors of thread. This project emptied more than a dozen. A win for me!

Balance: A Finish to Keep

One quilt that found its way to the pile during the binding marathon is actually a keeper. The Not-So-Ugly Christmas quilt is bound, washed, and waiting on the new owner when she comes home to retrieve it. It was a good reminder that I do take time to quilt for myself even if it wasn't with 'new' fabric.

Hurricane Stars

Before I went home, I took time to test out a piece of sashing I had in mind for Hurricane Stars still on the design wall from weeks ago. I had intended to use a Grunge for this, but substituted scrappy fabrics at the last minute. 

The original idea was to use a deep blue for the sashing and setting triangles, but I switched to softer blues for both. Paying attention to color value is helping me give my quilts more depth. I want the blocks to shine in this quilt.

Radiant Star

And even that pile of new fabrics got a whirl this week! I finally took one of the patterns out of Big Book of Scrap Quilts by Owens & Wilens. The partial seam directions were enticing, and I knew I would need some help with it. (This book is a serious gem, in my opinion, and under $4 used at Amazon.) I resized it in EQ7, and started this 18" block using both templates and rotary cutting measurements from the software program. As you can see, it's a challenge for me making all the points meet where they are supposed to.

A Personal Focus on Thanksgiving

I certainly do not have all the answers, and still struggle daily with balance. Yes, I like to make pretty things, but for me, I think I like knowing that I have made someone else's life easier, warmer, and I hope felt loved by offering a comforter or quilt. Every single one makes a difference.

I have determined there is no magic number that says we have done enough as one person. We must determine this ourselves. But we have to go beyond our needs, to push and think, "What if it was me or my family?" What if that person in need was your best friend? They are someone's best friend.

I challenge all of you who quilt or sew to make one thing this month, and give it away to someone in need of it. It doesn't have to be a Herculean effort. I know it's a busy month, but this is the month for giving thanks. Let's make Thanksgiving meaningful.

The list of projects is long from simple dresses at Little Dresses for Africa to Quilts of Valor or you may have someone in your own neighborhood. If you doubt your sewing skills, many organizations appreciate home sewn pillow cases. If you choose to, link up your project post or Instagram pictures below, and inspire the next person. 

Thanks to each and every one of you!

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's be thankful, and go sew.


Georgia said...

Thank you, Julie, for so beautifully inspiring us quilters to serve others. I love your easy four patch columns quilt, and your Radiant Star quilt is going to be stunning.

Quilting Babcia said...

Inspiring thoughts for the coming season. We're looking into making some comforters and getting them to MCC and this morning at quilt ministry group I got two tops layered and pinned for our local nursing home. Nothing to link quite yet but maybe in a week or so. I love how you're progressing with Radiant Stars.

Angie in SoCal said...

I try to alternate between a charity quilt and one of my own. I usually don't get far with mine because the charity ones call to me. I don't see the purpose of having a huge stack of quilts for my own - where will I use them?

Stitchin At Home said...

Your 4 patch quilts look great, the plaids give them character. The radiant star is going to be beautiful. I have made a fair number of charity quilts and am helping with my guilds charity quilt program.

KaHolly said...

Well illustrated! Well said! My 'stuff' is all packed away now for the winter and I’m leaving in a few days, but when I get to Tx, I’ll take you up on that!

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

You are such a kind person. But don't forget to do some sewing for yourself.

Kelly said...

Love the 4 patch strippy. I am working on a plaid 4 patch as I am reading.