Friday, December 14, 2018

The Gnadenhutten Quilt Project

Olive Branch Quilts

And so it begins. Ready for the cliffhanger ending? Let me only say the ending is really the beginning. Imagine me sitting amidst my pile of scraps only a week and a half ago to a growing stack of quilts and comforters. Quilts that will soon be delivered to a local shelter for women and children. Imagine a project that has formed to offer something handmade to someone local who may need a sign of hope. These are Olive Branch Quilts.

Imagine the positive energy of friends working together for a common cause.

Strings and Strings and Strings!

So what's really going on here? Last year I spent time thinking about what I wanted to do with my quilting life in the coming year, 2018. You can read about it 27 Quilt Finishes in 2017. I had spent the year spread too thin, and wanted to finish up some of my own projects. Work, I did! I finished all but a handful of my own, and still had time to quilt for friends.  My mantra for the year was simple.

Make what you love. Use what you have.
Listen more. Talk less.

My feeling today was I had done the last parts and the first part, and it was a marathon to get so much done in just a year. I pulled projects from the far corners, and at times made the decision a few were not worth the time, effort, or money to finish. Those landed in a special pile. I sorted orphan blocks, pulled apart stacks of fabric I intended to make into something, even found some other people's UFO's. Yeah, yeah, you know how this all happens. The creative process is messy, and the reality is at some point we need to set things straight. 

Use what you have.

I still had stack and stacks of fabric that was either donated or left from my previous life as seamstress/homemaker. It didn't fit my current work, and needed a life as something. Brace yourself. It gets worse before it gets better.

One bolt of lovely fleece becoming fringed blankets for younger children. 

Lesson Learned: Do NOT cut fleece on your good cutting mat! It took nearly an hour to remove the fibers stuck in my mat. If you do, use an eraser first to lift as much fiber as possible, then follow with a fine brush and soapy water. I used Dawn. I still don't have the mat completely clean, but it is finally serviceable again. We won't make that mistake again. Use scissors to snip the fringe instead. Chris added 2 lines of sewing to keep the fringe from tearing.

This child's top came in ready to quilt. Those wild prints make great binding!

This is the Use-It-Up mentality. Hide less than lovely fabrics in something big, and don't overthink everything. If a fabric hurts your eyes, cut it up small.

5 x 6 Grid

I dumped the fat quarter bin to see what I could salvage.

Cutting your squares 6.5" makes a baby quilt that fits easily on one yard of washed flannel.

Lay backing up, quilt top down, batting on top. Pin all layers. Sew around edges 1/2" seam leaving 6" open to turn. Turn inside out, stitch opening closed.

Adding a thin layer of poly batting, and tacking with the button stitch on your sewing machine makes this a one hour or less comforter. 

Everyone who feels one say, "Ohh! I love it!"

Thin poly with minky feels lush as well. We think much better than minky only.

Red, white and blue. The ideas develop as you lay things out, and make sense of what you have to work with.

Pink and black left over? Make the middle, and add sides of pink dot.

Red and black. Perfect for an older girl, and local school colors.

Scrappy-happy! I ran out of wall.

Big Asian Prints?

Use as a panel in the middle, and build out with similar colors. 

Left over jelly roll strips and trimmed off backing strips? It works. It is colorful, warm, and made with loving thoughts.

How Does It Work?

This is team project. It works with lots of hands, hearts, and positive energy. We are self-funded, and eagerly accept usable fabric, batting, or thread.

You have a top or UFO you would like to pass on to the project? Yes, we will turn it into a quilt, and donate in either Tuscarawas or Coshocton Co., Ohio. Contact me for a drop off point. 

You are local and would love to help us sew? Yes! Thank you very much. We'd love to have your help. 

Email me at

Please follow this blog to help get the word out. The number of followers helps a blog climb up the list of suggested blogs. More people=more help. Follow with Bloglovin', Quilter Blogs, or by email. I am concentrating on the project, and will be posting here.

Pinterest: I've created a new board on Pinterest to post ideas for quick, colorful quilts. Find it under my account, Julie Stocker, or the board Gnadenhutten Quilt Project Ideas. There are lots of quilt pictures on my other boards too, if you're looking for inspiration. 

Where there is darkness, let there be light.

-Francis of Assisi

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

Linking up with~
Let's Make Baby Quilts


Barb Neiwert said...

Wow! You guys have been busy! Great fun to work with others for a common goal. And using up fabric in such good ways. Keep it up! I'm sure you are inspiring others to do the same.

Linda Swanekamp said...

Wow, Julie. I so wish I was local. I think I could help a lot. I know that quilts make a huge difference to people and have seen it over and over. Don't let yourself be drawn off on a tangent, but stick to your course. Thank you for sharing.

KaHolly said...

Oh, Julie, what a dynamic post! Wow! I am so inspired by your team's efforts! Everything is so well documented and it’s such an interesting read. I will keep you in mind as I start pulling out my sewing 'stuff'! I may have a flimsie or two that could use a good home. XO

Anja @ Anja Quilts said... much productivity happening. All great ideas to use up fabric. Those bears are adorable.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Thank you for such an inspirational post. I remember the post you refer to back in 2017. That was when I first got the bug to make quilts and was too intimidated to comment on the blogs of those that are so skilled.

Merry Christmas and Wish a Merry Christmas to your group as well. You all are a Blessing.
xx, Carol

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

You are so generous for all you do for your community. You've presented a big list of quilts to make for such a project.

Angie in SoCal said...

I have the same problem with batting that you have with fleece. All your projects are so colorful. Sounds like a great group and worthy causes. You all will be blessed.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Yes, an inspirational read for me too!!! Bless each of you!

Kate said...

What a great creative outlet (as well as for all those scraps)!