Tag Archives: Charity quilts

Sending Quilts to Texas?

The hurricane disaster in Texas may displace people from more than 100,000 homes for at least several weeks. They need housing, food, water, and some way to replace all the goods lost to water damage, or simply washed or blown away. Should you send replacement items? Should you send quilts?

It’s tempting, isn’t it? A quilt is a tangible item to show your concern, to offer both comfort and warmth. I’ve already seen a number of requests for quilts for Texans. I’ve also seen one of those requests in a Facebook group called a fraud, and deleted after the group moderator couldn’t affirm its legitimacy.

In the past I’ve made quilts to give post-disaster. But unless a disaster is local, I won’t do it again. Why not? Very simply, if a community is facing the scale of tragedy that Houston and other Texas cities are facing, figuring out how to deal with unsolicited stuff creates more trouble than the stuff is worth. As Abby Glassenberg says in her post from 2013,

The truth is, though, that direct donations of goods, especially in the wake of a disaster, can truly cause more harm than good. Boxes and bags of blankets and clothes and stuffed animals pile up on the floors of warehouses, waiting to be inspected, sorted and distributed. The flood of donations commonly creates a second crisis of sorts.

Read Abby’s whole post for more information and some good advice.

NPR.org also covered this topic in 2013. Did you ever see photos of all the donations of teddy bears and other comfort gifts after the Sandy Hook killings? Did you know that many donations sent to Haiti ended up in waste piles on the beach, some of which are still there?

The urge to give is strong. In Texas, however, they may need things like toiletries, school supplies, and clean water more than quilts. Whatever they need, it’s probably better to donate cash, unless you live in Texas or nearby and have connections that will directly serve those affected.

If you still want to give things, consider making those donations to organizations in your own locale. My quilt guild gives between 100 and 200 quilts a year, as well as other items like bibs, burp cloths, pillow cases, and placemats. Almost all those donations are distributed within our county. We know what organizations need, because we work with them on a continuing basis. When their needs change, they tell us.

And there are a number of national (and international) organizations that distribute quilts, as well. Two of them are Project Linus and Quilts of Valor, but there are many others. (I am not endorsing either of these, or any others, as I don’t know enough about them to do so. Please do your own research to decide where you’d like to contribute your time, money, and efforts.)

Quilters are very generous. Our impulse is to give, and to give something with love and concern stitched in. Please do. But give quilts locally and to well-respected, continuing organizations that are structured to distribute quilts. Otherwise, financial contributions are generally more helpful.


Stone Soup

One of my favorite folk tales is that of stone soup. There are variations from many countries and traditions across Europe and central Asia. The basic premise is of a poor and hungry traveler whose pleas for food are ignored. All the traveler has with him is an empty cooking pot. Finally, he fills the pot with water and puts it on the fire to heat. One by one, villagers ask him what he is cooking. He shows the first one a smooth, clean stone and says he is going to cook stone soup. After making a show of cooking the stone and tasting the broth, another villager asks if it is good. “Good, yes, but it would be better if only I add some carrot tops.” The questions go on, with a different ingredient in response each time. The villagers each provide the needed item, and finally the broth is done. Delicious indeed! They all are treated to a feast of stone soup.

Quilting with others is much like making stone soup. Each participant may not have much to give, but together they can make a thing of value. Time, talent, material, ideas, we all add to the soup.

I’ve mentioned before that I belong to my local quilt guild, and as a group, we are very generous. With approximately 150 members in the group, each year we donate more than 200 quilts to local organizations, in addition to special projects. A large proportion of the items donated are made through the efforts of multiple people. Today I’m sharing photos and stories of a few of my favorite “stone soup” donation quilts.

To see more, click here!

First Quarter Quilt Round-Up

(Note: this was first published in Our View from Iowa on 3/30/2013.)

It’s been a busy three months of quilting for me.

The Charity Quilts

I started the year with a group project. An online group in which I participated was creating two quilts for auction. Each quilt is to support a different non-profit organization. There were 12 blocks made for each quilt, and each quilt used a different color scheme. Each contributing member made a block to finish to 12″. Then they sent the blocks to me. My task was to assemble the individual blocks into attractive quilt tops.

Anyone who has participated in group quilting projects knows that sizes aren’t always consistent. If one quilter uses a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, and one uses a fat 1/4″ seam allowance, it might have minimal impact on their own projects, as long as they always do the same thing.

A block that finishes at 12″ ideally should be UN-finished at 12.5″. The blocks I received ranged from about 12″ unfinished to up to 13″. The larger ones were deliberately over-sized, giving me room to trim and square. The smaller ones… were more of a challenge.

Before I started I asked my good friend Beth to come over to consult. She’s a quilter, too, but more than that, she’s an artist. We are creative in somewhat different ways, so we find solutions differently. I knew I would need to frame the blocks to make them all the same size. She suggested framing all the blocks with the same fabric I used for the sashing and borders. That would allow the size differences to disappear completely. Besides that, she helped me choose fabric from my stash for the first of the two projects.

The color scheme for the first project included black, red, white, yellow, and tan. The project supports a Native American community in South Dakota. The fabric we chose for the framing, sashing, and borders is almost black, with a coppery brown graphic design on it, so it reads as brown. After trying several others, and then seeing the black/brown, we knew that was right.

I made the twelfth block and then assembled the top. When I was done with it and with the second one, I mailed them to the professional quilter who was finishing them. The quilter is Laura at Butterfly Quilting. She does amazing work, and the group was very fortunate to have her services.

This is the first quilt. It’s in the process of being auctioned now. The second one is on the frame now and will be sold later. I’m proud to have been part of the effort.

– To see more projects from first quarter 2013, click here. >