Monday, July 29, 2013

Quality Control

We have made some beautiful quilts!  Almost 2,000 since October, 2006, to be exact!  That's a lot of quilts!!

But sometimes, our quality could be improved.  We want our quilts to reflect a good image throughout the community. 

Here is a checklist of things you should watch out for before turning in your completed quilt top/quilt.  If you have an issue with your quilt and you don’t know how to fix it, ask for help.  Two quilters are better than one sometimes.

  • Clip all threads at the beginning and end of each seam.  This is especially important when the quilt will be going to one of our volunteer longarm quilters.
  • Make sure all seams are securely sewn and both layers of fabric are caught in the seam.  We have had to repair “holes” in the seams at times.
  • Secure seams by backstitching when possible.  This is especially helpful if the seam is on the edge and has a good chance of coming undone before it gets quilted. 
  • When machine quilting your quilt, secure the ends of your quilting before cutting the threads or make sure the quilting goes off the edge so it can get caught in the binding stitches. 
  • Binding – make sure the binding gets caught on both sides and, if hand-stitching, the binding stitches are not too far apart where the thread can get caught and broken easily.  (Machine stitching binding is very acceptable so don’t be afraid to try it.  Practice makes perfect.)
  • Borders – we have, at times, wavy borders on our quilt tops.  This becomes more obvious when the quilt is loaded on the longarm frame for quilting.  Solution for wavy borders:  Measure the middle of the quilt, cut borders to that size, pin borders at the middle, ends and then fill in the remaining edge with pins, easing in any fullness as needed.  (If you would like to see this demonstrated or if you have any questions, please ask.)
  • If you take quilts home to work on them, be very careful to keep them away from pets or tobacco smoke.  (Cats or dogs on quilts may be cute on Facebook but not so much to the child with pet allergies.)

Are there more ideas you would add to the list? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for your attention to the quality of the quilts we deliver!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Being a Quilt Ministry - My Personal Thoughts

I am often asked the question, "What is a quilt ministry?"

I never gave it much thought when I started my first one.  It seemed pretty self-explanatory to me.  But as I have encountered quilters and non-quilters alike, I have found that there are different perspectives with each one I talk to.

Ministry to me means "to serve".  A quilt ministry, therefore, serves with quilts.  Simple, right?

In Christian ministry, I believe ministry is to use your unique, God-given gifts in  a way that God is calling you to give.  Our life purpose is to love one another and build relationships.  How we do that differs depending on our gifts.

My God-given gifts as I understand them are organization, leadership, and encouragement.  Along with my gifts, I have a skill and passion for making quilts .  If I put that all together, I have the perfect foundation for facilitating a quilt ministry.  I believe God has led me to this and God has not let me down yet!  He leads me through this journey day by day, giving me energy and vision and purpose.  I trust that God is completely in this and will show me the way in His timing.

And I am not in this alone!  I could not do this ministry without so many amazing volunteers that have embraced the vision of a quilt ministry and have followed their own calling (and lots of hours of their time)  on growing this ministry.  The volunteers understand that the ministry is about having an opportunity to use their time and quilting talent, and sometimes their financial resources, to give back to others in this very tangible, unique and personal way.  Each has their reasons for participating and each gives as they can.  There are no defined quota's to meet...only what you are led to give.

But this is just the beginning.  You put this wonderful group of giving women into the same room month after month and you begin to see something amazing happen that wasn't even a part of the original plan.  You begin to see relationships happen, people caring for each other, mentoring and educating each other, sharing life with each other.  Relationships happen from this shared passion and purpose.

And we can't forget the quilts.  They are a big part of what we do because they are the means to connect to those hurting in our community.  They are a way for us to communicate God's love and that someone cares about them and what they are going through.  While we do not get to see who receives most of our quilts, we trust that God uses them in a healing and comforting way.  And we do get proof of this on occasion when we get a thank you note or donation to enable us to continue our ministry because of how they were touched by our outreach.

I know we are misunderstood frequently by "outsiders" that don't really "get" what we do.  But that is fine with me because I know WHAT we are doing and I know WHY we are doing it.  And most importantly, I know WHO we are ultimately doing it for!  The master healer and comforter!

God bless you in your support of this ministry!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

String Block Tutorial

Our great friend, Robin, from Ormond Beach Quilts has created a wonderful tutorial for making string blocks.

String Block Tutorial - Part One     -     Part Two

Quilts for Children's Square

We will continue to collect string blocks to make quilts for Children's Square for as long as we continue to receive them.  Squares are coming from all over the area from some very generous quilters.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July Quilt Day - Quilts from the Bluffs

This Saturday is quilt day! Hope to see you at First Christian Church, lower level room C1, anytime between 10:00-3:00. This month, we are working on I Spy Disappearing 9-patch quilts. Remember to bring your novelty prints, cut into 4" squares, if you have any. These quilts work best with lots of variety. We will also be doing Disappearing 9-Patch quilts using floral fabrics that will go to Mercy Hospital.

All fabric, patterns, batting and thread is supplied.  Bring your sewing machine and basic supplies.  We have mats, rulers and cutters you can use as well.   Grab a friend and come quilt with us!

Special Request:
Scot is currently in Mexico with the youth group on a mission trip to build a house. I am excited that he has the opportunity to participate in this. However, he will not be around to help set up or clean up for quilt day. I know you are always willing to help with the clean up but wanted to let you know your help will be especially welcome this weekend!!! Thanks.

Quilt Retreat
This year's quilt retreat theme is "Wanda Wonky and the Quilt Factory". We plan to have some fun with that! Dates for the retreat is September 26-29 and will be held at The Camp of the Good Shepherd in Louisville, NE. I am attaching the registration form for this year's quilt retreat.

We are into our last month of accepting registrations so if you haven't registered yet, do it soon. Full retreat fee's are due no later than August 11 (August quilt day.)

Quilt Deliveries and Children's Square String Blocks
We delivered four quilts for Oklahoma Tornado relief last month. Thanks to those who helped with that effort.

We will be making another delivery to Children's Square this month after I get two more string quilts quilted and bound. We need to keep the string blocks coming in. We have made several quilts so far and these blocks are a great way to get twin-size quilts for the residents of Children's Square.

I have been asked several times if the children get to keep the quilts they are given. The answer is YES. The quilt is the first thing they receive when they come to Children's Square and they take it with them when they leave. The person I talked to said they are very proud of their quilts and like to show them off to others.

Check out our blog for more information and directions on making the string blocks.

That's all the news I can think of to share this month.  Hope you are enjoying your summer and can take a few hours out of your busy schedule to join us Saturday!