Monday, January 19, 2015

A Day of Service

 Dr. Martin Luther King.Jr. said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is:  What are you doing for others?" 
Today is the day we set aside to remember Dr. King.  Volunteering to help others today recalls his sacrifice and leadership.
I must confess, I wasn't thinking about this day ahead of time.  I'd like to plan a work day on Dr. King Day and invite others to come.  It's more fun to work together, and more in the spirit of the day.
Instead, I'll be doing my usual chores today--laundry, baking, getting my grandson off to school, walking the dog, doing some volunteer computer work for the quilt museum.  But for today, I'm setting aside the quilt I'm making for me, and I'll be working on Quilts for Kids.
Here's what I'll be working on today.

I've mentioned Quilts for Kids on this blog before.  They are a national group based in Pennsylvania.  The quilts they receive are sent to hospitals all over the country.  Here's a link to their web site:  Quilts for Kids
Quilters can request a kit from them to make a small quilt (40" x 46" max), which is how I got started with this project.  They ask you to pay $6.00 for shipping, and they need the quilt finished in 6 to 8 weeks.
Having been in the hospital myself, I can't imagine how scary and bleak it must be for a child.  Anything I can do to help is worthwhile.
The kits they send you have really cute fabrics, all color-coordinated.  You can also make your own kit, which is what I did above.
I'm using a novelty print from my stash for the main fabric.  I'm sure somebody will love these kitties on cushions.
There are free patterns on the Quilts for Kids web site, which are very easy to make.  I fall back on these when I don't have any other inspiration.  I know they'll turn out well.
This is one I just finished on Friday.  As you can see, I used a very colorful tropical fish print as the main fabric.  You only need 3 fabrics for this pattern, but of course you could use scraps if you'd rather.
Here's a close up.  I pieced it on my Singer 15 treadle, and quilted it on the electric Pfaff.
 I pulled these 3 fabrics to make another kit.  I'm not totally sure about the light fabric.  I might replace it with a light blue.  I can't believe I had this fabulous orange dot in my stash, which is perfect for the airplane fabric.
This should be a fun quilt for a kid who loves airplanes.
The pattern could hardly be simpler.  You need 15 6.5 in. squares of the main (maybe a novelty) fabric, plus 4 strips of the novelty fabric cut width of fabric, 3.5 in. wide, for borders.  From the other two fabrics, you make 15 4-patch blocks from 3.5 in cut strips.  These blocks will finish at 6 in. square.  After you set them together with the novelty fabric squares, you add an inner border (4 strips cut 1.5 in. wide) from one of the 4-patch fabrics, and the outer borders from the novelty print.  Then quilt, bind, and mail.
Click on the link to get to the free pattern, and several other easy patterns:   Quilts for Kids Patterns

The two other charity quilts I finished last week will be given away locally.  These have been in my to-do pile for a long time.
 I made this top several years ago, from tumbler pieces I cut with the Accuquilt cutter.  Nearly all of the prints are kid-friendly novelties, from dinosaurs and duckies to teddy bears and tools.
I quilted it very simply, just resting the presser foot next to the seams.
I am absolutely embarrassed about how long it has taken me to quilt this one!  One of our quilt guild members brought it to a meeting years ago.  Her mother had made it, and she needed someone to quilt it.  I volunteered, brought it home, and put it in a pile.  There it lay for literally years. (Hanging head in shame.)
I feel so much better now that I've finished it.  This quilt will probably go to a nursing home.
The backing fabric and binding for both of these quilts came from the second hand fabric I've been buying at quilt shows and at the museum's rummage sale.  The tropical fish fabric actually came from an antique store.

I know that this is a small thing to do, to make a quilt for someone else, someone outside our families, someone we've never met and probably never will meet.  It's a small step of caring for our communities, our nation, our world, and thousands of quilters do this every year.  It won't change the world.  It might brighten someone's day.

 An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.


  1. They will be so loved!! Nicely done too.

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