Charity Quilting #2 – Anita LaHay of Daydreams of Quilts

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Good evening all!

I have been well and truly incommunicado with this little blog of mine for almost 6 weeks! Things have been rolling along with classes and all sorts of other exciting things (including general life stuff) that I haven’t been back here. But now I am back into the swing of things!

We’ve spoken in the past of charity quilting and this post I’d like to introduce Anita from Daydreams of Quilts.

How did you get into quilting for charity?

I knew about Quilts of Valour for years but I didn’t feel I had time to sew for them with babies in the house. My husband is a Canadian soldier so I know quite a few soldiers and their wives. I have probably known more soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than without. After hearing from some of the wives what their husband’s were going through I wanted to help but I didn’t know what I could do. Then it occurred to me that I could sew quilts. Quilts are a source of comfort, warmth, security and they can be healing.

How long have you been doing it for?

I sewed my first Quilt of Valour in 2013.

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This Rainbow Canadian flag quilt was sewn with a pattern by Cheryl Arkison and was given to a Candadian soldier with (PTSD).

 

What charity/charities do you quilt for?

I have sewn quilts for Quilts of Valour Canada and my local Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC). (Raffle quilt.)

Do you make quilt tops, complete quilts or just long-arm for them?

I make complete quilts. There are some who just make tops and some who long arm them. I make them from start to finish. I quilt them on my Juki. My Juki was left to me by a friend who died of breast cancer. In her last letter to me she asked that I consider making some Quilts of Valour with the machine so of course that’s what I did.

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This Red and White quilt was sewn with a pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced and was given to a Canadian Soldier with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

 

How many quilts would you do in a year?

Last year (2014) I did three quilts; two for Quilts of Valour and one for the MFRC. In 2013 I sewed one. Now I have a new baby so I don’t think I’ll get one done this year.

If you long-arm – do you assess a charity quilt in a different way to a customer’s quilt, or even one of your own, for quilting?

I do not long arm (but I would love to!)

Are you asked to do certain quilting designs or given free reign?

We are given free reign on design but I like to sew the Quilts of Valour in a Canadian theme. There are guidelines on the Quilts of Valour website. www.quiltsofvalour.ca

What do you enjoy most about quilting for charity?

I enjoy feeling that I could share my talents to help someone feel better in their time of need. The reaction from the recipients and their families is also very special. It usually involves tears and a lump in the throat on both sides, mine and theirs.

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This Hashtag quilt was sewn with a pattern by Camille Roskelley. This one was donated to the Military Family Resource Centre for a fundraising quilt raffle.

 

How would you encourage others to start?

  1. Check if your chosen charity has a website and if they have guidelines to follow. Quilts of Valour Canada is specific to quilting and they do have guidelines on their site. If you are wanting to sew for a charity that is not specific to quilting contact them and ask who you should speak to. Often there is a volunteer coordinator or a fundraising coordinator that you can speak to.
  2. I am an “insider” with the military so I know the people who are in need of a quilt. Most people would sew a quilt and send it to Quilts of Valour Canada. I sew specifically for a soldier that I know and send it to him. I then send photos of the quilts to Quilts of Valour Canada for their records. I do not reveal the names of the people I send to (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is often a very private struggle) but I do say where they are located. I always make a label that says “Quilt of Valour” Made for: (military rank)so and so Made by: Anita LaHay and the year and place where it was made. I find it very helpful to know the person I am sewing for . It helps me to be inspired and come up with ideas suited to that person. Knowing what they are going through also helps me to push through the frustrations that sometimes come up when making a quilt that is bigger than a lap quilt. All my quilts are sewn with Quilter’s cotton, cotton batting and high quality cotton thread.
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This quilt with the Canadian themed panel and swoon blocks was my arrangement using the Swoon pattern by Camille Roskelley.

 

To follow along with Anita’s quilting you can find her here:

DDOQ Bus Card-001

A big thank you to Anita for taking the time to speak with me. 🙂

Find me here:

Charity Quilting #1 – Kristyn of Melon Patch Quilts

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A little while ago I posted this blog here about the charity quilting that I do for BlanketLovez. This week I’ll be chatting to Kristyn from Melon Patch Quilts about the charity work she does for a variety of worthwhile causes.

How did you get into quilting for charity?
I first got into charity quilting when I joined my local quilt guild and started my long-arm quilting business. The guild needed their charity quilts finished and I wanted to practice some designs and patterns, so it benefitted both of us.

Learn to quilt student's quilt

How long have you been doing it for?
Since I started my business 14 years ago.

What charity/charities do you quilt for?
This is only a brief list of the organizations I have quilted for: Quilts of Valour, Make a Wish, various local churches, local sports teams, local Home and School organizations, local Quilt Guilds, May Court, Habitat for Humanity, Hutton House, The Quilt-A Breast Cancer Support Project.

Guild Quilt copy

Do you make quilt tops, complete quilts or just long-arm for them?
I do the long-arm quilting for the charity quilts, either an individual or an organization pieces the quilt top and then finishes the binding once I give it back to them.

How many quilts would you do in a year?  
I used to limit how many charity quilts I quilted, as I was so busy with everything else in my life (as well as quilting) but now I quilt all of the quilts that come to me. I want to see as many organisations/charities/people benefit from having a completed quilt.

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If you long-arm – do you assess a charity quilt in a different way to a customer’s quilt, or even one of your own, for quilting?
Usually the quilts that come to me as a charity quilt are quite scrappy and an overall quilting pattern looks great on them. I have only custom quilted a few charity quilts; the majority were quilted with an overall pattern.

Are you asked to do certain quilting designs or given free reign?
If there is a particular theme to the quilt top, then I try to match that theme – children’s quilts get more of a youthful design; floral fabrics may get a flower design etc. I quilt for Quilts of Valour which gives quilts to injured Canadian soldiers and quite often fabrics within the quilt top have a Canadian maple leaf, so I try to use a maple leaf quilting pattern or echo around the leaf on the fabric, just to be a little patriotic.

guild quilt

What do you enjoy most about quilting for charity?
I have lots of things I enjoy most. That it helps the organisation complete more quilts that they can donate. That the organisation can raise money if it is a fundraising quilt. With our London MQG Outreach programme, I enjoy helping the students complete their first quilts they have sewn. Seeing these students each week, and what they have accomplished makes my heart swell! They should be so proud of themselves. Within 1 ½ years the amount of quilts they have made is incredible. I also love that on my two trips to teach sewing and quilting, we were teaching women, so they can sew for a business and make money to support their families. We gave them a skill that will last them a lifetime.

How would you encourage others to start?
Probably the easiest way to start quilting for charity is to ask at your local quilt guild, as most of them have an outreach program. I am sure they would be overjoyed to have help!

What’s your ‘process’ for doing charity quilts and does it differ from your 
regular quilting jobs? Eg. Writing up a docket with quilt’s info, deadlines, thread choices etc.
The only way ‘processing’ charity quilts is different for me is that when I quilt for my customers; we discuss in length what pattern, thread colour etc. they would like. For the most part, when I quilt a charity quilt I am the one who decides on the design, thread etc. A lot of times I just pick up the quilts from guild one month and drop them off the next – and the way they are quilted is left up to me. I still make a work order for my files, so I can keep track of things.

To read about Kristyn’s adventure’s overseas to train and teach quilting:

Humanitarian trip to South Africa to teach Long Arm quilting:
http://melonpatchquilts.com/?page_id=99

We sponsored Lungile to come to Canada for more training:
http://melonpatchquilts.com/?page_id=147

Humanitarian trip to Nicaragua to teach them to quilt:
http://melonpatchquilts.com/?page_id=101

teaching in Nicaragua

Most of the organizations I quilt for don’t have websites related specifically to charity quilting. Here is a link to our London MQG page specifically on our Outreach Learn to Quilt classes.
http://www.londonmodernquiltguildcanada.com/home/category/outreach

LMQGC logo

To follow along with Kristyn’s quilting you can find her here:

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A big thank you to Kristyn for taking the time to speak with me. 🙂

Melon Patch Quilts

Find me here: