I love to do charity work, especially when it involves quilting. I get such a warm and fuzzy feeling inside when I do something that I know will help someone in need. I know a LOT of other quilters that are very generous with their charity work as well, so I feel right at home in this profession.
One of my favorite ‘charity’ groups to donate my time to is Quilts Of Valor Foundation (http://www.qovf.org/). As a veteran, I understand how lucky I am to not have trod the sand, slept in desert heat, fired my rifle at anyone or come home missing body parts. So if I can do one thing that I love to do, AND help out someone that gave their time and well-being to protect ME and my fellow citizens, well then, I want to do that!
The process is pretty cool actually. Someone, or a group of people (I’ve had quilts come from a quilting bee) make a quilt top and use the website to have it directed to a longarm quilter, like me. They send the quilt back and top to me, and I add the batting and quilt it, in whatever style and color I want to use.
Many of the quilts are patriotically themed. Lots of red, white and blue quilts, quilts with stars, or military panels. Sometimes the quilts are just completely different, which is nice too.
The quilt I finished today was one of those – it does have a pattern of opposing light and dark stars, but the darker fabrics are scrappy and very small, which makes for a beautiful, classic look.
With this pattern, I wanted to use my variegated blue/white thread and quilt swirls over the stars. Doing a rounded quilting pattern on a quilt top pattern that has more angles can create a unique visual effect. Well, I like it anyway. Hopefully the recipient will also.
From there usually one of two things happens.
Sometimes I trim and bind the quilt, then wash it per the instructions of QOVF and send it on to wherever they tell me to. One I’ve sent off to Germany, one to Los Angeles and I think one to MD.
Most of the time the quilt maker wants me to send it back to them and they take care of that aspect and have it shipped to the final destination. Along with the quilt I send pictures of my studio and a short letter telling them about me and my family and the process that creates their quilt.
The quilts all go to veterans of war. They all go to someone deserving.
The trouble is that there is ALWAYS a greater need than there is supply. I have received quilts from both coasts because there is a shortage of longarm quilters that participate.
Usually I am sent about one per month. Per my 2013 goals, I have completed my charity for the first week! And it felt really good. 🙂