Welcome to the DC Modern Quilt Guild’s 100 Quilts for Kids Blog Hop! It’s my pleasure to show you some quilts I’ve made to donate to 100 Quilts for Kids, a quilt donation drive started by Katie Blakesly, who is a former president of the DC Modern Quilt Guild, an author, and a blogger at Swim, Bike, Quilt. Katie has since moved away from the DC area and is expecting her third child, so Heather Tompkins of Quilts in the Queue took over the project and is leading the collection this year. Thank you Heather for stepping up and making this such a fun project for us to take part in!
Two years ago I was a new member of the guild and I made my first quilt for 100 Quilts for Kids. It was from Jay McCarroll’s City Center line, donated by Free Spirit. The fabric had a modern, edgy feel to it so I tried to make a quilt more suited for a teenager.
By giving the quilt over for donation, I was entered in the prize drawing and what do you know, I won! I won a jelly roll of Kate Spain’s holiday fabric called Flurry. The fabric has long since been cut up and made into a quilt and many pillows, all of which I’ve gifted. I have only a few scraps left but what I’ve always held onto is the little tag that came with my jelly roll, written by Kate Spain herself. I’ve always thought that was a very classy way to deliver a prize, thank you Katie and Kate!
Last year I also took part, but only in a supporting role. I was 7 months pregnant and engrossed in shutting down the non-profit I’d worked for the past 17 years, so my mind was a little too occupied and come to think of it, the same applied to my body. But I did help during the charity sewing day by pressing fabric, piecing batting, arranging layouts, etc. - basically assisting everyone else who was making quilts.
At the end of the day, there was a lonesome quilt top that no one wanted. Amy had made it and not finished it and as it sat around, she fell out of love with it. Something about it spoke to me - I’m not sure if it was the muted tones that felt soothing to my end-of-pregnancy psyche, or it was the novelty of the zig-zag sides. I could have easily cut them off and just bound the rectangle, but I though it’d be fun to try binding the zig zags. I’m super happy with the way it came out and I think it would be great for a teenager.
The next quilt I'm donating this year I've had in my stash for many months and I thought it would be perfect for a toddler. What I thought would be an easy arrangement turned out to be a bit more of a math challenge than I expected. Now math, it doesn’t scare me too much, I actually love a good algebra problem to puzzle over, but quilt math? I’m not so hot at it. I try, I really really try and I sketch and I calculate and I figure and I sew as carefully as I can but somehow in the end quilt math usually gets the best of me.
This quilt, although adorable, has a few quilt math errors in it, not enough to really affect the look of it but in my opinion, enough to keep me from selling it at fair quilt value (which as we know is a far cry from what you'll find on Etsy). And if I priced it low just to get rid of it, then I’m feeding into the “undervaluing the worth of handmade” problem and that’s the last thing I want to do. I'm not going to undercut the value of my fellow quilters. So instead I’m donating it.
So now for the quilt I made this year (which along with the others, are being donated to the Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria, VA, with the intention that the recipients will take the quilts with them when they move out. I love the idea of families getting a fresh start with a handmade quilt to boost their spirits, as well as to keep them warm.
Long ago I bought a prepackaged stack of Mirror Ball Dots by Michael Miller and it sat and sat and sat in my stash waiting for just the right inspiration to come along. I’m a sucker for a perfectly ordered rainbow-hued stack of fabric and this one was no exception. The allure of those colors and the subtle sheen - yummy!
Except that inspiration never struck in the 18 months this fabric has been sitting around. I even looked online for samples of quilts that people have made with the line, and nothing really hit me as spectacular. Until one day I came across a half-square triangle quilt that played off of value differences and my mental wheels started turning, until I had the seed of an idea.
And half-square triangle math? I’m an ace at that.
And so many triangles were made and pressed into squares which were assembled into a rainbow pattern quilt.
I mulled over various quilting options with the two front running choices being straight diagonal lines to accentuate the graphic nature of the layout, or possibly a random meandering meant to play off the pinwheels at the center of each block.
But my trusted quilt advisors (otherwise known as my children) said no.
(I hate when that happens)
Then one of my advisors, in this case my daughter Winnie, suggested quilting randomly concentric overlapping circles, sprinkled across the front. I happened to love that idea.
As it turns out, I’m not that skilled at free motion quilting very specific, deliberately even lines that require a steady hand. I might have been able to do it on a smaller quilt, but the size and weight of the fabric combined with the size of the circles made for some wavy, unsteady and possibly a little drunken-looking lines.
But overall, I think the effect is nice and I’m happy to have tried something new.
The back is a print from IKEA, one that gives the quilt a bit of a grown-up edge, making it perfect for an older child, and the circles give it a little more visual interest.
I’m excited to be donating these three quilts this year and spreading a little more warmth, both literal and figurative.
If you’re inspired to make and donate a quilt yourself, Heather has compiled a list of great organizations that are happy to accept your handiwork.
Let’s cover the world in quilts!