Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Working Wednesday - Charity Quilt Challenges!

Hi, all!

This Wednesday I thought I’d share about charity quilt drives. As many of you know, this is a subject near and dear to my heart.  

I think the first one that I joined in was the 100 Quilts For Christmas charity drive, organized by Katie over at Swim Bike Quilt.  Her idea was for quilters to make and donate a quilt for a child in need in their local area.  Great idea, right?  The response to her idea was phenomenal.  Over 120 quilts were donated as a result of her charity drive!  She has subsequently changed the name to 100 Quilts For Kids and set it slightly earlier in the fall, to avoid the ever-busy holiday season.  I learned a lot from the way Katie managed her charity challenge!

A little while after that, I was explaining the concept of an “ugly fabric” challenge to my husband.  The thought of using someone else’s ugly fabric to make a quilt was quite humorous to him, but he did come up with a great idea - call it “orphan fabric”, and suggest people use their “orphan fabric” to make a quilt for an orphan!  Which immediately led me to remember that Judi over at Green Fairy Quilts collects quilts to take to Romanian orphans each year.  I contacted Judi to see if she could use some additional quilts, and she said yes.  And thus the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge was born!  

That year forty-nine quilters sent Judi sixty-one quilts for Romanian orphans.  The next year Judi had plenty of quilts, so we made quilts to send to New Orleans for hurricane relief, and to Happy Chemo to comfort cancer patients.  Fifty-five quilters gave ninety-four quilts combined.  Last year we made quilts for Happy Chemo again, and also for Quilts Beyond Borders, an organization that distributes quilts to under-served children across the world.  And the numbers keep growing - - - sixty-five quilters and one hundred and twenty-seven quilts in 2013!

A charity quilt challenge is a well-named thing.  Not only is it a challenge to the quilters who participate, but also to whoever is organizing it!  The first year was truly bare bones - it was the first time I had ever tried to do anything like this.  So I took the things I liked about other challenges and added some things I thought were missing.  We had some wonderful sponsors, and we had check-in dates and a final linky party to show off the quilts. The second year we had guest bloggers sharing their favorite quilt patterns, more check-in dates with linky parties, and our wonderful sponsors provided enough goodies for every participant to receive something for their efforts!  Last year we added a PDF calendar so that everyone had the schedule available to print out and keep handy, and once again we had enough goodies for each participant.  It’s hard work to plan, organize, and maintain the challenge, but it's so worth it!

The truly exciting thing is that people keep telling me they are looking forward to the next year’s H2H challenge.  It’s heartwarming to see everyone doing good and having fun!

Anyway, now it’s time for the eye candy.  You may have noticed the quilt in my blog header.  Its name is Maluhia, which means peace in Hawaiian.  It was made for a man who was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago.  He used to live in Hawaii and loves all things Hawaiian, so we ordered some fabric (directly from Hawaii!) and created this quilt.  

Unfortunately, his cancer has returned, and he’s going through treatment once again.  He stopped my husband at work the other day and asked him to let us know that he uses his quilt every day.  We are so glad that it is still providing him with comfort!

Ever since that quilt has been on my header, I’ve received requests for the pattern. It was also a very popular pattern for the H2Hers!  

This quilt was made for H2H2011!

It’s a great and simple tutorial written by Lisa Roddy, who blogs over at Shiner’s View, and she has graciously permitted me to include her pattern in what will hopefully become a book someday!

I’m going to share some pictures from her tutorial so that you can see the basics of how it goes together.  

This is the basic block.  You can see here how the sashing works between the squares.  See the process in the pictures below...

And voila! A completed block!

And here's the quilt laid out in full.  Notice that a 2.5" strip has been added to the right side and bottom to finish off the framing.

You can go directly to Lisa's tutorial by clicking HERE for more specifics on cutting directions and fabric requirements.

This is a great quilt for large scale focus prints.  Paired with solids or smaller prints for the small squares, it works up quickly and looks great!  You can add a border to make it larger, or reduce the number of blocks to make it smaller.  Choose your focus print based on your intended recipient - imagine a great novelty print for kids, with fussy-cut smaller squares and you've got a fresh new take on an I-spy quilt!  Or use a great Amy Butler large scale print paired with rich, saturated solids for an elegant, contemporary quilt.

Be sure to pop over to Lisa's blog and check out some of her other tutorials, too - 

Lisa is  a very talented and generous quilter who writes great tutorials and shares them with her readers!  Enjoy!!


Do you participate in charity quilt challenges?  Why or why not?  Do you have a favorite go-to pattern?  A favorite charity?  I'd love to hear your answers to these questions. I know my experience, but yours may be different!

Thanks to all of you who have commented on the Working Wednesday posts in the past - you've been a wealth of information, encouragement and help to this wannabe writer!  




  1. Love that pattern of lisa's! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is a super pattern and there were a lot of lovely quilts created and donated using it. Jelly roll race quilts go fast - boxy squares - there are a lot quick pre-cut quilt tutorials and You-Tube quilts on Missouri Quilt Co. I love Hands2Help and 100 Quilts for Kids and last year sent some things on to a quild to use for their charity work - as well as my own quild. Oh, yes and the doll quilts for Get Your Mrs Claus On.

  3. I love this pattern. Hope someday to be skilled enough with enough space to make this gorgeous quilt. The Hawaiian prints draw me in; I was lucky and lived on Oahu for a year in my twenties. I have loved their fabric ever since and have many sarongs of various colors and prints. Your two interpretations of the pattern are both stunning.

  4. I am the founder of Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 and we make quilts for 911 dispatchers (our unseen heroes) during tragedies, disasters, fires, floods and illnesses. I also donate quilts to other organizations and let others know about the many that are out there. I don't participate in challenges per se, but I would if I had the time. I don't have a favorite pattern, I make each quilt different from the one before. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous quilt, the story about your friend. Blessings to all quilters who give so freely of their time, their fabric and their love!

  5. That's a great pattern by Lisa. Interesting how different it can look, depending on fabric used. I've enjoyed your Sudoku pattern for charity quilts.

  6. I have a quilt top set aside already for H2H. Just need some backing fabric

  7. I am not sure how I feel about a challenge as opposed to a drive. I guess it is great for some people. Personally I like to make things and I like to try and make a difference. So I make what I want when I want and hold on to it til I see a drive or requests for quilts for a charity that pulls at my heartstrings and I send it in and help. :) 100 quilts for kids is something I always know I can hold them for if nothing else pops up. But doing the whole process through a set timeline for a drive is not something I would do unless I had time, but it is a great idea for those that have the time!

  8. I do - I quilt for Quilts of Valor, and like you - my desire to cover Veterans in our state has turned into an ongoing project. I try to coordinate block drive and quilt drives so all can participate at their comfort level. Keep up the good work!

  9. Good causes for H2H. Hope everyone is as generous as they have been in the past. I Happy Chemo got a big boost when H2H helped them. I felt bad for my mailman and gave him a treat at the end. He brought several packages everyday for a while.

  10. I do join in with some of the charity challenges. I've given blocks to Alycia's QOV, to a block gathering for Hurricane Sandy victims, to H2H, to Project Linus, etc. Usually I try to give to any cause I come across, but this year all my fabric is packed up except for the two family projects I'm working on now. (Hopefully the house sells soon and we can move and get back to regular life.)
    I love the running account of your quilts and where they go - who they help. I especially love that they are not specifically for members of your church. To my mind, that is more Christian - to extend to anyone in need.

  11. That Hawaiian quilt is beautiful hanging on the line in the sun like that. So bright and cheerful. Thank you for sharing the pattern. You do good work.

  12. I try and make one quilt a month to give to chemo patients when someone gives me a name and is willing to deliver it. I put it in a tote bag that I buy and put pockets on with a book. I would love to donate to other places as long as I could still keep up with the chemo quilts. I make each quilt special and do quilt it, not tie it as I believe everyone needs one work of art (not perfect one) in their life especially to comfort. If I could just quilt faster!

  13. Your pattern is nice. I admire you for the work you do. Since 1997, I have tried to make 90 - 100 quilts a year for Project Linus. My husband does the quilting on them with our professional long arm machine in between his customers' quilts. I try to make some bigger sizes for teen-agers, too, although most of them are smaller sizes. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't be doing these quilts!

  14. Most of my quilts (tops only) go to Quilts of Valor. My little guild also participates in preemie quilts with a local hospital, lap quilts for vets, and placemats every Christmas for the local Meals on Wheels. I help in some way with all of these.

  15. I haven't made any quilts yet for the big drives but I'm planning on participating in H2H this year.

  16. Coll, H2H is the acronym for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge. Because Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge is really long to type every time!!

  17. Sarah ... thanks so much for all you do and for sharing the love ... always honored to help folks like you who are so engaged and generous with their time and talent!!! Lisa


Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!