Yesterday I met with sixty other quilters from the Longmont Quilt Guild to sew quilts that will be donated to local organizations which help families in need. Last year the members made two hundred quilts that were given to local groups like the women's shelter and the fire department. This kind of outreach is a major activity of the Guild and not only is it helpful, it is a lot of fun.
Most quilts made for donation are fairly simple (i.e., boring) to sew if you do the work by yourself at home. But the same mindless work is fun when you are with a group of compatible, friendly quilters. We worked in teams and spent about six hours together doing "production line" assembly of the quilts. We sewed for about four and a half hours and spent the rest of the time was spent eating hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice cream sundaes; yum! I had been invited to join a fun group and I had a good time. There was a lot of activity going on!
The Outreach Coordinator had pre-cut the fabric needed for each quilt and packaged it up with all the necessary supplies and instructions to complete the quilt. Here's one of my team members holding up one a set of instructions.
Each team member had a role in the process. Mine was to match up fabric pieces that were to be sewn together and hand them to someone at a sewing machine. When I was passing along fabric to just one sewer it was pretty easy, but later we had two sewers working on a quilt and then things got fast and furious! My sewers would tease me if they didn't have something to sew, cheerfully singing out "Mary, Mary, I need more fabric!" I got to hustling so fast that I even made a mistake, darn it! Someone helped me rip it out, which was nice. The other team members were pressing the finished sewing, pinning seams, or otherwise occupied with a specific step of the process. It was great fun and even got more fun after we'd all eaten sundaes and had that sugar rush going for us.
In the end my team made three finished quilt tops, ready to be passed along to machine quilters to finish up with quilting and binding and labels.
This is the first one, up on the design wall, minus all the sashing strips between the rows.
This is the third one, more complicated, and which took much longer to finish.
All the finished quilts will be labeled with the guild label.
There is a story of a woman who took her children and fled her abusive husband, seeking safety in a women's shelter. As she settled her family into their temporary home she was directed to a closet where she could find bedding and cozy blankets. As she looked through the offerings she was surprised to a quilt that she herself had made a few months earlier and donated to her quilt guild to pass along "to charity." Now she was one of "the needy" and was thrilled and humbled to benefit from her own act of kindness.
I'm sure this is an apocryphal story, but it still makes me tear up.