Friday, March 16, 2012

#NQDSI - National Quilting Day Sew-In Giveaway

Have you heard about the National Quilting Day Sew-In SeamedUP is hosting on Twitter tomorrow?  The hashtag is #NDSI, in honor of the 22nd anniversary of National Quilting Day.

In addition to the great prizes from SeamedUP, you can also add your linky to the SeamedUP blog post and offer giveaways on your own blog.

I've decided to offer the "green" bundle below to a random commenter, either here or on my Facebook page.  You can be entered up to twice.  You do NOT have to come back here and post that you commented on Facebook; just be sure to like my page and comment on the post about #NQDSI.  I will count the comments in order here...1,2,3,4,5...and then keep going on facebook...6,7,8...and use the Random Number Generator to pick.

The prize bundle is "green", in honor of St. Patrick's Day and the future of quilting. It will include:
  1. Strip Tube Ruler - so you can use all your scrappy strips in your stash
  2. A stack of pre-cut denim squares, enough to make my Green (and Purple) quilt, and the instructions for how I did it
  3. A 1-yard cut of fabric from my stash.  I have several in mind, and will just email images to the winner and let them pick their favorite.

I hope to see you on Twitter at some point during the day.  Good luck during the giveaways, and Happy Quilting Day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Quilts of Valor Find a Home

Speaking of guild challenges, our 2010 "Home is Where the Quilt Is" quilts for Quilts of Valor have finally made it to their final destination. As I shared before, our guild decided that we wanted to share these quilts locally, and I had a few speedbumps along the way trying to find a place to donate them.

Then I got an email from Susan Gordon, the Regional Coordinator for our area. It read in part:

This February we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of 85 of our sailors and marines who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  These young men and women have been what the military calls “individual augmentees”.  They are often reservists and are activated and sent overseas to augment a unit, for as much as a year or more, because of their special skills.  Now they are coming home and will be part of a program called the Returning Warrior Weekend.  It is an intensive weekend program to help them assimilate back into – what will be the new “normal” for them.
These men and women did not go to war with their unit, or platoon, or company, they may be the only member of their reserve unit to be deployed.  When they return, nothing is the same.  They have faced a life we can’t imagine and have been asked to do things that don’t fit into the civilian life to which they are returning.
The Returning Warrior Weekend is a program to help them begin the adjustment, and to begin the healing that they need to become part of a family, part of a community and to find a way to live with that “new norm” that is now their life.  At the end of this program which includes sessions like “Life Matters” – finding a spiritual balance;  “Warrior Transition” – first person testimonies; and “Combat Operational Stress Control” just to highlight a few, these warriors are honored at  banquet.  Georgia Quilts of Valor has been asked to provide quilts for these service members who have been touched by war.

The creators of this program tell me that our Quilts of Valor are an important part of the healing  that begins for so many during their time together.  Our Quilts serve as symbols of honor for those who have stood in harm’s way and to whom we have entrusted the defense of this country we love.    I ask you to be a part of that healing process, to share your gifts of quilting and help us make 85 quilts to be presented at the February Returning Warrior Honor Banquet in Augusta, Georgia.

The reality is:  we either have 85 Quilts of Valor or none are presented.  I think know we can do this, with your help.  

I immediately contacted Susan to let her know that we would be honored for our quilts to go to these warriors.  It was especially appropriate since there were several women in the group and, if you remember, some of our quilts were on the feminine side.  A team of volunteers met to pass the quilts along, and then we waited.

Finally I got the long-awaited email that left me wrung out from weeping with gratitude. The quilts were home.  Susan wrote:

Dear Quilts of Valor Quilters:
Saturday night I had the opportunity and the honor to participate in an awesome experience along with quilters Sue W, Rebecca K, Betsy P and Tiffany W.  We were observers at the Banquet of Honor for the Returning Warriors Weekend in Augusta, Georgia, sponsored by the U.S. Navy for Navy & Marine personnel returning from a war zone.  The weekend offered sessions for service members and family members as all explored and discovered effective methods of dealing with the “new normal” that was life after a combat deployment.
The Banquet of Honor began as the doors to the banquet hall opened.  Captain Greg Smith announced to the warriors and their guests assembled in the in the atrium, that as individual Augmentees, they often missed the welcome home experienced by larger companies and reserve forces as they returned from deployment in a war zone.  “Tonight is your Welcome Home Celebration”, and then he led them into a beautifully decorated ballroom to rousing music, and the cheers and applause of those of us who’d been allowed in earlier.  It was loud and welcoming.  (my first tear filled moment)
As I entered the banquet hall I noticed a table set for dinner on the stage with an MIA logo draped over the chair.  Before dinner was served, the group observed a ceremony that often precedes a formal military dinner: the POW/MIA Ceremony (my second tear filled moment), ending with taps.  As each part of the ceremony was explained, the Captain would say “REMEMBER” and a naval bell would toll once.  It was heartwarming moment as the daughter of a former POW to know that POW’s and MIA’s are never forgotten.
After dinner Captain Smith called Sue Wolf and me to the stage and told the group about Quilts of Valor: the how and why Catherine Roberts had started the Foundation, and that our mission was to cover all those combat service members and veterans who had been touched by war with Quilts of Valor.  He told them your quilts were for healing and for saying thank you for their service.  At this moment Butler High School MCROTC members delivered your quilts to Facilitators at each table.  The Facilitators in turn presented each warrior at their table with one of your gorgeous, patriotic quilts.  Some facilitators took each quilt from it’s case and draped each person in his or her Quilt of Valor; others formally handed off your quilt in it’s case and the warriors quickly separated their new quilt from its case to admire your work and embrace the quilt and all it represents.  (my third tear filled moment)
To look out from the stage at 78 warriors (14 of whom were women), wrapped in your quilts was an experience I don’t think I will ever forget.  But the best experience for the quilters who were present was when these young men and women began to seek us out to hug us and to thank us for your awesome gifts.  One told me it was the most wonderful gift he has ever received.  Another told me he had been a medic in Kandahar and has draped these beautiful quilts around his charges as he helped load them on transports to be sent home.  He never expected to receive one of his own.
As often as we could, we told them stories about you as we checked the labels to see who had made each quilt.  Many asked about you and how to contact you to thank you personally.  I hope if you do receive a personal note you will share their messages with the rest of us.
You are a blessing to these young warriors who are working to re-construct their lives and relationships stateside.  They were touched by your talent, your generosity, and your loving support.  I am so proud of you all and to be a small part of this great outpouring of love to our military.
Susan Gordon, Regional Coordinator

Thank you, Susan, for helping our quilts get home.  Thanks to all of the quilters who helped provide the quilts in any way.  But thank you most of all to our military personnel and their families who have sacrificed so much in the name of freedom.  Words are not enough; all we have is love.  And quilts.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guild Challenge - Story Quilts

Our guild challenge for this year is to make a second round of Storybook Quilts. You may remember in 2009 when we made these at Janie's request. Since that challenge, the project has grown up!

The Storybook Quilts went from a feature in a local newsletter to a special exhibit at the NQA Show this coming June...and will be featured on an upcoming episode of Sewing with Nancy!

The book I picked this time is Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson.  I know the whole historical issue about whether or not quilts were used by the slaves on the Underground Railroad is controversial, but I don't care.  I like the story.  I like to think that there's a seed of truth in there somewhere, even if it was just for a few slaves in one family or in one little town.  Please do not comment telling me how wrong it is because - did I mention? - I don't care.

Anyway, that's the book I picked.  The quilt in the book is a scrappy log cabin with deep blue centers.  A simple block that I have always loved, my favorite color and a terrific scrap buster - this quilt is not only relaxing and easy to work on in snippets of time but also a perfect leader-ender project.  I'm trying to turn this over-full bin of 1 1/2" strips...

...into these log cabin blocks!

I'm making some pretty good progress so far, especially considering that I've never even started a guild challenge any sooner than a month before it is due!

What are you working on?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Going to Guild - David Taylor Quilts

Monday was guild night, and our speaker was the one and only David Taylor. I will start off by saying that I have never laughed so hard or so loud at guild, and that is saying something.

"Hidden Treasures"
David is the many-times-over award-winning quilter who name-drops with the best of them and tells stories that have you on a roller coaster ride of hysterical laughter and jaw-dropping awe.  His quilts are exquisite and his charm overflowing.

David shows us the equally beautiful back of one of his quilts.
Once again, the people who took the workshop the day before the lecture raved about it and made me dream of going to one of David's retreats.  (Doesn't this one, with Charlotte Angotti and Laura Wasilowski sound incredible?)

David shares his thoughts about "Marmalade's First Snow"
The story of how David's love of fabric turned into this amazing art is fascinating and hilarious at the same time.  I apologize for the quality and scarcity of pictures...I left my camera home and had to take these with my phone.  Spend a few minutes looking through David's gallery.  Then realize that there is no paint or dye on these quilts.  These are all individual pieces of fabric, appliqued on BY HAND, and then machine quilted. 

Awesome!  Standing ovation to our programs committee!  Thank you!

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