Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quilting with Friends, aka Momma's Day Out

I have a confession to make...
With the exception of my mom and one of my best friends, I've never sewn with other people. No retreats, no quilt classes, nothin'. It's not that I'm anti-social...just more that my sewing time is squeezed in bits and pieces, at random times, and not many retreats start at 11 pm!

But until I joined the quilt blogging world this past spring, I didn't realize that I was missing out by sewing all by myself. But then I started seeing how much fun everyone else was having, meeting their blog friends in real life, having sewing days, and I wanted in.

Add into that the fact that my sewing output has ramped up considerably since I've started blogging, and I've been left feeling that these projects I'm making need a purpose--that they need to go to some greater good, rather than just for my own creative pleasure. Giving quilts to charities was the easy answer.

Now, as Joey on the show Friends said in an infamous quote that gets used frequently at my house, "Put your hands together." (He was talking about jam and girlfriends, but it works for group quilting and giving away quilts too!)

So needless to say, I've had this past Saturday marked on the calendar for most of the summer. A group of West Michigan quilters (along with some out-of-towners from Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Cincinnati) convened at Queen Bee Quilt Shoppe in Grand Rapids to assemble 1000+ blocks into quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest.
Here's the sewing table. One concerned husband wondered about having all those high-powered sewing machines plugged into a few power strips. Happily, fuses only blew once or twice.

We took these blocks:

Sandwiched them around batting squares, and sewed them into rag quilts.
Jill and Jessica show off their quilts--they were both FAST sewers!

Check out the vibrant colors!

Stephanie and her rainbow beauty! I was thrilled to find out that Stephanie is part of the Kalamazoo Log Cabin Quilters Guild, as I'm very slowly getting to know people there.

Here's the quilt I assembled. I readily admit that I chose an easy color combo rather than going for the rainbow effect because I wanted to soak up all of the conversations going on around me rather than be distracted by block order.
That being said, I still managed to pair one pink block with one purple block when making sandwiches, so the pattern on quilt back is slightly off. (Shh...don't tell!)

These lovely ladies made everyone feel at home. At left is Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts, who brought her book and some show and tell quilts, as well as plenty of enthusiasm for the day of sewing. Next is Carol and her daughters Carin and Amy. Carol and Carin run Margaret's Hope Chest, and Amy, as she describes it, provides emotional support.
Carol, Carin and Amy have turned a family tragedy into an outpouring of love and hope, giving quilts to people in need. It is such a neat organization--if you're looking to give a quilt to charity, please check them out! Margaret's Hope Chest also collects blocks to be assembled into quilts (like the blocks you see here). This fall, another block design will be posted on their blog if you're interested in making some for future quilts.

Here's Amanda Jean, showing off one of the quilts from her book. I have just the triangles saved to make a version of this quilt!

And talking about her book, Sunday Morning Quilts.

All in all, it was a thoroughly delightful day, full of neat women, friendly conversation and quilting for a good cause. I didn't do a final count, but I think we made at least 10, maybe closer to 15?! Ladies, let's do it again soon!
p.s. Posting to Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story and Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Can I Get a Whoop Whoop to share our fun!
p.p.s. I have spent all my free time this week machine quilting a quilt for a book tour blog hop next week. Can't wait to show my quilt next week, but it made for a quiet blog this week! 


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  2. Maybe next time I can be a participant from Wisconsin. Tough choice though...quilting with you and the ladies or grandson time! Looks like it was a fun and rewarding day!

  3. This is a wonderful project!! I would like to "steal" the idea for my guild here in Texas...is it copyrighted?????

  4. Hi Jay,
    Here's the link to the original block instructions...feel free to use them (especially if you're making quilts for charity!)

  5. Wow how productive you all look. What wonderful quilts for a great cause!!

  6. Great work all of you! Don't you just love a sewing intensive!

  7. It was great to meet you, Ellie!
    And we should do it again, soon!

  8. Such a productive group of quilters. Wish I lived close and could lend a hand or two.

  9. I am so excited. I see three of the blocks I sent. The quilts look fantastic.

  10. That looks like such a fun project!

  11. Oh, i would have loved to join you! But alas, it is a little far from my home!! You did a great job with your quilt, and it's good to hear you are getting to quilt with others! Whoop whoop!!

  12. It ws so fun to meet you! (This is Stephanie.) I can't believe you've never sewn in a group before. It's fun, huh?! Looking forward to more sewing time with you someday!