All about "my" charity quilting

I've had some people ask me some questions about the charity quilting I do.

So let me answer a few common questions:

1.  What organizations receive your quilts?

I make these labels with my embroidery machine and sew one to each of the quilts I finish.  

I make these labels with my embroidery machine and sew one to each of the quilts I finish.  

I make these charity quilts for OUR organization - it is called "Fundacja Opoka".  We then distribute them to local people - either here here in Poland or my husband has taken some to the Ukraine when he has gone.  It is pretty much up to my discretion where they go. Maybe someday some will even go to other parts farther east - we'll see.

2. If you give them to your own organization, who actually gets the quilts?

I have given them to people through personal contacts, through a Christmas outreach we had, shared with people who came to get food from a food bank we held once a month, and sent some with my husband to his students in the Ukraine - where he goes to teach seminary students. They all live quite modestly (you would think they were poor - for them it is normal).

Last year I had quite a few ready to give away at one time, so I went to the local social services agency, after making up some coupons. I asked them to give out the coupons which were valid only one day for a few hours. Each coupon was good for 1 quilt. People came to our building where I had put them out for them to choose from. 

We put chairs in the entrance way and draped quilts over them so people would walk past quilts all the way into the main building.

We put chairs in the entrance way and draped quilts over them so people would walk past quilts all the way into the main building.

By making up coupons, I could make sure I wasn't committing to more quilts than I had. I had about 140 quilts to give away and made up only 120 coupons. I knew not everyone would come for their quilts, but then I could also talk with people and find out if they actually had enough. Sometimes the social agency only gave 2 coupons to a mom who had 3 kids, for example. I then had the freedom to tell her to take another one for the other child and one for herself.

I draped quilts over chairs and had about 60 out at time for people to choose from.  When some were taken, I'd replace them with others in order to keep a good selection available. People would walk through and choose what appealed to them.

I draped quilts over chairs and had about 60 out at time for people to choose from.  When some were taken, I'd replace them with others in order to keep a good selection available. People would walk through and choose what appealed to them.

Believe it or not, this bright orangish yellow crazy squares ones were originally lap size. I added borders to the edges and make them into the sizes I needed.  While I personally thought they were ugly, they were almost all chosen. Here is a man walking away with his quilt under his arm.

Believe it or not, this bright orangish yellow crazy squares ones were originally lap size. I added borders to the edges and make them into the sizes I needed.  While I personally thought they were ugly, they were almost all chosen. Here is a man walking away with his quilt under his arm.

I separated out what I thought of as "boy" quilts - but I did have one mama make a beeline to the boy quilts for her daughter - as she wanted blues and not whites and pinks.

I separated out what I thought of as "boy" quilts - but I did have one mama make a beeline to the boy quilts for her daughter - as she wanted blues and not whites and pinks.

I had some beautiful brown corduroy donated to me.  I couldn't think of what else to do with it, so I made a couple of these - out of all corduroy. The one above that is a pillow panel that I made into a sort of medallion quilt by adding borders until it was big enough.

I had some beautiful brown corduroy donated to me.  I couldn't think of what else to do with it, so I made a couple of these - out of all corduroy. The one above that is a pillow panel that I made into a sort of medallion quilt by adding borders until it was big enough.

My girls' corner.

My girls' corner.

So, I've had everyone from alcoholics to women whose husbands died or left them who wouldn't normally need help, to single moms who are working, single moms who aren't working, single dads, victims of fires, elderly and working poor couples like my husband's students in the Ukraine. 

3. Can I send you tops?  

You sure can.

These are some centers waiting for me to add borders and make them big enough for a single/twin quilt top. Most have been donated although there are 2 panels here .

These are some centers waiting for me to add borders and make them big enough for a single/twin quilt top. Most have been donated although there are 2 panels here .

 If you send them directly to Poland, please do not put a high value on the customs label - even if the USPS pressures you to - please don't. Write "gift" value is $0. That way I don't have to pay customs or import  - whatever they feel like charging.  If you want to send them to my mom in FL, she can hold them for me til I get there. Just contact me.

I have since finished this stack of tops, but I do tend to work in bunches - and this is a stack of "owl" themed tops I made.  I got kind of sick of owls. However, last year at the give away, all of the owls were chosen. I've since made more so I'll have some for this year's big give away, whenever that is. I had hoped to have it around Easter time, but I wasn't ready by then.

I have since finished this stack of tops, but I do tend to work in bunches - and this is a stack of "owl" themed tops I made.  I got kind of sick of owls. However, last year at the give away, all of the owls were chosen. I've since made more so I'll have some for this year's big give away, whenever that is. I had hoped to have it around Easter time, but I wasn't ready by then.

You can write in the comments that you want to contact me and we'll figure out a way - or write me at bpetersen62 at gmail.com (no spaces in that email address - I spelled it out so that robots don't pick it up easily).

4. What sizes do you need?

I primarily need 2 sizes - either what I call a "European twin/single" or a double/queen.  

The European single - is 140x200 cm or about 60"x80" +- - can be longer than 80"

The European double/queen is about 200x220 cm which is  80"x86"  but I like to make them a little bit bigger than this - but this is the standard for Poland/Europe for duvet covers.

5. What colors do people like?

I found out that most of the people I've dealt with do not like white quilts--or light yellow. They prefer darker colors. I know that this is so that they don't show the dirt as quickly. So, brights, patterned, and darker colors work well.  But pretty work well too - like florals.  For children, they love animals - with lots of blue!  Also popular are superheroes like Spiderman and Batman. I don't give out things with pop culture heroes/heroines like movie stars/singers. If I get fabric like that, I strip it and use it in scrappy quilts.

6. How do you quilt these quilts? 

With these that my friend in AZ made, I just chose to split the squares in half with quilting. It gives the illusion that there are more squares than there are. I just eyeball it, though - I don't draw lines or anything. That would take too long!

With these that my friend in AZ made, I just chose to split the squares in half with quilting. It gives the illusion that there are more squares than there are. I just eyeball it, though - I don't draw lines or anything. That would take too long!

I aim for functionality and durability.

So far I've not had anyone come to look for quilt and ask for feathers, or stippling, or any specific kind of quilting. That is off their radar.

What happens when people come to get a quilt, they see COLORS!

Seriously.

Last year when I had my big give-away - the most common comment I heard was "They are so colorful!"  (They were pleased!)  

Here you can see straight line quilting, loop de loops and stippling.

Here you can see straight line quilting, loop de loops and stippling.

They also love animals and other fun or pretty motifs - in the fabric itself.  So far, most don't seem too taken with the actual design/pattern - they are enchanted by the fabric itself - but that may be changing as Polish people get a little more acquainted with quilts and patchwork in general.

Because of this, "themed" fabric, esp. for the children, is very popular.  I like to use 'guy colors' for the men-designed quilts - men usually don't care too much what they look like but usually go for dark and drab. 

I used to tie the quilts - but started quilting all my charity quilts back in 2012.  When I gave away the tied quilts, I could tell the Polish people didn't quite know what to do with those ties--they touched them, fingered them, etc. as if they were something strange sticking out of their quilt.  I don't get that reaction with a machine quilted quilt - no matter how basic.

Here's a picture where you can see a variety of quilting styles - from uneventy spaced lines to stippling, and loop de loops.

Here's a picture where you can see a variety of quilting styles - from uneventy spaced lines to stippling, and loop de loops.

As a result of this desire for functionality, sometimes I free motion quilt them and sometimes I straight line quilt them. Most of the larger ones are straight line quilted, as it tends to be easier and quicker. I don't "mark" anything - I try to use the lines of the quilts as markers. I also have embraced the 'improv' movement and have quilted quite a few with irregularly spaced lines - for a 'modern' effect - it is also easy and fast and makes for a different look.

My quilting would never win any awards, but it gets the job done and that is what is important to me.

7. How many are you doing a year?

My goal for 2017 is to finish 120 quilts. I had this goal last year as well.

This is my pile of double/queen tops that I have ready to finish.  All but the top two were donated by my friend in AZ. She told me that she was using up her mom's gingham - that's why so many with gingham - and she apologized. But it's fine - it really is.  When I give them away, I let people choose what they like - so if they don't care for gingham, they will just wait for someone who does like it.  At the rate of 10 per month, these will take me through July.

This is my pile of double/queen tops that I have ready to finish.  All but the top two were donated by my friend in AZ. She told me that she was using up her mom's gingham - that's why so many with gingham - and she apologized. But it's fine - it really is.  When I give them away, I let people choose what they like - so if they don't care for gingham, they will just wait for someone who does like it.  At the rate of 10 per month, these will take me through July.

Why so many? Because I can.

The Lord has given me health and strength and I have the materials to finish this many.

Some have helped me with quite a few tops, making it possible. If I didn't have that help, I wouldn't be able to do anything much except charity quilting - and I have lots of other things I want to do and make as well. I love getting tops from "other people" also because it brings in variety to the styles and fabrics that I can share.

It makes for a nice variety of quilts.

I've learned to work in groups. This is a pile of 6 quilted quilts plus there is one to the right of these - barely showing in this picture.  Once I get them bound and washed, I don't let the cats sit on them anymore. These are "May's" quilts - but only 7. I am now out of batting and need to get to the store to get another bolt.  Don't worry. I can get this batting locally - about 1/2 mile from my house and 50 meters of poly batting costs me less than most of you spend if you take your family w/kids out to eat once in a sit down restaurant in the USA.

I've learned to work in groups. This is a pile of 6 quilted quilts plus there is one to the right of these - barely showing in this picture.  Once I get them bound and washed, I don't let the cats sit on them anymore. These are "May's" quilts - but only 7. I am now out of batting and need to get to the store to get another bolt.  Don't worry. I can get this batting locally - about 1/2 mile from my house and 50 meters of poly batting costs me less than most of you spend if you take your family w/kids out to eat once in a sit down restaurant in the USA.

Last year in our give away, I asked people to let me take their picture - it was my only 'requirement" for getting a quilt. Many of you reading this are givers, and yet you never get to see the recipients of your quilts.  I told people that I needed pictures for a couple of reasons - 1. for my records --and should the government ever ask - I need to be able to show where these went and 2. to be able to share with people who share with me by giving me tops or fabric or blocks.  Here are the collage pictures.  If you see someone with lots of quilts - it's because he/she has a lot of children.

That's all from Poland!

And don't forget - my sis has been working hard to put more things on the site - daily! Be sure to check it out!

Becky Petersen9 Comments