Quilts Recover

Quilting For Calgary Delivery Day

Saturday was the Quilting For Calgary delivery day. And what a day it was. It kicked off with the requisite speeches by organizers and politicians. A wonderful send off for volunteers, really. My favourite quote came from Naheed Nenshi, our mayor," It's not the sandwiches or the quilts, it's about knowing that people care."

And that is where quilters showed their mettle. Over 1350 quilts were donated that day. Fabric, quilt tops, completed quilts, and countless hours to get all that done. From all over the world quilters sent in hugs made from quilts. And let me tell you, every last one of them is appreciated.

The first person to get a quilt that day was actually Mayor Nenshi. His tireless leadership and commitment to the community was recognized in this #napfornenshi quilt. You see, he went for a few days straight without any sleep during the height of the flood. At one point #napfornenshi became a rally cry and trending topic on Twitter. The man deserved some rest! So Bernadette Kent at Traditional Pastimes created this quilt for him. The front is an improv piece that includes images of the flood, copies of tweets and hashtags, and even his famous quote about the Darwin Law.

The name of the local longarmer who quilted it escapes me right now, I'm sorry. All I can remember is an L. Bernadette says that the quilt really comes from all the quilters. A wonderful sentiment.

The back of the quilt is a representation of the Quilting For Calgary logo. (Made from a slab). Here is the mayor with Bernadette (above) and Bev Rogan (below). Bev is the local quilter who spearheaded the Quilting For Calgary efforts.

Then it was time to deliver the quilts. This is just some of the quilts. Each table had 70-80 quilts on it and there were 16 tables, I think. Each table was loaded into a vehicle destined for a flood ravaged community in the city. It was an awesome sight to see the quilts all together like this. And to see the room filled with volunteers ready to go out into the city.

It's been 12 weeks since the flood and no doubt people are tired. There is such a thing as donor fatigue. But quilters are rallying folks. As are the people at Mission Possible who coordinated so much of the delivery day.

Once the vehicles were loaded volunteers headed to their designated communities. Dumpsters and signs of construction are still evident all over the city. Mud still cakes some sidewalks, planters, BBQs, and curbs. Many homes are empty or homeowners are living in the shell, no means or time to get the rebuilding done.

Quilts in arm they started ringing doorbells. This included my two girls (with the The Garbage Truck supervising from the stroller). My girls insisted on helping and this makes their Mama very proud.

We got through all the streets in our designated neighbourhood. Unfortunately, many people weren't home. Many residents didn't quite understand that these quilts were essentially free hugs. It was one thing to have strangers come clean the muck or give you a meal, quite another to have them hand you a quilt and want nothing in return. People tried to pay us but we politely declined. And people politely decline a quilt too, saying that there were more deserving folks for them. Another act of kindness, really. People with dumpsters still there and they are saying others are more deserving. I heard that this happened in many neighbourhoods.

I want to thank every single person who had a hand, a stitch, a dinner cooked for a quilter, an email sent to a guild, a post office clerk who handled another box, and all the cheerleaders and organizers for this effort. The Quilting for Calgary Facebook page is getting notes from people thanking the anonymous donors and volunteers. Worth a read.

Our group consisted of Vic, Pauline, Bill, Cathy, as well as the kids and I. We ended up stopping folks out walking their dogs and joggers as much as we rang on doorbells. And for every quilt we gave we received a story, a hug, a smile, a sigh. And always a thank you. May the stories of everyone live on.

If you want a bit more, the media did cover the day as well. Here are a few links:

Global National (the story is at around the 15:15 mark.)
Calgary Sun

Oh, and this is the first round of Just One Slab quilts that were finished in time for this delivery. Thanks to awesome volunteer assemblers, quilters, and binders for getting these done. All the rest of the Just One Slab quilts will be completed in the coming month or two (I already have a stack growing) and donated in one fell swoop again.

I do want to also mention that My Sewing Room is still gathering and delivering quilts to High River. In fact, they too had a donation day recently where hundreds of quilts were given away. Go quilters!

Just One Slab Deadline


Slabs are already pouring in. I had to warn my mail man about the packages when he delivered 6 the other day. I even had a highway pick-up that felt slightly illicit, but way more fun. I'm blown away by everyone's enthusiasm.

To answer a few questions:

DEADLINE - July 30, 2013.

I plan on assembling the blocks, with the help of some local friends, in early August. And Andrea has offered to long arm the quilts. Then, I assume a big binding party will happen!

Once you've squared up your block it is helpful to sew a stay stitch around the edge of the block. Just a regular stitch, about 1/8'' of an inch from the edge of the block. It helps prevent seams splitting when the block is going to get handled repeatedly before final assembly.

If you would like to donate quilt tops, completed quilts, backing, or batting I will take those donations as well and make sure they get to the organizations that will be finishing and distributing quilts here.

Thank you so much!

In Their Eyes

Bone marrow tired. A smell tattooed to the membrane of your memory. Smiles from gracious and suffering homeowners. Overwhelming pride of community. Kindness and giggles. 

I took the kids down to a flood zone yesterday. We walked the streets handing out fruit and cookies and a welcome ear to clean up crews and homeowners. The girls were wildly entertained by toilets on the street and friendly with the firefighters. They gagged at the smell of each pile filling someone's lawn. Each pile filled with drywall and insulation, not to mention the childrens' toys and books, the clothes, the treasures, the furniture, the lives of people lived. They giggled as their boots got stuck in the muck. They happily gave away their favourite cookies and told people they wanted to help because we were lucky. And they took these pictures (except the last few, those were mine).

(This is the girls' favourite restaurant, Wurst. The lower floor and kitchen were horribly flooded and we were entertained by the restoration company who told us about the complete pig they had to haul out that day.)

(Cable for a suspension bridge that was ripped down and almost washed away.)

Thank you so much for the response, already to the Just One Slab drive and the quilt donations.

Just One Slab

Just a slab. One slab. Grab some scraps of fabric and sew them together.

I'm putting out a call to all my quilty friends out there. Maybe you can't spare the fabric or time or postage to send a whole quilt as we try to recover in Calgary and Southern Alberta. That's okay. But I bet you can make just one block. And the more of you that can make and send just one block, the more quilts we'll be able to donate. I will put all the blocks I get together into quilts. With an army of local long armers lined up to donate their time we will get some beds and hearts covered in no time.

Here are the basics:

Make a slab 15.5'' square. You can insert the white bit or not, that's your choice. Just aim to make your block in a single colour. Make as many as you like.

Our inspiration for these quilts is The Missing U quilt from Sunday Morning Quilts.

How do you make a slab? If you have the book, refer to the directions on pages 48-49. If you don't have the book let me summarize how to make a slab:

Take two pieces of fabric and sew them together. Do that a few more times. Then start sewing more pieces to those first pairs. Sew groups together. Add additional pieces of fabric as necessary to get up to your finished size. Start with small bits or big ones, it doesn't matter. Raid your scrap bins and go with what you've got.

Feel free to grab that top image and share it on your blogs/web-sites. Tell the world about how you made your slab. Link back to this post if you do.

When your block is done and you're ready to post it, send me a note and I will gladly send you my snail mail.

Thank-you so much for continuing to think of us here in Southern Alberta. Now that the emergency situation is behind us it is time to think about recovery. Quilts go a long way towards that.

*If you are interested in donating complete quilts or tops, make sure you check out this information.*

100 Quilts for Kids - The Donation

The wonderful Katie at Swim, Bike, Quilt is hosting the 100 Quilts for Kids blog hop and quilt drive, along with the DC Modern Quilt Guild. Have you heard about it?

Swim, Bike, Quilt

A series of posts from a tonne of bloggers highlighting great, and easy quilts. Perfect for easy construction or group work. In other words, perfect for quick, gorgeous quilts. Perfect for donation. Rather than a central quilt drive and delivery, however, she encourages us to make and donate a quilt locally. (After having done the work for Quilts Recover, I completely get this!)

Today, rather than highlight a specific quilt, I want to highlight the giving portion of this project.

Recently, my husband and his crew had the muddy pleasure of working on the new buildings at Camp Kindle. Camp Kindle is the summer camp built and run by the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta. Nestled in the foothills, surrounded by aspen and spruce forests, the camp is a refuge for kids and families living with and surviving cancer.

We look at our own kids and know that we are tremendously lucky. We also know that should we face the challenges of cancer so directly that a place like Camp Kindle would be a lifesaver for all of us. As one family shared with us, camp is where you can go and not have cancer.

The camp ran all summer, even as the finishing touches remain. As Hubby and his crew grumbled about the mud and hour long drive to get to work each day the first campers started to arrive. And when they saw the first kids, some with IVs and chemo treatments, they immediately shut up. That's when Hubby came home and informed me that I needed to donate some quilts to the camp. He well knows the comfort of a quilt, of something handmade wrapped around you.

Today we were able to visit the camp. We gathered the kids, the rest of Hubby's employees and their families, and journeyed to the gorgeous fall vistas provided at Camp Kindle. The camp, Foundation, and many volunteers were hosting the trades that worked on the camp for a BBQ. It was merely wonderful to finally see the place and more importantly, speak to families and counsellors who truly make the camp what it is. Hubby and his colleagues may have used their tools to put the buildings up, but it is the campers and counsellors who make the camp what it is.

And I took a quilt with me. The camp staff decided that it would be best used in the Rekindle Clinic - the on-site medical facility. Luckily for the camp they do have 4 quilts for the 4 hospital beds - donated by the wives of a local fiddle group! But when they have to change over beds the quilts aren't available.  And having extras to cuddle are always welcome.

It is such a small thing, really, to make a donate a quilt. Early on in my quilt career I gave everything away - baby quilts, wedding gifts... Then I started hoarding the quilts because I couldn't pick a favourite. But now is the time to pass on some creations. And to keep doing so. Such a small thing.

The quilt I donated is the bold and rather easy To a T quilt
Made from a pattern I drafted for the Modern Blocks book.

Quilts Recover Update

The sun is shining! I can ride my bike again! And I may have actually sewn too much!

Okay, no exclamation point on that last one. My foot is bothering me and my physio thinks working the foot pedal may be to blame. Yikes! Can't stop me though, it's manageable and I'm on a roll.

Besides, I've also got Quilts Recover to keep me busy. The quilts are starting to come in now that the postal lock-out is over. Good timing too as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned the spotlight to the rebuilding of Slave Lake this week.

If you are planning on donating to Quilts Recover there is still time to do so. We are accepting finished, unused quilts in a functional size (baby to full/queen) until the beginning of August. All quilts will be labelled and delivered to families rebuilding in the wake of devastating wildfires in the town of Slave Lake, Alberta.

Many overseas readers have also expressed a desire to donate quilt tops, as the postage for quilts is quite a bit. I can share now that I've lined up a long armer and a few volunteers to help us finish these quilts. I'm still looking for batting and backing donations. If a finished quilt isn't something you can do, maybe you can consider donating some supplies. Or, if you are local, maybe some time to help get the quilts bound and labelled. I will be announcing a sew day for late July/early August to finish all that.

Again, thank-you for all your support for Quilts Recover.

Crazy Busy

This is a post of random notes.

Thank-you so much for the support for Quilts Recover. I'm seeing posts go up around the blogosphere by friends. Emails are coming in already. If there wasn't this rotating postal strike some quilts might even be on their way already!

There've been a number of suggestions for Quilts Recover. Different chapters, financial donations, and offers of quilting tops sent from far away. I promise you that I'm sorting through all the ideas and figuring out ways to maximize quilts and quilters' generosity. You folks are just awesome.

There wasn't a lot of quilting done in the last week. I was up to my eyeballs in writing deadlines. In one day I interviewed Jennifer Paganelli (Oh, she is so awesome!) and a handful of goat farmers (also awesome). In between butt wiping and baking muffins for preschool. Now that's the life!

Lastly, I'm getting the binding on the Shades of Grey quilt. That's today's task, along with prepping for The Monster's 5th birthday party tomorrow.

Then, on Thursday, I'm having knee surgery. Finally. Just one of my knees, but they will check out the other while I'm down for the count. Needless to say, there won't be a lot of quilty action, aside from handstitching that binding, for the next week or so.

On that note, time to get prepping!

Quilts Recover Launch

The world has seen a lot of tragedy lately. Earthquakes, tornados, fires, and more. Your heart breaks a little bit each time you hear the stories and see the images. More often than not, however, the stories remain part of the nightly news. We talk about it at the dinner table or the office, we might even send in a donation or two to a charitable organization. We each do what we can.

After a particularly trying time myself I decided that I needed to do more than talk and read about it. To break out of my own grief I needed to help others. The images of houses completely gone, evidence of people's lives lived just destroyed were powerful. The thought of rebuilding seems so remote at those times.

Quilts Recover is about providing just one bit of comfort during that rebuilding process. Quilts Recover is quilters providing finished quilts to communities ravaged by disaster.

As of today, Quilts Recover is accepting donations of unused quilts to donate to communities where the rebuilding process is occurring. We accept functional quilts only - no comforters, bedding, duvets, or blankets. All quilts must qualify as lap/nap or bed quilts. All quilts must be complete - no unquilted tops please. Quilts will then be labelled and donated, through registered charitable organizations on site, to target communities.

The first target community is Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada. Earlier this month, May, a wildfire swept through the town of about 7000 people. Nearly half the homes and businesses were destroyed, utterly consumed by the fire. People are only returning to their homes now. Quilts Recover will provide as many quilts as possible to families rebuilding their lives in Slave Lake.

To donate a quilt please contact me directly at quiltsrecover@gmail.com.

Quilts Recover will accept donations of clean, unused, and functional quilts for Slave Lake until July 31. 2011. All quilts will then be labelled and donated. I'll keep you posted on arrivals and delivery times.

The first two quilts will be coming from my own pile of finished work. Quilts I enjoyed making, quilts that someone else can use more than being stored in my cupboards.

Thank-you for your support and donations. I'm looking forward to seeing what the community of quilters can do.

Thank-you to Cathryn Ironside for her generous work on the Quilts Recover logo.