Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Service Quilts

Hi Everyone,

If you belong to a quilt guild, then you know that many times they have service projects where they find a local organization that can use quilts.  Starting in January, our guild's service project was to make small baby quilts for the hospital.  The purpose of these quilts was to wrap up stillborn babies for their first/last visit with their family.  Later, the family will have a small quilt as a remembrance. 

At first I didn't know if I would participate.  It seemed pretty much a bummer and something I didn't want to think about.  But then I thought about it and I'm very much a sentimental person who appreciates keepsakes and remembrances, so I had a look through my stash, but I had nothing appropriate.

Deciding on fabric is tricky.  I didn't want anything too bright and happy, but I didn't want anything too plain, either.  I felt like something really sweet and soft was what I wanted.  I found a few things here and there and then struck gold at Joann Fabrics.  They have a whole line of soft pastels in quiet prints like dots and checks.

I tried to keep most of them gender-neutral, but I don't think that was hugely required. 

I don't know about you, but if I 'm going to get out fabric, think about something, and work on it, if it is a small project, I may as well make 2 or 3--it isn't that much more trouble than making one.

I did a little doodling and some searching for easy patterns and came up with a few ideas.  I particularly like these heart ones.  They are a bit difficult to see because the sun was shining on them as I took pictures.
Other than the hearts, which required the most "finicky" piecing, I also did some four-patches, some diagonally-set small squares, and this strippy one.

I began by cutting off backings from all of my fabrics, and then cutting strips from the leftovers.  Once I had some sketches and plans, they were sort of fun to make.

They are all 18 inches wide, and range from 22"-24" long, so they were fairly easy to make.

I hadn't planned on making this many, but I did two of one pattern, two of another, and three of these strippy ones.  When I thought I had finished, I found I had enough "leftovers" to make another one or two.

What finally stopped me was that I ran out of batting.  I was using the really thin Quilter's Dream cotton because I wanted these to be soft and drape-y and not at all stiff.  I ended up with 10.
I stipple quilted the hearts, but for the rest I used a technique that we used in Hawaii when we made Kid Comfort Quilts for the children of deployed soldiers.  Someone began using the serpentine stitch on their machine for the quilting and it became very popular.

It is hard to tell in the picture, but I used a delicate, pastel, variegated thread. Superior Thread's  King Tut  Mummy Dearest.

I love how the serpentine stitch gave the simple piecing a rather "scalloped" appearance. 

Since I had made so many, I decided to bind them all completely by machine.  I used the serpentine stitch to also sew down the binding.

I became so engrossed in this project that I'm relieved that they are complete.  My sewing room is completely trashed.  I will be spending today cleaning and tidying it up.  On Wednesday, I'm going to IKEA for the very first time!  Please tell me if there is anything totally cool that I have to look at and/or buy for the quilting room (or rest of the house.)  I have a feeling that I will be totally overwhelmed, but I'm pretty excited.

Have a great day,


  1. What a wonderful, beautiful, loving project. God bless you for participating. I don't know that I could handle that ... On the subject of IKEA ... just leave your checkbook and credit cards at HOME!! It can be a very, very dangerous place .... I'm just sayin........LOL

  2. lovely quilts and a wonderful service to your community. They look so sweet hanging off your deck.

    As for Ikea, the last time I went there (Portland OR) my friend Sarah and I actually got pissed! Once you enter that place, you can't escape! It's a maze and they are determined to make you pass through all of it!

  3. Your quilts will comfort ten families and their extended families when they need it the most. Blessings to them and to you.

  4. Very nce project JoAnne. I think the families will take comfort in them, they are soft and sweet. (and I am glad to see you made more than one!!)

  5. how wonderful you were able to make so many, they will mean so much

  6. Your little quilts are so sweet and will be appreciated by the grieving parents. I love making quilts for preemies and newborns and your are outstanding. My favorite colors are red, white and blue and wife of a retired Air Force officer but I am much older than you. Glad to meet you.

  7. Such an amazing thing you just did! These are so special, and are going to be cherished by these grieving families. Well done, JoAnne!

    Now.....Ikea......be prepared to spend the whole afternoon there! Seriously! And just go slow, cuz there is so much, and at first you might think you don't have any use for it.....but just look at it all for a few minutes, cuz you'll start thinking of all sorts of ways to use a bunch of stuff, for organizing, kitcheny stuff, lighting, etc. The little furniture rooms are my favorites, cuz they've put them together with things that give you even more ideas for you own place. Our rooms at home are pretty big, but their bedrooms-in-a-closet-space are awesome, and it makes me want to make a corner up somewhere like that! lol Enjoy it.....and definitely pick up some of the base lights with snake necks for your sewing areas....they are only $10 and are great!

  8. Just. Wow. What a wonderful array of sweet little quilts. Such a thoughtful way to try and ease the sorrow of grieving parents.

  9. I have never been inside an Ikea myself... I can't wait for your trip report! Your little quilts are so precious. That is such a special act of kindness that will be forever remembered.

  10. Such a wonderful project. I got all teary when I started thinking about the poor parents who would be holding their baby in those quilts, but then I thought maybe your little quilts will give them some level of comfort too. What a generous person you are. :-) Have fun at Ikea...

  11. Your little quilts are just perfect, and I appreciate your sharing your thought process on the pastel colors. I may not have thought things out as well, but your quilts are just perfect for such a terrible time in the parents lives. And, the thin cotton batting was another well thought out decision.

    As for IKEA, buy the little lamps that someone mentioned. Bonnie Hunter blogged about them a year or more ago--get the one on a heavy base, and the one with the clip too. I don't usually shop at IKEA, but I made a special stop when I was passing by to get them. http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2012/02/which-ikea-lamp.html

  12. What an amazing act of kindness...the families will be so comforted. BEAUTIFUL!

  13. Lovely little quilts ... and I see you are not far off your 100. Fingers crossed!

  14. Bless your heart and soul. Your kindness and generosity will always be cherished by the families who receive one of your precious quilts.

    I've never been to IKEA... you'll need to write a post all about your experience! Most of all, have fun!

  15. Your quilts are ALL lovely.....so much thought and love went into them! I'm sure they will be treasured by the families have to use them. Have fun at IKEA, I don't go very often, but it is fairly close to my home....you will enjoy yourself! chris

  16. That's great that you ended up making so many, even though I'm sure it was a difficult project to work on. It's hard to even think about their intended use, but hopefully it helps their families to have them.