Quanket for foster kids

May 2016

The quilts I make are not traditional “quilted” quilts. I like to refer to them as quankets (pronounced ‘kwang-kits’). Quilted quilts are when the patch-worked top is then “quilted” onto a backing piece of fabric, with a layer of batting in between. This is typically done using a long arm sewing machine (which I don’t have) or by hand (which I don’t have the patience for). I love the aspects of piecing, and backing my quilts with blankets allows me to focus on piecing, while not stressing (or spending a lot of money) towards having them professionally long arm quilted.

It has never been my intention for my quilts to be works of art: they’re pretty, and that works for me. I find that by not undertaking each quilt with the notion that it has to be a work of art, it liberates me to explore new ideas, and experiment with colors, patterns, and textures – I LOVE textures. In Maypole, the white fabric is a polyester that I inherited from Granny: no doubt, fabric she had intended for a pant suit – Granny loved her polyester pant suits! It has a fabulous line and texture detail. I have had this fabric on my shelf for years, shying away from it for a quilt project since it is polyester. But, it is super soft, and after experimenting with wool in my Virgie’s Wagga quilt, I figured that I should give the polyester a try.

I follow several blogs, and many bloggers lament the market for quilts, and how overseas mass production has made selling homemade quilts more difficult. I am fortunate that I have the time, resources, and ability to make and donate quilts. I only hope that more quilters out there, that are ‘stuck’ in the place of not knowing if they should quilt for profit, artistry, or charity, choose the later 🙂 Don’t let unused quilts lie in your studios, hang on walls, unused, perhaps in the hopes that they will some day be a work of art. Just donate them – the act of letting go is so fulfilling!

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child in June 2016.

Baby Bear

Charity quilts for foster kids

Baby Bear
April 2016

Baby Bear is the final quanket in my Three Bears series, and I am thrilled to have it finished in time to include it, along with Papa and Mama Bear, in this year’s Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge.

I have had little time to spend at the sewing machine over the past few months, however I did take some time recently to better organize my scraps. While I am not quite as organized as other quilters in cutting my scraps into commonly used sizes, I do keep my scraps together by colors. My prior method of keeping them in plastic bags was beginning to get out of hand and needless to say, it looked tacky. So I purchased some cute photo boxes that were on clearance, and have now organized my scraps into these. They look much cuter on the shelf and work much better than the plastic bags did. During the process of organizing, I found that my blue scraps were overflowing, which is what inspired the fabric selection for Baby Bear.

Designing a scrappy quilt, while challenging, is fun and rewarding. Challenges include finding enough scraps in similar or complementary color values and/or saturation, and designing the layout. For me, the layout is usually dictated by the amount of scraps I have that work together. In Baby Bear, I had a lot of country blues – leftovers from the 80’s – and darker blue leftovers from my quanket, Celebration. Using a design wall is great for exploring options in how to arrange blocks, sashing and borders. My design wall is a closet door covered with felt which works great, as it lets me place pieces without the use of pins. For pieces that have more seams, it seems that a pin is needed, otherwise I end up with a pile of pieces on the floor in front of the closet door!

Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge
Quilting is more fun than Housework

Help Make a Difference in a Foster Child’s Life

Over the past week, the media here in Southern California have brought attention to Lexi, a 6 year old little girl who has been taken from her foster family. Lexi has been with the Pages, her foster family for nearly five years, and she knows them as her family.

The reason that Lexi has been taken from the Pages is because she is 1.5% Choctaw, Native American. The State of California and Los Angeles County are “moving her to Utah to live with a non-blood related family who aren’t even members of the Choctaw tribe”. Unfortunately, the state and county can do this under the Indian Child Welfare Law. While the intention of the law seems good, the execution of the law in this particular case does not seem to be very well thought out.

The Page family is devastated and have begun a petition which you can view through the link below. I have signed it. Will you?

Click here to sign the petition to keep Lexi home

Mama Bear

Bear's paw quilt

Mama Bear
February 2016

Mama Bear began with a color idea that I saw in an Indian Sari. Indian Saris are beautiful and their colors are so inspiring. I love the combination of purple, orange and pink. And while I try to do different quilt designs as much as possible, I wanted to do another Bear’s Paw quilt to go with Papa Bear.

Another source of inspiration for Mama Bear began this past Thanksgiving. At the cabin we stayed at in Big Bear for Thanksgiving, there is one bedroom that is decorated in the Three Bears theme – how fun is that? Since Thanksgiving, I have had the plan to do three Bear’s Paw quilts: Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Baby Bear is up next!

This quanket, along with Baby Bear and Papa Bear are being donated via the Hands2Help Challenge 2016 and will go to the Yukon Women’s Transition Home in Whitehorse, Yukon. I am inspired by these words on their website, “Kids deserve to feel safe“. These are words that fuel me to make and donate quilts for kids.

Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge

Quilting is more fun than Housework

A Chaotic Start to a New Year

Quilts for foster kids

A Chaotic Start to a New Year
January 2016

Today is the first weekend I am spending at home since the beginning of the year, and I am finally getting some time to sew. On January 5, my daughter and son-in-law’s home was flooded – who even thinks of flooding in sunny Southern California? El Niño rains flooded the street they live on, and ultimately rose above the sandbags they had in place to keep the water off of their property. At its peak, they had just over 9 inches of water, mud and debris throughout their house. Paul and I have spent the past two weekends with them, cutting drywall from interior walls, and cleaning dried mud off of everything – including her sewing machine.

These old Singer machines are great! Hers is a vintage 1950’s machine, and is almost identical to the one I sew with, which was my Granny’s – my sewing mentor. Luckily the mud hadn’t guncked-up the mechanics and after cleaning the mud from inside and out, I put it to work in contributing a block to the quanket that is getting started on my design wall.

To follow-up to my last post, Re-purposing for a Purpose, there were a total of 75 fleece beanie caps in the basket. Some have gone to a local chemo center, and the rest will be donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

p.s. Julie I will send you the hat pattern as soon as I can!

Re-purposing for a Purpose


December 2015

After three years of making quankets, the scraps of fleece were starting to overflow – 2 bins to be exact! I needed to get things under control and decided to re-purpose the scraps into fleece beanie caps to donate to patients undergoing chemo therapy. Since the scraps were varying sizes, I made caps in all different sizes, and as you can see, in all different colors.

So, how many beanies do you think I was able to make? Here is some info to help you in your guess:

  • Over the past three years, I have made 63 quankets – 6 for friends and family and 57 to donate to foster kids. While I oftentimes have scrap fleece when making a quanket, it usually isn’t a big enough scrap to yield a hat.
  • The size of the basket they are in is approx. 24″L x 16″W x 9″H.
  • There are two layers of hats in the basket.
  • I have been working on this particular project for about two weeks now, spending a couple hours each day on them (minus Christmas weekend).

I would love to see your guesses in the comments section! I will post the actual number of beanies that were made in my next post – so stay tuned! Also, if anyone is interested in how to make these, drop me a note in the comments section, and I will send you my pattern.

Lastly, happy New Year to everyone that stops by to read my blog. Your visits and comments mean a lot to me, and inspire me to continue on this journey.

My Favorites from 2015

As 2015 winds down to an end, I am pleased to have donated a total of 19 quilts to foster kids this year, and each done in a different design! Choosing my 5 favorites is difficult, but here they are, in no particular order:

Flower Power – August 2015
Star surround quilt

Marigolds – November 2015
medallion quilt

Papa Bear – December 2015
bear paw quilt

Flamingo Floyd – May 2015
charity quilt

Celebration – March 2015
bricks and stepping stones quilt