Thursday, November 1, 2012

Taking action - wanna help?

EDITED 11/3/12 - Just a note, if you are a no-reply commenter, I can't send you my mailing address.  If you haven't heard from me, that is why - I have already emailed everyone that I could get in touch with, and have tracked some people down through blogs.    I can be emailed at, and I'll get my mailing address out to you all.  Thanks so much!

While my kids were home from school on Tuesday, enjoying the reprieve that Hurricane Sandy afforded us here in Virginia, I got started on an idea for a baby quilt.  I wanted to make a spiral log cabin like I had seen on Beth's blog, but I was wondering if it could be done with some of my pre-cut 2" squares that are overflowing their tin.  In no time at all, I had four 9.5" blocks to play with.  It turns out, I like Beth's better, but I can do something with these...

Then I went upstairs on turned on the TV.  Sandy may have given us a reprieve, but she bashed the heck out of our friends north of us.  The images on the screen horrified and haunted me.  My first job after college was in NYC.  My first date with my now-husband was on the Jersey Shore.  He surprised me with a trip to Atlantic City for my 22nd birthday.  The first home that we bought together was in Hoboken, NJ.  All these places that played such a significant role in my past were cold and dark and underwater.  People were were losing their belongings, their homes, their lives.

I can't sit by and do nothing.  I'll donate money, to be sure, but I'm going to turn my sewing room into a sweatshop these next couple of weeks and donate some quilts, too.  My program with the school kids doesn't start until November 12, so I have a week and a half to concentrate on making quilt tops.

Do you want to help?  I wanted to make big block quilts, something interesting but simple.  I saw the disappearing 4-patch online recently, so that's what I chose to make.  One block takes me about 10 minutes to make, including the cutting and pressing.  If you want to make a block to send to me,   leave a comment and I'll send you my mailing address.  I will put the quilt tops together and either find someone to machine quit them or (gulp) machine quilt them myself.  We can't help everyone, but together, we can make a small difference in the lives of some.

Block guidelines:

Choose two fabrics: a multi-color FLORAL and a coordinating fabric that provides good contrast to the floral and reads as a solid.  Cut two 7" squares from each fabric.  Sew into a 4-patch.

Press the 4-patch, and then using a long ruler, make four cuts on the 4-patch, one at 1.5" to each side of the center seams.  Do not move your fabric after each cut; either rotate the cutting mat after each cut, or rotate yourself around the mat.  Once cut, you should have this:
Granted, I moved them a little bit so you could see where the cuts are. 

Move only the skinny center pieces from each side clockwise one space (musical chairs for fabric). It should now look like this:

Sew into rows and then into a 9-patch.

Your final block should be 12.5".  Don't bother to trim your block to size, send them to me as is and I will trim them all to the same size together.  This is a block that is pretty forgiving - when trimmed, you don't lose the integrity of the block.

Thanks so much for considering helping out.  I know that a subconscious reason for wanting to help is to ease this feeling of helplessness that I have as I think about what my fellow citizens are going through. But is that such a bad thing if, through the easing of my own discomfort, I bring comfort to others?

“Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” - Martin Luther King, Jr. “Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” - Sally Koch