Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Never-Ending Stitchin' Mission

One of the occasional, happy outcomes of a Stitchin' Mission is that new quilters want to keep making quilts together. When that happens, it takes a church's continued availability for meeting space, and the leadership of one or two willing people to make it happen.

This is precisely the scenario at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Sydney, Australia. Stitchin' Mission #19 was hosted by St. Mark's in October, 2009. Since then, St. Mark's Quilters have continued to meet monthly to learn, sew and socialize.

While doing so, they make quilts for autistic children who attend The Kindergarten Union Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre - KU for short! Recently the KU celebrated its second birthday. A few of St. Mark's Quilters were invited for the party and to give quilts to the children.

The on-going gifts of quilts happens in no small part, due to the efforts of the dedicated - and fun-loving! - leaders of St. Mark's Quilters - Di J. and Di B.

These two, and St. Mark's Quilters, are a testament to how we are better together. When we're inspired by the Holy Spirit and we collaborate, we can accomplish much more than we can individually.

Please read Di J.'s blog post here for a beautiful look at faith in action.

Are you part of an effort to make quilts for others in need? Would you like to be? A faith-filled Stitchin' Mission series of five beginner quiltmaking lessons can be scheduled at a church anywhere in the vicinity of The Villages, Florida. If you/your church is interested in hosting a Stitchin' Mission, please visit the website. Linda

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stitchin' Mission Moves On

If you've perceived by the title of this post that Stitchin' Mission is leaving Iowa, you are correct. The reason Stitchin' Mission is leaving is because I am leaving.

My husband and I have made the decision to leave West Des Moines after more than 22 years of making friends and memories. God willing, we're anticipating another 20 years of making new friends and memories living in The Villages, Florida.

We are thanking God that He has orchestrated all our plans, sending a buyer for our house on Good Friday (April 6) after it was on the market for only 35 days. We are certain God has been working through all this as we have purged, sold and donated nearly everything - except personal items and quilting stuff, of course! Even our furniture and my beloved silver Volkswagen Beetle have found a new home here in Iowa. Our last day here is May 3.

These are huge changes.

I am grateful that Stitchin' Mission quiltmaking lessons have continued throughout the Des Moines area, and once in Sydney, Australia, during the past six years. Prayers now are that God will lead us to: a new house, a new church, and a situation in Florida where Stitchin' Mission can again reach those quilters and quilt recipients who will benefit from this ministry.

I'm happy and touched that my friends are hosting a
Stitchin' Mission Farewell Open House.

You're invited to Lutheran Church of Hope, 925 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, April 28, 2012. From 1 to 3 p.m. in room 212. Please come to socialize, enjoy some treats, and say good-bye. (No gifts please!) Feel free to bring along an in-progress or completed donation quilt for some Show-n-Tell.

If you learned quiltmaking through Stitchin' Mission, I couldn't be happier that you had the opportunity to participate at some point since 2005. If you've developed a love for making quilts, I couldn't be more happy! If your enthusiasm for quiltmaking has spilled over into making quilts for those who are less fortunate, I'm ecstatic! Bless you!

The Stitchin' Mission website and blog will continue to be the place where Stitchin' Mission activities appear. At this point, only God knows when and where the next series of lessons will be. Watch this space!

Thank you to those of you who have phoned or spoken to me in person to say how Stitchin' Mission has "changed your life." Together, let us lift hands in grateful praise for what God has done and continues to do. Linda

For more information about Stitchin' Mission, go here to the Stitchin' Mission website.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

For Sale

If any of you former Stitchin' Mission students are interested in hand-quilting, or you've become a hand-quilter, this hand-quilting frame is for sale for $40.

The two poles, for mounting your quilt, are 92 inches long. 
The quilting area, between the poles, is 26 inches.

By adjusting the center bar, the distance between the A-frame legs can be 50 inches to 82 inches apart. (Shown in photos at 82 inches apart.)

 There are four tilt positions. 

This quilt frame is easy to assemble in ten minutes or less. If you're interested, please comment accordingly. Thank you! Linda

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's a Quilt-a-Thon!

Whether you've participated in a Stitchin' Mission, or not.
Whether you know how to make a quilt, or not.
You're invited to a Quilt-a-Thon!
Let's all make quilt blocks, for quilts to give to Mercy Children's Center intensive care unit in Des Moines.

Friday, February 3, 1-9 pm
Saturday, February 4, 9 am-3 pm
Lutheran Church of Hope
925 Jordan Creek Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa
Room 214

It's a No Excuses Quilt-a-Thon

"I've never used a sewing machine."
No worries! Members of Hope Quilters will be there to show you what to do. No straight seam sewing is necessary!

"I've used a sewing machine and I don't want a thing to do with one!"
Well okay! You can help by pressing fabrics. We need people who will press fabrics before they're sewn into blocks and after blocks are sewn.

"I've sewn before, but I've never made a quilt."
Come, and just sew blocks. You don't need to make a whole quilt.... but if you'd like to know how to do that, we'd love to have you join Hope Quilters

What to Expect
What everyone will do is take piles of small cotton scraps, sew them together randomly, and then cut them into squares. 
You'll sew blocks like this...

...and this...

...and this...

...until there's a pile like this.

Then you'll add these...

...and a few of these... make a 49" X 49" quilt!

At the Quilt-a-Thon...'ll see a sample of the finished quilt, and other examples of quilts you can make with these easy-to-sew blocks.'ll see sewing machines set up, so you can enjoy a few minutes of sewing. Or even better, bring your sewing machine along for a longer stay.'ll see ironing boards and irons, so you can enjoy a few minutes, or hours, of fun pressing!

It's all been arranged. Now Hope Quilters just needs you... and your friends. 

This event is open to everyone who would like to help make quilts for Mercy Children's Center intensive care unit. Do come! No RSVP needed!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SM Number 25 is a Wrap

The last Stitchin' Mission lesson was at Faith Lutheran Church on Thursday. We had a nice turn-out, though I fear we "lost" a few newbies along the way. However, those who saw lessons through to the finish are just as proud as can be about their quilts, and rightly so! 
Photo thanks to Jim Ridge
Sadly, at least four quilters who made quilts are missing from our group picture.

One of our Rebekahs (helpers) made a "John Deere" quilt using fabrics that had been donated to Stitchin' Mission. When she took the finished quilt to work, to show her co-workers, she was offered money for it! Happily, instead of a quilt, House of Mercy will be getting a $100 donation! I'm sorry we don't have a picture of that quilt.

During show and tell, we saw some beauties - quilts, and quilters!
Co-coordinator, Jeannette
Made by Debra
Made by Debra
Made by Debra
Co-coordinator, Peggy
Forty-five quilts were turned in Thursday evening! Temporarily, the quilts were laid across three room partitions.

They made an impressive and colorful display. 

Another 20 quilts are expected to be finished.  

All 60-plus quilts will be hung in the sanctuary at Faith Lutheran Church beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, November 19. If you're available to help hang quilts, Peggy would appreciate it.

To see the quilts displayed on November 19-20, you're invited to attend one of Faith's three worship services: Saturday at 5 p.m., or Sunday at 8:30 or 10 a.m.

Thank you all for your hard work. You're a blessing, especially to the children at House of Mercy.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stitchin' Mission #25, Fourth Lesson

Thursday evening's lesson was all about binding. How to:

1. sew together fabric strips

2. press binding
3. machine sew binding to the quilt and make mitered corners by folding the fabric

4. conceal the binding start and stop "in a tent"
5. trim off excess batting and backing

6. and, hand sew binding to the back of the quilt.

A story board visual aid helps students review after the lesson.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tied Up!

One of our newbies emailed to say she was having problems tying her quilt. She was finding it difficult to pull the darning needle, threaded with yarn, through the quilt sandwich.

This is an occasional challenge. The issue isn't always with the thickness of the yarn, it's with the polyester batting. It's not nearly as difficult to pull yarn through cotton as it is through polyester.

Here are a few solutions to this problem:
1/4" to 3/8" stitch length

If you're trying to take a stitch through an intersection (where four blocks meet in a corner), make sure to take the stitch diagonally through the blocks where the seam allowance is not. Feel with your fingertips, to locate the less thick area and stitch through it.

Or, take a tie stitch in the middle of the block where there aren't any seam allowances.

Try pulling on the needle using a "cap snaffler." It's a rubbery type thing used to open jars. Or, use rubber fingers or a thread gripper (found in a sewing store). If all else fails, you can pull the needle with  needle nose pliers. First, wrap the nose tips with duct tape so ridges on the pliers don't damage the needle. 
From top L-R: kitchen "cap snaffler;" thread gripper; needle nose pliers with duct tape on the tips
Instead of using yarn, try using perle cotton. Size #5 or #3 are ideal. Perle cottons come on a ball or a skein.
Red #5 on a ball; green #5 on a skein; gold #3 on a skein
 Size #5 (the top thread) is less thick than size #3 (the bottom thread).
Top light blue size #5; bottom darker blue size #3
If you're still unable to tie, try making a simple sewing machine satin-stitch/short zig-zag stitch in the same places you wanted to put the ties. Be sure to secure the threads by shortening the stitch length before clipping.

I hope this is helpful information! I'm looking forward to seeing some beautiful finished quilts by Nov. 10. Linda