Look at that lovely stack of quilts! There are the quilts that were brought to the meeting last night ready to be delivered to veterans at McGuire Hospital.
We've had so many new people last night that I thought it would be a good idea to explain this project in detail.
Several years ago we were invited to make quilts for McGuire VA Hospital. At that time there was a particular coordinator that we worked with and she coordinated the deliver of quilts in December. After a couple of years the centrally coordinated effort disbanded. We had a member at that time who had worked at the hospital and she delivered for us for a while. Our quilts are not delivered only in December, they are delivered year-round as needed. As you can tell, we are a relaxed group so we don't keep detail stats but I think we average about 50 quilts each year.
Currently, Terry Muller, is a volunteer at the hospital in the Spinal Cord Injury ward and she LOVES delivering our quilts to the patients at the hospital. Talk to her about it for about 5 minutes and she will have you rushing home to make a quilt for one of "her" patients. She's going to be expanding to work with an on-site chaplain to deliver our quilts to other wards as needed.
These quilts are truly an example of the power of teamwork. While any member can make a whole quilt, Terry and I (Vicki W), offer to quilt as many as we can each year. I have a personal target (and max) of 40 each year. Terry works full time, volunteers at the hospital several times a week and still quilts over a dozen quilts each year. We use any money we raise through membership, donations and the Trash to Treasure sale in October to purchase batting and backing.
The quilts are 48 x 60. We can take a couple of inches variation in either direction but if a quilt is too large we return them. At the 48 x 60 size we are able to load one wide quilt back, one 65" width of king batting and quilt 2 quilts on one loading of the machine. This size is also perfect for hospital beds and is the size that was designated by the hospital at the beginning of our project.
If you would like to see some of the quilts we have done you can see some of them on my blog on these pages. I take a photo of each one that I quilt and I have galleries for each year. Scroll down on each of these pages and you will see the quilts I quilted that year.
The blocks that Becky gives us each month are used to make veteran's quilt tops. She is always in need of a volunteer to sew together the blocks into tops and we have several quilts each year that need volunteer binders. So there's a job for everyone and you can participate as little or as much as you want.
If you want to quilt your own quilt let me (Vicki W) know and I will provide you with backing and batting if you need.
If you want to make a top and you want us to quilt it there are a few rules and there are no exceptions to these rules. Terry and I (and any other quilt volunteers that we get) do not want to get overwhelmed by quilts that require us to do a lot of special handling to get them quilted. These rules help us to quilt lots more quilts than we otherwise could.
- Quilt tops are 48 x 60 - We pre-cut the backing and batting so we can't customize backing for an odd sized quilt
- NO FRAGRANCE - I am VERY allergic to fragrances so I can't work with fabrics that have been washed in fragrance detergent or have any fragranced product sprayed on them (like Best Press). Sometimes Terry can quilt fragranced quilt tops but it's up to you to note that the top has fragrance because I bring the tops home with me and store them in a closet. I have had to take a top and seal it in a plastic bag until I could return it to the owner.
- Quilts must be pressed and ready for quilting. We do not do any prep work on quilt tops so that we have more time for quilting so it's important for the tops to be ready to lead when we receive them. Just press them and fold them neatly and bring them to me at the meeting. I hang them on hangers in a closet to keep them wrinkle free until they get quilted.
- We quilt them when we can fit them in. You might get your top back next month or it might take 6 months. I match them up in pairs to backs so I might need to hold one to get another to match with it or we might simply not have time to quilt them.
- We choose the thread color and quilting design. We can't coordinate specific requests for thread color and quilting design. Terry uses a computer for her quilting. I do all of mine free-motion and often use these quilts to get photo samples for my beginner longarm quilting classes. So far we haven't gotten any complaints!
I've almost met my 40 quilt limit for 2016 but I will take tops and hold them until 2017 or for Terry when she is ready for more.
We recently purchased more batting and I ordered 4 bolts of backing today. We get a tan, a blue and 2 bolts of white so I can custom dye some of them. We are all set for several months!