Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quilts to Haiti--Yet Another Tale of God's Perfect Timing

We had been planning on sending a large group of baby sized quilts to Haiti for a long time. But it seemed we kept striking out. Our first contact moved away.  Our second contact didn't seem terribly interested.  Our third contact didn't have a good or inexpensive way to get them from here to there.
And then......a long time friend of our family told my mom that she was planning on going to Haiti to distribute eye glasses--while there she would be staying at an orphanage and visiting some hospitals and did we have any quilts that she could take.  The answer of course was, YES and how big is your suitcase?  She stuffed in as many as possible and promised to take pictures of where they ended up.  We all believed that they would end up at a hospital and given to children there.
But, as we have learned many times over, God has his own (much better) plans than us.
The quilts have a new home in the Notre Maison Children's Home in Port-Au Prince Haiti.

 Meet Sister Gertrude.  She runs this orphanage which houses forty three children with varying physical and mental disabilities. 

 Here are some of the beautiful children who live at Notre Maison Children's Home.
On the day that our friend was visiting the orphanage they were opening new dorms for the children.
Everyone agreed that the beds looked a little plain.  Good thing our quilts were there to provide uniqueness,  comfort and softness to that room full of bunk beds!  Good thing God had that all planned out ahead of time. Another happy tale of God's perfect timing!  Thanks to all who have sent baby or small children's quilts to us in the past year!  This is also were the quilts made out of HST's for Haiti ended up--you can see one on the far bed in the picture below. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival--Junior Birdman Quilt

Here is my Blogger's Quilt Festival entry!

There once was a little boy, who from birth it seemed, had one eye and ear to the sky-listening and watching for airplanes and other flying objects.  That little boy had a mother who wanted to make him the world's coolest airplane quilt.  She searched high and low for a pattern that she liked but couldn't find one so she made up her own (based on a picture of a quilt at the Tokyo Quilt show last year).  Then she pulled out all of her scrap boy fabric and went to work.  And work she did.  Three weeks later,  she had fashioned 63 eight and half inch blocks.  What fun she had creating this masterpiece for her little boy. After the top had been pieced, the quilt was sent off to a very kind and patient woman who hand quilted each of those blocks and the borders.
On July 12, 2012--that little boy received his very own 'Junior Birdsman' quilt for his 9th birthday. 
Isaac--my little Junior Birdsman-standing in front of a C-130 that he toured this past spring.
 Here are the details of the quilt:
Finished Block Size: 8.5 inches
Finished Quilt Size: 90"X 72"
Machine Pieced by Carin Vogelzang
Hand Quilted by Marguerite Petroelje
Best categories: Photography, Hand-Quilted, Scrap Quilt
 When I originally posted about this quilt last spring a kind and smart commenter said " I can't believe you cut all those pieces. I had a thought while looking it over. How about a paper piecing block? You could sell them to help raise $$ for Margaret's Hope Chest."
Now why didn't I think of that?  Paper piecing would have been so much easier. 
And so I made a paper pieced block template and if you are interested in one please e-mail me your mailing address and I will happily put one in the mail for you.  I ask in return that make a donation of $5.00 to Margaret's Hope Chest.   Details will come via an e-mail after you contact me.  Hope you have enjoyed my quilt and the others in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Thanks to Amy for organizing!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The 'Nail in the Coffin' Quilt

This is the quilt that was the proverbial 'nail in the coffin'-for my sewing machine.
I had been saving this Busy Town fabric for about a year.  Our family loves Richard Scarry  and when I saw the fabric line based on his books I knew I wanted to make a patchwork quilt. 
When we returned to Bermuda in September I finally pulled it out and matched up scraps and precuts and began cutting and sewing.  The top turned out fantastically-despite my sewing machine's new formed habit of only accepting certain types of thread.  When it came time to quilt it, I decided upon a straight line pattern.  That is where the real problems developed.  I have straight lined quilted with this machine before--and I noticed a deteriation over the past year or so but I was still happy with the finished products.  Not any more.  Some of you see no problems with this quilt but upon closer inspection you will see all the blocks shifted so it has a wavy effect to it.  Everything which was once square is no longer :)

I have taken this particular machine (who I call Jan) to the shop two summers in a row to fix the same problem.  That problem still exists. I have had Jan for about seven years and  I have run her seven days a weeks for up to eight hours a day for the past four years.  She is tired and ready for semi-retirement.

And as of yesterday, she has been replaced by a Juki.  I am really excited {but please don't tell Jan because her feelings may be hurt}. 
And here is a question for my readers:  I would like to try and sell Jan for a minimal price--she still works but just not up to the standards that I am used to.  Does anyone have a suggestion for how I could word an ad that accurately and honestly describes her condition without scaring off potential buyers?
Any other Juki owners out there with a little bit of advice on my new machine? 
Have a great day!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wanna Help? Here's How!

So, you want to help Margaret's Hope Chest but you don't have the time or energy to make a quilt--I am here to tell you that there are still many ways to help us without making something new.

We accept the following items for donation:
- Fabric
- Batting - any type, any loft
- Partially pieced quilt tops
- Partially basted quilt tops
- Partially quilted quilt tops
- Orphan or leftover blocks

Great news, huh?
We use these donations to make quilts and also support other quilters who quilt for us (for example, there is a group of men serving life sentences in a prison in Michigan who make quilts for us--we give them fabric to use).  

Donations can be sent to:
Margaret's Hope Chest
630 Griswold SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
 our phone number is (616) 855-2862

One of the reasons I am posting this is because someone was nice enough to have alerted me to this post. Check it out!
UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

All of the quilts pictured below were donated--some came to us as blocks, some came to us as tops, some came to us as scraps.  We really do try to use everything we have been given to the best of our ability!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Random Summer Catch-All Post

I was gone from this blog for the summer but that didn't stop many small things from happening in the world of Margaret's Hope Chest.  Considering it is October-I should probably wrap up the summer posts with one catch all-totally random post.

1.) Many people have sent us quilt tops over the past few years.  We use them all--sometimes it just takes us months (or a year!).  Someone donated this lovely top a long time ago.  It was long-arm quilted this past winter and when we had a need arise this summer, I bound it and sent it off! Isn't it beautiful?

2.) We had a lovely summer work party in August.  Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts was the guest of honor and we had an amazing group of ladies together for the day.  We spent the entire six hours feverishly piecing the 1000+ ragged square blocks into quilts.  The day was a smashing success.  I want to thank Queen Bee Quilt Shoppe for offering their classroom space for the day and the ladies who came out for the day: Amy, Carol E., Stephanie, Dhia, Carol P., Lisa, Jessica, Jill, Pam, Arliss, Joan, April, Janet, and Lori.  Here are a few pictures of finished quilts!

3.) I restored/remodeled an antique quilt this summer.  Two antique tops were donated to MHC this spring.  They were waiting for me in Michigan when I arrived in June.  Immediately, I was smitten and spent a good deal of time over the summer deconstructing one top and then reconstructing it.
Here is how the top arrived:

 There were tears and stains and blocks that seemed to have disintergrated.  The lady who made this top handstiched it with very thick thread and even overlapping rows of stitching in many spots.  I picked each block apart (over 500 blocks), ironed them flat, weeded out the bad blocks, trimmed each block to 1.25 inches and sewed them back together again.  Easy to type out the steps, not so easy to actually do it!  But in the end, it was worth it....

Here are a few pictures of the final product.  I machine pieced the top but hand stiched the quilting :) a modern and quicker redo of an antique quilt top.  We are not quite sure what we will do with it--but for now my mom will use it on the display table when she goes and presents about MHC.

I stole this image from Pam's blog because I didn't actually have a full picture of it finished--so there I am holding it ;)
 Here is the second quilt that was sent.  A MAMMOTH yo-yo quilt.  It came to Bermuda with me and I have plans for it--but I just need a little more time and a few internet lessons on how to make yo-yo blocks...... anyone out there ever restored/remodeled an antique quilt before? 

4.)  I got to go to prison two times this summer!  Here is what 60 kid quilts look like in the back of my van:
I had a great day in the Jackson, Michigan prison in August.  We gave away 45 quilts to some really great kids.  Their dads were able to hear our story of forgiveness and HOPE and I pray that it impacted them in a positive way.  Again, the whole experience in overwhelming and gratifying. 
The second prison visit was a little different-and it requires a post of it's own but here is a brief summary.  There is a group of 'lifers' (people serving a life sentence) at a prison in Macomb County Michigan (all men) who are making quilts for MHC.  I was able to spend a little time with them, see what they are doing, donate some fabric and here is the best part----I gave them Amanda Jean's book 'Sunday Morning Quilts' for inspiration.  How cool is that?  I wasn't allowed to take my camera into either prison so no pictures :( but trust me it was strange and awesome at the same time-which pretty much sums up my life.  And so my friends with that-I will close.  I apologize if there are spelling, grammar, or other errors in this post--I am tired and it is late and homeschooling my children is slowly eating away at my brain.  Until next time I am afforded a few extra minutes.....keep quilting!!!