Sunday, February 26, 2006

Scrap-a-palooza for group homes

A whole lot of fabric scraps turned into something really neat around here during the past few months, and it was exciting to see it all come together on Friday night. My quilt guild's community service project this year was to make quilts for a well-respected local youth services agency that operates 10 groups homes. Some of the homes are for little kids, but most are for teenagers who, for any number of reasons, can't live in their own homes. Our goal was to make a couch-sized quilt for the common areas of five of the the kids something to snuggle under while watching TV and adding a comforting visual touch over the backs of otherwise plain couches.

We started the project back in October. Guild members began making 6-1/2-inch nine-patch blocks -- stacks and stacks of them. We concentrated on warm, "homey" colors like maroons, hunter greens, tans, etc. We got together for a few Saturday sessions where we sorted the blocks into color families, then built them out into larger blocks using flying geese, setting squares, etc. We put those larger blocks into kits, and then doled the kits out to members to join and border.

This particular quilt is based on the "Comforts of Home" block from We made the nine-patches smaller and flipped the positions of the flying geese around, and it turned out great!

Besides mass-producing nine-patches, we found some great ways to use assorted oddball blocks that lots of us had sitting around, too. Most were totally scrappy - and it's amazing how such a jumble of colors and patterns can come together to look so great!

Each quilt changed hands several times as different members did the layering, basting, quilting and binding. By Friday night's meeting, we had not five, but but 10 completed quilts to present to the agency development director. And five more are in the final stages of production.

We felt great about the results, and when the development director shared stories with the group about some of the challenges the group home kids face, you can bet we'll all be remembering them during their fundraising campaigns, too. So, it was a great learning experience for us all.

So many ideas for community service quilts (I can't stand the term "charity quilts") presented themselves over the course of this project that I'll be jotting them down here over the days to come. I hope the techniques will be useful to you in your own community service projects.


Joe said...

Cool story, Anne, about your group. In particular, the shared nature of constructing the quilts. Working together has to be a) more fun and b) more productive than just slavishly churning out quilts by one's self.

AddictedtoCrafting said...

I lived in group homes from 14 to almost 18. The kids in there are very lucky to have anything nice at all since most of us were unable to get our things before leaving home. I left right from school so I know I went in with 1 coat my clothes I wore and nothing else. It's nice to see people trying to make things nicer for the kids.

Kathleen Fasanella said...

Another option is a "birthday party club" for people living in battered women's shelters. Having a birthday in a shelter is very depressing for moms and kids. The sheltered I lived in had a volunteer group that set up birthday parties for any residents that happened to be there when their birthday rolled around. As a mom, I could not have been more devastated that I couldn't get my son a single gift. When my birthday came around (a month later, it was so depressing to have to still be there, grateful tho I was), I got a cake and useful gifts too. I even got things I didn't "need" -a hair cut and cosmetics and I do NOT care about trivial things- but it really lifted my spirits and increased my confidence so I could get a job that helped us get on our feet again. I will never forget what those ladies did for us. Who knew that party planning could also be socially constructive? said...

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