I'm continually awestruck and inspired not only by the innovative, thought-provoking and often just downright beautiful quilts that come out of our community, but also by our shared commitment to using our talents for good when we identify a group or a cause in need of just that.
Last spring, Amy of During Quiet Time and Berene of Happy Sew Lucky helped send love to (my native) Boston when an unthinkable scenario evolved into an inescapable reality. Just the other month, my friend Alison of Little Island Quilting returned home from a trip to Mexico City forever changed and downright determined to gather quilts for children who could use more warmth in their lives. Lynne of Lily's Quilts is an inspiration for no shortage of reasons, one of which includes her unwavering commitment to Siblings Together (in Lynne's words, "an initiative dedicated towards promoting positive contact between siblings separated by care"). And of course, Rachel of Stitched in Color is an obvious example with her 250-deep arsenal of individuals banded together in the name of do(ing) Good for charities near and far.
In fact, it was Rachel's do. Good Stitches that led me to Jessica, the founder of My Very Own Blanket. MVOB is an Ohio-based non-profit committed to making children in foster care feel valued and comforted. Its main initiative—as the name suggests—is to provide them with handmade blankets (often the only personal items these children will take with them to their new homes). So last winter, when the time came for me to send my first quilt on behalf of our circle, I began to question just why I was shipping a quilt from my home in Indiana to a foster care child in Ohio, when there are without doubt—simply by virtue of the society in which we live—children in need much closer to home.*
After of few months of idle thinking, I wrote to Jessica and asked if there was anything she could do to help me lay the groundwork for MVOB in Indy. After a few emails, several games of phone tag and a nice long chat, I had a plan. A small part of that plan includes monthly block callouts. A big part of that plan includes you.
I know many people view charity quilting as an opportunity to clear out unwanted fabrics or produce items they wouldn't necessarily keep in their own home. Personally, I have two points of contention with that philosophy. First, to borrow the recent words of Victoria Findlay Wolfe, "Give your best work[.] People who have nothing deserve the very best, more than anyone else." Second, I cherish whatever little time I can spare at my machine, and much prefer spending that time with fabrics and designs that are near and dear to my heart.
So in the spirit of sewing somewhat more intentionally, my one "condition" on these callouts will be color-coordination: each month from here on out, I'm going to post a color palette to the blog, flickr group, and instagram (@nohatsquilts) and call out for
As a working mother I am well aware of the myriad of constraints on our time these days, so I don't expect (but would welcome) intricate patterns and/or regular participation. It's just that if you do ever have the time and feel inspired to give back, please keep #opgivewarmth in mind.
And if you can't sew, for whatever reason, please consider spreading the word. In our county alone (one of 92 in the state), the Department of Child Services moves 60-80 children each week. Each week. We will never be able to work fast enough. But I pledge to turn all of our #opgivewarmth blocks into beautiful quilts and make every ounce of creativity count. Because every child deserves some warmth and comfort. Will you help me give that warmth?
*For those of you struck by the same sense of irony here, I encourage you to reach out to Jessica. She's hoping to grow her regional platform into a national one and I'm sure she would welcome any discussions if you're inspired to assist with similarly-aimed efforts in your area.
**P.O. Box address and logistics
soon to follow can now be found here.