I have an email to share with you from Jazz. She’s been busy stitching away and making quilts.
“Jo, your kids are about the same age as mine. Do you ever reconsider your parenting habits from the perspective of time?
I tried to emphasize gratitude in mine by requiring them to write thank you notes to their benefactors before they were allowed to wear/spend/play with the gifts they received. When they were very young their obligations were satisfied by “Dear ___, Thank you. Love, _____.”
As they grew up they became more expressive and willing writers, and I relaxed my oversight.
The reason I’m sharing this memory is that before Christmas you publicized my need for backing for the baby quilts I make for Ben Taub Hospital. Your readers inundated me! It was like my own birthday for weeks. I received cottons, flannels, florals, solids, prints, and plaids. They sent the cutest and most beautiful fabrics – and DMC threads and iron-on embroidery transfers and baby booties. They wrote me letters about the provenance of their offerings. They told me stories about their hometowns, and about their charity quilting. They made me feel included in their lives and loved.
As I undertook to write so many thank you emails to everyone I made many mistakes. Two donors shared the same first names and last initials. I accidentally sent two notes to one and none to the other. That was straightened out when the first one corrected me. I mistook one donor for someone I was expecting boxes of manuscripts from. That caused some commotion from the sender of the documents. One lady alerted me that the return address on her delivery would be different from her own address because her daughter mailed it for her. To the wrong contributor I wrote, “And thanks to your daughter for mailing it to me.” I don’t think I ever clarified to her how that happened or thanked the daughter of the mother who was the actual sender.
When I responded to another supporter with appreciation but declined the offer because of the largesse I had already received, she bribed me with an offer to include quilt squares to be embroidered. Of course, I had to accept!
I promised everyone who provided materials that it all will go into quilts for the newborns at one of the public hospitals here in Houston. I promised them all that I will name them in your blog (unless they request that it be withheld.) And I will. But the overwhelming generosity of your followers (and my “real” life that includes personal, familial, and other volunteer obligations other than sewing) might make it slower than we would like for everyone’s bequests to be represented. Please keep looking and keep the faith.
I am deeply grateful to every patron and humbled by their kindness.
Here are a few examples of how I’ve used their philanthropy:
This is the last of all the stamped cross-stitch stars that Donna G. sent to me from Rogers, Arizona last spring, along with two matching ones you sent me in September, Jo. I really love relaxing with embroidery and then making quilts out of the sections.
The red stars strip came from – Dorothy S. in W. Virginia last February. The blue stars and red stripes were in my stash. The solid red back was a gift from Anonymous in Idaho. The finished quilt measured 36” x 36”.
The next one is one you’ll recognize, Jo. You sent… several similar tops to me a long time ago (before the infant who will receive this was even conceived!) and it became covered by a pile of more recent projects. It was a quick and easy panel to bind and back with yardage from another donor. Although it’s not clear in the picture, I stitched over the outlines of the tree, the leaves, and each animal to show depth. (Once I master this quilting effort I’m gonna’ try to learn photography!)
It’s 30” x 36”, a little smaller than the newborn nursery prefers, but I hope it will please a very little new infant.
A neighbor who is a fabrics salesperson gave me some samples a few years ago and I used them along with a collection from Becky M. of Texas and Alaska to make this cute farm animal quilt that finished at about 40” square. I bound it with a green Minky that Andee B. from Hinesville, Georgia sent over a year ago, and backed it with a soft green flannel.
Celesta P. and her friend Yvonne sew with a church group, Pieces for Peace, in Maineville, Ohio. They sent me the kit to make this Baby Bear quilt and a Jungle Friends quilt. The Baby Bear is mostly cotton, with the square paw prints and the back being flannel and the border Minky. It’s so cuddly and soft!
The Jungle Friends is equally delightful, with orange Minky, flannel palm tree squares and back. The kits were easy enough for a beginner to conquer with no binding required, just sew the completed top to the back and open through a gap, then stitch it closed. I tied them with crochet thread from Nelle B. of Stillwater, Oklahoma. These are both 30” x 36”.
Nina H, of St. Louis, Missouri sent me a precious kit too, of fire truck squares to embroider. To emphasize the designs, I colored onto the fabric before I stitched the images, and I ironed the colors over a paper towel to set them. This photo was taken after a whirl in the washer; the colors remained vibrant! And look how well the flannel backing from Kathy W. from New River, Arizona coordinates with it! She sent it last March and I held it in faith that “something would come along” to show it off.
The red and white sashing was a gift of Melissa R, from Gainesville, Florida, the red border came from Anon (no city given) and the black binding was donated by the same Becky M, who spends her life in Texas and Alaska. 38” x 38”.
The last quilt in this Show-and-Tell was another embroidery kit (y’all know how I love them!) is from the same generous Nina H, of the above firemen. This one is a 1960s throwback; I embroidered colorful, groovy flowers from the stamped set. The peace sign sashing, and a splashy flannel back, were both donated by Melissa R. from Gainesville, Florida. The binding is lime green with brilliant pink polka dots, from Ms. Wanderlust, Becky M.
This was a particularly fun quilt (36” x 46”) to make since it brought back memories of my own hippie/ flower childhood. I loved choosing the colors (DMC from Nelle B, Stillwater, Oklahoma; Holly M, Brazil, Indiana, and Jo. Also, battings all from Hero Jo) to coordinate with Melissa R’s peace signs.
Every one of these quilts are already on their way to the newborns of Ben Taub Hospital in Houston. And every one is the collaberation of dear friends, none of whom I’ve ever met, but who I appreciate very, very much.
Love to you all!”
Wow…what a great bunch of quilts. I can totally relate to Jazz’s feelings of inadequacy when thanking people for items they sent. It is so hard and so confusing….this is one of the reasons I stopped doing mail posts. It was just too hard and too stressful to keep track of it all!! There are so many women with the same name. There are so many people who would write and say they were sending things…then an anonymous package would come and I’d think it was from that person. No matter how hard I tried I could never keep it straight at all.
Just know that Jazz, me, and all of the finishers that you donate items to love and appreciate your generosity. It is so touching to be the recipient of it. It is so appreciated by us and those that get the completed quilts.
GREAT work on these quilts Jazz and again…thanks to all who donated and made them happen.