Community Quilts from the Decorah Gals

You might remember sometime back I shared with you that there is a group of ladies not far from me that make quilts through their church group.  Sue is my contact with the group.  She recently sent me a message along with pictures to share their wonderful work.

Sue writes:

I’m going to try to send you some pictures of our finished quilts and lap robes. The single ones are some you sent us, we may have added borders to make some of them bigger.

The piles of quilts have…

lots of ones you sent or material you shared with us. We talked about you at quilting today and how much we all appreciate what you do.

Many of them are and have gone locally to nursing homes, abused shelters, food pantry, homeless shelters, bible missions/camps plus several other places.

Several of these were ones from the talented Cresco quilters. We give quilts to the mission in Cresco. We tie our quilts so they aren’t fancy but done with hope and love. You sent us some small thread snippers and needle threaders etc. and they are also used. Thank you soooooo much.”

I ended up meeting up with Sue shortly after she sent the pictures of the quilts they finished up.  I had another stack of quilt tops I could send her way.

I’ve had some questions about the hows or whys of how I distribute items.  In general, I do the best I can to meet the needs of the group.  Some people like Lori and Cheryl have places that they serve and those places need specific sizes.  They need twin-sized or larger.  I have others that are finishing quilts on their domestic machines so they prefer baby and smaller lap-sized quilts.  I have groups like Sue’s that are happy to take smaller quilts and add borders to them or finish them at the size they are depending on which charity they are working with and the size that charity needs.

As far as who gets the supplies…In general, I give out supplies as finished items come in.  So if I sent someone five quilt tops, I typically don’t send out more quilt tops to them until pictures of the finished tops and info about the quilts are sent back to me.  That only makes sense.

If I have someone willing to finish tops and they don’t have the means to supply backing or batting, I work to help them by sending things that were sent to me or from my personal stash.  If I know someone has pretty good access to affordable supplies like backing and batting, I don’t prioritize that person or group.

As to who gets which fabrics, it’s a crapshoot.  Whatever is here at the time person sends me pictures and info on a finished quilt is what gets sent out to them next unless the size of the quilts doesn’t match their requested size.

It’s crazy.  I do the best I can.  I joke that I need a secretary.  I often really think I do…but it’s charity and charities do the best with the volunteers they have so I’ll keep muddling along doing the best I can.  Thanks for putting up with me.

As always, I am looking for more people/groups to finish quilt tops.  It seems as soon as I find one, you all latch onto them and send things their way so I can’t send it to them anymore as they are getting plenty.  No worries, I’m happy to have that problem.

Feel free to drop me a note if you have finished quilts before and need more, or if you are new and would like to join in.  The more the merrier!

12 thoughts on “Community Quilts from the Decorah Gals”

  1. This is wonderful work you’re doing and we appreciate it so much. Many of us work on quilts for our local groups or even without a recipient in mind. It great to know we have a place to donate those tops and that they will be given to someone who is in need of a quilty hug.

  2. The quilts are beautiful, as usual. Seeing the pictures of tables on risers reminded me of the group I was in before moving and miss. Jo, you do a great job without the secretary and all appreciate what you do. Thank you!

  3. What wonderful quilts and to serve so many in there area, nice job ladies. It amazes me how you stay so organized and understand each of the groups who reach out to you, thank you Jo for keeping the circle going. I love seeing the finishes and how much talent the different groups have for taking odd bits and pieces and making a nice finish.

  4. Jill Schaumloeffel

    Jo, I marvel at the number of donation quilts that you share on your blog. It makes me wonder just how many quilts are donated nation wide to all kinds of charities. Quilters seem to love sharing their love.

  5. Margaret in North Texas

    Jo, you have an amazing operation going on!! I don’t know how you do it–without a secretary. Plus all the other things you accomplish. So much goodness is created. You are to be commended and so are all the others involved with you!!

  6. Cheryl in Dallas

    “Charity Quilting” is the only volunteer activity that I know of here supply exceeds demand. Case in point: in September 2020, Oregon was beset with wildfires. Quilters poured out so much response to that need and in a few months, the local distribution centers were saying they couldn’t use any more quilts. Wonderful.

    I, too, am amazed at how many ladies (and Ray!) participate in making and distributing charity quilts just from Jo’s efforts. I haven’t counted how many charity quilts Jo has shown on her blog (I’m a CPA but even I can’t count that high), but it adds up to mountains of fabric, time, and love. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to each of these quilts through the years. Special thanks to Jo whose kindness is now being shared far beyond Waucoma, Iowa, by folks who enjoy quilts made by “Jo And Friends.”

  7. You’ve got QUITE the charity program working there, Jo! It’s a challenge to manage, I’m sure, but you do a fantastic job of disseminating materials. Thanks for sharing these Decorah finishes with us!

  8. Judith Fairchild

    I enjoyed seeing the Decorah quilts. It reminded me of the quilts my Mother and the other ladies in our church would make and then get together and tie them.

  9. Katherine Gourley

    You are so generous. Many years ago, almost all of my quilting was charity quilts. Too bad that I never got pictures. At the time I was working 50 – 60 hour weeks with an hour and a quarter commute each way, so extra time was precious. I am glad I did it when I was able. I am retired now with 2 serious health issues. Now is the time to make quilts for family.

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