Ever since I wrote that I was changing the way I was doing the charity quilt donations, read about that HERE if you missed it, I’ve been getting LOTS of emails, comments, and messages.
First off, I am totally okay. This is not related to my physical health at this point. Many of you made that assumption and it’s not true. It is honestly because I want to choose how I spend my charity quilting time. In the past, I have spent hours and hours sorting and rehoming all of the goods that come my way. I’d rather be making some charity quilts myself and I think the community quilt project can still stay afloat if I step back.
Some of you might remember that I recently made two Iowa Hawkeyes tumbler quilts for local benefits. Ray had sent me a UFO that was sent to him that was of Iowa Hawkeyes fabric. I had so much fun making this and donating that to a worthy cause in my area. I want to be able to do more projects like this.
I’d be thrilled if someone sent me a UFO to finish like this. In fact, I plan to put myself on the donation list because there are projects near and dear to my heart that I want to focus on. One of those is helping gather needed items to make baby care kits. I’m so excited that I can really focus on that!
I’ve gotten tons of offers and suggestions on how I can get rid of what is here. I appreciate all of the offers but I’m going to handle it like I always have. I am going to ship or deliver to people with who I have been working with all along. I feel good about leaving them all on a high note with goodies to sustain them for a while.
I will be asking finishers to please let me know when they are in need of something. For example, I recently got a note from Ronda who said she was in need of backing fabric. When I put together a blog post about the finished quilts Ronda did, I will include her need in the post so you all know and can support her with a donation if you choose. That way donations can be targeted where there is a need.
Someone suggested that cut quilt kits and design a quilt to go with them with all of the fabric. In theory that sounds great but I keep telling myself NO. I am changing this all to give me a break. That does not give me a break.
People have suggested and offered to come and help sort it all. I so appreciate the offers but I am okay. I do already have a system and it really does work. It is just that the system got flooded and with any flood, it takes a bit for the water to recede.
I have gotten emails from finishers. Some worry that they did something to overwhelm me. Some worry that they won’t get donations anymore. I really want to assure everyone that this is not the case.
About a year ago Pat Sloan put out a list of people on her blog that made and accepted charitable donations. I was put on the list. I don’t know how my name came about but it did and it’s there. That brought in a flood of donations from people who don’t even read the blog.
Also over the course of time, I have gotten higher on google’s search engine. If you type in where to donate a quilt, my blog comes up. I have gotten many donations from people who don’t quilt and simply inherited quilting stuff when their mother or grandmother died.
The flood didn’t all come from loyal readers.
I still plan to work with local groups. I love the local groups I work with. I love the gals from the Cresco Ladies group. I am getting to know the Decorah group I work with. I want to do more with my own church group. If the Cresco ladies want me to help find homes for their quilts, I’ll happily do that. They are local to me…and so many of the finishers depend on their work. I’d be lonely if I didn’t get a visit from Sandra now and then. I just won’t have as much fabric and goodies to pass to them.
I am sure I will still get some boxes of stuff. If I do…it’s okay. I can handle a little bit very occasionally. Those donations will be a quick mention on the blog, not big mail posts as I previously have done. I know many of you have enjoyed mail posts and I’m sorry that they will be limited but I’m sure I’ll come up with something to fill those spaces.
Some have suggested a Facebook group for donations or an Instagram account. I don’t plan on either of those. It would be another thing to manage and everyone doesn’t use those formats.
Someone mentioned not showing the finished charity quilts. I did not like that idea. When someone did mention that in the comments, Jazz replied to their comment:
“...I think the finished tops “have to be photographed and blogged about” to inspire those who do the giving as well as those who do the finishing. I volunteered to participate after I saw the other’s work on this site. This is a charity sewing site, after all.
When donors send quilt tops and supplies they expect the recipients to honor their part of the contract and complete the project. These materials are not personal gifts to be kept or sold; the whole point of the blog is charitable.
Of course, no one is obligated to donate anything, but the people who accept the donations also accept the responsibility to honor their promise to make a completed quilt and to give the quilt to a charity.
I hope all those who are fortunate enough to give sewing supplies away will select from Jo’s vetted list and send them to sewists who will continue the tradition of completing them and giving them to people who need them. Jo has initiated a wonderful outreach. Let’s help her continue it by coordinating among ourselves.”
Jazz said exactly my thoughts.
I told Ray that much of this is my own fault. About the time Kramer died in June of 2019, I jumped into the charity quilting stuff with both feet and full steam ahead. I was grieving. I needed something to do. I was sad and this was a way I could feel happy as I was helping others. I was happy. Having the quilting stuff gave me something to think about and concentrate on without being overwhelmed by grief. I was so thankful to have charity quilting to keep me going.
I’m not at the same spot anymore. I’m certainly not “over my grief” but I’m handling it differently. In the process I let the charity quilting get out of hand. Worse, I didn’t tell you all about it. I let it keep happening. I didn’t know how to stop it. No one donation overwhelmed me. Please know that. I think I finally came to the realization of exactly how much time I was spending doing it.
In truth, two things made me realize that I needed to stop. Our daughter Kayla talked about coming to visit and then said, “We’ll only be there for a couple of hours. I know you’re busy.”
Then a couple of days later I found out that Buck had arranged for Karl to come and stay overnight to take care of his kids so Buck and Lora could go to a wedding that was a couple of hours away. He didn’t ask me. I asked him why and he too said, “I know you’re busy”.
Well. This Grandma had to figure out a way to not look so busy. I stopped and looked at what was taking up much of my time. It was the mail and charity donations. It was easy to see that those are the things that were making it look and seem like I was too busy especially when they are taking up so much of my house!! It took me about 30 seconds to decide it had to stop ASAP.
My family comes first. It’s the whole “put your own oxygen mask on before you try to help others”. I wasn’t putting on my own oxygen mask.
I pulled these scraps out that were sent to me by Robin. I’m so happy to be working on them. These will become a charity quilt that I will donate. I’m just thrilled to have them. I’m thrilled to be on the other side of the charity quilt project, making quilts and sending them off into the world to do good.
As the dust settles I will be contacting everyone on the donation page. I will be asking for the region/area that they live in. Each person will be asked to update their info so we have a better working list. It will also be broken into a list of longarmers/finishers and people who accept fabric, etc. People can choose which list, or possibly both, that they want to be on. If you want to be included in the list, feel free to drop me a note.
This is a working solution…I am still open to suggestions on how to manage this all. I expect we’ll hit bumps in the road and that is entirely okay. We’ll find a way through them. Thanks so much for understanding that changes were needed.