Follow Up on Charity Quilting Announcement

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.

22 thoughts on “Follow Up on Charity Quilting Announcement

  1. Tina H

    Jo, when Pat Sloan was putting together a list of charity quilters and such, she asked her followers if they knew of others to include on the list. I am guessing that is how your name is on her list. I’ll bet a simple email to her asking to remove your name would take care of a lot of stuff coming your way.

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  2. Marie Attew

    It makes sense to send it straight to the person who will be using the fabric rather than to you it cuts out the second lot of postage. Well done for realising what was happening you need your family and they need you. Love reading your blog everyday.

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  3. Amy J. Buechel

    Dear Jo:

    Bless your heart for all that you do. Making family a priority should be at the top of your list. Bravo for using this project to deal with your grief after the death of your husband, and as you said, things change. As your grief process evolves, so does the need to re-evaluate how you handle this project. Look at all the wonderful people you have acquired who can now be a direct contact instead of having you as the go-between. Many hands make light work. We understand, good for you! God bless you and your loving family.

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  4. Judith Fairchild

    I like your idea of setting up a regional lists to send donations to. Plus being a grandma myself my grands come 1st for time spent. Keep up the good work enjoy your babies and quilts.

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  5. CHRISTINA

    Jo
    as I live in the UK, sending over excess fabrics I have would be such silly extortionately postage, so instead I will sell the excess and happily forward any monies to you directly to help with any part of the charity that you deem needs it, be it wadding or postage charges. How could this be done?
    Just love how the charity has grown and wished I lived nearer.

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  6. Lori L Douglas

    Good for you, Jo. Do what makes you happy! Family first is the right thing to do. You are a special person and you have a wonderful family. Enjoy!

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  7. sewhappy

    I guess I am a bit different, as always. It is nice to see my friends and mine donations written about but we understand you are busy and it could be missed on a mail post. And, we also believe you would keep anything you want.
    When you update the donation list, it would be helpful to know, with the increase of postage, if the finisher would use a gift card from a JoAnns or the like. If they would, please indicate which stores. They can but batting, thread, and other notions with the gift card.

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  8. Carol Stearns

    Great post Jo! Your blog is wide reaching! My request for shirt collars has opened a tsunami. So for, two shipments of awesome variety have come in. Now to sort and figure out what to do with them.

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  9. Tonia

    I love the regional idea! As I look through my usable stash and think of down sizing..?I have often wondered ” Who is the Oregon/Idaho “Jo?”. You have given us all a great start, Jo, and most of us recognize that Family First! So I wonder if regional folks who have the time and space to.take the lead will surface and Jo’s Charity Clearing house will grow in the best way possible.
    Thank you so much for inspiration and the way you are willing to share your life with us!

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  10. Joann Cassidy

    Totally understand! I became overwhelmed with the fabric I “collected ” when I worked at a fabric store.
    Take care of yourself and family. I will send my donations directly to the quilters. It will be nice to have a regional listing.

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  11. Linda In UK

    What a well written and well explained post, Jo. I don’t know how you have coped with the flood of mail donations for so long. It certainly makes sense for donations ( quilts, fabrics, batting etc) to be sent directly to the finishers/ quilt makers, thus cutting out double postage costs and letting you get your house back! Your faithful team will continue the work and dollars earned from Auctions can be spent on batting or backing purchases for those making the Charity quilts. Win, win everywhere. You have done – and will continue to do – marvellous work for charities, because that is who you are.

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  12. Mary F Nelson

    I have to say I was always a bit overwhelmed for you when you posted about donations coming in. The struggle of keeping track of who, when, what and where, in addition to photographing all the goodies was too much for me to read. It made me anxious! I am so glad you were able to find a way to pass the wrangling duties directly to all your great finishers.
    I have always wondered how some “makers” spend so much time reading about what they do rather than doing it! Blogs and forums are great sources of help and inspiration, but I have to “just get busy, instead of reading about it”. It seems that by passing along the organizing portion, you will be able to get done what you really want to be doing. Congratulations and thanks for all your past efforts.

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  13. Virginia Grenier

    Yes, yes, yes. A regional listing makes the most sense (dollars and cents).

    I’ve been overwhelmed by a recent family crisis (the death of both of my parents) and haven’t gotten to charity quilting (using the donated batting from Jo’s group) as I had hoped but family comes first – always! Looking forward to the “dust settling” and getting back into a routine that includes all the parts of quilting – designing, kitting, piecing, quilting, binding and distributing. Anxious to see the list include what region everyone is from so I can economically pass along any of my excess to where it is needed.

    Thanks Jo for ALL that you do!

    Virginia
    (in northern Minnesota – about 2 hours from the Canadian border)

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  14. Elle

    Oh you know us quilters….we are built to help! Fortunately, you know what you will and won’t do and what makes you happy. I’m so excited for you to have more time to do your own quilting contributions as well as your family feeling like, once again, you are available!

    Thank you for graciously handling all the comments, suggestions and well wishes.

    Wishing you a Blessed day Jo!

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  15. Beverly

    Hello, Jo!
    I read your blog post and accepted that what you said to be what you needed…you had figured out how to fix the flood. I think you have that pretty well figured out. I often wondered how you got everything done—well, you really were busy, and so much of that can be delegated out to others, giving you time for things you want to do, while still helping others!
    It sounds perfectly thought out, and I have printed up the list of people to send goodies to—
    I am grateful you decided to tell us what you needed, as we are all in this as a team…so it was a perfect post, thank you for continuing to be geniune…like all of us!

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  16. Diana in Des Moines

    I watch my 2 grandchildren and know how tired I am at the end of the day. Always wondered how you could possibly do all you do. Good for you to say enough, and ask for help. Too many times, we just keep going till we break. Not a good thing for anyone. Take care of yourself first, and then help others. Prayers for you in your health journey. I am a 35 year stage 4 cancer survivor. You can do this!!

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  17. Donna M

    When I read that original blog post about this, I did not jump to any conclusions. No need. Just seeing all the boxes, etc taking up space in your house was over-whelming to me. Hopefully, your stacks can dwindle down as we ship things to the appropriate person. Will save on postage as well. Can’t wait to see the updated lists. Thank you for all you do, Jo. We love you and your amazing, giving spirit.

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  18. Kelli

    Congratulations Jo on seeing what is needful in your life! Family first always! I’m really glad to read about the regional update as it makes the most sense so we can all do the work of connecting and not overwhelming you! Brilliant idea. We all go thru different stages in life and things change – so glad you shared where you are at with us. I love reading blog and know that many others do to. Do what is needful for you and let all your readers step up and check out that regional information!! Blessings to you Jo ♥️

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  19. Martha W

    I am glad the regional lisit idea will help but only if the people already on the list update their information. I always wondered what pill you were on…so much energy and doing so much! I’m happy you are taking time for your family and yourself (doing what you love).
    I really enjoy seeing photos and reading about your “kids” and grandkids. Us grandma’s have to brag a little!

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  20. Donna Munroe

    Good for you Jo. As a first time Grandma I want to be able to go when needed. It also makes more sense to send quilts/fabric directly saving postage, more transit time etc.
    For the charity list I have a favour to ask. Could you ask for people who would take donations of quilt tops in Canada? I know you have 1 person and they donate to Victoria’s quilts etc. Unfortunately many of their charities will not take quilts from pet friendly homes like mine. I love making quilt tops and have lots of fabric. I have a Brick house done in queen but not quilted yet. It stays here as I love it but would love to make some more!!
    Thanks for all you do Jo!!

    Donna

    Reply

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