This weekend, I had the privilege of helping to sew for Margaret's Hope Chest. Are you aware of this philanthropic group? The organization was born out of a tragedy. A grandmother, Carin's grandmother (Margaret), was mugged in a parking lot in Michigan. She fell to the ground and bumped her head. She died two days later from the injury. She was a quilter.
Rather than be embroiled in bitterness, her family started Margaret's Hope Chest, an organization that makes quilts for those in need. You can read more about their organization here. They put out a call for blocks a while back, and I was too much of a schmuck to make any.
But then Amanda Jean blogged that she was coming to Michigan to help with a work day to sew blocks together. I thought, "I can help with that!" So, I loaded up the car on Saturday to go to Grand Rapids to help.
Here is Carin, showing us a quilt her mother had made from some of the blocks they had received. She showed us this as an example of what we would be doing. This is actually the back of the quilt. The front has the raw edges from where the blocks were put together showing--so the quilt will be a rag quilt.
Here Carin shows us how to assemble the blocks. If you are interested in how to make the blocks, here is Amanda Jean's blog post for Margaret's Hope Chest blog that tells you how to make them. (By the way, this week, Carin was on her way to visit a prison. One place Margaret's Hope Chest donates quilts to is to prisons....for inmates and for children of inmates. I find that quite moving, given how Carin's grandmother died. You can check out her blog for updates on her prison visit.)
Here is the group getting ready to put the pedal to the metal and get sewing. The Queen Bee, a quilt shop in Grand Rapids let us use their beautiful and bright classroom space in which to work. How nice of them!
I only knew Amanda Jean when I headed to Grand Rapids to work with this group, but I met a whole bunch of really cool, nice people that day! People came from Michigan, Ohio, Chicago and other parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, and I think Minnesota! It was pretty awesome.
Jill and Jessica were speed demons and finished their first quilts before 11 am! I couldn't believe it!
At lunch time, Carin showed us a quilt she made from an old antique quilt that she deconstructed, cut off the fabric that was not usable, and put it back together, adding some reproduction fabrics for the borders. I absolutely loved this. She did amazing big stitch quilting with some perle cotton. Really fantastic.
Amanda Jean gave us a little trunk show of trunks from her new book. She is so amazing. I will save those photos for later, because I have a book review and giveaway for you on that!
Then, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, a reporter for the Grand Rapids paper came in and took some photos. She is very interesting. She used to be a crime reporter. But she told us that after 10 years of doing that, it sort of started to eat at her....hearing all the sad stories of people who died in crime, talking to their families, etc. She said it starts to become part of you and it's very difficult. So, now she writes a column for the paper. She writes columns about Margaret's Hope Chest. Awesome.
By the way, she also self-publishes a pretty neat magazine. It is called CraftSanity, and you can get it on etsy. I ran across this magazine in a yarn shop in Grand Rapids. I love it, because it's sort of all over the place. It has sewing, knitting, crochet, and other craft projects. In addition, it has recipes, etc. Jennifer said it's whatever she's working on. You know I'm sort of all over the place with my crafting, so it's right up my alley!
Another fun thing for me that day was that April, of Polkadot Sparrow came to help out. I have been following April's blog for a couple of years now, but I had never met her in person. So, it was a real thrill to meet her in person! She is a delightful person. Turns out Amanda Jean knows April, too. What a small world the blogosphere can be!
Here is Lisa's finished quilt. Lisa is from Kalamazoo, but I didn't know her until that day. I did see her at our guild meeting last week and wondered who she was---she was a new face. She just moved here less than a year ago. I was thrilled to meet a new quilting friend from my town!
Here are some more finished quilts from the day....Sorry I can't remember whose was whose now!
As a parting shot, here is Amanda Jean (who helped organize the block design and call for blocks), Carol (Carin's mother, and Margaret's daughter), Carin, and her sister, Amy. A wonderful and amazing group of women.
It was really a nice day, full of fellowship and moving stories. I was almost in tears a couple of times. The spirit of hope these women give me is amazing. I hope you will consider Margaret's Hope Chest as a recipient of your work sometime. Or maybe even of your guild's work. It is a very, very worthwhile organziation.
Thank you to the group for allowing me to participate!
Until next time,