TwitterPinterestInstagramMembers login

Archive for the ‘Donating’ Category

Pay it forward!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018


The last time I was at our home on the Chesapeake Bay, our neighbor’s grandkids were visiting. They were having a great time skipping stones across the water. Do you remember doing that as a kid or with your kids or grandkids?

The effect, of course, is that you can see ripples in the water. And the more ripples, the better.

Have you ever thought about the ripples you make with your business? I want to share four stories about ripples.

Read more…

Looking for places to donate your stash?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

How much fabric do you have in your stash? According to the 2010 Quilting in America™ survey, the average quilter has a stash of $3,677 worth of fabric and spent on average close to $1,000 the previous 12 months on fabric. In 2007, our stash averaged $3,195 and we spent $2,304. So we’re spending less on fabric and our stash is slightly increasing. But who among us is average?! I probably have in excess of that average amount, and I’m sure many of you do, too.

Are we hoarding our fabrics? In actuality, quilters are among the most generous people I know. Every time the word goes out about a need, quilters are the first to respond. This summer I’ve been cleaning out my stash and donating to worthwhile causes. If you’re in the same cleaning mode that I’m in, here are six places that can use your unwanted stash.

1. Project Linus. Project Linus is dedicated to making security blankets for babies, children and teens in need. Volunteers will turn your stash into quilts. More info: Look for the link for Chapter Listings to find one in your area.

2. Local quilt guilds. You may not belong to your local guild – not everyone is a guild joiner – but most of them have charity projects. In my guild we call it “Quilting for Others,” and our chair packages fabrics into kits for quilts. In addition to collecting quilts throughout the year, we have a quilt-in at our November meeting. Quilts have been made for Habitat for Humanity and children who ride in the back of police cars, for example.

3. Haiti Peace Quilts. This organization establishes and supports independent women’s quilting cooperatives. In addition to helping the women build a business, Haiti Peace Quilts markets one-of-kind art quilts in the United States. The cooperatives need donations of fabric and other quilting supplies. More info: Look for the How You Can Help link.

4. Prayers and Squares. This interfaith outreach organization combines the gift of prayer with the gift of a hand-tied quilt. Individual chapters around the world need fabric, batting and other supplies. More info: Go to the Before You Join link and look for the Chapter List.

5. Denver Fabrics Fabric Stash Program. Operated by Denver Fabrics in St. Louis, this store sells donated fabric in in its Annex stores on its fabric-by-the-pound tables. The money generated goes to the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) a microfinance organization. More info:

6. Clara’s Calling. This is a new initiative started by Lisa Steele, owner of Bella Fabrics in Carrollton, Va.; Rob Krieger, president of Checker Distributors; and Laurie Harsh with Fab Shop Network. The impetus for the project is to support the task of quilter and Master Sgt. Clara Vargas in Afghanistan to teach more than 4,000 widowed Afghan women how to sew so they can provide for themselves and their children. Donations needed include fabric and sewing supplies. Donations must be made through participating shops. We have an article on this in the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter and will share more on the project in an upcoming e-zine. More info: Look for the link to participating shops.

Please share some of your favorite places to donate your fabrics and sewing supplies!

Book Review: Quilting for Peace

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Quilting for Peace

By Katherine Bell
Abrams; $19.95

Like many people, Katherine Bell felt overwhelmed by the events of September 11. “Hope is the antidote to fear,î” she decided, and hope led her to write this helpful book, which will guide many quilters to take constructive action themselves. In 25 essays, Bell surveys various charitable groups, featuring everyday people who saw others in need and acted with positive (and sometimes very far-reaching) consequences. Each essay ends with a “How You Can Help” sidebar and tips for the reader.

The book’s fifteen projects tend to be quick and simple, to encourage quantity where quality is not a primary concern. Some of the featured organizations, with the assistance of small armies of volunteers, have donated more than 10,000 quilts. In addition to quilts or comforters, you’ll find directions for a ìgreenî shopping bag, baby items and an ingenious sleeping bag for the homeless. The author does encourage quality over quantity when making quilts for military personnel to honor their service.

For most quilters, this book will probably be most useful as a resource about charitable organizations, ranging from those who support the homeless to animal adoption groups. Some groups need donations of materials and supplies, others ask for finished items. You’ll also find information about starting your own charitable project.

Bell’s ultimate message is that, by donating quilts or other items, we send the recipient a message of love and respect. A donated quilt may have a profound effect on the mental and/or physical health of the recipient. It also helps the maker feel useful, whether her individual contribution is small or vast.

I strongly recommend this book for every quilt guild’s library:

Reviewed by Eileen Doughty,

Quilters Making a Difference

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

In the Fall issue of The Professional Quilter, Eileen Doughty took a look at four well-known quilters who used their position in the quilt world to create a fund-raising project near to their hearts. Here’s an excerpt from the article.

Virginia Spiegel was inspired to take action because her father is a colon cancer survivor and her sister is chair of the Forest Lake, Minn., Relay For Life. Susan Shie was drawn to act after learning of the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Kathleen Thompson’s son, Josh Thompson, was diagnosed with the always-fatal disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the age of 32, two weeks before the birth of his first baby. Ami Simms and her family cared for her mother for more than four years, as she succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Ami sums it up well, “I realized right off that my degree in anthropology probably wasn’t going to help cure Alzheimer’s, but I do know how to quilt, and I have a voice in the quilting community. I took advantage of those two things.”

Virginia Spiegel proved that all forms of fiber art have the power to raise serious funds. She founded Fiberart For A Cause (FFAC) to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, while simultaneously promoting the fiber arts. FFAC offered several ways to participate: by making art (often quite small), buying art, donating skills (such as graphic design) and spreading the word about the project.

Susan Shie felt compelled to act by auctioning artwork after learning of the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. First, she and other artists auctioned their paintings at their local arts center. Later, she used posted two paintings on Facebook, and after finding that successful created a quilt about the earthquake that she posted on her Facebook page

Kathy Thompson, assisted by the staff at Quilters Dream Batting, started the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS to help raise awareness, provide the gift of a quilt to ALS patients and raise research money by displaying, auctioning or raffling donated quilts.

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) began as an individual effort by Ami Simms in January 2006. Within two years it became a national charity that raises awareness and funds for research through two concurrent art projects. One is a nationally touring quilt exhibit about Alzheimer’s. “Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece” has been seen by more than 223,000 people at 49 venues in 31 states since 2006. It will be retiring in October 2010 and replaced by “Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope,” which will begin touring in January 2011. The second project is “Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts,” in which small quilts are auctioned or sold. More than 5,300 quilts have been donated to date. Ami says, “When I first pitched the idea, I thought we’d raise $25,000 over three years. Then I thought it would be $50,000. Then it felt like $75,000 was doable. I was wrong on all counts. As of this moment we have raised more than $410,000 for research.”

All the women faced the challenge of starting up with limited funds, getting the word out and managing the ongoing fundraiser – all while still managing their own businesses and lives. And all have been emotionally overwhelmed by the response to these projects. Although they asked the quilting community to individually contribute a small donation of funds, quilts, and/or time, the cumulative response brought significant results.

Ami says, “What we didn’t realize was the tremendous impact that making a quilt can have on family members caring for people with Alzheimer’s and those grieving the loss of a loved one who had this disease. We are a grassroots organization, driven by the Internet and fueled by the passion of quilters. When faced with overwhelming sadness and loss, it feels like there is nothing one person can do. But one person can make a little quilt, and a quilt can help. It can be cathartic to create and a blessing to give that creation. And let’s not forget the person who purchases the quilt to complete the circle.”

Think one person can’t make a difference? Think again.

You can read more of EIleen’s article in the Fall issue of The Professional Quilter. This issue is available to members of the International Association of Professional Quilters.

To learn more about the projects:

– Fiberart For A Cause:

– Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative:  http:// (website) (facebook)

– “Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope”:

– Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS:

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Donating Your Work or Services

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Fall seems to be ripe with opportunities for you to donate your work, whether that’s your original artwork or your product, such as a pattern or book. We all receive letters from charitable organizations, including guilds, asking for donations. While it’s wonderful to support so many worthwhile organizations, you cannot support them all. You may not have enough stock nor time to create more. And, if you respond to all the requests, your business could take a serious financial hit. On the plus side, you may get some media coverage and gain a collector of your work. When considering such requests, here are some suggestions/guidelines:

1. Choose a few charities that you care about and give to them. I’m partial to the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative. Many quilters have given to Fiberart for a Cause. Kathy Thompson with Quilters Dream Batting has started a project for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The Quilts of Valor is another popular project. It will be easy to find a charity that touches your heart.

2. If you are an artist who is asked for a donation, consider asking the organization to share in the proceeds if your piece is auctioned. Ask that a reserve (or minimum) price be set for your work. This is particularly true if you are donating a one-of-a-kind piece of a great value. The organization still receives a fair return, and you should be able to recoup the costs of your materials. If you donate a great deal of artwork that sells for lower prices, this could “devalue” your artwork to your regular audience.

3. Remember that you are only permitted to write off on your taxes the costs of your materials. You are not permitted to write off the value of your art and your time. Perhaps you’ll find a better option is to make a monetary donation that you can deduct fully.

4. Consider offering prints or giclees of your work in lieu of the original artwork. Check our blog for the post on giclees or refer to Issue 112 of The Professional Quilter for the full article.

5. Consider who receives your donation. I regularly receive requests from guilds across the country to donate something for their annual show or shop hop. Since our audience is limited to professionals, I have no way of knowing if a professional will win the prize. If I choose to make a donation, I do it as a gift certificate and include information about IAPQ. Hopefully a professional will take me up on the gift.

6. Sending a gift certificate, as I do, is an option for many, particularly with the requests for guild shows. Pattern designers can send a pattern – either new or one that is no longer being produced – or a gift certificate with a catalog. Longarm quilters, already so generous with their time, can offer to quilt a top for someone who is making a charitable donation.

What are you guidelines or suggestions for donations?

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).