A few years ago, Michelle Kim, a nurse at the University of California Davis Medical Center, learned how to make pillowcases. She’s made enough now that every child coming to the hospital for surgery gets one. Medical professionals and patients’ parents agree: The pillowcases lessen anxiety, provide comfort, and make the kids feel special. To date, Michelle has donated 2,476 pillowcases. She keeps track, she says, so she can “see how many kids have been blessed in a small way on a day that can be full of fears.
To most of us a pillowcase may not be a big deal. It’s something we barely notice as we lay down to sleep each night. But for some (such as the patients Michelle treats in the story above), they can be a great source of comfort and joy during a time of stress and uncertainty. Whether it’s a piece of home in a sterile hospital room, a little return to normalcy for those in homeless shelters or women’s shelters, or just a reminder that someone else in the world cares, a pillowcase can make a huge difference in your community.
We started our One Million Pillowcase Challenge in 2010, and in just a few years quilters and sewers all over the world have donated more than 560,000 pillowcases to those in need! That’s 560,000 smiles and sighs of relief! We’ve heard countless stories of how this Challenge has changed lives in communities across the country, as well as given many quilters a community to share a great cause with.
With the holidays coming, we wanted to challenge our community even more! We’re hosting our first 24-hour sewing event for charity! From Friday, September 19 at 3pm to Saturday, September 20 at 3pm, we’re hosting the One Million Pillowcase 24-Hour Sewathon. We have an event planned at our offices in Des Moines, Iowa. But there are 44 events in 29 states and 2 countries already scheduled! Encourage your local quilt shop to host an event or find a shop in your area here. Many people are hosting their own private events with family and friends, too! Invite your sewing buddies over for some snacks and a few hours of sewing!
Want to stay up sewing all night with American Patchwork & Quilting? Mark this date on your calendar and follow us on Facebook! We’ll be posting pictures, videos, pillowcase count updates, and have fun giveaways from our sponsors! Post photos of your own events or pillowcases you’ve made to our Facebook page or hashtag them with #APQSewathon on Instagram and Twitter!
To celebrate this fun event, we’re hosting a blog hop! See pillowcases made by our our designer friends and sponsors:
- Alison Glass
- American Patchwork & Quilting
- Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs
- The Benartex Design Team: Sew in Love with Fabric
- Debby Kratovil
- Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts
- Heidi Pridemore
- How To Sew
- Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom
- Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts
- Karrie Winters of Freckled Whimsy
- Kelle Boyd of Ann Kelle
- Linda Carlson
- Lori Mason
- Modern Quilt Studio
- Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
- Northcott: Patti’s Patchwork
- Shannon Fabrics: My Cuddle Corner
- Tammy Silvers
- Timeless Treasures: Sew Timeless
- Valori Wells
- Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool
- Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring
Thanks to everyone who has donated over the years and our wonderful sponsors for helping us spread the word about this cause. And we can’t forget to thank the quilt shops across the nation that have collected pillowcases in the community and held pillowcase-making events in their stores. No matter how big or small your donation is it really does make a huge difference in another person’s life!
Help children gain color confidence using activities, quizzes, and games from The Wonderful Colorful Wonder Wheel of Color ($12.99; ctpub.com). Host a Color Wheel Party with stations for kids to learn about the color wheel, color schemes, and how colors affect each other.
See Nancy’s first blog about her Round Robin experience here.
Would I do one of these again? Yes, but I would always want more time. I loved that these were small quilts too; it made it a little less intimidating. I did learn quite a bit seeing the techniques used by others. It was fun!
Round 1: Nancy
She says: I’ve gone through my stash and selected a scrappy palette of neutrals, grey, gold and teal. I want to do something improvisational with a folk art twist. I sketch out my flower block and get started. I made the flower petals from the scrappy strips randomly sewn together in two color palettes. The background for the flowers is a tone-on-tone cream.
She says: Nancy appliquéd amazing flowers onto her quilt center. I wanted to add interest to the center, but not distract from the multi-piece flower petals she bordered with narrow strips of assorted prints. After several false starts, I pulled only dark prints out of her round robin fabric box. I cut narrow strips (7/8” each finished) for the piano key border and small squares (1- 7/8” square finished) for the first pieced border. I like the way this dark border adds depth to the piece and quietly allows the spotlight to continue to shine on the quilt center.
Round 3: Jody
She says: I love the whimsical appeal of Nancy’s pieced flowers. I wanted them to be the center of attention. I drafted a 2” finished Square-in-a-Square foundation pieced block for the corners of the second border. When piecing little triangles, I find I am more accurate using foundation piecing. It does take extra time to remove the foundation paper and uses a little more fabric, but I think the extra effort and fabric waste is worth it to get sharp corners. I pieced together two shades of the same polka dot in the border pieces and carried that into the Square-in-a-Square corners.
Round 4: Elizabeth
She says: When I got Nancy’s round robin for the last round, there were several fabrics in the box that hadn’t been used since the middle portion, so I knew I wanted to use those for sure. The pale blue-green background fabric Nancy included also hadn’t been used much, so I thought of expanding the quilt center to make a large table runner. At the ends of the runner, I took a cue from the funky petals of Nancy’s flowers and strip-pieced scallop shapes, which reminded me of the tongue shapes on a penny rug.
See Elizabeth’s first blog about her Round Robin experience here.
Would I do it again? Yes, but I would make sure I had more time for each step. Although the whole thing made me nervous about what other people thought of what I added to their quilt, it was a good experience in all and made me grow as a quilter.
Round 1: Elizabeth
She says: For the design, I was inspired by a fabric that’s a cross between a stripe and curly parentheses. I thought the easiest way would be to do a bargello-style quilt. I sewed together 1-1/2″-wide strips to make a strip set then chopped it into a few different widths of segments. I played around with the placement and width of the segments.
She says: I peek into Elizabeth’s box and see the block she provided is a gorgeous bargello! I did some sketching and decided to grow this piece lengthwise. The original bargello block quit is intricate on its own. I want to provide some visual break between the original block and my additional pattern areas, so I decided to add sashing on the sides and ends. I used a scrappy selection of color on the sashing for a bit of fun. Then I created a section of the original bargello pattern about 1 -1/4 inches wide and attached the pattern perpendicular to the original block.
Round 3: Jill
She says: Elizabeth’s Bargello quilt center is stunning. I looked at her quilt block for days before I felt comfortable auditioning fabrics and ideas for adding another border. I knew I wanted to add three-dimensional pieces of some type without adding busy-ness that would detract from the intricate piecework. I tried prairie points in several colors, finally opting for the ones you see here, adding a total of seven prairie points to each end of the now very rectangular quilt top. I added an extra-wide, dark brown strip as the field for the prairie points.
Round 4: Jody
She says: I was the last one to receive Elizabeth’s center and WOW, I did not expect what I saw when I opened the box. It was very horizontal/rectangular. I struggled at first, trying to make it more square by adding wider borders to the top and bottom. Then I decided that the quilt would look terrific as a table runner. I added half Dresden Plate units to each end. I used the aqua batik as the background and the center half circle so the Dresden units would float and look like handles on a beautiful tray on a table.
In the June 2014 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting (get the digital issue here), designer Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio shares remedies for common “problem” fabrics in an article called Stash Rx: Refill One. (This is a follow-up to a popular article Weeks did last June on the same topic; if you’d like to read the original story, click here.) We met Weeks at Pennington Quilt Works in Pennington, New Jersey, where we had an assortment of beautiful fabrics to choose from.
In one of the article’s “prescriptions” (Rx For Working with a Designer Collection), Weeks showed us how to incorporate a mix-and-match stash of one designer’s fabric (in this case, prints from Kaffe Fassett) with other prints for a successful quilt. “I wanted a variety of scales and a warm, golden feel,” Weeks says. “I think that’s just what was accomplished here.” The plan was to tie it all together with an espresso-colored tone-on-tone. Once she got home, Weeks found even more stash fabrics to add to the palette. Weeks and husband/business partner, Bill Kerr, designed their Going Up quilt using the fabric assortment. Buy the pattern here.