Sunday, November 25, 2018

Successful Donation of 50 Quilts for Kids to Comfort Cases

Preparations for quilt rolling. :)
On Saturday, November 10, 2018, the DC Modern Quilt Guild donated 50 quilts to Comfort Cases, a non-profit that brings dignity and hope to children entering foster care by providing them with a backpack of essentials.  When Comfort Cases founder Rob Scheer entered foster care 40 years ago, he had to place his few belongings in a trash bag.  When he adopted 4 children through the foster care program, they each came to him with the same tattered trash bags, and he was disappointed to see that nothing had changed in 30 years.  Thus, he founded Comfort Cases to try to change that by providing a way for kids to carry belongings of their very own. Especially as kids move from foster care placement to foster care placement while awaiting their forever home.

Ann & Becky are off to a good start!

Eight members of the guild (Dara Tokarz, Anne Brill, Amy Childers, Ann LaVigna, Robin Tilsworth, Jennifer Odom, Becky Lavash, and Elle Irby) participated in preparing the quilts donated by our many wonderful members by folding the freshly washed and labeled quilts in a specific manner and tying them with a ribbon so that they would fit in the backpacks.  We then packed the backpacks by carefully selecting a pair of pajamas, a book, a coloring book or journal, crayons or pens & pencils, a toiletry set, a dental kit, a stuffed animal, and the bookbag itself to coordinate with each quilt.  Participants reported great satisfaction for the opportunity to really think about the child who was going to receive each quilt and what else they might like to coordinate with it.  Indeed, several members decided to purchase other elements of the backpacks to go with the quilts we donate on our next donation day.  Comfort Cases also gave us a great tour of their facility and made the entire process incredibly easy and rewarding because they were so organized.  We finished our task in almost exactly 2 hours, led by their staff person Nate.  

Robin adding the final touches.
Nate showing us how to select items for the backpacks

Afterwards, most of us went to lunch at an excellent restaurant just across the street from Comfort Cases and conveniently located in the Capital Quilts shopping center, where we enjoyed thinking about our experience and brainstorming how we can do more for kids in need.

Bring the food!

To learn more about what goes into a Comfort Case, please visit:

To learn more about the mission of Comfort Cases, please visit:

The production line

We are in the process of scheduling another packing day at Comfort Cases for late March or early April, and we are hoping to photograph, fold, and tie all the quilts so that they will be ready for packing at the meeting immediately preceding our packing day.  Please keep the quilts you would like to donate to this awesome cause until at least the February meeting to help with storage (and please ask me for a label if you are working on one so that we can be sure that they are labeled and freshly laundered before we donate them).  

Hard at work

We have a great deal of fabric, batting, and even backings available, so please contact Elle Irby at ellegtown at gmail if you would like to make a quilt or to be involved in even a portion of the process for our next donation (such as cutting a kit, making a block, piecing blocks together into a top, quilting, or binding).  

Extra special thanks to:
Art Gallery Fabrics with a donation of 37 pounds of solids that were used in their booth at the Fall Quilt Market!  Pam with DelRay Fabrics for a very large donation of fabulous fabric recently.  Equilter for a donation of lots of large width-of-fabric scraps, including lots of kid-friendly novelty prints.

Quilters' Dream Batting for selling us a large roll of high quality batting at a very deep discount.
Tanya Wilson for donating a large amount of wonderful prints from her stash, many of which have already shown up in quilts that were donated in this cycle.  Leah Buckley, Nisha Bouri, and Ann Lavigna, for donating a bunch of wonderful fabric, charm packs, batting, and quilting services.  And last but not least - Sylvia Frankel Johnson and Megan Dougherty (friends of Elle's) for donating tons of fabric, orphan blocks, and even completed quilt tops.

I see you. :)
Peek a boo

The first item the child will see.

Most important in this whole process are all of our members who sewed love into every stitch by participating in donations this year, including:
Each child will receive this note as well.
Gretchen Young
Robin Tilsworth
Elle Irby 
Jennifer Odom
Melinda Newton
Laurie MeyersAngela Stanley
Cassandra McKee
Lisa Rice
Ashley Bander
Diana Owen
Carolyn Lalos
Lynne McKay-Atha
Dara Tokarz
Jane Chick
Jennifer Odell
Linda Fasules
Anne Brill
Ann Lavigna
Alyson Olander
Emily Chua
Cindy Luby
Arlene Salinas
Amy Sheib
Aubrie Holman
Jill Potkalesky
Megan Haidet
Martha Gibson
Denise Davis
Anjeanette Klinder
Amy Childers
You (if you participated and aren't listed here, please e-mail me to be added to the list!)

Elle, Ann, Amy, Anne, Robin, Becky, Dara, & Jennifer
Our charitable totals in 2018:
In addition to this donation of 50 quilts, we previously donated 23 quilts to Comfort Cases on February 2, 2018; 4 quilts to the Blue Ribbon Project, which is a similar project in Annapolis; 16 quilts for the Space of Her Own organization where we made quilts specifically for each girl graduating from their mentor program; and 1 QuiltCon quilt being raffled to support Comfort Cases financially, so we are currently at 94 total quilts donated for children in need this year through the guild.  Several members also donated quilts to Tanya's drive for quilts for hurricane victims in NC and made quilts through other guilds that they are also a part of, so I think it is safe to say that we met our collective goal of 100 Quilts for Kids this year!  Thank you everyone!

Ready to go!

-Elle Irby, 2018 DCMQG Charity Coordinator

Thursday, October 25, 2018

DCMQG 2018 Fall Retreat Recap

Emily A. writing...

Although this was my first ever quilting retreat, it was clear that this particular weekend was all about combining an old steady routine, with flexibility and fun.  To start, we had a “minor” detour thanks to landslides and flooding. This complicated things like running for a quick Thursday lunch (see ya in 3 hours Phyliss and Lisa), walking along the water (nope, can’t get there from here!), and shopping at Web Fabrics.  Now there’s even more to look forward to in the spring! As much as this detour changed up our weekend, we are all grateful that the local homes weren’t damaged and everyone was safe. Plus, we got to see Kennedy Farm where John Brown staged and planned his raid on Harpers Ferry.

Here’s a picture of John Brown’s farmhouse, but unfortunately I didn’t catch a picture of Carolyn’s llamas nearby :)
The retreat center was set up perfectly for our daily routine of breakfast, sewing, lunch, sewing, dinner, and some more sewing...of course with endless laughter, problem solving, encouragement, and 80’s Rock on Pandora.  Here are some pictures of what everyone worked on, and I apologize that I missed some of the Saturday crew! We definitely appreciated having you all there, and I know I feel ready to start on my hand stitching after talking with you all.  Just throwing this out there so we don’t forget again, but the consensus has been to take a group picture Saturday at noon. It’s difficult to find a good stopping point for everyone at the same time, but looking back a group photo would be worth it!

The Blue Mountain Retreat Center.  We were lucky to have beautiful sunny days!

Melanie put a splash of color into this fun, mostly black and white top.

My stars coming along now that I’ve worked through the kinks of lining everything up correctly.
Dara finished up this adorable charity quilt with a perfectly relaxed and steady FMQ flower design.
Melissa finished her clamshell top!  This was a new technique and she did a great job mastering it.
Jennifer had these squares all ready to be put together and she did it in the most adorable way!

Jill, the crafty giraffe, with her new machine and her trusty pal!  We all LOVED the mascot.
Lisa was busy assembling her second top of the weekend.  She has the best color choices!
Watching this Jelly Roll Rug come together was a fun process for all of us and I especially loved learning something new.  Thanks, Susan, for bringing this to the group.
The crew, heads down and focused, late at night.  This was mid Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

Linda worked on these blocks for a red and white quilt.
Barbara played around with new designs and this one is truly a work of art.  She fussy cut from the scrap pile to make this festive wall hanging.
Anne added to her flower garden from her class with Anna Maria Horner at QuiltCon.  It’s impossible not to smile when you see how bright and cheery this quilt is going to be.
The Weebraw Bag swap was a success!  We had fun sharing all the creative and personal touches that can be added to this little bag.
LRC winners!   Denise x2 and Dolores showing off their loot.  Playing the game without the dice was a true testament to the ingenuity of this group!  
Carolyn and her quilt from Anna Maria Horner Garden BOM quilt top. The details and fussy cutting are unbelievable in this masterpiece!  
Denise and her wicked cute charity quilt.  It’s so nice to think that not only did she get to practice her FMQ, but a kid in need is going to stay warm this winter!

Jennifer and one of the two Halloween costumes for her nieces that she created this weekend.  I’m in awe of people who make garments, and really enjoyed seeing it come together.
Sabrina was also busy making up some matching mommy and me tops for herself and her daughter.  Aren’t these cute!
Carolyn finished up this Lone Star pillow that showed us not only the technique of strip piecing it, but also showed off the grunge fabrics.
It was like magic watching how this top came together.  Phyliss had the blocks all ready to go and we all enjoyed watching it grow.  

Almost 20 years ago Lisa taught her son to sew and he made tiny heart squares.  Last year she added more color to make them into big blocks. This year she added the black and pieced it together into a precious gift for her son.
Martha and her solids challenge.  Of course it’s purple, and it came out perfectly!
Lynne finishing up this fabulous center panel to go into her top for the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club -The Year of Color!  

I had to save this picture for the end  because it just perfectly captures the fun and spirit of the weekend.  Phyliss did an amazing job organizing the retreat into something everyone looks forward to and enjoys.  It was relaxing, and exciting all at the same time. She announced that she’s looking for someone to step up and help take over some of the organizer duties.  The retreat was the coming together of so much talent and kindness, and I know I learned more in this one weekend than I have in all my 3 years of owning a sewing machine.  Thank you, Phyliss, for your hard work as it would not have been possible without you!

I can’t wait to return to the quiet and peacefulness of being out in the woods, enjoying the laughter and encouragement of this wonderful guild, and being immersed in the expertise and creativity of everyone's projects.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Summer Mug Rug Swap!

Carolyn here, your recent swap mama. The DCMQG Summer Swap finished up mid-July and the swaps and treats did not disappoint. The theme this go around was "Mug Rugs." Swappers were randomly assigned to make a mini-quilt varying in size from 4" x 7" to as large as 8"x12". The size is intended to accommodate a mug and a cookie or scone, or other treat. Fabric selection, design, and treat wish lists were all considered by the assigned partner. We had some Instagram teasing going on and the reveals were a delight for all. If you've never participated in any of our swaps, consider joining in the fun next time. It is a great way to make new quilt friends, build skills and step out of your comfort zone. You'll find some of the awesome mug rugs below as well as at #dcmqgmugrugswap on Instagram.

Dolores kicked us off first with this gorgeous paper pieced Kaffe and solids for Lynne.

Lynne then made this hexagonal mug rug for Nisha.

Nisha was undecided and went with this stunner for Megan.

Megan went scrappy, stripey improv for Arlene.

Arlene  captured summer for Natalie.

Claudia came home from vacation to this amazing surprise from Natalie.

Claudia tested her skills on her first dresden for Dolores.

Carolyn made this awesome piece for Kristin.

Kristin nailed it for Tanya!

Tanya’s first ever 100% hand sewn piece special for Melissa!

Melissa designed her own paper pieced spiral flying geese for Jennifer. Amazing!

Jennifer perfected her circles and paper piecing for Stephanie.

Cassandra teased us with a peek for Angela and from what we see it’s perfect!

Angela made Emily very happy!

Emily also had a surprise waiting for Cassandra when she returned from vacation!

Ashley made this beauty for Amy.

Amy surprised Carolyn with this cute pocketed mug rug.

Carolyn worked with Alyson’s favorite Parson Gray for her surprise.

Alyson made this awesome mug rug Ashley.

Stephanie’s unique design doubles as a potholder for Meghan.

Meghan repurposed some cherished selvages for Brigid in TWO mug rugs!

And….Phyliss missed the signup so Jennifer went out of her way to do a side swap with Phyllis who loves Tula!

That's a wrap! Be on the lookout for the next swap which is coming up this fall.