And...here we go! I am so happy to have a site devoted to charity quilts up and running, since this is a subject close to my heart.

I decided to go live with the site without being actually, y'know, done with everything. So I hope you'll put this blog on your blogroll or feed and keep checking back.  The more I got into this, the more I realized how much there is to do!  Eventually, I'm imagining lots of patterns and tips and photos...  But for the moment I have a few, just to get things started. 

Here's the post from my other, only-occasionally-quilting-related blog, about how this site came about.  (And please remember, like I say on my main page, I am NOT the quilt police!  I just want to try to make things easier for charity quilters, who tend to have hearts full of love to begin with.)  :-)

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For the past few months, an idea has been germinating in my mind.

It all started with this blog post from my online quilting friend Nancy: "Quilts for Friends We Haven't Met Yet," about quilters who were troubled that quilts made for injured members of the armed services were referred to as "charity quilts." Here's a quote (but you should click on the link, because the entire post is worth a read):

The problem, as I understand it, is that quilts made for [a very worthy organization] were referred to as "charity quilts" and, as such, carried an inference -- for some people -- of shoddy workmanship and/or inferior quality fabric. I didn't quite get it.

I make quilts to give to people I know and quilts to keep. I also sometimes make quilts to give away to people that I do not know, people who have had some sort of life-altering event and could use a little extra comfort. I think of those quilts as charity quilts, to differentiate from those I give to people I know. I use the same quality of fabric and degree of care in my work for all of my quilts. I wrote to a friend who was among the incensed and asked for clarification. I asked her, "What language would you suggest for quilts that are given away to needy individuals, to people we don't know, or to special causes? Charity means kindness, love, that kind of thing, doesn't it? When I hear "charity quilt" I don't assume inferior workmanship and cheap fabric. I think it is a quilt made for an unknown recipient out of love."

[...]isn't it a shame that such a fine word [charity] has morphed into something so shabby?


This post, of course, activated a lot of circuitry in my brain, both the quilting parts and the word nerd parts. Part of my response in her post's comments:

I see it both ways. "Charity" in our society has taken on a bad connotation -- it's bad to receive, and it implies the givers are somehow "better than."

Which is too bad, because as you said, the roots pf the word are beautiful. It come from the latin "caritas" which originally meant "preciousness, dearness, high price." Far from the "castoffs from the rich" meaning it's come to have. I believe there are also places in Bible translations where it has been used interchangeably with "love," right? (Hasn't 1 Cor 13:13 sometimes been translated as "faith, hope and charity"?)


Because yes, [the recipients of quilts from this charity] definitely deserve appealing quilts made with love and care. But so do the abused wives. And the foster kids. And the people undergoing chemo. And the folks in nursing homes. And I think the vast majority of quilters are loving, caring people who would agree with me.

But...

A few months ago, our church started a little quilting group. There are about ten or so of us. And one of the things we do is make "charity quilts." And I have seen first-hand how difficult it can be to make quilts with eye appeal from donated fabrics that weren't originally selected to go together and frequently wouldn't have been my own first choice for a quilt. (Not that they're bad fabrics. It's just that my taste for my own quilts runs to pure, bright colors, and our donated fabric is generally a lot more grayed and muted.) I look at these fabrics and my mind blanks on how best to use them.

That's when the idea arrived: Wouldn't it be fun to create a website with tips and ideas for creating nice quilts for charity from donated fabric? A site to help quilters restore the good name of "charity," helping to push it back towards its original "caritas," or love?

My nephew-in-law introduced me to Weebly, the web design site for complete amateurs, over Thanksgiving. I registered my domain name last night. Since then I've been busily constructing my "Caritas Quilts" site.

It currently has a lot of blank pages and details to be filled in later, but it's coming along. Expect to see it go live later this week.

I'm so excited!


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And now we're live.  So..welcome!  Glad you're here!  Come back!  And be sure to fill your quilts with the ultimate fabric softener, caritas, both the ones made for the people you already love, and the ones made for the friends you haven't met yet. 

Laurie



Teri
12/12/2011 06:56:49 am

Laurie,

Lots of the girls who quilt with my mom us the Yellow Brick Road pattern with the donated fabrics since it helps many different fabrics look good together. Just wanted to share...love the site!

http://store.atkinsondesigns.com/stores_app/browse_dept_items_ws.asp?Shopper_id=4531212175318453&Store_id=913&page_id=17

Reply
12/13/2011 12:10:15 am

Hi, Teri! I'm so glad you stopped by!

Your mom's group must have great color sense. I actually find the abstract patterns like YBR and Turning Twenty to be <i>harder</i> to make than other patterns. When there isn't a specific design for the eye to follow, it puts 100% of the "visual impact" burden on the color, and my eye and fabric selection aren't always up to the challenge. For me, I prefer more defined patterns. But I'm glad it's working for their group!

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