Quilts Beyond Borders Board Member, Karen Vander Stoep, wears a lot of hats in her involvement with our charity. Not only is she a member of our Board of Directors, but she’s also the Board’s recording secretary, and our leader of community outreach.
Karen’s been involved with QBB practically since its inception. A few years ago when we discovered that we were really good at generating quilts but having more difficulty getting them distributed to orphans in faraway places, Karen started reaching out to other organizations that had compatible aims and were able to travel. Through her efforts and skills as a liaison, we now have quilts wrapped around orphans and needy children in 14 countries. This picture shows Karen at the 2012 IQF in Houston, where we had a booth in the Exhibits section.
Every winter for the last 6 years or so Karen has worked with a group of women called the Gold Canyon Quilters. Karen says the faces change each year, but they’ve had a steadily growing commitment to Quilts Beyond Borders. In the first quarter of 2013 they produced 86 completed quilts and 57 tops! Karen’s description of the group:
“The Gold Canyon Quilters are not a tight knit group but they pull from about 1500 residents in a 55 and over park in Gold Canyon AZ. There is a weekly afternoon quilting session; there are some regulars every week. There is also a box of kits which people check in and out weekly. Some of our folks do major buildups during the summer and return with dozens of gorgeous quilts. Others work at home and turn out a significant number of gorgeous quilts. We learn from each other and share a passion for giving. It’s odd that I say we are not close knit, but even after folks move on to other parks in other states, I do hear from them and am often surprised by a deposit of quilts sent to us. I think, looking over my life, there just isn’t something, not anything like working with a group like this.”
Here’s a picture of some of the Gold Canyon Quilters at their end of season luncheon:
Of course with the group being so prolific, it was important for them to find a prolific and talented longarmer to finish their many un-quilted tops. QBB has had the great fortune of having had Linda LaFleur (owner of Quilting Memories in Tucson, Arizona) among our many talented and generous longarming volunteers. Linda stepped up to the challenge, and the pictures below show some of the quilts that she quilted for Karen, the GC Quilters and some of the other talented piecers who have donated quilts to QBB. Karen describes Linda in the following words:
“As for Linda, she is an impeccable, service oriented, longarmer. I had her do a quilt for me personally, which turned out fantastic. She was very careful with detail and my preferences. I would highly recommend her to anyone.”
You can see from the final picture, which is a closeup of a block in the last quilt pictured above, what an amazing quilter Linda is! I try to avoid feathered hearts in my own quilting, as I inevitably end up with a feather or two that look like the tongue on the back of the Rolling Stones 1971 “Sticky Fingers” album, but Linda’s feathers are beautiful. For a close up view of her quilting, click on the thumbnails above. (NOTE: Linda sent me a note saying that the honors for the beautiful feathered hearts should got to Donna Kleinke of One Song Needle Arts, who is the amazing designer/digitizer of this pattern. Okay! But Linda executed this design to perfection!)
I don’t have the names of all the piecers who contributed to the beautiful quilts above, however here are the ones who’s names I know:
- Butterfly Quilt, 1st row 3rd quilt, pieced by Kay;
- Multi-Color Quilt, 3rd row 1st quilt, pieced by Hong Cheng in Australia;
- Orange Blocks, 3rd row 2nd quilt, pieced by Jane Townsend of Texas;
- Pieced Butterfly, 4th row 1st quilt, pieced by Gail;
- Lavender Flowers, 4th row 2nd quilt, pieced by Theola Breaux of Texas.
If you recognize any of the other quilts, let me know who pieced it and I will edit this entry to include hr or his name.
These quilts are headed to Romania and Ethiopia, where they will be wrapped with love around orphans who have very little else. Great thanks to the Gold Canyon Quilters, Kay, Gail, Theola, Hong, and Jane for piecing these beautiful quilts, and to Linda for finishing them so beautifully. And great thanks to Karen, who makes it all happen! Ladies, you rock!!