The Guatemala Project

June 18, 2018
In a village near Chichicastanago in Guatemala, many people burn wood in their houses for warmth and cooking.  The stoves they have are not ventilated and the people breathe the smoke from the fires every day.  As you can see the floors are dirt.
The Guatemala Project ( installs safer stoves in several homes each year.  These are special stoves which are ventilated so the people can breathe clean air in their homes.
Earlier this year, thirty-one quilts from QBB were distributed to these families and widows during a trip to install stoves. The quilts will bring warmth to the families and especially the children.
During the civil war in Guatemala in the 1980s, the men of the village were called to a meeting in a local church.  They were asked to join the army to fight in the war.  When the men refused to join, the soldiers locked the doors and set the church building on fire.  That fire took the lives of the 40 men who went to the meeting.
The widows of those men formed a co-op.  They do weaving and embroidery to support themselves.  These women prepared lunch for the people who provided and installed the stoves.  Quilts were given to some of the women.  Their smiles tell how grateful they were.
Thanks to so many generous people who send quilts to QBB, there will be smiles on the faces of these people.  Your quilts will be used and cherished by these people for many years.  Thank you all for your time and talent and especially your generosity.

-Ann Drake


Remembering Steve Matheson

June 6, 2018

We are profoundly sad to report the death of Steve Matheson, husband of Karen and a great friend to all of us at Quilts Beyond Borders.   Steve passed away on May 30 in Connecticut.

Steve first became involved with QBB when Karen joined our team in 2014, and he worked with us in our fundraising booth at the IQF in Houston in 2015 – 2017.  A couple of years ago he told Karen he’d like to be even more involved, and we elected him to serve on our Executive Board as our Co-Treasurer.

Steve had an impressive business background which he brought to QBB, contributing some different ideas for some of our challenges.  He dragged us kicking and screaming into using the square to accept credit cards in our booth in 2017, which had terrific results.   He also had a wicked, wonderful and sometimes goofy sense of humor which was such an asset to the team during occasions when we felt over-stretched and over-stressed.  And somewhere along the way, Steve even became a longarmer.

Steve was a wonderful, accomplished, generous and humble man, beloved by everyone he met. His obituary can be read at:—simsbury/stephen-matheson/3528014/

A devoted husband and father to his wife, Karen, and their daughters Amy and Julie, Steve will be greatly missed by all of us.

Steve M 2016 IQF

Quilter Spotlight – Sheila Hughes

May 22, 2018
Sheila Hughes and Karen Matheson

Sheila Hughes (right) and Karen Matheson at the Arts and Crafts Festival in Simsbury, Connecticut.

One of QBB’s most generous monetary and fabric donors, prolific quilter and overall Quilts Beyond Borders champion is our Spotlight Hero this month. Hailing from Massachusetts, Sheila’s enthusiastic dedication is an inspiration for us all. She is a tireless, outgoing, charming volunteer and, I’m proud to say, a new friend, thanks to our mutual love of all things QBB.
When I asked Sheila if I could officially “interview” her, this is what I learned……

I have wanted to quilt since I was about 6 years old as my great grandmother was a quilter. I didn’t really become a quilter until my youngest daughter was a senior in high school-over 35 years after my desire started.

Once I made quilts for all my family members and friends (and found out some gave the quilts to their dogs or when they received a second one they threw out or gave away the first one) I didn’t know what to do but I still wanted to quilt; as luck would have it, a sister worked with a charity in Texas which dealt with sick babies so I started making as many quilts as possible every year for these children at Christmas (often as many as 50 quilts) but then she changed jobs so once again I had no outlet for my quilts. For a number of years I still made quilts but not very many as I was really low on who to give them too.

Then one day my sister called saying her friend in Cleveland, Ohio worked with a group called Quilts for Kids who needed help making quilts. I contacted the Massachusetts chapter and became friends with the coordinator Mary Ann O’Neil, that really got me started making quilts again in greater numbers. Then my brother who had been a missionary in Russia started returning to Russia several times a year so I would give him 20 quilts each time he went. I now have over 150 quilts in Russia (he has also taken some to Cambodia and the Philippines).

One day I bought a quilt magazine for a friend and as I glanced through it there was a page talking about Quilts Beyond Borders… I was all ears. I contacted Karen as soon as possible and have been hooked ever since. Last year I donated about 80 quilts and some cash to help defray shipping expenses. That fateful magazine was all about primitive quilts which are not of interest to me, so it was meant to be that I would find Quilts Beyond Borders.

I am 72 years old and have a humongous supply of fabric and know I can’t live long enough to use it all (and I still like to buy new fabric from time to time) so I have donated about 100 or more yards to Quilts Beyond Borders and plan to give even more this year. 

Having met Karen (such a wonderful person, as is her husband) I am convinced to be with Quilts Beyond Borders as long as I can continue to quilt. Hopefully many more years so my investment in my long arm machine will have been worth it!

Thank you to Sheila and our many generous donors and volunteers! We couldn’t do it without you all!
-Karen Matheson

April Fat Quarter Challenge

May 12, 2018

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring finally!  I had gone on vacation and the trees were just starting to bud; when I returned they were full of green leaves!  It was a long winter, and I’m glad to see spring here.

This month we had two quilts returned for our FQC.  They were from Donna Dellacamera from Unionville, CT and Gail Knighton from Salem, OR.  The quilts are lovely and we know some child will love to snuggle in them.

Our random winner for the April FQC drawing was Susan Trzcinski from Anacortes, WA.  She returned her quilt in December.  You can see her quilt here.  Susan has won a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Fat Quarter Shop has been sponsoring our monthly prizes for almost 4 years now and we can’t thank them enough.

If you weren’t at Houston Quilt Festival last year, do not despair.  You can still enter our fat quarter challenge and the information on how to enter is on the right hand side of our blog under “Pages”.

Thanks to everyone,  Tina

Join the Fat Quarter Challenge and Win!

May 9, 2018
fqc 2013-ann-bordeau

One of the beautiful Fat Quarter Challenge quilts, submitted by Ann Bordeau in 2013!

We have had several recent questions asking for more details about how to be part of the Fat Quarter Challenge that we blog about each month. To help with any confusion, we added a link on our main Page under the “About” menu with this info: 

Here is the information found in that link…

The Fat Quarter Challenge is our contest sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop ( https://www.fatquartershop. com/ ) which encourages volunteers to make and donate quilts made from a fat quarter supplied from our booth at the yearly Houston Quilt Festival.

If you did not pick up a FQ from our booth at Houston, do not despair. You may supply your own FQ and submit a quilt to us, just include a note with your quilt that it is part of the Fat Quarter Challenge.  To find a block pattern to use for your FQC quilt, please go to Marcia Hohn’s site, Quilt Blocks Galore via this URL:  Quilt Blocks Galore!


This Challenge runs through September 2018 and the sooner you turn in a completed quilt, the more chances you have to win the monthly $25 drawing or the year-end $100 cash prize. Each FQC quilter will be eligible for every monthly drawing through the end of September and you may win more than once.

Quilts sent for this challenge should meet our general guidelines and criteria for donated quilts, please read these links https:// quiltsbeyondborders.wordpress. com/quilt-dimensions/  and https:// quiltsbeyondborders.wordpress. com/where-to-send-quilts-and- tops/ on the right-hand side of our main web page.

Chuck Glenn FQC Booth

Chuck Glenn and the FQC Display at the Houston QBB Booth!

50 Quilts Heading to Syrian Refugees

May 4, 2018

This set of 50 quilts is the first set of 2018 to be shipped to Seattle for the container going to Syrian Refugees care of the Salaam Cultural Museum.   Since 2013 we have provided quilts to Syrian refugees, and since 2014 we have mainly worked with the Salaam Cultural Museum and their director Rita Zaweideh.  Rita coordinates humanitarian shipments to the refugee camps.   We know these quilts provide comfort, warmth, cheer, hope and love to the refugees.

Click on each picture to enlarge and see who sewed and quilted each one!

Sherree Newhouse

Quilts for Headstart Program in Texas

May 1, 2018

We recently delivered 95 quilts to the WBC (Williamson and Burnet Counties) Head Start and Early Head Start Center in Leander, Texas near Austin. This program is a comprehensive child and family development program that prepares children from birth to age 5 to become successful school students and productive members of society. WBC Head Start was started in the mid-1960’s and has grown into a multi-faceted program in not only child development, but also health, nutrition, mental health and social services.

Children from birth to age five who are from families with incomes below the poverty guidelines are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services. Federal poverty guildeline for a family is $25,100. Children from homeless families, and families receiving public assistance such as Temproary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are also eligible. Babies from a local program for teen mothers are also enrolled in the Leander Center.

There are 15 Head Start Programs in Williamson and Burnet Counties. Babies and children enrolled in the Program receive nutrition, dental, health, vision, emotional wellness and education screenings, follow-up and treatment as necessary.

Head Start graduates are more likely to finish high school and go to college. They are also more likely to be in good health as adults. The Center has a tremendous impact on people’s lives and the community as a whole.

Please enjoy these pictures of the quilts that were part of this delivery and of the quilts being delivered to children at the Center!


-Nancy Alderman and Kim Bell


Quilts For Volusia County’s Homeless Students

April 26, 2018

Early this year we worked with the Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild in New Smyrna Beach, Florida to deliver quilts to homeless students in Volusia County, Florida. Some of these students are living with other homeless family members and others have aged out of the foster care system. Many are living in tents, cars or shelters. And many of them had their conditions worsened by Hurricane Irma, which swept through the state in September. While Florida winters don’t typically compare to the winters experienced in the northern Midwest, this year they had a lot of nights in the 20’s and 30’s, and when you’re living in a tent, a quilt is a very good thing to have at night!

I delivered the quilts to my friend, Dottie Monville, who was coordinating the effort for the Pelican Piecemakers. Here’s Dottie loading bags filled with quilts into her car.

IMG_1646 IMG_1648

We recently received thank you notes from some of the children who received quilts:

Many of the quilts we delivered to this initiative were donated to us at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this year.  The thumbnails don’t do these gorgeous quilts justice.  To see a closer view of these quilts, click on the pictures.  You can also see the names of the creators that way.

The little guy helping me with selection and placement of quilts is named Buddy.

Great thanks to all the great quilters who have helped the Homeless Students of Volusia County to have a more warm and wonderful winter this year!





March Fat Quarter Challenge

April 22, 2018

The sun is shining and it’s beginning to look like spring!  Mother Nature sure has been quirkly these past few months.  We had an unusually heavy snow storm in southwest VA and lost our power for 5 days.  Needless to say we are now loving this warmer weather.

Unfortunately I did not receive any fat quarter quilts for March and as of now none for April.    For the month of March, our random winner was a repeat winner, Kathleen Rountree from Castro Valley, CA.  She actually returned her FQ quilt in November.  You can read the November blog post here.   Kathleen will receive a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop who has been such a wonderful contributor for our organization.  Please check out their online store.


There are only 8 days left in April, but still time to submit a FQC quilt.  I know with the weather improving it is harder to stay inside and sew, but think of the great odds of winning a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop if you turn in a quilt now.

Cheers, Tina

The Joy of Quilting

April 14, 2018
One of the great joys of quilting is that it is so uniquely personal, so calming, so solitary. But sometimes the greatest joy is in the fellowship – enjoying a shared passion while you work together for a common cause.
This past week women of the Dunn’s Corners Community Church Presbyterian in Westerly, Rhode Island gathered for the first of three scheduled sewing workshops designated specifically for Quilts Beyond Borders.
I am the Northeast Regional Coordinator for QBB. During a trip to Westerly last summer I was invited to the Dunn’s church to talk about the QBB mission. Plans for workshops quickly took shape.
Last week I brought posters of kids who have received our quilts with me, along with fabric, rotary cutters, boards and a sewing machine. When I got to Fellowship Hall I saw a charming and organized set-up, piles of fabric, lots of machines, and faces filled with enthusiasm. I didn’t know these women, but now I do. We made kits, sewed tops and ate the most delicious Italian Sausage and Cabbage Soup – thanks to Lois Gardner who organized the event and made the soup.
I look forward to sewing with these women again in May and June, when once again we will laugh, share stories, sewing tips and chocolate, and enjoy working together for a very worthwhile cause.
Karen Matheson