January Fat Quarter Challenge

February 16, 2018

Today I needed some bright quilts to make me smile because the weather outside is so grey and dreary.  I received two quilts this month and both will make you smile.  Before showing you the quilts, I want to congratulate Donna Sciandra for the $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Donna sent in a FQ quilt during the month of December and you can see it on this blog post.  Congratulations Donna and thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring our monthly prize.

This month I received a quilt from Doris Miller of Alabaster, AL and another from Moira McSpadden of Garland, TX.  And what has become the trend, both of these quilters are part of the Sunshine Online Guild.  Their quilts are below:

Just a reminder to everyone that the odds of winning a monthly prize are high since only a few quilts have been turned in so far.  So before the wonderful weather gets here and we all want to spend time outside, why don’t you finish that FQC quilt.  Remember, the earlier you turn in your quilt the more chances to win since you are entered in every month’s drawing after that, and you could win more than once.

Cheers, Tina


Easy Quilting Patterns and Tips

February 5, 2018

Are you an aspiring or new quilter with a resolution to make and donate a quilt in 2018? Or maybe you picked up a fat quarter or quilt kit packet at the Quilts Beyond Borders booth at the International Quilt Festival and don’t know where to start? Well, we are here to help!

First, please take a look at the links on this site for QBB’s guidelines and requirements, start here: Dimensions and Criteria.

There are many free resources for beginning quilters on the internet, ranging from tutorials to videos. Here are some of our favorites:

  • This blog from Diary of a Quilter offers several helpful instructional links for each step of the planning and quilting process.
  • The website All People Quilt has hundreds of free quilt patterns, instructions and tips, including patterns for using fat quarters or scraps that won’t break the bank and are simple yet beautiful.
  • Here is some inspiration for transforming the 5-inch ‘charm squares’ we distributed at the IQF into a beautiful custom quilt.
  • This video from Professor Pincushion provides a detailed step by step tutorial on how to sew a simple quilt.

Once you are done piecing the top, we hope that you want to take on the next steps of quilting and binding! Remember that Quilts Beyond Borders quilts may be used and washed in harsh conditions, so any quilts sent our way must be machine quilted and binding sewn by machine as well. You can find more information about quilting for us on the right column of this page under “Pages

Here is a video from Missouri Star Quilt Company, which has many great videos and tutorials online, on how to bind a quilt using a sewing machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GVA05MxXTU

When you have sewn your quilt top or completed the quilt, please email us at quiltsbeyondborders@gmail.com for instructions on next steps and where to send your masterpiece! Thank you for deciding to make a gift of love through QBB, and please share your favorite quilting resources, patterns and tips in the comments!

Holiday Quilt Delivery to Navajo Nation

January 25, 2018

An Arizona angel named Marsha delivered 500 quilts from Quilts Beyond Borders (QBB) to the Navajo nation in northern Arizona in late December 2017.  Marsha received boxes and boxes of QBB quilts and stored them in her friend’s living room until she and her elves could take two weeks to visit children and seniors in their schools, communities and private homes, planning her visits to coincide with holiday parties at Chapter Houses and Senior Centers. She appreciates Quilts Beyond Borders and said “the quilts for the children and elderly bring such happiness and hope” as well as provide a warm blanket for the cold Navajo reservation nights.  As she shared these quilt blessings, she said “We saw so many happy children and elderlies”.

This is the 5th year we have been distributing quilts with help from Marsha of Forgotten People. Please enjoy some photos below!

Sherree Newhouse, Southwest Regional Coordinator

More Quilts Sent to Syrian Refugees

January 19, 2018
Today you helped us send 55 quilted ambassadors of love to the Syrian refugees. It is expensive for us to send 9 boxes of quilts to our contact in Seattle who will ship these quilts and other supplies directly to needy refugees. But the refugee situation is certainly worth it.
Sheila Hughes, from Medway, Massachusetts was quilting in overdrive this summer! She is an extremely generous person. She has donated many boxes of gorgeous fabric, dozens and dozens of quilts and a substantial number of crisp Ben Franklins.. 42 of Sheila’s quilts were in today’s delivery!
Below are pictures of the quilts that were sent today and the captions identify each talented maker.  Thank you all for your continued dedication to the QBB effort.
Karen – Northeast Regional Coordinator

From the Northwest and Beyond – Quilts Delivered to Mary’s Place

January 16, 2018

We recently sent 80 quilts to children at Mary’s Place in Seattle which provides a safe place for homeless children and women to sleep at night. They have 7 night shelters in the Seattle area that house over 500 people as well as a day center. They also provide 2 daily meals, hygiene facilities, showers, laundry, medical care and support groups. Their goal is to help find permanent housing for families, employment and available benefits as well. I am grateful for your help so these children can stay warm at night and be comforted by the quilts you have made.

Below are pictures of the quilts we provided and you can click on the picture to see who made and quilted them. Thank you so much for all the quilts and the lovely colors and patterns are sure to bring joy and happiness to the children who receive them!

Susan Schmidt,  Northwest Regional Coordinator


December Fat Quarter Challenge Quilts

January 12, 2018

It’s hard to believe that December has come and gone, and it was one to remember with the bone chilling weather in so much of the country.  I live in southwestern VA and we were hitting negative windchills for 10+ days.  When the temps actually hit 15 one day with no wind, I thought it felt warm out.   Because of the weather, it was difficult to take pictures of the 3 quilts that I received during December for the FQ Challenge, but I was finally able to get photos outside.

All quilts received during the FQ Challenge year are entered into the monthly drawing.  This month, the winner was Kathleen Rountree who submitted her quilt in November.  You can see her quilt in this blog post.  Kathleen has won a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring our monthly prize.

This month the three quilts were from Carol Egan, Mendota Heights, MN; Donna Sciandra, Buffalo, NY; and Susan Trzcinski, Anacortes, WA.  Carol and Susan are Sunshine Members.  If you hover over the photo, you will see the quilter’s name.

Thanks to our volunteers and the Fat Quarter shop!

Stay warm, Tina

From the Northwest and Beyond – Navajo Nation Christmas Delivery

January 9, 2018

Once again we provided quilts for the Christmas delivery to children and the elderly in the Navajo Nation. They went to 6 different areas in Arizona in time for the cold winter weather. We have heard the quilts were received with appreciation and excitement for all the beautiful quilts we sent. As an organization we were able to meet our goal of 500 quilts to the Navajo Nation for 2017 and our Northwest regional group sent 167 of these. We know that pictures were taken of the deliveries and they will be posted as soon as we have received them. You can see the pictures of the quilts we sent below and you can click on the picture to see who made and quilted each quilt.

Thanks to all of you for the beautiful quilts and sharing your gifts and talents to help provide warmth to all who received them. I hope your holidays were filled with joy and happy times with family and friends. Thanks again for all you do and your support!

– Susan Schmidt, Northwest Regional Coordinator


How Do We Choose Where to Deliver Quilts?

January 4, 2018

As President of Quilts Beyond Borders, I enjoy talking with curious supporters from around the world and recently received a thought-provoking question about our mission focusing on “under-served children, mainly orphans, across the world to provide a handmade quilt”. So, how DO we choose where to deliver these gifts made with love?

When we were founded, one of the world’s greatest challenges was the HIV/AIDs crisis, and the resulting orphan crisis that was spreading throughout Africa, among other places.  Ethiopia had the greatest orphan population in the world with more than 5 million orphans at that time.  A visit to the orphanages in that country at that time would have given you a view of skeletal children waiting for death, and those were the children that touched the hearts of our founders and spurred the creation of Quilts Beyond Borders (QBB), because they felt a need to help these children in some way, if only to bring some warmth, comfort and color into their lives for the short times they had left.

I became involved in the second year, because as a new quilter I was running out of relatives to quilt for, and because I had spent my childhood in Ethiopia, so I really wanted to help the people of the country that had been my home for so many years.

We rely on volunteers to travel and deliver our quilts in person and do not use international mail so that we can directly ensure these gifts actually get where they are intended to go. In 2008, economic conditions required that we expand our focus beyond Ethiopia and devise new ways to distribute the quilts to children who needed them.

The next “under-served” area that was selected for our quilts was Haiti, after the earthquake which occurred there in 2010, destroying an orphanage in the mountains there along with many other buildings and institutions in Haiti.  After that we partnered with an organization that was providing quilts to victims of the tsunami in Japan.  Over the next several years we partnered with many charities, churches and organizations to bring quilts to needy children and orphans in Africa, Europe, Asia, Central and South America. In January of 2013 we made our first deliveries in the US, providing quilts to needy children and elders living in the Navajo Nation.

Political situations throughout the world have caused some areas to fall into our “under-served” definition.  For instance, since 2013 we’ve given almost 3000 quilts to children in Syrian Refugee camps in Jordan, Greece and Lebanon through a humanitarian group we work with.

2017 was unusual for us, because the US and world political climate impacted travel plans and preferences of our normal transportation network. With fewer travelers, we focused closer to home while continuing to give quilts to Syrian refugees, Guatemalan newborns, and to orphanages in Haiti.  But half of our quilts were provided to needy children and some adults across the United States:  Homeless students in Volusia County, Florida; Foster children in Appalachia; Homeless and needy families in Dayton, Ohio; Children and elders living in poverty in the Navajo Nation;  Sex-trafficking victims as young as 5 years old; Homeless and bereaved children in Minnesota who have been affected by HIV/AIDs; and Women and children in domestic violence shelters in the Seattle area.

I’ve been asked if we have any requirements that a child be any specific religion or have a minimum grade-point average.  I know that we’ve given quilts to children who are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and a lot of other religions.  We have no religious constraints and work with both churches and secular charities to get quilts to children in need. And frankly, if a child can’t sleep warmly at night, how are they going to be able to stay awake in school, study and be able to maintain their grades?   So GPA is not a requirement either.

Over the past decade we’ve given thousands of quilts to children in 27 countries, including the US.  The actual meaning of “under-served” has been rather fluid, simply because conditions in many countries (including ours) change over time. The one thing that has not and will not change, is our passion for spreading comfort, love and hope to those who are suffering. Is the child needy?  Do the nights get cold?  That’s what counts.


International Quilt Festival 2017

December 29, 2017

We hosted a charity booth in Houston at the International Quilt Festival (IQF) which takes place at the end-of-October, beginning-of-November every year. If you’ve never been to the IQF in Houston, I recommend you add it to your bucket list. Hundreds of amazing quilts are juried into the show from around the world, and there are hundreds of vendors and lots and lots of classes covering every aspect of quilting.

At our booth we typically give out information about our charity and kits for people to make tops or longarm quilts for us.  This year we gave out a record number of kits  — 325 kits were checked out by 196 women.  That might sound like a big risk, but we prefer to think of it as an “investment”, and we’ve found it pays off within just a couple of years.  We give out enough fabric to make a top, and it is often returned to us with backing and binding, sometimes already made up in a completed quilt, and often accompanied by more tops and quilts!  Our 2016 investment is currently up to a 114% Return on Investment (ROI), and our ROI for 2012 and 2013 is over 125%.    Some of those kits are returned to us as tops and quilts years later, sometimes at the show and sometimes via the mail when people send us an email at quiltsbeyondborders@gmail.com to find out the address of their nearest Regional Coordinator. This year show attendees brought us 164 completed quilts and 94 completed tops.  During the coming weeks many of those quilts will be going to homeless and needy students in Florida and Texas, and  children in Syrian Refugee camps in Greece and Jordan.   Stay tuned to the blog, and you’ll see pictures of many of those beautiful quits as we get them packed up for delivery.

At the show we also sell products from countries where we’ve delivered quilts and we sell some beautiful quilts which we’ve been given permission by their makers to sell for fundraising purposes.  This year we also sold many mug rugs, pin cushions, keychains, bookmarks, iron caddies and other items that were handmade for us by wonderful volunteers throughout the United States.  Our charity has no paid staff and every penny we make at the booth goes to getting more quilts to more children. This year the very first quilt we sold was one that was made by the Ladies of St. James the Less and quilted by Debby Conor of the Northern Illinois LongArm Guild (NILAG), two organizations that have made many beautiful quilts for QBB over the years.

Great thanks to all the wonderful quilters, crafters and volunteers who helped to make this year’s fundraising booth at the IQF a success.  We would love to meet you next year, and if you have completed a quilt from one of our kits, you can drop it off to us then as well!

Happy Holidays and Thank You!

December 24, 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, we wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and blessings for a fabulous 2018!

We have much to be grateful for in 2017 at Quilts Beyond Borders.  We delivered over 2100 quilts to needy children and people this year, with the help of 13 partner organizations around the world, including 1000 quilts to children in Syrian Refugee camps, 500 to needy children and elders in the Navajo Nation, and 120 to HIV-affected and homeless teenagers participating in Camp Heartland.

Other recipients included:

  • Children in an orphanage in Haiti;
  • Needy newborns in Guatemala;
  • Needy children in an Early Education project in Apalachia;
  • Children affected by domestic violence in Seattle, Washington;
  • Children of needy families in Austin, Texas and Dayton, Ohio;
  • Rescued sex-trafficked victims in Baltimore, Maryland;
  • A program providing winter shelter for homeless in the New River Valley, Virginia.

We couldn’t have accomplished this without our many supporters, quilters, donors and friends. We are already preparing for more deliveries in 2018!

As we reflect on the many things we are thankful for, the wonderful and generous quilters who give of their time and talent to finish so many wonderful quilts for needy children are at the top of the list! Thank you all, and we wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season!

The Quilts Beyond Borders Team

Winter Quilt - Betty of TX

Winter Warmth Quilt – Betty of TX