Archive for October, 2011

Bounty of Tops!

October 27, 2011

We just received a whole bunch of tops from Marilyn in CT – 32 in all.  Marilyn has obviously piecing these tops for a while and her variety of fabrics is awesome.  These are all cheerful and just a sampling of the tops she made.  Wow!  Thank you, Marilyn.  These tops once they are quilted will make some needy children very happy.



5 Cute Quilts — tops from England and West Virginia, quilted by Marlene and Emma

October 26, 2011

Today we’re featuring 5 cute quilts which were quilted by Marlene Kolz and Emma Everett, both members of the Northern Illinois Long Arm Guild (NILAG).

The first two quilts are from tops which were sent to me by Kathy Osland-Moore, in England. She and her friends sent me two boxes of lovely tops, which were sent to long armers in many part of the US. Emma Everett, who does some professional quilting here in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, quilted the first with flowers and leaves, and the second with swirls.

The third quilt, which Emma quilted with feathers, circles and swirls, was from a top sent by Mary Ellen Kinkel, who quilts with a group of talented ladies called the Sisterhood of the Thimble in West Virginia. The Sisterhood sent me a large box of tops, which, like the tops from England, were distributed to long armers all over the US.

The Sisterhood of the Thimble also created the tops for the next two quilts. These were quilted by Marlene, who quilted the disappearing 9-patch with playful loops and quilted the embroidered quilt with a pattern of echoed hearts.

All the quilts turned out so beautifully! I know the children who receive them will love to snuggle in them! Thank you, Ladies!


Tops from Donna and Isabel

October 24, 2011

Donna Sciandra in Buffalo, NY created the first six tops, and Isabel Adams from Vicksburg, MS created the last two tops.  Both ladies did a great job making these darling tops.  They will definitely will bring some cheerfulness to the lives of the children who receive them.   These tops will be going to International Quilt Festival in Houston and hopefully we will have some longarmers stop by the booth and take these home to quilt and then return to us.   Thank you, Isabel and Donna.


20 quilts from Audrey in North Carolina!

October 23, 2011

Audrey from North Carolina is a master with scraps. She is one of our most prolific quilters and has been supporting QBB for years. Enjoy the pictures of the beautiful quilts that she made. One of her earlier quilts was given to a girl at AHope orphanage when we delivered quilts in May. The girl had just arrived at the orphanage because her aunt was no longer able to take care of her. This girl had obviously just had her life turned upside down, and she was withdrawn and not comfortable yet in her new environment. We were able to give her one of Audrey’s beautiful quilts which hopefully has been providing her warmth and comfort as she adjusts to her new life. Thank you, Audrey, for the wonderful work that you do and for sharing it with the children who need all that a quilt provides.

Kits from Ida, Blocks from Faith’s Aunt, and Disappearing 9-Patch – Tops Finished

October 22, 2011

Ida in California has been a very generous supporter of QBB with donations of fabric. This year she surprised me with some kits already cut out. I finally have been able to finish the tops at least. They turned out really cute, and I just love Ida’s color choices and combinations. Had some computer issues, but finally got the pictures uploaded. These sewed up really fast and were fun to make.

The next group are some blocks that Faith’s aunt had in her stash which Faith gifted to QBB. They look awesome all put together.

And the last 2 are Disappearing 9-patch tops I made just using up some scraps of fabric. I still want to try the disappearing 9-patch pattern, but using a main fabric for the bigger blocks.

Thank you to Ida, Faith, and Faith’s aunt. We can’t continue to do this without all the help from you.

Double Your Pleasure – Joanne and Donna (with tops by Richard and Jennifer)

October 18, 2011

Longarm quilting can be a very solitary pursuit. Let’s face it, we can’t exactly drag our 12’Lx4’Dx3’H frames and our 40 pound longarms to guild meetings, bees and buddy’s houses without a great deal of work, expense and preparation! However, it’s lovely to have a friend in your area who shares this marvelous longarming addiction, to get together from time-to-time to share new ideas, techniques and challenges. I’m very lucky to be in a longarm guild in my area, and recently I’ve had a couple of situations where two longarmers were getting together to send all the QBB tops they’d quilted back to me — sharing postage and leveraging their good ideas and techniques.

The first twosome that has sent quilts to me is comprised of two friends from Massachusetts, Donna Babchuck and Joanne Dana.

The first 6 quilts were done by Joanne. Of those, the first three were made by Richard Miller (who is one of our most prolific “toppers”, and has turned it into a family affair by inspiring his wife, Martha, to create tops for us as well!) Continuing the “family affair” theme, the next three quilts were pieced by Joanne’s daughter, Jennifer James, of Arizona. Jennifer created these tops for her mother to practice on, when Joanne first started quilting, and they’re just adorable. Joanne used a variety of techniques on these 6 quilts, from meandering, to hearts, flowers, baptist fans and swirls.

The next four quilts were quilted by Donna, who has a business called Calendar Quilts & Crafts. Donna quilted these with meanders, swirls, and clamshells. Hmmmm… that first quilt looks suspiciously as though Jennifer might have been involved in that one as well!

All 10 quilts are just adorable. I know there will be 10 children really enjoying the fruits of your labors! Thank you!


Thanks, Jan Smith and Sally B!

October 11, 2011

Today we’re featuring 7 quilts from Jan Smith and Sally B.

The first 3 quilts were quilted by Jan Smith, who quilts and embroiders professionally. Her business is “Stitchin on the Fox” in Fox River Grove, Illinois. Jan free-motion quilted all three quilts, using patterns and motifs that complemented the fabric. Take special note of the second quilt. Jan’s sister-in-law, Carolyn Gerkin, was visiting, and Jan made this quilt a team project, with Carolyn meandering in the solid squares and Jan custom-quilting the printed squares. I’ll have to consider a project like this for sisterly bonding the next time my sister visits!

The thumbnails don’t do them justice, but for a closer look at the quilts, double click and then zoom in.

The next four quilts were quilted by Sally B, who quilts for pleasure. She chose some lovely pantos to compliment the tops. The sock monkey quilt was quilted with “Sprung”, by Jodi Beamish. It’s one of my favorite pantos, and considering the monkeys are jumping up and down on the bed, it seems very appropriate here! Sally quilted the musical quilt with Hermione Agee’s panto, “Windy Day” which has a lovely swirling pattern reminiscent of a treble clef. She quilted the batik quilt with Irene Steele’s panto, “Come Dance with Me”, and used Jodi Beamish’s “Wandering Daisies” for the floral quilt. All wonderful choices, Sally!

All of the quilt tops were received by me with no attribution for the piecers. If you know who pieced these wonderful quilts, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Sally, Jan, and Carolyn, thank you very much for the great work you did on these quilts. I know the children will love them!


Modern Day Pony Express

October 7, 2011

A couple of months ago I mentioned that a fellow had found our blog by Googling “growing up in Addis” and had contacted me. Buzz Gillis had lived there in 1960, when I was also there as a child. He was in the same school I went to and was trying to track down some of the people he knew back then and thought I might be able to provide some “bread crumbs” to lead him to where they are. While Buzz and I didn’t know each other back then (first graders don’t really hang out with sophomores!) since then we’ve formed an on-line friendship and we’ve both come into contact with many of the people who were in our school back then.

Buzz in Addis Ababa, 1961

It’s been quite wonderful for me, as I’ve been put in touch with an old friend, Lee, whose family was close with mine back then, and we’ve had a great time reminiscing. I’ve also made some new friends among Buzz’s peer group, and it’s been great to hear the memories of people who were teenagers when I was a tot. For instance, we had different perspectives of the coup. Mine consisted mostly of my mother making me stay close to the floor to avoid any stray bullets that might come through the windows, while some of the older kids had some much more harrowing experiences. On a lighter note, I had no idea there was so much jitterbugging and kissing going on among the big kids!!

As many of you know, QBB has been in the process of moving the center of our operations from North Carolina to Texas. Since 2007, Noreen and Rodger Fling were “Quilt Central” and most of the donated tops and quilts were sent to their address to await transport by volunteers to Ethiopia. Noreen was one of the founders of Quilts Beyond Borders, along with her daughter, Holly, and friend June Colburn. Last summer, with the agreement of June and Holly, Noreen called Carolyn Sower and me and asked us if we would consider taking over the management of QBB to allow the three founders to concentrate more on other aspects of their lives. Once we agreed to do that, we decided to move the operations to Texas where Carolyn lives year around. We’ve been incorporated as a non-profit entity in the State of Texas, and will be participating in the International Quilt Festival in Houston later this month.

Boxes of Quilts to be Moved

One of our challenges in picking up responsibility for QBB has been the process of consolidating our donations in one location that would be convenient for our volunteers to pick up quilts to take to Ethiopia. Houston was the obvious best place to serve as a distribution point, since Carolyn lives in that area and the Quilt Festival draws people from all over the planet. So we began to try to figure the best way to get the donated quilts that were being temporarily stored in North Carolina to Houston. Postage has always been one of the biggest expenses for QBB, and we were perplexed, trying to figure out how to get 12 boxes of quilts from Raleigh to Houston without breaking the bank.

Well, the Lord truly DOES move in mysterious ways! It turns out that Buzz, my new friend from my old home town, is in the process of moving from Raleigh to Texas, and going right through Houston! And he agreed to move them for us!

Noreen and Rodger Fling with Pony Express Delivery

So last week Rodger and Noreen brought the 12 boxes of quilts to Buzz’s place, loaded them in his vehicle, and he brought them to Carolyn in Texas. He said he was happy to help with what he considers a very worthwhile charity.

Buzz and Granddaughter Marilyn

Thank you SO much, Buzz! I usually think of “Quilt Angels” as those very nice ladies with the gloves who help out at the quilt shows, but you bring a whole new dimension to the term. You’re QBB’s Pony Express Quilt Angel! You rock!


8 Great Quilts! Thank you, Kelly, Lou, Carolyn, Mary, Bonita and Pat!

October 6, 2011

Today we’re featuring quilts sent to us by quilters Kelly, from the Quilted Feather in Redding, CA and Lou (Facebook page “Lou’s Quilt’n Corner”) in Copperas Cove, TX.

The first two quilts below were quilted by Kelly, using a stacked loopy swirl pattern. The first top was made by Carolyn in Texas, and the second one by Mary. When they arrived I was getting ready to share a booth with my friend, Deb Figved, who represents Pellon batting, at the Northwestern Suburbs Quilt Guild in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The lion is a symbol of Ethiopia, so I knew I wanted to use the lion quilt in the booth. The other quilts I used were a Sudoku quilt created by my friend Brenda Barnett and myself, and a eye-catching and playful yellow print quilt by Gail Coles. (We’ve shown this quilt before in a previous post.) We got a lot of really nice comments on all three quilts, and I think they drew a lot of people over to learn about Quilts Beyond Borders. A picture of the booth is below.

The next 6 quilts were all quilted by Lou, and bound by her friend Pat W. The first two were from tops made by Carolyn in Texas, and quilted with loops and meanders. The next 4 were made by Bonita in Texas. Bonita, age 96, is our most experienced piecer, and one of our most prolific! Lou custom-quilted the two sampler quilts with patterns that enhanced the traditional blocks, and quilted the scrappy quilts with loopy meanders.

Ladies, thank you all for making these lovely quilts. I know the children who receive them will love them.


Seven More Quilts — Thanks to Marj, Leslie, Seiko, Bonita, Donna and Jean!

October 2, 2011

We’ve received 7 completed quilts recently from Marj in Michigan and Leslie Allen in West Virginia.

The first four are from Marj. She pieced and quilted the first two, the blue one with custom quilting of stars, echoes, a loopy motif and cabled border, and the pink one with grids. We greatly appreciate the generous donation of these two lovely quilts! The yellow, blue and pink quilt was pieced by Seiko in Japan, and was quilted by Marj with a large floral panto. The last of the four quilts was pieced by Bonita from Texas, who at 96 is probably the most experienced of the wonderful volunteers who piece tops for QBB. Marj quilted it with a geometric pattern.

The next three quilts were quilted by Leslie Allen, from West Virginia. Leslie and her husband, Curt, have a business called Finishing Touches Quilting Studios, and Curt is the inventor and manufacturer of “Leslie’s Husband’s Hopping Foot” and makes micro-handles for several longarm quilting machines including Voyager 17, Juki, Indigo by Nolting, Tin Lizzie and others. Leslie quilts professionally. You can see their products and Leslie’s gallery at this url:

The first quilt below was pieced by an unknown volunteer (if you recognize it, please tell us so we can give credit where credit is due!) and quilted by Leslie with a pattern of continuous swirls. The red, black and scrappy quilt was pieced by Jean. Leslie chose a lovely shade of green to quilt meanders which harmonize beautifully with the colorful fabrics. The red, white and blue homespun quilt was pieced by Donna Sciandra, one of our “frequent piecers” who has donated many tops to QBB and will be helping us in our booth in Houston next month. Leslie quilted it with a pattern of loops and stars which go beautifully with the Americana feel of the quilt.

Great thanks to all the wonderful ladies who worked to create these quilts. I know the children will be very pleased to receive them!