Archive for February, 2013

Quilts for the Forgotten Navajo People of the Bennett Freeze Area

February 22, 2013

Late last year I attended my 40th (YIKES!! How did THAT happen????) High School Reunion, and reconnected with many people I knew from those years. One of those people, Kathleen Satterfield, contacted me to learn more about QBB. Kathleen spends most of her year in Arizona, and has a great interest in Native American culture. She suggested that quilts might be very needed on some of the reservations, and set out to find us a very good opportunity. Soon after she sent me a note which included the following:

“Forgotten People is a Navajo non-profit working on behalf of the Navajo living in an area known as the “Bennett Freeze”. It’s a long complicated story, but for over 50 yrs these folks have not been legally able to repair their homes or rebuild them. Only last year was the last of the legislation that created this nightmare repealed. So they have been living in broken down shacks, no heat, runnning water or electricity. (There’s a book that explains how this situation came to be, called “The Wind Won’t Know Me”). Forgotten People has been working with volunteers to build new homes, get water tanks installed, etc.”

Kathleen linked us up with Marsha Monestersky, the Program Director of Forgotten People, and we put together an initiative to deliver 100 quilts to children and their grandmothers (who are caregivers for the children).  The area these people live in is very cold this time of year, often reaching down to the 20’s at night.  It’s particularly cold this year, as many of you might know if you watched professional golf this week!

Quilts have come from Karen Vander Stoep and the Gold Canyon Quilters in AZ, the UU Quilters of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Tarpon Springs, FL, and Donna Sciandra, one of QBB’s most prolific volunteers.  Marsha will send us pictures of the distribution of the quilts in Arizona, but in the meantime, I’d like to share with you some of the pictures of the quilts that Donna made for this initiative:

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Donna’s quilts are always a treat to see.  She uses scraps like nobody’s business!  Sometimes her quilts are more traditional, like the friendship star quilt, and others are very free form, inventive and modern, but they’re always wonderful!  (Click on the thumbnails to see them close up.)   I know the children who receive these will love them!

If you look hard, you’ll see Donna’s feet in a couple of these pictures, but there’s more to Donna than just her feet and her quilts!  Donna, who lives in New York, came to Houston to help us in our booth at the 2011 IQF.  Here are a couple of pictures of Donna in our booth.  In one she’s helping one of the quilters who put together a top at our sit ‘n sew, and the other one I took in a quiet moment while she was sitting down for a well-deserved rest.

IMG_0866  Donna

Donna, thank you for all you do for us!  Also, great thanks to the Gold Canyon Quilters and the UU Quilters who have helped us out with so many initiatives over the years!   And thanks to Kathleen Satterfield and Marsha Monestersky for making this delivery possible!




Another Delivery to the Kichene Study Center in Ethiopia

February 14, 2013

One of the highlights of my trip to Ethiopia last April was a visit to the Kichene Study Center where we delivered 35 quilts to needy and orphaned pre-school children. The staff are amazing, energetic, upbeat people and Linda, Brenda, and I had a wonderful time, singing and dancing with the children, and giving them quilts.

Kichene also serves as a “feeding center” and at lunchtime they provide meals to 100 more needy and orphaned school-aged children from the community. Azarat, one of the staff members at Kichene asked if it would be possible for us to deliver more quilts for the older children, and with the help of Cherokee Gives Back, we gathered an additional 100 quilts over the next several months, which were transported by Cherokee volunteers to Addis Ababa.

In January, Cherokee volunteers Matt and Will and 3 students from NC State brought the quilts to Kichene. Here is a link to the photos they took:


Amy Vercler, the Director at Cherokee House in Addis Ababa sent us the link, and noted, “Matt went up to the school last week with Will, one of our volunteers, and 3 students from NC State that had brought over the last batch of quilts. The kids were VERY excited about the quilts (note some being tossed in the air in exuberance). There was also an exchange of singing, including the firenji performance of “Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes” as well as a rousing game of “Duck, Duck, Goose.” It was a delightful morning for all.”

Great thanks to Amy, Matt, Will and all the Cherokee volunteers, as well as QBB founders Noreen and June and all the quilters who made this delivery possible. Check out the pictures — you’ll see some very happy children!


Quilts from IQF Attendees are Starting to Roll In!

February 8, 2013

Every year Quilts Beyond Borders tries to attend the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, and we’ve been fortunate to have a charity booth there in the Exhibit section for the last several years. Among our activities in our booth is to sell quilts and native products for fundraising, and giving out some kits to attendees who’d like to make tops and quilts for us. This year we gave out about 200 kits, and we’ve begun to see some of these kits return to us in the form of beautiful quilts!  The three I’d like to feature today were picked up by Mary Shotwell of Iowa, Judy Pierce of Oregon, and Lynn Cartwright of Florida.

Mary Shotwell QuiltThe first quilt was both pieced, quilted, bound and labeled by Mary Shotwell.  It’s really a beautiful quilt.  Her pretty quilting of bubbly circles makes a very nice counterpoint to the very straight lines of the blocks and sashing.  Beautiful work, Mary!


The second quilt allowed me to connect Judy Pierce, the piecer, with Kathy Morrison, a professional longarm quilter who also lives in Portland. Judy was kind enough to kit it up for us with a pretty backing and coordinating binding, so it was ready to go straight to Kathy, without making any stops along the way.   This quilt is a tumbler pattern, which Kathy quilted using a pantograph called Music Meander, again a really pretty counterpoint to the straight edges of the piecing.  Kathy’s longarm business is called QuiltRocker  and you can see more of her lovely work by checking out her website at


The third quilt was pieced by Lynn Cartwright and sent to me for quilting.  Lynn attends the IQF in Houston every year with her Sister-in-Law, and we look forward to seeing her again later this year!  Lynn’s piecing was great, which made it easy for me to quilt!

I have to admit that when I look at our kits sometimes I wonder whether anyone will be able to turn “sow’s ears into silk purses”.  Sometimes it’s hard to visualize, and maybe I’m a little lacking when it comes to vision!  But I’m always so surprised and pleased to see the results!    Great thanks to all of the ladies who took part in making these beautiful quilts!   Mary, Judy, Kathy, and Lynn, thank you, thank you, thank you!!  I know the children who receive these quilts will love them!   My current plan is to take them with me to Ethiopia when I go later this year.



United Methodists of Gold Canyon Quilt Delivery

February 1, 2013

We recently received photographs from the United Methodists of  Gold Canyon after they returned from their trip to Costa Rica. Fay, our contact with the church, posted a funny note when she sent us the photographs, ” I’m attaching some of the quilt kids photos.  Look for the dog or dogs! They wandered in and out of the community building during our time with the children of the barrio. Thank you again for your facilitating the quilt distribution!”


It’s heartwarming to see the joy these children feel once they receive their very own personal quilt. We are so thankful to churches and organizations who distribute our quilts to children all over the world. Many thanks to the United Methodists for making this possible for Quilts Beyond Borders and these lovely kids.