Archive for April, 2013

Karen Vander Stoep, Linda LaFleur, and the Gold Canyon Quilters

April 28, 2013

Karen at Houston 2012

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.”

 BlueGreenStripe Butterfly Daisies - PinkStrip

Dinosaur Fiesta HeartDoodle Hummingbird

MultiColor OrangeBlocks OrangeGeo OverTheMoon

PiecedButterfly Puppies  PurpleFootball PurpleSnowball

Turning20 LavenderFlowers YoungAtHeart


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!!


Delivery to Children in Black Mesa, Navajo Nation

April 14, 2013

Quilts Beyond Borders has been working with Forgotten People, an organization dedicated to helping the Navajos living in the Bennett Freeze Area. The people who live there were legally prohibited from even putting electricity and running water in their homes until recently, and nights get cold there this time of year so the quilts we provided were very happily received by the children living there. We recently received photos of a delivery by Forgotten People to children at the Mesa View Baptist Church in Black Mesa.

Choices 1Choices 2???

Mabel Benallyand Fern BenallyLg groupBig group 2

Bigger group 3Bigger group 4

Close up kid w blanket 1Close up kid w blanket 2Close up kid w blanket 4Close up kid w blanket

The smiles on the faces of the children are wonderful to see!   Great thanks to all the quilters who helped to make this delivery possible!



Woohoo! Soccer Fabric from Carrie and 16 tops from the Willoughby Wallace Library Quilters

April 7, 2013

Soccer is loved by boys all over the world, so you can just imagine how excited I was to return home to find a wonderful box of about 30 yards of fabric with a soccer theme! Carrie in Houston, Texas had donated some fabric to us late last year which included some soccer fabric. At the time I had told her how one of the young Ethiopian boys we gave a quilt to had asked if he could turn his quilt in for a smaller quilt with soccer balls in the fabrics, and so she was kind enough to set aside more soccer fabrics so we can make many more boys very happy in Ethiopia, Romania, India, Russia, and the other countries where we are providing quilts this year!


Carrie, thank you very much! Were going to use this in a lot of quilts, and there are going to be very happy boys all over the world, thanks to your generosity!

We were also blessed by a recent donation of quilt tops from the Willoughby Wallace Library Quilters in Stony Creek, CT. The tops were pieced by Kim Bennett and Ann Prota, and Deborah Hall and Ann Collier were kind enough to provide backs and binding for them so we could easily provide them to longarmers to turn into finished quilts. These beautiful modern scrappy tops are inspiring me to dive into my stash and see what I can come up with, too!
Jeanne_Prota-1 Jeanne_Prota-2 Kim_Bennett-1 Kim_Bennett-2 Kim_Bennett-3 Kim_Bennett-4 Kim_Bennett-5 Kim_Bennett-6 Kim_Bennett-7 Kim_Bennett-8 Kim_Bennett-9 Kim_Bennett-10 Kim_Bennett-11 Kim_Bennett-12 Kim_Bennett-13 Kim_Bennett-14

Ladies, thank you all for your kind and generous donations! I know the children who receive the quilts made from these fun tops and Carrie’s wonderful fabric are really going to cherish them!


Orphan Outreach Delivery in Kenya and Complete Quilts from Linda, Mattie and Donna

April 1, 2013

Paula Hayes of Orphan Outreach recently sent me some pictures of a quilt delivery by a team from Grand Rapids, Michigan to an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.   I know these children will appreciate the warmth of these quilts at night, as the weather averages in the 50’s at night all year round.

Quilts Nairobi 2013 pic 2

Quilts Nairobi 2013

We’re calling for more complete quilts over the next several months, as we have firm commitments for 300-350 for a Romanian orphanage, 200-250 for orphanages in Ethiopia, and we’re hoping to compile 25 more for India and some for Russia, all required by mid-July.  To inspire you, please take a look at these beautiful quilts we were sent by Donna Sciandra, Linda Dranchak (of Gull Cottage Quilting in West Bath, Maine) and Mattie Arnold.

D. Sciandra L. Dranchak (2)

L. Dranchak (3)   L. Dranchak (4)

L. Dranchak Mattie Arnold

These quilts are all wonderful stash-busters!  Hover your cursor over the picture to see who made it, and click on it to see a close-up.  Linda’s quilts will be split between Ethiopia and Romania.  Mattie’s is going to Romania, and Donna’s will be going to Ethiopia.  Look at earlier postings to see quilts that Donna sent for Romania also.  Ladies, thank you so much for these beautiful quilts!  You’ve inspired me to do more with my scraps!

Readers, if you’re  interested in making some quilts for one of our upcoming deliveries we’d love to have them!  Please send us a note at and we’ll be happy to tell you where to send them.

Thanks very much!  Regards,