Archive for July, 2016

Quilter’s Spotlight: Helen Baczynski

July 31, 2016

This month we’re debuting a new feature on our blog, Quilter’s Spotlight. Over the years we’ve received many beautiful quilts from quilters who are well-known or very prolific contributors, and we wanted to feature some of those people who have so generously contributed their time, their talents and so many beautiful quilts to us.

Helen Baczynski falls into both categories, as she’s especially well-known in the longarming world, where she’s been an instructor at many major shows and is an intelliquilter maven, who has contributed more than 60 quilts that I know of to Quilts Beyond Borders over the years.  Helen was kind enough to agree to  be our first quilter in the spotlight, so we sent her some questions which she has answered for us.


We asked Helen to send us her picture, and a picture of her favorite quilt.  Here they are!   Many of you will no doubt recognize Helen as the lovely woman with the long silver hair that you may have seen at shows teaching classes or on the vendor floor.

Hometown & State:              Springfield, South Dakota

Years Quilting:                       Oh, so many!

Favorite Quilting Style:      I love scrappy quilts but am also drawn to modern ones.

Quilt Guild or Group:           Just a small Springfield group. We only  meet once a month during the winter. I think we must all be too busy in the summer.

Why do you volunteer with Quilts Beyond Borders?   It satisfies my need to make quilts. I like the small size QBB needs – they are fast to make. I can try out new patterns and am challenged to only work from my stash of fabrics. I often need to buy backings, however. I make the whole quilt from start to finish.

I really like the fact that the QBB quilts are hand delivered to the children and people who need them and that photos are posted on the blog. It’s more personal than just sending them off to an organization without any knowledge of where they end up. QBB can be trusted to get the quilts to where they are needed.

How did you learn about Quilts Beyond Borders?    I really can’t remember how I found out about QBB.

How did you learn to quilt?    No-one quilted in my family but we all sewed clothing. That bag of dress making scraps caught my eye and I started out hand piecing hexagons using the English paper piecing method when I was in high school in the late ‘60’s. The patchwork, or piecing, was all I was interested in for a very long time. I started quilting in the late 1990’s and in 1998, bought my Gammill quilting machine. I’m self-taught.

 Where do you get quilting inspiration?   Mostly from seeing photos of other quilts, but I also like challenges, such as making a quilt to fit a theme, or having to use a provided fabric.

What’s your favorite quilting tip or technique?   Just enjoy the process – there are no rules so don’t worry about how you do things or the look of the finished quilt. If you like it, that’s all that matters.

What else should we know about you?  I grew up in England and trained as a teacher. I met my husband on Ascension Island when I was teaching at the school there. (Now search to find out where that is J) We were married in 1984 and I have lived in the U.S.A. ever since except for about a year when we worked in Saudi Arabia.

I quilted as a business for several years when we lived in Las Vegas.  Now I simply enjoy making quilts for myself and a few good causes – QBB being the main one.


Here is the most recent group of quilts that Helen has sent us.  Some will be headed to Ethiopia and some to Syrian Refugee camps in Greece and Jordan.  She has also kindly give us permission to sell some of them at the IQF in Houston this year to raise some funds to pay for excess baggage expenses and supplies to get more quilts to more children.

Helen, thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us over the years!  There are many children sleeping warmly wrapped in your beautiful quilts!




Quilts from the Northern Illinois LongArm Guild

July 28, 2016

(NOTE:  This entry has been edited 8/4/2016 to identify quiltmakers that were unidentified or erroneously identified earlier.  I apologize for the errors, and I thank my traveling buddy, Julie Nash, for unpacking her bags packed for Ethiopia to check on labels and let me know!)

I’m a longarmer, and I’ve learned from my own experience that longarming can be a very lonely pursuit. We typically work on very large machines on very large frames in very isolated rooms, all by ourselves. So it’s absolutely wonderful that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the Northern Illinois LongArm Guild, NILAG, which has members from a lot of different places in the northern half of the state and meets every two months. At the meetings we normally have an educational speaker, we share tips & techniques, and we have “drag ‘n brag” to show some of the items we’ve done over the last couple of months. It’s a great group of talented and knowledgeable ladies, who very generously share their knowledge and experience, and also finish a lot of wonderful quilts for QBB and for Quilts of Valor.

Today I’m featuring some beautiful quilts finished by several of these very talented ladies.  I have to say that my fellow NILAG members deluge me with lovely finished quilts at every meeting.  Occasionally I get home and don’t know who finished which ones.  This time I have a few that I couldn’t figure out, and I may have attributed some of these to the wrong person, but if I’ve mis-identified your quilt, please let me know so I can correct it! (NOTE 8/4/2016 – since putting out this blog I’ve been informed of the identifications of the makers of several of these quilts, so notes throughout in italics will make those corrections and additions.)

The following quilts were quilted by Sandi Smith, Marilyn Miller, Nancy Mueller, Carol Paxton, Deb Connor, Marlene Kolz, Judith White, Tammy Marler, me, and there are a few where I need some help to identify the quilter.  (Addition –  some of these quilts were quilted by Jan Edleson and Jen Beatty).  Almost all of them were pieced by members of the St. James the Less Episcopal Church in Northbrook, a wonderful group of ladies that has provided hundreds of quilts and tops to us, almost from the very beginning of QBB!  To find out who created a specific quilt, and to get a closer look, please click on the quilt.

First, let me show you the ones that were quilted by Sandi Smith.  Piecers included Sarah, Jill, Betsy, Linda and Susan.  (Correction – the very first quilt was made by Linda and quilted by Tammy.)

The following quilts were completed by Tammy Marler.   Piecers were Jackie and Anita.


The next three quilts were pieced and quilted by Carol Paxton.  Carol and I are members of two guilds together, NILAG and the Pelican Piecemakers in Florida.  Carol knew I was trying hard to get enough quilts for a Baby Box initiative for Syrian Refugees in Greece, so she made these cute quilts to help me meet the requirements.


Next we have quilts from Nancy Mueller, pieced by Jackie, Linda, Bev and Jill.


And here are some quilts finished by Deb Connor.  Piecers include Anita and Jackie.


Marilyn Miller quilted the next quilts, pieced by Tammy, Jill and Anita.

Marlene Kolz quilted the next quilts.  Piecers were Jill, Sue and Nancy.

Judith White pieced and quilted this quilt:

Judith W-001

The following quilt was pieced by Carol Egan of the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild and quilted by  me:

Carol E & Carla T

The next quilt I brought home and then discovered I didn’t have a label for it and I wasn’t sure who’d quilted it.  If you did it, or you know who did, please let me know so I can attribute it correctly.  (Correction:  This quilt was made by Linda, quilted by Tammy.)


The next quilts were photographed by me and then sent immediately off to be included in a suitcase full of quilts being taken to needy children and orphans in Ethiopia.  I knew they’d been pieced by ladies of St. James the Less, and I knew they’d been quilted by NILAG members, but unfortunately the page where I had written the details on who created each quilt somehow ended up lost as I traveled to Florida.  So if you know who quilted or pieced these, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

(Correction – I have received identifications for these quilts.  Because they seem to change positions, between editing and appearing on the blog (yikes!!) I have described them rather than indicating their position on the page.) 

  • Teddy Bears and Sailboats:  Pieced by Jill, quilted by Jen;
  • Blue/Yellow/Orange rectangles with cats:  Pieced by Betsy, quilted by Jan;
  • Green with flowers and yellow inner borders:  Quilted by Nancy, pieced by Bev;
  • Peach, Coral and Dark Green rectangles:  Quilted by Jen, pieced by Michele;
  • Quilt with Trucks:  Quilted by Jen, pieced by Angel.

Ladies, thank you for making these lovely quilts!  I’m so glad I’m able to give credit where credit is due!)


Great thanks to all the wonderful piecers and quilters who made these wonderful quilts!  Many have gone to Jordan, or in containers to Greece for Syrian Refugees.  Others will be going to India, or will be traveling with me and others to Ethiopia in September.  Rest assured, wherever they end up, they will be greatly cherished by the children who receive them.





Quilts for Syrian Refugees

July 23, 2016

A special thank you for the 57 “CUTE” baby quilts that came from the Northwest Regional Group! So many of you stepped up last minute to help us reach our  goal of 200 for the Salaam Cultural Museum’s Baby Box Project. Normally we do not ask for baby quilts because most of our quilts go to older children.  However, this was an unusual circumstance, and we thought we could help the SCM with their baby box project.  Rita from SCM said so many of the Syrian refugee women have given birth since leaving Syria.

We had 30 quilts made by Deleen Kompkoff, Quirky Quilters from Salem Oregon, Karen Okerstrom, and Susan Schmidt. We had 27 tops pieced by Theola Breaux, Dede Cranford, Leona Ross, Pat Johnston, Louise Bird, June Berry, Mary Kolpack, Karen Okerstrom, and Susan Schmidt. They were quilted by Delleen Kompkoff, Laural Hertel, Rhonda Adler, Tomme Fent, Mary Craft, Heidi Oliver, and Lloyd Clemens. Hover or click on each picture to see who made them.

I want to express my thanks and gratitude to the 18 long arm quilters who help me so faithfully. They have quilted 111 quilts since the first of the year! The beautiful designs you do really make the quilts special. For everyone who has provided quilts and tops, I know they are made with love! I am blessed to have so many wonderful quilters help me through the first year of this job. In one year’s time our group of volunteers has sent out 226 quilts! I value the friendships I have made and your love for our children who get your beautiful quilts. Thank you for being a part of our group and promoting our program to others!

With a Grateful Heart!

Susan Schmidt    Northwest Regional Coordinator

Quilts to Rwanda

July 19, 2016

This past February, these beautiful quilts were delivered to children in Rwanda by Sewing God’s Seeds.    Quilts were made and quilted by Dorothy Gruber, Virginia Degnan, Glenda Orr,  Judy Warner, and Janet & Carol Jean Hubbard.  In addition, five of the quilts were pieced by one of our dedicated volunteers, Theola Breaux, and me.  They were quilted by Robin Reilly, Mary Craft, Rhonda Adler, and Laural Hertel. Hover or click on each picture to see who made them. The report back from SGS was that the children loved them!

Many thanks to our volunteers for helping us provide these beautiful quilts to children who will love and adore them.

Regards, Susan Schmidt   Northwest Regional Coordinator

Adorable Quilts from Pals at the Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild

July 16, 2016

I’m lucky to be a member of the Pelican Piecemakers Quilt Guild, a group of very talented quilters in New Smyrna Bearch, FL. They do a lot of great work for various charities that can use quilts. This winter several of the guild members made some adorable quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders to give to needy children and orphans in countries around the world. Here are some of those quilts from Jean Raulerson, Jeanne Ayers, Jeanne’ Cockrell, Fran Posick, Jan Schmidt and Beth Freese.

For a closer look, click on any of the photos.  To see who made which quilt, hover your cursor over the image.

Ladies, thank you all for these beautiful quilts!   I know the children who receive them will appreciate them for their warmth and because they are just so darned cute!  Some of them have already headed toward their final destinations, including a couple that have gone to children affected by HIV/AIDS at Camp Heartland and several that went to Salaam Cultural Museum for transport to Syrian refugee children in Jordan and Greece.  Others will be going with me to orphanages in Ethiopia in September.   Some other quilts by  Bettijean Meyer, Eleanor MacMillan, and Jeanne Ayers, (also members of the Pelican Piecemakers) were included in our June 4th blog and have been transported for inclusion in Baby Boxes for Syrian refugees.  And there will be a couple more from Carol Paxton coming up soon!

Great thanks, Pelican Piecemakers!  I look forward to seeing you all later in the year!




2016 Quilts

July 9, 2016

As the Western Regional Coordinator for Quilts Beyond Borders, many quilts have come through my door and then gone out for our various initiatives.  I apologize to all of you who have been checking the blog regularly in vain to see photos of your quilts.  I am a reluctant blogger.  I promise to do better in the future, starting today.

Many members of the online group Sunshine have donated quilts.  Pictured below are just a few of the quilts made by Sunshine members.  Quilters are Tammy S., Carol E.,  Joann S., Kathleen R., Sarah W., Beth P., Beth H., Kayla W. and many others.

Many thanks to all who have contributed their talents, fabric, time and energy to make quilts for children in need.

Your generosity will bless and keep many children warm and comforted.

Ann Drake, the reluctant blogger.