Archive for October, 2016

Quilter’s Spotlight: Mary Fons

October 22, 2016

I’m sure many of you are most familiar with Mary Fons from her work with her mother, Marianne Fons on Love of Quilting.  Mary has also made contributions to Quilts Beyond Borders, recently sending a quilt along with us to Ethiopia for a child there, and also creating a lovely quilt for us to sell in our booth at the IQF in Houston.

We asked Mary to send us her picture, and a picture of a favorite quilt.  Here they are!

Version 2   dutch-summer-flat-shot

Hometown & State:  Winterset, IA
Years Quilting:  8
Favorite Quilting Style:  Contemporary
Quilt Guild or Group:  Chicago Modern Quilt Guild
Your Website or Blog: — click on “PaperGirl” tab or just go to

Why do you volunteer with Quilts Beyond Borders?    When I learned of QBB, I just knew I had to donate a quilt (or two!) I have made quilts for Quilts of Valor here in the U.S., and that is a charity important to me and my mother, too. But we live in a global village and after reading of the work of QBB, I felt a tug on my heart and knew I’d have to contribute.

How did you learn about Quilts Beyond Borders?    I learned of QBB at Quilt Market, didn’t I, Susan?? Now I forget!   (Note from Susan:  “I met her at a quilt show in Puyallup Washington and talked with her about QBB.”)

How did you learn to quilt?   My mother is an accomplished quilter and quite famous in the quilt industry, but I actually learned mostly on my own. Quilt-making was my mother’s work, not a hobby, so my sisters and I didn’t really see making quilts as something we wanted to do! We did many other creative projects, instead. But when I was 28, I woke up with the desire to make a quilt, so I just started doing it. You could say it runs in the family.

Where do you get quilting inspiration?   Antique quilts knock me out. I use antique quilt blocks as inspiration. I find a block I love, play around with it in this or that fabric and setting, then design my quilt from there. I like modern quilts and art quilts, but I make contemporary quilts in that I use traditional blocks and designs but employ updated fabrics and put my own spin on things.

What’s your favorite quilting tip or technique?   Here’s how to wash a quilt:

  • Go to the laundromat so you can use the big, front-loader washing machine. The agitation is better in those machines than on a spindle machine at home.
  • Take your quilt, enough quarters, a soft detergent like Dreft or Orvus paste, and an old towel to the laundromat.
  • Put your quarters in. Put your detergent in. Put your quilt in. Fold that old towel several times and lay it at the base of the machine.
  • Push “start.”
  • Get down on your knees on that old towel and pray, pray, pray the entire time your quilt is in the washing machine that nothing bad happens. 😉

What else should we know about you?   All people who are creative and make things are valuable. But quilters are extraordinary makers.

We spend time, money, and tears, sometimes, on our creations and most of the time, we give what we make away. Quilts are expressions of love. They are functional art. Paintings are great, but you can’t take a nap under a painting. Most sculptures aren’t soft — and they usually come with a “do not touch” sign even if they are.

But quilts are to be used, touched, loved, washed, and worn out. I always tell someone who gets a quilt from me, “Do not put this in the closet for safekeeping! Use it. Wash it. Love it. Spill stuff on it. If you wear it out, don’t worry: I’ll make you another one.”


This is the pretty quilt that Mary has made for us to sell at the International Quilt Festival in Houston the first week of November.  We have no paid staff, so all proceeds from our sales go toward getting more quilts to more needy children and orphans.   Stop by and see this lovely quilt at our booth in the 1700 aisle at the show.




We Look Forward to Seeing You at Our Booth at the IQF in Houston!

October 14, 2016

With less than a month to go, we’re getting excited about our booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. We’ve got about 300 kits for making tops to give out to people who are interested in making quilts for us to give to needy children and orphans in countries all around the world, and we’re doing the Fat Quarter Challenge once again. Ann and I have also recently returned from Ethiopia, and we’ve brought some wonderful Ethiopian jewelry, scarves, baskets, carvings and other items that you might be interested in adding to your collections.  Here are a few of the things that you’ll see in the booth:

We’ve also received some wonderful quilts from quilters who have donated them to be sold for raising fund to help us get more quilts to more children. When we sell a single quilt at the IQF we normally bring in enough cash to:
• pay excess baggage fees to get 50 quilts to orphans in Ethiopia; OR
• pay for backing and binding for 15 quilts; OR
• pay for postage to get 50 quilt tops to longarmers so they can be finished.

Fundraisers are a crucial link in the QBB chain. If for some bizarre reason these quilts, that you have given permission for us to sell, do not sell,  we will be sure they arrive in the arms of one of the children.
Check out these beauties headed for Houston and the International Quilt Festival!  Hover your cursor over the photo to find out which quilts were made by which quilters, and click on the thumbnails for a closer look.
  • Turtles, pieced by Marsha Johnson from Florida, quilted by Terri Desmond from Massachusetts; Sisters Star made by Charlotte Kieliszek (this is one of two of the same pattern going to Houston). Charlotte now lives on Long Island. She is from Texas;
  • Two quilts, Kaffe Fassett prints and batiks made by Phyllis Wiebe, who lives in Canada;
  • Herringbone: one by Phyllis Wiebe.  One pieced by Hong Chang from Australia, quilted by Sandy Morawski from Florida;
  • Pink and green by Sandy Morawski. Radio Flyer intricate appliqué by Mary Gibbons from Wisconsin;
  • Pink and green by Sandy Morawski. Pinwheels by Donna Dellacamera from Connecticut;
  • Giraffes, by Eleanor MacMillan of Ontario, Canada;
  • Two quilts by Helen Baczynski of Springfield, South Dakota.
Please make sure to stop by our booth in the 1700 aisle of the International Quilt Festival at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston to see what you might like to take home with you!
AND, because we can’t stop showing you beautiful quilts, let us take this opportunity to show you a number of other beautiful quilts that we’ve received over the last couple of months.  Most of these quilts have been sent to Salaam Cultural Museum for their humanitarian efforts with Syrian Refugees in Greece and Jordan,  or they will be shortly on their way to Mary’s Place, a charity that provides shelter to homeless women and their children in the Seattle area.  The names of the quilters and piecers are in the filename of each photo, but to make sure we give credit to all, these quilts have come from the following:
  • Northern Illinois Longarm Guild members Judith White, Sally Schlatter, Marilyn Miller, Carol Paxton, Nancy Sturgeon (and her friend and binder-buddy Bev!), and Debby Connor;
  • St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Northfield, Illinois quilters Jill, Linda, Anita, Betsy and Diane;
  • Suzanne Lammi;
  • Merridy Pyer (Fat Quarter Challenge Participant);
  • Krustun Knell;
  • Carol Fairbanks;
  • Ruth Blakely;
  • Barbara Buckley;
  • J. Larson.

Please hover your cursor over the photos to determine which of these beautiful quilts were created by which of these talented quilters, and click on them for a close-up.  These quilts are just beautiful, and will be so appreciated by the children who receive them!

Thank you, thank you. Again and again.

Karen & Carla

Final FQC Winners

October 7, 2016

Well, it’s that time of year again, and as we prepare for our booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, we close out our Fat Quarter Challenge from the prior year.  We had two drawings the last day of September, one for the monthly drawing award, and one for our Grand Prize.

The winning entry for September’s drawing and a gift certificate for $25 at the Fat Quarter Shop is Nancy Moore of Loveland, Ohio.  Congratulations Nancy!  Enjoy shopping at the Fat Quarter Shop, on line.   Here’s a picture of Nancy’s lovely Fat Quarter Challenge Quilt:


The winner of our Grand Prize, a check for $100, is Nancy Eisenmenger of Houston, Texas.  Congratulations, Nancy!   A picture of Nancy’s wonderful Fat Quarter Quilt follows:


Clearly it must have been a great month to be a Nancy!  I know that the children who receive these beautiful quilts will love them!  They’re both delightful!

We received many other quilts in September.  Here are 9 from Lori Roelse, the last of which we will be selling in our booth in Houston.  When we sell a quilt in our booth we make money to pay for luggage fees to get quilts to children in Ethiopia, postage fees to get tops to longarmers, and for supplies such as backing fabric to finish quilts.  We have no paid staff, so all of our fundraising goes to getting more quilts to children, and we greatly appreciate it when talented quilters like Lori give us permission to sell a quilt they have donated to us!  Thanks, Lori!

The next group of quilts was given to me by the Northern Illinois Longarm Guild at the August meeting.  Contributors include quilters Carol Paxton, Anne Sinclair, Cindy Krelle, Marilyn Miller, Nancy Mueller Nancy Sturgeon, and Bev P.  Some of the quilt tops were created by Suzanne Lammi, and Sue and Anita from Saint James the Less Episcopal Church in Northfield, IL.   Hover your cursor over the image to see who the quiltmakers were, and click on it to get a larger view of the quilt.

The last group of quilts came from a variety of people across the US.  Contributors include:

  • Linda Mullins-Spirio
  • Linda Roush
  • Donna Crook-Jones
  • Annabelle Kimball (Note that the one titled “Annabelle K2” was pieced by Carol E, and the one titled “Annabelle K3” was pieced by Carol E using blocks made by her sister Kathleen P.)
  • Ada and Betty of the Helping Hands Ministry
  • Rose Herring
  • Jeanne Ayers (Note the one with the pink flowers, which will also be sold at the International Quilt Festival in Houston as a fundraiser.  Thank you, Jeanne!)
  • Marci R

Sometimes the labels get separated from the quilts when they are going through the process of being finished for giving to a child, so sometimes we don’t have the names of the piecers when we receive the quilts, ready and finished to provide to a child.  While many of these quilts were pieced by the longarmers who sent them to us, if you know of any where we’ve omitted the names of the piecers, please let us know so we can give credit where credit is due.  Thanks!

Great thanks to all of the talented piecers and longarmers who created all these beautiful quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders to provide to needy children and orphans around the world.  The children who receive these will love them for their warmth and beauty!    And congratulations to Nancy Moore and Nancy Eisenmenger for being our final 2015 International Quilt Festival Fat Quarter Challenge winners!  We hope we’ll see you at the show in Houston next month, and that you’ll participate again!