Archive for the ‘Quilters Spotlight’ Category

Quilter Spotlight – Jill Ruesch

April 18, 2019

Our quilter spotlight this time is on Jill Ruesch, an amazingly prolific long-time piecer who sews quilt tops and assembles quilt kits for QBB. In fact, in over 10 years of volunteering she has provided us with 500-600 quilt tops sewn with help from her church sewing group, wow! And she has continued to sew despite a life-altering health crisis. Read on to learn more about Jill’s story…



My hometown was Northbrook IL but I just recently moved to GA for the better weather.

I started quilting in the 90’s. Some friends & I took classes at different quilt shops. My friend Anita invited me to a quilt day at her church, St. James, which has been making quilts for QBB since 2008 and is where I was later introduced to Carla during a presentation in 2012.  It touched my heart and I wanted to do all I could .

I sewed and quilted, mostly by hand, for a few years but in 2011 I had a medical issue so that kind of changed things when I not only lost my job but also impacted my fine motor function which made working with hand quilting needles not fun. Then Anita told me QBB was looking for tops and would send them to other volunteers who would longarm quilt and finish them. Since we used to get a lot of donated fabric at church from guilds and other generous people we had a lot of fabric.  

Since I had time, I would help put kits together for the church group as well as sew my own tops. At night I dream of quilts so during the day I put them together. Its fun being creative. In fact I have a Pinterest board where I save patterns I like, then look to see what will work for fabric I have.  Here is the link in case it helps inspire any other quilters out there, I know we are always looking for new ideas and patterns…

People keep donating the fabric, so I keep making the quilts and thankfully QBB takes them.


Thank you Jill for all you do! And for everyone out there who wants to help Quilts Beyond Borders but doesn’t have the time or space to finish a quilt, we hope this has inspired you to jump in and make a quilt top! Read our quilt guidelines here.


Quilter Spotlight: Donna Dellacamera

October 4, 2018

Our Spotlight Quilter this month is quilter and generous volunteer extraordinaire, Donna Dellacamera. Donna has given QBB many quilts over a lot of years, and has won the Fat Quarter Challenge several times as well!   We want to feature Donna’s story, as well as a recent initiative she spearheaded after being inspired to help the children in the news who were separated from their parents at the border.


We are so grateful for Donna and our many other wonderful volunteers, we hope you enjoy learning more about her as well as photos of a few of the quilts she and Karen Matheson recently donated.


I started sewing as a child, taught by my mom and grandma, and made my first quilt at about age 10.  It was very colorful, but not very well constructed! Since then I have improved considerably and make mostly baby and children’s quilts for gifts and for charity.
I learned about Quilts Beyond Borders at International Quilt Festival in Houston. While at the booth, I met Karen Matheson, a quilter from my area of CT, who shortly after became the QBB Northeast Regional Coordinator.
As a retired pediatric and elementary school nurse, I love the idea of making quilts, a sign of warmth, comfort and love, for children in need!
During the recent border crisis, I was devastated by images of children separated from parents, and was moved to find some way to help.  With the encouragement of Carla, Tina and Ann, I was able to find a location in CT, where unaccompanied migrant children as well as some who had been separated from parents at the border, were being cared for.  Karen provided quilts and I added some more of my own to total 15 quilts, one for every child in the program.  It was a wonderful feeling to deliver them them to the office of Noank Community Support Services that day in July, knowing that the quilts would soon be in the arms of the children in their care.
So often, we can feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of need in our world today. But I believe that every single efforts counts when we do it with love.  I was humbled to be considered in the quilter spotlight, as I am just an ordinary person who likes to sew!
 I applaud everyone who is involved in Quilts Beyond Borders.  Little, by little, together we make a difference.



The quilts -15 in total, were happily received by Dot Hazlin of Noank Community Support Services and will be distributed to the children in their care.
Thank you, Donna, for all that you do for Quilts Beyond Borders and for the Children!



Quilter Spotlight – Sheila Hughes

May 22, 2018
Sheila Hughes and Karen Matheson

Sheila Hughes (right) and Karen Matheson at the Arts and Crafts Festival in Simsbury, Connecticut.

One of QBB’s most generous monetary and fabric donors, prolific quilter and overall Quilts Beyond Borders champion is our Spotlight Hero this month. Hailing from Massachusetts, Sheila’s enthusiastic dedication is an inspiration for us all. She is a tireless, outgoing, charming volunteer and, I’m proud to say, a new friend, thanks to our mutual love of all things QBB.
When I asked Sheila if I could officially “interview” her, this is what I learned……

I have wanted to quilt since I was about 6 years old as my great grandmother was a quilter. I didn’t really become a quilter until my youngest daughter was a senior in high school-over 35 years after my desire started.

Once I made quilts for all my family members and friends (and found out some gave the quilts to their dogs or when they received a second one they threw out or gave away the first one) I didn’t know what to do but I still wanted to quilt; as luck would have it, a sister worked with a charity in Texas which dealt with sick babies so I started making as many quilts as possible every year for these children at Christmas (often as many as 50 quilts) but then she changed jobs so once again I had no outlet for my quilts. For a number of years I still made quilts but not very many as I was really low on who to give them too.

Then one day my sister called saying her friend in Cleveland, Ohio worked with a group called Quilts for Kids who needed help making quilts. I contacted the Massachusetts chapter and became friends with the coordinator Mary Ann O’Neil, that really got me started making quilts again in greater numbers. Then my brother who had been a missionary in Russia started returning to Russia several times a year so I would give him 20 quilts each time he went. I now have over 150 quilts in Russia (he has also taken some to Cambodia and the Philippines).

One day I bought a quilt magazine for a friend and as I glanced through it there was a page talking about Quilts Beyond Borders… I was all ears. I contacted Karen as soon as possible and have been hooked ever since. Last year I donated about 80 quilts and some cash to help defray shipping expenses. That fateful magazine was all about primitive quilts which are not of interest to me, so it was meant to be that I would find Quilts Beyond Borders.

I am 72 years old and have a humongous supply of fabric and know I can’t live long enough to use it all (and I still like to buy new fabric from time to time) so I have donated about 100 or more yards to Quilts Beyond Borders and plan to give even more this year. 

Having met Karen (such a wonderful person, as is her husband) I am convinced to be with Quilts Beyond Borders as long as I can continue to quilt. Hopefully many more years so my investment in my long arm machine will have been worth it!

Thank you to Sheila and our many generous donors and volunteers! We couldn’t do it without you all!
-Karen Matheson

Quilter’s Spotlight: Donna Sciandra

August 15, 2017

This month our Quilter’s Spotlight is shining on the person who we’ve officially dubbed QBB’s Most Prolific Quilter, Donna Sciandra. I believe that Donna has been quilting for Quilts Beyond Borders longer than I have, and I was one of the early ones! When I say “Prolific”, I really, really, REALLY mean PROLIFIC!! Donna makes us between 50 and 100 tops and quilts every single year, and has since 2007!  Every time she hears we have a new initiative or we’re sending quilts to a new country, she makes sure she has at least one top or quilt that can make the trip!  And she does this somewhere in between working full time and family responsibilities. I think she’s amazing!

We asked Donna to send us some pictures of her favorite quilts, and of herself.   Some of you might recognize her from the years she’s flown from her home in New York to Houston to work with us in our booth at the IQF.   Below you see Donna with her late father who passed away earlier this year at the age of 99.

Here’s another picture of Donna with (from left) her mother, her cousin John, her Uncle Joe, and on the other side of Donna, her cousin Mary Alice.

Here’s one of the quilts Donna pieced, which was quilted by Terri Desmond, and a picture of her holding up another of her favorite quilts, quilted by her friend Arlene Berndt, at the IQF in Houston in 2011.  Both of these quilts were sold at the IQF for fundraising to help us pay for postage to get tops to longarmers and quilts to people who were delivering them to children.

Donna provided some information to allow you all to get to know her a little better.

Hometown & State:    Buffalo, NY

Years Quilting:    Since 1991

Favorite Quilting Style:    Scrapping

Why do you volunteer with Quilts Beyond Borders?    It is extremely rewarding for me to know that by making a quilt for someone I can bring them comfort and know that someone truly cares for them.

How did you learn about Quilts Beyond Borders?   I was reading a quilting magazine and towards the back of the magazine there was an article about QBB.   That was in 2007.

How did you learn to quilt?    After my daughter was born I traded in my Suzuki motorcycle for a Bernette machine and then began classes at the Bernina dealer.  I always enjoyed sewing and another student was making quilts and I always wanted to try it.

Where do you get quilting inspiration?     Of course I check out many of the blogs and I enjoy seeing what other QBB quilters are making.

What’s your favorite quilting tip or technique?    I love my Bernina 440, and I when I do quilt I enjoy writing inspirational words and meandering to get the job done.

What else should we know about you?    Quilting has become a form of relaxation and helping me deal with a large amount of stress in my life.   I really don’t know what I would have done if I had not been linked up with Carla and the many regional directors and other QBB people, that I have enjoyed becoming friends with.  I have a Juki that has been sitting in its box for 2 years now, lol!

Donna, I don’t know what we would have done if you hadn’t linked up with us!   When you consider that you’ve made between 50 and 100 quilts and tops every single year, and you’ve been quilting for us for about 10 years, there are somewhere between 500 and 1000 children in 25 countries all around the world sleeping more warmly and comfortably because of your generosity and talent!  Thank you so much for everything you do!







Quilter’s Spotlight: Delleen Kompkoff

September 2, 2016

We are so excited to feature Delleen Kompkoff from Gresham, Oregon.  Delleen is a piecer and quilts on a domestic machine. She is a great supporter of QBB and willing to help any way she is needed. Delleen Kompkoff

Name:  Delleen Kompkoff

Hometown & State: Gresham, Oregon

Years Quilting: about 50 years! (but I can’t be that old!)

Favorite Quilting Style: Happy to be Scrappy

Quilt Guild or Group: Mt. Hood Quilt Guild

Why do you volunteer with Quilts Beyond Borders?  I love the fact that something I’ve made can travel to distant countries I will never visit.  I’ve visited an orphanage in China, and carried full suitcases to the children there.  Giving quilts to Quilts Beyond Borders is an easy way for me to support children without families, families in crisis, and the people who travel to help them.

 How did you learn about Quilts Beyond Borders?  Oddly enough, I learned by reading this blog several years ago.  As soon as I found my regional coordinators, I was hooked!  Karen and Susan are inspiring, and I feel lucky to know them.

 How did you learn to quilt?  I’ve been sewing since I could reach the foot control of my mom’s Singer.  Playing with her scraps, and following her quilting techniques got me started.  I can remember how excited she was to give me a rotary cutter and ruler when they first were available. My first bed-size quilt was a project in high school home economics class with a creative teacher who saw tea towels and aprons were not really my thing.

 Where do you get quilting inspiration?  Inspiration is everywhere.  Sometimes I see colors used in advertising or nature, and jump from there.  Quilting blogs, books and magazines are always reminding me of how to play with shapes and colors.  Now that I’m in a guild, I get inspiration from other members’ projects.

 What’s your favorite quilting tip or technique?  Add an element of surprise to a quilt.  Use an unsuspected FMQ shape, an unusual piece of novelty fabric, a 3-D folded block, a piece of chenille, a flange in a border, a pieced backing.  These little surprises are like an extra gift I’ve given to make the quilt special for the recipient.  

What else should we know about you?  For 10 years, I worked with 4th and 5th graders during a recess craft group.  I collected donated yarn supplies and taught knitting, but also had a couple sewing machines in the room as well.  The students sewed precut blocks into quilts that we donated to children’s charities. Their excitement as the quilts were planned and completed was the highlight of every day.  There was something very powerful about watching kids making comfort for other children.  Now I’m the charity coordinator for my quilt guild, and find that same excitement as members create for people in our community.

Delleen has been a great help to me this first year as coordinator and is a great promoter of QBB as well. She definitely has a heart for children and quilting.  Thanks Delleen!

Susan Schmidt, North West Regional Coordinator