Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

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

The Joy of Quilting

April 14, 2018
One of the great joys of quilting is that it is so uniquely personal, so calming, so solitary. But sometimes the greatest joy is in the fellowship – enjoying a shared passion while you work together for a common cause.
This past week women of the Dunn’s Corners Community Church Presbyterian in Westerly, Rhode Island gathered for the first of three scheduled sewing workshops designated specifically for Quilts Beyond Borders.
I am the Northeast Regional Coordinator for QBB. During a trip to Westerly last summer I was invited to the Dunn’s church to talk about the QBB mission. Plans for workshops quickly took shape.
Last week I brought posters of kids who have received our quilts with me, along with fabric, rotary cutters, boards and a sewing machine. When I got to Fellowship Hall I saw a charming and organized set-up, piles of fabric, lots of machines, and faces filled with enthusiasm. I didn’t know these women, but now I do. We made kits, sewed tops and ate the most delicious Italian Sausage and Cabbage Soup – thanks to Lois Gardner who organized the event and made the soup.
I look forward to sewing with these women again in May and June, when once again we will laugh, share stories, sewing tips and chocolate, and enjoy working together for a very worthwhile cause.
Karen Matheson

Students Quilt for QBB

April 6, 2018

The gift of giving is ageless. This beautiful quilt was made for Quilts Beyond Borders by students of The Blue Mountain Union School, a small pre K – 12th grade public school in Wells, River, VT.  Nancy Kane, a dedicated QBB quilter, is a teacher at the school. During the month of January, mini-courses are taught instead of the regular classes. Nancy and another teacher offered quilting to students in grades 9-12.

Nine students, three boys and six girls, took the challenge, learned to sew on assorted donated sewing machines of various models and vintages, and produced this quilt, “With only two broken needles,” writes Nancy. After completing this group-effort quilt, the students all made a tied quilt for themselves. The students’ quilt is on its way to the Syrian refugees. Student Quilt

Easy Quilting Patterns and Tips

February 5, 2018

Are you an aspiring or new quilter with a resolution to make and donate a quilt in 2018? Or maybe you picked up a fat quarter or quilt kit packet at the Quilts Beyond Borders booth at the International Quilt Festival and don’t know where to start? Well, we are here to help!

First, please take a look at the links on this site for QBB’s guidelines and requirements, start here: Dimensions and Criteria.

There are many free resources for beginning quilters on the internet, ranging from tutorials to videos. Here are some of our favorites:

  • This blog from Diary of a Quilter offers several helpful instructional links for each step of the planning and quilting process.
  • The website All People Quilt has hundreds of free quilt patterns, instructions and tips, including patterns for using fat quarters or scraps that won’t break the bank and are simple yet beautiful.
  • Here is some inspiration for transforming the 5-inch ‘charm squares’ we distributed at the IQF into a beautiful custom quilt.
  • This video from Professor Pincushion provides a detailed step by step tutorial on how to sew a simple quilt.

Once you are done piecing the top, we hope that you want to take on the next steps of quilting and binding! Remember that Quilts Beyond Borders quilts may be used and washed in harsh conditions, so any quilts sent our way must be machine quilted and binding sewn by machine as well. You can find more information about quilting for us on the right column of this page under “Pages

Here is a video from Missouri Star Quilt Company, which has many great videos and tutorials online, on how to bind a quilt using a sewing machine:

When you have sewn your quilt top or completed the quilt, please email us at for instructions on next steps and where to send your masterpiece! Thank you for deciding to make a gift of love through QBB, and please share your favorite quilting resources, patterns and tips in the comments!

A Peruvian Christmas

May 21, 2017

I’m very lucky to have some really great neighbors! Paul is originally from Peru and most of his family still lives there. One Christmas their family decided to visit Grandma in Peru. When his wife, Melissa, saw the poverty there and all the homeless children, she vowed to make a change. For the next year, they planned and saved in order to take their whole family (4 awesome kids; Ashli, Shanda, Alex and Cariella!) to Peru at Christmas but with a twist. In order to help down there, the kids had a choice to make: Christmas for themselves or Christmas for others. They very unselfishly decided to bring some cheer to their dad’s hometown and when word got out about their decision, many, many people donated stockings, fillers, candy, etc to their cause. Quilts Beyond Borders teamed up with them as well and we opened up a new continent with this trip, South America!


On a snowy, wintery day in December, the kids and Melissa came to the house to load up 30 bundles of sunshine to take in their suitcases to some children who really needed the love.

As you can see, we had a good time sucking all the air out of them so more would fit in the suitcases and duffle bags (the best part was using the vacuum to squish them down. They thought that was the coolest thing EVER!!!)


The end result? A stack higher than Cariella!!

Being an empty nester, it was so heartening to have them in my home and to see and feel their excitement about something that they’re not even getting to keep but willingly sharing with someone they don’t even know, have never met and will probably never see again! That’s what Christmas is really all about, right?

Once they arrived in Peru, they found a private orphanage that is only funded with donations, no government funding. All of the children here have been abused and range in age from children barely walking to midteens. Just having visitors made it a special day for them but when they were handed a quilt and a stocking with sweets in it, I’m sure it was the most memorable Christmas they’ve ever had!

It was also memorable for my neighbors. Just like the man who saved the starfish one at a time, they made a difference in a child’s life, one at a time. In a talk at church after they returned, young Alex said, “Skipping our Christmas to help other kids was challenging to do but I felt we should go to Peru and help the kids there. Doing this made me happy and it made me proud helping other kids.”  I hope all of you can share that happiness because if QBB didn’t have you and your unselfish acts of kindness, children all over the world in already heartbreaking situations would never know the kindness of strangers. I like to think of all these quilts as little dots of light scattered throughout the world, little pinpricks of love!

Thank you so much!



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

Quilt made from Timeless Treasures Donated Samples

August 22, 2012

At the 2011 International Quilt Festival in Houston Timeless Treasures was kind enough to donate some trade show samples to us for our use. This is one of the tops we made from it:

The pattern we used is the “Hidden Wells” block, and we used the technique demonstrated in the video at this URL:

I made this top with my friend, Brenda Barnett, and we really loved the way it came together, and the fabrics are just beautiful.

In April, when we were in Ethiopia, we presented this quilt to a young lady at Hannah’s home for Orphans. You can tell by the look on her face that she really loves this quilt too!

  This picture also features Caroline Williams, of Cherokee Gives Back, who served as our guide in Ethiopia and helped us distribute the quilts.

Great thanks to Timeless Treasures! You’ve made this young Ethiopian lady very happy.  We really appreciate your generosity.


2 Wonderful Quilts from Sandy Waters

August 20, 2012

Last week I received two wonderful quilts from Sandy Waters, who has a business called Designs by Sandy in Vail, Arizona.

The first quilt is an adorable alternating 4-patch, with some very cute giraffe fabric. I really like the embellishment that Sandy did using some ribbon and her embroidery machine and the pieced back is as cute as the front. Sandy has kindly agreed to allow us to use this great quilt as one of our fundraising quilts when we have our booth at the Houston International Quilt Festival in November. Stop by and see it in person!

The second quilt is a really great “jelly roll race” quilt with strips joined by polka dot squares. Sandy carried the polka dots out to a border flange and the binding, making this one of the nicest jelly roll race quilts I’ve ever seen. This quilt will be one of the ones that is going to an orphanage in Russia, to meet our commitment of 12 baby quilts and 24 quilts for young ladies who are “aging out” of the orphanage. I know the young lady who receives this one will love it!

Sandy, thank you very much for sending us these two wonderful quilts! We really appreciate them both!


Pretty quilts from NILAG Members Emma and Ruby

August 17, 2012

I belong to a longarm guild in Northern Illinois, and I’ve been very grateful that a number of our members have volunteered to quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders. It’s always nice to see the great talents of my friends in the guild!

This month we received two quilts from Emma Everett and Ruby Valentine. I’m showing a full picture and a close up of each of the quilts so you can admire their fine quilting! The quilt with the Dresden plate in the middle was quilted by Emma, and the strip quilt was quilted by Ruby. Both of them used patterns of feathery swirls, and they’re both beautiful — but entirely different!

Ruby and Emma, thank you very much for quilting these pretty quilts! I know the children who receive them will be delighted!


Gifts from the “Show-Girls”

August 8, 2012

Warning: If you were Googling “Showgirls”, expecting to find Las Vegas cuties in skimpy outfits, I’m afraid I’m about to disappoint you!!  The ladies in this post are cute, but no skimpy outfits or show dancing was involved! 

Last week I went up to the Machine Quilting Today show in Oconomowok, WI. (I don’t even want to tell you how long it took me to pronounce “Oconomowok” properly!) At the show I met with two ladies, Sandi Barthel (who I’ve been corresponding with via email for quite some time, but never met in person) and Sharon Mitchell, a friend of mine from the Northern Illinois Long Arm Guild (NILAG). Both ladies came bearing gifts.

Sandi, who quilts for her own pleasure,  made 5 beautiful quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders. The fabrics she chose for her tops are just wonderful, and appropriate for tots to teenagers. She used her Circle Lord templates and quilted these beautiful tops with swirls, baptist fans, and squares. In the first picture you see LaDonna (a friend) and Sandi holding a couple of quilts and showing the remainder on the bed.

Sharon, who is the owner of a quilting business called Lofty Quilts in Palatine, IL, brought three beautiful quilts she quilted from tops made by others.   The first picture below shows Sharon holding a quilt top made by  Jan Scruggs, which is also seen in the second picture.  The third and fourth pictures show tops made by Kalena Womack and Evelyn Carlisle, respectively.  Sharon quilts with a Statler, and was kind enough to tell me the patterns she used on each quilt:

  • Pink and Yellow Quilt :
  • Orange, Green, Yellow, Multi Color (from the center out):
    • Cropped-blk-daisy  by  Page Johnson  at
    • Garden Leaves Corner and Border  by  BZ Learning  at
    • FG Flutterby Border  by  BZ Learning  at
    • Sashes-p2p-leaf-and-berry  by  Jennifer Perdue, Anita Shackleford  at
    • Clover Border,  Statler pattern
  • Christmas Quilt:


Sandi and Sharon, thank you both so much for bringing these beautiful quilts to me at the show!  I know the children who receive them will cherish each and every one of them.  Your quilting on all of them is just beautiful!