Friday, 31 January 2014

Soy amado

So the first Quilt As You Go (QAYG) quilt for Mexico City street children is finished.

If you missed my original post on it please read here and the update is here.

If you would like to help you have two options: if you're up to making a whole quilt then it needs to be sent to an address in the Netherlands. It doesn't have to be your best work with your best fabric with all the points matching. It literally just has to be a quilt because however you make it, it will be loved and cherished. It really doesn't take long as both Hadley and Susan can testify.

If you have neither the time nor the resources how about making a quilted 12 1/2" (unfinished) block for me? Again, you don't have to fret about colours, patterns, styles...anything will do. Just grab some scraps and start sewing. Add a bit of batting and some backing, quilt it however you want and you're done. It takes 20 minutes tops to do one block. I got a couple in the post from Sarah yesterday so she'll also tell you how quick and easy it is to do.

The left and right blocks were sent to me and will be worked into the next quilt and the one in the middle I knocked up.

The blocks are being assembled with the QAYG method which is proving very simple (thank you everyone for sticking to a precise 12 1/2" !). They're all assembled randomly but I think still give an air of a fun and cuddly quilt which is what it is all about.

With this method you get a secondary patchwork quilt on the back.

The first delivery of quilts will go 3 March and it would be fantastic if a sizeable amount went on this first journey. However, deliveries will be made throughout the year so if that's too tight a timescale, don't worry. Please send what you can when you can.

And the front.

Soy amado?  My GCSE Spanish eldest daughter and Google Translate tell me this means 'I am loved' which is what this quilt drive is all about. To just try and make a growing bunch of Mexican street children feel that there are people out there who care and are thinking of them. Not life changing for them I'll admit but all part of the little things that will add together to let them know they are not alone.

It is my intention to applique this on all the QAYG quilts I make for the children and if you are making a whole quilt, please feel free to add it yourself. It's quick (raw edge applique) but hopefully just adds that extra bit of care for them.

So how am I doing? So far, three whole quilts have been sent to the Netherlands and I have received four quilt block packages; one from Canada (thank you Anita), one from the USA (thank you Martha), one from the UK (thank you Anne) and one from Ireland (thank you Sarah).

However, as of today, there have been 664 views of my original post on making quilts for Mexican street children. Coupled with the fact that I read everywhere that the quilting community is such a supportive and giving place, I am sure that more blocks and quilts will be forthcoming.

Am I right?

Friday, 10 January 2014

An apple a day...

...or sometimes a bit more means it doesn't take long to hand piece an Apple Core quilt.

I used this template...

...which I bought from here when I found myself in the neighbourhood a few months back. I buy a lot of my threads and notions from the Cotton Patch but always by mail order. In my head, I'd decided it was going to be an enormous Aladdins Cave of quilty goodness but in reality the premises are actually quite small and I think they offer more online than is actually in the shop.

Anyway, the template comes in two sizes but I liked the idea of using the larger size to show off prints. You can machine or hand piece but I was going the slow, portable road so went for the hand piecing option.

The backing is a very tactile piece of Anna Marie Horner velveteen spliced in between a Denyse Schmidt (I think) piece that wasn't quite long enough.

I just used my walking foot to quilt about half an inch outside and along each seam line and I love the echo of waves it creates.

If you decide to hand piece curves I think the secret is to pin well. I pinned at either end, in the middle and either side of the middle and then off I went. It really isn't difficult.

It's now all pressed, folded and ready to gift for the arrival of a new baby next month.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday

Sunday, 5 January 2014

An update and some sewing

Thank you very much to everyone who responded to my last post about providing quilts to street children in Mexico City.

After much consideration, it was decided that the most secure route for the quilts to travel was via an address in the Netherlands.

For some of you, I realise that mailing costs for a single bed quilt would be too onerous.  However, emailing with Nicolette has given me an alternative idea. She suggested I ask people for blocks. I will but I'd like them quilted please! If you want to join in, please make a 12 1/2" (unfinished) block but then treat it like a mini quilt and add wadding and backing and quilt it.

To answer some of the questions in the comments: I don't mind what colours or what pattern. I would think easiest would be Log Cabin but the choice is yours. Batting - equivalent of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 but to be honest, the last QAYG quilt I made had a mixture of two different battings and you'd never know! So long as it is not super poofy or super flat it will all be fine :-)

Mail it to me and then all I have to do is assemble the blocks together in the Quilt As You Go method, add some binding and then I'm done. I can get them across to the Netherlands no problem.
If you're interested, please email me and I'll give you my snail mail address. In return, I ask that you put stamps on the envelope to me (as opposed to a franking machine) as there is a stamp collector in the family - thank you :-)

Meanwhile, I finished a cushion cover for Catherine who won my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway last month. I promised to make a cover reflecting the five words she had left: vintage, text, floral, some curves.

The back has a concealed zipper courtesy of the very good tutorial from Adrianne at On The Windy Side

And I quilted it quite densely.

It's now reached its new home.

Thursday, 2 January 2014


So on Christmas Day I found myself at a home for street children in Mexico City.

Up to 90 children live in a home that would be regarded as assigned for demolition where I have the good fortune to live: there wasn't always glass in all the windows, plastering of walls was obviously an optional extra and the stench from the dog poop in the outside play area was off-putting.

I wasn't expecting to be as affected as I was.

There are upwards of a quarter of a million street children in Mexico City.

They find themselves on the streets for a variety of reasons: their own parents can't look after them (addicts), their parents have died/been killed, they are gay, they have been sexually abused.

And once they are on the streets they run the gamut of drink and drugs, glue sniffing, prostitution. You name it - it's out there.

So this little house (there are others) is a glimmer of hope in an otherwise fairly bleak world for them. And they still manage to open their doors once a week and feed upwards of 300 or more street children who have yet to find somewhere to stay.

The average stay in the home is eight years, during which time the children will be educated and receive various therapies to cope with the traumas they have experienced. A couple of rooms have been set aside to teach them carpentry and computer programming (I had forgotten computers could look that old and clunky). The idea is that they are turned into young adults who will be able to go out into the world and make something of themselves. In some cases though, you could see bouts of glue sniffing had addled their brains and you were left wondering what would become of them.

I took a quilt for a baby and some chocolate coins for the children. It felt fairly pathetic.

On the plus side, it gives you a healthy perspective on what is really important and what isn't. At the start  of the new year, my appetite for more and new fabric has dried up and I definitely feel this is the year for using up what I have and giving where I can.

I have an idea to send more quilts (at nearly eight thousand feet above sea level, it gets cold in Mexico City) so that at least every child there has something special that belongs just to them. I'm bogged down in the red tape of the mechanics of sending quilts at the moment but if I can find a way, will you help me?

I took my 11 year old daughter with me.

She made a short video.

Update: I have found a way. If you are interested in mailing a quilt to an address in the Netherlands, please let me know.

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