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Thread: Is there a limit as to how ugly a charity quilt can be?

  1. #26
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    that's good too ;-)
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

  2. #27
    Senior Member hensandhollyhocks's Avatar
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    If you were to actually hand the quilt to someone, would you be embarrased?

  3. #28
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    What a great question!
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  4. #29
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    I view my charity quilts just like any other quilt I would make. In my world, if that charity quilt is not good enough to give to a family memeber then it is not good enought for anyone else. I don't believe that people who need charity deserve second hand quality or any old thing.
    Absolutely!!

    I work with a quilt guild of about 100 members. There is a sub-group called Queen Bees who do the community quilt work: receive and distribute fabric, make kits, design BOMs for the rest of the quild to make for these quilts, sew together one day a month, collect and distribute the quilts.

    I see these tqo comments in another post: "All those fabrics were donated, and we really should use them as they were intended."
    "We've become a dumping ground, every time somebody wants to clean house!"

    We also have had this problem, but with careful weeding and further donation on to Goodwill, we have built a marvelous stash for our guild. It's ridiculous to hang onto something that one will never use. Of course, in our case, we are NOT quilting for animal shelters, overseas communities, or the homeless.

    Our Queen Bees sub-group has about 12 regular and faithful participants who sew once a month, and receive help on blocks and assembly of quilts in the guild at large. We make between 250 and 500 quilts a year!!!! Every one of them is beautiful and is shown at show and tell.

    We have so much guild membership participation BECAUSE we have this group that "manages" the community projects and designs BOMs and kits. The resulting quilts are attractive and that makes even more members want to participate. Some members make BOMs, some assemble tops, some machine quilt, some bind, some sew on labels.

    500 quilts! Our biggest problem is keeping up with the batting purchase as the prices rise; that is our guild's largest expense every year.

    Jan in VA
    Last edited by Jan in VA; 01-17-2012 at 05:30 PM.
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  5. #30
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    Some charities perfer ulgy quilts so they don't end up on the black market. The quilts are more likely to get to the people they are inteded to help.

  6. #31
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    I only donate what I would like to receive.

  7. #32
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    I think I would make a quilt that I would be proud of if my name was on it. it may not be colors or patterns we would want but we would still make something to make ourself or someone else proud of like you say we don't all like the same thing but make something you can put your name on. Good Luck. Sue

  8. #33
    Super Member Sheila_H's Avatar
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    I think charity groups should be thankful that people took the time out of their day and supplies to create a nice quilt for whoever it is going to. I agree with others that if it's a difference between someone staying warm or freezing because they have nothing that should be the focus not how it looks. I also agree that it shouldn't be falling apart after the first couple of washes.

    When my MIL was going through cancer treatment and on one day when I went with her to get hooked up I saw some of the quilts the local guild had provided. One was made of a lot of very bright and wild prints that I thought wow who came up with that color scheme. And the person in the chair looked at me and said isn't it the most beautiful thing you've seen. She said she loved the colors it's so bright and cheery it's my favorite quilt in the whole room because it makes me smile, when most days I want to cry. It made me rethink how I would make a quilt for them and instead of doing something with the usual pink colors to make a quilt of bright vibrant colors. I don't know if that helps you in your decision or not.

  9. #34
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    I give quilts that I would like my own grand children to get.
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  10. #35
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    the ugly quilt project is such a great one! our little sewing group meets once a week just to work on these- we've made 17 in the past 5 weeks!
    one of the ladies visited the habitat re-store and found a dozen mattress pads, old blankets- when she got to the check out and told the sales gal what they were for she was given the whole lot for 50 cents apiece! we use old ties= make them so warm....it is really cold here-and we have quite a few homeless even though it is a small town area-
    i found a place for old (pilled) flannel sheets---they work for liners- they are actually kind of fun to make-
    and groups popping up all over the country!
    great program!

    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    If the fabric is too "ugly" for quilts to be sent to Third World Countries, then consider the
    Sleeping Bag Project. Info is at: http://www.uglyquilts.org/

    This organization wants deliberately made ugly quilts.

    I was offended when I first heard of these quilts. That is, until I read about their program.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  11. #36
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    It seems a lot of church groups use whatever has been donated so they don't have alot of expense. some of the things that are donated don't seem very nice but it is used and sometimes it turns out better than you think.

  12. #37
    Super Member LeslieFrost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iwantasew View Post
    Some charities perfer ulgy quilts so they don't end up on the black market. The quilts are more likely to get to the people they are inteded to help.
    This is my understanding from the church ladies who make quilts for Lutheran World Relief. LWR does not want pretty quilts, because they prefer that the recipients not resell the quilts. If the quilts are going to a third world country, the goal should be a sturdy, well constructed three layer fabric covering that could be used for several purposes. Tying is better, because it is faster and sturdy.

    I think that you have to be clear about which 'charity' you're quilting for, before you decide what the standard should be.
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  13. #38
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    When you say a person should be grateful no matter what they receive, you show no compassion at all. Why not just send an army blanket? If you are sending quilts because quilting is your hobby and the charity is a convenient place to unload quickly made hobby quilts, then please have enough compassion to not send a quilt most people would label as ugly- unless ugly is requested.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 01-17-2012 at 06:32 PM.

  14. #39
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    It sounds to me as if leadership is an issue in this group. If the group and its leader have a clear understanding of the standards of the recipient organization, then decisions can be made as to what supplies to keep.

    Leaders can quietly and possibly gradually go through the stash, removing the unsuitable items. And from then on, be at the incoming door when new donations come in, so that they can be sorted through before other people see them.

    We must always be understanding of peoples' history and circumstances. There are different possible reasons why people think that "everything" should be used. It could be that they have suffered scarcity in their lives. Other people simply have a need to keep things. And in the case of charity work groups, there may be some inexperienced people who just don't know much about textiles.

    It is always a challenge to do charity quilting with a group, but with good leadership, it can be a rewarding experience where people grow in many ways.

    Dayle

  15. #40
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I would not make an ugly quilt for a child. One time I helped make quilts that were plain janes, but they were not ugly. I was a guest at this group and helped out. They were not the kind I would or have made for charity. When you make an ugly quilt or a plain Jane instead of a cute quilt, I feel you are not doing your best. I do not believe a quilt has to be perfect, but that we should do our best. I guess this a quality versus quantity issue.

  16. #41
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    I commented on your earlier post about LWR quilts and will not discuss that again. We try to make our quilts as attractive as possible while still strong, warm and serviceable. We do not mix fabrics, cotton with cotton, flannel with flannel, corduroy with corduroy, etc. Our aim is to provide comfort and show Christian love to the recipients. We take great pride in our quilts and would not have to feel ashamed to give one to a neighbor in distress. We like to think that our quilts will also bring much joy to someone in dire circumstances. Seems like some inyour group need an attitude adjustment. Maybe the group needs a new, strong leader (you?) I wish you much success and God Bless your work. Feel free to PM me, if you so desire.
    Last edited by scraphq; 01-17-2012 at 08:02 PM. Reason: Add-on.

  17. #42
    Junior Member lynn_z's Avatar
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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I have seen some quilts that I thought were super ugly done by the hautiest quilters and there are those quilters who simply cannot afford to offer any better. If I was cold and someone had taken the trouble to make something to keep me warm, it might be looking pretty good even if I didn't like the color. Making quilts for the needy is not an outlet to show off expensive fabrics or whatever and, if that is your case, you need to go back and think what the purpose of these quilts really is.
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  18. #43
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    I'm in charge of the ladies group at church that makes charity quilts and I find it best to handle it like Dayle suggested. Weed it out when the others aren't around and even notice. We have soooooo much fabric that now I need to consider the suggestion by Lori I think that said to only keep a few years worth of supplies around as more keeps coming in. I like that. My problem is that I keep hoping and praying that more ladies will step forward to offer their help in making them. It seems the bigger problem we have in our group is what size to make them. 2 of us now have long arm machines and are willing to do decent bedsize like our recipients are asking for rather than the crib size that is sew easy to handle especially for the 70 year old ladies in the group.

  19. #44
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    Here's my opinion. My Grandmother made beautiful quilts out of polyester and the backing was made from blankets. She, her sister (my aunt) and my Great Grandmother also made quilts out of upholstery fabric scraps, usually by hand. They are the most durable and warmest things I've ever seen! They have been washed and used for years over and over.

    I suspect some of the quilts will not only be used for cover but also for doors to huts or dwellings, to separate rooms, wall hangings and rugs. They will be worn as shawls and often the only covering a person may have in terms of clothes.

    What we think of as ugly might be beautiful to them. I see some of the lines of fabric that's made and I think How ugly, Who'd want that? Well someone does.

    I think a charity quilt for Linus would be different than one going to Ethiopia where it may be used as a door to a hut or dwelling. (Not in sentiment but in the difficulty of piecing required and quality.)They may be used for hospital beds or wrapping the dead.

    Some of the material not suitable for quilting could be used to braid rugs or make shawls out of to send with the quilts.

    I promise you one thing for every quilt or fabric I think is ugly there are at least 2 people somewhere who will like it.

  20. #45
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiLu View Post
    I was given a flyer from a church group that was making baby quilts for their missionaries in third-world countries. They requested only simple quilts, washable fabrics and NO hand quilting - either tied or machine quilting - most of these quilts were washed in rivers and beaten on rocks.

    Yep, sentiment and compassion can be the same and I promise what we consider ugly others won't.
    Once again these quilts may be used for the following-

    A door to a hut or to separate rooms
    A rug
    A hospital bed
    To wrap the dead
    A shawl
    Cover etc.
    As I stated before I would expect a quilt going to Ethiopia might be used differently from a Linus quilt.
    It's my understanding they are usually handed out to large groups of people who are thrilled to get anything because they are starving and have nothing.

  21. #46
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    I agree with this. We also used the polyester double knit for a lot of overseas places because it could go through about anything and not get hurt and will last forever.


    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ View Post
    From My Own High Horse ... ( LOL )

    I wouldn't worry about fabric content.
    I would make sure it was sturdy enough to survive rough handling and machine washing/dryer.
    If it was obviously damaged - which includes stains and faded spots - I would not use it.
    If I wouldn't want to snuggle up under it, I would not donate it for use by people. I would donate it to a pet shelter. (I donate any quilts I'm not happy with to a local pet shelter.)

    I don't have to think it's pretty, but it does have to be a good quilt and well enough made. Taste varies from person to person. What I think is butt-ugly might be beautiful in somebody else's opinion (and vice versa).

    If it isn't good enough for me, a friend, or a relative, then it isn't good enough to send to a stranger to who I claim I want to demonstrate compassion and support.
    Sewbeadit
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  22. #47
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltngolfer View Post
    I would not want to give something "ugly" to be used for a person of any age or situation. The "ugly" quilts can be donated to an animal shelter. The animals don't care what color they are as long as they are soft and warm.
    I think some people should look at how a lot of these people in other countries live. A quilt with 3 or 4 pieces of fabric on each side would be beautiful, or could be beautiful and very welcome by many. I don't think ugly is the question, I think quality and usefulness is. Use sturdy fabrics and make it well and it will work for someone.
    Sewbeadit
    W. Washington

  23. #48
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    This sounds like a great thing to do. I can see how this would work better than "pretty" because no one would want to steal them so much. Also when I am cold, I don't care what it looks like just as long as it is clean and warm! Think about if you lived outside in the freezing damp cold would you care what color your quilt was? No, but you would be thankful you had it and that it was made well so you could keep it!


    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    the ugly quilt project is such a great one! our little sewing group meets once a week just to work on these- we've made 17 in the past 5 weeks!
    one of the ladies visited the habitat re-store and found a dozen mattress pads, old blankets- when she got to the check out and told the sales gal what they were for she was given the whole lot for 50 cents apiece! we use old ties= make them so warm....it is really cold here-and we have quite a few homeless even though it is a small town area-
    i found a place for old (pilled) flannel sheets---they work for liners- they are actually kind of fun to make-
    and groups popping up all over the country!
    great program!
    Sewbeadit
    W. Washington

  24. #49
    Super Member kuntryquilter's Avatar
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    I think when you make a charity quilt it should be just as nice & well made as if you are going to use it yourself. I would never donate something that I would be ashamed to display in my own home.

  25. #50
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    I guess from reading these posts that my opinion falls somewhere in the middle. I am making "charity quilts" out of good quality flannel, but I am making only 10 of them for a hospital home away from home. My next charity project will be (hopefully), making lap quilts for our local senior home. For these, I will be using fabric of unknown fibers (they are blends) from my stash. They will be scrappy,but tasteful. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
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