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

  1. #1
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Is there a limit as to how ugly a charity quilt can be?

    Or as to what materials can be used in it?

    I've recently joined a group that makes charity quilts for international relief projects, and at today's meeting, things got a little... uh... tense... when we talked about the donated materials in our "stash".

    Since that little quilting group is probably not the only one whose members have different opinions on the subject, I thought I would put the question out for discussion here.

    And... if you've also been in a group of "differing opinions", how did you work it out?

  2. #2
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    I believe that there is no such thing as too ugly when donating to needy people.As long as it is decent fabric that will not fall apart after a few washings.I have donated many quilts for sick children-some are not my best works-they were all well received by the kids.Kids are not so picky about the quilts like we are.They are grateful that some one made the effort to think of them and make them a quilt.just mu opinion anyway-sure there will be others.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  3. #3
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics View Post
    Or as to what materials can be used in it?

    I've recently joined a group that makes charity quilts for international relief projects, and at today's meeting, things got a little... uh... tense... when we talked about the donated materials in our "stash".

    Since that little quilting group is probably not the only one whose members have different opinions on the subject, I thought I would put the question out for discussion here.

    And... if you've also been in a group of "differing opinions", how did you work it out?
    I may be missing the point altogether, but is all the fabric washable? That would be my first concern.
    Do members pick out what they want to work with? Or does the group pick the design and fabric?
    I'd think most would be acceptable if someone wanted to work with them.
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    Need more information about what the disagreement is.

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    Are you talking about fabrics, colors or design? It's a touchy subject, one that I try to stay away from in my group. I personally only give quilts that I would like myself. If I don't want to give it then I'm content.

    If the fabric is decent, and you have quality sewing so that it will stay together after many washings-ugly is in the eye of the beholder. Some colors and patterns don't really appeal to me but somebody else may like it.

  6. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    Charity is not an excuse to give away unsuitable quilts. That being said, give the best you can in materials and workmanship and design. Give what you would like to receive. When looking at what others are giving, accept that they have given the best they can and bless them for their efforts. If the gift is going to reflect as a gift from the group, rather than an individual, set some standards. Identify materials to be used (all cotton), size, and choose simple designs so that all can participate. Maybe have a charity work day where those who have less experience can do some easier parts of the project and learn from those who have more experience.

  8. #8
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I have seen some particularly ugly quilts get donated to charities. I have mixed emotions on the subject. If it means the recipient is going to go cold, with nothing .... I can see the argument for "at least it will keep them warm". On the other hand , I can also see the argument that "we cared enough to send our best.. or at least good".
    I do keep inmind that different cultures have differnent tastes, some use color combo's I would never use. At an International Show one year I saw some quilts that would never made it in the door of my home. I also see some U.S .made quilts that the many thought were nice that would not have made it into my home.
    So I guess my point is that not knowing exactly who is receiving them... it is tough to guage the what the tastes are. Who knows you could send what you think is a show stopper , and they may think it ugly.
    I would rather error on the side of judgement that keeps them warm , rather than cold and hoping maybe this year they might get something to keep them warm.
    You do not mention if these are made by indivuduals and then dropped off to your organization , or all the quilts are made from donated fabrics.. lots to consider.
    As for Ugly fabrics.... cut them into smaller pieces. I have seen pretty quilts made from uglies.... its all in the size of the pieces.
    Last edited by Lori S; 01-17-2012 at 01:36 PM.

  9. #9
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Here's our situation: the stash consists of over a dozen of large boxes of "textiles" that have been donated over the course of I don't know how many years. In the boxes are everything from new fabric (cotton, blends, T-shirt knits, double-knits) to fabric that was on the shelf so long that it has really obvious fade marks to curtain panels, old tablecloths, and lots of sheets, from faded-but-serviceable to nearly worn through.

    And a number of different thoughts were expressed at the meeting, such as:

    "Why should we buy ANYTHING to work with, when we have so much stash already."

    "Don't insist on just cotton. Those double knits we have would make great backs, if only we had some smaller quilts, because they're just not quite wide enough."

    "Those double knits - it's just too hard to get the needle through them."

    "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!"

    "Well, if you think our quilts are ugly now, you should have seen what we were working with 40 years ago! We were cutting apart clothing to use..."

    There is a wide range of ages in this quilting group, and some have lived through the depression and some haven't. (I suppose that changes one's perspective.)

    The quilts are all going overseas. We're not actually quilting them, just tying through with perle cotton (or similar). I don't believe all the fabrics would wash succesfully, but the point was mentioned that if the quilts are just to serve as a wall or a rug, they might not ever get washed anyway.

    I don't think we're even at the point where we're discussing taste or aesthetics or colors, really. The quilts are just 8" squares sewn together. We're talking REALLY BASIC quilts here.

    A couple of the ladies cut the 8" squares (very accurately, I must say) and sewers get handed a bag of 108 pre-selected squares to put together however we please. Some in the group don't cut, or sew, they just help layer & tie.

  10. #10
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    I go by the rule of: I give charilty quilts that I wouldn't be ashamed to put my name on. The dogs go to the resale shop (Goodwill, St. Vincent, Salvation Army) where I figure customers can make their own choice if they want to buy it.

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    ugly is a personal thing- some things i think are just hidious you might absolutely love-
    as long as the fabrics are quality fabrics that will hold up- they are usable- check with the charity though- all those charities out there have their own (requirements/rules) concerning what is acceptable and what is not---mostly though they need to be cotton, washable, durable- functional- if you would not give it to someone you know-you should not give it to a stranger- they deserve the same consideration as anyone you know
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    I like this.
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

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    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    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.
    Nikki in MO

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    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.

  15. #15
    Super Member mary quilting's Avatar
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    I agree with you but might donate the ugly ones to an animal shelter
    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    I go by the rule of: I give charilty quilts that I wouldn't be ashamed to put my name on. The dogs go to the resale shop (Goodwill, St. Vincent, Salvation Army) where I figure customers can make their own choice if they want to buy it.

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    I think when you have virtually nothing then a quilt (no matter what color or pattern) might look beautiful. If you're sending these to third world countries then I'm not sure I would worry about beautiful and be more concerned with serviceable and warm. I'm not saying send ugly just look at them with different eyes and see how they would look to you if you had nothing. I've worked with the homeless here in the United States and most of them were not concerned with how things looked. They just wanted things that weren't worn out or dirty.

  17. #17
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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.

    I'm with sewmary on this. Why would you "want" to give anyone something you yourself consider to be "ugly"?

    That being said, I do understand wanting to do the "Christian" thing, and provide for those in need. If you do your best, and give the best that you have....then there you are.

    Is the guild wanting to just use "whatever", and you don't agree....?
    Happiness is a form of travel...not a destination.

  18. #18
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    Our church group has found that the double knit quilts are actually very popular with the homeless! They don't absorb water like the cotton fabrics, and they clean up easily. We don't make quilts with a mix of fabric types though - too easily messed up during washing. There are cotton quilts and double knit quilts. The cotton ones get a poly batting (because that is what the woman who runs it likes and you do not argue!) while the double knits sometimes get a poly batt and sometimes don't. Alll get tied instead of quilted.

    I actually quit the group a while back because of a variation of "ugly" quilts. There was too much of an attitude of "if the poor/homeless/needy can't complain because it is free" to justify absolutely hideous quilts. The group gave our high school graduating seniors (5 or 6 of them) quilts made of random fabric types (cotton, polyester knits, and unknown) in 4" square, super cheap fleece back that was already pilling when they got it, with the edges serged instead of bound. The problem was also that the year before the seniors had received decent quilts - with coordinating colors and nicely bound.

    Pam

  19. #19
    Super Member wuv2quilt's Avatar
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    Should have finished reading ALL the posts

    In this instance, I agree with most of the others......make something that will hold up to "rough" conditions / use, and do what feels right to you.
    Happiness is a form of travel...not a destination.

  20. #20
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    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.

  21. #21
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Ditto what Patrice said.

  22. #22
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    It sounds like ( from your second post) your cup runneth over with the "No one else wants them" fabrics. A couple of suggestions . If you think the double knits are of use because of the warmth , and they do wash and in particular dry very easliy.... some one bring a machine and machine tack instead of tying. Machine tacking goes faster than tying!
    As for the excess of less than desirables , it may be time to share the "wealth" with another charity .... GoodWill. That way a very good charity get what ever value or use that maybe in the fabrics ... to use for charible works. You may be able to get notificationfrom Goodwill when items that you can use come in .. such as batting! I have found batting at Good will on more than one occasion.
    I would approach the issue that while your group has a "wealth" other orgaizations are suffering in this economy. Figure out how many quilts are your annual goal , and estimate how many "quilts worth" are in the stash ... come to a number of years worth is reasonable to store considering more fabrics will continue to arrive.

  23. #23
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    My view is that I would try to find a use for the new fabrics, but would match weights- absolutely no point putting upholstery fabric with tshirting

    Fade marks can surely be cut out?

    ''nearly worn through' is not acceptable. The wishes of the donor do not take precedence over the needs of the recipient. If politics is a problem, use the very edge, ie least worn part of old sheets so you can point it out. The rest is great for washing floors.

    It strikes me that it would be good to seek more info from someone on the ground. (Who is receiving and distributing these quilts?) Invoking an outside authority is often a good way to bypass disagreements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics View Post
    Here's our situation: the stash consists of over a dozen of large boxes of "textiles" that have been donated over the course of I don't know how many years. In the boxes are everything from new fabric (cotton, blends, T-shirt knits, double-knits) to fabric that was on the shelf so long that it has really obvious fade marks to curtain panels, old tablecloths, and lots of sheets, from faded-but-serviceable to nearly worn through.

    And a number of different thoughts were expressed at the meeting, such as:

    "Why should we buy ANYTHING to work with, when we have so much stash already."

    "Don't insist on just cotton. Those double knits we have would make great backs, if only we had some smaller quilts, because they're just not quite wide enough."

    "Those double knits - it's just too hard to get the needle through them."

    "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!"

    "Well, if you think our quilts are ugly now, you should have seen what we were working with 40 years ago! We were cutting apart clothing to use..."

    There is a wide range of ages in this quilting group, and some have lived through the depression and some haven't. (I suppose that changes one's perspective.)

    The quilts are all going overseas. We're not actually quilting them, just tying through with perle cotton (or similar). I don't believe all the fabrics would wash succesfully, but the point was mentioned that if the quilts are just to serve as a wall or a rug, they might not ever get washed anyway.

    I don't think we're even at the point where we're discussing taste or aesthetics or colors, really. The quilts are just 8" squares sewn together. We're talking REALLY BASIC quilts here.

    A couple of the ladies cut the 8" squares (very accurately, I must say) and sewers get handed a bag of 108 pre-selected squares to put together however we please. Some in the group don't cut, or sew, they just help layer & tie.

  24. #24
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    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.

  25. #25
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    I suppose it depends on where you are donating the quilts. Since I donate quilts to mentally challenged adults as well as teenagers in the children's hospital, I make nothing that I wouldn't want on my own bed or given to a family member. However, unless the fabric itself is poor quality, you can make ugly fabric sing with the right combo of other fabrics. If nothing else, use the uglies for the back of the quilt.

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