Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Update: QuiltWest - Quilts for West, Texas first responders' families

Goodness!  I'm sorry I've gone so long without providing an update on the QuiltWest project.  People have been so incredibly generous with their time and talents, so we've been busy, busy! 

First, I want to highlight the people who have provided our inspiration.  Their selfless actions remain at the center of this project:

Kevin Sander, emergency medical technician
Captain Robert Snokhous, firefighter
Captain Doug Snokhous, firefighter
Joseph "Joey" Pustejovsky, firefighter
Captain Kenneth "Luckey" Harris, firefighter
Cody Dragoo, firefighter
Cyrus Reed, firefighter
Jerry Chapman, firefighter
Perry Calvin, firefighter
Morris Bridges, Jr., firefighter
Jimmy Matus, honorary firefighter
William "Buck" Uptmor, honorary firefighter

Here's where we are in the process:

- First, the number of quilt tops has changed.  Mr. Matus and Mr. Uptmor were honored for their bravery by being named honorary firefighters posthumously.

- Half of the quilt tops are completed:  one in EMS colors and five in firefighter colors...six more firefighter quilts to go!  Three more of the jelly rolls are here or on their way, and I have lovely local ladies willing to put the quilt tops together over the next couple of weeks as we get the jelly rolls in.

- Backing and binding fabric has been ordered...Yay!  We're probably going to make a local project of assembling all the backings in one day here before delivering to the long arm quilters. 

- So far, I'm prepared to provide most of the batting, but I may come up a little short.  We'll cross that bridge as we come to it, I suppose.  :)

- The greatest challenge remains the volunteering of time by machine quilters.  I have two machine quilters willing to donate their time to cover three quilts, and I can reasonably quilt up to five.  That leaves me with four quilts.

Here's what we need:

- Three more of the Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda jelly rolls

- Machine quilters!

- Neutral 100% cotton thread, 50 wt  (I prefer Mettler's Silk Finish because I know both my domestic and long arm machines can handle it.)

- If you don't sew or quilt but you want to take part, please spread the word about our efforts.

Also, I am not asking you to send money, but several people have asked what the effort is costing because they want to donate.  So here's the information.  Though the assembly and quilting have been voluntary efforts, each quilt costs approximately $75 in materials to make.  (The generosity of our partners has helped bring that cost down from $100 per quilt!)  Some quilters are buying the jelly rolls out of pocket, and we've had $100 in donations for supplies.  I've been asking people who wanted to donate financially to purchase specific supplies.

If you're interested in taking part in any of these ways, please contact me at  Thank you!

Our generous partners in this project:

- Missouri Star Quilt Company has agreed to donate two of the jelly rolls and to give us a sizable discount on the backing and binding fabric.  (Thank you, Alan, et al...the whole gang!)

- Local Fort Walton Beach, Florida, quilting shop, The Sewing Center Around the Block, offered us a great discount on the jelly rolls, and I purchased their last one last week. The owner there, Sheri, has also agreed to long arm quilt one of the quilts for us.  (Thank you, Sheri!)

- Donna and Vickie from the local Fort Walton Beach, Florida, quilting shop, Lynn's Sewing Center, have generously offered to bind the quilts for us.  (Thank you, ladies!  You are too cool!)

- Local long arm quilter Amy Hughes has agreed to quilt two of the quilts.  (Thank you!)

- The inspiring ladies who put together the quilt tops so far, proving that even ladies who have never quilted can achieve this in less than a day...thank you Millie, Jennifer and Tina.  And the amazing friends who are contributing to the supplies with their funds.  Mary, Tina, you're hearts are gold. 

Sew, Millie, Sew!  This first-time quilter took me to task in the jelly roll race!

- Our helpful and patient contacts at the West Church of Christ and Aderhold Funeral Home in West, Texas, who have opened the lines of communication during a stressful time in their community and given us the information we needed to make sure we honored their heroes properly.

If you'd like more regular updates, I'm putting information out quickly on my facebook page as it becomes available.

Other West, Texas efforts:

Our project has been directly focused on providing a tribute to the first responders who gave their lives by creating something in their honor for their families to keep.  But we're not the only people out there putting together quilts for families in West, Texas.  Reportedly, the devastation of the explosion leveled 50 homes and injured more than 200 people.  Many, many families have been impacted, so every effort counts.  If you're interested in contributing to a more general effort, please check out all the lovely quilts people are sending in to Judy at Patchwork Times and Jo over at Jo's Country Junction.