Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Speed Sewing for Charity

One of the unexpected joys of the quilting retreat this past weekend included making a charity quilt. Liberty mentioned the prospect of doing a scrap swap at the retreat and encouraged anyone who wanted to participate to bring a few quart-sized bags full of scraps. Me, being one who has trouble throwing anything away, has more than enough scraps hoarded away to share so I filled up three bags and brought them along.

Carrie making her block.

Over the course of the weekend, however, the scraps made their way out of their ziplocs and into a huge scraptacular pile in a corner of our classroom. Liberty then had the bright idea to turn our swap into a speed sew for charity instead. Anyone who knows me that sewing for charity is a particular passion of mine so I was 100% on board with this idea! We decided to tackle this project after dinner on Saturday night, thinking that it would create a natural break in our momentum and be easy for everyone to start a new project without interrupting any creative flow.



Liberty and a few others took the time to gather similar colored scraps into one pile on a cutting table. This theme turned out to lean toward green - my favorite color. Once we were all back in the room, fully sated from dinner, Liberty started the clock. We all had just 30 minutes to blindly grab a handful of scraps from the pile and create one block, unfinished at 12.5", for the quilt.

My fugly block.

Can I just tell you how much fun this was? All of us laughing, and swapping scraps - racing toward the finish line. And there were some amazing blocks that we created. I think mine was in the running for the ugliest block. But I followed the rules and only used the scraps I grabbed, regardless if they looked good together. I even had a little strip of selvedge in mine that I managed to incorporate into the block.



After a half hour passed we had 20 amazing blocks and a few of the ladies started sashing them in white. I have to admit that it turned out to be one gorgeous quilt in the end! Liberty pieced the top and a couple more blocks came in for the back. She's going to take it home and finish it for us so we can donate. We all had a blast with our speed blocks for charity. Liberty even took the rest of the scraps and started sorting them for our next weekend sew. We're hoping this becomes a regular feature. I can't wait to do this again!


  1. that block is not fugly! it all turned out super cute

  2. That's such an awesome idea! I love that everyone had such a fun time and then made that pretty quilt top for charity in such a short time! Yay for you guys!

  3. All looks fabulous together. Amazing what a half hour turned out!!!

  4. What a fab idea, love the race idea, and whatever charity receives it is going to love it!

  5. Wow, it looks amazing! Denyse Schmidt would be proud :) Thanks for your awesome recap of the retreat, sounds like you had an amazing time! See you soon -

  6. I don't think your block is ugly at all, and even if it's not the most amazing of the bunch, not every block can be the princess of the party when you're making a scrappy quilt like that. It fits right into the mix and the finished top is amazing. So, you know, good on you :)

  7. That is such a great idea! I've never heard of a speed sew, but I love it. And the quilt turned out great.

  8. wow, what a wonderful quilt! those scraps were meant to be together!

  9. what a great post! I love your pics - way better than the 2 i snapped in the frenzy. you're awesome and I love that we got to do this. I think the most fun for me was to see everyone catch the bug. I was so worried that I was being too bossy and that everyone would resent that 1/2 hour, and I was really amazed when not only was it fun for me, (I knew I'd love it), but now everyone wants to continue!!!!
    can't wait to do more of these with you, Hollie.

  10. Amazing, and what fun! Can't imagine it happening with our sewing group of women from many backgrounds, many who don't speak much English (and I don't speak Spanish, Somali, Nepali, Hindi, Sindhi, Arabic, Greek or Croatian)but you never know! Came across your post googling "charity sewing". I have been asked to find some volunteers to help out a Somali sewing group here in Melbourne, Australia. Their teacher went and got married, and sadly her husband doesn't think she should volunteer any more. :(
    I know there are charity sewers everywhere, and thought I could use the net to let the local ones know about this volunteer opportunity.

    1. Do you need local sewers? Or can international sewers help out? Let me know. Also, check out do. Good Stitches on Flickr for more great charity sewing ideas.

  11. eep, i love it! what a terrific idea and what a lovely, lovely quilt.