Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Ties that Bind!

"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future." 
~ Nelson Mandela
This past Saturday, August 17, was a big day for Hopes & Dreams.  As the morning fog was lifting in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mary Anne Fitzgerald, owner of Mary Anne's Antiques & Things Quilt Shop in Covington, Virginia was busy turning the banquet room of a local church into a quilting room for the day.
Covington is a small city totaling 6 square miles and is nestled in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwest, Virginia.  Here's a fun fact for you - from a distance the mountains look blue and are that way due to the trees, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color.
Mary Anne invited us to visit, so we did.  Armed with sewing machine (which ended up being used by a volunteer who pieced rail fence quilt blocks for PALS - persons with ALS) the beautiful scenic drive was topped only by the beauty of the town's generosity in supporting the day-long Hopes & Dreams Sew-A-Thon.
We shared lots of laughs.  Mary Anne (standing in the above photo) invited the entire town to participate and Mayor Tom Sibold, Jr. (sitting) accepted the invitation.  He was determined to piece together one full block and received some assistance from fellow quilt volunteer Deborah Broughman (sitting to the right of the Mayor with 'seam ripper' in hand!).
Not to be outdone, J.B. Broughman (above), Covington's City Manager and Police Chief, showed up and learned how to sew that perfect quarter inch himself.  There was a lot of 'stripping' going on, as well as pinning, pressing and binding.  We even learned how to tie a quilt using multiple needles and a whole lot of string.
And there was a lot of reflection - about life.  What we learned in the course of sharing quilting lessons is that one of the ladies excited about participating in the Sew-A-Thon died suddenly the week before the event.  We learned through some tears that in the past five years two of the ladies in the group lost their husbands to ALS.  And in talking with the Police Chief we discovered that his uncle, who helped raise him after his father's passing when he was 12-years old, also suffered and passed away recently from Lou Gehrig's disease.
With the help from co-worker Gina Thompson, we tried to capture the day through pictures and interviews and put it all together in this You Tube video.

We left Saturday evening with a backseat filled with quilts for PALS and lifelong ties that bind us together in our common goal of creating awareness and much needed research funding for a treatment and cure to ALS.  We were fortunate that the journey back home was pleasant, except for one detour and even that made us smile.  (Do you see the coffee pot?)

Like a good cup of coffee, the 12-hour Sew-A-Thon in Covington, Virginia was rich, warm and filled with plenty of strong support for finding a cure for ALS - one quilt at a time. 

Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And now...a word from our SPONSORS!

All of us here at Quilters Dream Batting love when our UPS and USPS men visit us each day.  They may not feel the same after carrying hundreds of heavy boxes into our office.  We all love the surprise and find ourselves guessing (sometimes out loud!) what gifts await in the brown colored packages.

When this box came in I confess I did not want to open it.  The box and it's contents are from Angela Walters for one person in particular - the winner of the 2013 Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS "Sew Popular" category.  Well, Gina had other ideas and twisted my arm to open the box (she didn't have to twist hard!)  
Can you pick out the message?  Angela shared with us that she lost someone very dear to her this year who passed away from ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease.  She wanted to honor her friend by becoming a Grand Sponsor of the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS.  Specifically, Angela wanted to provide the entire $1,000 gift package for the "Sew Popular" category winner.  This  "QUILT" features fabric designed by Angela which highlights her fabulous quilting.  
That's not the only thing in the box.                 
Angela pulled out all the stops for the winner.  She included two of her books, a copy of Quilters World Magazine, yardage of her very own fabric "Textures" that she designed for Art Gallery Fabrics.  There is much more, including lots - we mean LOTS - of Aurifil threads. 
This is only HALF of what the "Sew Popular" Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge winner will receive.  Angela herself will be mailing a $500 check to the individual that receives the most votes from you in our Facebook voting (coming up in a few weeks). 
The boxes didn't stop with Angela's.
Justin Hancock of Hancock's of Paducah sent their Grand Sponsorship prizes, too.  We are keeping these boxes closed until it's time to prepare the boxes of goodies for winners.  We know what Justin sent - FABRIC!  Last year we were blessed with Justin's gift of fabric to send to winners.  In fact, the winner of the "Sew Generous Professional" category last year, Joe Filer of Illinois, along with his wife Bunny used the fabric they won to make quilts and gift them right back to Hopes & Dreams this year.
Each quilt is lovely and Bunny writes, "Most of my quilts are wild and bright and 'out there.'  Usually if you want a place for your eye to rest - you just need to look away!"  However the fabric Hancock's of Paducah sent included some with ducks printed on it.
Bunny said this quilt was a little unusual for her, but is a little more relaxing to the eye and may be just the right quilt for the right person.  We know it will be!
So a big THANK YOU to Angela and Justin for being gracious and generous Grand Sponsors and to YOU for being as gracious and generous with your quilts of love.  We know our PALS (patients with ALS) get just excited when their boxes arrive as we do when yours arrive at Quilters Dream Batting.
Your Grateful Hopes & Dreams Coordinator

Friday, August 9, 2013

Finding a Cure for ALS - One Quilt at a Time!: Super Saturday Sew-in's for Hopes & Dreams

Finding a Cure for ALS - One Quilt at a Time!: Super Saturday Sew-in's for Hopes & Dreams: Saturday, August 17 is becoming a big day for Hopes & Dreams.  Next weekend in locations approximately 2,700 miles apart there will be d...

Super Saturday Sew-in's for Hopes & Dreams

Saturday, August 17 is becoming a big day for Hopes & Dreams.  Next weekend in locations approximately 2,700 miles apart there will be dozens of quilters focusing their energy on making quilts for the 2014 Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS.

The 2013 Pacific NW MQG Meetup hosted by the Portland Modern Quilt Guild will be packed with approximately 100 quilters from nine different guilds, including the Central Oregon, Corvallis, Eugene, Fraser Valley, Seattle, Vancouver and Southern Oregon Modern Quilt Guilds.
The Meetup actually starts on Thursday, August 15 and continues through Monday, August 19th.  Michelle Freedman with the Portland Modern Quilt Guild says the guild selects one organization to donate quilts to during their Saturday Meetup.  Michelle adds, "We selected Hopes & Dreams because we loved how well organized the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge is and because it is a national activity that is meaningful to many people."
If you are close to the Portland area and would like to participate in the Meetup send an email to and tell them to save a spot for you!

This painted wooden quilt adorns the top of the shop hosting the second Hopes & Dreams Sew-in on Saturday, August 17.  As of this blog post there are 25 ladies set to gather and piece tops for Hopes & Dreams at Mary Anne's Antiques & Things in Covington, Virginia. 

Mary Anne Fitzgerald, owner of this quaint shop that was once a church in Covington, says ladies from West Virginia are joining the quilting fun, " is the Mayor, the Police Chief and the Fire Chief. This will be a big event for our little town."  Mary Anne has extended an invitation to anyone who would like to participate, but they need to call her at (540) 965-3344 to reserve a seat. 
Many people ask where Quilters Dream Batting is located.  We are in Virginia Beach, Virginia and our local Modern Quilt Guild has selected Hopes & Dreams for a three-month quilt challenge that ends in September.  Each member is encouraged to make a lap size quilt and the opportunity to win fun prizes.  If you would like more information on this challenge and how you can be a part of it, contact Chen Wu or Kristen Danis at
If your quilt guild or sewing group is having a challenge, Meetup or Sew-in for Hopes & Dreams let us know.  We will help promote your event through this blog.  You can contact us at and put ATTN:  Hopes & Dreams.
May your weekend be fun and safe.  I'm off to go sharpen my rotary cutter and buy a few new needles before next weekend!
Your happy Hopes & Dreams Coordinator

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Hopes & Dreams is a shop on Storenvy!


Today, August 1, 2013 starts the first day of the 2014 Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS.  What does that mean?  It means opportunity - in the gift of being able to touch more lives through the warmth and love of a quilt, and helping raise money to find a cure for ALS - one quilt at a time.

It also means congratulations!  It's not an easy thing - meaning all the work you do.  You give of your time in making a quilt for someone you may never hear from or meet.  You give of your own wallets and dig deep into your purses to purchase the fabrics, the batting, the threads and many other supplies needed to make each quilt - in many cases paying for someone else to actually quilt your blocks of beauty.

It also means support - because of your commitment.  How? 

It is because of your desire to continue to make and gift your quilts of love that sponsors all over this country see your willingness year after year to help someone else facing this extremely debilitating disease called ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  And because of your commitment - they give, too!  In fact, we have new sponsors joining us this year (which we will reveal in a future blog post) AND we have more national media - like Generation Q Magazine - that are writing stories about Hopes & Dreams for publication this fall.  People are watching your good work and service to others and want to help spread the word.

And with all New Years come new beginnings. 

Today, the start of our fifth New Year for the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS, we have something exciting to share with you.

We unveil and bring to you the Hopes & Dreams Storenvy site.

Hopes & Dreams Storenvy Shop

You may remember that in June, Kathy Thompson, owner of Quilters Dream Batting and loving mom to Josh, the catalyst for Hopes & Dreams, helped gift a $50,000 ALS Research Grant to Emory University Neurosurgeon Dr. Nicholas Boulis.  Kathy, along with Richard Stravitz, owner of two Fine Art Galleries in the Tidewater, Virginia area, were able to present this research grant because of your generosity in donating quilts, which were purchased throughout the month of May, along with the purchase of art at the Stravitz 30th Street Gallery.

Permanent Hopes & Dreams Quilt location at Richard Stravitz 30th Street Gallery,
3004 Pacific Avenue, Virginia Beach, Virginia (corner of 30th Street and Pacific Avenue)

Richard Stravitz believes in what you are doing and made a permanent space in his Virginia Beach location just so your quilts donated to help raise funds for ALS Research can be seen and purchased.

Storenvy allows for a broader audience. 

100% of all proceeds raised from the sale of quilts placed on Storenvy goes to ALS Research.  And you can help spread the word that these quilts are for purchase by sharing this blog post and even sending the following store URL address to your family and friends:

So, here's to YOU!  Our wish is that you and yours are blessed with health in this New Year of Hopes & Dreams.  Our resolution is to continue to bring you awareness - of the groundbreaking research and treatment your quilts are supporting.  WE KNOW that together we will find a cure for ALS - one quilt at a time.

Your very appreciative Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge Coordinator