Friday, January 10, 2014

Hello! Do You Quilt?

Happy New Year and Hello!  Here's the face to the Facebook and blog posts you may have read the past year and a half.  My name is Jennifer Griffin and I help Kathy Thompson and the "Dream Team" by coordinating the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS.  I'm just one of many who have a hand in Hopes & Dreams and we will introduce you to everyone else over the course of the coming weeks.

Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge Coordinator Jennifer Griffin
This picture was taken a little over a year-and-a-half ago at a quilt shop in Virginia Beach, Virginia that I worked at and managed for a short time.  Just looking at the quilt in the background, which was the sample for the "Women of Courage" block-of-the-month quilt, brings back such fond memories.  That quilt was pieced together by a wonderful, feisty, 84-year old master quilter named Jerri.  Jerri has since moved to Florida but before she left she took me under her wing, teaching me quite a bit about quilting.  I blame Jerri for my ever growing 'stash' of batiks and overflowing bags of scraps (but hey, I hear I am in good company)! 

During my time at the quilt shop I was introduced to Quilters Dream Batting and the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS.  While the batting is fabulous (my favorite being the Dream Fusion Natural Cotton Select) it is the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS that captured my heart. 

It's not inexpensive to make a quilt.  It's not a quick process either.  Having thousands of them donated so that they can be given to ALS patients or used to help raise ALS research funds is amazing.  I remember speaking to a friend over dinner last summer marveling over the generosity of so many that donate quilts, wanting to be a part of helping spread the word about Hopes & Dreams.

Today, my blessing is the opportunity to do just that.  The bonus to this blessing - each of you.

Wonderful boxes addressed to Hopes & Dreams
I am both encouraged and humbled when a box marked "Hopes & Dreams" arrives at Quilters Dream Batting.  Opening each package is something we all enjoy.  

Quilters Dream Batting Customer Service Queen Neva Bacle unveiling quilts in a Hopes & Dreams box.

Then we read the Entry Form attached to each quilt.  We recognize some familiar names that send in dozens, if not hundreds, of quilts each year.  We marvel at what patterns and fabric you use and look even closer at the quilting.

And we tear up at times and find ourselves whispering, "Awe!".  You send in quilts in memory of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, relative or a friend.  You write such encouraging and heartfelt notes of love, and you do it - making and donating quilts - over and over and over again.

As encouragement and as a little way of saying thank you, we are going to start designing some patterns and share them with you. They may be full size quilt blocks to make a throw or larger quilt, and then they may be little 'happy' quilts that could hang in a small space on your wall or lie on a table next to a table or lamp.

In fact, last weekend I took a quilt class and had some fabric scraps leftover that I decided I would turn into a little quilt pattern for you.  Here's a sneak peak:

Vase and flowers mini quilt (pattern) in progress.
It's all finished but the quilting and we'll get that done this weekend!  Once completed I'll write up the directions, include a printable pattern and hopefully you will enjoy.  As for this finished mini-quilt, I'm going to donate it to Hopes & Dreams in the "Sew Creative" category.  Fabric postcards, handbags and accessories, tablerunners, table toppers, wall quilts, watercolors and more - like this mini quilt - will be sold to raise funds for ALS Research.  All entries will be entered into a drawing to win a $250 gift card and other great prizes. 

I look forward to seeing the UPS man walk in the door.  He may not know the extent of the creativity and love he's walking in with, but we do.

Have a safe, and hopefully warmer, weekend!