Quilts, like plants and recipes, are meant to be generously shared. And that’s what Community Quilts is all about. Guild members donate their time and their materials to make quilts that are given to charitable agencies in the Bloomington area and then distributed to people in need or distress. What a great way to reach out to the community!
The guild donated a total of 130 quilts last year to a variety of charitable organizations, including Autumn Hills, Bell Trace, Golden Living Center, Habitat for Humanity, Indiana Department of Child Services, Meadowood, Middle Way House, New Hope Family Shelter, Susie’s Place, The Rise, Villages of Indiana, and WIC (Women Infants and Children).
For those who have never made a community quilt, here are a few points to know. The guild is fortunate to be the recipient of a $500 grant from the Harvey Foundation to help with the cost of the Community Quilts program. This grant comes about every third year. Sometimes members or former members donate goods or money for this specific purpose, also. The Community Quilt Grant Fund is available to members for purchasing batting for their donations. All you need to do is present a receipt to the treasurer for batting to be used in your community quilt project. If you would like to look into that, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have your quilt finished, we encourage you to bring it to show to the members during the community quilt segment of the meeting. We all enjoy seeing them. After the meeting, the Twin Lakes Stitchers bee will collect the quilts and distribute them.
As we’ve been surveying agencies to update on their needs for quilts and their preferences, we’ve been asking what size is most needed. The answer seems to always be “not too small and not too big.” Now, that doesn’t at first glance seem to be too helpful, but it actually is. Translated, this means “big enough to be useful, but small enough to easily carry and handle.”
Here are some recommendations for sizes, gathered from Internet quilt sources. These are only recommendations, not rules! You don’t need to make rectangular quilts; they can also be square. And you can certainly vary from the sizes given below. Just keep in mind that the purpose of the quilts is to keep people warm and brighten their day.
Small Play Mat: 18 x 20 inches (Not to be used in cribs because of the danger of suffocation.)
Twin: 70 x 90 inches Wheelchair: 35 x 45 inches
Throw: 50 x 65 inches. Fiddle Quilt: 18 x 20 inches
Fiddle Quilts: If you prefer to make small quilts, consider turning yours into a “fiddle quilt” for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. A fiddle quilt is also known as an “activity blanket” or “activity mat” because it incorporates zippers, buttons, ribbons, ties, beads, fuzzy fabric, and other things. The quilts are kept small (about 18 x 20 inches) so they fit on a lap or a table, but also so that the person using them does not become overwhelmed by too much stimuli. Also, some people respond very well to bright colors, but others become confused and agitated by too much input. That means we have need for bright, happy colors and also soft, unassertive colors. If you’re interested, there are lots of good websites about fiddle quilts. One of the best is Nancy Zieman’s website.