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Written in the Stars

Quilting For Others with Quilts Beyond Borders

Another Crazy Year

It’s been a whirlwind of a year, but somehow I have managed to still squeeze in my charity sewing for the year!  No matter how busy I get, no matter what challenges I accept, I always make time for the various charity sewing events, and I really enjoy taking part in them!  Being able to sew something, gifting my efforts to another, and truly touching someone else’s life in some positive way… even if it’s just in some small part… feels so good to the heart and soul!  For me, this is especially wonderful when it’s for the children.  So, when I found out about Quilts Beyond Borders, I immediately wanted to know what I could do to help.

Quilts Beyond Borders

Quilts Beyond Borders is a charity that provides quilts to children in undeserved areas of the world.  In a recent current event update from QBB, they shared they have sent nearly 1800 quilts this year to Syrian refugees, an orphanage in Israel, foster children in VA, and homeless children in FL, and that they are collecting 500 quilts for the Navajo Nation for the winter and will continue to send quilts to Syrian refugees along with other commitments. 

My Charity Quilt

This year, I constructed my quilt top entirely out of fat quarter fabrics from various shop hop giveaways and other quilting events.  The backing and binding fabrics were all end-of-bolt clearance items that needed a home.  I could have chosen any pattern, but the Faster Fourteen pattern from Hunter’s Design Studio caught my eye, as it is “fat quarter friendly” that is fast and easy to sew.  The finished dimensions of this quilt pattern are 54″ x 68″, which is on the larger scale of a “child’s bed” size, so I was happy with the measurements.  My focus this year was to design an attractive quilt with quality fabrics that someone would genuinely enjoy receiving while maintaining an overall cost-effective budget for the average quilter. 

Here’s a quick look at my approximate material costs for me to put this year’s quilt together:

Quilt Top (FREE Collected Fat Quarters)  $0
Quilt Backing (End-of-Bolt Clearance Fabrics) $28
Quilt Binding (End-of-Bolt Clearance Fabrics) $4
Batting (100% Cotton or Polyester, By The Yard) $23
Total Materials:  $55


Lowering the Cost

In addition to the material costs, I chose to have my charity quilt professionally long-arm quilted, which I did pay a small fee for.  The quilt was small and the edge-to-edge design I selected was simple, so the charge wasn’t significant.  I chose to have my quilt serviced in part because of time constraints that I had at the time and in part because the quilter that quilted it for me does such beautiful work!!  But to save on the added cost of quilting services, you can opt to “stitch in the ditch” or otherwise on your domestic sewing machine at home! 

To further reduce the cost of those end-of-bolt fabrics, shop your stash!  Digging down to the bottom of your stash-bin, you might be amazed at what you’ll find.  My quilt, with added inches for the long-arm, needed approximately 3.5 yards of fabric for the backing.  Shopping the clearance fabrics, I was having a difficult time finding a single bolt that contained the continuous yardage requirement that also went with the fabrics in my quilt top.  As a result, I ended up purchasing two different fabrics and piecing them together to create an attractive backing that went nicely with the top.  When shopping your stash, remember that you don’t have to have “3.5 yards of backing”, for example.  You may have several large pieces of fabric in your stash that together might be the perfect thing to donate for your quilt backing!!

I didn’t catch a sale THIS time, but many quilt stores have 20% and 30% off sales throughout the course of the year.  These sales can include not only great deals on fabric, but on batting!!  Take advantage of a 20% off batting sale and get your batting for less!!

My Charity Quilt is On It’s Way!

QBB’s November blog post shared my sweet little charity quilt along with two other beauties that they received during the month of October.  Quilters from all over the nation mail in quilts for donation.  Here’s mine, from New Braunfels, Texas, Jane Reardon’s from Narragansett, Rhode Island, and Susan Seward’s from Superior, Colorado.


Get Involved

There are so many ways to obtain affordable materials for your quilts.  So, if your interested in sewing a donation quilt for an organization like QBB, there’s no stopping you!  As an added bonus to sewing a comforting quilt for someone in need, QBB hosts an annual Fat Quarter Challenge Contest every year that makes participation even more fun!  Quilters who submit a finished quilt for the contest have a chance to win multiple monthly $25 drawings and a year-end $100 cash prize!  To find out more about the challenge, visit Quilts Beyond Borders’ Join the Fat Quarter Challenge and Win!  Be sure to check out the general guidelines and criteria for donation quilts so you are sure to know all the details before you get started.

The Houston Quilt Festival marks the starting point of the “new year” for the Fat Quarter Challenge.  With this year’s Festival come and gone, it’s time to get busy!


**Photo credits:  Quilt Beyond Borders for photos 1, 4-6