Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hands2Help - Sign-Up Winner, and Answers to Some FAQs!

Hi, all!

Oh my gosh, you guys rock!!!  As of the time I'm writing this post, 159 people have already signed up for the Challenge!!!  That is AMAZING!  Now, if you're just now seeing this, it's not too late to sign up, and there's still lots of giveaway goodies to be had at the end of the Challenge - so in the theory of "better late than never", hop over here, read about the Challenge, then if it appeals to you, sign up and join in the fun!

For those of you who have already signed up, as promised, this beautiful fat quarter bundle is ready and waiting for one of you... without any further waiting, let's pick a winner!  I've enlisted Little Miss Random to help out...

...and the winner is...

Congratulations, Terri!  I'll get your package out in the mail to you today!!

Many, many thanks to all of you who helped promote the Challenge - spreading the word has definitely contributed to the record number of people who have already signed up!  Let's keep spreading the word on social media by using the hashtags #h2h2018 and/or #hands2help2018 and also by tagging your quilt with the charity you will be sending it to - @littlelambsfoundationforkidsut, #quiltyhugs or #victoriasquiltscanada.  I'd appreciate it if you'd tag me too (@fabricaddictquilts) so I don't miss any of your posts!


And now, I thought I'd answer some Frequently Asked Questions!  It seems like every year we get the same batch of questions so this seemed like a natural fit.  Of course, you should never hesitate to ask a question if you have one, as I learn more with each one!  So here goes!

This looks like fun - but I'm not experienced (or good) enough to make a quilt...
Honestly - what better way to get experience than to make charity quilts?  There is no greater joy in the world than to see the look on someone's face when they receive a quilt of their very own - and I can testify that they aren't looking at the quality of the piecing or quilting, but they are looking at the love and warmth contained in that quilt.  Don't pass up a chance for that feeling by downplaying your skills!  And since practice makes perfect, the more quilts you make, the better you get....

I don't have a blog of my own.  Can I still participate?
Absolutely!  The only time you need a way to link up is for the progress check-ins (4/15 and 5/6) and the final link-up on 5/20, and that can be done from Instagram or Flickr.  If you're not on either of those social media platforms, you can email me pictures of your quilts and I will link them up for you!  So see, no excuses!

What size quilts are needed?
I try to find charities each year that request a variety of sizes, so that there's a little bit of something for everyone.  This year, you can find the specific requests on the Hands2Help 2018 page at the top of my blog, listed under each charity's information.  

I like to piece tops, but don't quilt. Is there anything for me?
This year, we are featuring a charity that is requesting tops ONLY - Victoria's Quilts Canada.  They are looking for 50" x 70" quilt tops made of 100% cotton.  The postage to Canada is a bit more than in the US, but tops weigh less and think of what you're saving on backing, binding and batting!

Can I donate more than one quilt, or to more than one charity?
Oh my, yes!  The more the merrier!  Many of our participants over the years have chosen to donate one quilt to each of the charities, or multiple quilts to just one.  It's completely up to you!  We keep track of the number of quilts donated (just for fun) so be sure to list a total count of the number you donated in the final link-up post on May 20th.

Does the quilt have to be made by just one person, or can a group make and send a quilt?
I think this is such a fun way to make a quilt - with friends!  Last year, Staci over at The Confused Quilter did a "cross-country" bee quilt with some of her quilting buddies and donated their creation to International Institute St. Louis.  You can read more about it here.  And say, you like to piece but can't quilt - pair up with a friend to complete a quilt!  Julie from Pink Doxies did a guest post in 2016 about working with friends to make quilts for the Challenge that's well worth reading - she also talks about challenging yourself even if you don't think your work is "good enough" for charity quilting.  

I'm ready to mail my quilts. Where do I find the addresses for the charities?
Due to privacy reasons, I don't post the addresses on the blog.  I will be sending them out in a group email in the next week or so - as soon as I get all the email addresses into the computer - but because it is a large group, your email provider may bump the email into the spam folder.  Be sure to check your spam folder for my email address (salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com) and mark it as "not spam" so you receive any emails I send!  And you can always request the addresses at any time, directly from me at that address.

I love that other H2H participants are donating prizes for the event. How can I help?
We have always been blessed by H2H participants who want to help give all our participants a small "thank you" for joining in.  And it's been wonderful that because of those folks and our generous corporate sponsors, we've been able to give a little "thank you" to each of the participants every year since the first year!  If you want to help out too, you can email me at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com.  After all, happy mail is the best, right?

I know about a great small charity - would you consider them for an upcoming H2H Challenge?
Absolutely!  I'm always looking for lesser-known charities, both to help them collect more quilts, and to give them some publicity so that more people become aware of them.  It also inspires others to start their own charity quilting groups, which is a GOOD thing!!  We usually have two to three charities each year to choose from, so it's helpful to have assistance locating those that are in need of what we can offer.  Just email me with your recommendation and any contact info you have!

Can I donate locally?  
Yes!  I get this question frequently, for various reasons. Some folks can't afford the postage to mail quilts, but still want to participate.  Others know of a great need in their local area, or have a very specific charity they want to support.  The biggest idea behind Hands2Help is the "help" part - using our skills to benefit others!  Of course, I love it if we can use those skills to benefit this year's charities, but if you need or prefer to donate locally, that's fine.

I don't quilt - but really want to help.  Is there any way I can join in and help out?
This year we have a unique opportunity in working with Little Lambs Foundation For Kids.  This is a group that collects items to go in backpacks and other containers for children in the foster care system, emergency shelters, and hospitals in Utah, including hygiene supplies, comfort items, handmade stuffies, and other similar items.  Their website has more information on what they need.  And if you're already sending quilts and want to add in some other needed items, I'm sure they won't object!  TIP:  The dollar store is a great place to find many of the requested items...

Can I take my quilt donation off my taxes?
If the charity you are donating to is a 501(c)(3) non profit corporation in the US, then you can request a charitable donation letter from them for tax purposes.  This year, Little Lambs Foundation For Kids fits that description.  The letter will simply state that you made a non-cash donation to their non-profit.  It will be up to you to assign a value to that donation for tax purposes.  You should enclose a note with your quilt requesting a tax letter and providing (very legibly) your name and mailing address.  A self-addressed stamped envelope would probably win you brownie points!


I think I've hit on the most commonly asked questions from the past years, but if you've got another one, list it in the comments and I'll add it to the list and answer it there!  

I'm so excited about this year's Challenge - and I have a feeling you all are too!  I've already had some people requesting the mailing addresses for the charities (but don't let that put you off - many folks start their quilts right after the previous year's Challenge ends!)   Be sure to check in next Sunday to see the great array of giveaways for this year's Challenge - there's some wonderful things that have been donated, and I'm finding out about more all the time!



Friday, March 16, 2018

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Lots of Little Dresses...

Hi, all!

Friday has rolled around again!  How is daylight savings time treating you?  I seem to be doing better with it this year than in the past - although I'm still revved up at bedtime, and start a little slower in the morning.  Here's to productivity, though - I do feel like I have a bit more energy and that translates to more sewing!   That means that it's time for us to get our whoop whoop on, so let's get started!


Did you know that it's very hard to get a good photo on a windy day?  Unfortunately, I didn't have any little models on hand for these dresses, so I had to hang them on the clothesline to get a good photo, and the wind was not my friend!

These pillowcase dresses are heading to Haiti in June with our church's mission team.  As I was told by a blog reader, girls who are dressed in nice clothes are less likely to be abused, so not only will these brighten up their day, they will also help protect them!

They are super simple to make, and if you're interested, I wrote a tutorial so you can make some too!  I wish I had known how to make these when my girls were younger - they would have loved them!  Emmy is still pretty sure she wants to wear one, so I've made her one too.  I can't wait to get a picture of her in it!

I did manage to get one fairly well-behaved shot of all of the dresses - they look so cute up there together!  

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And just a reminder - there's still time to sign up for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge and be eligible for the sign-up giveaway (although you can still sign up after this week!).  Click here to go to the sign-up post for more info!


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you - 

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday -

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I May Have A Scrap Problem - You Can't Make Just One!

Hi, all!

OK, today's Scrappy Wednesday post is going to be a little different, but I still think it counts if you think of it as using up really big scraps, and leftover notions!  So here's a little tutorial...

This past weekend our church quilt ministry group decided to branch out a little bit and make pillowcase dresses for our church mission team to take to Haiti when they go in June.  Now, this was the first time I had ever made a pillowcase dress - and I can't believe it took me so long to learn to make these.  And once you've made one, you'll find it's hard to stop!  So let's get started...

First of all, you'll need a pillowcase.  If you don't have one, dig into those leftover one-yard pieces you have sitting in your stash for the following:

1 piece 40" x 27" (pillowcase body)
1 piece 40" x 9"   (pillowcase cuff)
1 piece 40" x 2"   (pillowcase trim)

When I cut these pieces, I usually cut a width-of-fabric strip of each fabric, then layer them on top of each other (fold the biggest one in half) with the folds on one side and the selvage edge on the other.  Measure 21" from the fold side and trim all the pieces at the same time, cutting off the selvage edge.  Now all your pieces are the same size!

Now it's time to go to the excellent pillowcase-making tutorial I found on the web.  I can't do any better than this one, so hop over here, put your pillowcase together, and come back to learn how to turn it into a dress!

First of all, fold your pillowcase in half lengthwise.  Cut off the seam end of the pillowcase.  You can adjust the length of your dress by how much you cut off.  We made twenty by just cutting off the seam itself, and this next batch, we will cut off three inches for smaller girls.  

Now, on the not-folded long side, you are going to mark your armholes.  Put your ruler on the corner, measuring four inches down and two inches in. Using pencil, mark from the edge to the 1" mark in both directions.  

Now freehand draw a curve between the ends of your two lines.

At this point, because I'm going to cut both armholes at the same time, I pin the fabric all together on the dress side of the line, then cut out the armholes.

Now, go look in that stash of notions you've got tucked away and find a package of bias binding tape.  I'm happy to say that we've worked through most of the stash of tape I have been hoarding for years!  You'll need about a yard of bias binding tape, either double or single fold.  If it's single fold, you'll need to fold it in half and press it.  

This is a piece of double fold bias tape.  Do you see how it's not quite evenly folded?  That's not laziness - that's intentional.  If you put the larger side on the back of what you are sewing, then you'll be sure to catch it when you sew the top side down.  Unless you feel really comfortable with finicky sewing, I suggest you use the medium width binding tape - the tiny stuff looks great, but it takes concentration to sew it down!  Of course, I don't pin mine, just stuff the raw edge in as I go, so maybe it wouldn't be quite as challenging with pins....

Once you've got your binding tape, stuff the raw edge of the armhole inside it (narrower side on top, remember?) and stitch it down close to the edge.  I like to use my walking foot for this - just personal preference - but you may find it makes it a little easier too.

See how nice that looks when it's done?  Once armholes are finished, it's time to take care of the remaining raw edges. 

Your next step will be to pick out your ribbon.  You'll need two pieces about 30-36" long.  I like 5/8"-3/4" wide grosgrain ribbon, but you can use almost anything - wider satin ribbon, or I've even seen people use shoelaces!  But whatever you use, you'll need to make your casing just slightly wider than your ribbon.  So now, let's make a casing for the ribbon to run through!  

First step - turn under 1/4" and press.  Then turn under enough to cover your ribbon - basically the width of your ribbon plus about 1/4".  You can probably eyeball that measurement, but if you're not sure, you can measure and pin it.  Press that also.

Now stitch close to the long edge of the casing, being sure to backstitch on both ends.  

Put a large safety pin through the end of one ribbon, and feed it through the casing on one side.  

Repeat for the other side, and tie the ribbons together on each side.

And look!  You've got a super-cute pillowcase dress!  Sure to make some little girl happy - I know my granddaughter spotted this one and decided it was hers!

Now here's the skinny - this dress used up three bits and bobs of fabric that had been sitting in my stash for a long time, plus part of a package of bias binding and a partial spool of ribbon from that monster tub in my closet.  And now it is useful and will make a little girl's heart sing!  And all in all, it took about an hour to make (including making the pillowcase!)  How's that for a little instant gratification?  And like I said, it's hard to make just one - you'll be looking for little girls to give these to just so you can make more!