Want to make a quilt to donate to a good cause, but don’t know where to start ?
Over the past 28 years I have made many quilts for various charitable causes and have countless opportunities to make such quilts, so I thought I’d share some of my ideas with you.
Idea 1- Make quilts through your local quilting group: Here are some of the quilts I’ve made to donate through my local quilting group Thameside Quilters to the neonatal unit at our local hospital, and for Project Linus. The neonatal quilts are very quick to make, as they only measure 16” x 20”, and the incubator cover quilts 36” x 36”.
Neonatal quilts 16″ x 20″: Flower Power, Clarice’s Cottage, and Little Village.
Incubator quilts 36″ x 36″: Big Triangles, and Whacky Wiggles
Project Linus quilts 40″ x 60″: Cookie Cutter Critters, Itsy Bits and Wonky Strips, Bonfire Night
As you can see from the pictures, these quilts are usually easy to make and help to use up your stash , your scrap basket, your group bargain table , and maybe even those fat quarters that you have been gifted by well meaning but misguided friends . A lot of the quilts were made at group quilt-a-thon days, which often include a free pattern and instruction.
Idea 2- Help to make a group quilt for a fund raising raffle or auction: For several years I organized the making of a group quilt for Thameside Quilters to be raffled at our annual quilt shows. All these are about 90″ 90″ square:
Thameside Quilters group raffle quilts: Gardener’s World, Rosebud, and Pony Carousel
The good thing about helping to make a group raffle quilt is that you usually have to make one block and you get a free pattern, instructions, and a nice sewing day with friends. Again here the patterns are usually kept simple, so even inexperienced quilters can participate.
Idea 3- Make an auction quilt to raise funds for causes that mean something special to you: Here are a few quilts I’ve made quilts for fundraising raffles and auctions, such as this quilt that I made to raise funds to help the families affected by the fire at Grenfell Towers in 2017. I made it using my Itsy Bits and Wonky Strips pattern from all the floral fabrics I could find in my scrap basket:
Flowers for Grenfell quilt in the making, finished size 60″ x 80″.
But you don’t need to make big quilts if you are making them for auctions! Consider trying out a couple of quilt ideas you have buzzing around your head and try making an art quilt ! The best thing about making an art quilt is that nobody can tell you that you’ve make a mistake , so you can dip your toe in to the art quilt waters with absolutely no fear, even if you are an absolute beginner. It’s also a great way to try out new products on the market, so go ahead and treat yourself to those hotfix crystals or that glitzy thread you’ve had your eyes on! Here are a couple art quilts I’ve made specifically to raise money for relief funds for disasters or tragedies that have a personal meaning to me, such as Hurricanes and Heroes quilt which I made after the Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in 2017, and the 49 Hearts quilt , made after the mass homophobic shootings of 2016 in an Orlando night club.
Hurricanes, Hopes, and Heroes quilt 20″ x 20″ at the piecing and quilting stages
49 Hearts quilt 36″ x 36″ during the piecing process
And here are a few art quilts I’ve made for the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project. Their annual online quilt auction raises money to help pay for research to find a cure for this cancer which affects women.
Cherrywood Challenge quilts for Ovarian Cancer : O Henri !, Snail Space, and New Dawn.
This year I am making a quilt to donate to Q4CL (Quilts for Care Leavers), which is an outfit set up just last year by quilter Maggie Lloyd Jones . Q4CL give the donated “quilted hugs” quilts to young adults aged 18-25 who have recently left the care system during the Christmas dinners (Quilts for Christmas Dinners) set up by the Lemn Sissay Foundation. If you want to make a quilt to donate check out the Q4CL Facebook page for all the details. Here is a photo of the quilt I just finished for Q4CL. I’ve called it Open Arms. The quilt measures 50” x 66”, and is made using 35 blocks 6” x 6” , set 5 x 7 blocks, with a 2” sashing and a 4” border. I made my quilt using Four-Patch blocks using my Easy Stack method (from my book, Easy Stack Quilts, published by C&T in 2018).
Q4CL quilt: Open Arms Care Leavers quilt 50″ x 66″.
The Open Arms Care Leavers quilt setting pattern is suitable for using any blocks measuring 6” x 6” finished ( 6 1/2” x 6 1/2” measured raw edge to raw edge). A free pdf of the pattern is available to download here.
Making a quilt for good causes is a great way of trying out new patterns and learning new techniques for all quilters, and can be a lot of fun, so I hope you try a few of the ideas in this blog when making your quilt. I have only one plea…please make your quilt with all of your love and care . Sometimes I see quilts being donated that are poorly made and very unattractive, with the maker saying things such as “It’s only for charity, so it doesn’t matter”. Ladies, if you wouldn’t give that quilt to your own son or daughter to be used and cherished, why bother making it at all?