Thursday, September 5, 2013

Charity Quilts - Getting Started

In this first post, I want to talk about things to think about before starting a charity quilt.  I know this is stuff you all know and do, but maybe there is someone out there new to quilting who will find this information helpful.

"Quick & Easy" Charity Quilts doesn't mean "Fast & Trashy."  The last thing someone who's life is falling apart needs is a blanket that falls apart too.  :)

Make sure you are using good quality material that won't fray or shred.  Designer fabric isn't a must, but make sure whatever fabric you use will stand up to lots of love and machine washing and drying.

Make sure the stitching is secure and none of the seams are pulling apart.  If you are making quilts with beginning sewers, you may want to consider using 1/2 inch seams instead of standard 1/4 inch seams.  A 1/4 inch seam that goes a bit crooked is more likely to pull apart than a 1/2 inch seam that is a bit off.

Make sure the size of the quilt is appropriate for the person it is going to.  If the quilt is designed for a child a good rule of thumb is for the quilt to be approximately 6 inches longer than the child is tall.  That way the child is able to curl up completely under the blanket and there is some room for growth.  Boston Children's Hospital has some general height ranges for children here on their website.  Quilts for those 12 and over should be close to twin sized.

Now we are coming to the fun part!  (Like the fabric or quilt?  Click on the source link to go to the store selling it!)

Fleece - Fleece is a go to fabric for charity blankets.  It is a heavier weight polyester fabric that is soft, fuzzy, and doesn't fray.  It comes in a variety of colors and prints and is usually 60 inches wide.  While not strictly necessary, the edges are often cut and tied in a decorative fringe.

Flannel -  It isn't just for plaid shirts anymore.  Lighter weight than fleece, but still nice and soft, flannel is a great choice for either a quilt top or backing.  However, it is more likely to stretch while piecing and may not be the best choice for beginning piecers.

Minky - A polyester fabric with a high cuddle factor, minky is a great choice for a quilt backing.  It is dreamy soft!

Cotton Fabrics - The traditional choice for quilts, cotton fabrics come in a wide variety of colors and prints.

Read the Fine Print - If you are donating a quilt to a specific organization be sure you know if they have any specific requirements.  I know of some places that don't accept quilts made from denim and who require a 1/2 inch seam allowance and others who specify that they want quilts made only from new quilting cotton.   Make sure you give what is needed and required.

Gender Balance -  I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I have the feeling that a lot more "girly" blankets get made than blankets for boys.  If you are donating multiple quilts make sure there are some for boys and girls.  You might also like to contact the organization and see if they need more boy or girl appropriate quilts.

Now that we have the basics covered we are ready to get quilting!   See you soon with our first tutorial!

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  1. Great info, I do charity quilts and I always make sure we have quilts for men and boys. I love it when I get plaid fabric. Blackbird design had a nice pattern for plaid on their site partnering with Moda.

  2. Great info. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is a GREAT post, Leila. Btw, is there a deadline for the foster care kit blankets?