CALLING ALL QUILTERS!
by Marianne Fons
Every quilter knows the therapeutic value of making a quilt and the satisfaction of giving it to someone we want to comfort.
Quilts of Valor are patriotic, nap-size quilts made specifically for wounded veterans. Since the program's beginning in 2003, Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF.org) has coordinated presentation of over 43,000 quilts to combat veterans, not just from current Mideast conflicts but from WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.
By volunteering to be a quilt Coach and taking a Rookie under your wings, you can help a non-quilter experience the therapy of quilting and the satisfaction of giving for the first time. You'll help your Rookie make just one quilt, a Quilt of Valor.
QOVF recently launched Under Our Wings (UOW) in response to nine fabric vendors' generosity. Each company-Andover, Clothworks, Marcus, Moda, P&B, Quilting Treasures, Red Rooster, Timeless Treasures, and Windham-created a special group of red, white, and blue prints specifically for Quilts of Valor, putting the foundation's web site information on the selvages and making a financial contribution as well. These special fabrics are now in quilt shops all over the US. Find an Official Under Our Wings Quilt Shop near you at http://www.qovf.org/localqov-list.html.
Official shops hold UOW workshops, pairing you with someone who wants to make a QOV but doesn't know how. For the workshop, you bring your sewing machine and tools; the Rookie buys a kit. You teach your Rookie to sew a 1/4" seam, then do the cutting, pinning, and pressing while your Rookie sews simple patchwork blocks. For more info on being a Coach, see http://www.qovf.org/content/uow-coach-tips.html. QOVF coordinates volunteer longarm machine quilting and quilt presentation.
At an Under Our Wings workshop at Creekside Quilting in Urbandale, Iowa, last fall, Rookie Beth was under the wings of shop owner Connie Doern. Beth made her first Quilt of Valor with Connie's guidance and using Connie's Pfaff machine. Combining Christmas, Beth's birthday, and her anniversary, Beth's husband presented her with her own new Pfaff in December. This past March, Beth joined Des Moines Area Quilters Guild, and, on May 21, Armed Forces Day, Beth became a Coach herself at another Under Our Wings workshop in West Des Moines.
Quilts of Valor founder Catherine Roberts says, "These quilts have a magical effect on the soldiers who receive them. They say Thank You For Your Service in a way no medal can."
At the May 21 UOW workshop , I presented my Valiant Eagle quilt to Dan Collins, a Vietnam vet shot 14 times in the line of duty who still carries bullets in his legs. Dan and his local VFW group coordinated lunch for the workshop. I urged Dan to take frequent naps under his Quilt of Valor and explained to his wife Mary how to easily wash the quilt. "If you wear this one out," I told Dan, "let me know and I'll make you another."
For general information on the Under Our Wings program, see http://www.qovf.org/content/uow-wings-homepage.html