Take Rookie Quilters "Under Our Wings" to Make Quilt of Valor Quilts

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 ( 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

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 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


Judi wrote re: Take Rookie Quilters "Under Our Wings" to Make Quilt of Valor Quilts
on Monday, 13 June 2011, 3:58 PM

I am hoping to teach a beginning sewing and quilting set of classes in the Trenton, NJ, Public Schools this fall in memory of my son, Joshua Scott Reiss, who was murdered on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center.  Quilting has given me a reason to get up each morning.  I have always sewn, but those very kind ladies who brought comfort quilts to my other children after we losst Joshua, showed how really improtant those comfort quilts are.  Each of my children (aged 35 to 21) still cherish those quilts.  

I will use the state curriculum guides to link the sewing and quilting classes to the literacy and math standards.  Making a quilt for another will also teach these children the gift of giving and the responsiblity of each of us to be aware of the sacrifices made by our military. wrote re: Take Rookie Quilters "Under Our Wings" to Make Quilt of Valor Quilts
on Tuesday, 14 June 2011, 5:55 PM

Judi, I would like info on your quilt classes:  information covered, lesson plans as well as linking the classes to state curriculum guidelines.  I have always had the desire to teach kids this satisfying art that can so easily vanish if not preserved.  Sorry for your tragedy, but you have turned it into something good.   Thanks.  Rosalea

RAYB-2 wrote re: Take Rookie Quilters "Under Our Wings" to Make Quilt of Valor Quilts
on Thursday, 16 June 2011, 7:01 PM

Ginny W & I worked with a few kids for four days last week.  It was quite an experience.  We had almost as many adults as we had kids -- but what a lot of great quilt blocks they made.  Two completed QOV quilts and about 60 more blocks to be put into quilts later on.  Like wow.  don't be afraid.  Just do it and it will pay you dividends!  If i can do it, anyone can1!!

liedjie wrote re: Take Rookie Quilters "Under Our Wings" to Make Quilt of Valor Quilts
on Thursday, 23 June 2011, 8:45 PM

I would like to make contact with Sharon in Region 7 (Arkansas) to find out more.  It will be an honor for me to make a quilt for one of these men/women who is giving me a safe place to live.

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