Sunday, December 30, 2007

The King's Daughters and Sons Home.

Jane, a HeartStrings quilter involved her guild in making HeartStrings blocks and quilts earlier this year. She recently wrote me the following update:

I've personally made 3 heartstrings tops, my guild and I have made many more through our block of the month activities. One month we made blue centers, another, we made red centers... some of the blocks were sent to me to combine, other guild members and completed tops of their own. One mother-sister-daughter team made 4 lap sized heartstrings quilts.

In total, we gave 112 quilts to a nursing home in November. Some were scrap quilts from Bonnie's site, some were Chinese coins, many were Heartstrings quilts.

20 of the quilts donated by Jane's guild were HeartStrings quilts. Below, you can read a letter of thanks.

The King’s Daughters & Sons Home
Bartlett, TN

Dear Members of the Uncommon Threads Quilt Guild,
How can we ever thank you enough for the wonderful quilts. Each one was as unique as each of our Residents. Staff and Residents alike are proclaiming the quilt party as the best of all year. Visitors frequently comment on the quilts that we have displayed and volunteers go room to room visiting with Residents
and looking at their quilts. Which of course, the Residents are more than happy to show off.

We are all, (staff, residents, family members, volunteers) extremely appreciative of your hard work and generosity.

Thank you once again.
Dana Lewis
Activity Director

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quilts for Annie's House

Cricket has been working throughout the year with other HeartStrings quilters to make quilts for homeless families. After delivering a batch of quilts to Annie's house she wrote this:

I had the most wonderful time tonight. I went to Annie's House, a lovely shelter for homeless women. It is run by Sister Senga, who is the closest thing to a saint I've ever met. The women knew I was coming and were waiting anxiously. I've delivered quilts in other years, so they knew what to expect. They were looking out the door for me (I had called when I was ten minutes away).

They helped bring quilts in and put them on the dining room table. Even before I got my shoes off and got into the dining room, I heard the oohs and ahhs. Women were opening the quilts and just loving them. They were so thrilled. There were many comments about patterns and fabrics and color. In the end, it is the color they choose; they want the colors that speak to them. Pattern and warmth share second place. Size runs a close third. Each found a quilt that spoke to her.

One woman, still had on her olive green coat she was wearing to help me in. Guess which quilt she picked? Do you remember that wonderful top that Darlene made (and Bev quilted) which was sort of an olive green center strips with a light or white on each side of it? That was Darlene's creativity, and Holly loved it. She thanked me, Darlene, Bev, Rebecca, and all of the Heartstringers, as they all did, and I saw her hugging it as she took it to her room.

Another woman, who is to move to her own apartment shortly, picked the wonderful yellow center stripe quilt that Darlene made and Bev quilted. She said there was one window in her room, and this quilt would really brighten it up. She had gray hair but such a young and vibrant spirit.

A younger woman, the youngest of the group, let me feel her muscles – and they were hard and big! She is in training for the construction industry, and I say, more power to her. She's also her GED. The ladies had picked out a quilt they thought she would like, and did she ever! It is the Heartstrings pattern with deep green stripes and a lot of fabrics with pure hues. Everyone was busy looking at race cars and various other things on the fabric. She liked it so much she did not even look at the others.

The ladies picked out a quilt for one woman, who came in later. She loved it so much that she refused to even look at the extra quilts I had brought so people would have choices. It was a scrap quilt with lots of light areas and half square triangles. She asked me how long it took to make it, and I said probably close to 100 hours, all things considered. She came and hugged me and said thank you. I'm not sure if Darlene made that top or if it's one I had in the works already.

One of the ladies picked out a lovely soft green and soft blue nine patch, queen size. I had that one in the works. Everyone had her favorites. Some people took a while to decide which quilt they wanted because they liked several "best". Everyone was thrilled; I can actually say every person was totally enchanted by her quilt.

They were quite interested to know how these were made, and I have a new volunteer, Barbara, who works in the shelter and at Sears. I'm going to teach her how to make quilts and she will help with the homeless quilts. Not a bad deal! She's a lovely person. I may get a second volunteer, an experienced quilter, Maxine.

I left 16 labeled adult-size quilts with these ladies, and got many hugs and many kisses in return. Quite a few said "God bless you" and many wished me a Merry Christmas. I gladly share those hugs, kisses, blessings, and wishes with all of you, because it is our greater group that made this evening possible.

I left our web address with them. In all the years I've been doing this, never have I had this many finished quilts (53 so far) with such great cooperation and such little stress. Thank you very much, my quilting sisters (and brothers,) This group really rocks!

The bottom line is, this is clearly God's work, and I am so happy to be a part of it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

January Sneak Preview

As you enjoy the holidays with family and friends, here's a peek at what we'll be doing in January.

Since so many of us make and donate quilts to Project Linus, we're encouraging everyone to make a quilt to donate to their local chapter in time for Make a Blanket Day on February 16, 2008.

You can make a string quilt or use any pattern you'd like. I plan to use my favorite donation quilt - a quick strippie pattern. I've already got one pieced and ready for quilting and hope to make a 2nd one in time to donate both of them.

If you don't have a local chapter to donate the quilt to, contact me by email ( and I'll put you in touch with Barb, one of the coordinators of Project Linus here in the Minneapolis area.

Barb has said that she will also accept finished tops; your local Project Linus Chapter may also accept them unquilted. You may contact me for Barb's address if you'd like to send her a top or finished quilt.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's been a little quiet

I know it's been a little quiet here on the blog recently but we're steadily working. If it's been a while since you've visited our photo albums take a look. It's hard to believe that all these quilts have been finished just this year and there are lots more in progress.

As we celebrate the holidays, I'm sure I won't be the only one squeezing in some quilting time to work on HeartStrings blocks and quilts.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chinese Coins

Becky recently posted this quilt she created using coins donated during our Chinese Coins Project earlier this year. She had so many requests for the pattern after doing a similar quilt that she created a tutorial showing how she made it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quilts for those affected by the fires in California

I wanted to bring this back to the top of the blog as I've only had a handful of requests for the mailing address for sending quilts to California.

If you'd like to send a quilt for a child, please read this previous post and contact me for the mailing address.

You can reach me by email at

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend Retreat Update

Click photo to enlarge!
HeartStrings quilters from around the US, Australia, and the UK worked on various HeartStrings projects that will go to children, homeless families, wounded veterans, breast cancer patients and more.

Darlene traveled to Cricket's home and they worked on quilting and binding this weekend while the rest of us participated *virtually* , updating each other with our progress. The photos in the above collage show some of the projects we worked on.

Cricket was happy to report to the group that she has 75 quilts in various stages of completion + additional blocks waiting to be assembled. 40 of those quilts, made by Cricket, Darlene, Bev, and other HeartStrings members are completed and will be distributed to homeless families in about 10 days.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Retreat weekend

It all started with a stay at home retreat weekend on the Stashbuster group and Cricket and Darlene getting together in person to finish up a group of quilts to be donated to homeless shelters.

Now 30+ HeartString quilters are participating this weekend in a virtual retreat. Most of us are working on our HeartStrings blocks and quilts and a few are working on other personal projects.

Won't you join us and make some HeartStrings blocks this weekend? If you do, email me ( for the mailing address to send the blocks in - we'll make sure they're assembled into quilts and donated to charitable causes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October's Project Pink is ending

The official end to Project Pink is today but don't worry if you're still working, Jennifer has said she'll continue to accept these blocks for now so we won't set a firm deadline for all the blocks to be received - yet.

However, this is one of our short term project so you'll want to finish up and maybe get back to making some of our red and blue standard blocks before the next special project comes up. The mailing address for pink blocks can be found at this link.

Thanks to everyone who participated. We'll continue to update our online album as more tops and quilts are completed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Helping those in need - Southern California

Nann, a HeartStrings member put Debbi Kulick in touch with me. She is requesting quilts for children in Southern California affected by the fires.

She will be working through the Kids Need to be Kids program. Having just finished up our Purple Project, I'm hoping we will be able to help. If you would like to send quilts please email me at for Debbi's address. Her request is below.

As you know, southern California is under siege with the fires. There are currently 13 fires burning, over 500,000 people have had to evacuate and they expect that number to rise to over 1 million.

At this time, I would like to ask that anyone who would like to donate quilts for the children, I will be glad to accept them and help get them distributed. The children have nothing and need something to help them be kids while Mom and Dad will be dealing with FEMA, insurance companies and everyone else trying to piece their lives back together. I plan to work with Kappa Delta Sorority and work with our Kids Need to be Kids program which began with Katrina.

We will be collecting toys and books for the children too, I would love to have quilts for them along with toys and books.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kasson, MN Sew-In

We had a wonderful time on Saturday. Sheree was the perfect hostess and she wrote the following summary to share here. You can see all the photos from the sew-in at the slide-show posted on our website.

Saturday, October 20, 2007 was the third meeting for the Minnesota/WI/Upper Midwest HeartStringers. Mary, Sue & Barb, all from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN met Sheree in SE Minnesota for a VERY productive day of quilting pink. Ann, who is part of the HeartString Yahoo Group, and who lives in nearby Byron, MN came by with 50! blocks. Some of Sheree’s friends also stopped by and added to the fun and productivity of the group. And we were international with virtual quilters from Australia and the UK, not to mention others quilting pink throughout the US.

The blocks and tops we worked on will all be donated to breast cancer patients and were created from pink and white fabrics in support of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our group of fabulous women put together 2 quilt tops from blocks brought to the sew-in, and completed 118 more blocks!

Additionally, the work HeartStrings does will be featured in the local weekly newspaper! All-in-all, it was a Heart warming experience as we spent the day enjoying each other’s company creating instruments of comfort for those who will need a soft place to land and the warmth that a quilt sewn with love can supply.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Will you be joining us?

Don't forget our MN area sew-in this coming Saturday. Details can be found at this previous post.

For those of you not able to attend in person, consider joining us on a virtual retreat and make HeartStrings blocks at home. You can either sew pink blocks for our October Project Pink or use the guidelines and sew our regular blocks.

Make sure you write in and tell us what you worked on!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Country Crossroads Quilt Guild

After seeing the 5th HeartStrings quilt (pictured above) from Joanne and her guild I asked her to write a brief note telling us about the HeartStrings quilts they've been making. This is what she wrote:

The Country Crossroads Quilt Guild of Forreston, Illinois does a special charity project every 3 years. (We are a small guild of about 60 members).

This year it was decided to donate quilts to the Rockford Rescue Mission. The RRM requested twin size quilts. I made a string quilt using the Heartstrings Quilt Project guidelines, quilted it on my new longarm (quilting on charity quilts is great practice), and brought it to guild to donate.

I suggested to the members that if they wanted to make the Heartstring blocks, I'd assemble them, quilt and bind them and hopefully bring one back every month. One month I used 50 blocks that were donated to the project and sent to me by Sue, but every other month the guild has managed to make enough for a quilt.

I received October's donation of 90+ blocks and have the first quilt on the longarm now. The extra blocks will be made into a smaller quilt to be donated to one member's husband, who is a county deputy sheriff, to keep in his squad car to comfort a child when needed. The twin size will be the 6th quilt we've made this year for RRM.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Purple Project Update

Members continue to finish and donate quilts from our recent Purple Project. Here's one finished and posted by Jennifer. She used blocks she pieced and donated blocks to make 4 Purple Project quilts. You can see these and all the purple quilts in our online album.

If you're participating in October's Project Pink and need some inspiration check out these finished tops and quilts. Details for participating in this project can be found in this information sheet.

As always even with a special project going on, we continue to accept red and blue center string blocks made according to the

Friday, October 5, 2007

Don't miss out on October's Project Pink

In addition to the blocks being made and mailed to Jennifer, HeartStrings quilters are finishing their own tops and quilts for Project Pink.

Five days into the project and quilt photos are already being posted. Check out our online album for inspiration and then start your own blocks. If you'll be sending your blocks in for group quilts make sure to read the guidelines.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sew-In on Saturday, October 20 in Kasson, MN

Sheree is hosting our October sew-in and recently posted this reminder. Please contact her for further details at

I'm talking this up locally and plan to bring an extra machine for people who stop in to see what we're doing. I thought they could sew a strip or two onto a foundation and be part of the process too!

I'm planning on bringing my newly completed blue string quilt (will get a picture) for folks to see. If any attendees have completed tops or quilts that they could bring to show those who aren't part of our group, that would be great.

Kasson/Mantorville is a small community, so I thought I'd contact our weekly newspaper to see if they'd like to stop over and give us some press as well. I'm pretty psyched about hosting this. I'm excited to see old friends that have been made from previous get togethers as well as hoping that moving the site around will entice other people to join as well ... so if you live in Southern Minnesota, Northern Iowa, Twin Cities area, or feel like a road trip would be a great thing to do, PLEASE, join us. It really is a fun and HEART-FILLED day!

We'll be carpooling from the Twin Cities area - for more information, please contact Sue Frank at

Monday, September 24, 2007

HeartStrings Information Sheet

For those of you working with groups or spreading the word about the HeartStrings Quilt Project, we have a new one page information sheet that you can print and distribute. It contains some brief information about the project and the web addresses to our sites.

HeartStrings Information Sheet (PDF file)

Thanks to Kathy for requesting an information sheet and spurring me on to create one! Of the 3 HeartStrings quilts featured, the red HeartStrings quilt was made and donated by Pam and the other two were assembled from group blocks at the MN/WI area sew-in's and quilted by me.

I added a permanent link on the sidebar so it can easily be found when needed.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Peace by Piece Quilters

Nancy from Peace by Piece Quilters at St Mary's Episcopal Church in Manchester, CT sent this completed top for our recent Purple Project. She reports that group members are finishing up a Red HeartStrings top and have plans to work on blocks for October's Project Pink too.

She reports "there is such a 'buzz' at church about the Heartstring quilts! I even have a bulletin board set up for our projects and will be posting your website for people to refer to."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sneak Preview for October

Since we've been having so much fun with our special projects, we're going to do another just for the month of October. In conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness month we're going to make blocks for quilts that will be assembled and donated to Breast Cancer patients.

There are two options for blocks that will be sent in for group quilts. First option is all Pink and White strings without a designated center string. Second option is a Pink center string with all other colors filling out the remainder of the block.

Guidelines with examples of the above options can be found (and printed) on the website.

Come join us for October's Project Pink.

We continue to work on assembling quilts from our Chinese Coins and Purple Projects. As always, we accept blocks made according to our standard guidelines at all times. Please email us for the address to send these blocks as it may be different than those sent in for our special projects.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A couple more Purple Project Quilts

Lynn Dykstra emailed me photos of these two quilts today and wrote: "Here are my two projects--the small one went to a baby whose mother and grandmother were very ill during the pregnancy, and the larger one went to our block party raffle for the local food pantry--made $544.00!"

HeartStrings quilts have been donated to individuals and organizations but it's wonderful seeing one being used as a fund raiser. Thanks for sharing Lynn!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Purple Project is over

If you haven't already, please mail your Purple Project blocks within the next couple weeks. If you need the address or have a photo to share of your quilt, please email me.

To see Purple Project tops and quilts already completed click on the album below

Purple Project

Monday, August 27, 2007

Are these string blocks addicting?

Ask Alycia and her son who are making RWB string blocks for Quilts of Valor. Visit Alycia's blog to see the blocks and read more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why do we piece HeartStrings blocks on a foundation?

That's a question I get fairly frequently so I thought I'd address it here on the blog.

First, I want to make sure that everyone understands that the fabric foundation is ONLY required for the blocks that are sent in for group quilts. Because we are piecing these blocks on the diagonal from strings they have a tendency to stretch. By using a foundation and trimming the final block to 9.5 inches, we can make sure that the blocks coming from different quilters will all work well with each other. You can read the guidelines for blocks sent in for group quilts on our website.

If you are making a HeartStrings quilt yourself, any PATTERN and any METHOD of construction can be used and we suggest you think about the organization that will receive the donated quilt and keep their requirements in mind as you make the quilt.

String quilts have traditionally been foundation pieced on fabric or paper but there are several books that describe techniques for making them without foundations. Some of these don't actually start with strings and they involve cutting rectangles or strips from scraps or yardage.

Some of my favorites
Liberated String Quilts by Gwen Marston
Strips and Strings by Evelyn Sloppy

While technically not string quilts, I also like the Stack the Deck books by Karla Alexander and Cut Loose Quilts by Jan Mullen for their stack and slash type quilts. I made one HeartStrings quilt based on a pattern by Karla Alexander that turned out very cute and was donated to the Ronald McDonald House here in Minneapolis.

You can find patterns that use a paper or fabric foundation in the books String Quilts with Style by Aug & Newman and Spectacular String-Pieced Quilts by the editors of Traditional Quiltworks and Quilting Today magazines.

Online you can find instructions at Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site and I've posted some simple instructions at

So whether you choose to piece blocks according to our guidelines for group quilts or piece your own quilts with or without foundations, I hope you will join us in making and donating HeartStrings quilts to your local charities. Don't forget to check out our photo albums for more inspiration.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fishy Strings

Many of you may be aware that HeartStrings blocks sent in for group quilts in the US are mailed to Sue Frank who then pulls block sets to send to group members for finishing and donating. She also pieces tops from donated blocks and sends them on to volunteer quilters.

Sue sent me pictures of a HeartStrings quilt she recently donated to the Mayo Clinic. She wrote: "Louise Cohen sent a beautiful set of blocks. They were so coordinated they had to stay in a set and needed a special presentation . As soon as I saw them I thought of underwater ."

Sue took those donated string blocks and created the quilt you see below.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

101 Quilts for African Orphans

Stephanie recently emailed me about a quilt show that included some of her donated HeartStrings quilts.

She wrote: "Julie who was coordinating the quilts for Africa organised a quilt show of the finished 101 quilts as a fund raiser. (Sadly for me, on the other side of Australia)

Here is a link to the photos that were taken. Not all of the quilts are in the pix, but 3 of my 6 are there, Green Sudoku, Baby Rails (photo 6) and the Heartstrings with the purple sashing (photo 39). All 3 of those managed to be in more than one pic. I'll forward the newsletter about the show shortly.

This was a show with a difference, people were encouraged to hug the quilts, to increase the loving vibes going to Africa. What a lovely idea."

In addition to the ones she mentions about, I also managed to see another one of Stephanie's HeartStrings quilts in photo 5. You can see her quilts along with the others by following this link.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yikes! August is halfway done

I've been traveling and busy with some personal projects the last couple weeks and haven't made a single string block this month!

Luckily, I have a couple weeks left to work on Judy's Use the Stash Challenge and add some more blocks to my 365 Challenge total.

For those of you still working on Purple Project quilts and blocks you also have another couple weeks to make blocks you'll be sending in. We'll allow a couple weeks into September for everyone to get them mailed off. If you're making a Purple Project quilt yourself, make sure you share a photo for our online album and check out the new labels designed just for these quilts.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Patriotic HeartStrings

Michele wrote to tell me of another HeartStrings quilt and donation. She talks about patriotism and shares this quilt given to the family of a deceased WWII veteran.

You can read her post at her blog - With Heart and Hands

HeartStrings Quilt Instructions

If you've been watching our photo albums fill up with HeartStrings quilts and wanted instructions you can download the PDF file for our Red HeartStrings quilt.

If you want to make one of our HeartStrings Logo Quilts, those instructions are available also.

Need some ideas for Purple Project quilts? Try this version or a simpler one here.

As always, we're happy to receive blocks made according to the guidelines if you prefer to send them in rather than assemble a quilt on your own. They add up fast when combined with other donations!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Purple Project

We still have the rest of August to work on our purple centered blocks for our Purple Project. We'll allow a couple weeks into September for everyone to mail their blocks to Sue (US) and Megan (AUS). Of course, you're always welcome to keep your blocks and make and donate the quilt yourself.

My finished quilt is here and a second top is ready for quilting.

For those of you needing to print labels for Purple Project quilts check out the new Purple HeartStrings Labels (PDF file with 4 labels per page).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Use the Stash Challenge

Judy Laquidara issues a challenge each month on her blog encouraging quilters to use their stash. She's challenged us this month to use our stash to make HeartStrings blocks and has offered to assemble and donate quilts from blocks sent to her from her August challenge.

Read her blog post carefully and join us in using our stash in August. You can find the guidelines for making HeartStrings blocks on our website.

Of course, blocks made according to the HeartStrings Guidelines are accepted at any time by our HeartStrings coordinators Sue (US) and Megan (AUS) for assembly and donation.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

HeartStrings and Project Linus

Barb recently picked up 147 Heartstrings blocks from Sue -- 61 BLUE centered blocks and 86 RED centered ones.

She wrote: "I will make additional blocks in order to get TWENTY BLANKETS for Project Linus! I'm the Assistant Coordinator for Project Linus-Greater Twin Cities Area, MN Chapter. We're having a Make-a-Blanket Day on Saturday, August 18th in Oakdale, Minnesota (9:00-4:00) if any HEARTSTRINGERS would like to join us. We'll be making HEARTSTRINGS BLANKETS that day. Get details @"

Here's Barb pictured with her first HeartSrings block at the recent WI/MN area sew-in.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Project updates

In addition to making our red and blue centered HeartStrings blocks we've been having fun with several special projects.

For our first one, we collected Chinese Coin sections from members in April and May and I've been working on assembling those into tops and quilts. I expected we'd get enough for several tops but I'm working on the 4th one from the donated coins and there are plenty left. Here's the first finished quilt and you can see others in our online photo album.

Our Purple Project - HeartStrings Quilts for Kids is in progress and will run through August. Sue Frank has already received several block sets which have been sent out to be assembled into quilts and donated and I've finished one quilt and one top. These are fun to make and they only take 24 blocks so think about joining the fun and making some Purple centered blocks.

Finally, our 365 block challenge has taken off. In less than two weeks we have had 41 members of our Yahoo group signed up and we've already made 459 blocks! Want to challenge yourself? Read the details.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

WI/MN area sew-in

A group of 9 HeartStrings members gathered in Roberts, WI today. We worked, we laughed, we ate, we shopped (on the way home) and while our main focus this meeting was Patriotic Quilts for Quilts of Valor we also worked some on Purple Project quilts and other string projects.

Additional photos can be seen in our online album.

Here's a photo of the group (minus me as photographer)
From (L) - (R) standing --- Rhonda, Sally, Kathy, Sue, Barb
From (L) - (R) sitting ------ Teresa, Virginia, Sheree

Thursday, July 12, 2007

HeartStrings Challenge - 365 Blocks

Inspired by Tresica we're going to start a HeartStrings Challenge.

The guidelines are simple and you can either play along on your own or join our Yahoo group. Membership is NOT necessary to participate.

This will be a personal challenge for those participating - no pressure - we'll work at our own pace. You can complete the challenge as quickly or as slowly as you choose.

You can count any STRING blocks you make for HeartStrings quilts in the challenge.

  1. You can send in the blocks to Sue (US) or Megan (AUS)
  2. You can use the blocks in HeartStrings quilts you make yourself
  3. You do a combination of the two above - send some in - keep some for HeartStrings quilts you make yourself
  4. You can piece tops from the blocks and ask us to find a quilter to complete and donate the finished quilt

The ONLY criteria for blocks SENT IN will be: **

  1. Blocks should be 9.5 inches on a muslin or 100% cotton foundation
  2. Have a RED or BLUE center strip cut 2 inches (1.5 inches finished) See Block Guidelines
  3. If using different color centers, blocks should be sent in sets of 24 or 48 to be used in a single quilt

** Australian blocks should have RED centers unless sending in a complete set of blocks that can be used in a single quilt.

Email me with any questions

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A 365 block surprise

Imagine my surprise tonight to find an email and this photo in my inbox. Tresica Watts wrote and asked for the mailing address to send HeartStrings blocks commenting that she had made 365 red and blue centered blocks. What a wonderful contribution to our project!

Don't you love this photo? (click photo to enlarge!)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Even the dogs are interested!

Helen from the United Kingdom recently arranged to send some purple-centred blocks to Megan, the Australian HeartStrings coordinator - see photo above. (Does this mean that we have our first international HeartStrings quilt?)

Megan was amused, however, to discover that the inspection dogs used by the Australian Quarantine service were very interested in the blocks. So much so that they indicated - by yapping? howling? wagging their tails? - that the package warranted closer inspection. And so when the blocks were delivered to Megan in Sydney they included a polite note from the Quarantine service to indicate that while the dogs had been very interested, "no items of quarantine concern were detected" by the human inspectors. That's nice to know!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Just one more week

Just one more week until the WI/MN area sew-in. Details for the July 14th event can be found at this post.

Contact Kathy if you're able to join us.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Patriotic Quilting

With the 4th of July coming up I thought I'd post a photo of one of the patriotic tops made for an organization providing quilts for soldiers injured in the war on terror. Sue recently shared this Heartstrings top that she pieced using group blocks that will be donated to Quilts of Valor.

This along with another top from the blocks to be exchanged at the WI/MN area sew-in in July will be sent to QOV for quilting and donation. In addition, I'm also finishing up the binding on my QOV donation quilt and plan to have it completed in time to bring to the July sew-in.

This is the time of year we all tend to think about our soldiers and veterans but other HeartStrings Project quilts have already gone to QOV, VA hospitals, Veteran's homes, and To the Top Project. Thanks go to all the members of the project that have contributed to making these quilts that honor those that serve in our armed forces.

Take a few minutes to read a previous blog post that shared the story of Al, a WWII POW who continues to make HeartStrings quilts for QOV.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Looking at our first 6 months

As June draws to a close, I've been looking at what we've accomplished in our first 6 months.

Sharing the stories on this blog about the quilters who are participating in the project is inspiring to me as I continue to work on my HeartStrings quilts and I know there are many participating quietly. I frequently come across photos or a mention of HeartStrings quilts or blocks just in reading online group messages or quilting blogs.

We try to keep a database of donated quilts so we can count the number of donations and identify which organizations are receiving quilts. If you've made and donated a HeartStrings quilt that we don't know about - please send me an email and a picture and let us know which organization (or individual) received it.

Take some time to look through our online photo albums and see the finished quilts as well as those in progress and if you haven't already, share your Heartstrings Project Quilts with us.

In the next couple months we'll have our second MN/WI area sew-in this time in Roberts, WI and we'll be working on our Purple Project. I hope you'll join us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Purple Project - HeartStrings Quilts for Kids

Following the success of our Chinese Coins project and inspired by Stephanie's recent children's quilts we'll have a special project for July and August 2007.

We'll be making and collecting HeartStrings blocks with purple centers made according to the guidelines EXCEPT for the substitution of a 2 inch purple center string. Blocks should be mailed to Sue (US) and Megan (AUS) by mid September to be assembled into quilts for children.

Since these quilts will be made with 24 blocks versus the 48 blocks needed for the typical HeartStrings quilts, I hope to receive enough blocks for several quilts. As always, you are welcome to make and assemble your own quilts rather than mail the blocks - just remember to send us a photo.

We'll continue to accept HeartStrings blocks with red and blue centers (US) and red centers (AUS).

Email me with any questions or for the mailing addresses for sending blocks.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

MN/WI area sew-in

On July 14, HeartStrings quilters will meet again this time at 9:00 AM in Roberts, WI for another sew-in.

Kathy writes: "We'll sew, eat, chat and have fun. Breakfast will be juices, coffee and tea with some fun goodies to eat. Lunch will be pizza ordered in with potluck for salad and dessert.

The building is handicap accessible with a great country setting along a small lake.We'll be bringing sewing machines, pressing supplies, rotary cutting supplies and other goodies to make blocks, tops and backs for HeartStrings quilts.

We will be making a Quilt of Valor for an injured returning service man or woman. Our color theme will be red/white/blue because of the patriotic theme of the quilt and in honor of the 4th of July(American Independence Day)."

Please let Kathy know if you're able to come - we'd like a head count if possible beforehand and she can give you directions.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Inspiration from Australia

Stephanie wrote: Thought I'd share another quilt. It was made by Dee from my group who was inspired by our sewing day that was featured in the magazine. Her picture is on the blog from that day.

She has an autistic nephew called Lyndon who turned 21 last week. Lyndon loves red, and all things fish. Dee was full of enthusiasm after our Heartstring sewing day and decided to make Lyndon a Heartstring quilt. She used red centres, and all of the strings are inspired by the sea. Fish, dolphins, coral, swirls, water, shells, you get the picture.

Then she fussy cut fish from printed fabrics and appliqued them on with sparkly thread. Quilted waves, swirling current and bubbles in the fishy border. It is gorgeous, the picture really doesn't show how good it looks in real life.

You can see a picture of Dee working on HeartStrings blocks in this previous blog post - scroll down the page to the last photo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

HeartStrings for Children

Stephanie in Australia sent me photos of her two recent finishes and says the finished tops are going off in the mail this week. She writes "Both are good sizes for children, as requested by Julie for the orphanage" and she shares her instructions for making them.

Blue bubbles is made from 24 blue centre HeartStings blocks with a couple of stash borders to highlight. Gold border is cut 2", blue border is cut 4 1/2". I used a generous 1/4" seam, finished size is 47" x 63".

Wild at Heart is made from 24 assorted string blocks given to me for Heartstrings, by fellow Stitch by Stitch member Dora Carbone, sashed and bordered by me with a wild purple fabric from my stash. I cut the sashings and cornerstones 2 ", and the outer border 2 1'2". Finished size 44" x 66".

You may remember Stephanie and her group from this previous blog post and they were featured in two magazine articles - in the May/June issue of Australian Quilters Companion and the May issue of Australian Homespun Magazine.

Guidelines for making the HeartStrings blocks are on our website.

Stephanie also wrote more about the orphanage the quilts will be donated to. "At the very end of last year a net buddy from another list posted up a message about wanting to make a number of quilts for an African orphanage. I emailed her and asked if she would like ufos/quilt tops too, as well as the blocks she had asked for. Her name is Julie Tobler, from Queensland (opposite side of Australia from me) The orphanage she has chosen is one that has recently been completed. Her partner is from Africa, and knows a fair bit about Bethel"

It is located in Kafue, Zambia. Please visit the web site here.

Bethel Orphanage is a charitable organization among Christian charities caring for orphans. AIDS in Africa has increased the burdens of child charity organizations like Bethel Orphanage that help children orphaned from poor families. Orphanages have a challenge of keeping up with the growing numbers of orphans. The Orphanage currently supports over 100 children. Most of the children are AIDS victims that lost their parents from the AIDS epidemic.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Chinese Coins

I completed the first top from our Chinese Coins project today. I had originally thought that we'd get 3-5 tops (including one from Becky from sections I'd sent her) but after making this top, I think I've underestimated how many quilts we'll be able to make from these donated coins.

You can see the fabric used for the borders and sashing below - a really cute heart print that Pam let me know was on sale at her site Real Women Quilt.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Use the Stash Challenge

Judy Laquidara of Sunshine Quilts and the founder of the Stash Quilts blog ring issues a monthly Use the Stash Challenge to encourage quilters to dive into their stashes and make quilts using the fabric we already have.

Judy's challenge for June is to make and donate a quilt to your favorite organization. Since HeartStrings quilts use all those little leftover bits and pieces of our stash to make donation quilts this is a great challenge for us.

Join in the fun and visit Judy's site and let her know you're playing along.

Since our Chinese Coins project has just come to an end, I'll be pulling borders and sashing from my stash and will be assembling quilts from the coin sections sent in by HeartStrings quilters.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


I love this recent photo of a HeartStrings quilt top that Nann posted (I see one of these in my future)! Don't you love the touch of red?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The softer side of HeartStrings

Many of the HeartStrings quilts are bold and bright - certainly the group quilts that have the red or blue center strings tend to be - but choosing pastel fabrics makes a softer, sweeter quilt.

Jan in CO recently finished this quilt which is being donated to the breast cancer support group at her local hospital.

Another example is this Roman Stripes pieced by Helen in VA (quilted by Mary) using 30's fabrics - also going to a woman with breast cancer.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Let's talk about the HeartStrings Quilt Project

Joanne emailed a photo of her finished HeartStrings quilt and wrote : I finished and donated the completed Heartstrings quilt at my guild on Monday night. The completed quilt will go to the Rockford Rescue Mission(IL). They have requested 10 - 12 twin size quilts. I also have volunteered to put together quilts from members completed blocks, so hopefully we'll get this ball rolling here! I've attached a picture of the quilt. I also sent a blurb for our newsletter so the website should be getting a few more hits next month!

Stephanie, Jane, and Cheri have also sewn HeartStrings blocks with their groups. Kitty has taken her quilt to her guild's show and tell.

Magazine articles have been written by Megan in Australian Quilters Companion and Australian Homespun Magazine.

Blogs like mine and Joanne's, Jane's, and too many more to list here - link to our website and this blog.

Quilt sites like Quiltville, Kaye Woods Quilting Friends, and Real Women Quilt link to us also.

And finally, following a link the other day from Samantha's blog, I found an article about Project Linus on The Daily Nightly - the MSNBC blog and was able to leave a comment that links back to our website and blog.

So help us spread the word!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Kansas Donations

Sue called the Haviland Church today where we've been sending quilts for those affected by the Kansas tornado in Greensburg and wrote:

"I spoke to another person at the church in Kansas (Jeanne was not there when I called). The quilts have been arriving and they are being used! Jeanne has been handing them out herself.

The shelter has been closed - all the residents have moved in with relatives or been located to hotels and such and the FEMA trailers are starting to arrive.

Jeanne will hand out any more quilts as people get settled and the need arrives . If you are still planning on sending a quilt she will find a home for it . Otherwise we can start stockpiling quilts for the next event where a group donation would be helpful.

She gave a big THANK YOU to everyone that helped and everyone that prayed for the people affected by the tornado .

For anyone who would still like to send completed quilts to Kansas, the address and contact information can be found by clicking this link.

Thank you all who contributed both HeartStrings and other quilts (and the HeartStrings blocks they were made from) that were sent to Kansas.

We're in the press again

Read the Article (PDF file)

An article about The HeartStrings Quilt Project has been published in the May/June issue of Australian Quilters Companion. This is a sister publication to Australian Homespun, and the editors of both magazines expressed interest in helping to spread the word about HeartStrings amongst their readers.
Again, Stephanie and her Stitch by Stitch group were featured. Thanks Steph!

Find out more about the magazine at
Readers in North America can buy a copy (Vol 6 No 3 #25) from

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ke Kange Orphanage in Tanzania

Maxine emailed me photographs of 5 of the 6 HeartStrings quilts she recently donated.

She wrote "These are the photos of the quilts which have been donated to the Ke Kange Orphanage in Tanzania. I had such alot of trouble getting these done, first the machines went down and had to go in for repair and then I left my glasses at a daughters home 3 hrs drive away.........As a result of all this I was one short to go back with my son."

You may remember the other group of quilts from Maxine that were donated in March. All the quilts are lovely but she really inspires me with the wonderful string quilts she makes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Every HeartStrings block helps

If you've wondered whether making a few blocks and mailing them to HeartStrings can really make a difference, here's a reminder that every contribution counts - from a single block to an entire quilt. Guidelines for making HeartStrings blocks can be found on our website.

I posted a photo of several quilts that were heading to Kansas last week. Sue and Jennifer had found a local church where we could safely send quilts and know they would be received by the people of Greensburg affected by the tornado.

The HeartStrings quilt in that photo was assembled and quilted by Virginia from string blocks that had been mailed to Sue.

Since then, Becky shared photos of two HeartStrings quilts that she assembled and quilted - from group blocks - that had been mail to Kansas.

And yesterday, Meloney mailed another HeartStrings quilt (from group blocks) to Kansas that she had assembled and quilted.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kansas Quilt Donations

I've received many emails from HeartStrings quilters (and others who have visited our blog) who are sending quilts to Kansas for people affected by the recent tornado in Greensburg.

I've counted at least 40 quilts that have already been sent (or will be soon) as the result of the HeartStrings Quilt Project effort as well as at least another handful of tops that are being mailed out for quilting and will be sent as soon as they are finished.

Although I've received several emails from groups asking us to join their efforts and send quilts to them for Kansas, I think it's important to continue to focus on our local donations as well as sending quilts for special circumstances such as the Kansas tornado. I have responded to those requests with the following information:

We're a group that makes and donates quilts to local organizations. Because our members wanted to make donations for Greensburg, we contacted a local church and about 40 quilts have been sent with at least several more to follow once they are quilted.

We have chosen to contact a local church and send quilts directly there. You can read more about our efforts at our blog .

Good luck with your efforts,
Mary Johnson
HeartStrings Quilt Project

For those of you still working on finishing quilts that you want to send to Kansas, I suggest you send them directly to the church contacted by Sue.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Helping those in need

Sue Frank, one of our project coordinators, is encouraging HeartStrings Quilters to send finished quilts to those so devastated by the tornado in Kansas.

She wrote:
Our goal is to make and donate quilts and get them to who ever need them ASAP . I followed Jennifer's suggestion and called directly to a church near Greensburg . I spoke to a lady at the church - a fellow quilter and the church is helping the tornado survivors . There are over 300 people taking shelter in the church .

ANYONE that has a quilt to donate can send to the church and she will be sure it goes right to someone that needs it . She said they have little kids there that have hardly slept since Saturday because they lost their blankies in the storm. Any size and style is welcome .

Sue asks that anyone sending HeartStrings Quilts, writes HeartStrings Quilt Project on the box so Jeanne will know where they're coming from.

Haviland United Methodist Church
322 N Main St
Haviland Kansas 67059
Attn : Jeanne Sneed / HeartStrings

The first 4 quilts pictured above were sent out today quickly followed by another HeartStrings quilt sent by Rebecca in Maine along with 5 other quilts and a knitted baby blanket.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

String quilting in Norway

Hanne had recently written on her blog "I am taking a break from making care quilts until autumn". With 2 completed string quilts for the HeartStrings Quilt Project and a total of 5 care quilts since January she was going to work on some other projects for a while.

As you can see from the blocks below, she wasn't able to stay away from the strings for very long. Hanne donates her care quilts to children with long term diseases through the Norwegian Quilt Association.

Visit her blog to read her recent post about making HeartStrings blocks with a friend.