Friday, March 18, 2011

Quilts of compassion for Japanese children

I am posting this email (with permission) written by Luana Rubin of about  how we can help the children affected by the earthquake in Japan.  This was originally sent out on March 16th, which  was National Quilting Day.

eQuilter Creative Nudge - How Can We Help?
What a difference a week makes...

Last week I was sharing some delightful closeup photos from the Tokyo Quilt Festival, and a week later we are watching the news and trying to comprehend the enormity of the still-unfolding tragic events in Japan.

The best thing we can all do right now, and over the coming months, is to donate whatever we can afford to *trusted* disaster relief organizations. Not just today, or next week, but next month, and even a year from now. Mark the one year anniversary on your calendar now - March 11, 2012. I guarantee that Japan will still be struggling to recover a year from now. It is interesting to note that the 6 month anniversary will fall on Sept 11 - the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

For those of you who want to help right away, but can't afford to donate money, I know there is an intense desire to take what you DO have (fabric, and time, perhaps?) to make and donate comfort quilts to the victims of the quake and tsunami.

eQuilter is partnering with Mission of Love to send a container of disaster relief supplies, and donated quilts, to the victims of this disaster in Japan. It is going to take a little time to work out the details, but knowing the relief effort must be sustained past the first few weeks and months, I trust that we can all work together to send something meaningful to those who have lost so much.

We will ask you to either ship the donated quilts directly to Mission of Love in Youngstown Ohio, or deliver them *in person* to eQuilter in Boulder Colorado. DO NOT ship them to us in Boulder - any shipped quilt donations should be sent directly to Mission of Love.

Shipping to Boulder will only delay the arrival of your quilts in Youngstown Ohio. eQuilter will be happy to cover the cost of shipping quilts from Boulder to Ohio, but only if they are dropped off in person at our warehouse.

Feel free to send us some feedback on when you can get the quilts to us or Mission of Love. We want to give you some time to make simple quilts and get them to MOL in time to be packed securely in the container, but we don't want to wait 6 months either!

After 9/11, eQuilter sent out a call for donated quilts, and with the help of Mission of Love and hundreds of compassionate quilters, we collected and distributed 3000 quilts to families and especially children who had a loss on 9/11. The most crucial part is making sure the quilts are personally handed to the victims and survivors - not piled up and forgotten in a warehouse somewhere.

Other ideas for how you can help by making quilts to help Japan:

Watch for other Japan fundraiser events in your local area, and donate a special quilt to be raffled off to raise funds.

Go to your next quilt guild meeting, and talk about either making a quantity of children's comfort quilts for this project,
plan a fundraiser raffle quilt for your next big guild event, and have several people donate blocks which will be made into an exquisite group quilt...with a Japanese theme.

If you have a local group that is volunteering to go help with recovery in Japan, ask if they could take a few comfort quilts to distribute to victims.

Be sure to put your name, address, and a message of Hope on a label, on the backside of the quilt. Even if you don't hear back from the recipient, they will surely read your message of caring. Use a permanent waterproof pen like a Pigma or Sharpie, write on a light colored fabric, use a double-sided fusible and hand-tack for security.

Fabric suggestions:
Asian fabrics are nice, but young adults and children in Japan love Western fabrics. "Shabby chic" florals and "cute" prints are very popular for adults, bright happy prints are great for the kids, and traditional Asian prints might be most appreciated by the older generation.

To all of you who are willing to make and donate a quilt to a total stranger on the other side of the world who has suffered unimaginable loss - we will work to make sure your gift of love goes into the hands of those most in need.

I'd like to suggest that you make small personal-sized quilts for a child or small adult. That could be from 46" x 60" for a child's cot quilt, to 60" x 68" for a lap quilt, or 65" x 85" for a small twin size.

Consider backing it with flannel if you have it on hand, for warmth. Don't be afraid to piece together the batting from your batting scraps (butt the ends together and join with a zigzag stitch) or even piece together the backing.

It is hard to believe that just 6 weeks ago I was in Japan, visiting with my quilter friends in Tokyo, and marveling at the handwork of the talented quilters there. One of our featured Japanese designers -Keiko Goke - lives in Sendai which was hardest hit. She is fine, but enduring loss of power, empty grocery stores, and the general chaos of the situation.

I have emailed my friends in Japan to let them know that we are all thinking of them, praying and sending them love, and that we will do whatever we can to help with the recovery.

We will keep you posted, via our newsletters, as the details of this project come into focus.

As I write this, it is National Quilting Day, and it seems like the perfect time to ask you to make a quilt full of love, for someone in need.

... sharing your passion for fabric...

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