Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fearless Quilters Go to Seattle Children's Hospital

Fearless Quilters Inspired by Visit to Hospital - Guest Post by Patty Smith
About three years ago a group of women from Circle Too decided to learn how to quilt, creating special baby blankets for Laura Alonso and Kerry Messett, as they became first-time grandmothers. The project was so much fun that several ladies decided to create a regular quilting group, initially holding it at Esther’s Fabrics to encourage non-church affiliated women to join them.
We called ourselves “Fearless Quilters,” as motivation for first time sewers and quilters to sew for joy and creativity rather than fixate on quilting “rules” established for the purpose of judging. Our first group quilt was donated to the American Hero project, which distributes red, white and blue quilts to injured service men and women. 
Shortly thereafter we learned about Katie’s Comforters, a Seattle Children’s Hospital guild established by Karen Gerstenberger in honor of her daughter, Katie, who lost her struggle against cancer. The Gerstenberger family had been members of Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church at the time of this sad event, so it was a quick and easy decision to turn the Fearless Quilters’ attention to creating quilts for children with cancer.
Most recently, last month on August 24, a group of eight Fearless Quilters gathered up the 40 quilts and blankets we had completed and made a field trip to Seattle Children’s Hospital. This brought the total number of Fearless Quilts we have delivered to the hospital in the past few years to 79. In appreciation, Karen Gerstenberger arranged to have our group escorted on a VIP 90-minute tour of this incredible facility. We had three women guiding us as we first met the volunteer coordinator, then with nurse manager Ron in the state-of-art emergency department downstairs, followed by a presentation by child life staff member Callie, upstairs at the 48-bed cancer unit.   
Our group came away in awe of this fabulous hospital and newly inspired to dedicate even more time to sewing and quilting. We learned that 500-600 quilts/blankets are distributed monthly to children staying overnight. The average stay is 3-5 days, with 405,000 visits last year. It is the largest pediatric hospital on the West Coast and fifth in the nation in population served. The facility sits on 25 acres and has enough staff and visitors to support three Starbucks on the campus.
In addition to quilts, we learned from Callie that other new items are also appreciated and distributed to the children and their families: window stickers, helmets, games, fingernail polish, toiletries, gift cards, gas cards, Safeway cards, new bathing suits (including adult sizes — the hospital has a swimming pool and parents staying overnight with their children often don’t think to pack a suit). She helpfully suggested that people wanting to donate can check out Seattle Children’s Hospital wish list on Amazon.
Fearless Quilters meets monthly on the 4th Thursday in a dedicated room at the back of the church (lower Hoadley building, use the reiki room entrance). It is a drop-in type day, with someone usually there from 10 am - 3 pm. Bring a sack lunch if you like. There are pre-cut quilt kits available ($20 deposit, money returned when the completed quilt top is brought back) and friendly quilters happy to teach. There are non-sewing tasks including sorting donated fabrics, ironing or cutting pieces. Stopping in to visit and chat is also encouraged! For further information on Fearless Quilters, call the Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church office at 206-842-3098 or email: office@rbpres.org.
As a final note, one of our guides mentioned her 7-year-old granddaughter has made and donated four quilts to Katie’s Comforters. Fearless Quilters would like to encourage mother/daughter teams to stop by and consider learning to quilt together!

The Fearless Quilters of Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church on the rooftop garden at Seattle Children's Hospital. From left to right: Deanna Williams, Val McCarthy, Laura Alonso, Madeline Olson, Jackie Harrington, Joanna McCormack, Vicky Adkins, Patty Smith

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lucile & Fabric Traditions Prints

Lucile has been sewing up a storm at home. She has transitioned from quilts to pillowcases and receiving blankets, and boy, does she work fast! Gregg and I stopped by to pick up her latest batch of 86 pillow cases this weekend.

 She has included a lovely variety of prints, sure to please boys and girls of all ages.
Fabric Traditions of New York's colorful sports prints
In this batch are some of Fabric Traditions' professional sports team prints. While many of the teams represented are not from our area, they are fun and cheerful for sports fans, and we are grateful!

Thank you, Lucile, for your continued dedication to comforting patients at Seattle Children's Hospital, and thank you, Fabric Traditions, for your generous donations of fabric!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cami & Liberty Bay Books

Living in a small town can be a wonderful thing, especially when you have a local, independent bookstore like Liberty Bay Books as a keystone on the main street.

Liberty Bay Books is owned by Suzanne, who offers many groups a place to gather in her cozy, welcoming store. A variety of book groups, free game nights, authors' events and the Liberty Bay Books Knitters are just a few of the community events hosted at LBB. The knitting group has been a long-time supporter of Katie's Comforters Guild, and they just contributed six blankets, two hats and a quilt. We don't often know who knit/crocheted which blanket, but in this case, one of them came with a label from Nancy Brennan, so we want to say "thank you" specifically to Nancy, and generally to the Liberty Bay Books Knitters. If you are ever in Poulsbo, stop in and check out the shop!
Nancy's soft and fuzzy knitted blanket
Suzanne's good friend Cami is one of our dear neighbors. Cami is a busy world traveler who still makes time to do things for others; she recently donated 32 fleece blankets in various themes (including University of Washington Huskies, Washington State University Cougars and Seattle Seahawks designs) which are sure to please sports-loving patients and their families! Thank you, Cami!
Thirty-two fleece blankets from Cami, ready to delight sick children!

We are grateful to our local community for its caring and support of Katie's Comforters Guild!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Facebook and Instagram Posts

Hop on over to our Facebook page to see the heirloom-quality quilts posted by guild member Amanda W. She takes incredible care over each one and the results are impressive! She also posts on her Instagram page as "meander." Her quilts are sure to delight each recipient and family. Thank you, Amanda!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lots of Good News!

We have a great deal of good news to share with you. So much generosity has come to Seattle Children's Hospital through donations to Katie's Comforters Guild!

First of all, Charlotte B. kindly created six quilts and delivered them to Seattle Children's Hospital for our guild. Thank you, Charlotte!
Michelle F. gathered quilts from a variety of sources and delivered them to the hospital with the help of her son, Owen. Michelle is a member of our guild, and both of her sons are junior members. She teaches others to quilt, and shares fabric to help them get started with charitable sewing and giving. We love this family's community involvement and commitment to giving back! Mickie donated quilts from her family, as well as from a young lady named Skyler, and friends Margie, Brenda and Kristin.
Skyler's stack
One of Margie's quilts
Margie's applique work - stunning!
Kristin wrote the following: " I live in Seattle near Children's and quilt weekly with a group of women. I saw a post a couple years ago from Mickie Geri Farris about Katie's Comforter Guild, and love the idea. The quilt this time was a world map and I thought that a kiddo might plan some world travels during their stay."

Thank you, Mickie, Owen, Luke, Margie, Kristin and Skyler! We are so grateful for your help and generosity!

Fabric Traditions has done it again, sending us a box of professional sports team fabric in cotton and flannel. If you would like to make a sports-themed quilt for patients at Seattle Children's Hospital, please let me know and I will find a way to get the fabric to you! Regardless of which teams you might favor, it's possible to make a truly wonderful quilt by combining the fabrics. The only thing they ask in return is that we send photos of what is made with their fabric - a fun request to fulfill! Thank you, Annette S. and Fabric Traditions!
I just received a donation from Angela and her daughter Olivia. They contributed three beautifully-knitted and two lovingly hand-knotted fleece blankets. These will bring comfort and cheer to patients!  Thank you, Angela and Olivia!
Finally, we took a trip to Lucile's house to pick up the latest batch of 56 pillowcases which she made for patients, so they will have a personal touch, rather than hospital linens! Thank you, Lucile - we appreciate you and all that you do!
Katie's Comforters Guild has so much for which to be grateful - and we are! All of our donors and members are treasured and appreciated.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sunshine from Tanya S.

Our Vice President & Gratitude Ambassador, Mary Ryan, wrote the following:

"A friend of our guild, Tanya S., has been at it again and created this beautiful new knit blanket as a donation for a special someone at Seattle Children's. Tanya is very humble about her knitting talents and always graciously brushes off any compliments with a quiet smile and gentle laugh.
"The yarn she chose for this cuddly project is so soft to the touch and the color is a cheery sunshine yellow that is just as soft spoken as Tanya. I'm sure the child who receives it will feel the warm hugs of each and every stitch! Thank you so much, Tanya, for your thoughtful, comforting gift!"

...and thank you, Mary, for delivering this beautiful blanket to Katie's Comforters Guild!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pillowcases & Receiving Blankets Made with Love by Lucile

We stopped by to visit Lucile, after she called and told us that she had accumulated quite a supply of pillowcases and receiving blankets. She is truly "the Producer!"

Lucile had created, folded, counted and bagged for delivery  
132 pillowcases, 24 receiving blankets and two crocheted blankets. She says (with modesty), "I have to keep busy!" Here is a selection of her latest work:
Lucile, you are doing a wonderful job of keeping busy - and keeping Seattle Children's Hospital's patients supplied with soft, cheerful comfort items.
Thank you - we appreciate you and all you do!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Yarn Donations

We are always grateful to receive inquiries from people interested in donating to Katie's Comforters Guild, whether it's time, talent, treasure or materials they have to share. Recently, we received two offers of yarn, which we truly appreciate.

In some cases, we can coordinate donations so that the materials go directly to our guild's friends or members who need them for making quilts or blankets. We've done this with fabric, and are about to do it again with a yarn donation from Mandy L.

Sometimes, there is too much material for us to take (storage space is an issue), or there isn't a specific need to coincide with the timing of a donor's need to move materials. In that case, we give our thanks, and ask that another charity be the recipient.

Mandy L. is sending her yarn directly to Liberty Bay Books' Knitters. Here is a photo of her son with the yarn she is donating,
and here is one of her son with his own beloved, knitted blanket. His sweet smile confirms that blankets really do bring comfort!
Thank you, Mandy! ...and thanks to all who offer donations to Katie's Comforters Guild!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Package of Coziness from Elsie

Several years ago, our guild was blessed by a donor named Elsie W.
Several years went by without hearing from her, and then, a surprise message came for us through the Guild Association office: would I call her, please?
Yes, I would - and I learned that Elsie had moved from the west side of the state to the east side, and that she had not forgotten Katie's Comforters.

Elsie wanted to know if she could send me some blankets which she wanted to donate to Seattle Children's Hospital through our guild.
Yes, please!

Today, I opened a box and found these two soft, cozy knitted blankets inside:
The yarn is super fuzzy: thick, yet light, and feels a little bit like holding a favorite pet.

Elsie asked if we would like her to make more of these for our guild to donate.
Yes, please! - so she has already started to make more.

We are grateful to Elsie for remembering Katie's Comforters, after a huge life-change like a big move, and for her generous desire to donate comfort to others. Thank you, Elsie!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Six New Quilts & FREE Supplies!

Last week, we received blessings for which we are thankful, and we are happy to share them with you.

April C. sent this photo of her most recent six quilts, made from fabric donated by Sherry B.:
Thank you, Sherry and April for your generous gifts of time, talent and materials!

Another blessing is an offer of FREE fabric and quilting supplies, which are presently at the Guild Association's office on Sand Point Way in Seattle. Our contact there, Melissa Cardenas, can help to coordinate a convenient time for you to pick up these free supplies, to use in making quilts for Katie's Comforters Guild. Just call or email Melissa at (206) 987-6806 or melissa.cardenas@seattlechildrens.org, and let her know that you are inquiring about the fabric/supplies through Katie's Comforters Guild.

We are blessed by, and grateful to, each one of our donors!