Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lots of News to Share

Gregg and I visited Lucile a short while ago, and picked up a BIG new donation. She has been making pillowcases for the patients at Seattle Children's Hospital, so instead of hospital-issue bedding, the children will have a cheery, personal pillowcase. In addition, she has been making receiving blankets for the very youngest patients. Lucile donated 60 pillowcases, 13 receiving blankets and one crocheted blanket! She truly is a "producer."

Here is Lucile with some of her most recent work:
 Thank you, Lucile! You are a treasure!

Our guild's far-away friend, Jaimee Martin, has been busy quilting, as well. Here are Jaimee's three most recent beauties:
Aren't they awesome? - so colorful, original and cheerful! Three patients are going to be delighted to cuddle with those quilts.
Thank you, Jaimee! We are super-grateful to you.

The latest copy of Guild News (the Guild Association's publication) is available here:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Free Fabric & A Question of Yardage

Katie's Comforters Guild is the fortunate recipient of great generosity from quilters. Some quilters - or their family members - find it necessary to clear out their "stash" from time to time. When we receive a message from such a person, we immediately try to match the offering with a quilter who needs fabric.

Sherry B. has a stash of 7 bags of cotton fabric, composed of pieces which are under a yard in size. For quilters who enjoy piecing and making "scrap" quilts, this could be a gold mine, but for others, it is not a good fit. Do any of you want to speak to Sherry about taking this fabric? If so, please contact me here or via our Facebook page. She needs to donate it ASAP.

Going forward, it would be helpful for donors and quilters alike if we can be as specific as possible about our preferences/abilities in the question of yardage. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Sherry, and thank you for your generosity!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Annual Meeting & Luncheon, 2016

Katie's Comforters Guild members Mary, Ellie, Bonnie, Karen & Sue
Five members of Katie's Comforters Guild attended the 2016 Guild Association Annual Meeting & Luncheon celebration at the Westin Hotel on Friday. Four of us drove over together, taking the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, and one came via the Bremerton ferry. We were seated together for the luncheon, while we watched inspiring videos, listened to personal stories of patient treatment, and heard doctors discuss their research and motivation.
Vice President of our guild, Mary Ryan, and guild member Sue Hart of the Sew-and-Sews
Katie's Comforters Guild President Karen Gerstenberger with guild members Ellie Boren (Katie's "Grandma B") and Bonnie Petersen
Awards were given, gratitude expressed, success celebrated and inspiration was shared all around; tears were shed and applause rang out, culminating in a standing ovation for the featured speaker, Kat Tiscornia - a patient who has taken her own story of cure to the world, in order to inspire others. And inspire she did!

The Guild Association to which we belong had a record-breaking year in 2015. Here are some of the highlights:
  • We have 6,200 members
  • We include 450 guilds
  • 24 new guilds were added in 2015
  • 67 are Research Champion guilds (donating $2,500 or more to research in one calendar year)
  • We gave 125,905 volunteer hours
  • Guilds raised $12,919,100 in project revenue (about half of that was raised by the Friends of Costco Guild - HOORAY for Costco!)
  • $140,200 was raised by membership revenue
  • $602,000 was net Bargain Boutique revenue
  • $20,267,195 was donated to Seattle Children's Hospital Foundation programs in guild-affiliated revenue by guild members and their friends
You can see why our Guild Association is a leader in fundraising, and is admired by hospitals everywhere. Please join us, and come along next year to share in the giving and the celebration - it's fun, educational and rewarding!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Annette and Fabric Traditions

We have been fortunate to receive another donation from Fabric Traditions in NY. Annette S. sent a box of FUN team-licensed cotton, which will make wonderful quilts, if any of you would like to take on such a project. Feel free to contact me here, or via email at KARENLBOREN at yahoo dot com.

Here is the assortment which Annette sent:
I realize that some of the teams represented here are rivals of the Seattle Seahawks, but since Seattle Children's Hospital serves patients from all over the world, I hope we can set aside some of our feelings about the (insert name of rival team here), and make these quilts for the kids! If it's too hard to feature one of these teams, perhaps an adventurous quilter will make a quilt with a bit of fabric from each team in it?

The only request which came with the box from Fabric Traditions is that we share photos of the finished quilts with them. That will be easy and rewarding for whoever makes the quilts, and we will be pleased to put them here on the blog (& on Katie's Comforters Guild's Facebook page).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Love from Linda K-H

Our friends at Poulsbo's local independent bookstore, Liberty Bay Books, are always supportive and helpful. They often assist with delivery of blankets to Katie's Comforters Guild, acting as an informal "drop off" place for quilters or knitters who wish to donate.

Last week, Gregg stopped by and picked up two sweet quilts which had been made by the loving hands of Linda K-H, a teacher in our town who has a heart of gold.

Here are Linda's latest lovely quilts:
Blanket and quilt donations like these make all of the difference to sick children. They bring joy, comfort and warmth into the hospital room.
Thank you, Linda!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Sew-n-Sews' Latest Bounty

Katie's Comforters Guild is grateful for all of our friends and supporters, whether they are guild members or not. The Sew-n-Sews are a wonderful combination of both. They meet once a month to sew for patients at Seattle Children's Hospital, and it is because of guild member Sue H. that we are blessed with this relationship. Sue was our original contact, who introduced us to her friends. Thank you, Sue!

Having a regular group meeting date makes it easy to plan (and not to miss) a sewing gathering. There is fellowship and fun in meeting around a craft table and sharing love and care for others in need. The Sew-n-Sews met recently, and produced a fabulous new batch of baby blankets and quilts.
We are deeply grateful for your dedication and generosity, Sew-n-Sews - thank you!

Friday, April 15, 2016

April's Giving

Our guild's friend April C. has been at it again - making beautiful, original quilts and donating them to Seattle Children's Hospital via Katie's Comforters Guild. Here is her latest batch of seven:
We appreciate April's generosity, creativity, industry and sense of community. She is not only willing to meet with fabric donors to collect their gifts, and regularly transforms those gifts into quilts for patients; she also sorts and catalogs each donation very carefully via spreadsheet format, and delivers the finished quilts to the hospital. The result is a pleasure for all to see (above)!

Thank you, April, and thanks to fabric donor Sherry B.!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lucile Donates 38 New Blankets

Gregg and I drove to Port Ludlow to see Lucile last weekend.  There in her living room were 38 new blankets, made with her love and artistry, for Katie's Comforters Guild to deliver to Seattle Children's Hospital.

This batch of blankets are mostly receiving blankets for the tiniest patients. Soft flannel, sewed with sweetly embroidered trim, mixed and matched in color and pattern for interest, fun and cheer. Here are some examples:
We are deeply grateful to Lucile for her continued generosity in donating her time, talent and materials to our guild. We love delivering comfort to patients and their families, and donors like Lucile make it possible!
Thank you, Lucile!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

In the Words of a Junior Guild Member: Briana

In the words of Briana R., a junior member of our guild:
 "In 2010, I joined a local group called Katie’s Comforters Guild (KCG). The guild was started by Karen Gerstenberger after her daughter Katie’s battle with cancer.  Mrs. Gerstenberger had seen how having a special blanket while in the hospital had helped her daughter cope. She decided to help other children like Katie through the comfort of blankets by creating a guild that makes and donates handmade blankets to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
"A few years after joining the guild, my church youth group was brainstorming community service projects and I immediately thought of KCG.  After some discussion with my youth group leader and my mother, we devised a plan to get the youth group involved. The only stipulation was that I had to convince my peers to participate. I presented the idea of making blankets to them and they unanimously voted it through. Now every year my mom and I prepare fleece fabric; I then demonstrate to my peers the “how to’s” and together we make as many blankets as possible and donate them to the children at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Thank you notes from recipient families affirming the tremendous comfort our blankets bring provide touching testimony to our impact.
"The Gerstenberger’s story inspired me, and I am always seeking out creative ways to help others. My mother was immensely supportive of the idea of joining Katie’s Comforters Guild and first enrolled the two of us as members in 2010. After several years of involvement as individuals in the guild, I saw an opportunity to extend the project and its mission to a wider audience through my church youth group. I felt that its creative nature would appeal to my peers as it did to me, and that the blankets we could make would be an invaluable contribution to the community. There are many concrete ways to tend to those in need but this is a unique project in that its sole intent is to tend to peoples’ spirits.
"When my youth group first announced they were looking for a new community service project, I approached my youth leader with the idea of getting the group involved in making blankets. She approved of the idea and suggested that, as a next step, I present the project to my peers and request their input. Once they voted it in, we discussed dates and my mother and I purchased and prepared the fleece for the blankets. On the appointed date I brought the fabric to the class and explained to my peers how to make the blankets. The finished blankets were then delivered to the hospital. I have led my youth group through this process three times now and so far we have donated 21 cheery blankets to sick children at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Although I am member of the guild, members other than my mother had no role in my activity. 
"While my youth group leader assisted with the logistics of the project, the execution and leadership of the project fell to me. The most challenging part of the project was not only convincing the other youth to vote the idea through, but also presenting the entire concept in a way that got through to them and inspired them to overcome their apathy enough to fully commit to and invest themselves in the project and see the difference we could make to the children and their families as they fight their illnesses.
"This project provided a wonderful opportunity for me to grow as a leader and a member of my community. I grew closer to fellow members of my youth group and was amazed to see how, what to us was such a small contribution, had such an immense influence on the patients’ lives. It is one thing to understand in a distant and abstract sense that you are helping someone but it is another to witness it. 
"While unfortunately, due to hospital regulations, we are not allowed to personally deliver the blankets to the patients, families occasionally take the time to write to the guild thanking us for the blankets. One family wrote that the blanket their child received “will be a part of her entire childhood” and made their “experience a little brighter.” The youth group has been lucky enough to receive a few such letters and the stories and gratitude of those we help touches us just as much as our blankets touch them. Being a part of that beautiful relationship is truly an honor. But it isn’t because of the letters, or even because of my youth group that I keep making blankets, although those are both incredible aspects of it, I make blankets because I understand how much something to focus on and cling to means in times of such anxiety and pain. It means absolutely everything in that moment, and I would do anything to even just begin to assuage that agony. 
"This experience is something that has sculpted the course of my life; I will retain my ties to the guild and continue to spread our message of comfort, generosity and love, in some capacity, for the rest of my life. Being a member of Katie’s Comforters Guild and participating with my youth group has changed both how I see volunteering and how I volunteer.  The project has provided me with a volunteer opportunity to do something, at which I both excel and enjoy, while helping others and growing as a leader. My connection to and love for this project makes it by far the most influential service experience that I have participated in over the years and inspires me to be more emotionally present and invested in current and future volunteer efforts."

 Thank you, Briana, for sharing your story with us!  
Do you know a young person who is looking for ways to serve in the community? Everyone is welcome to join Katie's Comforters Guild, including young people! The application to join our guild is HERE.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Living the Faith & Giving a Reason to Smile

In February, a small but mighty group of young people (Confirmation Candidates) from St. Olaf Catholic Church in Poulsbo put their hands together to make these three great fleece blankets that are sure to bring some smiles to at least three kiddos at Seattle Children’s Hospital. 
The youth who made these are “newbies” to the handiwork of these cozy comforters for our guild, but our junior guild member, Briana R. was right there to help them learn the knotting technique and they were experts in no time. The fun themes of these blankets will give the patients who receive them something to lift their spirits for sure! 

Thank you, Briana for leading by example, and thank you new recruits at St. Olaf for giving of your time and talents!
With great gratitude,
Mary & Katie’s Comforters Guild