Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gifts from Lucile N. & Jeanne L.

Since our junior guild member, Briana, sent her letter to the editor of the local newspaper, we've had at least 3 new offers of help for our guild - Thank you, Briana!

Dear Lucile (our amazing "Producer") has done it again. Even with the Thanksgiving holiday, snow and her birthday, as well as a broken sewing machine that needed to be replaced, she donated another 27 quilts! Here are some photos of her latest creations (you'll see that several of them are winter-themed):
Thank you, Lucile!
A kind-hearted lady named Jeanne telephoned, and offered to donate three quilt-tops. They just need batting and another piece of fabric for the underside, as well as binding. If anyone would like to take these beautiful tops and finish them, let me know!
Thank you, Jeanne!
These gifts are going to make children who are in the hospital very happy, and bring them comfort! Thank you for supporting Katie's Comforters Guild.

Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Quilts from Bonnie P.

Guild member Bonnie P. dropped off 10 beautiful new quilts today. She also shared some great hints based upon her quilting experience. As a beginning seamstress myself, I love learning new ideas!

- Bonnie uses safety pins to pin all layers of the quilt together, so they are easy to find, and no sharp ends can be left sticking out, after quilting is finished. This is very important for patient safety.

- She uses straight pins, with large flat heads for pinning the edges of the quilt, so that these pins cannot be overlooked after sewing -  thus ensuring that no pins are left in the quilt. Again, helpful in ensuring patient safety.
Can you see the quilting in the shape of cars and trucks, red on red? Bonnie scanned her fabric, which contained cars and trucks, and enlarged these images on her computer. Then she traced them on the back side of the quilt with a water-soluble marker, quilted over the lines, and washed the marker out. Clever!
Look at these cute kittens on the beach.

Bonnie outlined the images on this one with quilting stitches.

This quilt has great details...
...Bonnie's machine can embroider letters, so she put Katie's initials on this quilt.
She also made these labels, by scanning our guild's card to her computer, and using a product called "Bubble Jet" to prepare the fabric to take the image. After printing them out, she sews them on. The labels look wonderful.

Bonnie told me that she is a very detail-oriented quilter. She has found that sewing for our guild has freed her to practice, to "think outside the box," to experiment, and so to expand her quilting repertoire.
Thank you for the beautiful quilts
and great ideas, Bonnie!

Briana's Letter to the Editor - Published!

Remember this posting?
Here is a link to the issue of the Kitsap Herald in which Briana's letter to the editor was published:

Well done, Briana!
Thank you and your mom for your continuing support of Katie's Comforters Guild!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Cooperative Blanket from Liberty Bay Books

Today, I had the pleasure of picking up a blanket that was a group effort. Suzanne Droppert, the owner of Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, asked a group of her customers if they would like to knit squares to make a blanket for Katie's Comforters Guild to give to Seattle Children's Hospital. They did, and Suzanne posted their results on facebook.
Here are two of the ladies with their handiwork, after it was knit together.
I went to the bookstore today and picked it up. It's beautiful! And it was a wonderful way for people who don't knit a lot, or who don't knit quickly, to co-op their efforts and see the rewarding results.
Thank you, Liberty Bay Books Knitters!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crocheted Dolls & Blankets from Terry

Today I met Gregg's cousin, Pam, to pick up a batch of crocheted blankets and dolls that Pam's sister, Terry, made for our guild to donate to the hospital.
Take a look at the cuteness here:
Can you imagine receiving one of those dolls as a gift when you check in to the hospital?
What fun! They (and the blankets) are going to bring a lot of cheer to sick children.
Thank you, Terry & Pam!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seattle Children's Cancer Advocacy Network (C.A.N.)

The Seattle Children's Cancer Advocacy Network (C.A.N.) website is LIVE, and it's awesome! Please follow this link and browse through the site. There are interesting pages on the site that will inform and inspire you. "Our Partners" is a group of businesses that have hosted donation cans to help us raise awareness and funds in our own communities. Look for Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island and Silverdale businesses that you know, and please thank them by doing business with them! Every bit of support for the Seattle Children's Cancer Advocacy Network goes to pediatric cancer research! You will find Katie's Comforters Guild featured in the "About Us" tab.

Monday, November 8, 2010

8 New Blankets

We have a special mother-daughter team in our membership:
Mary & Briana.
Briana is our first "junior" guild member.
For Mary's birthday this year, Mary asked family and friends to join them in making blankets for our guild.
Mary & Briana recently made their delivery to Seattle Children's Hospital.
Cozy, cheerful, fun and comforting!
Thank you, Mary & Briana,
 for sharing your birthday wishes with Katie's Comforters Guild and the patients at SCH!

Friday, November 5, 2010


I was invited to speak about Katie's Comforters Guild and Katie's Endowment for cancer research to the Kiwanis Club in Poulsbo this morning. It was a privilege. To read about it, click on this link and it will take you to my blog, Gberger.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lucile's Birthday and 27 Quilts

Lucile Nilsen has done it again! She donated 27 beautiful quilts this week. You might be asking, "How does she do it?"
She does it by sewing a quilt nearly every day.
Have I mentioned that Lucile is about to celebrate her 89th birthday this month?
Happy Birthday, Lucile!
Thank you
for your generosity to
Seattle Children's Hospital patients
through our guild!
I hope, if I live to be 89, that I will be as sharp, funny, kind, generous and active as Lucile.
Lucile is modest, and declined to be photographed, so here are some of the latest batch of her gorgeous quilts.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A BIG "Thank You"

Thank You
 to Karen Jolly and
the Totem Lake Relief Society
 of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
 for the
10 new quilts
that they made and donated to
Seattle Children's Hospital through
Katie's Comforters Guild!


Did you know that Seattle Children's Hospital Guild Association is the LARGEST, ALL-VOLUNTEER FUNDRAISING NETWORK for any hospital in the U.S.A.? I'm impressed - and happy that Katie's Comforters Guild is part of such a great organization!

Guild Members: Have any of you had an address change that we need to know about? Please contact us to let us know!
Please remember: dues renewal
deadline is NOVEMBER 15, 2010. 
 Thank you for your support!
You can help us grow by inviting friends and family to join us, telling your local quilt shop, yarn shop, coffee shop or senior center about us, inviting your friends on facebook, and handing out our cards! More quilts and blankets means more comfort for sick kids!
Not a member yet? Contact us, & we'll be happy to send you an application!

Need Inspiration?

Does anyone out there need creative inspiration? Maybe this will help inspire you - another donation of gorgeous fabric from Better-Bilt Furniture:
How about this:
...or this,
or this?
If you need fabric for making quilts for Seattle Children's Hospital, Katie's Comforters Guild has plenty of it! Contact us, and we will get the fabric to you, so you can make quilts for sick kids!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Donations: Quilts and Fabric

Yesterday, I made a trip to Seattle Children's Hospital to deliver 42 blankets: 41 quilts made by Lucile N., and a fleece blanket made by Katie's school friend, Courtney.

On the way, I stopped to meet the kind people at Better-Bilt Furniture in Seattle. Better-Bilt Furniture is a family-owned company that began in 1946; they make fine custom furniture. They have a showroom with plentiful, beautiful samples of all kinds of fabrics: cotton, silk, linen, wool and many blends. They have generously offered their out-of-date samples to us to use - in quilts for patients, or for art quilts for auction.
 Fabric samples donated by Better Bilt Furniture in Seattle.
Thank you, Better-Bilt Furniture!

If any of you would like to help with art quilt design or construction, please contact me! We can raise money for the hospital, and for our guild, by making some of these quilts to offer for sale.

Gregg & I visited Lucile and Noble over the weekend, to bring Lucile donated fabric and blanket binding, and to pick up her latest batch of quilts.
Here are some autumn quilts from Lucile N. (note the football theme in two of them):
 Close-ups of Lucile's handiwork:

Thank you, Lucile!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Seattle Children's Cancer Advocacy Network (C.A.N.)

September was
Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month
- I think I've mentioned this!
Members of the newly-formed guild, Seattle Children's Cancer Advocacy Network (Seattle Kids C.A.N) placed donation cans in varous businesses around the area. Katie's Comforters Guild is a member of this new guild/group, so I placed cans in these local businesses, with their kind permission:

In Poulsbo:
Burrata Bistro & Paella Bar
Head Hunter Salon
Lola's Mexican Kitchen
Liberty Bay Books

On Bainbridge Island:
Crystal Cleaners
Paper Products
Rolling Bay Auto

In Silverdale:
Silver City Brew Pub

Now that it's October, I am visiting these businesses to collect the donation cans. Some of them (Burrata Bistro, Paella Bar, Lola's Mexican Kitchen and Liberty Bay Books) want to KEEP the CANS all year -
we appreciate that support so much!
The funds collected go to support pediatric cancer research.

Today, I stopped by Liberty Bay Books, an independent bookstore in the heart of our little town:
Here is the owner, Suzanne Droppert, holding her donation can.
Thank you to all who have donated!
Every penny counts toward
finding a cure for cancer.
Don't you love local bookstores?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gifts from Simplicity Creative Group

We received a wonderful gift this week from
Simplicity Creative Group,
which owns
Wright's Satin Blanket Binding:
A big box full (19 pounds)
of Wright's Satin Blanket Binding!
If I counted correctly,
there are 108 of these,
in various colors, in the box.
If you are making blankets for our guild and need blanket binding, please contact me.
Thank you,
Simplicity Creative Group!
We are so grateful for your generosity.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Heartwarming Response to Our Letter

In response to our Guild's annual wrap-up letter (see the post below this one), I received two heartwarming and  encouraging notes from a mother (Mary) and daughter (Briana) who are both members of our Guild. With their permission, I am sharing them here.

Mary sent this letter:
Dear Karen-

My daughter, Briana, and I each received our own copy of your wonderful letter to the guild members yesterday. (Thank you for sending Briana one of her own.) We are very excited about the great things that are happening in the guild. 215 blankets—WOW! Right away, Briana went to the computer and composed a letter to the editors of the Sun and the Herald newspapers. I hope she won’t mind that I am attaching a copy here for you to read, but I am just so very proud of her and I also wanted you to know what an inspiration YOU are! I am off to mail her letters once I sign off here so hopefully, you will see it in the papers soon. (You get a sneak peek!:))
I also thought it was quite coincidental that my goals for this month mirror some of the same ideas you suggested in your letter. (Great minds think alike?) Our son got married this last summer in Eastern WA, so my head (and everything else) was in a tail spin for most of the 12 months prior, so, sadly, I didn’t get any blankets donated as planned. To counter that disappointment, I set myself a goal at the beginning of September; here’s how I put it in a letter to my sister-in-law…

"Well, Briana and I joined the guild last year, and I am ashamed to say that we didn’t follow through on our good intentions of making blankets during that time. So my birthday wish for myself is to complete 5 fleece blankets during this month for the cause. (Actually, I started out with my imaginary friend on my right shoulder saying, 'Let’s make 50 blankets this coming year to celebrate your 50 years!' To which the imaginary friend on my left shoulder countered, 'Get real! You have another wedding to plan this year, you silly woman!' So in an ever constant effort to keep all my imaginary friends happy (is it normal to have imaginary friends at my age???) and to keep my sanity, the real Mary said to self, 'OK. Let’s compromise and make the goal 5 blankets for this September before things really get chaotic for the wedding. Anything over and beyond that during the year will be “frosting on the cake” so to speak.') "
So unabashedly, I have invited any family and friends to join in my mission and instead of giving me gifts, I have had them all around the table tying blanket knots while we visit and enjoy each other’s company with the promised reward of refreshments following. I have been enjoying it immensely. So far, I have two blankets completed, plus one that is almost done but may not work because it is shedding like crazy. I think I bought the wrong kind of fabric for that one. Ooops! But I still plan to reach my goal. And as you can guess, Briana is a BIG part of this goal in enthusiasm, helpful hands, and genuine kind-heartedness. She inspires me!
So, Karen, please read Briana’s letter that I have attached and know that you are doing wonderful things not only for the kids at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, but for those of us in the guild in letting us share in this most worthy mission. It brings us together and gives us all a joyful heart. Now I am off to the post office and Joann’s. Have a great day!

With sincere thanks,
Mary (& Briana) R.
Well, you can imagine how that letter made my day. But - wait, there's is Briana's letter to the editors of our local newspapers:
Dear Editor,

My name is Briana R.; I am 11 years old and in the 6th grade. I go to school at P. Middle School. My mom and I are guild members of Katie’s Comforters. We make quilts and blankets for the kids at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. The guild is run by Karen Gerstenberger. Karen’s daughter, Katie, was treated for cancer at the children’s hospital in 2006-7 and she died when she was around 12 years old. She used a quilt her mother made for her to do things like distract her during procedures, cover her nose when something smelled bad, and most importantly it was a comfort. When Katie died, her mother found comfort in making quilts and started a group to donate them to kids at the hospital.

This year, the group made more than 215 blankets and grew in numbers to an amazing 50 members. The group has only been going for a year but it has made a huge difference in kid’s lives and I am proud to be a part of it. When my mom and I make a blanket, I always know that we have brightened one more kid’s day in the world just by showing I care. Besides the physical uses of the blanket, I think it gives them the feeling that someone cares about them and they care enough to put time, effort, and money into making something for them. This gives them hope, happiness, strength and courage to keep moving and enjoy life and its gifts. It’s so cool that so many people do this and that every blanket is different! Some are crocheted, some are sewn, and some are knitted. The ones my mom and I make are assembled from polar fleece.

My hope is, that in reading this letter, we can get even more people to make comforters or donate new fabric to our guild for the kids at the Seattle Children’s Hospital. Anyone who wants to learn more can visit the blog or check us out on Facebook. Our blog is .

Thank you for your time and thanks for listening to my story. I really appreciate it.

Briana R.
Thank you, Mary & Briana,
for your support of Katie's Comforters Guild,
and for sharing your story with your (& our) community!

It's That Time of Year...

...for renewing your Guild membership. You will be hearing from the Guild Association, as each year they send out membership dues renewals for the new fiscal year on October 1 (and reminders in January and March).

Meanwhile, I've sent a letter to all of our members:
Dear Katie’s Comforters Guild Members,

Our first year has been a great success, and it is thanks to you and your efforts! THANK YOU, each one of you, for helping to bring comfort to patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Whether you sewed, knitted, crocheted, assembled fleece blankets, purchased or donated materials or gift cards, or told your friends and family about us, you made a difference in the life of a sick child.

We donated more than 215 blankets this year, and we grew to 50 members! That was our first year; imagine what we can do next year!

Here are some ideas for next year:

-gather new, unused fabric from donors (fabric shops, retiring quilters, etc.)

-be on the lookout for fabric sales

-have a blanket-making party & make fleece blankets, or host a sewing circle or knitting/crocheting circle at your house, sewing or yarn shop (it’s even more fun if you can share food and beverages)

-tell your local newspaper about us – give an interview or write a letter to the editor.

-Hand out our cards to friends and acquaintances.

-tell your facebook friends about us – we have a page now, in addition to our blog

-set a personal goal to sew, knit, crochet or make (choose a number) fleece blankets this year

-take photos of any blankets you make for the guild to donate & send them to me – I’ll post them on the blog and facebook!

-order your Jo-Ann Stores discount card at or by calling 877-604-2280.

-help us sew an art quilt for auction (to raise funds for our guild) – if you’d like to do this, please contact me!

-share your ideas on our blog at

In case you don’t know, September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, and there is a lot of activity around the country to raise awareness and funds for research. This spring, our guild was invited to become part of the Seattle Children’s Cancer Advocacy Network, or Seattle Kids C.A.N., a group of Seattle Children’s Hospital Guilds that support cancer research. We are helping to raise funds by placing donation cans in businesses in our area. If you would like to join in the efforts of this group, please email me at , or write to me on our blog and I will share the information that I have with you.

Seattle Children’s Hospital has great good news: Dr. Mike Jensen, a pioneer researcher in immunology, has joined Seattle Children’s Research Institute to lead the new Center for Childhood Cancer. He is doing amazing work with the immune system that has potential to change the way we treat cancer for the better! You can see a video of Dr. Jensen explaining his work at (at his former hospital, City of Hope – I hope to see a new, Seattle Children’s Hospital video soon).

I think that’s all the news, for now. Please check our blog for updates and feel free to contact me if you have ideas, suggestions or questions. Thank you again for all you do to make Katie’s Comforters Guild a success!

Blessings to you,

Karen (your President)

I'm thankful for each one of you members and friends of our Guild.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Variety of Donations, and Our 1st Year Anniversary

We have been blessed with a variety of donations. Every kind of donation helps us to accomplish our mission!
Supplies for quilt-making were donated by Ellie B. (my mom). Thank you, Mom!
Forty-one quilts, sewed by Lucile N. (she sews an average of one quilt a day!) - there were so many that I didn't take them out of the bags, since I wasn't sure I could pack them all back in as well as Lucile & Noble had done. Thank you, Lucile & Noble!
A beautiful fleece blanket, made by Katie's friend Courtney. It was wonderful to see her and her sister today when they stopped by to deliver the blanket. Thank you, Courtney!
At the end of our first year,
Katie's Comforters Guild now has
50 members!
We have donated over 215 blankets to Seattle Children's Hospital this year.
Thank you
to everyone who has helped to make this possible.
I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in our 2nd year!
I have lots of ideas percolating...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Knit Blanket from Elizabeth A.

I just received a package from one of our guild members in California, including this beautiful, hand-knit blanket:
It's a lovely pink color, and is super-soft and cozy.
Thank you, Elizabeth A.!
I know that you knit love into every stitch.
Blessings to you and your family.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jo-Ann Craft for a Cause Contest

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores is sponsoring "Craft for a Cause 2010."

Here is a link to use if you want to learn more about how you can win a $1,500 Jo-Ann Gift Card, and how your favorite charity can win $50,000!
Thanks for the link, Karla!