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!