Quilts of Valor
The letter Q has given me the opportunity to welcome my first guest writer! Marianne Bean is one of my dearest friends, the inspiration behind my desire to try sewing (although it didn’t really work out!), and a proud supporter of our military.
One of her many projects includes quilting for Quilts of Valor. Below she shares information from the Quilts of Valor website (in italics) and her personal experience with a local chapter.
Why Quilts of Valor?
Blue Star mom, Catherine Roberts, began the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) from her sewing room in Seaford, Delaware. Her son Nathanael’s year-long deployment to Iraq provided the initial inspiration, and her desire to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved, provided the rest.
She hit upon the idea that linking quilt-toppers with machine quilters in a national effort could achieve her goal of coverall all returning service men and women touched by war. These wartime quilts, called Quilts of Valor (QOV’s), would be a tangible reminder of an American’s appreciation and gratitude. Since 2003, QOVF has become a national grassroots community service effort, connecting the home-front with our wounded combat warriors and veterans.
QOV’s are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts. Combat troops who have been wounded or touched by war are awarded this tangible token of appreciation that unequivocally says, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor.”
A Quilt of Valor is a generous lap-sized quilt (minimum of 55 X 65) made by a quilt-topper (the piecer) of quality fabrics and beautifully quilted by a longarmer. After it has been bound, washed, labeled and wrapped in a presentation case, it is ready to be awarded.
Quilts are awarded at many different levels: they may go to military hospitals where Chaplains award them to service members; there may be presentations of QOV’s to entire service units returning from combat deployments; they may be awarded at VA’s or presented individually. But no matter how a Quilt of Valor is given, the impact it delivers is unequivocal. As one recipient said “My quilt isn’t another military medal to be placed in a box and sit on my shelf. I was moved to tears.”
– SSgt RC, US Army, Iraq ‘05
Just how much of an impact has the Quilts of Valor Foundation made? As of January 2014, there have been over 95,000 quilts awarded to service members/veterans.
So the answer to “Why Quilts of Valor?” is this: It is a wonderful form of National Service and anyone can do it!
National Service starts at home. Make a Quilt of Valor!
For more information visit the website: www.QOVF.org
Anyone can join Quilts of Valor
The mission of the QOV Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.
Local chapters of QOV can be found on the foundation’s website. My chapter of QOV meets once a month at the Charlton Sewing Center, Charlton, Massachusetts. The owner of Charlton Sewing Center has been a great supporter of the group and has been generous to lend the space to the group without fee.
Many hands make a quilt! The process begins with receiving fabric donations. Fabrics for QOV consist of red, white, blue, gold and patriotic, or variations of these colors (for instance maroon rather than red).
The fabric process is simple, it’s ironed or pressed.
The fabric is then cut into certain sizes and packaged into a baggie which includes a pattern for the block.
Once the blocks are sewn together they are trimmed to be equal. The blocks are then laid out into a pattern, stacked and labeled for sewing the rows together.
Once the rows are sewn together, borders are needed to make sure the quilt will meet the size requirements. Once the quilt top is pressed, the top is complete and ready for quilting.
The quilt top is layered. The first layer is called the backing (usually a piece of fabric one color), next is the batting and then the quilt top. It’s then quilted and ready for trimming, binding, a label and washing.
The label is important. A QOF label includes who it was donated to and by which group; a little bit of history to be preserved for future generations.
The quilt top pictured here was lovingly made myself and two of my sewing friends (Marge and Mary). The fabrics were donated to the local Charlton, Mass chapter of QOF. The pattern is called Wedge Star and can be found on YouTube. With this printing the top still needed two borders to be sewn on.
God Bless our servicemen and women! God Bless America!
Blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2014 April A to Z Challenge!