After my husband had been out of work for an extended period of time, we sold our house in Bothell, Washington, and moved to Corvallis, Oregon, in 2005. This was a very hard decision to make as we were moving away from our grown children.
When visiting a local quilt shop, Janilou Creations in Philomath, Oregon, one of the ladies that work there asked me if I knew about Quilts from Caring Hands. She gave me a brochure with information about the nonprofit group, which makes quilts for children at risk in the local community. They also make tactile quilts for visually impaired and other disabled children. I went to their next meeting and fell in love with the group. It is not only a very productive group—we gave away our 7,000th quilt last December—but a kind, loving, and accepting group of ladies.
After being in the group for some time, I decided to make a quilt about my life in Oregon. Moving here was a wonderful event that had started with a negative event. I wanted to somehow record all the things about living here that are positive and that I enjoy. Making a quilt seemed like the best way for me to accomplish that. There is a block of our house, our pets, and of course, my quilting group. Also included are some of my favorite traditional blocks, Churn Dash and Shoo Fly. I love “cowboy” quilts so there are boots and hats. Coffee is my favorite drink, so I put in coffee cups and my favorite coffee shop. I call the quilt MY LIFE IN OREGON.
I have made wonderful friends in the Quilts from Caring Hands group. They have encouraged me and helped me to grow, change, and hopefully improve as a quilter. It has given me the opportunity to do things I might not have otherwise been able to accomplish. I really enjoy building quilt tops without a pattern, just starting with an idea or a fabric. We get a lot of our fabric through donations. Sometimes it is child friendly, sometimes not. One of our members says, “Do what you can with what you have where you are.” That is certainly true of our group.
Posted by Christine N. Brown, American Quilter magazine editor-in-chief