February 28, 2011

Patriot’s Quilts

     In 2010 many men and women from our area were deployed to very dangerous, far away places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. They have to be away from their family and friends for months at a time, so our class decided to do something to try to help the families of these men and women who are protecting our country.
     We had some pieces of used military uniforms in our class and our teacher found some red, white, and blue, patriotic fabrics.  We decided to combine the two types of fabric into small quilts that could be used as baby quilts or lap quilts for wounded warriors.  There are seven of us in the class and we made eight quilts. No two quilts were the same.

vets     Our class is also responsible for part of the decorations for the school’s Veteran’s day program, so we finished them all by the eleventh of November.  They decorated the stage and then were presented to our local Family Service Officer at the program.     To make the quilts we first decided on a pattern.  Some were simple block pieced patterns, some were stripes of red, white, and blue, and some were a bit more complicated with diagonal stripes and blocks.  We began the actual quilt making by ripping apart the old uniforms, making sure they were clean and ironed and then cutting them into the appropriate sized pieces.   We then cut the patriotic fabrics into the sizes that we needed.  Next, we pinned the pieces together and sewed them.  Sewing was maybe the hardest part, because the seams all had to be exactly one quarter inch wide so that the pieces could fit together correctly.   vets2Once the top was complete, we had to sandwich the top, a layer of batting, and a backing fabric.  At this point some of the quilts were tied with yarn at each corner of each block, others were machine quilted in the classroom.  A friend of the class who lives in our community quilted the final three quilts on her quilting machine. The last step was putting on the binding.  This requires a lot of pinning and very careful sewing.  Each of the finished quilts was at least 36 inches wide and 44 inches long.  Making these quilts was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.  We enjoyed making them and we know that others will enjoy using them. 
     Making these quilts was a very exciting project for a number of reasons.  First and most importantly, the people who receive them are very grateful and we know that we have helped them during this very difficult time in the life of their families.  Second, it was also exciting because as each of the quilts went together we could see just how beautiful it was going to be, and lastly we learned something new, the old art of quilt making.   As the school year goes on we plan to complete more quilts for these families.