Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Q: What can 9 bags of scraps make?

A: A whole lot of feel-good warmth for people in need, from Idaho with love!

The mother-daughter team of Alice Walter and Deb Hopkins drives from Idaho to Kansas City twice a year to purchase fabric from Fabri-Quilt for quilt retreat kits.

Burley, Idaho to Kansas City: Mapquest estimates it's a 1230 mile, 17+ hour trip!
When the ladies headed home last spring, their mini van was a little extra stuffed. With nine big bags of fabric scraps for charity quilts. Since they'd already filled the vehicle with purchased bolts, they tucked scraps into cupholders, under the seats...just trying to make it all fit.

"We got home and said, what are we going to do with these scraps?" Alice says. Alice and Deb had been giving away pattern-writing test quilts from their retreats, as well as other scrap quilts, to charity organizations for several years, but felt quilts made from these scraps needed to go back to Kansas City. "The fabric came from Kansas City; I think we need to take the quilts back there," Deb says. Enter reStart, an interfaith ministry with homeless persons in Kansas City.

Q. How did you choose reStart to receive the quilts you made?
Alice: I started looking on the Internet for an organization to receive the quilts. I found an article in the Kansas City Star about a homeless shelter, called reStart, and they said that they'd like the quilts.

Q. How many quilts did you sew?
Alice: We did up 100 quilts. Not huge bed quilts; just snuggle quilts. We both pieced quilts and I did all the machine quilting and machine binding.

Alice and Deb (who also has a full-time job outside of the house)
sewed and quilted 100 quilts in less than 6 months. Wow!
Q. Tell us about your experience at reStart. 
Deb: We scoped it out, getting a tour before bringing in the quilts. I was really impressed with the program, and the steps that they take to help people. This is something different than just a handout on the corner.
Alice: One older gentlemen picked out his quilt, hugged it, and danced around. Then he said, "I just gotta do this. I just gotta give you a hug."
Deb: Most of the time when we give away quilts [to a charity], we don't get to experience the joy of seeing the end person who actually gets the benefit of the gift. It's more of an anonymous thing. When we did reStart, we got to experience the joy. We need that human interaction--to see the instant result. That's the thing that touches your heart and makes that warm fuzzy feeling.

Q. What was it like, handing out the quilts?
Alice: Instead of just handing each person a quilt, we let them pick out which one they wanted.
Deb: I would open each quilt up so they could see the whole thing, front and back. I told them, "It's okay if you don't like it. It's your quilt and you should have something you like."

Freshly unpacked from the mini van,
these quilts are ready to meet their new owners.

Q. What drives you to make so many quilts for charities?
Deb: For us it goes back to, we can make something from nothing. It's the challenge of what can we do with this that is going to make a difference in somebody's life. To me, it's the challenge of okay, I'm given a stack of pieces. What can I do with this. I might as will put my time and talents into something that will make a difference for someone. It takes so little to make a difference.

Alice, Deb and Fabri-Quilt's own Adlai Kunst outside reStart
After Deb and Alice handed out their 100 quilts at reStart, they made their purchases at Fabri-Quilt and headed back to Idaho with more sacks of scrap fabric. When they return to Kansas City in the spring, they'll bring back another load of finished quilts, ready to make a difference in the lives of the homeless people reStart helps. 

To learn more about Alice, Deb, and their Wonder Cut Ruler and retreat business, click here.
To learn more about reStart and how it helps homeless persons in Kansas City, click here.

1 comment:

  1. How fantastic.....sounds like alot of fun is had with the scrap bags. I am just starting to plan using up all my scraps...perhaps they'll share pics of the quilts (will check their blog) to give me inspiration!