Quilting for Foster Care

A friend’s quilting group is making a couple of quilts for a local foster care facility, and she asked me to quilt one of them. The quilts are oversize twins, so having them longarm quilted was the groups first choice. Luckily we have a group of longarmers in the area willing to do these larger quilts. So, she brought the quilt top, batting and backing to me last week. It is all done with navy on white prints, with red sashing and a solid navy border.   It is suitable for a boy, with subtle prints not too girly. I spread it out to look at it, and measure it against the backing.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Loading it on the longarm, I was delighted that the quilt hangs perfectly straight when folded up, showing that those borders were applied correctly and flat!

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

The batting she brought is Quilter’s Dream Green, the first time I have used this batting made from recycled plastic bottles.   After quilting with it, I am a fan and will buy this for myself in the future.  I think we have to create markets for recycled materials so we keep as much as possible out of the landfills.  This batting quilts just as easily as the Warm and Natural I usually use.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

The backing is a light blue with white polka dots. Looking at the top and the back, right away I knew the only choice of thread color was white. It would blend on the back, and give the solid navy border a pattern to blend with the busy prints in the interior of the quilt. My usual tendency would be to go with darker thread, but quilting this in navy would show glaringly on the back, disappear in the border, and might compete with the prints making them even busier.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Quilting the first row, I was happy with the look of the pantograph. The prints are just so busy that the quilting disappears on them, but shows up nicely in the border. I used Essentials thread in the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

This pantograph is called Rosie from Willow Leaf Studios.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

The backing was really a bit small for this top, it was only about 5 inches wider, and it needs to be 8 inches wider. Now, you may think this is no big deal, and really it isn’t. Of course, we can work around it, and the glitches may not seem a problem, but let me show you what happens. In the picture below, the machine head hit the clamp, and results in the two flat spots on the edge of the flower which should be a smooth curved line.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Is this a big deal?  Well, no. But it startles me as I am quilting, as I never expect to hit the clamp. Luckily this time it didn’t result in a broken thread or worse a broken needle, but it could. And that creates more work for me. Having the right amount of overage on the backing ensures that the quilting goes smoothly, and the result is no glitches.  And I can return a quilt without boo-boos, which pleases me.  Getting to the bottom, the flat border is just such a joy to quilt!

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I took it off the frame, and took a pic of the overall quilt. But the sky was overcast, and the light wasn’t bright enough in the studio to see the quilted border.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

So, here is one last look at the bottom corner.

Foster Care Charity Quilt at From My Carolina Home

My friend picked it up and was very pleased with the choices of pantograph and thread.  I hope it will bring some comfort to a child in foster care.  What are you working on?



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24 thoughts on “Quilting for Foster Care

  1. What a wonderful project! Since I’m an officer of the Court, I have sat through several CPS hearings during my career and it’s so heartbreaking hearing these children’s stories. So great of you to help with this. Rosie is one of my favorite pantos.

  2. Barbara Jenkins

    Glad to see a square quilt and it looks like it was pressed well also. I like the thread choices and I’m sure a child will be thrilled with it. Great job!!!

  3. I’m with you–my heart sings for joy when a quilt hangs nice and flat/smooth on the longarm before quilting!!! Love that panto. Love the purpose of the quilt–comfort, comfort, comfort.

  4. Sherry V.

    I have used Dream Green and really liked it. Another batting that I liked was made with cotton and bamboo. I do not remember the maker…but it quilted up nicely. After quilting it was still nicely drapeable and not stiff.

    I love the way the quilt came together.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Fran Dixon

    Don’t you just love “square” quilts? When I say “square” to clients, I get this “my quilt is not square but longer than wider”, etc. I have had to explain what that means many times. I too quilt for a charity group and the leader of this group always ensure plenty of backing and batting to deal with.

  6. Fauntie

    I truly appreciate the information that you have given about batting sizes and backing. I have been quilting for over 35 years and no longarmer ever said why you need to have the batting that much wider…I just knew you did. Thanks for giving such detailed instructions. I will be using this information for myself and will pass it on to my friends. I love the information that you gave on borders. I honestly think that when some beginners and more experienced quilters get to the border they just slap it on and then say “the quilting will flatten that out”!

  7. Maureen

    Love this quilt! It’s not a pattern I’ve seen before, but I would like to make one with some black/white prints and red sashing. I so appreciate that you share the pantos you use. Some I have, but you’ve also helped me pick new ones. I’m working on a fifty-two block Women of the Bible quilt and some charity quilts.

  8. Great quilt, great pattern. My guild and I just finished up quilts for Camp Gold Star and Camp Purple to be held after the 4th at Camp Pioneer on Lake Erie. The camp is for kids who lost a parent in the military or currently have a parent serving. A bunch of guilds and women made 150 of them. Each new kid to camp gets to choose their own for their bed and takes it home. Returnees get to choose pillowcases.

  9. Phyllis Smith

    Good morning Carole,
    The Foster Care Quilt turned out beautiful and nobody will ever notice where the thread hit the clip, I don’t think its that noticeable. Never knew about the plastic bottle backing, a great idea. Like you I try and keep as much as I can going to the recycle places, eating fresh foods helps a lot with that problem. Enjoyed your car trip and the little eatery with tapas sounds like I need to put that on my to visit restaurant. I enjoy small meals especially when traveling. Don’t get so sleepy while driving if I don’t overeat.
    Have a great day,

  10. Total joy to have a straight quilt with perfect borders. Yes, extra batting width must be a necessity, even when I quilt on my Bernina, I like to have something extra at all the sides. Foster quilts, what a gift and a joy to receive.

  11. Beautiful quilt for a child in need of something of their own to cuddle with. Thank you for all the good information, too. I love the idea of the batting made from recycled plastic bottles! As far as what I’m working on… I’m suppose to be making my first fidget quilt, but I’m working on the outline I need in order to rewrite my novel outline. Too many projects begging for attention and energy!

  12. marie godfrey

    Our quilting group, Tualatin Valley Quilt Group of just south of Portland OR, quilts for fostered people who have aged out of the foster-care program. This includes both young men and women. Several members generously quilt the completed quilts.

  13. Kristi B

    This is beautiful! I love the navy with the pop of red/orange. Thanks for sharing how you quilted it, I really appreciate your tips. I have a Juki sewing machine mounted on a frame and unfortunately the frame/bed of the machine usually hits the clamp. I usually have to pop the clamp off to quilt the very edge, then I stick it back on. This is one of the ‘quirks’ of working with a short arm or a domestic machine. Your discussion of borders has been really eye-opening!

  14. Rosemaryflower

    This is a very sweet quilt and I can imagine it will go to a very special kid.
    Everytime to work on your long arm, you learn about different challenges.

  15. I love the Rose panto and thanks for the recycled batting tip! Looks like you had some fun quilting for a wonderful cause. A few of my students were in foster care this year and I can tell you your quilts WILL make a difference. These kids needs as many hugs as they can get.

  16. dezertsuz

    Love pieced top, and lovely quilting on it. It does make a difference when a quilt is square and flat!

  17. Those are incredible and how neat that you and your friends share projects. I do not quilt and can barely sew, but in addition to paper craft I do crochet amongst other things. I am in the middle of crocheting a bunny and some wash clothes and always have cards in the mix. Have a great night!

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