Welcome Blankets

 Welcome Blankets

Welcome Blankets

If you are feeling frustrated by the inaction on the part of the government in reuniting families and treating immigrants and asylum seekers with respect and compassion, here is a project you might be interested in.  The Welcome Blanket Project is collecting blankets (knit, crochet, woven, quilted, etc) to display and then distribute to refugee resettlement organizations.

The goals of Welcome Blanket are as follows (from their website):
1.     Welcome new immigrants to the United States with a practical gift and words of welcome and connection.
2.     Provide ways for those who want to support immigrants to create and give a practical and thoughtful gift.
3.     Create community around positive, hands-on ideas of inclusion.
4.     Promote discussions about immigration policy and its effects on real-live people.

I have made several quilts to send along and maybe you will too.  They are asking for 40" x 40" blankets.  They even have some suggested patterns if you'd rather do that.  They have a knit pattern, a crochet pattern and a super quick quilt pattern which I used to make things go faster.  Plus it is very graphic and has lots of design options.

Click for Blanket Patterns

One of the nice things about this project is that they ask for a personal note from the maker about their own immigrant story.  I think that's a wonderful way to make a connection with these new immigrants and to really welcome them.  You can find lots of wonderful blankets and notes in their gallery and also on their Instagram account: @welcomeblanket.

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The orange quilt above and the red quilt below were made with the Magic 8 Method.  However, because quilting fabric doesn't usually come much wider than 40 usable inches, you might want to just try this quick method.  When you use the Magic 8 Method with squares about 20" you'll end up with a finished quilt less than 40" square.  The other quick method is not as quick as Magic 8, but it allows you to make a scrappier version like the one below.  By the way, there are some interesting tips in that second link, but I don't have the Quilt in a Day Square up Ruler so I just squared mine up the old fashioned way (also, it isn't big enough for these big blocks). 

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Perhaps you are not moved to make a welcome blanket, but you might find the quick methods can be useful for other community/charity/donation quilts.  I am working on another one to donate to my quilt guild's community quilts program. When I go to quilt shops these days I usually don't really need more fabric and I'm trying to not grow my stash too much anyway, so I'll often take a look at the clearance fabric.   If I find something interesting I'll get a couple of yards which works well to make a baby quilt and someone can always use a baby quilt.  

Half square triangles are so much fun to play with too.  If you haven't explore this design element, here are a few places for inspiration:

Tea & Brie

Making More with Less

Pinterest

Other tips for these quick quilts:  I did a quick serpentine stitch for quilting.  On the Bernina that's stitch #4, with a stitch length of 3.0 and a width of 5.5.  I machine stitch the binding to the back, iron it over the front and machine stitch to the front.  It looks pretty good and is very sturdy, but the best thing about it is that it only takes about 1/2 hour compared to several hours of a hand stitched binding.

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Of course, you can also do your own pattern.  When I first heard about the project I went searching through my closet to see if I had anything that fit the size.  Every Last Piece was the only one and it was actually in my Etsy shop, but I decided to send it along with the others.  

 Every Last Piece

Every Last Piece

And here' s a bonus quilt that I made with the scraps leftover from the second one.