Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Recently my friend Susara, was telling me about a group of ladies that she is working with at a church. These ladies have been making clothing and were finally tired of the same thing -so Susara was asked to teach them some quilting. She was so frustrated with the things she had to work with or I should say the things she didn’t have.


There are 2 groups of ladies at the church, those that make clothing and those that are learning patchwork. Notice the sewing machine in the picture -it is a hand crank sewing machine. Can you imagine sewing with only one hand… while the other turns the the flywheel, that makes the needle go up and down?

The fabrics they started with were more like decorator fabrics, the cutting implements dull -the rotary cutter and mat are Susara's personal items. Add to that only one iron and most of the ladies had difficulty threading the needles on the sewing machines due to eyesight.

So I went home and sorted through my fabrics. I removed most of the ones I just didn’t like, ones I didn’t use for the original project and therefore wouldn’t use in the foreseeable future…. etc. I pulled out about 40 pounds… maybe more I really didn’t weigh it.  Most were fat quarters, but there were several pieces of 1-3 yards. The next week I went back through my stuff …. looking a bit deeper. I found my cheater glasses (4 pair), lots of waxed hand quilting thread, some batting, patterns and the iron I dropped (still heats/no steam).

In the meantime I was emailing with Kelly at “I Have a Notion”, and mentioned my donation. Kelly insisted on helping and asked several of her friends if they had any items for the box. Kelly notified me that a box was on it’s way. Next hurdle was finding a date that I could get to the group to deliver the box. The day was yesterday.


Susara started to teach them making string quilts on a foundation. None of the ladies have a machine at home, so Susara has come up with ‘homework’, a hand piecing project. Here one lady is sharing her hexagons. Can we just say WOW! I recognize some of the fabrics in these too from my stash donation several weeks ago!  I have to say very impressive.



These are some of the string blocks.  And one of the first tops made with the string blocks. The border is also one of the larger pieces from my stash. Susara is having them all make string blocks so that they can all have a string blanket. These will be hand quilted, without a batting since they were done on a foundation.


I then interrupted to give them the box from the Kelly and Friends. This a picture of the ladies giving the goodies a quick look see. Margaret appraised the contents. Asked if it was for the ladies to share, and I said yes. She and one of the other ladies took the box to the corner…. and began to distribute. There are 7 ladies currently in the group, and they made 7 different piles…. and


put a piece of fabric in each pile until it was all distributed. One member, Rebecca was not there, but she will get hers next week! I must say that I got several very tight warm overjoyed hugs from these ladies. They could not believe their good fortune!!! These women are the working poor. They all have jobs, but their existence is hand to mouth and rarely have any $ left over at the end of the week. While this box doesn’t seem like much, it is truly a welcomed gift.


While the box was sorted, Susara showed the ladies how to layer a top and a backing, for sandwiching. Next it was basted. Susara asked if I would show them how to hand quilt. I didn’t have a thimble with me, but I faked it as well as I could.

I doubt if I will be able to get back to see the progress before I leave. Susara will be away in August, and I will be leaving Africa the first week of September. But if I can I will!!!

I am so glad that Kelly at IHAN and her friends sent the box!!!! These ladies will have so much fun stitching and creating. As I saw some of the fabrics being distributed…. I was drooling, since I haven’t seen many of them… in person or online either!


Don’t they just look over joyed and thrilled?

Thank you Kelly and Friends for helping me to pay it forward!

More Later- Beth



  1. WOW! What a great post! Wonderful!!

  2. hi, i've come across from AMD in Toronto. This post is so beautiful with much gifting and sharing, the ladies look very happy. Best wishes for your move back home, i'm sure you will have many wonderful memories.

  3. I do most of my sewing and quilting on a hand crank. I own over 70 vintage machines, many of them hand cranks. Great precision with a hand crank, especially with paper piecing.


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