Caring for the community through charitable quilting

June 15, 2021

We love our APQS family of long arm machine owners. Many of them use their quilting machines to support their communities by blessing charities with quilts that wrap up a stranger in quilty love when they need it most.

Near Austin, Texas, Janet Selnes uses her APQS Lucey to quilt for a variety of charities.

Her desire to quilt for those in need was inspired by a special anonymous quilt her Uncle was given during his stay in Hospice. She said, “It touched me as I couldn’t be there with him but it helped me to know that he was being comforted by a quilt someone put together with the same care as what I put into my own quilts.”

From the kindness shown to her family by that unknown quilter, she was inspired to pay it forward and soon connected with her local hospice to make quilts for their patients. She also makes quilts for her local senior living facilities at Christmas over the last four years. Her quilts are donated to seniors without families and for her local VFW.

“It allows me to feel that I am paying forward the kindness and compassion shown to me when I’ve gone through tough times. Nothing gets me out of a personal pity party faster than being of service to others.”, said Janet. So far she has quilted 137 quilts and 87 of those have gone to charities or directly to people suffering from an illness. She recommends that if someone is interested in quilting for Hospice, they should give them a call directly. Janet’s focus is on quilting for the elderly and those suffering from illness.

Selnes said that on her desk she, “…has a saying… peace of mind comes piece by piece… I like to think they meant piecework”. Here at APQS, we couldn’t agree more! Thank you for making a difference in your community, Janet.

In Heathsville, Virginia, Claire Lum Lee spends her time quilting with her APQS Millie equipped with Quilt Path for the Quilts of Valor (QOV) national organization who is dedicated to awarding a quilt to our military men and women.

Claire is a veteran of the Iraq war and works closely with Denise Munns who is a veteran of the Vietnam war. Claire said, “There are so many people who have served and returned. They need to know that there are people that appreciate their service and sacrifice.”

Claire’s QOV group, the Northern Neck Patriotic Piecers, has awarded over 40 quilts so far to deserving veterans and active military members. Claire knows first hand how healing quilting can be. She shared that after her deployment to Iraq, “I didn’t come home the same and dealt with things poorly. Quilting became therapy. One of the most meaningful quilts I made was out of my old uniforms. The reason we make QOV quilts is we want the recipient to know that people care and appreciate the sacrifices that they have made to protect us.”

As you can see, finding the motivation to keep making quilts for the QOV program comes naturally to Claire. She said, “Making and awarding QOV is not a selfless act. I get so much joy doing this. There isn’t always much you can do to help heal the wounds, but we are trying to help just a little bit. Hopefully what we do as Quilts of Valor will help towards the healing process.”

If you’d like to find out more about the Quilts of Valor program you can click on the “Get Involved” button on their website to connect with a group close to your community.

Wayne Voigt is in Leander, Texas and rents time on the APQS long arm machines at the Over the Top Quilting Studio. He has a number of charities he supports with his quilting including Project Linus, Quilts of Valor, fund raisers for people in need. His favorite charity to work with is Community First where he makes quilts for the homeless.

Initially he made these quilts mostly for men but says that he now makes quilts for homeless women and children as well. Wayne remembers cutting out fabric pieces for his Grandmother when he was younger but only picked up quilting himself about three years ago. He estimates he has made about 30 quilts for charities and lots of other quilts for friends and family. Every quilt is special to him and he says, “It doesn’t matter who gets them as long as they help people in need.”

Wayne says, “Quilting gives me something to do with my time, but mostly it helps other people. This is what God wants us to do and I believe that with all my heart and soul. We should all want to help people in need and this is my way of doing it in my old age”.

His favorite machine to use when finishing his quilt tops at APQS Austin is the APQS Millie 30 because of its wide quilting space. After a life long career as a carpenter and home designer, he appreciates getting things finished fast. He says that he loves renting time on the long arm because of the community of quilters he gets to interact with in the APQS store.

If you are interested in quilting for a local charity, reach out and make that connection. At APQS we believe that the world is always better wrapped up in a quilt! Do you quilt for a charity you love? We’d love to hear about it!