Wednesday, December 12, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 49/52

After I finally finished all the little niggley bits of the quilt, I had to take a break from the sewing machine. You understand, I'm sure. :-)

I forgot to show you the label last week:

Hope Takes Flight ~ the label

(Hope Takes Flight ~ the label)

I took that picture last night as it was about to get bundled up into a Christmas stocking. Restore Innocence and the Human Trafficking Task Force had a "stuff the stocking" night, and I joined about 50 volunteers from the community, from various churches, some law enforcement, and even an FBI agent to take 205 blankets and stockings and fill them up with candy and nail polish and socks and mittens and stuffed animals.

205 Christmas Stockings for Restore Innocence and victims of human trafficking.

(205 Christmas Stockings)

It was a sight to behold. About 110 of the blankets were tied fleece blankets, and my church made a large portion of those, and the other 95(ish) were purchased for this event.

We heard on the news yesterday that police busted a sex trafficking ring in Colorado Springs, and that teenage girls (15-17 years old) had been recruited and forced into this for the past couple of years. The thing that really got me was that they arrested a few WOMEN, too!! Like, I can see men doing this to girls, but WOMEN?????? Oh, that made me mad!

Anyway, it just brings home the reality and the depravity even more.

These will be shared all across the country, so it's quite possible that a young lady in YOUR town will receive one of these bundled blessings. :-)

One of the board members for Restore Innocence mentioned a girl she was working with who had never had a Christmas. She'd never opened a stocking stuffed with sweets and socks and treats for her. She'd never received a gift from someone she didn't know. She'd never known simple joy on Christmas morning, but this year was going to be different for her because of these.

Hoppy and Hope

(Hoppy and Hope)

I don't know who will receive our quilt, but all along I've trusted that God will get it into the hands of a young girl who needs the love and the warmth and the HOPE most of all.

Other than that, I've been making more Infinity Scarves and bee blocks. And I've got to make some coffee cup cozies for Mookie's teachers, and the girls are making Christmas ornaments out of Crayola Model Magic (which are TOO CUTE, by the way!)...

Making Christmas ornaments
(Every tree needs a polka dotted butterfly on their Christmas tree!)

No rest for the weary!

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for this week's WiP Wednesday party.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Congratulations to My SMS Winner!

There you have it folks, Erin won my little giveaway of a charm pack of Sweetwater's Mama Said Sew, a membership into the Sugar Block Club, and some yummies from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory! Congrats, Erin!

I've already heard back from her, and even though she said she likes sewing for her daughters, in her reply to me, she said she had been wanting to get into quilting, and this'll get her jump started! Perfect! AND, get this...she's in Colorado!! How fitting is THAT!!  :)  I'm gonna tell her that I'm not mailing it to her, that she has to come to our Front Range MQG meeting to pick it up. Hee hee...

And I know everyone says it, but I seriously, rilly rilly wish I could give something to EACH of you!

And thank you SO VERY MUCH for all your kind words about the quilt, and about Restore Innocence. I wanted to write a post to bring awareness about human trafficking, and I think I accomplished that. :) If one girl is rescued and takes advantage of her second chance, then I think it's all worth it, right? Obviously, I hope more will be completely rescued, but I know it's not always that easy.  The devil you know is better than the devil you don't, right? :)

So, anyways, thanks again! I hope you'll stop by again! I promise I don't usually write such long, and meaningful posts. They are usually much more light-hearted. :)

Congrats again, Erin!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 48/52

I haven't WiP'd in a while because I've been so busy working on the in-progress projects. :)

But first, if you are visiting because of the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day, WELCOME!! I'm glad you're here! ;) If you're a regular, be sure to enter the giveaway on my previous post.

I'm giving the Hope Takes Flight quilt to the church on Friday, so I want to take some more artistic shots before I hand it over. Here's a quickie that I took today when I was on my way home and not prepared:

Hope Takes Flight (Faith circle ~ Sept 2012)

I like the juxtaposition of the modern, bright quilt against the backdrop of the dingy, antique farm house.

And...I've got huge piles of bee blocks to make since I spent a large part of November quilting that quilt!  I was definitely in too many bees this year! One of them is ending in January, though, so that's good.

We got the fabric for the Modern Quilt Guild's Madrona Road challenge. It's VERY lovely. I am really quite tempted to say it never arrived. Think anyone will notice? ;-)

MQG Madrona Road Challenge Fabric

Does anyone else feel like they have a sewing disorder? A little binge, a little purge where you sew, sew, sew, sew, and then can't even begin to go into the room once you've finished a major project? That's kinda me right now. :)  No rest for the weary, though, that's for sure! :)

And then there are Christmas presents for the important ladies in my girls' lives. I'm planning on making coffee cozies.

And, of course, sewing the other butterflies into the second quilt...

OH...and I've got a little idea up my sleeve involving a charm pack, but I don't know much about new fabric lines coming out, so I need some suggestions. Can you please recommend a charm pack or fabric collection that has a great variety of bright colors in it? Because we all know that I'm all about variety of bright colors!  Something similar to Notting Hill by Free Spirit or Oh Deer by MoMo.  Thanks! :)

I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced (for the first time in a long time!) for her WiP Wednesday post. Hop on over there and see what everyone else is working on!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hope Takes Flight (and a giveaway)

(alternative title: Quilting Insanity)

This is a long post, but it's a good story, so I do hope you'll read it. It's not about me -- it's about a quilt and a young girl.

As a quilter in the {Faith} circle of very popular do.Good Stitches bee, I have the opportunity, 2-3 times a year, to ask for blocks from my bee mates, and make the quilt I have designed. So back in August, I asked the associate pastor at our church if he knew of any needs within the church. He said "No, but Restore Innocence is doing a blanket drive for Christmas. Maybe you could make one for them?"  I'd heard of Restore Innocence, but didn't know much, so I went to their website. And commenced to having my heart broken, over and over again.

I want to just paste every word from their website here so you'll really see for yourselves!! I won't do that, but I will post a few tidbits:

There's this one:

“In the United States, children are subjected to human trafficking in many different sectors. Examples include prostitution on the streets or in a private residence, club, hotel, spa, or massage parlor; online commercial sexual exploitation; exotic dancing/stripping; agricultural, factory, or meatpacking work; construction; domestic labor in a home; restaurant/bar work; illegal drug trade; door-to-door sales, street peddling, or begging; or hair, nail, and beauty salons. Family members, acquaintances, pimps, employers, smugglers, and strangers traffic children
.”  -U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  {emphasis by Melissa}
 Or this:

An estimated 2.5 million children worldwide, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion dollar commercial sex industry – UNICEF
 Or this:

Investigators and researchers estimate the average predator in the U.S. can make more than $200,000 a year off one young girl. – NBC Report by Teri William
It. Is. Disgusting.

I honestly can't believe this is happening right under our noses. I mean, we think sex trafficking, and sex slavery happens in places like Thailand. Or Amsterdam. Not here in America! But, it is. And actually, I can believe it. There are some seriously sick people out there. And those are just the ones using the girls...the ones doing the abusing? I hope there's a special hot place in Hell for them.

I copied this from someone on Instagram, but the details were provided by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center 2011.

(I'm gonna let those figures sink in for a sec)

These poor, poor, innocent little girls and young women.

So back to Restore Innocence. They are based in Colorado Springs because human trafficking happens here, but they work with Police and FBI Victims Assistance teams all around the US. So when there is a sting, and a young girl is rescued from the sex trade (read: slavery), they often have very little more than the clothes on their backs. And their clothes are often confiscated as evidence against the sicko pimp. Restore Innocence send Restoration Bags to the VA teams, who are then equipped to offer something to these girls. Something of their own.

Often, the girls that are taken into human trafficking didn't have much of a home to run away from, so it's not like they've got anywhere to go back to...and I highly doubt it would be a supportive and encouraging environment committed to helping the girl heal, physically and emotionally! (Can you imagine?)

So Restore Innocence has been working towards opening The Cinderella House - a place where rescued girls can come and live for a while, and get them the counseling and the assistance they need until they are able to move into a stable environment...whatever that may be. They have the house, and are in the final stages of opening it. :)


Back to do.Good Stitches. :)

When it was my turn, I decided to have the bee make butterfly blocks like we did last March, using Mrs Schmenkman's tutorial.  I asked for 8 blocks, one of each "rainbow" color, with white background and a black "body". My plan was to make one quilt, with all the butterflies pieced together. Like this:

Butterflies and Rainbows

To me, the butterflies represent being made into a new creation, a second chance, a chance these girls need. The rainbow represents God's covenant with Man after The Flood that He will never leave us. The black body represents the the black ribbon that Restore Innocence uses as their logo. The binding is black satin ribbon, for that same reason. They use the black ribbon because a ribbon represents innocence and youth, something these girls have been robbed of. And the color of the ribbon, black, represents what a dark, dark world human trafficking is.  All along, my plan was to quilt with swirls, to symbolize wind currents of the butterflies taking flight.

So when the blocks started coming in, and I threw them up on my design wall, a new plan emerged. Not only did I have a new, fun, modern design, I also would have enough butterflies for 2 quilts!  Because, really, why make one when you can make 2? (Or 5?) Right? :)

Faith do.Good Stitches ~ Butterflies and Rainbows

Even though I've rearranged some blocks, this design stuck. All the way to the bitter, bitter end.

While I can now say that I am finished, I can not say that this has been easy. This quilt has been fraught with challenges. Oy.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook, thank you for walking this journey with me. I am sooooooo glad I had that support when things were difficult, and the next difficult thing happened, and the next difficult thing happened, and the next difficult thing happened. Hah!

The piecing went along fine. (the craft room is still a wreck, so I moved Sewing Ops to the dining room...and the entry to the living room became my design wall...) :)

t was once I started quilting that things got ugly. I always spray baste, but I used Dritz spray baste for the first time, and I'm pretty sure it will be the last. I know some people LOVE Dritz, and that's all they use, and maybe I got a bad can, but it literally took me 2 weeks to quilt this simple quilt.

immediately had problems with the thread shredding. I changed thread. 3 (expensive) brands. I changed needles. 3 brands. I changed the bobbin 4 times. I moved my sewing machine. I flipped the quilt around.

I don't know if you can see it up there, but somehow, the thread shredded and half of it came out of the eye of the needle. Only half...the other half was still threaded and still making stitches. Very weak stitches.

And then I thought I had it all sorted, but MAN was I tired (this was Day 2 of what became a never-ending saga!)

Then, on Day 3 (and by "day" I really mean "night), not only was the thread shredding, but it started skipping stitches, too!! Grrrr!  So I took it into the shop. They tried EVERYthing. And they couldn't get it to happen again on anything other than my quilt.  So I determined to simply sew till it shredded or skipped, stop, and start over again. There wasn't anything else I could do!

LOOK at that shredding! Ugh.

And then my needle bent and broke. I've broken needles before, but never bent it like that! It's like I was trying to sew through Teflon, or something!

But eventually I finished the free-motion quilted swirls in the middle, and it was time to quilt the white. I had originally planned to swirl the whole thing, but since it took me a full week to quilt 1/3 of the quilt, I figured I needed to put away the free motion foot, and just get it finished!!

Wow. Straight-line quilting is deceptively time-consuming! And very physically challenging!  So, that took me another 3 nights.  And when I was finally done with the quilting...

I had over 100 thread tails to bury. Yes, I know there are easier ways to stop and start than to pull out the threads and tie a knot, but because of the skipping and shredding, I had to be able to rip out the stitches, and you can't do that if you stitch a bunch in one place before you start quilting.
That took me another tiring evening. But the hard part was DONE!! Now to bind it with the black satin blanket binding, and call it DONE! :)

This is a close-up of the quilting.

 And here is the finished quilt!! Hallelujah!!  I named it Hope Takes Flight.

This is, of course, my sweet little Rocket Man, photobombing the picture in his slow, I'm-gonna-roll-till-I-get-there way. :)

Honestly. Two WEEKS!!! To quilt this thing!! Working on it for 3-4 hours a day/night!  Thankfully, I have very tame children and I could sew some during the day, too, but most of it was done at night.

I had more than a few people ask why I kept at it. Why I didn't just put it aside, buy some fleece and tie a quilt for Restore Innocence's blanket drive.  But I couldn't.

I couldn't give up on a quilt that we were making specifically for a young, precious, girl whose innocence has been stolen from her. I couldn't give up on a quilt that will bring her warmth. I couldn't give up on a quilt that will comfort her. I couldn't give up on a quilt that we have prayed over. I couldn't give up on a quilt that will remind her that God has not forgotten her. A quilt that will remind her that she has been rescued and has been given a second chance. A quilt that will scream to her heart that God loves her. A quilt that will whisper in her ear that God is with her. A quilt that will sing in her soul that she matters.

I couldn't give up making a quilt for someone who everyone else has given up on.

And now...for those of you who waded through all of that... :)  I'm linking up with Sew, Mama, Sew for their biannual Giveaway Day, and one lucky person will win a charm pack of Mama Said Sew from Sweetwater, a lovely Colorado family,

AND one generously donated membership to Amy Gibson's Sugar Block Club! Another Colorado beauty. 

2013 Sugar Block Club

Heck, I might even throw in some Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory scrumptiousness.

I'm sticking with the natives over here! :)

The giveaway is now closed. I will announce the winner on the blog on Sunday (or sooner) December 9th. Thanks to everyone for the comments! :)

So about the giveaway...Please leave me one comment telling me what kinds of things you like to sew. And if you don't sew, tell me what your favorite creative outlet is. I will close the contest on Friday, December 7th at 5pm PST, and will do a random drawing. Then I will email the winner and announce it on my blog on Sunday the 9th. (By the way, I'm definitely willing to send internationally!)

If you want to win, you better be sure your blogger profile is not a "no-reply blogger"!! I can't find you otherwise. :) 

Good luck...and please visit Restore Innocence's page...I think our eyes need to be opened to this. Seriously -- thank you for reading this. Seriously. :)