Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Ocracoke Quilts Update

I wanted to update you on the latest news about the Ocracoke Quilt Project, and let you know how you can help in ways beyond sending blocks. (Please, keep sending blocks!)

My guild has a retreat at Ft. Caswell in October (and again in January) that I had scheduled to attend way back during this summer, so I took the stack of blocks I'd received in the mail to date, as well as the ones I still needed to add triangles of my own, to work on that weekend. So many of my Greenville Quilters Guild friends have committed to helping me make blocks and/or quilts for Ocracoke that several other retreat attendees were working on blocks that weekend as well. A few people love Ocracoke so dearly that they are making entire quilts that they are insisting on finishing themselves...which of course, is always welcomed and appreciated!
Members of the Greenville Quilters Guild on retreat at Ft. Caswell. Five tops finished that weekend.

I do want to mention that ANY quilt that you'd like to send to Ocracoke is welcomed. While I am providing the Ocracoke Cracker block as a block drive so that we can make 50" x 60" comfort quilts, I am more than willing to deliver any new quilt that you feel led to make and contribute. I won't have time to offer longarming for those quilts, but if you have finished quilts to send, please do.

A variation on my Leftovers pattern, my friend Chris pieced and donated this beautiful quilt for Ocracoke.

I have been invited to go to My Sewing Shoppe in Raleigh, NC on November 5 and teach the Ocracoke Cracker block (as I've drafted it for this project), as well as hold a block drive to collect as many donated blocks as possible. That means Raleigh-Durham area quilters can just drop their blocks off at My Sewing Shoppe by November 1, and I can pick them up while I'm there!
Please note that I'm "IslandTimeQuilting" on Instagram. I am SO EXCITED about this opportunity to meet some Raleigh area quiltmakers and spread the word about this project.

My personal goal is to finish 10 quilts per month until May 2021. That's 200 quilts completed that I will personally deliver to Ocracoke residents, probably quarterly, as they continue to recover from the impact of Hurricane Dorian in their community. In order to finish that many quilts, I will need to continue receiving blocks from all of you. But I also know that we together can do so much more than I can do alone. I have a great community of support here in Greenville. My Sugar Creek Quilters have been meeting in my home for nearly 15 years now, and many of them will help me piece tops, and complete them with binding and labels. The Greenville Quilters Guild has many extraordinarily generous members, and they are making blocks, piecing tops, and offering to bind and label as well. But I have also received offers around the country (heck--around the world) to do the same thing, and it's so encouraging. I may change my mind in 2020, but for now, if you are a quiltmaker that would be happy to piece an entire top, quilt it and bind it, then please--partner with some local friends and make one or two or ten, and just send me finished quilts. I'd rather not send out kits for piecing/quilting/binding and then you have to ship them back. That money can go toward buying more batting and thread and backing fabric here.

The exception is for eastern North Carolina! If you are a longarm quilter or quiltmaker that wants to get involved, and live within driving distance of me here in Winterville, please just send me an email and let's plan how you can partner to finish one or more of these quilts. I chose the 50" x 60" size of these quilts very purposefully--most domestic sewing machines can quilt this size pretty easily. You don't have to own a longarm to be able to finish a comfort quilt for Ocracoke.

Now, for the big update...In less than six weeks, I have received over 700 blocks! I have five quilts quilted (working on binding the four I quilted yesterday), and another 11 sets sorted to be pieced into tops. With just another 168 blocks, I can meet my November goal. Of course, if you want to send 6 or 18 or even 42, all are welcome!

Eleven more quilts just waiting to be assembled!

Thank you again for showing your love for Ocracoke. Please keep lifting them in your prayers. If you are a social media fiend like I am, follow #ocracokestrong to witness the most amazing stories of neighbor loving neighbor.

You all know I'm an atrocious blogger. But I will try to keep you in the loop. Best bet is to follow me on Instagram or my Facebook page!

One final thing--I did make a "variation" on the Ocracoke Cracker quilt by just placing my strip sets on point with solid squares. It's a lovely quilt, and might be the one you'd like to make yourself at home. It takes less fabric, but I cannot promise that it is ANY faster. I called it "Ocracoke-ish" and drafted clear cutting directions into my new 2020 Quilter's Planner. There are some directions on my IG account post here.

Ocracoke-ish, uses 48 strip set blocks and a background fabric.

I use my Quilter's Planner FOR EVERYTHING.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Ocracoke Cracker Blocks for #quiltsforocracoke

October is for OCRACOKE!

This picture is one of my favorite pictures I have ever shot with my iPhone over my shoulder as we flew into W95, Ocracoke airfield. You can see vehicles parked in front of Howard’s Pub, and the lighthouse in the distance.

Dennis and I try to visit Ocracoke as often as possible, even if it’s just for Sunday lunch. We love the land, the ocean, and the people of Ocracoke dearly. I am “Island Time” Quilting because of Ocracoke. I have warned Dennis that if he doesn’t complete life with me, my final years will be on Ocracoke.

If you feel inclined to pray, please lift up this sweet fishing and tourism community on our Outer Banks. Ocracoke has its own quilt block, the Ocracoke Cracker block, as seen in the first picture. It’s traditionally set on point with blue corners, four narrow strips set with a red strip in the third position. I would love to do a quilt drive for OI, especially using the Ocracoke Cracker block, which will add up fast.

Here’s the scoop on how to make #ocracokecrackerquilt blocks:

(1) Cut 2” strips in four colors, with red and blue in the center. The two outside strips can be beige, white, yellow, green, even purple or orange! Just make sure red/blue in the center.

(2) Sew a strip set, and press seams in one direction.

(3) Crosscut into 6.5” squares. Trim your outside strips if necessary. I got 3 blocks from each 21” strip set.

(4) Cut a variety of blue 5.5” squares, and then on the diagonal to make HSTs. Sew on opposite sides of the strip set, centering the point on the center seam. Press, trim, and sew on remaining sides.

(5) Trim block to 9” unfinished (leaving good 1/4” seams at the points).

I think the variety is what will make these quilts sing, so I would love your blocks mailed to me so that we can mix them up into gorgeousness. But if you want to finish an entire quilt, I would appreciate that so much! If you want to help piece tops or quilt or donate backing fabric or help in any way, I would love that, too. There are approximately 1500 residents on Ocracoke Island, many of whom are now homeless. I am able to deliver the quilts myself, personally, to the residents of the island, over the next several months. Let’s see how the fall quarter goes, and then we’ll make a 2020 plan!

I am envisioning a quilt containing 42 blocks, which is about 50x60” without borders. I am hoping for #comfortquilts more than replacing bed linens, if you know what I mean.

Mail blocks to:
Island Time Quilting
1524 Sugar Creek Rd.
Winterville, NC 28590

Thank you, dear ones. Continue to pray for my sweet Ocracoke. For those of you who aren't familiar with how Hurricane Recovery can go, I spoke with a sweet family we served in Friendswood, TX in March 2018 (after the devastation from Harvey in 2017) last night. They hope to get the kitchen installed in their home in October, TWO YEARS LATER after Harvey flooded their home. Ocracoke's recovery isn't a one-month process. I am dedicated to taking quilts to Ocracoke regularly over the next several years, Lord willing. The purpose of a #comfortquilt is to let the recipients' know how they are loved, how they are prayed for, and how much we believe in them, even when life is hard. My daughter is currently designing a label for the project, and I hope we can successfully show Ocracoke that they are in all our hearts.