Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why some VA hospitals are ONLY accepting QOVs

The Smells of Home

You know when you travel and get away from home, how odd the smells are? And sometimes when you get home – you say “Ahhh – It smells just like home” ? Well, I think that Quilts of Valor are like that. The quilt is a hug from home. And I know that they are providing that Ahhhh moment.

I have been fortunate to see a lot of these Hugs from Home before they head out to their intended recipient. But, I have noticed that sometimes the smells from your home cause sneezing in mine. And I worry about the serviceperson sneezing as well.

One of the requirements of a Quilt of Valor is that it be washed before sending it out. That sounds like one extra step – I mean, come on, you have already put a TON of work into the construction of the quilt. But I would like to remind you of how important this final step is. By washing the quilt you are making sure every last allergen is being removed from the quilt and that it will smell nice and fresh for your recipient. Just in case that serviceperson is allergic to animal hairs, perfumes, or other smells, you are guaranteeing that this quilt will DEFINITELY be a Hug from Home.

One of the places that I take Quilts of Valor to has recently decided to only let Quilts of Valor into their facility. The main reason is that the quilts have been washed and are in nice presentation cases. They had an incidence of bed bugs from a different groups’ donation. The facility was impressed that QOV quilts come in so nice and clean and ready to be used right away.

So, what is the best way to wash your quilt? I simply use cold water and a Shout Color Catcher. I wash it on a short cycle, and take it out immediately after it is done. I then hang it to dry on the shower rack I have over my washer and dryer. I think you could tumble them dry on no heat as well. The Color Catcher is an added guarantee that colors won’t bleed either. And I am the first one to praise them, and tell you THEY WORK!!

Thank you so much for all your hard work in making these wonderful quilts. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that those of you who make these quilts are angels. These quilts mean so much, and add so much to the healing or our warriors. Thank you for taking the time to do this extra step.



  1. I wash in cold water and dry in a regular hot dryer. I figure the person who gets isn't going to know to take special precautions about washing/drying. That way I know that it's sewn well...Ok, so in the past with my own quilting, in the beginning of my quilting career I wasn't very good about making sure about those 1/4" seams. And after my loved one washed their quilt, I'd get a call saying "Sarah, come fix my quilt-it's raveling"
    Sarah in MD

  2. i wash in cold and use the color catcher sheet as well. they do work wonders!! i've had a couple fabrics bleed on past quilts, but they help limit the transfer.

    on the note of perfumes: i've had a couple quilts come back from longarmmers that have been near potpourri or heavy perfume. it's been hard for me to bind the quilts on my lap smelling the heavy scent and then i've had to wash them multiple times to get enough of the scent out of it before i ship the QOV out. i've had one that i let sit for a couple weeks before binding in hopes of "airing out."