Memories of my Grandfather actually led me to quilting. Both of my grandmothers had passed away decades before I was born. but Grandpa kept one of them "real" with his stories about a crazy quilt he kept on his spare bed. When I'd visit him overnight he'd sit on the edge of my bed and tell me stories about the various pieces in that quilt. Finally, in the early 1990's I gave in to my obsession with Grandma's quilt and learned to make my own.. I tell everyone I retired in 1998 so I'd have lots of time to quilt.
My quilting addiction lead me to begin making Quilts of Valor in 2005, sending all of my quilts to Balad, Iraq that year. After receiving notes from some nurses at the hospital there, I was hooked. Now nearly all of my quilting time is devoted to QOVs.
In May, 2011, I joined the staff of QOVF as Alaska's Regional Coordinator & began visiting quilt shops in South Central Alaska, wrote to shops and guilds around the state and even spoke at my local guild. I have a lot more of the state to contact.
Alaska covers a lot of territory! I'll never get bored as I attempt to learn where to find more quilters for our mission! Some research has shown that there are more veterans per capita in Alaska than any other state of the union. There are nine military bases across Alaska, too. So as you can see, more quilts and quilters are needed in the Great North.
After presenting the program at Valley Quilters' Guild meeting in Palmer, Alaska last June several of the members took home blocks from Moda's "Just One Star Challenge" and began turning those blocks into very attractive quilts. Then one member asked "is there a way we can ask for a quilt for a veteran?" I learned she's a member of the Wasilla VFW Auxiliary Post and had a Viet Nam Veteran who could use some comfort. She suggested I come speak at their meeting the following week. After I explained the QOVF mission to the group they chose one of the quilts I had on hand for that special veteran. The next week they opened their hearts (and wallets) with a donation of a roll of batting and 10 yards of patriotic fabric. I was off and running! Between June and October I was able to take 50 quilts to the Warriors Transition Unit at Joint Base Elmendorf, Ft. Richardson in Anchorage, all made by members of Valley Quilters' Guild.
The quilt shop near my home, Sylvia's Quilt Depot, suggested we have an event, so I lead a mystery class in October, using one of LeAnn Weaver's ( www.persimmonquilts.com) designs. It was so well received I've been asked to write a mystery for presentation at the shop this next summer.
The Wasilla VFW post has agreed to let us have regular Quilts of Valor Sew-Ins at their building, beginning this spring. The small group that has formed as a result of the mystery class will hopefully grow to a larger, regular group of quilters.
In June there will be a Returning Warriors Workshop in Anchorage. I hope to learn more about that soon and will probably be asking for quilts for that event.
Thanks Linda - for taking the time to share with us what you are up to!!