Sewing that Gives Back: do.Good Stitches

I don’t actually volunteer as often as I’d like.  I mean, I don’t say no as often as I’d like, either, and somehow all my time gets committed before I realize what has happened, but I don’t often jump on an opportunity to give my time away.  So when I DO commit to something, it’s because it has moved me or called to me or somehow made me feel drawn to a purpose.  I feel that way about do.Good Stitches.

Over at Stitched in Color, Rachel has created a virtual quilting bee that donates each finished quilt to a number of charities: for terminally or chronically ill children, for foster children, for the homeless, for victims of domestic violence, and for local churches.  The number of people who volunteer their time and their fabric, who donate things of real value for strangers they might never meet, from all over the world, is growing and is deeply moving.

These are people who live in other countries, other continents, who have jobs and kids and homes of their own, who are busy people–because really, do we know any UN-busy people?  And they have gone out of their way to form groups, called circles, who design and build quilts one block at a time, long-distance, and then ship the blocks to one another so that one member of the circle can assemble the finished quilt and then donate it to the recipient.  I am amazed at the compassion and generosity represented by these people, but that’s not all.

This isn’t a touchy-feely group who are in it to make themselves feel better or to check a volunteer box–these folks really love what they are doing, and are learning new things about sewing and quilting, meeting others who share their interests and passions and building friendships (real friendships, not just hey-I-know-you friendships), pushing themselves beyond their own comfort zones, and genuinely impacting the lives of others, one family and one individual at a time.  It’s so far-reaching, it’s hard to believe it all takes place on Flickr.  That’s right: on Flickr.

If you haven’t scrolled through the photos of these amazing quilts and blocks, and seen how excited all of us are about being part of it, maybe spend some of these last few hours of National Sewing Month touching down with how groovy it is that an old-lady pastime can be so immediate in the lives of so many.  Check out the do.Good Stitches Flickr stream to see these and a whole bunch of other really inspiring photos.

As host of the Trust Circle of do.Good Stitches, a new group, I’m excited that we’re working on our first quilt this month, and honored that I’ll be the one assembling the quilt top from the donated blocks and making the quilt to give away to a foster child who will, hopefully, treasure it.  What a great task to have waiting for me in the coming weeks!

All images via the do.Good Stitches Flickr stream.

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  • Tammy
    September 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I just finished my circle’s August quilt! I worked on the binding while in the lounge of my tennis club a couple of times & loved telling everyone that stopped for a look the story of do. Good Stitches.

  • Rachel at Stitched in Color
    September 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t know what to say Deborah, except that it IS moving. I shouldn’t get much credit for this bee, because the desire to do this was already there, it just needed someone to harness it. I am really thankful to have been at the right place at the right time to see this happen! And, I love watching the list of circles and benefiting charities grow and grow.

  • Meesh
    September 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Yay!!! Welcome to the group!! I’m in a brand new circle for the group, too (Empower). I can’t wait to see what Trust comes up with!!

  • Sandra Korn
    October 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I love this idea and will be sharing them with our group up in Kennesaw. Thanks again.

  • Kelli
    October 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I just posted about this same topic! I’m a new member of the Empower group too and am so glad. Can’t wait to see what y’all come up with each month!

    • Deborah
      October 14, 2011 at 10:32 pm

      Hooray! Am always so excited at the beginning of the month to see what the other groups are doing. I’m having so much more fun than I thought I would–woot!

  • Eliza
    November 6, 2011 at 8:56 am

    My great-aunt handmade quilts (hundreds and hundreds) for the United Methodist Children’s Home. When a child gets there, they each get to pick a quilt of their own. It gives them something personal and something that’s comforting in a time of upheaval. It’s a great program and this is a great idea! Wish I had more time!

    • Deborah
      November 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      What an amazing legacy to leave behind! I would be so proud if, when my life is done, what people can remember is my generosity and willingness to do for others. And for those children, what a life-changing event, a pivotal moment that was made better because of her effort and love. Your great-aunt sounds amazing!