Thursday, April 17, 2014

Days for Girls

I heard about this issue long ago. Girls in developing countries having to stay home from school when they got their periods. Falling behind and dropping out, and losing the chance to develop their minds. Stuck in male-dominated cultures, unable to make change.

How much longer will these girls be able to attend school?
Days for Girls is trying to change all that. Days for Girls hooks up with sewing enthusiasts in the developed world, who get together in a big room filled with sewing machines, and assemble menstrual kits: 2 re-usable waterproof-fabric (PUL) panty shields, several folded flannel liners, 1 pair of underwear, 1 washcloth, 1 bar of soap. So simple, and so vital.

Then, the organization takes the kits places, from Mali to Malaysia, Haiti to Honduras, Appalachia to Albania, where local organizations teach girls about their changing bodies. In numerous countries, women are even being provided the tools to create their own local industry to address these needs.

So, of course, I am looking at the very cute PUL fabric I've collected to make and market reusable diapers for the hip mamas of my community, and deciding that it has a much more important use ahead of it.

I love that this cause has no religion attached to it. It's bold and brave and not the least bit squeamish. It's environmentally friendly, liberating, and it lasts. With a little soap and water, a girl can use her kit for years.

Aren't you excited? Isn't this the kind of event you'd like to organize in your community?

(Thanks to blogger Ann in Utah for turning me on to Days for Girls!)

Did I mention the bag? Every kit comes in its own waterproof bag!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Long Arm!

Two weeks ago, I learned how to use a long-arm quilting machine! For as long as I've been making quilts, getting them quilted has been the bottleneck. You finish a top, then have to wait 2 months for it to be quilted. Or, you make a quilt entirely out of scraps, and then have to pay $100-200 to get it quilted. FMQing on a home machine is do-able for small twin-size quilts, but not for full or queen size. 

My friend at Udderly Quilts in Nevada has a long arm, and she finally got it working, with a little jerry rigging. Of course as soon as I found out, I hopped on over to try it out.

I quilted a practice "charity quilt" (above), then set in on the wedding quilt. (The couple's names are at the top of the backing... in the position they sleep on the bed!) Here is the result (on our bed):

Note that I only quilted the white parts. I was using white thread and the back was white. This made the colored stripes not just "pop" (visually) but "poof" (texturally):

I have been debating whether and how to add quilting into the unquilted zig-zags. I feel it would help the fabric be stabilized. But this part-way effect is also kind of cool.

The same day as the upcoming wedding, there is a silent auction event for an organizing group, AMOS, that my religious institution belongs to. A group of us from several churches has been advocating for affordable housing in our town through AMOS. So I wanted to give the organization a different kind of piece of myself. Here it is:

In fact, the owner of Udderly gave me the center part (checkerboard), and I added the flying geese border. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Here's how I negotiated the corners:

I love the delicate strawberry print fabric I used here. It has been in my stash for a while, waiting to find the right application. I hope somebody decides they like the quilt. I know I'm going to enjoy quilting it on my friend's machine!