Thursday, October 30

A Quilt for a Hero

Sometimes, if you focus on one thing for too long you start to go a little bonkers.  Lately, I sort of feel like this guy:

So today I am taking a break from book writing to write about something very special:  Homes for Our Troops and the Quilt Angels.

One day, while rambling around on The Quilting Board, I spied a post entitled “So, I Opened My Big Mouth…”  Of course, I had to see what that was about.  There, I had the privilege of meeting Donna M.  
Donna is a quilter who lives deep in the heart of Texas.  She is very active with the Homes for Our Troops organization.  Homes for Our Troops is somewhat similar to Habitat for Humanity, except that its volunteers build specially adapted homes for wounded veterans.  She won't want me to say too much about her, because (and I quote) "What these soldiers have done and who they are, is what it's all about!"  Donna has a beautiful spirit and a huge heart for our country’s troops.  She offered to make quilts for the HFOT homes being built in her area.  But, because the need was so great, she soon found herself pulled into taking on more than one person could handle.  So she wrote a post on the QB and put out the call for other people to swap for red, white, and blue fabrics.   The response she got was nothing short of soul stirring.  Before you could turn around she had people willing to send not only fabric, but quilt blocks and quilt tops.  Donna even received quilt blocks from a Canadian quilter.  Interest kept building until Donna named the whole group who joined her “Quilt Angels”.  She labels all the quilts like this before they are gifted:
Made especially for ……………
Thank you for your service to America
Made with grateful hearts and caring hands by
The Quilt Angels at www.quiltingboard.com

This continues to be an ongoing effort: to give the gift of love and gratitude, in the form a quilt, to each Homes for Our Troops soldier.  I know many, many of you have made quilts for the Quilts of Valor program.  I thought you might like to know about this opportunity too.  If you have any interest in taking part, you can contact Donna via her post on the Quilting Board: http://www.quiltingboard.com/requests-f25/so-i-opened-my-big-mouth-t69186.html
Or you can contact Homes for Our Troops directly: 

Our country’s men and women in service mean the world to me too, and I surely felt the pull to make something.  At that point, I had never done a large quilt, but wanted to try and make a whole quilt top.  Before long, I learned more about the admirable young man my quilt would be going to.  HFOT specifically asked for a red, white, and blue quilt because he is a very patriotic and gung ho US Marine.  He is also a young man of astonishing courage and spirit, with an adorably quirky smile. Often, while I sewed, I prayed for him. 

The plan was that I would send the quilt top on to Donna and she would take care of the rest.   That plan changed one weekend, when my husband and I made a light hearted bet over something so silly I can't even remember what it was.  He said that if I was right, that he would hire a long arm quilter to quilt the quilt for our young man.  I suspect he wanted to lose the bet.  Although I won, we both won in doing something that made us happy.   

Thus, Julie DeGrave of Pines & Needles Quilting entered the picture.  She is a very talented long-arm quilter in our area.  She feels the same way I do about our service people and gladly took the quilt on!  That was another blessing that came from taking part in being Quilt Angels:  New friendships were born!
So now, our quilt had a piecer (me) and a quilter (Julie) and could be sent whole and finished to Donna in time for our young soldier’s key ceremony for his new home.  I have some wonderful photos of our young man during his presentation ceremonies.  In the interest of his privacy, I am not putting them here.  If you visit the Homes for Our Troops website, you can find many such stories and hundreds of wonderful pictures that show what a community that cares can do.   The HFOT organization is incredible and gives regular people like us a chance to do something more than simply saying “Thank You!”

Back in August, when people asked to see more of the Littlest Lone Star blocks I had made, I mentioned that I would post this quilt in time for Veteran’s Day.  This is the quilt that Julie and I made for our soldier.  The quilt took shape around a beautiful eagle panel from Marcus Fabrics’ American Valor collection, by Faye Burgos.  The panel has printed Lone Stars (or Prairie Stars) along its sides.  I wanted to repeat those Lone Stars in a slightly larger version at the corners of the eagle centerpiece and that is what prompted me to learn how to make Little Lone Stars.  So when you look at the photo of the quilt, the twelve smaller Lone Stars around the edges are part of the printed design.  (Julie quilted them so that they look pieced.)  The four larger Lone Stars at the corners are the ones that I made.  Everything else from that area out is pieced.  To bring the Eagle centerpiece to life, Julie did some amazing thread painting, which I will show close up.   All together it made an 80" square quilt.  

This was a thrilling project for us both to work on.   

Quilt for a Hero - through Homes For Our Troops

Pieced Lone Star on the Left
Julie's thread painting on the eagle
Detailed quilting around the flag and bell and stars
These last two photos really show what a talented quilter can do with a printed fabric panel!


Veteran's Day will soon be here.  It is good to have a day set aside, but may we always honor and remember the men and women who served or are serving our country.

Thank you for visiting!  Lara


  1. Lara, it is such a beautiful and meaningful quilt. I cannot believe the details you added to a printed panel. I would have never guessed you diplicated the lone stars and pieced them. Did she thread paint while she was quilting it or before? This quilt is just so special! Good job!

  2. Bravo! What an amazing quilt for an admiral cause!!!

  3. Beautiful quilt! The thread painting is spectacular!

  4. Lara, this is stunning! I can't imagine a better quilt for a patriotic young man. Such a great thing to give your time and support to; I'm sure it will mean a lot to the young man who received it.

  5. Very nice! What a beautiful thing to do, the quilt is gorgeous and the stitching is remarkable. What a great gift for this young man!

  6. WoW, lara, just WOW! I'm not a big fan of such type of quilts, they usually look somehow.... I have no right word to describe, but this is simply stunning! And I mean that! One of the best I had ever seen! It's not only a family heirloom, it might be kept as a regiment talisman or something at that level of importance! Really, really great design!

  7. I am awestruck by the shear beauty of this amazing quilt. I love those little Lone Star corner blocks and the quilting is gorgeous. Such a touching tribute to someone so deserving. Well done to you, to your hubby, and to Julie, Donna and all the other Angels.

  8. Tears in my eyes as I finish reading this...SUCH a beautiful job you both did, and for such a worthy recipient.

  9. This is a stunning quilt. A beautiful tribute to an American hero.

  10. That is SO awesome!!! In Colorado we do that too - award a QOV when the Soldier has his key ceremony. So amazingly touching. I am so proud of you for your quilt and for touching a young soldiers life- you gave me goosebumps!!!

  11. Gorgeous quilt for a valorous Marine. What a wonderful project. A great way to honor the young men and women who've defended liberty around the world.

  12. I'm glad you posted about this. It's so well done!

  13. What a great post and the quilt is stunning!!

  14. What a stunning and honorable quilt! Y'all are such sweethearts!

  15. Wow is all I can think right now absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!