Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Up For a Little Challenge?

A month or so ago, an Instagram post of mine sparked a conversation with an NICU nurse, Jeri in Lexington, Kentucky.  When she shared that her unit cares for an average of 20 patients every month I was inspired to plot out three sizes of small quilts using the popular PLUS pattern.  Marsha and Mary Ann (charity quilting sidekicks) joined me in stitching each size up and we sent them off to Jeri for a test run to see which size would be perfect!
Now I invite you to join together in a campaign to stock up the staff at Lexington, Kentucky's Baptist Health Hospital with quilts for the NICU department by making one of these little cuties and sending it off to them during November as a gesture of thankfulness and encouragement!
It's an easy make -- my second one from start to finish took under 6 hours!?!
I've written a guide for the size (35" by 40") that works best and you can download that PDF by clicking HERE
(If the link doesn't work - just e-mail me and I'll send it -- maryhueyquilts at hotmail dot com)

The rest of this post takes you along with me last week as I made a second one.

First, choose fabric -- that's fun!!
I started with this cute owl print and pulled greens and browns from my stash.
The minimum needed for each print is 6" by 35" so a quarter yard works.
I use 11 prints but repeating a couple prints works, too so if you can only get to 9, that's fine.
I lay them out in a rough draft by following the numbered diagram in the PDF to see how they might work. Once this draft arrangement is pleasing, I number each fabric before I start cutting.
When you print out the PDF, you'll see that it specifies the initial placement of lights, mediums, and darks.  The arrangement is an easy starting point and as you will see, it is flexible as you work on the layout.
Be sure to label each print with it's number as you cut -- easy cutting -- it's all rectangles and squares!!
This might be a good project to invite a new stitcher or wanna-be-quilter to join along!!
I hope to get my granddaughter on board -- what a great Advent project for the two of us!!
Once everything is cut, I lay out the pieces according to the numbered diagram with the PDF.
You'll notice that there are six squares on the diagram with a "?" -- use the extra 5 1/2" squares to fill in those blanks after all the pluses are in position. 
Once the layout is complete, feel free to move fabric around -- notice below, that I shifted three of the lights prints around a bit for better contrast.   
Ready to stitch!
The rows are assembled horizontally and I suggest alternating the pressing of the seams -- to the right in the first row, to the left in the second row and so on.  There aren't many seam junctions, but this pressing strategy assures you of opposing seams when there is a junction.
With so few seam junctions, a beginner won't get discouraged.
The piecing takes about an hour to an hour and a half so if you are using the project to introduce someone to piecing, they will be encouraged by the fast results!
Top done and ready to layer!
I pinned every 5" and I wish all my quilts were this quick to layer -- 15 minutes!?!
I kept my quilting simple -- used a walking foot -- ditched and stitched a 5" grid.
Then added a set of 3 parallel lines through the center of each 5" square. 
It took longer to quilt the piece than it did to cut, layout, and stitch the top together. 
Marsha quilted her version with a diagonal grid.
And Mary Ann used a straight grid of wavy lines.
My second one is already in service locally with a young friend and her first child who was born prematurely.
My living room floor is littered with "kits" for twelve more quilts because I'm hoping to organize a couple "sew-ins" locally -- perhaps as a "blow-off black Friday" gesture?!?
So what do you say?
Will you join me and #shareaquilt in November?
Mailing instructions are included in the PDF and my goal is to motivate 25 of you give up a couple yards of fabric and a few hours to send Jeri and her co-workers a quilt before the winter holidays!

For my local peeps (Northeast Ohio), watch my Instagram feed - @hueymary - for updates on when and where I'll be cutting and stitching.

Or how about organizing a few of your stitching friends and do your own local gathering?
How about a winter reunion for your 4-H club?

Don't want to send them to Lexington -- I'm sure there is a NICU near your hometown that would welcome the attention, too!

The pattern guide is my holiday gift to you and I hope it inspires your own commitment to spread loving kindness.

If you have questions, just leave a comment here and be sure I can reply to you!!
Or message me via Instragram.
Thanks for anything you can do to make this idea work!!



  1. Thank you for doing it. I would not have guessed that the quilt lays on top of the incubator but it makes perfect sense to keep the bright lights out of the babies eyes. and it's so cheery.
    I just finished a plus quilt made with 120 different 2-1/2" strips. the idea of 11 fabrics, cut big sounds good!
    As it happens, I am doing a studio clean up now, and will pull fabrics as I tidy up.
    Thanks again....see you on IG.

  2. I'd love to blow off black Friday and sew with you, but I'm the cook for Thanksgiving Friday :)

  3. This sounds like fun. I'm not sure about November but we'll see.

  4. You're a gem to do this! My daughter had two preemies, so I've spent some time in them and know first hand how useful those quilts are. Because of our history with NICUs, I already make quilts for our local one. I'm making the 30" square size as they use them to cover the baby and then send home with the parents. I've downloaded the pdf and will make one to donate locally. Blessings,

  5. For those who would like to give to a NICU other than the one in Lexington, I recommend that you contact them about their needs for donated quilts. I used to volunteer in a NICU in Michigan and we had limited storage space there. Donations are wonderful, unless you don't have space to store them!