A Quilt in a Day
By Colleen White
Bordentown NJ USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 22 No. 4, July-August 2005, p. 161
Every year, LLL Groups throughout the United States celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) in a variety of ways. On August 7, in celebration of WBW 2004, LLL of Lawrenceville, New Jersey held their first annual Quilting Bee. Many Group members and their families attended this unique event, where we made a beautiful three-square by four-square quilt in one day. In addition to the fun we had, we raised awareness of breastfeeding in our community and funds for La Leche League. The most beautiful part, however, was the way our Group members and Leaders worked together to make this event such a success.
One of our Group members researched and found an easy "stack and slash" quilt pattern. She purchased and donated the material and sewing notions. Another Group member donated her house for the day and coordinated the potluck lunch. A different member used the brochure on the LLL in the USA Web site to design our own donation brochure and registration form.
Everyone who made a donation was entered into a drawing for the finished quilt. Mothers spent the weeks leading up to the Quilting Bee asking family and friends for donations. Many small donations turned out to be quite a substantial sum!
On the day of the event, several Group members donated their sewing machines, quilting supplies, and irons. We set up a room with three stations—cutting, ironing, and sewing. Another room was designated as the piecing room. Everyone in our Group was welcome to attend, even if they didn’t have quilting or sewing skills. It was quite a sight to watch mothers, fathers, and older children work together. Fortunately, we had several mothers with quilting experience who served as our supervisors. Some of the parents minded the children as others worked. It also helped that the house had a play set in the backyard, crafts in the kitchen, and toys downstairs! We started at 10 am and finished at 7 pm. It was a fun day filled with activities, camaraderie, and learning.
During the rest of August and September, the quilt was on display at a local coffee shop and then at a children’s bookstore. Along with the hanging quilt, we included a donation box, registration forms, and an explanation of the La Leche League International mission. We wanted to reach as many pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as possible!
On September 16, we held the drawing for the quilt. Following the quilt drawing, we held two incentive drawings for those mothers who collected donations. The incentive prizes were patchwork square tote bags from the Quilting Bee leftovers. One of our Leaders also made potpourri bags from the quilting scraps for all of those who came that day to sew and create. This was a personal thank you for helping with the project and a permanent reminder of the day.
This event was successful on many levels. First, we had a day of fellowship, food, and fun. Second, all of us learned new skills, even if we had sewn or quilted before. Third, there was ongoing awareness of La Leche League and World Breastfeeding Week in the month following our event due to our quilt being on display. Finally, our expenses were low because of the donated items and people working together as a group. We can’t wait for WBW 2005!
To learn more about this year’s World Breastfeeding Week celebration in the USA, sponsors, prizes, and how you can participate, see pages 162-63 and go to www.lllusa.org/lllusa/wbw.html.
Colleen White is the World Breastfeeding Week Coordinator for New Jersey, USA.