Friday, September 7, 2012

Pillowcases for a cause

Today is day 7 in the
American Patchwork and Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge Blog Hop....
Welcome to my blog! 
I'm so honored to be selected for this project along with such a fabulous group of designers and sponsors.   When asked to join in the fun, I knew immediately I wanted to make a pillowcase from my new line of fabric, Wrappers, but which fabrics to choose???
I had made a small quilt sample for the club I teach at Lone Star House of Quilts in purples and blacks and told the club members that I was going to be in this Blog Hop and challenged them to make pillowcases with me. The story I told that day, the fabrics,  the recipients of the donation, all by coincidence, inspired the pillowcases I made. 
I'll explain...
Checkerboard Pillowcase
For those of you who know me well, you are asking yourself, 'why purples?'
So here is my story...
I knew a lady named Irene who loved the color purple, her favorite shade being lavender.  She also loved all shades of pink and mauve.  My memories of Irene are in her later years, dressed in lavender dresses, strings of pearls around her neck, and high heels, just to go to the grocery store, and what was most striking, perfectly styled purple hair. (note color inspiration here) There are a number of 'Irene' stories. Irene was quite a character. In her early married years, she was very unhappy. Her husband adored her and did everything he could think of to make her happy. Irene's children were born each 18 months apart and her body rebelled so that by her mid 20's, she had a hysterectomy. Her hormones went crazy, I'm sure, accounting for some erratic behavior. As her children grew and she matured, the erratic behaviour calmed and with the arrival of grandchildren, she found peace and was happy. That is when I entered the picture, the next to youngest grandchild. She was a wonderful grandmother, and I can hardly believe some of the tales my dad told me.
When I was young, I'd spend a week or two each summer in Mama and Papa heaven, watching whatever on TV, eating watermelon whenever I wanted, playing outside 'til long after dark, gathering veggies from the most fabulous garden (Mama could stick her thumb in the ground and it would take root), and my favorite...sewing.  Mama had a treadle machine and one summer, when I was either 7 or 8 we made a long play dress for me.  She guided the seams and I worked the treadle, then we would switch and I would guide the seams. The time was magical. I was SO hooked on sewing!
Mama liked to sleep on several feather mattresses and had the largest square pillows I had ever seen. Ahead of her time, I now realize they were quite fashionable, European pillows. She made all her pillowcases and during my visits, I ironed them...loved that too, that she taught me to iron.  All pillowcases and sheets were this odd pinky purple color, who knows what color they were originally, bleach was her best washday friend. The house was decorated in a strange assortment of various shades of mauve and pink in carpet and coordinating wall paint and upholstery.
When Mama's day would become a little stressful, she went to bed...that is how she dealt with issues and headaches, went to bed...her sanctuary that required ascending a ladder. Piled high with 2 or 3 feather mattresses and numerous fluffy pillows, she would disappear, sinking down in the luxurious feathers. To her, comfortable bedding was of the utmost importance.
When I married she gave me the best iron I've ever owned, and two goose down pillows.
As I sewed happily at the the machine, I started thinking more and more about Irene, loved recalling her spirited nature and then began to wonder where I would donate my pillowcases. Yes! I made two more in the same afternoon. Here is a tip for sewing 1/2" seams if you have trouble seeing the 1/2" mark on your plate...painter's tape.
The ONLY spool of purple thread in my cabinet.

For the Basic Pattern:
The purple fabric is from Crossroads to Texas
and the red fabric is from Hot for Chocolate II
The Basic Pattern
My daughter, Rachel, works for Safe City Commission, a non-profit organization with numerous outreach programs. So I gave her a call to see if she thought any of their programs would want to accept the pillowcases from me and my club members in donation. Rachel is head of the Crime Stoppers program there and she talked with the director who suggested the program,
 One Safe Place.
 Below is their mission statement.
§  Serve those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault by offering comprehensive, integrated quality programs, provide safety for the immediate situation and hope for the future. 
§  One Safe Place partners have an integrated, seamless approach to service in a welcoming victim-focused, survivor-driven environment. 
§  Beyond serving survivors, One Safe Place will create a new social consensus in the community about violence effecting families by leading education, training and research. 
One Safe Place will present a pillowcase to women and children who seek their assistance.  Remember how Irene dealt with problems, went to her bed, her sanctuary. One Safe Place offers  sanctuary and a place to rest the weary head.  I, for one, am so thankful.
In talking further with my daughter, she told me that October is Domestic Violence Month.  The color for domestic violence is....PURPLE!  I had no idea when I selected the fabrics.
As my club members bring me their pillowcases, I'll show them on the blog.  I have 4 waiting to be photographed!  Pillowcases will be delivered in October during Domestic Violence month.
Here is the blog hop schedule for the month:

1. Welcome from American Patchwork & Quilting

2. Rashida Coleman-Hale (
3. Olivia and Alayna's Pillowcase Project(
4. Morgan’s Smile Factory (
8. Vanessa Christenson (
9. Andover Fabrics (
12. Robert Kaufman Fabrics (
19. American Patchwork & Quilting Staff(
22. Monica Solorio-Snow (
23. Moda Bake Shop (
24. Andover Fabrics (
25. Roseann Kermes from Rosebud’s Cottage(
26. Ann Kelle for Shannon Fabrics (
27. Therm O Web (
30. Cherri House (
American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge - They still need your help! Click here to GET INVOLVED
Thanks for spending time with me.  Hope you find inspriation from one of us this month to make a pillowcase or two. The patterns were fun to make and fast to sew, and so good to know they are going to a good cause.  What a great experience!  Thanks American Patchwork and Quilting staff for inviting me to be a part of the Blog Hop!
or you may contact me for more information on donating to One Safe Place.
Until next time,


  1. Hi Betsy -
    What a wondeful story!
    What great inspiration!

    I too "love my bed" and like it all fluffy and comfortable. It makes me feel so much better to know someone as special as your Granma thought the same thing.

    I'd love to make a purple/lavender pillowcase or two to send to you to add to your gift to One Safe Place.

    I hope you will have my contact email via this post. If not, I'll catch up with you. . . .

  2. What a wonderful story, My sweet Mother-in-law's name is Irene. She is in a home with alzheimer and I miss her very much. Thanks for all the information.

  3. Well mercy me.... I have to go buy some purple thread.... and sort the pillowcases waiting for giving..... out with the witches, out with the birthday... but... the rest shall do. You are a great story teller but if and it is a big IF I use your fabric I am keeping the pillowcase for MY bed.

  4. What a great story about your grandmother. All we need is a photo of her dressed from head to toe in purple to complete the story!

  5. Betsy, I loved your story & the lavender pillowcase. Beautiful! Alice @ Lone Star House of Quilts.