The Crazy Quilt Benevolent Society

Catherina Hollifield © 2004

   
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 In December1997, a chance remark made on the Crazy Quilt list at Quiltropolis (a computer list dedicated to the discussion of crazy patching, hand and machine embroidery, ribbons, lace, beads, buttons and so much more) was taken up as a challenge. Someone suggested with all the accumulated CQ talent on the list, we could make a raffle quilt and raise money for charity. Instant enthusiasm bloomed for this idea. Women from all over the world volunteered to make crazy quilt blocks for the project. But no one volunteered to actually make the quilts.

Being a relative newcomer to the list, I hesitantly offered my services as an experienced coordinator of raffle quilts. Two other women, Peg Carter from Spokane, Washington and Mona Berning from Minnesota also volunteered to help.

In my eighteen-years of sane quilting, I coordinated eight group fundraising quilts. I knew I would learn so much more about crazy quilting if I actually saw one and touched it. To my great joy, these kind ladies accepted me into their midst and allowed me to organize the project. We named ourselves, The Crazy Quilt Benevolent Society.

Choosing a specific charity to donate the proceeds to proved more difficult than approving me, a relative stranger to the group, as a coordinator for the project. Discussions for an appropriate charity ranged from AIDS research to different children’s charities, breast cancer research and many others. A vote was taken and members decided breast cancer was one of the few things women all over the world have in common, so we decided to donate money to the American Cancer Society for breast cancer research.

The Crazy Quilt Conference in Omaha, Nebraska was chosen as the venue for raffling the quilt. In appreciation for allowing us to raffle the quilt, we volunteered to donate half the money raised to their scholarship fund. This fund allows women who couldn’t afford to attend the Crazy Quilt Conference to learn crazy quilting techniques for free.

We raised over $2,700 in those five years. Opening my mailbox has been an adventure since I started this annual project. Blocks have come from as far away as Australia, Canada, England, the Netherlands, Qatar Africa, Sri Lanka, Israel and from all over the United States. It has been my privilege to be a part of this project.

The woman who uttered that chance remark and started my five-year journey into a love affair with the incredible art of crazy quilting was none other than J. Marsha Michler, author of The Magic of Crazy Quilting. Thanks, Marsha!

This one is by Janet Haines of Michigan to honor her husband's grandmother who died most likely of breast cancer.
  Sandra Pearce of Oregon.

As a final note, we don't really need any more volunteers from this article for the blocks as several people are making multiple blocks and we'll have enough.

 
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