1000 Hands Quilt

Robin Berry © 2009

   
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Last spring my local Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA) Chapter took a booth at the Maker Faire. For those of you not familiar, the Maker Faire in San Mateo, California it is the largest do-it-yourself fair in the United States. They wanted booths with lots of hands-on things for people to do and learn. As booth coordinators for this project, Julie McAuliffe and I decided that it might be fun to have people come stitch, but how and on what? From this the concept of the “1000 Hands Quilt” was born.

The idea of a cooperative stitching project is not new; think back to prior generations and the quilting bee. Our take on the concept was to create twenty four crazy quilt blocks and then encourage people to stop by the booth and decorate them. The 1000 Hands Quilt is made up of twenty four crazy quilt blocks. We had lots of materials to embellish the blocks -- thread, lace, ribbon bits, beads, buttons, etc. All the materials were donated by members of the San Mateo Area Chapter of EGA and the patrons of Julie’s shop, Always Quilting (www.alwaysquiltingonline.com).

Over the weekend of May 30-31, about one hundred people stopped by the booth for five to thirty minutes each to add a bit to the blocks. Rarely were our stitching stations empty. We had children and adults of all ages and ethnicities. We had beginning stitchers to experienced needleworkers. After all, anyone can stitch on a bead or button, and for some this was their first time. Many were also excited about the concept of a cooperative needlework effort.

On Saturday, Rachel Hobson of Craft Magazine stopped by to stitch on the quilt. On Sunday she came by to give us an Editor's Choice Award. This was followed by an article in Craftzine http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2009/06/thousand_hand_quilt_at_maker_f.html

Eight of the quilt blocks received some decoration at the Maker Faire. Since then the project has traveled to EGA meetings, the San Mateo County Fair, and the Bay Area Quilt, Craft and Sewing Festival. Twenty of the blocks have some decoration, although more is welcome. The last four blocks are currently under construction and will be at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in October. The quilt is well on its way to making the 1000 Hands goal, with nearly three hundred participants so far.

We hope to have the quilt completed by the next Maker Faire in May 2010, so it can be displayed before being auctioned.

Photos of the booth, some of the participants and the blocks as they are so far are available for viewing at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/bayrose.robin/EGA_MakerFaire_2009?feat=directlink
http://picasaweb.google.com/bayrose.robin/MoreThousandHandsQuilt?feat=directlink

Robin Berry
Co-booth Coordinator and Region Director, Greater Pacific Region EGA
 

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