Friday, March 15, 2019

Forever In Stitches / Raggedy Ruth Designs is once again sponsoring the 2018-2019 Hopes & Dreams Challenge for ALS!

Forever In Stitches, LLC is a quilt shop located in northwest Ohio at the center of Bluffton at 120 N. Main St. Ste. B. It is the design studio for Raggedy Ruth Designs™, a longarm quilting studio, and the home of the Perfect Corner Ruler™. 

At that location they quilt 700 quilts per year locally and from afar. “Raggedy” Ruth has published 159 patterns, two books, and the Perfect Corner Ruler™. Rick has a created library of over 1,600 longarm digitized longarm designs.

They find it a blessing to be of service to others through their business.


Why Us?

We are participating in the 2018-2019 ALS Hopes & Dreams Challenge that was founded by Quilters Dream Batting. Forever In Stitches/Raggedy Ruth Designs has been a Grand Sponsor since we first heard of it.
We choose to support Hopes & Dreams because ALS (Amyotrophic LAteral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease) has hit home with me and also with friends.

We had gotten involved with several "crusades" involving quilts over the years and every time the crusade took on a life of its own, leaving the reason behind.  But, that is not the case with Hopes & Dreams. 


Hopes & Dreams has been unique in that they have stayed true to their cause and the donations go directly as quilts to ALS patients or to ALS research. The money raised by their activities goes directly, 100% to ALS research. However, some have chosen specifically to donate to support the administration [shipping, etc.].

Why You?

There are several ways you can get involved:
·                     Submit a quilt to the challenge;
·                     Submit prizes, as we do for the challenge winners; and,
·                     Donate money to the Hopes & Dreams challenge.  This will go 100% to research unless you specify that it can be used for other purposes (such as administration).

You can Click Here  to find more information about ALS Hopes & Dreams from their web-site.

Submit A Quilt
Submit a quilt to the challenge by July 31, 2017. Submitted quilts will be given to ALS patients or used to raise awareness and research money for ALS by being photographed, displayed, auctioned, or raffled. Click Here for more information on submission. 

The Challenge
The staff will choose according to their judgement the best quilts by July 31. These are then shown on their web-site to be judged by the quilters-at-large who visit their site and vote.
Prizes are then awarded at the end of September to those shown on the web-site for judging.Click Here for more information on the challenge, size limitations, and other requirements. Click Here for information regarding prizes. 

Submit Prizes
You can also provide prizes for the quilters that have been elected for the challenge. These can be sent to 888.268.8664 

Donate Money
If you would like to donate money for research or for the event, please send checks to  Hopes & Dreams, Inc.,589 Central Drive, Virginia Beach, VA or call 888.268.8664. The organization is a 501(c) and the donation is tax deductible. 

Why Me?
But why is ALS important to me? Because it has stricken one of my best friends and the brother of another of my friends. Both of these stories I will share here.
Both stories are unusual in a very particular way: the friends and family, not just the "caregivers" end up in positions of helping others in ways they had never envisioned. It seems strange to think that there may be a "good" side effect from such a horrible disease, but I think that learning to go beyond what you thought you would be willing to do is one of the basic lessons in this life. A friend once said "The reason you are here when there are so many other people in the world is that you are the one, right here, right now, in this situation: so act!"

Dave Alderman
Twenty-four years ago I was talking to Dave, one of my best friends and president of my company, Executive Insights. Dave Alderman asked me to raise my hands above my head. He wanted to see how difficult it was for me, which it was not. It turned out that he could not raise his left arm higher than his shoulder. Being a stout, strong man, the situation troubled him.
Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - Lou Gehrig's disease]. He rapidly deteriorated physically to using a wheelchair. He resigned his position to seek ways to make his mark on the world before he died.
As Dave moved from one level to the next, always lower, his cheerful, gregarious nature remained. Dave was fortunate that his wife, Helen, was a nurse.
When you have a friend with ALS, you do things you did not think you would normally do. This is because ALS "disconnects" all of the nerves from the muscles. This makes it almost impossible to function in a normal fashion.
These disconnects also include the muscles needed for breathing. One basically suffocates.
Fortunately for Helen, David died in his sleep, even though he was using a breathing machine.

Phil Kingsley
Phil Kingsley assisted with the Fall Festival, where I came to know him. He was the brother of my friend Mitch Kingsley and a professor at Bluffton University.
According to Mitch, when Phil could no longer type or speak he was provided with a communication device by a foundation that works to meet the needs of persons with ALS. With his "WinSlate" (as it was called) Phil could type words, sentences and entire paragraphs through blinking his left eye. In this way he communicated with his caregivers and visitors, followed email, searched the Internet, and turned on his TV and radio through the "wink of an eye."

The WinSlate support had named Phil "Fast Talker Kingsley". Those of you with whom he exchanged email messages may have seen this description of Phil pop up on your own computer screens. Some read his series of "Adventures in ALS" - some humorous, others more serious - all written on his eye gaze machine.

I would like to share a few excerpts from one of Phil's longer and more serious reflections, "Adventures in ALS: Losses and Gains."


"I am entering a new phase of my progression with ALS, a phase marked by almost total dependency on others for my physical well-being. I have been wheelchair bound for over four months, for about two months incapable of standing even with help. My right hand has been of very little use for most tasks for two or three months. But I always had my left hand for grasping and holding things, pointing, scratching, rubbing, lifting, poking, pecking out words on the iPad. Now my left hand is not much better than my right and I have largely lost those capabilities. ...

"It's interesting to reflect on which losses hit hardest. For example, I adjusted rather easily to no longer eating; I smell food cooking, sit at the dinner table with others who are eating, and watch food ads and cooking shows on TV all without much sense of loss. (Of course, by the time I got the feeding tube, eating had become a joyless, time-consuming chore, so getting my nutrition without eating has really been a relief.) ...
"[Personal] ... grooming ... is pretty much out of my hands. If I look disheveled, my glasses are cocked at a crazy angle, my beard is uncombed or dripping saliva, it's generally not because of something I did or failed to do. This means I often don't look just the way I intend (sometimes I probably look better!), but I worry less about how I look since I can't do a whole lot about it and since my caretakers do a great job of making me look presentable considering what they have to work with. ...
"... loss of the ability to speak intelligibly... is by far the most devastating loss I've experienced. I don't think I have ever felt as alone and desperate as ... when I had my feeding tube put in. The staff were competent and provided good medical care. But most did not seem to understand my condition or the reason for the unintelligibility of my speech. ...

"I have also discovered the limitations of machine-based face-to-face communication. I am certainly extremely grateful for a machine that will generate audible and intelligible speech based on my selecting letters on a keyboard with blinks of my left eye. I use it quite a lot to "speak" words, phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs in dealing with concrete day-to-day problems of living. But when it comes to conversations and other social situations with much give and take, it is an unwieldy medium. ... What my speech machine offers me that I value really highly is access to a writing and long distance communication tool. It is only through email or other writing that I can express complex and subtle meanings, information, thoughts, feelings, and ideas. And I usually won't have the time to do that in face-to-face communication situations. ...
"On a more general note, with ALS there is a profound sense of loss of the future. I probably won't see my grandchildren grow up. How will the lives of my sons, Dan and Mike, and Judy my wife, and my seven siblings and their families unfold? How will things go on the farm I invested so much time and effort in developing organically? How will our natural environment fare over the longer haul? ... What will happen nationally and internationally; I won't see how things play out on a large number of fronts that I have taken a strong interest in - will we ever as a human race take strong enough action on global warming that we will have avoided the worst of the disaster for our children and grandchildren? Will the death penalty ever be abolished in this country? For me (and probably most people) a significant amount of thinking time was devoted to anticipating the future, and now I no longer have that luxury except on a much reduced scale.

"When I was first diagnosed with ALS I knew in the abstract about the losses I would experience. Now I am experiencing them in a concrete, day-to-day way. Despite the losses, I still feel I have a pretty good life. Two of the biggest factors in this are the wonderful people I have surrounding and helping me, and the assistive communication device/computer that I can use to express myself through both long distance communication and for face-to-face communication.

"So I have experienced gains as well as losses. At Frieda House, where the guiding philosophy is to create a family-like setting for the 10 residents, giving them as much independence and as little regimentation as possible, I have met some really wonderful people, who not only take care of me medically but also take the trouble to get to know me as a person and understand my habits and preferences. Without ALS I probably would never have got acquainted with some really good people.

"Another type of gain I've experienced is the learning about my disease and lots of medical information surrounding it. I've learned from many courageous PALS who participate in ALS forums online with information from their own experience of living with ALS.   So I have gained considerable new knowledge even though it is not the knowledge that I would have chosen to acquire a year and a half ago.

"Finally I have gained a new sense of closeness with my seven siblings. We have always been close, but my disease and their response have, for me, brought an even stronger feeling of closeness. They have been with me a lot and in many different ways, and it is born in upon me how fortunate I am to have as siblings each of the seven and their spouses."  

Phil Kingsley

                         


120 N. Main St., Suite B, Bluffton OH 45817  
{Entrance at the rear of the building} 



Telephone: 419.358.0656

Retail ~ Wholesale ~ Distribution
Hours Eastern Time: Monday-Friday: 10-5:30 [Lunch Closure 1-2] ~ Saturday: 10-1

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

J.N. Harper Continues to Generously Support the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS

We are so grateful to J.N. Harper, our Canadian distributor, who is once again the presenting sponsor of the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS, contributing $2500 toward research to help find a cure!


     JN Harper is a fourth-generation Canadian business which began in 1924. Harper’s converts and distributes fabrics ranging from fine apparel, exquisite Italian shirting’s, a full range of interfacings, as well as a full complement of products for the quilting industry – batiks, cotton prints, excellent basics and batting. For more information on the fabrics we carry and distribute please visit www.jnharper.com or follow us on social media @JNHarper1924. 


     JN Harper continues to support ALS and the Hopes & Dreams quilt challenge because of our dear friend Kathy Thompson. Kathy has known the Harper family for many years and has not only been a great business partner but a wonderful friend. When hearing of her son’s story and battle with ALS we knew we had to step in and help build awareness for ALS across the country.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Erin's Space Quilt: Part 1

When I started working for Quilters Dream Batting I knew that I had to sew a quilt. Being around our Batting and learning about quilters and their art, it was only a matter of time that I would be elbows deep in a new project. Sewing is something I've always loved; costumes, alterations, and applique work are all in my wheelhouse. Having fairly decent sewing experience, I decide to go big! I made a Half Hexie Minky Space Quilt!!
**WARNING* I am not an expert, and most of the time I'm just winging it. Quilters Dream Batting is not responsible for any quilt crimes that were committed in this blog post**
Like most crafters, I scoured the internet to find the perfect tutorial. Pinterest led me to a blog from Polkadot Chair, the perfect guide to help walk me through my very first quilt. The first step (and my favorite step) was to pick out my fabric and plan the top of my quilt. Luckily I had all the fabric I needed to create the quilt top. My son was the person receiving the quilt, so he choose a navy blue minky fabric for the backing.
My closest fabric store didn't have the half hexie stencil I needed. So my wonderful husband ran out to Home Depot and bought a small acrylic sheet and made me a half hexie stencil. He used a router and cut out a half hexagon shape (he modeled the shape from the Lori Holt Half Hexie ruler in 10” above).
Motivated to start this quilt, I cut the fabric into 5 inch strips. To cut the hexies I first folded the fabric in half and held the stencil steady as I cut diagonally along the stencil. It will create more hexies when you cut them side by side and use the end pieces for the sides of the quilt.
Once I had the pieces cut I laid them on the floor in a pattern the looked random. Matching two hexies together to make a whole hexagon and switching them around so an even amount was used. I really liked this part of the quilting process...
Until your kitten uses your pieces as a slip and slide...
I managed to keep the cat away long enough to stack the pieces from left to right by rows. I used a scrap square of felt to make tags numbered 1-12 and pinned them to the corresponding rows.
It made sewing each row "sew" much easier and I didn't have to leave the hexies laying around on the floor for the cat to play with them.
Starting with my first row, I sewed each hexie together on the diagonal side. That created one long row of hexies that alternated up and down. I did that for each row, making sure to attach the tag back on so I didn't confuse the order.
After all the rows of hexies were sewn, I sewed the rows together. It's finally starting to look like a quilt!
Originally I was going to leave it borderless, but it looked a little small to me. I used fleece with a space theme as the boarder and cut it into 5 inch strips. Total size of the quilt top was 62x50.
To be continued...

Friday, January 4, 2019

Quilters Dream Batting welcomes three new Battgirls to our Dream Team!


Happy New Year to all of our Dear Friends & Customers!

This year has been exciting for Quilters Dream Batting, as we welcome three new customer service representatives to our Dream Team!  So when you call, you may reach our newest #battgirls! 

We are delighted to introduce you to Cheryl, Erin, and Jennifer!



Cheryl Gerhart

I have worked for Quilters Dream Batting since April 2018. I work in Customer Service and am also the coordinator for our Hopes and Dreams Quilts for ALS, so I get first look at all the awesome quilts that people donate. I inventory the quilts as they come in and either send them to different ALS chapters around the U.S. to be given to patients or sell them at local crafts fairs to raise money for ALS Research.

When I am not having the gift of gab on the phone with Quilters Dream Batting customers, I am spending time with my beautiful chestnut quarter horse, Big Mama. She is the love of my life and likes to spend all my money. My other animal child is my dog, Harley. She is a pit bull mix who loves when mommy comes home from work and she then joyfully greets me at the door. I have been married for 17 years to a wonderful man who is retired from the US Navy.


Erin Dinkle 

My name is Erin Dinkle, not to be confused with Erin in bookkeeping. I am the Customer Service and Marketing Representative. When I’m not answering the phones, I am updating our social media accounts and setting up all the free batting giveaways. I really enjoy reading all the responses we receive for the giveaways. Quilters Dream Batting truly has the best customers!

While in the office I’m typically singing any random song that pops up in my head. Jennifer and I sing backup for each other. I also have a lot of fun playing photographer and taking pictures of giveaways and prizes for the Hopes and Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS. One of my jobs is to organize the sponsors and the prizes that get sent in for Hopes and Dreams.

I love to sew! I just finished my first quilt for my son, Atlas, but I really love to sew for my other hobby, LARP. LARP stands for Live Action Roll Play; my husband and I wear medieval clothing and fight with foam weapons with other players. I have a lot of fun sewing all our costumes and shooting people with my cross bow!  

Jennifer Jones

Hey, this is Jennifer, and I am doing the invoicing and charging credit cards at Quilters Dream.  When I’m not taking your money, I am a Girl Scout leader who is all about the FUN.  I like to keep myself busy with different things like reading, playing Bunco, and hanging out with my great family.  Also napping. 

I enjoy working here because I get to talk to customers from all over the country and I love to hear all the different accents.  Fortunately, my co-workers are all fellow coffee addicts, and between working, brewing coffee, and making coffee runs, I can be found telling corny jokes or singing.  You can never tell when the office team will break out in song - frequently it is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody!  So don’t be surprised if you hear karaoke in the background when you call to place an order.