Operation Smiley

Operation Smiley

Collaborating with Kylie

 Modern Sewciety's Mod Heart Block from her BOM. Modern Sewcialites Members can choose to make this block for #OperationSmiley 

Modern Sewciety's Mod Heart Block from her BOM. Modern Sewcialites Members can choose to make this block for #OperationSmiley 

Each year, 16,000 kids are diagnosed with cancer in the United States.

A school bus full of kids every day.

Almost no new drugs have been developed specifically for treating children since the 1980s. Instead, we treat kids with drugs made for adults, and the side effects include infertility, brain damage, blindness, secondary cancers, and death. We treat our children with poison and hope it kills the cancer first.

Some cancers, such as the brain cancer DIPG have a 0% survival rate.

Collaborating with Kylie - Quilts for Cure

The first time I read these statistics, I cried. Then I got really mad. Because of these statistics, Kylie died. Beautiful, bright, talented Kylie—one of the most wonderful students I ever had the privilege of teaching—missed her Broadway debut because of stupid cancer. I went to her funeral with my six week old baby boy strapped to my chest, and I cried some more. Out of the horrible shock of it all came a single question:

What can I do?

A mom. A maker. A teacher. Not a scientist, not a wealthy philanthropist, not a doctor.

Kylie was a dancer, a singer, and an artist. She had a huge heart for people. She was a natural, generous encourager.

Collaborating with Kylie - Quilts for Cure

I decided that I would fight cancer like Kylie did: with creativity, with encouragement, and with joy. I can push back against the darkness of cancer by listening to the stories of children and their families and sharing them with my creative community. I can push back by making quilts to keep kids warm and to make the hospital feel just a little happier. And, most importantly, I can invite other quilters to join me.

I can invite YOU to join me. There are 16,000 kids each year who need a quilt—we’ve got work to do!

This spring, we’ve set a modest goal: 16 quilts in honor of Kylie’s sweet sixteen. Since she’s not here to spread smiles, we’re going to do it for her. This project is called #OperationSmiley2018, and we want your help! Today, take two easy steps to fight back against childhood cancer. First, share what you’ve learned with another quilter and ask them to help, too. Second, make a block. 

My word of the year is COLLABORATION, and I want to work with you!

Together, let’s turn the quilting world gold for childhood cancer!

(Update since I started writing-- we're past 16 quilts already! But let's keep going! How many can we make to honor Kylie and her fellow fighters? 26? 56? 106? Let's find out!)

Collaborating with Kylie - Quilts for Cure

Operation Smiley

Operation Smiley 2018

Operation Smiley 2018 at Quilts for Cure

Hey Fighters! 

It's time to celebrate our sweet Kylie. Kylie Myers, aka Smiley Kylie, brightened this world with her gorgeous smile for nearly 13 years. Now, we raise awareness about childhood cancer and make quilts for kiddos in treatment in her honor. Last year, we made 10 quilts. Kylie's 16th birthday is on February 24th-- do y'all think we can make the 320 blocks it would take to make 16 quilts in her honor? I think we can!!

Heart Block 1 by CluckCluckSew Operation Smiley 2018
Heart Block 2 by Modern Sewciety Operation Smiley 2018

Who: All quilters, aspiring quilters, crafty people, or anyone willing to give a bit of cutting and sewing a try
What: 10 inch finished (10.5 unfinished) Cluck Cluck Sew Heart Blocks in white, blue/navy/aqua, and/or yellow OR Modern Sewciety's 12 inch (12.5 unfinished) February Mod Heart block from the 2018 BOM (must be a Modern Sewcialite Member to access this pattern option) in the same colors
When: 2018
Where: Mail your block(s) to: Quilts for Cure PO Box 1831 Duluth, GA 30096
Goal: 16 quilts to celebrate Kylie's sweet sixteen (320 blocks)
Tag on Instagram Photos: @quiltsforcure #quiltsforcure #operationsmiley2018 #quiltersvscancer

Other materials needed: 100% cotton batting, cotton border/backing/binding fabrics (navy prints and solids, quilt shop quality), Aurifil 50wt cotton thread (white, navy, yellow, or light gray). Donations can be sent to the address above

If you are interested in helping assemble and quilt these quilts, please email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org

 Kylie as I remember her best-- when she was in the classroom where I was an assistant for two years

Kylie as I remember her best-- when she was in the classroom where I was an assistant for two years

I simply cannot thank you all enough for joining me in this second annual celebration of Kylie and her spirit of joy, encouragement, and generosity. These quilts will end up all over the country as a bit of warmth and love to just a few of the 16,000 kids who will be diagnosed this year. To stay up to date on all the goings on here at Quilts for Cure (and there are quite a few coming up!), please join our newsletter!

It will cost about $2000 to purchase batting, thread, borders/backing/binding, and shipping labels for 16 quilts. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!

Gold Forever, 
HollyAnne

General Updates, Operation Smiley

Introducing Leopold the Longarm

String and Story Studio

Hello everyone!

As you may have seen on social media this weekend, I have some terribly exciting news! A generous quilter named Sally donated a Tin Lizzie 18 longarm to Quilts for Cure, and we picked it up and set it up on Saturday!

Leopold the Longarm

For those of you who don't quilt, a long arm, sometimes called a "quilting machine," is a large sewing machine set on a frame so as to quilt very efficiently. When quilting on a domestic ("normal") sewing machine, you have to push and shove and scrunch the bulk of the quilt through the harp or throat (the space between the needle and the machine), and that slows things down a good bit (hence why I'm still quilting the #OperationSmiley quilts all these months later). With a longarm, the machine moves across the quilt, and it's much faster.

Longarm Practice

This longarm, who I'm affectionately calling Leopold, is a game changer for Quilts for Cure. It will make it easier to complete quilts and get them out to kids in treatment. It will make it easier for me to test ideas for Quilt Alongs (like the one coming soon). And, if y'all are game, it might even give me the courage to tackle another #OperationSmiley next February.

Longarm Wholecloth Quilt

I've been working hard on my machine quilting skills, so Sunday I put them through their paces to see how things translated into working on Leopold. I was so pleased with the results, that I've squared it up and will put a nice blue binding on it to make a baby boy quilt. Yesterday, I finished piecing #OperationSmiley quilt #8 and loaded it up. By george, I'm spoiled already-- the whole thing was quilted in just an hour or so! I can't wait to bind it, and get going on #9!

Operation Smiley 9

I hope y'all are as excited as I am! Thank you, Sally!!

ACTION ITEMS

  1. Make a Quilt to give to one of the 40,000 children in treatment for pediatric cancer in the United States
  2. Give money to Quilts for Cure so that we can make more quilts and contribute to research for a cure
  3. Spread the word with everyone you know about Quilts for Cure-- share on your social media, with your quilt guild, etc.

Oh, and a quick update on Abri-- Her family received the most marvelous news this weekend that she has NOT relapsed! It's a bit complicated as to why the original test results were  misleading, but this is wonderful, wonderful news. As she is still facing several surgeries to repair her leg and replace the bone that Ewings Sarcoma destroyed, two fabulous quilters, Amy and Jen, are collaborating to make her a quilt to keep her cozy through the rest of her recovery.

More soon!

HollyAnne