Operation Smiley

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!!


  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!


Operation Smiley

Make Quilts!

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Hey Everyone!

I have a few quilty things to talk about today.

First, I finished the first #OperationSmiley quilt! I haven't counted up all the blocks recently, but I'm confident we will make 10 quilts. I took the components of quilts 2 and 3 to Red Hen today where they will be completed by students. I have pieced the main part of quilt 4, and will add borders tomorrow. I hope that I will also get it sandwiched and basted so that I can get back to quilting a column each night-- both for progress on the quilts and for regular free motion quilting practice.


Second, I'm am searching for a willing quilter who lives in or near North Carolina. I received a message from a grandmother this week requesting a quilt for her 15 year old grandson, Nicholas, with an inoperable brain tumor. I think a twin sized quilt (70 x 90 inches) would be just right. If you are interested, please email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org, and I'll get you more info. Also, please help spread the word!!

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Finally, don't forget that Quilts for Cure is accepting completed quilts. You can find out more info on our Donate Quilts page, or email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org.


1) Spread the word to help us find a quilter to make a twin sized quilt for Nicholas. If you're interested, please email me at hollyanne (at) quiltsforcure.org

2) Gather your orphan blocks, UFOs, and do some stash busting, and make a quilt for a child with cancer!

3) Tell your quilty friends and guild members about Quilts for Cure in person and on social media. Share this post!

Go gold,


PS Kylie's mama was on the Hallmark Channel this morning with their kitty Liza. Check it out HERE.

Operation Smiley

Operation Smiley, Update 2


Hi again, Friends and Fighters!

We officially have too many #OperationSmiley quilt blocks for me to hang on my design wall. Last week, I had 91 hanging, but we're at 129 and counting now! Over 30 quilters have participated from over a dozen states, and at least four of them are adult cancer survivors.


As you found out on Friday, we are benefitting from the generosity of several companies as well. In addition to the beautiful fabric from Fat Quarter Shop, we are receiving thread from Aurifil, some batting from The Warm Company, and more batting and fabric from Craftsy. On top of that, my friends over at Red Hen Fabrics are going to help me get all 7+ quilts quilted. Isn't that exciting?!

This means a few things for #OperationSmiley:

1) We will be finishing these quilts with beautiful, top-of-the-line materials.

2) Instead of delivering finished quilts the end of this week in time for Kylie's birthday, it will probably be another month until they are all done. Materials are still en route, and we will be completing more quilts than I expected (which is a thrilling thing).

3) I will try to have a completed quilt (see quilt top above) to take with me to Quilt Con in Savannah this weekend to show our sponsors and to spread the word about Quilts for Cure.

I cannot thank y'all enough for your generosity and support!!

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Action Items:

1) Visit the Smiley for Kylie page this week and leave a Happy Birthday for Kylie. On Friday, be sure to wear yellow and #shareasmile in her honor.

2) Do the #TruckerToughChallenge on Facebook or Instagram to show support for sweet Trucker Dukes. He is in a lot of pain and needs our encouragement!

3) Make sure that you're plugged in for all Quilts for Cure Updates: Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Instagram, and Sign up for our Newsletter (coming soon). Even better, invite your friends to get plugged in, too. Our mission to honor and encourage kids with cancer will only succeed if we all work together.

Keep fighting,