Since our children were little babes in blankets, Colleen and I have been friends. Our friendship, knitted together by similar values, compatible tastes, and love of beauty, has flexed with her moves from Florida to Maryland to Texas to California and back again.
Like her quilts, experiences in our lives have at times matched the dark, nubby patches, the smooth, satiny ones, all stitched together by the happy binding of love.
Soon I’ll be taking her latest creation as a gift to my dear Aunt Ruthie’s 95th birthday celebration in her new residence at Landis Homes near Lititz, Pennsylvania. Ever the artist, Aunt Ruthie has painted in oils, designed her gardens as colorful collages, and sewn her own clothes in quaint combinations. She’ll love the quilt!
Last weekend I caught up with Colleen and asked her a few questions. Please listen in!
1. What are touch quilts?
A touch quilt has various textures that are intended to provide a calming effect and soothe jangled nerves as they are stroked. A touch quilt may be used while sitting in a favorite rocker or recliner, wheelchair, at naptime, in a waiting room or hospital bed and are similar in theory to the security blanket used by many small children. They are loved by elders and children alike and have been found to be especially useful for those who are blind or have dementia.
2. How did you get started making them?
In 2005, my church started a Prayer Quilt ministry where I learned to make lap-size quilts; I loved the idea and process and have been making them ever since. In 2010, a women’s group I belonged to asked if anyone knew how to make touch quilts, which were to be donated to the local Elder Day Stay. I did a little research and found them to be very similar to the prayer quilts I already knew how to make, except for the fabrics used. I made about 16 Touch Quilts over the next two years and got wonderful feedback from the excited recipients.
3. What types of fabrics do you use?
I look for pleasing colors in a variety of soft fabrics such as satin, corduroy, minky, flannel, fleece, fuzzy, furry, and more. I like to have some satin and fuzzy in every quilt and prefer satin bindings on all of them.
Sizes? (Dimensions of quilts)
I have made lap size (42 x 42), which is the most common size for all ages, nap size (42 x 54), and wheelchair size (36 x 36), which is intended to fit comfortably between the wheels without getting snagged.
4. Where do you get your inspiration for the designs and color combinations?
I try to include at least one fabric with a pattern and select complementary colors based on that. I start out designing on the computer and then put the cut fabric on my quilting “wall” to ensure the design fits the fabrics selected. When I’m using a new design or a fabric with a new pattern, I often spend quite a bit of time rearranging the fabric blocks on the wall before I find a combination that feels and looks right. It’s a creative process that can take hours and occasionally, days.
5. Who benefits from your quilts? To what organizations have you donated them?
I donate quilts to the Trinity United Methodist Church, Elder Day Stay, and various individuals.
Quilts by Colleen: Touchable Chic
Questions or comments about Colleen’s quilts? Reply below please!
Children’s book: The Boy and the Quilt by Mennonite author, Shirley Kurtz: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2729926-the-boy-and-the-quilt-with-four-color-artwork?from_search=true