GivingQuilts Blog


Marybeth Tawfik squaring up the quilt.

Marybeth Tawfik squaring up the quilt.

GivingQuilts—Stitching Together Community and Love

Written by Carol Neiger

Posted on November 7, 2016

When a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, I wanted to help. However, I live far from her and could not be there for day-to-day support. Her husband told me, “She likes the small things like letters, and notes of encouragement.” As a designer and artist, I wanted to create something handmade—incorporating the “notes of encouragement” idea. I thought a quilt—collectively made by a group of her friends—would be a great way to comfort her in a creative and meaningful way.

A quilt that inspires

To start, I collected inspirational quotes from friends and family members. Next, I designed one square for each quotation, with different painted background textures. After I printed the fabric, several friends sewed the quilt. It was beautiful and sentimental. When we presented the quilt to our friend, it was a profoundly moving experience for all of us.

A group-made quilt the easy way

Combining the concept of “group gifting” with technology, I created an easy way to have a handcrafted, customized quilt made. The quilt ordering process is automated online, with one person spearheading the effort by first selecting a quilt size, colors and backing fabrics. That person then invites friends and family to contribute inspirational quotations to be printed in each square, after which the quilt design is finalized, with each square in place. We get the fabric printed and our expert quilters sew the final, one-of-a kind product—all done without anyone from the group having to thread a needle!

Introducing GivingQuilts™

GivingQuilts defines a new American artistry by combining the best of both worlds: technology + craftsmanship. Leveraging technology, we found a way for a group of people who live far from one another to collaborate in creating one special gift. Technology combines with a handcrafted quilt, making for a beautiful made-in-America personalized product.

The challenges in launching GivingQuilts

One key challenge in launching this small business was in simplifying the quilt creation process through technology. Another was finding a person who would do the actual sewing and quilting. I found Spoonflower (design and printed fabric on demand) on LinkedIn and then conducted a nationwide, online search for a quilter. It proved to be very difficult to find someone who had both the quilting expertise and the business savvy to scale the handmade production of the products. It was only through LinkedIn that I found Marybeth Tawfik, a professional quilter who was the single quilter listing her business on LinkedIn at that time. She was a perfect match for the business, and I am grateful to LinkedIn for being such a valuable match-making resource. As the business grows, we need to continuously work on improving our technology to make our website intuitive and our processes—from ordering through production through delivery—work flawlessly. I will continue to use LinkedIn and LinkedIn ProFinder to find resources to develop and refine our processes and to market GivingQuilts.

#ProFinderContest #handcrafted #quilts #groupmadegift #personalizedgift #etsy #creativityfound #makersmovement

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Dear Family and Friends,

I am spearheading the creation of a beautiful handmade quilt for . I thought you might like to be involved, so am inviting you to be a part of this "group-made gift." The best part—no quilting experience necessary…

First, a bit of background:

GivingQuilts.com, is a website designed to help a group of people participate in "creating" a beautiful handmade quilt—without anyone in the group having to thread a needle or stitch one stitch. All of the handcrafting is done in the USA by an award-winning quilter. These quilts are wonderful, sentimental keepsakes marking special occasions such as births, graduations, rites of passage, retirement and the like.

What makes the quilt so unique is that each quilt square has an inspirational quotation or message from someone in the group. When all of the squares are stitched together, they create a beautiful and comforting community quilt. This is where you come in.

Go to www.givingquilts.com and see for yourself. Look under the See Quilt Designs tab to view the quilts. You can use inspirational quotations found on the website under the tab Quote Library or find or write your own. Also, as coordinator of the quilt, I have already made all of the color and fabric decisions for the quilt, so the only decision you need to make is what quotation to use!

If you like what you see when you check out the website and want to be a part of this gift, please respond to this email with a simple "yes! I'd like to be a part of it" so I keep a space open for you, or better yet, go ahead and buy your square right away–each square costs $.

Here's how it works:

  1. Go to http://www.GivingQuilts.com
  2. Click on the "Get Started!" button at the top right.
  3. Create an account (it's really easy!).
  4. Go to Look up a GivingQuilt Project and enter .
  5. You will see a grid of squares available for purchase. Just click on the exact square you would like to purchase (this will determine the precise position of the quotation square from you when the quilt is assembled).
  6. Enter a quotation that is meaningful to you. The quotation can be funny, sweet, inspirational, or simply a personal message from you. The quotation should be limited to a maximum of 35 words. You must include the author's name, as well as your name, as you would like it to appear in the quilt. (You can use your first name, or first and last name, or something more personal like "Aunt Cindy", or "Grandpa".)
  7. You will be asked to confirm that the quotation, author and your name information are correct. Be sure to check spelling and punctuation very carefully, as the quotation will be printed exactly as you input it.
  8. After you confirm that the square is perfect, the website will direct you to pay for your square. (Don't worry, it's a secure payment portal called WePay.)

We have a deadline!

Please submit your quotation by . It takes up to one month to create the quilt from the time I submit the finished quilt squares until it is delivered.

Thank you! I hope you will participate in this beautiful gift for !

If you are not interested in participating, I need to know that, too. This is important because there are only 20 squares on the quilt, and you are receiving this invitation in the "first group" of invitations to go out. If someone doesn't want to participate, I'll need to extend the invitation to others, so that we end up with a complete quilt. And finally, because I'm coordinating the project, I ask that if you have suggestions for others to include, please send their names and email addresses to me so we don't invite more people than the quilt can accommodate!

Thank you!

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