This time of year most quilters are busy making holiday gifts for their family, friends, co-workers and pets. While you are at it, why not make a gift for child in need as well?
Project Linus (www.projectlinus.org) is a national non-profit organization that provides handmade blankets for seriously ill or traumatized children. Their mission is to “provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers”. It is also the goal of Project Linus to provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for the public, which in turn benefits children. The Project currently has nearly 400 chapters around the United States with an estimated 60,000 volunteers.
Project Linus was established in 1995 after Karen Loucks read an article in Parade Magazine about a 3-year old girl named Laura who was battling leukemia. Throughout her two long years of intensive chemotherapy, Laura relied on her special “blankie” for a feeling of safety and security. Upon reading this, Karen decided to provide homemade blankets to Denver’s Rocky Mountain Children’s Cancer Center. This marked the beginning of Project Linus and to date the project has delivered more than 6 ½ million blankets to children in need.
Where to begin when making your Project Linus blanket…
The national policy of Project Linus is to accept all sizes and styles of blankets that are new, handmade and washable. Blankets are donated to children ages 0-18 and are never donated to adults. Contact you local chapter (www.projectlinus.org/volunteer/) to find out any specific requirements or special needs that they may have. Make a blanket and return it to the chapter. They will then take your blanket to a hospital or other facility to be given to a deserving child.
National Make a Blanket Day (http://www.projectlinus.org/mabd/) was designated by Project Linus in an effort to bring more awareness to the cause. It’s held on the third Saturday in February each year and the group can typically attribute the collection of 75,000-100,00 blankets to National Make a Blanket Day. The observation of this day began in 1999 after the horrific events at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. Suddenly Project Linus found themselves needing a large quantity of blankets very quickly. Chapters from around the country organized “blanket bees” and then sent their creations to Denver chapters for distribution. For those of you who are unfamiliar with “bees”, they are forms of communal work in which people gather together to accomplish a task or competition. Familiar examples of bees in the United States are spelling bees, quilting bees and barn raisings.
Subsequent to the 1999 blanket bee for Columbine victims, it was decided to create National Make a Blanket Day, where each chapter could host activities that promote Project Linus and/or create blankets to add the project’s inventory. The next National Make a Blanket Day will take place on February 18, 2018.
Where to find patterns…
You are welcome to use any pattern you like to make your blanket however, Project Linus offers many free patterns on their website including patterns for quilting, knitting and crocheting (http://www.projectlinus.org/patterns/).
A Project Linus book, called Quilt it with Love, is available (www.amazon.com) and it tells the Project Linus story and includes 20 quilt patterns. A portion of the proceeds from book sales goes to Project Linus.
Project Linus also offers a Mystery Quilt pattern/challenge that you can make with only minimal cost involved. The 2017-18 mystery quilt challenge is called Exploring the World with Ethan. This year’s mystery quilt challenge is still in progress – you can start it any time by visiting the non-profit’s website: http://www.projectlinus.org/contest/.
Here’s a little sneak peak at Ethan…
Here at Quiltmaker Magazine we are proud to have been supporting Project Linus by providing free quilt patterns since 2000. We have 17 patterns available for free download on our website including patterns for car quilts, animal quilts and traditional block quilts, along with many others.
For these quilt patterns and a complete list of free Quiltmaker patterns available for Project Linus, click here.
As the weather turns chilly, make your holiday season extra special this year by creating and giving to someone truly in need ~ Anissa