Panama Canal Quilters 2012 raffle quilt

I said I wasn’t going to copy posts from my Postcards From Panama blog – but this one is so important I had to bring it over here.

I just finished sewing on the borders of an Inklingo hexagon quilt that our small quilt group has worked on for the past year. This is our 2012 raffle quilt – we sell tickets to raise money to help support two girls from very poor families in Cerro Cama – a rural area about an hour outside Panama City.

We raffle the quilts to raise money to pay for their education plus some extra curricular activities – and miscellaneous things that come up like glasses and teeth cleaning. There are 7 of us in the group and we pay $10 a month dues and occasionally we get a donation.

I ordered the fabric online (a group of fat quarters plus yardage.) It certainly is not my style or colors but a lot of the people who buy the raffle tickets are retired US expats and they like traditional patterns and colors.

I didn’t do any of the sewing except the borders because I did all the prep for the Inklingo. Some of our members had never done any hand piecing so I was a bit worried how it would turn out. Having said that they did a pretty good job – it lays flat as you can see by the picture. We have so much time and money invested in this quilt I am getting a quote from my longarm quilter Jackie before they  try to hand quilt it.

It measures 89″ x 72″ – a few inches more than a standard twin size. I want an all over design with a dense pattern to make sure it stays together. We are going to piece the backing from leftover fabric and Jackie will supply the batting.

This will  probably be our last full-sized quilt – it  costs us way too much money in fabric which we have to order from the US and then pay lots of customs fees when it gets here. In fact we are lucky to make a few hundred dollars. There must be a more cost efficient way to raise money.


Hello world!

The Panama Canal Quilters have their own blog!

My blog – Postcards From Panama has been around since September of 2008. Since I am the only  member of our group with a blog I will be the administrator.

I wanted us to have a separate blog – so that what we do doesn’t get filed away under the category “Panama Canal Quilters” on my blog. I hope it encourages us to take more pictures and to post more stories about our activities, especially the two girls that we sponsor.

First – the story of how we got started:

In May of 2002 I attended an arts and crafts bazaar at my granddaughters school. While strolling around checking out the vendor’s wares I ran across a table laden with brightly colored quilts, wall hangings, tote bags, etc.

I stopped to chat with the vendor, Lesley Tassell, about her beautiful quilts. During our conversation Lesley invited me to a quilt group meeting at Thelma De La Mater’s apartment the following week. Grace Spencer, a Canadian quilter who lived on a sailboat in the Canal was bringing her extensive collection of quilts to show the group.

Now… the prospect of attending a meeting in a complete strangers home with a group of people I don’t know is definitely NOT my idea of a good time. I thanked Lesley for the invitation and went on my way – assuming that I just wouldn’t show up.

Well – the day arrived – and for some reason I decided to go. I couldn’t get those quilts out of my mind. Who knew that people were quilting in the tropics? And I really wanted to see the Canadian sailor’s quilts in person.

I will never forget the feeling of knocking on Thelma’s apartment door and introducing myself to the assembled group.  I was really nervous – but – I was warmly welcomed – the meeting was great – Grace’s quilts were gorgeous.

Almost 10 years later we are still going strong. Several years ago we added two new members and lost Brenda who went to work – most of us are “jubilados” (retirees.)

We meet every other Thursday  in my studio, an easy walk to the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. Hence the name Panama Canal Quilters. On alternate Thursdays we meet at Thelma’s apartment where it all started.

I don’t want to transfer all the old posts on my blog tagged “Panama Canal Quilters” – but if you’re interested you can read them here.

The photograph above is our very first quilt. That’s Lesley on the left and me on the right. Both of us considerably younger and slimmer! We are on the porch of my family home on Taboga Island. We held a weekend retreat to finish up the quilt. Between drinking wine and eating we eventually managed to get it done.

The border was Grace’s idea – all of her quilts have pieced borders. I think it does a good job of unifying the blocks.

We each contributed a block or two. It was a mess really – we used every technique you can imagine – we all did our own thing. Some of the blocks didn’t make it into the finished quilt simply because they didn’t fit – but each of us contributed at least one block.