Thursday, November 7, 2013

Countdown to November 10

Detail of Hanging By a Thread

Back in 2006, quilter/author/designer Ami Simms decided to do something about Alzheimer's. That's right: this quilter from Flint, Michigan was positive, that with help and persistence, she could make a difference when it came to the dread disease that took her mother Beebe's life. Simply put, this woman takes things personally.


Ami Simms

Ami persuaded many people to volunteer their time and talent to help her and the Alzheimer Art Quilt Initiative was born. Five doctors, with specialties ranging from geriatric care to chemical analysis to pharmacology sit on the AAQI board and advise Ami on the grant applications and who should be awarded the money.

Since its inception, AAQI has sold over 13,000 small works of art. The quilts can't be over 8" x 12" and are thus a perfect size to hang as art. They were sold at in-person auctions and online. Just last week, the goal of $1,000,000 in donations was reached as AAQI set up shop on the floor of the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. As each little quilt found a new home, the sale was greeted by cheers and clapping. When the $1 million mark was reached, the celebration was deafening!
Celebrating the Million mark!
Where does the money go? This link  will take you to the page where the various grants (the amounts, who the money went to, and the subject of the studies) are listed. It is an awesome honor role. In chunks of $10,000-$60,000 the donations do their work. I am confident that one day, Ami and AAQI's efforts will play an important part in the unravelling of the Alzheimer's puzzle. There's still lots to do--it's estimated that over 5 million Americans suffer from this disease and more are diagonosed each day.

Which brings me to the last point: you still have three days to make a difference yourself. I'm afraid that it's too late to make a little quilt and donate to AAQI but there are little quilts that you can buy online. There's the donated quilts here  . And the final hoorah is the Celebrity Invitational Quilt Auction. It started November 1 and is on until November 10. You have three more days! The celebrity quilts can be a little larger-up to 15" square. This year I got the nod and was happy to comply. Here is my contribution  Hanging By a Thread

Quilt information The quilt measures 15" square. All the fabrics are shot cottons from the StudioE line Peppered Cottons  and the perle cotton threads (both size 12 and 16) by Presencia. After the miniature crazy quilt blocks (they're 3" square) were machine-pieced over tracing paper, the backing was torn away and then the embroidery done by hand in the Feather Stitch. For me, repetitive hand embroidery is a meditative process and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Then the quilt was hand-quilted (over Pellon wool batting) and hand-bound.

Symbolism The crazy quilt motif was chosen on purpose to recognize while Alzheimer's destroys our sense of order, our memory and physical strength, each person with the disease struggles to impose their own kind of understandable order over the chaos. The spider here represents the needleworker who surveys her work, secure in her quilted heart.

Last Words  Please bid. If not on my quilt, then on any of the other AAQI quilts available. Or get a T-shirt made. Or a mug with the image of your favorite quilt. If you miss getting a quilt, then memorialize that quilt in another fashion since AAQI gets a donation from the souvenir manufacturer. Maybe you didn't snag Hanging By a Thread at auction--you could still drink your morning coffee from a mug imprinted with its image! Thank you for reading this.