In November we announced that we’ve teamed up with the Quilts of Valor Foundation® (QOVF) for a special 8-month collaboration! We’re requesting both an image of your EQ-software-QOV design and a picture of the accompanying finished Quilt of Valor®. Scroll down below to read more details about this fantastic event!
A few days after we announced this amazing collaboration, we received several spectacular submissions from Michele McCusker-Whiting! Reaching out to her to check if she’d like to be the focus of a future blog post, she wasn’t sure if she was “worthy.” Indeed, she is worthy, as are all those who make quilts for this caring organization! Thankfully, she agreed to be the featured designer and we’re so happy to introduce and talk about Michele!
The seeds of Michele’s story start when she was very young, and her mother taught her to sew. Her interest first turned to quilts when her mother-in-law, EQ-user Juanita Whiting (more on her later), gave she and her new husband a quilt as their wedding gift. Her mother-in-law actually won a prize for the quilt in 1989 at the American Quilter Society (AQS) show in Paducah and the Lancaster Quilt Show, so her introduction to the craft set a pretty lofty bar of creativity and quality!
Michele also has a life-long personal appreciation to the military; her father served in the Navy, she had uncles in the Air Force, her husband was in the National Guard, and Michele’s sister held multiple positions in the Department of Defense. So, when Michele’s children left for college, these two interests started to come together. Michele wanted a hobby that would allow her to show appreciation to our veterans while learning a skill and unleashing a bit of patriotic-creative inspiration that she didn’t even know she had (she definitely found it!)!
First, after receiving wonderful advice from her award-winning mother-in-law, who has been using EQ since its first version, Michele got Electric Quilt software and joined the EQ family (thank you, Juanita)! After practicing her new craft on some placemats, Michele made her first quilt for a new nephew. Her second quilt, in 2013, was a Block of the Month (BOM) from The Quilt Show. She did the BOM with Juanita and a couple of her sewing friends, who then became Michele’s sewing friends, too!
Sometime later, Michele saw a Quilts of Valor booth at her local farmers’ market. She didn’t stop and talk, but did look them up when she got home and was impressed with the Foundation’s mission. Michele likes being productive, and a person only has so many family members to gift with quilting creations, so after some research on designs, extensive fabric shopping, and the start of a basement-quilting corner, she started making QOVF quilts in 2015. Michele delivered her first QOV in February 2016!
Michele quickly realized blending these two passions was, and is, the perfect hobby for her! When she finished 5 more QOV, she met with her local QOVF representative to drop them off. The representative encouraged Michele to keep one of the quilts so she could present it to someone she had in mind. Preferring to be in the background, presenting the quilt was definitely out of Michele’s comfort zone, but she ended up doing it. Specifically, in September 2017, Michele presented the quilt to a very sweet man who was receiving a Legion of Honor award from the French that same day. After being wrapped in the quilt, he looked at Michele and told her he was always cold, but now he would be warm!! Awwwe!!!
For Michele’s designs, she usually gets ideas from pictures of other quilts and thinks about what they will look like using red, white, and blue fabrics (if they don’t already). She rarely buys kits or patterns, and even the few occasions when she does, Michele still mocks them up in EQ so she can customize the design. She prints out the EQ image and writes cutting instructions for herself on the back. Speaking of which, let’s see some of Michele’s lovely QOV!
After seeing a similar quilt draped over a chair, Michele designed it in EQ, made a few iterations, and below is the final result. The fabric selections create such nice movement!
This quilt is based off of the “Star Trails” quilt pattern from Marjorie Rhine of Quilt Design NW. Michele created the block in EQ, tried multiple versions, added a different border, and finished with this striking quilt!
Michele didn’t need to create a block for this quilt and had decided to use blue and white for the 16 patches, but wanted to play around with where to add the red, so that’s where EQ came in handy! Everything blends perfectly – great job, Michele!
All stunning, Michele has made close to 40 quilts for the QOVF! She says, the other bonus of making QOV is if someone asks her what she’s working on and she happens to be making a quilt for them (yikes!), she can honestly say she’s sewing another QOV because there’s usually one in the works! In other words, it’s her “cover project!”
Besides the beautiful quilts above from Michele, be sure to check out her other and everyone else’s submissions in previous posts! If you’ve already posted some of your quilts, thank you, and be sure to check back to see comments about your awe-inspiring quilts. In each additional post, we’ll include more heartwarming pictures and stories, hoping they will encourage you to submit your own pictures and reasons for making the quilt.
Since March is National Quilting Month, with the 18th being National Quilting Day, if you do sew a QOV this month, please share it, along with a picture of the EQ-design inspiration, and why or who you made it for so everyone can see the fabulous quilt!
There’s still 4 months to join in this heartwarming project. If you don’t have EQ8, you can save 25% by applying code VALOR25 to your order (expires July 4, 2023).
Or, if you’re more comfortable simply viewing, enjoying, and commenting on any of the majestic quilts in the posts, please do so!
Submissions and Prizes
You can submit as many different quilts as you want, as long as they meet the requirements. Remember, at the end of this event, all submissions are eligible to win 1 of 3 amazing prize packs, including:
- a bundle of Northcott’s Stars and Stripes fabric
- an American Express gift card
- a copy of the recently released QOV book, All-Star Quilts of Valor!!
Now, please show us your designs and quilts!
How to submit an image of your quilt design from EQ and the photo of your sewn QOV:
- On the EQ Quilt Worktable, click the PRINT & EXPORT tab.
- Click Export in the ribbon.
- In the palette on the left, click Image.
- Type a name for your image, choose PNG or JPG as the file type, and click the Save button. (Make sure you know where you’re saving the image on your computer. We recommend saving to your My EQ8 > Images folder.)
- We recommend setting the Resolution setting to 150. Quilt and patch lines are optional.
- Click Browse by the “Upload an Image of your EQ Design” box to upload the image.
- Take a picture of your sewn QOV and save it to your computer. (Again, make sure you know where you’re saving the picture on your computer.)
- Click Browse by the “Upload a Photo of the Finished Quilt” box to upload the photo.
- Enter why you made the quilt in the Comments field.
- Click Submit.