JSMQG Gives to the Homeless in Howell

Charity Update from Eileen DiPietro:

I needed some time to absorb everything before I could attempt to write about my visit to the homeless encampment but here goes.


As most of you all know, I had been in contact with “Minister Steve” Brigham, as he is so fondly referred to by his fellow residents,  about the guild donating quilts to the homeless encampment in Howell. All of you may not know that the bulk of the residents there are people who had been living in Tent City in Lakewood until they were forced to leave. At that time Howell let them use a parcel of land that belonged to the township and then without warning sold the property out from underneath them, a provision of the sale being that the new owner had to find them a place to set up camp. Well to make a long story short no one has done that or made any effort to do it and these folks are once again staring down eviction. When I first contacted Steve I was trying to get a census so to speak about the residents and that is when I found out that most of the thirty residents had relocated to different areas in the woods in anticipation of the eviction and that only six had still remained. Of those six one is the minister himself and his assistant, Cindy.


I managed to put together six decent size quilts from our charity stash and gave them a label and last Thursday I set out to the camp to meet with Steve. (Side note I had also thrown out if anyone had warm clothing and such they wanted to donate that I would be willing to collect and deliver as well. Deb Loeb and Sherre were kind enough to pack some things up. Deb Loeb, you know those shoes and boots you weren’t sure anyone would want, fear not they were a huge hit!). I brought my husband along for the ride and followed the directions that were shown on the Facebook post of Howell Happenings that I had shared. I’ve probably driven past the dirt road that leads to the camp, right off Route 9 nestled amongst a shopping Mecca, hundreds of times but little did I know. The dirt road   doesn’t go very far before you enter the camp. There are tents, as in camping tents, makeshift tents, abandoned rvs, cars and buses all set up around a circle, these are their homes. Homes that they are proud of, homes that are well taken care of, homes with beds made,  homes that are in jeopardy now. I was so afraid that I would be emotional there but strangely I was not. I was greeted by Cindy first because Steve was on the phone. I didn’t know if she was aware of why I was there so I proceeded to tell her about the guild and the donation. She helped me unload the trunk and when I showed her the box with the quilts, it was like a child on Christmas morning! She was so excited yet somewhat spellbound that someone would give her and her neighbors a handmade quilt.  She couldn’t wait for the others to be home later so she could hand them out.  Steve was equally delighted, I don’t think he realized before that these were handmade quilts we were gifting. I stayed for quite some time there and talked with the two of them. Cindy expressed a desire to learn to sew and maybe help teach some of the struggling women a craft they could use. I would be happy to oblige. Steve invited me to a screening of a documentary made about Destinys Bridge and how he is fighting a town to save his people from eviction, that happened to be that same night. I had to juggle a few things but I went that night to the Toms River library to see the film. I was greeted by Steve and Cindy like an old friend, hugged and kissed, like we’d been friends for years. We couldn’t stay for the whole film but I bought a copy, both to support Destinys Bridge and so that I could watch it at home in its entirety. I will bring it to the next meeting. Anyone who wants to watch is welcome to borrow it.

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I have so many feelings about this donation, I can’t even begin to put them into words. What I can say is that this gift we share, it never gets old. It really doesn’t.  I would love to keep donating to these folks, I really would. Thank you all for letting me do this.

You can read more about this homeless camp here.

June 20th Show & Tell

Thanks to everyone who came to the meeting tonight!  It was a fun meeting.  We did our usual business, then show & tell, and then we discussed English Paper Piecing, and I shared a bunch of my finished and in-progress projects.  Thanks, Brandy, for being our photographer!

Sherre started us off.  She had an adorable Elizabeth Hartman fox quilt, an awesome alphabet, by Lori Holt, and a medallion of her own invention, using Allison Glass and Victoria Findlay Wolfe elements.

Eileen has been cranking away at her Village quilt – isn’t it amazing?  And her pouch of the month from Sew Lux is perfect, as always.  She’s participating in the Kingfisher Stitch Along, too, with a gorgeous pile of hexie flowers.

Amy shared a wonderful purse she crocheted, and some really nice vinyl pouches.

Deb L made two placemats for our ongoing charity project, and two baby quilts for some coming soon babies.

I showed off some blocks from the soon to be released Summer Adventure quilt by Kitty Wilkin, my Sew Lux pouch, and a purse I made.

Then it was time to talk about English Paper Piecing.  I had a few projects to show off – I like to try all different kinds of things, from the traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden, to more interesting things.

If you are having trouble getting started with EPP, or would like to borrow any of my books, just let me know.  I’m happy to help, and as you can see, I’ve tried just about everything.

The Kingfisher Stitch Along is a great one to try out, if you are tempted by EPP.  It uses 1″ hexies, and appliqués them to a diamond, so you don’t have to do a whole huge quilt with just hand piecing.  It is the perfect summer take-along project.  Plus, Eileen, Deb H and I are all doing it.  You don’t want to be left out, right?

Thanks for a great meeting, ladies, and welcome to our new members!



April 18th Show & Tell

We had a great meeting this month!  Show and tell is always my favorite part.

We started out admiring Bonnie’s entry for our New Jersey QuiltFest display.  This is called “Jewels on Snow” and is so lovely.

Brandy shared two quilts.  The first is her entry for the display, and the second is a gift for a family member with a very specific request for a quilt with squares and lines.

Sherre had a slow month this month, with only 5 large quilts to share.  Let’s all hope she is back on track next month.


Arlene finished this gorgeous appliqué top in a class at Mouse Creek Quilts.

June made some lovely pouches, and is cranking out houses for her Sewing a Village project.  She moves pretty fast and was hard to photograph.


Eilieen finished off the project we started at the February sew-in.  Her points are fabulous!  She shared a few pouches she had completed, too, but the photographer tonight was fairly sucky.

Deb brought in denim pillows, a lovely large quilt, and some little hearts she plans to leave around to brighten people’s day.

Allison brought in her pouch, and this adorable fish quilt!

Thanks, ladies, for all of the fabulous inspiration.  I will endeavor to do a better job with my photography next month.

JSMQG is #sewingavillage

sewavillageLots of our members have jumped on the sew-along hosted by Stitch Supply Company to create a massive 132 house “Village” quilt over approximately 5 months. The official start date is February 5th – plenty of time to order your pattern, The Village by Jumble, Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company and start choosing your fabrics – this quilt is EXTREMELY scarp and charm square friendly! Fussy cutting the doors is a big part of the fun! Finished quilt is 65″ by 79.5″. There will be prizes every week, graciously provided by Stitch Supply Company , who will be hosts of this Instagram sew-along. If you are new to the IG quilting community, or interested in getting your feet wet – this is a great opportunity. Post pics of your houses each week straight from the camera roll on your phone, and add the hashtag #sewingavillage to join in! (As your loyal social media gal, I would love it if you would tag @jsmqg as well!) If the pattern is unavailable at Stich Supply, here are a few places that also have it in stock: Eleanor Burns , AZSewingWorld , EQuilter and Vintage and Vogue

New (to us!) Shop Find

In my internet travels, I recently stumbled across Paige Miller’s shop in Point Pleasant, NJ – she has what looks like a wonderful community focused maker space in Point Pleasant, NJ. Frame and Fiber is a frame/yarn/fabric shop that also sells local artists’ work and offers a wide variety of classes, in knitting, sewing, and crochet. Amanda of Daisy Laine designs is their on-site sewist.

I haven’t made it down there yet (I hope to soon), but have spoken to Paige and it seems like a great addition to our brick and mortar resources here on the Jersey shore. You can see some of the fabrics offered in their etsy shop, and all have quite a modern sensibility – Joel Dewberry, Denise Shmidt, Erin McMorris, and Amy Butler, among others. If you have the time to venture down to Paige’s shop, say hi from JSMQG!