TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Friday, March 18, 2011

Comfort Quilts Requested for Japan

TAFA Member Terry Aske

We have a long tradition of charity knitting, quilting, and sewing in the United States.  Women, especially, gather together or work independently to send clothing and bedding to the needy around the world.  I have a friend who knits for both soldiers in Afghanistan and children who have been orphaned by the war, two separate organizations.  I call her the "Yin Yang Knitter" as it seems like she is comforting both sides of the coin.  Even men and boys came together and learned how to knit in World War II, sending socks, mittens, sweaters and hats to the boys in the trenches.

TAFA Member FolkWear
Now we have this horrible tragedy unfolding in Japan.  TAFA member, Valerie Hearder, received a call for quilts which can be handed out to those who have been displaced from their homes.  The Japanese have been avid partners in quilt events, exhibiting in shows, visiting, forming alliances, and sharing techniques.  We normally have a large contingent which comes every year to Paducah for our quilt show.  This year?  I doubt very much that a quilt show will be on the list of priorities...  But, perhaps some solace and comfort can be offered from us to them through these quilts.

TAFA Member Peppermint Pinwheels

Valerie's contact is Naomi Ichikawa, Editor of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin Magazine.  Naomi lives in Tokyo and her mother and brother survived the tsunami in Sendai.  Here is Naomi's request:

Dear Valerie,

It is still bad situation now in Japan.  We are still nervous about shaking and radiation, but no way to escape.

I start to announce to the quilters to send us comfort quilts for the people who are suffered. I would like to do it to the world quilters.  We will deliver the comfort quilts to the people who are very difficult situation.  Could you please help to announce it to the quilters in Canada?

We accept any size of quilts(baby to adult), new or unused.
The deadline would be the end of May or later.

Send the quilts to:
(until the middle of April)
Naomi Ichikawa, Editor of Patchwork Quilt tsushin Patchwork Tsushin Co., Ltd 5-28-3, Hongo,Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan    zip:113-0033

(after the middle of April)
Naomi Ichikawa
Patchwork Tsushin Co.,Ltd
2-21-2, Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan zip:113-0034

I will appreciate it if you help me.


TAFA Member Victoria Gertenbach

Valerie sent a follow-up e-mail reporting that there has been a tremendous response to her email and that she has heard from groups as far away as Norway who want to help.  That is wonderful news, but I imagine that the need exceeds our ability to respond at this point, so all efforts will be greatly appreciated.  Remember, too, that we tend to think of tragedies at the moment they occur, but the aftermath of rebuilding lives and homes lasts for years and years.  Remember New Orleans and Haiti?  Not much in the news these days, yet neither has recovered from their disasters.

Valerie also added the following info:
Naomi has advised that it would be better for the quilts to arrive at the end of April and into June. They have found that lines of distribution are so difficult that it will take longer.  Also, it is not cheap to mail quilts to Japan. Some fundraising for the shipping arranged will probably be in order. If you're working in a group to ship quilts to Japan, a newspaper article about the effort could help to generate donations for shipping.

Save the Children reported that 100,000 children have been displaced due to the tsunami and earthquake.  This article talks about what they are doing to help.  The comfort quilts are a wonderful, long term project that will bring show support and care from the world community.  But, many other needs are a priority right now.  Check into your favorite charities and see what they are doing to help with this crisis.  Money is desperately needed to fund the many efforts that seek to address evacuation, water, food, shelter, and clean-up.  I have added a banner at the top of my blog that links to "Doctors Without Borders", one of my favorite organizations.  If you can afford to help, send in your donation to the organization you support and then get to work on that quilt!

TAFA Member My Sweet Prairie

You don't quilt?  Here's another idea: 
Buy a quilt from one of our TAFA members and send it to Japan.  
You will be helping an artist AND contributing to the cause.  The gift that keeps on giving!  
(Keep hitting the "see older posts" at the bottom of the page to see all of them.)



  1. Thanks for your interest in sending quilts to Japan. Please send them in late April. Also, don't put the word "quilt" on the package call it bed covering or blanket. Also put a low value on it of no more than $100 so the recipients don't pay duty.
    Valerie Hearder

  2. Here is a link to an Oregonian blogger with a differing viewpoint on the subject of helping out disaster victims.


  3. Here is a link to an Oregonian blogger with a differing viewpoint on the subject of helping out disaster victims.


  4. Interesting. But, I think that is exactly why they are asking people to send the quilts in late April or May. They cannot handle distribution right now, but hopefully in a month, things will be at a place where the basic infrastructure is back in working order. Then, as now, there will be thousands of people who will need to rebuild their lives.

    I also agree that it is more effective to sell things locally and do benefits here and send the money rather than to send goods overseas. The shipping money could be better used to buy things there that the people need. Still, there is nothing like getting a quilt or knitwear from some unknown person who cares.

    Also, the request is being made by a Japanese woman who is living through this ordeal, so she must know what is appropriate in her immediate community.

  5. Update from Valerie:

    Naomi from Patchwork Quilt Tsushin has asked me to pass on the following information to quilters. Things are even more difficult than they expected and hope if you are sending quilts, please wait until AFTER MAY to send them. They thank you for understanding.

    Please share this with those you know are sending quilts to Japan. Please update your blogs with this new information.

    Also, there is another group in the USA is gathering quilts to ship to Japan. "Mission of Love Foundation” will send your quilt. Ship to this address. This is a separate initiative from the Patchwork Quilt Tsushin one.
    Mission of Love Foundation

    2054 Hemlock Court

    Youngstown, Ohio 44515 ~ U.S.A.

    If you ship quilts into the USA or Japan, be sure to put a low value on the package – under $100 - to avoid duty for the receiver.

    Best wishes,


  6. Great initiative! Rachel, Where is the "share" gadget located on your blog? Did I miss it? I would like to share your post on FaceBook and Twitter etc. with one click but can't find the gadget. If you don't have it, it's easy to install in the blogger lay-out! Keep up the good work it's wonderful what you are doing.

  7. One of our TAFA members, Gerrie Congdon, is selling a quilt on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/INDIGO-MOONS-Stitched-Art-Quilt-Wall-Hanging-/220758964667?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33664279bb

    90% of the proceeds will go to disaster relief in Japan.

  8. The US distributer of Noro yarns is matching contributions made to the American Red Cross. http://www.knittingfever.com/about/nororelief/

  9. New update on the quilts going to Japan:

    Mission of Love (who is shipping the quilts) is not staffed to handle the flood of queries coming from quilters. In fact, eQuilter is coordinating this project, so if you can spread the word so we can handle all the questions, that would be great! We also have Naomi's project listed on our page, so please keep me advised if there are further changes in her dates.

    CONTACT: http://www.equilter.com/cgi-bin/webc.cgi/quiltsforjapan.html


“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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