Diane Danielson is the Palmerton Area Library director, a quilter, and also a Christian. As a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, she has become involved in the Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Mission Quilts and Kits program, as well as Project Linus.
Danielson spends most of her spare time crocheting baby blankets for Project Linus and sewing quilts for LWR Quilts for Africa.
The blankets for Project Linus can be knitted, crocheted, quilted or made from fleece. There are no specific sizes. They like baby blankets, but also larger ones for teens. A representative from Project Linus picks the blankets up at Michael's, inspects them and sews in a tag that says "Made with love by Project Linus blanketeers."
She delivers them to local hospitals in the Lehigh Valley and in Carbon County.
"I'm impressed with the work of Project Linus because it's all volunteers and the blankets mainly go to children in hospitals who need some comforting," says Danielson. "If you look at their website you can read letters from children and their parents and how much they appreciate the homemade blankets."
Danielson credits her daughter, Leah Danielson, for getting her involved in Project Linus. Leah, a 2006 Palmerton Area High School graduate and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, 2011, chose Project Linus for her Girl Scout Gold Award project in 2005. She enlisted the aid of the Palmerton Area Library Knitting Club and the women at The Village at Palmerton. Since 2005, they have made 106 quilts and 442 afghans for Project Linus. The library is the home base for Project Linus. Visit www.projectlinus.org for more information.
LWR Relief Quilts and Kits give families throughout the world a helping hand. The quilts are used as shields against the cold and rain, can be used as simple tents, floor coverings and as a wrap to hold a baby on his mother's back. These quilts are like hugs and can express to someone in need that someone cares.
"I have always enjoyed sewing. I started out as a home economics teacher years ago. I like making the quilts for Africa because I'm very grateful for the good life I have and want to do something to help less fortunate people," says Danielson.
"I like the idea of taking fabric and sheets that people would otherwise throw away and recycle them into something beautiful and useful. While I'm sewing I think about the families that will be receiving them."
Danielson is hoping the community will extend a helping hand for these two charitable projects.
One way to help with Project Linus is to donate yarn for the Knitting Club and/or crochet blankets and drop them off at the library.
Ways to help with the LWR mission quilts are:
1. Donate cotton fabric for the squares for the quilt tops.
2. Donate sheets or other large pieces of fabric for the quilt backs or filling. The backing should be clean cotton or cotton blend fabric. The center layer can be sheets, thin blankets, tablecloths, curtains (no fiberglass) or double-knit fabric.
3. Assemble and sew together squares for the quilt tops from your own fabric scraps or from the squares already cut by the church volunteers.
4. Assemble a whole quilt from start to finish.
5. All donations of fabric or completed quilts can be dropped off at the Palmerton Area Library.
Quilts must all be of the same consistent design and size: Finished quilts should measure 60 inches by 80 inches and should have a front, back and a filler. The layers should be tied together using crochet or similar cord, or machine quilted.
"Since 2007 we have made 247 quilts. The quilts are shipped overseas from a warehouse in Maryland," says Danielson, who drives them to a pick up point in York, Pa. Volunteer drivers take them from there to Maryland.
Some guidelines for your donations include: give new items only; do not donate items with any religious symbols, messages or your congregation's name; do not donate any items decorated with a U.S. flag, patriotic or military symbols or references to the armed forces, including camouflage.
To learn more, visit www.lwr.org/getinvolved/quilts.
Danielson hopes to deliver finished quilts sometime after Mother's Day. However, the public will have an opportunity to see the latest collection of quilts, which will be displayed on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, home base for the LWR Mission Quilts, located at 502 Lafayette Ave. There will be a blessing of the quilts at 10:45 a.m.
Both of these projects are ongoing all year.
The library's Quilt Guild, "Sew What," meets the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. upstairs at the library. The Guild is free and open to anyone interested in quilting. There is usually a program each month and members also work on projects together, like the LWR Mission quilts.
For more information contact Danielson at (610) 826-7977 or at the library, 402 Delaware Ave. at (610) 826-3424.