Category Archives: Panama Canal Quilters

Panama Canal Quilters 2012 raffle quilt

I just finished sewing on the borders of an Inklingo hexagon quilt that our small quilt group has worked on for the past year. This is our 2012 raffle quilt – we sell tickets to raise money to help support two girls from very poor families in Cerro Cama – a rural area about an hour outside Panama City.

We raffle the quilts to raise money to pay for their education plus some extra curricular activities – and miscellaneous things that come up like glasses and teeth cleaning. There are 7 of us in the group and we pay $10 a month dues and occasionally we get a donation. I have some good pictures of the girls and their families – I should do a blog post about them.

I ordered the fabric online (a group of fat quarters plus yardage.) It certainly is not my style or colors but a lot of the people who buy the raffle tickets are retired US expats and they like traditional patterns and colors.

I didn’t do any of the sewing except the borders because I did all the prep for the Inklingo. Some of our members had never done any hand piecing so I was a bit worried how it would turn out. Having said that they did a pretty good job – it lays flat as you can see by the picture. We have so much time and money invested in this quilt I am getting a quote from my longarm quilter Jackie before they  try to hand quilt it.

It measures 89″ x 72″ – a few inches more than a standard twin size. I want an all over design with a dense pattern to make sure it stays together. We are going to piece the backing from leftover fabric and Jackie will supply the batting.

This will  probably be our last full-sized quilt – it  costs us way too much money in fabric which we have to order from the US and then pay lots of customs fees when it gets here. In fact we are lucky to make a few hundred dollars. There must be a more cost efficient way to raise money.


Graduation day


Finally – he made it! Julio is now a licensed pharmacist. The Panama Canal Quilters have helped make this day possible. Read details here.

We are trying to get him a scholarship to study in Mexico – or maybe Colombia for his masters degree.

On the left is Carolyn, Gae, Julio, Diane and me – Thelma is taking the picture and Lesley couldn’t come. There were lots of pictures taken that night – I hope at least one has all of us in it. I’ll post it if one ever turns up.

Lesley’s rainforest quilt


If you liked the rainforest quilt that we made recently take a look at this one by our Panama Canal Quilters member Lesley Tassell. This is spectacular in person. I tried my best to get a decent picture of it. Her border of the leaves, frogs and the little hummingbird really makes it special!

Rain forest quilt #2

I just finished the borders for the quilt group’s second rain forest quilt. We raffled one last year which we made exactly like the pattern from the Quiltmaker’s magazine.

This time we have a buyer and she wanted it to be horizontal and not vertical – it’s going over her sofa I think. It was a real challenge rearranging the blocks into this format – we had to eliminate the snake and the bits on the top.


Good news

Just got an email from Gae and Mari is going to be able to take piano lessons. The registration fee is $10 and it will cost $30 per month. We can afford that!

The name of the music school is “Academia Musical Sobre La Roca” – translated – “Musical Academy on the Rock.” Would love to see the building – it is undoubtedly built on a rock! They teach various musical instruments and singing.

What is success?

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson


This is Julio Cesar Wong – the Panama Canal Quilters own sucess story!

Five years ago Gae Speed, one of our members, asked if we’d like to sponsor Julio’s college education. Gae and her husband Bill have a foundation called Gae’s Kids. Over the years they have helped countless poor Panamanian students get an education.

We readily agreed to take on Julio’s case after we heard what a good student he had been in high school and how badly he wanted to go to college.

He will be graduating from the University of Panama soon – a licensed pharmacist – we are very proud of him.

Our quilt group is very small – only six to eight of us at any given time. We make several quilts a year which we raffle or sell to earn money.

Now that Julio will be graduating this year we have agreed to sponsor a ten year old girl named Celmarys Lorenzo (we’re calling her Mari.) She is in the fourth grade – makes excellent grades and is very interested in learning how to play the piano. One of our members donated a keyboard that Mari can use for practice at home and Gae is looking for a piano teacher in her area.