Fun Fact: I’m a veteran of the U.S. Army. Much of my time, while serving, was spent away from the comforts of home. I served three years on combat tours, one in South Korea, and tons of time on the road training.
From the Army to AccuQuilt
The little gifts I received from family, friends, and strangers (especially while deployed) were the things that helped me get through the day.
I would have loved receiving a quilt when I was serving. So when I started working with AccuQuilt I was thrilled to learn that it is common for quilters to create beautiful pieces for service members.
In honor of Veteran's Day, I wanted to share some quilting ideas for the veteran in your life because many veterans don’t know how to respond when someone tells them, “Thank you for your service." Instead, you can say "Thank you" with a quilt gift.
Here are some ways that you can celebrate the veteran in your life – whether they are serving now or left the service decades ago.
A Veteran Overseas
When I was overseas, receiving little reminders of home while away for long periods of time made each day a little easier. So, here’s a few ideas I have for how to give an overseas veteran a taste of home.
If your service member is in an overseas location and can have bedding, then sending them a personalized quilt from home can be very comforting. Making a quilt is easy when you use a GO! Qube Mix & Match 8" Block!
It can also save your veteran from having to go out and buy a comforter or use a military issue wool blanket (and trust me, no one wants this). This quilt uses a GO! Qube Mix & Match 9" Block and a GO! Strip Cutter-2 1/4" (1 3/4" Finished).
Traveling Mini Quilt
Create a decorative block that celebrates your veteran by personalizing this mini quilt. There are so many options. Try making one that includes their unit name, motto, rank, and/or last name. Use the GO! Classic 2” Alphabet Uppercase Set Die or choose to embroider a personal message, instead.
You could also make a mini quilt that incorporates things they enjoy when they are stateside with applique – like the GO! Pickup Die or GO! Camper Die. Or get even more creative by using fishing-themed fabric with the size of their prized fish embroidered on it, or maybe even using some fabric from their favorite team with the number of their favorite player on it.
There are so many possibilities for your veteran. The great thing about this is it is small and can easily be moved from one location to another – which is important if your veteran is always on the move! They can take it to the field, on deployment, or to their next duty station without it taking up a lot of space.
A Veteran who is Leaving the Service or No Longer Serving
For many veterans, leaving the military is a bittersweet experience. They may be excited about the adventures ahead but miss the camaraderie and the financial security. They may also face physical or mental health struggles.
Help ease the difficulties of transition by offering them a gift that will serve as a memory of the good times and provide comfort during their struggles.
This is one of my favorite ideas. Create a signature quilt to be signed by servicemembers or friends that they are leaving behind due to retirement, end of their contract, or medical discharge.
Go with a patriotic theme by making the GO! Patriotic Tumbler Wall Hanging Pattern. This simple pattern only uses the GO! Tumbler-4 1/2" (4" Finished) Die, GO! Star-2", 3", 4" Die, and the GO! Strip Cutter 2 1/2" (2" Finished) 3 Strips Die.
Or create something neutral by using AccuQuilt’s GO! Signature Block-5” Finished Square Die. Alternate your signature block with your favorite quilt blocks to create a unique keepsake.
If you’d like more great options, then check out these:
Is your service member in the Air Force? Check out these:
- GO! Up in the Clouds Quilt Pattern
- GO! Qube 8" Flight Plan Throw Quilt Pattern
- GO! Propeller Planes Quilt Pattern
Photo by GO! Getter, Emily Tindall
Our GO! Getter, Emily Tindall, also has some wonderful memory quilt block suggestions. So, check those out too! There are lots of great options for a veteran keepsake.
Unit Patch Quilt
Did your veteran have Velcro or sew-on patches? Do they still have them stashed away in a drawer or a box in the closet? Create a keepsake quilt to display them instead.
Simply make a quilt like the GO! Sawtooth Star 8” Block and sew their unit patches onto the center block. You can do this for any pattern that has a center square.
If you don’t want to sew the patches directly, you can always create a felt square in the center of the block, attach Velcro to the back of the patch (if there’s not any there already), then place them onto the square.
That gives you full control – allowing you to move patches around to different blocks or remove them from the quilt at any time!
Pro Tip: We suggest that you pre-wash varying types of fabrics first before sewing!
Quilts of Valor: Nominate a Servicemember or Donate
Quilts of Valor helps veterans who have been touched by war – one quilt at a time. It’s a fantastic organization and one that I deeply appreciate. If you are unfamiliar, then I really recommend that you learn more about them.
If you have a service member who needs comfort, but you can’t make a quilt for whatever reason, nominate them for a Quilts of Valor quilt.
If you don’t know any servicemembers but want to donate your time and skills to help veterans heal, you can! Learn how to contribute to Quilts of Valor.
Current Stateside Service Members
Now, many of the things I have already mentioned could be applied to active duty, stateside service members; however, this idea is a really great way to document their journey.
This idea was shared by someone in the AccuQuilt community. Kathy F. suggests using the GO! Schoolhouse-Pieced Die to create a quilt.
You create one schoolhouse block for each home/location your servicemember has lived in. Then, you embroider the address on each house documenting their journey.
This was such a wonderful idea that we had to share! I would suggest the GO! School House Row Throw Quilt Pattern for this project.
Thank you, Kathy F., for sharing this with everyone! While we love inspiring our community, we love being inspired by you just as much!
How Will You Celebrate Your Veteran?
I hope you enjoyed these ideas for how to celebrate the veteran(s) in your life. Which one is your favorite?
Do you have any project ideas for veterans - like our fabulous Kathy F? Please share them with everyone in the comments section so we can all be inspired!