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Quilts for Police Officers and Firefighters

QuiltingCoach Penny

It's never too late to show your appreciation to a special policeman in your life. Even though National Police Week was celebrated May 9-15, a belated gift is always welcome. Or maybe you can get started for next year.

The first thought that comes to mind is to make a quilt in the colors of the officer's police department. Some officers wear navy blue. Others wear black or brown, or a variety of other colors. Any quilt block pattern in the department colors is a good idea.

A great idea for a new police academy graduate or a retiring police officer is a memory quilt. Create a mixed media type project that incorporates photos, journal quilting, and t-shirts.

Favorite t-shirts from special functions worked as security or as worn when participating in community projects are great t-shirts to include in a police officer quilt.

Photos of the officer in uniform, or a group photo of the graduating class from the police academy, or newspaper clippings that feature your favorite officer are a great addition to your quilt.  

Use a blank quilt block to journal favorite memories of the officer. Record date hired by the department, retirement date, promotions, date of police academy graduation, special achievements, etc.

Intersperse these specific memory blocks with patchwork or appliqué blocks. Star blocks fit nicely into the law enforcement theme. Use your favorite star to incorporate into the police officer quilt.

Applique can be a fun addition to a police officer quilt, too.  Ideas for appliqué include a police car, star or badge shape, handcuffs, police cap, and police officer silhouette. If the officer happens to have patches from an old uniform, they make great appliqué items, too.

Retiring officers might like a signature quilt from their co-workers. Use any of the ideas above, but incorporate a block or two to be used for autographing. Before sewing into the quilt project, take the quilt block or blocks to the police department to be signed by the coworkers.

Baste a line around the seam allowance area and explain that all the signatures need to be inside the stitched line. You could also mark it with a fabric pen, but with all the handling, you don't want to risk it wearing off before all signatures have been added. Be sure to send the quilt blocks with a permanent, acid free pen. Medium to fine tips work best for signatures.

Ask a friend or loved one of the recipient if he or she prefers thick quilts or thin ones. Knowing this, choose the batting to fit the recipient's preference. Keep in mind the weather conditions in which the recipient lives. If the officer lives in a tropical climate, he or she might not ever use a quilt with a very thick loft batting.

Finishing off your quilt can be as simple or as intricate as you like. You could tie the quilt, using heavy thread or yarns that coordinate or contrast with the quilt top. You could make this as a "quilt on the go" project, completing each quilt block before moving onto the next one. You might also choose to quilt in the ditch or outline the patterns on the quilt. Stippling or other forms of free motion quilting are also options.

When giving quilts with photos and signatures, be sure to include a small card (an index card would be perfect) that includes washing and drying instructions.  Tuck it inside the gift box or bag or roll the quilt and tie with a special, decorative ribbon. 

Slip the note card into the center of the roll to be sure the recipient receives it.  If giving in a bag, you can always tie the laundry instruction card to the bag itself. You might also use a small pin to attach the card to the outside of the quilt.


strips and stars
This is an easy to make quilt that uses strip piecing. Have people sign the center area, and make the star points in the colors of the police department. This quilt was machine quilted using an overall quilting design.


Happy Quilting!

Penny Halgren





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