Cancer sucks and I need your help

My dad has cancer.

It’s not a secret, I just don’t talk about it because it makes me sad and angry and frustrated and a whole host of other emotions that don’t even have names. There aren’t words to describe how unsettled and out of sorts it makes me feel to know my dad has this disease which he maybe, someday could recover from. Or it could take his life. We don’t know. I can’t begin to imagine how it makes him feel.

Here’s the short version: My dad was diagnosed as having a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). He was on chemotherapy medication for almost a year and then, in September, he had surgery to remove a very large tumor and a dozen or so smaller tumors from his abdomen. About a month ago, a scan revealed the cancer had spread: stomach, liver, kidneys. His case was transferred to another hospital and he started some different chemotherapy drugs. There are a lot of unknowns ahead.

I just returned home from visiting my parents for a few days. My dad gets around, but the disease and its treatment wipe him out quickly, so he spends a lot of time in his recliner. Apparently, my mom was watching a show that featured Quilts of Valor. My dad made some comment along the lines of “Those guys get a quilt and their wife isn’t even a quilter.” At least cancer hasn’t made him soft!

I could apply for a quilt from Quilts of Valor for my dad. He’s a Vietnam veteran. On top of that, it’s possible (probable?) that exposure to agent orange during that war caused the cancer. But, I told my that I wanted to make him a quilt, and drew up three color schemes using Ohio Star blocks and 4-patch chain blocks (modified Irish Chain? Does this block have a name?)

He picked this one. It’s made of a 5×6 grid of 12-inch blocks to finish at a large throw size of 60×72 inches.


I would love to have this finished by his birthday May 5th. That’s exactly 6 weeks from now. I don’t think I can complete this quilt on that timeline by myself, but I was hoping you would help?

The color scheme is “red, white and blue”: think deep blue and bright red, like the American flag.

These are the blocks I need:



I will post a quick tutorial for these in the next day or so, but here are the quick fabric requirements:

Chain Block:
white: (2) strips, 2.5 x 10 inches; (4) squares, 4.5 inches
blue: (1) 2.5 x 10 inches; (1) 2.5 x 5 inches
red: (1) 2.5 x 10 inches; (1) 2.5 x 5 inches

Step 1: Sew one long white strip to the long blue strip along the long edge. Sew the other long white strip to the long red strip.
Step 2: Cut the strips apart every 2.5 inches (You will have pairs of red or blue + white that are 2.5 x 4.5 inches)
Step 3: Sew the short red and blue strips together along the 5-inch edge.
Step 4: Cut the red and blue piece in the middle to make two pairs of red + blue for the center of the block.
Step 5: Use pairs and white squares to assemble the block as seen above.

Star Block: 
For the center: 3.25 inch square, white or low volume with red or blue print
For the corners around the center: (2) 3-inch squares (red or blue, depending on the block), cut on the diagonal to make (4) triangles
–Sew the long edge of each triangle to a side of the center square. Trim the unit to 4.5 inches.
Quarter square triangles: (2) 5.25 inch squares, white; (1) 5.25 inch square, red; (1) 5.25 inch square, blue
Block corners: (4) 4.5 inch squares, red or blue, depending on the block

If you’d like to help, I would be forever grateful. Here’s how:

1. Make a block or two and send it my way. Leave a message, or email me at and I will send you my address. I’d like all blocks in hand by April 16th at the very latest (3.5 weeks from now).

2. Send me some fabrics in “American flag” colors of deep blue and bright red. Both of these colors are severely under-represented in my stash. A 2.5 x 15 inch strip or a 9-inch square in these colors would go a long way! Again, send me an email if you can help out with this and I’ll send you my address.

3. This is a long shot, but if you are a longarmer, or know of one would would do this project on the cheap the week after Easter, let me know. I can certainly manage a quilt of this size on my Bernina, but a long arm would be quicker!

13 replies
  1. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I am a long armer and I can quilt the quilt for you if you would like. I would prefer to do a pantograph on it since I am “newer”, but let me know what you are thinking so shoot me an e-mail and we can talk all the specifics. I will do it for free. You would just need to pay to ship it to me:)

  2. Alison
    Alison says:

    I have a whole pile red, white, and blue fabrics that coordinate and are very festive. I can maybe put together a pieced backing or send you the yardage for you to use as binding/backing.

  3. Chloa Romick
    Chloa Romick says:

    I would be willing to make all of the chain blocks unless someone else is making any of them. Or any number of the chain blocks. Please let me know.

  4. Monica
    Monica says:

    I’m so sorry about your dad Em. I would love to help in any way that you need me to. Hugs to you and your family.

  5. kelleigh bland
    kelleigh bland says:

    Em, Figure out what you have and what you need then email/IG me. I am in for anything that you need.

  6. Dawn B
    Dawn B says:

    I am so very sorry to hear about your father. I really, really hate cancer and the awful toll it takes on it’s victims and their families. I lost my sweet husband 2 months ago, a very young 46 year old, to pancreatic cancer. Cancer has devastated our family. It has taken away my husband and the father of my children.

    I would love to be a part of your father’s quilt. As a veteran myself and the wife of another veteran, I would be honored if I could make a block or two to help honor another veteran and victim of this horrible disease. Please let me know which blocks you need help with and I will get them sent out to you.

    God Bless you and your family

  7. Leo
    Leo says:

    If you still need blocks made … I saw someone willing to do the Irish chain ones … so I wouldn’t mind doing some of the star blocks … (though of course also Irish cahin ones if you need them) –
    I would say I can manage 6 blocks, just let me know which ones you need and they will be yours.

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