In March 2022, a few weeks after Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the Facebook group Scandinavian Modern Quilters launched a charity campaign supporting Ukraine. The leading target group was Ukrainian refugees in Norway. In addition, Scandinavian Modern Quilters wanted to show its support for quilters living in Ukraine.
Mali Storli Engedal, Oslo, and Laila Karlsmoen, Trysil, governed the project. They are administrators of Scandinavian Modern Quilters, a Facebook group with over one thousand members in many countries, some far away from Scandinavia. The internet has indeed made quilting a global activity.
Inspired by an Australian charity
The Norwegian charity was a copy of a similar campaign started by Australian quilters after the devastating forest fires rummaging Australia in 2019 and 2020. Thirty-four people lost their lives during the bushfires. According to Wikipedia, the fires destroyed over 3,500 homes and 5,800 outbuildings. So Australian quilters decided to sew and quilt quilts, based partly on around 400 quilting blocks collected from Scandinavian quilters.
Mali brought the blocks with her on the plane to the QuiltCon tradeshow in Austin, Texas, in February 2020. There, she gave them to Australian quilters, who brought them home to Australia.
The campaign had a two-fold purpose: To provide practical help and show moral support for those who had lost their homes.
In gratitude for the sizeable Scandinavian contribution to the #bushfireblock campaign, Australian quilters supported the Norwegian initiative for a similar campaign supporting war-ridden Ukraine. Once again, we are talking about a collection of approximately 400 quilting blocks – in total, this time. Around half of the blocks came from Australia. Impressive! In addition, the USA is on the list of countries contributing to the Scandinavian Modern Quilters’ Ukraine campaign.
Mali and Laila chose the Ukrainian national sunflower as the theme of inspiration for the block contributions. Those who helped sew the blocks into beautiful quilts used various colors—however, the Ukrainian shades of yellow and blue dominated the quilts.
On Monday, March 13, 2023, the campaign ended when Mali was admitted to The Ukrainian Embassy in Oslo to give the two remaining quilts to the embassy.
Maryna Mellerud at the Humanitarian Coordination Center of the Embassy of Ukraine in Norway received the quilts on behalf of the embassy. The embassy will probably use one of the quilts for decoration. Most likely, they will send the other quilt by diplomatic mail to The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in Kyiv. Hopefully, the ministry will place the quilt where it can symbolize the tremendous international support for Ukraine’s fight for peace, freedom, and independence.
400 blocks became 26 quilts
Out of the approximately 400 quilting blocks collected in the campaign, Norwegian quilters produced 26 large quilts. Here is a list of what happened to them:
- Ukrainian refugees, of whom several were children, received 20 quilts at an event that The Ukrainian Society of Norway held at the Furuset grammar school in Oslo in August 2022.
- Three quilts were lent to The Norwegian Theater in Oslo to decorate the theater entrance during a Ukrainian performance in August 2022.
- The Oslo division of The Ukrainian Society of Norway received two quilts.
- Ukrainian quilters received two quilts as a token of solidarity.
- The Ukrainian Embassy of Oslo received two quilts in March 2023.
«Thank you for being so helpful.»
Scandinavian Modern Quilters wishes to thank everybody who contributed to this campaign by making quilting blocks, sewing quilts, or quilting the quilts. Furthermore, many have taken part in the challenging logistics of producing and distributing all those marvelous quilts.