Lake Norman & Mooresville

Quilts for kids project led by 15-year-old

Diana Jasany stands outside the family car, packed with 46 quilts, on the way to the Children's Hope Alliance in Statesville.
Diana Jasany stands outside the family car, packed with 46 quilts, on the way to the Children's Hope Alliance in Statesville. COURTESY OF LAURIE JASANY

Mooresville resident Diana Jasany set a goal and set a date (March 2017) to complete the goal. The goal for the 15-year-old was her Girl Scout Gold Project – the Girl Scouts’ highest and most prestigious award. In a most remarkable way, she has already completed and surpassed her goal.

Diana, adopted from a Russian orphanage at 14 months of age, attends Lake Norman High School and lives with her parents, Dave and Laurie Jasany. Her goal was to quilt 16 quilts for foster children aging out of foster care. The quilts would represent each year she lived in the United States with her family. “Sixteen quilts by March 2017 was a pretty lofty goal,” Diana’s mother, Laurie, commented. “That’s about one quilt per month.”

Diana didn’t hire a marketing director, pay a staff of helpers, or form a company – she started a Facebook page about her project called Diana’s Golden Needle. Now, with over 2,700 followers around the globe, quilters offered to help with the project. Many who offered were once in foster care, had a connection to adoption, or were Girl Scouts once.

Last month, Diana and her parents brought 46 quilts to the Children’s Hope Alliance in Statesville. Children’s Hope Alliance identifies itself as “the combination of Barium Springs and Grandfather Home for Children joining forces to serve children and families throughout North Carolina.” It serves an average of 3,500 children per year.

“I was excited to give the quilts,” Diana said. “I never thought we’d give the quilts that soon. I thought it would take a really long time.”

To protect the privacy of the children, the Jasany family only met with Volunteer and Christmas Coordinator Toni-Ann Pfeiffer when their packed van delivered the quilts to Children’s Hope Alliance. Pfeiffer said, “They kept unloading them and unloading them.”

Diana describes how the quilts were packed: “Each quilt is stuffed into a large pillowcase, handmade and tied with a drawstring top. I made the pillowcases because they don’t have anything to put their stuff in.” They won’t have to use a garbage bag to carry their personal items once the quilt is delivered.

She continued: “An envelope is attached to the pillowcase along with a picture of the quilt, so the children can see and select the quilt they want. I made letters to give to the kids that I attached to the quilts. I told a little bit about my story and the care and keeping of the quilt and I attached a letter that a lady from New York sent me. It’s all about how she lost her parents and her grandparents when she was 16 years old and was living by herself and how she had to care for herself.”

The woman from New York did not want to be identified, but she is now the same age as Diana’s mother, Laurie, who said, “She lived it. I cried. She sent a quilt and wrote a letter with such good advice for the children aging out of foster care that I said, ‘Wait a minute. Every child in foster care should read this.’ 

Despite meeting her goal of 16 quilts, Diana has decided to keep the project going until March 2017. “We have 23 quilts out being quilted right now,” she says referring to her notebook.

There are so many steps involved. Diana explains how she decided to handle the project. She chose a quilt called Scrappy Trips Around the World, a pattern by Bonnie Hunter. Quilters from around the world have sent her completed “blocks” she assembles into 42 blocks. She has received blocks, quilts, material and quilting help from almost all 50 states, England, The Netherlands, Ireland and Guam. Two bolts of fabric from Africa will be used as backing. Completed quilts came from Denmark, a couple quilts came from Germany and Australia, and four quilts came from Canada. Norway is sending a quilt.

Laurie Jasany, who taught Diana to sew, laughed and said, “I can’t help but help her because it just go so big. We received 43 squares today from a North Dakota guild. Diana lays it out into a pattern she likes. Then she numbers and pins them, so we can sew them together. We get it into a quilt top, At that point, people from across the country, called ‘longarm quilters’ have offered to quilt them. It’s a labor of love from many different hands. As a family we’re spending money, but she receives cash donations, which we use to pay for shipping. We sent five quilts to Georgia, which cost $40 to ship, and the volunteers paid to ship them back.

It’s a little overwhelming to the high school sophomore who runs cross country, track and plays basketball. but she’s staying organized. She smiled and said, “I don’t think it’s going to end. I’m doing that program on TV,” referring to “Sewing with Nancy,” the No. 1 sewing show on public television. In early December, Diana will tape a segment on the show called “Nancy’s Corner.” The episode is scheduled to air in January.

Pfeiffer, of the Children’s Hope Alliance, said, “What Diana has done to raise awareness about adoption is incredible. I love her. She’s in 10th grade. ...

“She’s got such a big heart. Many of the children who arrive at the home might have nothing but they’re wearing. When they receive their quilt, we have multiple reactions. The fact that they made quilts that are enormous is their first reaction. The fact that someone made it for them and the children say, ‘This is mine? I get to keep this?’ 

Suzanne Ruff is a freelance writer. ruffsuzanne@gmail.com.

Learn more:

For more information, go to Diana’s Golden Needle Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Dianas-Golden-Needle-1620860048143753/.

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