Quilting for Charity with Crystal Heart

Quilting for Charity with Crystal Heart

Posted by Robyn Thomas on 12th Jan 2024

Some people know her as Crystal Heart, but her real name is Krystle Chaisson Smith. She is a lifelong crafter and creator with an unwavering commitment to share her passion and skills with the world. Even though her quilting journey started later in life (only about 5 years ago), she has fallen in love with the art. Through her YouTube channel, She is able to connect with other creators and has built a warm and welcoming community of like minded crafters. 

"Quilting has always been more than a hobby, but a form to express love and care", Smith shares. The Crystal Heart community has come together to share their knowledge, experiences and more importantly their hearts. 

One thing that all quilters have lying around is orphan blocks! "I had a very ambitious idea of how to use these orphan blocks in a collaborative way. On a whim, I mentioned in a video that the Gems (my channel subscribers) could send me their orphan blocks and I could create a quilt with them. Somehow this simple idea became bigger than I could’ve imagined," she continues to share. 

"Gems were sending me orphan blocks, and I found myself with not only one quilt project but several. My idea turned into a movement. The heart of this movement lies in the creation of charity quilts. These are not just pieces of fabric stitched together, they are blankets of comfort, warmth and compassion. The quilts send a powerful message of love, support and solidarity to those who may be going through challenging times," she says. 

As orphan blocks started rolling in from all over the world, a vision began to take shape. The very first orphan block quilt was crafted from an array of house- themed blocks and it was affectionately named the “House Quilt”.

The House Quilt was the first visual representation of the effectiveness of this collaboration. The blocks varied in colors, styles, and fabrics defying the traditional norms. There were several colors, styles and fabric choices that didn’t necessarily “go together”. 

"Generally, I wouldn’t pair a yellow and red block with a pink and purple block, but this quilt was different. It was put together in a collage style, and all house blocks were included, despite color and style. There were even blocks with applique. A house-themed fabric border elegantly tied it all together, and it has since been entrusted to one of our cherished Gems for quilting," Smith continues to share. 

Thanks to the unwavering support of the Crystal Heart community, She's been fortunate to enlist the help of volunteers willing to assist with quilting, binding and donation. Once the quilt is finished, it is up to the Gems which charity they would like the finished quilt donated to.

The second Orphan block quilt top that she completed was fashioned entirely from Free Spirit Tula Pink fabric. The whimsical colors and patterns of these fabrics ignited her creative spirit, and she managed to put it together and hand quilt it fairly quickly. It is a smaller child’s size quilt, but still came together faster than usual. She loved the quilt so much that she wanted to complete the entire thing herself. This quilt found its new home at Project Linus, a charity that collects newly made quilts, blankets and afghans for children who are ill or in need. 

The most recent addition to her growing family of orphan block quilts is the “Star Quilt''. This quilt is made with all of the star blocks that were sent to her by the Gems. It is another collage style quilt. Assuming that most of them will be collage style, she works hard to find a way to put together all the different blocks. 

"The Star Quilt stands out as the largest of our orphan block quilts so far. If I remember correctly, it measured about 70” square. After it was done, it was sent off to a Gem who owns a longarm quilting machine. I can’t wait to see the finished product," Krystle says with excitement. 

Although the flow of orphan block submissions has subsided recently, the Gem community has accumulated enough to embark on a few more heartwarming quilting projects. 

"As long as I have orphan blocks, and as long as Gems are still sending them to me, I am committed to crafting more quilts. ", Smith shares, "The challenge of harmoniously blending diverse blocks into cohesive quilts has been a delightful adventure, and I'm optimistic that this project will endure for years to come. My mission is to foster the growth of the Orphan Block Project, a name that naturally emerged, alongside the flourishing Crystal Heart Community. Together, we aim to transform this initiative into a truly impactful charitable movement. 

You can find out more about Crystal and follow her on all social media platforms. Her most significant presence is on YouTube @crystalheartchannel