When Hilton Head Island resident Ducky Loveless quilts, she thinks about an old Amish saying: "Only God is perfect; your quilts don't have to be."
In the 10 years Loveless has been quilting, she's never sold any of the hundreds of quilts she's created. She gives them away to family and friends or donates them for silent actions to benefit nonprofit organizations.
Wanting to have another purpose for her quilts, Loveless had an idea for an artisans fair that would allow people in the community to use their talents to help others. That idea is the basis for "God's Gifts for God's Children," a fundraiser to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Bluffton. The event will feature a collection of art for sale, including Loveless's quilts, paintings, books, wood-crafted items, photography and gourmet food. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity, Family Promise of Beaufort County and Backpack Buddies.
Loveless's collection of 48 quilts, including baby, twin bed, queen and king size quilts ranging from $75 to $900, is the largest collection donated by any individual for the fundraiser.
And it all started with a love of clothes.
Growing up, Loveless's mother made all of her and her siblings' clothes. It was not out of necessity -- they had plenty -- but because their mother wanted to.
Loveless and her siblings looked forward to the annual fashion show held in their living room at Christmastime when they'd get to see the custom clothing their mother had made for them.
"We loved it because we could have more clothes, nicer fabric, and they'd be different from everybody else's," Loveless said.
At the age of 14, after taking a summer class to learn how to sew on a treadle machine, Loveless took over the creation of her wardrobe. She went on to study home economics at Radford University and later taught the subject for a year.
Carrying on the tradition of her mother, Loveless made clothing for her two sons when they were younger. It was during a time when polyester double-knit was common. Her oldest son still makes fun of Loveless, jokingly angry about the rust-colored bell bottoms he was photographed in.
"That's just what it was in the '60s," Loveless said. "And it wasn't pretty."
Loveless then started an ultra-suede dress shop out of her home, but after 10 years she became burned out. Her passion was now her job, and what she loved had become an obligation. She also wanted to focus on her family.
After a 20-year break, Loveless found a new outlet for her needle and thread when she took a quilting class in 2003. The shelves of her quilting studio are now filled with dozens of finished quilts, more are draped over a loveseat. Colorful fabric squares litter her sewing table.
"I love taking fabrics and combining them," Loveless said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I love the accumulating and mixing, using old traditional patterns with more modern fabric."
While Loveless is humble about her quilts, her skills and craft are recognized by others.
"She has a unique gift of color and patterns." said Carolyn Cherwon, who is president of the board of trustees at Family Promise, a member of Lord of Life, and one of the heads of the fundraiser. "She really is extremely modest, but she's fallen in love with quilting."