Lifestyles – Johnson City Press 6/17/02


Kathie Williams of Tennessee
Kathie Williams with some of the quilts she has made (Staff Photo by Eddie LeSueur)
A binky can make all the difference to a sick or sad child needing comfort. For those unsure of what a “binky” is, Kathie Williams provides a translation: It’s a homemade blanket or quilt.

Williams is the founder of the new local chapter of Binky Patrol, a national nonprofit organization that makes and gives handmade blankets to babies and children who are sick, abused or in shelters or foster care. Founded in 1996, Binky Patrol has delivered more than 75,000 blankets.

Williams heard about the group through a blurb in Reader’s Digest magazine. Because she loves to sew, she contacted founder Susan Finch and learned the closest chapter was in Knoxville. “It was a perfect fit, like a puzzle,” Williams said, adding that she was looking for an outlet for her talents.

So far Williams has made about a dozen binkies, which she plans to deliver to the pediatric unit at Johnson City Medical Center and Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House. And though she is a one-woman operation, she hopes to get the word out to other sewers in the area.

She has placed notices at local craft and fabric shops, and has mailed out notices to quilt shops and individuals in the hope of attracting volunteer sewers, as well as donations of fabric and batting. Williams has provided the materials for the quilts she has made. Hancock Fabrics has given her a 10-percent discount on top of sale prices.

“So far all the money that’s been put into it is mine, but I’m having so much fun doing it,” she said. “I started about a month ago.”

Williams expects the need for binkies will increase as word spreads about the Binky Patrol. When that happens, the mother of three who works full-time hopes others will have come on board to lend their sewing hands.

Skill level doesn’t matter. “I started sewing before Christmas for the first time,” Williams said. “I’ll take anyone who (sews) for a living or just wants to start.” Those who crochet also are welcome.

It also doesn’t matter, she added, if a volunteer makes one blanket or a dozen.

“Girls Inc. is going to be helping. Each age group will be doing a quilt,” Williams said.

Supplies including batting, fabric and gift cards from local fabric stores are especially needed, Williams said. She will pick up donations and provide receipts for tax purposes.

For more information, call Williams at 232-6594, e-mail her at or visit her page(Contact Cindy Tipton at