Lyn | News from HQ
The early summer is a relatively quiet time for me. The year starts with the Linus annual accounts. March is the Guild stand at Olympia where we show beginners how to make a simple block and how it gets turned into a Linus quilt. April is the Guild AGM and the Linus stand at Uttoxeter. Now I can actually do some sewing. The current project is to make 18 larger quilts to go on the bunks at an adventure camp for inner city kids who would not otherwise get a holiday. I am privileged to live in the beautiful South Shropshire hills at the bottom of the Long Mynd. This is prime country for schools in the West Midlands and Birmingham to send pupils to do their Duke of Edinburgh awards. Pontesbuy Deanery, based near us, has been organising these holidays for many years and I was delighted to get involved because I know from my own children how important it is for City children to be able to run around in open country.
Now that I have the Lucey long arm quilter, donated by APQS, it is really easy to make a top into a quilt. I made two tops, each approx 42inches square. The Warm company have donated quite a few rolls of wadding 90″ so I put both tops on one piece of wadding with a length of 60″ lightweight cotton for the backing. It took less than one hour to do the quilting on the two tops using a random meandering pattern. This is worked from the needle side of the machine so you can see what you are doing which makes it much easier than trying to follow a pantograph. How many of you took part in ‘Knit in Public’ day? We had a little group knitting in our local library and chatting – libraries have changed since my youth. It was just as well that we met indoors as it rained all day. It’s good to show people what we do. Apparently the NHS is even considering prescribing knitting as therapy for depression and dementia. How boring life would be if we didn’t keep making things.
Happy quilting – and knitting too
Ann | Chesterfield & South Sheffield
Hilary Jackson and Sarah Humphreys are a Mum and Daughter team who have recently started to organise quilting retreats in Kegworth, Derbyshire. The first retreat, in October 2014, proved so popular that in May of this year they held two retreats – attended by a total of 52 ladies from all over the country. Hilary and Sarah have been supporters of Project Linus UK for many years, having made and donated several quilts through their local quilt groups. They were sure that many of the quilters attending the retreat would love to support Project Linus as well so set a little ‘preretreat challenge’. They circulated the instructions for a simple 10” quilt block and asked each quilter to make one block in bright colours, suitable for a child, and bring it with them to the retreat.
The response to the challenge was fantastic. In all, 160 blocks were donated – enough for ten quilts. During the retreat weekend, Sarah and Hilary sorted and stitched the blocks. Hilary then took them away to quilt and bind. Everyone was delighted with how the quilts turned out and commented on how – with the same instructions – quilters can end up making such diverse blocks. It is amazing though that the blocks still go together so easily to make a wide range of quilts which will hopefully appeal to children of different ages. These quilts have now been given to Home Start in Sheffield for the families to enjoy A big thank you from Sarah and Hilary to everyone who donated a block. They’ll certainly have another challenge ready for quilters at the next retreat!
Janet | Caithness
We had a very productive day’s workshop at Caithness Quilters and made enough blocks for about 5 quilts. This idea came about as some of the ladies had heard that they could make a foundation pieced house block for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August which would go to make Linus Quilts.
Jacki | Gloucester
I have been asked to provide 20 incubator covers – quite a task! The first of these have now been delivered to SCBU at St Michaels Hospital Bristol. The only stipulation was that they should have dark backs to minimise the light. Apparently the babies are then able to open their eyes without the glare of the lights and the mothers say that bonding begins properly at this point. I have been able to use up ‘ugly’ on the back and also light damaged dark fabrics so it is proving quite useful. Only the centre is quilted – 40 x 20 – which I do free motion quilting to ensure it can’t come adrift anywhere. When folded back it folds exactly on the wadding line so stays put.
Pip | Edinburgh, Mid & East Lothian
A few of the Thank You letters received:
“I’ve attached some pictures of your beautiful handmade quilts. Feedback from the families has been great and they all are so thankful of the gift. In one picture the little boy is unwell and is lying in bed with his quilt on top. Another child voiced her excitement of receiving the princess quilt as princesses are her favourite thing. I just want to thank you for you continued support and donations of the quilts; they really mean so much to our families living in our refuge.” Family Support Worker
“We received a beautiful quilt last week when our little boy was in the sick children’s hospital in Edinburgh. I don’t know if it is possible to thank the person who made it. It has a cockerel weather vane in the middle and is edged in deep red and green and is fleece backed. The background colour is yellow. It kept Finn, 16 months, warm and reassured during his time in intensive care and recuperating on the wards after a terrifying episode of septicaemia and toxic shock. We are very grateful for your kindness.”
“Our son has just recently come out of the Sick Kids hospital. The day we were leaving we were giving a beautiful blue/cream teddy bear and balloons patchwork quilt which is now keeping our 1 year old very cosy. Thanks so much for giving us such a lovely gift. It put a smile on our faces after having such a worrying time in hospital with our son. We really appreciate it and it will take pride and place in our son’s bedroom”.
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Please send any articles or photographs for inclusion in the next newsletter to Ann.