Newsletter – September 2017

Elspeth | Lanarkshire & Glasgow East

After I posted my Summer Newsletter, I received the following from a support worker at Quarriers’ Charity in the east end of Glasgow:

“Hi Elspeth – That is a wonderful newsletter. I know just how important the quilts are. When we gave them to the children in our Seasons Group (a group that supports children who have experienced loss) – they absolutely loved them. They immediately wrapped themselves in the quilts and the children I am still in touch with tell me they take their quilts to bed with them at night and one little boy talks to his quilt and tells it all his worries. I also gave a quilt to a mum who lost her 12-year-old daughter to suicide – she finds that by wrapping herself in the quilt and sitting in her daughter’s room it gives her great comfort.

As the lady doctor stated – Never underestimate the importance of what you do.
Kind Regards,
Rhonda”


Beryl | Easingwold & York

HambletonThis is a photo of some of the quilts made by the Hambleton Quilters group.


Pat | South-West Essex & East London

Shirley Dudeney from St Martins Church, Chipping Ongar, Essex coordinated and donated the delivery of knitted blankets which started off as a Lent Project but others in the town joined in and Jill Bowtle was kind enough to display some of the blankets in her shop window (Ongar Wools). Also residents at Frank Breton House and Weighbridge Court were encouraged to use their traditional skills to knit further blankets.

Warley and Childerditch quilters have donated 33 handmade quilts to Basildon University Hospital’s children’s wards as part of the Linus Project. It is the second donation from the Warley and Childerditch Quilters Club, whose 30 members spent a couple of Saturday workshops creating the quilts. Lesley Punter, a member of the club who also works in The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre booking office, handed over the donation on behalf of the quilters. She said: “A simple small quilt for a baby only takes a day to make. You just have to stitch the front, put the backing on and then use a machine to quilt it. “It’s so nice to hear that they are serving the purpose they were made for – a bit of comfort and security in hospital and at home.”

Sally Bennett, play assistant, said: “There are several patients, one of who has now moved into our adult services, who still use their quilts. It really does bring comfort and the patient and their families are always so grateful. Thank you so much to the Warley and Childerditch Quilters.”

Jane Nairn, who runs St Peter’s Sewing group in Roydon, Essex have made a number of knitted blankets for Project Linus particularly for new- born babies. Some of the group’s knitters are very keen to use their well-honed skills to create knitted garments for the tiny babies and these and the blankets have been donated to the neo-natal unit of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. The items have to be washed at 600 so the ward is very grateful to receive a continuing supply as the items do not last too long at the required washing temperature. The sewing Group have some terrific knitters who also knit for Operation Christmas Child and make and donate a quilt to raffle for their Flower Festival. Reenie Dalton interpreted the 2017 challenge in such an innovative way and here is a photo of Reenie and her lovely quilt which was taken to the Festival of Quilts in August 2017.

Roding Quilters have been very busy making quilts from shirt fabric generously donated by Charles Tyrwhitt, the well-known men’s tailor in London. The stripes, spots and checks are perfect for children’s quilts and the cotton fabric is superb to work with. We are very grateful to the company for their continuing support of Project Linus. Thanks must also go to Janet Howells, FredaPrice, Val Ayris and Maureen Levene to name but a few of the small army of regulars who consistently support Project Linus. They do a brilliant job using their skills for the benefit of all of the children who receive their donations.


Jean | Fife

I thought that you might be interested in this small group of children. Throughout the year the sewing group of Primary 6 and 7 of Masterton Primary School sew quilts for Project Linus. They have two old Singer sewing machines which they love using to put the blocks together.

School

Fiona Campbell has organised this group for a few years within the school and is helped by other members of staff helping the children to produce the wonderful quilts for the children who are less fortunate than themselves. Craftwork is sold at the school fairs to fund the purchase of the fabric and some ladies from a local group the Dunfermline Quilters donate pieces of fabric to help the production line. This year I collected 15 beautiful quilts and was able to hand them over to a representative for Barnardo’s.


Cath – Ceredigion/Carmarthenshire

I have a wonderful group of quilting ladies who always come up trumps when I suggest a Linus Day. I was lucky enough to spend 2 months in New Zealand at the beginning of the year and I thought I would have to plunge straight back into sewing quilts when I got back – but my ladies came up trumps again. I received so many quilts – more than 35 – that I was able to have a bit of breathing space to get myself sorted out. When I suggested a Linus Day in June I was able to offer to make it a little different, because I had bought enough fabric to fill a suitcase while in NZ – so we had a Kiwi Linus Day, just using my NZ fabric. Here are some of the results.

Kiwi quilts

Thank you to all my lovely ladies.


Pip | Edinburgh Mid & East Lothian

Had a very nice phone call from the boy’s grandfather, a clergyman, obviously very grateful and appreciative of all the work done by Linus. They had quite a long chat and it transpired that although he was taken ill very suddenly, his prognosis seems to be very good.

“I wanted to convey my sincere appreciation for the gift of a quilt, that was given to my grandson (11). He was diagnosed with Leukaemia on the 22nd May, and has been in the Royal Sick Children’s Hospital in Edinburgh, though now home and under the care of Ninewells hospital in Dundee. The quilt is beautiful and their thoughtfulness behind this provision is very moving. Thank you to you and all your friends who give time, great skill and real compassion. It is greatly appreciated. May you have great support and encouragement in all you do. Many thanks”


News about PLUK President Lyn Antill

It was lovely to see Lyn at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham when she spent the day there. She was able to catch up with both Coordinators and Quilters Guild members and we were all pleased to see how relaxed and well she was. Lyn will be standing down as a Director and President of Project Linus UK later this year.

So…. Heather and Helen will be continuing as Directors of Project Linus UK. However, to guarantee that Project Linus UK continues to flourish in the future we need to appoint at least one more – and preferably two more Directors. It is not essential that both new Directors are PLUK Coordinators – although we would prefer one to be – as long as they have an interest in the organisation. Directors do need to be prepared to help us with some paperwork but the more it can be shared out, the less each person needs to do. We will not be appointing a new President as now that we are a Community Interest Company the Directors are responsible for running the Company. Please contact Helen Scales or Heather Russell is you would like more information about becoming a Director.


Lyn Antil | My time with Project Linus UK

Project Linus was started in the UK by Anne Salisbury-Jones in the year 2000 and I first learnt about it at the first Festival of Quilts in 2003. As part of publicising the Festival of Quilts articles were placed in a variety of magazines, general women’s as well as stitching, with patterns given for 61⁄2“ blocks. Linus had a large stand at the show with lots of people sewing the blocks together – I heard quite a bit of muttering about different interpretations of 61⁄2 “! I just wanted to leap in and help, although I doubted my quilting ability, but did resolve to find out what was required and see what I could do.

I made some scrap quilts and took them to my nearest coordinator in Nottinghamshire, where I was living at the time. By 2005/6, she had retired and I had become coordinator for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as I lived on the border and went to quilt groups in both counties. During this time Irene Heathcote took over from Anne Salisbury-Jones to become the second President of Project Linus UK. In 2007, I offered to help Ann Fordham, the third President, at the Festival of Quilts as I still remembered the excitement of that first show. Ann told me that, because of changing family circumstances she was retiring and asked me if I would take over. I became the fourth President of Project Linus UK in 2007.

Lyn Antill

In those days, it was a fairly simple job. We were still building up the network and spent most of our time telling people about Linus. A simple website had been set up on which we published information about our activities, the list of coordinators and some suggested patterns. I kept a count of quilts / blankets delivered, sent out occasional newsletters, and organised the stand at FoQ. We didn’t ‘do money’, but we did get a lot of interest and a lot of people with ideas.

Being from an IT background, one of the early things I did was to get a small commercial company to set up a new website for us. GoFour was a startup company and gave us a good rate for the work. I could specify what we wanted, even though the technology was beyond me (when I started, computers had valves!). GoFour still look after the site to make sure it is properly registered etc. With rather a lot of banging my head against the manuals, I managed to keep the site updated with new coordinators and ideas for patterns and so on for quite a while, but was over the moon when Sarah Grier (a young woman working with websites) agreed to carry out the updates. Despite
now having a family, she is still doing the technical work for us.

We kept the format at FoQ the same for several years with a block challenge and information for potential volunteer quilt makers and coordinators. At the same time, we did more shows. Elspeth Russell, our Scottish Regional Coordinator, was busy in Scotland. I went to Uttoxeter and several other people did the shows in their areas. One big event we got involved with was at the V&A which wanted the Quilters Guild to provide hands on experience for their visitors alongside an exhibition of quilts that they were collating. I worked with Jane Steward of the Guild to design simple blocks that we could instruct people how to make and then put together to create a top. The V&A provided the fabric and fleece backing. These were then donated as Linus quilts. The V&A invited lots of Girl Guides to come along for a day to hear about Linus quilts and to make a block. We had nowhere to work except sitting on the floor in one of the galleries! It was clear that many of the girls had never been taught to sew – but they did think my thimble was cool. This idea was later used at the Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia where Jane and I designed another block. Guild member volunteers cut packs and helped visitors to make blocks and lay them out on a design board to show the different effects that could be achieved as we turned them into Linus quilts. I went down to help for several years before handing it over.

In the past few years, the Guild has provided space and a couple of sewing machines at their AGM for us to make patchwork tops. I have been to most Quilters Guild AGM’s since becoming President of Project Linus UK so that I can spread the word. Initially I took left over packs from the V&A and in some areas local coordinators were also able to provide packs and helpers. Most Guild members love doing a bit of sewing at the AGM as they complain of withdrawal symptoms sitting in the talks. A Facebook page was set up for us and Jacquie Cranfield took over monitoring it and answering queries. I split the newsletter into two – one contains ‘business’ items from ‘Head Office’ for coordinators and the other – Stitching Together – which is for all our volunteer supporters to read has news about quilts and blankets delivered, workshops and general information. (Christine Rush edited the latter for a while and then Ann Smith took over.)

Meanwhile we were recruiting more volunteer coordinators who were giving out quilts and blankets – over 317,000 items so far with some coordinators having achieved huge totals of 10,000 to 15,000. Coordinators were also finding new ways of raising funds and getting donations towards purchasing fabric and wadding by asking local companies or councils for support, organising sales of work or raffles etc. In some cases, generous organisations have provided quite significant amounts (well, significant by our modest standards). I couldn’t believe Heather Russell when she started selling 50p scrap bags but they sell amazingly well at shows.

About five years ago I realised that we had £10,000 a year going through the Project Linus UK account which was set up with just my signature and I started thinking about what would happen if I went under a bus, or if someone started asking questions about whether the money was properly accounted for. I made several attempts to set up the sort of ‘club’ structure that I was familiar with where there was a committee to take responsibility for decisions, but with everyone spread across the country this was a non-starter.

Helen Scales (a Midlands Coordinator and also a Quilters Guild member) who had assisted me at the FoQ was persuaded to become a second signatory and she suggested I ask Heather Russell (another Midlands coordinator) who had lots of good ideas and suggestions, to help us. We talked to a local solicitor who suggested that we form a Community Interest Company (CIC). Project Linus UK CIC was registered with Companies House in February 2013. Helen, Heather and I were registered as Directors. At the 2016 Guild AGM I met Jackie Anderson, a retired book-keeper, who agreed to become the Project Linus UK CIC Treasurer.

So, we had everything more or less sorted out. And just as well we did, because I got carried away with the exercise machines at the gym (well, I still felt as though I was only 40) and had a stroke at the end of December 2016. For a while I could barely speak or move. Thanks to Heather, Helen and Jackie they have been able to keep the show on the road and they have plainly got lots of ideas of how to move us forward. This effectively put an end to my Presidency, but not my involvement with Linus as I will still be making quilts with the machine donated to PLUK by APQS. We are looking for one, or preferably two, people to join the Directors of Project Linus CIC to share the work and I am sure they would find it is rewarding as I have done.

 

 

Newsletter – May 2017

Heather & Helen | HQ

Heather Russell and Helen Scales manned the Project Linus stand at the Quilt and Stitch show at Uttoxeter. We would like to thank everyone who supported Project Linus through the purchase of fabric, books, magazines and raffles tickets. We look forward to seeing you at the Festival of Quilts in August.

Heather and Helen in Uttoxeter


Jan | Norfolk

I collected 18 beautiful quilts & gave a talk about Project Linus in Norfolk to the lovely group at Leziate Village Hall. They were made from the fabric donated to them by a husband of a late member. I collected another 12 quilts from a regular donator, Freda and her friend Ann at the same event. The quilts have been given to a local hospital and Nelson’s Journey, a charity that supports children bereaved in Norfolk. Thank you ladies for your support, it’s greatly appreciated.

Norfolk quilt donations


Caroline | Liverpool

We recently donated quilts to Foxfield School, Wirral for children with special needs. The photos show some of the pupils with the quilts which they were very pleased with and the lovely thank you gift they sent in return.

“I hope by now that you have received the thank you letter that I posted on Friday to say how delighted we were to receive the beautiful quilts that you and your colleagues made for pupils at this school. We have shared them out between two classes and they are already being well used. I was asked to send you some photographs that you might want to use on your website so I am attaching four nice shots that have been taken in class. I hope you like them. If I can help in any other way to support the great work you do please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”

Foxfield school quilts


Val | Surrey

QGBI Region 2 organised a Block Party in Surrey recently. I was able to take along all my donated UFO’s and many sets of pre-cut squares. We had 15 happy sewers for the day, and ended up with 17 finished tops, which then were kindly taken to be long arm quilted. I’m really looking forward to getting them back!

I was also asked to represent Project Linus at the Knitting and Stitching Show last week at Olympia. The Quilters Guild had a free drop-in workshop running for the whole show, with 6 sewing machines with tutors, and hand piecing too. The aim was to encourage people to have a go at making a block. The blocks were then all donated to Project Linus. Over the 4 days 591 ‘Corner in the Cabin’ blocks were made which are now being made into quilts. We were also able to introduce many people to the Project. It was very satisfying to meet people who had never attempted any patchwork, then proudly putting their finished blocks on to the design wall. It was also great to meet other co-ordinators, and many supporters over the four days. I arrived home on Sunday night completely exhausted but very happy! Many thanks to the Quilters Guild for their great support for our organisation.


Pip | Edinburgh Mid & East Lothian

“Hi, I received one of your donated blankets from ward 6 at sick kids. Just want to send a huge thank you from me and my little girl Isla. She has decided to use it as her new playmat as it gives lots of room for her to learn to crawl! Love Jenni & Isla”

Isla May 17


Sarah | Herefordshire

This is a photo sent by Mary Wood, coordinator for Herefordshire, picturing her with her daughter Gill from York, also a patchwork enthusiast, when Mary went to receive the magnificent total of thirty quilts from patchwork teacher Ann Jermey. Meeting at Doughty’s Warehouse in Hereford, Ann told Mary that she and a friend Chris had completed the quilts using fabrics and blocks kindly donated by some of her friends and students. Given the number of quilts made, this must have taken quite some time. Mary was particularly grateful to receive them at this time as she had just delivered the last of her collection for the use of the children from the latest group of refugees from Syria who will live in Hereford. Apparently, they have settled well and were delighted with their gifts.

Herefordshire quilt donations


Elspeth | Lanarkshire & Glasgow East

“Hi, I would like to say thank you for the kids blankets and teddies I received from Motherwell Woman’s Aid which some of your volunteers made – if you could pass on a thank you to them. I have attached a couple of pictures. Thanks Michelle”


Ann | Chesterfield & South Sheffield

“To the members of the Project Linus: Please accept a massive thank you for your most generous donation of quilts and blankets, recently received for Baby Basics in Chesterfield. They were all so beautiful and will be treasured by our receiving mums for years to come. Many, many thanks, Jane and the Baby Basics team”


Let us know what you’ve been up to

Please send articles and photographs for future newsletters to Ann at peter.ann.smith@gmail.com

Newsletter – March 2017

Ingrid | Pembrokeshire

In 2014 a friend of mine, Pat Bannister, held a charity event, in aid of cancer, in her son’s garden. Of those that attended many donated a 12½” patchwork square. These squares were hung on a long washing line and made a colourful display. Afterwards, Pat and her friends set to and made them into quilts for Project Linus UK.


Mary and Sarah | Herefordshire

The Pludds Quilting Group from the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire is a self-help group of quilters who meet on the third Tuesday of each month to sew and chat. Last year their community project was to make patchwork quilts for Linus and recently handed over 18 quilts they had made for sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers. They would like to thank residents of The Pludds and other people who kindly donated fabric for this project.

Pludd quilters


Pip | Edinburgh

I would like to say a very big thank you to Project Linus for the quilt. My 17-month- old son was admitted to hospital on Christmas Eve, but despite being unwell, he was so excited when he saw his Thomas the Tank Engine blanket. It was such a lovely and thoughtful gift, thank you for putting a smile on all of our faces. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.


Sylvia | Warrington

Crazy Quilters and Knitters for Linus

We were fortunate to receive a grant from The Big Lottery last year. I was assisted in the application by Doreen, our treasurer. I had been contacted by Paula from Warrington Volunteer Support Services (WVSS) who suggested we apply to The Big Lottery following a previous failed application for local funding. We were looking for some money to restock some of our fabric and wool. Our group had grown to forty members and so the stock doesn’t last very long. This is despite members using some of their own stash. We normally have a couple of fund raising events a year plus whatever donations we manage to receive. We then use this money to buy wool and fabric to make more quilts and blankets. We had hoped to maybe get a few more rulers and equipment too as these things need to be replaced at times. Our group meet once a month in the Methodist Church Hall and on those days, we dedicate our time to Project Linus work. We have some equipment that is available for newcomers to use.

They invariably buy their own equipment when they get “hooked” on patchwork and quilting and they want to do more at home. Our knitters are happy if we keep them supplied with wool and have declined offers of getting a knitting machine. We don’t set targets on how many each person makes or how many a year. We accept that people have either jobs or other commitments and we all work at a different pace. Paula emphasised how much support we were giving to the local community as well as the recipients of the quilts and blankets we make. Following Paula’s advice, I asked members what they felt they gained by being a member of the group. We had some very positive remarks back. We were having four meetings a year when we would share a new or different technique, meeting like-minded people, giving something back to the community, sharing and growing, increased knowledge of a hobby. People living alone commented on meeting lots of smiley faces, making friends and giving and receiving support. We had several meetings with Paula who encouraged us to ask for more than we originally intended. She suggested we considered larger items but at the time the only thing on our wish list was a Long Arm Quilter. This would have meant renting accommodation to store and use it which was unrealistic.

Embroidery machine

After much thought, research and consideration we eventually decided to ask for sufficient funding to buy an embroidery machine. Although I had no personal experience of these machines one of our ladies did and had used hers to sandwich some of her Linus quilts together and they looked so beautiful we thought this may be worth a try. Doreen and I worked together to identify what we would ask for. We encouraged the knitters to explore different types of needles etc. but all they wanted was some nice wool to work with. We found quite a few things that would enable the sewers to improve and speed up the making of quilts but the embroidery machine was the main item we asked for, something we would never have raised enough funds for on our own.

The research and planning of our application was quite time consuming and seemed to take forever but eventually Doreen and I had another meeting with Paula and we agreed the application should be submitted. There was a period of about six to eight weeks when we had to wait for a decision to be made. I then received a conditional grant offer and completed the necessary paper work but at this stage we were not to make the offer public. We had to wait till The Big lottery gave a date when we could go public. We have one year to spend the grant money and have to have receipts for all purchases to prove the grant has been spent as we had intended, should anybody need it.

Ballerina embroidery

The Big lottery emphasise the importance of publicity to both promote your own project and to let National Lottery players see were the money they raise is spent. We named our project “A Hug in a Blanket” one of Linus sayings. They give lots of free plaques, stickers and other items and guidance. Since receiving the grant we have so far bought lots of the things we had planned. Whilst at a Stitching and Craft weekend I saw a similar embroidery machine to that I had researched. There was £200 off but for that weekend only. A few more committee members went to the show the next day to check it out. In the meantime, I had spoken to a more local sewing machine supplier, Bambers, and they said that in view of us being a Project Linus group they would give us a further discount. Needless to say, we spent that on embroidery threads with them and we will be longstanding customers for them.

We are at the very early stages of a steep learning curve, trying to learn as much as we can about the designs and the machine etc. Several ladies have made samples of the different patterns that are available. Some of our ladies feel a bit daunted (myself included) but when they watch us using it they are fascinated and pleased with the results. We plan to let everyone have a go over the next six months or so. Some of the knitters are keen to do appliqué motifs to go on the corner of their blankets. There are quite a few ideas buzzing round the group on the things we can do so watch this space. This was a fitting piece of equipment for the group to acquire on our 10th birthday year.I appreciate this is not suitable for all Linus groups, more so for community based groups but I would recommend other groups explore the possibility.


Ann | South Sheffield and Chesterfield

Just before Christmas one of our members was helping to give out food hampers to vulnerable families in Sheffield, through Besom, and wondered if we could give the children some of our quilts – which we were happy to do. We subsequently received this letter:

“I thank God for the wonderful hearts you have to help those in need. It was lovely to meet you and relieve you of all the quilts, bags and baby knits! All the quilts were put into the appropriate age bags and delivered with the food hampers. They were a great addition to our hampers and were all very gratefully received. We’ve had great feedback from clients and workers about what a difference they made. One family I delivered to, the dad said they didn’t think they would be able to give the children presents and now they would each have their own bag with a quilt in!”.

Newsletter – November 2016

Lyn | News from HQ

Well, the Halloween quilts have been distributed now. There is never enough boy’s fabric but I came across some lovely creepy cartoon skeletons at the Malvern show which seemed just the job. I was able to use large panels of the picture fabric with border of squares in black, white and a ghastly lime green to complete the spooky effect. These went to our local Foster Carers Association. Of course, there were girlie ones too and a couple of weighted quilts for autistic children to help them calm down. One of these was for a girl to help her sleep and one as a lap quilt for a boy who can’t sit still in class. All the fabric shops seem to have lots of flowers and also little kiddies cartoon stuff, but nothing for the bigger boys. Does Minecraft (which my 8-year-old grandson adores) charge too much for the use of its imagery?

Now, I guess quite a few of our supporters are doing the same as me – making quilts in Christmas colours. I have to admit that I am doing this with fabric that I bought several years ago and never got around to making up. This time it’s a simple rail fence pattern in black, red, green and white strips. I know that quite a few of you are making quilts for Syrian refugee children – they have a different requirement as Islam obviously doesn’t celebrate Christmas but they also do not approve of pictures of people or animals and want quilts with simple colour patterns. Variety is a really key part of our thinking so that each child can have a quilt which appeals to them and is, in some way, unique. So, use your imagination and your scraps.


Joy | Birmingham South

Well, the last couple of weeks have been very busy indeed! We spent two days sewing and quilting and made more quilts than I could have ever imagined.  On the first day at the Cadet Centre the troops completed 43 quilt tops made from squares and donated orphan blocks and had a thoroughly enjoyable day at the same time! There were a number of visitors throughout the day from organisations that benefit from the donation of Project Linus quilts. Amongst them were representatives from the QE talking about Teenage Cancer patients, Therapists, Bereavement counsellors and a lady talking about the work at Women’s Refuges. We all love to sew, but it is great to hear about the brilliant work that all of these people do to make the lives of children in need better, and gives us even more drive to keep donating time to make the quilts that we hear mean so much to the children that receive them.

Quilt workshop November 2016

The second day was held at the Cotton Patch Studio, where we managed to quilt 50 quilts over the course of 5 hours. We utilised all of the quilting frames and machines, along with the Sweet Sixteen.  Several Ladies set about sewing metres and metres of binding on to help completely finish 16 quilts by the end of the day. Any offcuts of fabric and wadding were not wasted either, they were swiftly packed into pillowcases, sewn up and ready to take to Hollytrees Animal Sanctuary for bedding. Another 31 are ready for delivery. The lengths of quilts just kept growing and growing! And again, we had some lovely visitors, this time from Acorns Hospice and Family Foster Care representatives, who see first-hand the joy and comfort that the quilts bring to children who sometimes have very little to call their own.

Quilting day in progress


Ann, Chesterfield & South Sheffield

This is Gill from The Craft Tree in Sheffield holding the quilt which was given to Project Linus, and which has since been given away to Baby Basics. During the Walkley Festival in Sheffield, Gill invited visitors to her shop to do a block for this quilt and at the same time learn about Project Linus.

Gill with her quilt


A letter from Gill

I am so pleased that I found you when I was looking for something to occupy my spare time in the evenings. I have been knitting and crocheting blankets since the spring and I would like to say that my local coordinator Lesley has been a wonderful inspiration to me and a great help guiding me in the right direction. I know I haven’t been doing this for long but I like to check your site to find out what has been happening and how other people are getting on and see what they have done.

Crochet blanket

Looking at your Gallery I have noticed that, almost exclusively, the pictures are of quilts rather than blankets. While I am full of admiration for the skill put into these, something that I cannot do, I would like to see some knitting and crocheting included. I am aware that a plain knitted blanket is not very inspiring but I am sure there are other people like me who are a bit more adventurous. Perhaps you could include a few of these each month to give us an idea of how to make our blanket more fun for the children. You could get your coordinators to sent you some snaps of what comes in to them, I am sure they would like to help. I am away now to start making my last batch of squares up (oh boy these are a bit bright) but I hope someone will love them as I do. Here are the first blankets I made – very best wishes and lots of admiration to every person involved in this most wonderful project.


Pip | Edinburgh

A lovely email:

Hi. You can share this message with anyone you think would like to know: Just think when I was at a show a year ago and saw hug quilts, that a year on, I would receive one – I am not so well at the moment so to get this quilt made by someone who does not know me but like my Grandma who is in WI and made a quilt for hug, you made it with love for me. It has made my day to think someone cares so much. I am awaiting going into surgery today. I am sending an email so please pass on a message from me saying a BIG thank you to the maker of my hug quilt, it’s fluffy, cuddly and cool.
Love from Oliver, Age 11

Newsletter – May 2016

Lyn | News from HQ

April is a busy month for me.

The Quilters’ Guild have made a space for us to have a sew-in at their AGM in Llandudno 15-17 April. They also had their Beginners workshop at Olympia Knitting and Stitching Show which was very successful with lots of people learning how to make a block and seeing how it is turned into a quilt for Linus. April 22-24 we will have a stand at Uttoxeter Quilt Village selling scraps and raffle tickets to raise funds. Ani Catt will be running a Quiltathon making Linus Quilts out of donated patchwork tops and showing visitors how the APQS long arm quilter works. Do come and see us if you can. A number of other Linus ladies have been taking stands at shows around the country so, wherever you are, look out for us.

It is not only quilts and blankets that are made by Linus groups around the country, although that is our official mission. There are quite a few specialised items for the hospitals as well as the usual teddies and premature baby clothes. Some of the other things we are asked to make are featured in this month’s newsletter.


Helen | East Staffordshire

The volunteers in East Staffordshire have been providing incubator covers and small quilts to a local special care baby unit for several years. The SCBU ward was very plain and the staff wanted to brighten it up to make it a more friendly and welcoming area.

Incubator covers in use

The incubator covers are made to the requirements of the unit. (They do not have any wadding, flaps or curved edges.) The size required was given to us by the SCBU. Two rectangles of fabric are stitched together, the underneath fabrics being either dark navy or dark green cotton and the tops are made with cotton curtain fabric in bright colours. The dark backing is necessary to protect the babies’ eyes from the bright ward lighting. The small incubator quilts are generally used for the babies to lie on in the incubators.

Ed: Many hospitals have their own specification for incubator covers. A few patterns are available here but please do check with your local coordinator on which pattern is preferred in your area.


Susan | Norfolk

We run a sewing group, in Norfolk, called Bezalel (a man in the bible gifted in all crafts). At the end of last year, we were offered some material by a lady called Jeanne who was going back to the States, little did we know it was a LARGE curvier box FULL of beautiful big pieces of material.

In December, I got in touch with Heather, a Project Linus coordinator, and she offered us some free wadding from The Warm Company, which we were delighted to receive. We are given a lot of lovely girlie quilts, but we get fewer quilts which are really suitable for boys, so a decision was made to go with a black, grey, white theme and make as many as we could in larger sizes for older boys and brighten them with a few music notes. Some are finished and some are in the making.

We are also having fun making the Sun Bonnet Sue and animal appliqué quilts. We make little kits so that the members of our group can do a simple single block and when we have enough they are put together and the quilts are soon made. The quilts we are making will go to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for the children’s ward.


Pip | Edinburgh, Mid & East Lothian

Here are two lovely thank you letters:

“My baby boy received one of your wonderful quilts on his arrival at Sick Kids. It’s a fabulous blue with yellow trim and the material is tractors on one side and diggers on the other. He along with his identical twin brother were born at the Royal Edinburgh at 25 weeks on 4th November. They were transferred for ongoing care to SK at around their due date 17 February.

In amongst all the drama and upheaval of moving hospitals the quilt let us hang onto normal love and kindness as opposed to medical, sterile intervention. The simplest things are often the best. Thank you so much it will always be treasured.”

“I wish to pass on my thanks to the person who made the safari blanket which was given to my 2 year old, Jamie.

Jamie absolutely loves animals so to receive this after 3 days of being in hospital, he was one very happy little boy. Thank you once again”


Ann | Chesterfield & South Sheffield

At sew4others we were asked by Beryl (who works for P.A.C.T. at the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield) if we could make Beads of Courage bags as well as quilts. These drawstring bags with a lining are used for storing the beads patients receive after undergoing treatments. A few months ago we were asked if we could make some larger sized bags as some patients have so many treatments that the normal sized bead bags were not large enough.

There are obviously a lot of courageous youngsters out there who bravely undergo lots and lots of treatments – and for us to make a bag for their beads is the very least we can do.

Kas with a Project Linus bead bag

We make ‘wiggly bags’ for them too – and no, the bag isn’t wiggly! The ‘wiggly’ is the tube, usually, with two clips on the end. The tubes are used to give medicines and to take blood from children who are having treatments – instead of endless needles. These tubes are stored in the bags and tied around the neck of the patient using the tape – and as you can imagine the bags become contaminated fairly quickly, so they need lots! The bags may become a child’s best friend as it means an end to endless needles – and these bags only take a few minutes to make.


Sue | Buckinghamshire

I recently held a sewing day for Project Linus at a friend’s house in St Albans. I provided ready-cut packs of disappearing 4 patches and 9 patches, so everybody could start sewing straight away. Between breaks for coffee, lunch and tea, all generously supplied by the hostess, we completed 11 quilts with several more having been taken home to be finished.


Anne | Rye

I have had various health problems since Christmas and not been able to attend my embroidery group Rye Creative Stitchers. When I got there yesterday evening they presented me with a ‘Linusometer’ wall hanging which a few of them had made for me. It shows that we have reached nearly 600 quilts (we are quite a small group in a country area) and has its own bag with some extra red tape for me to add for future donations. I was so amazed at their kindness.


Caroline | Liverpool

A Ward Sister on the Intensive care unit at Alder Hey Hospital sent a letter to the Liverpool Echo asking for bright coloured sheets for the cots and incubators, saying it makes a big difference for families to see their seriously ill child on these rather than stark white sheets. The letter was posted on the Project Linus Facebook page asking if the Liverpool branch could help – and of course we could!

Sew-in for Project Linus

A great local charity – Team Tree – that raises funds for Alder Hey got in touch and offered to pay for the fabric, and Abakhan Fabrics, Liverpool agreed to us using their workshop for a sew-in. We had a productive day with 12 sewing machines in constant use and other people cutting and ironing fabrics, and produced 226 sheets for the Unit. We also donated quilts and blankets and received a thank you letter stating “you have no idea how appreciative we are with these donations that transform the place.” One of the quilts was given to a 7 year old girl who had been in the Unit for 50 days – when shown a daisy quilt she put her thumbs up and this then went with her when she transferred to Newcastle for a heart transplant.


Get in touch

Please send any articles or photographs for inclusion in the next newsletter to Ann.

Wavy ripples

Wavy ripples blanket

Approx 150/200 gm of DK yarn

With 7mm (UK size 2) needles cast on 120 stitches and knit 7 rows
Change to 3mm (UK size 11) needles and knit 7 rows.

Alternate the needles every 7 rows until work measures approx 26” ending with the 7mm (UK size 2) size.
Cast off.

If you do not have 7mm needles, this pattern is still quite effective using 5mm (UK size 6) and 3mm (UK size 11) needles but the edge will not be quite as wavy.

Triangles blanket

Triangles blanket

Approx 150/200 gm of DK yarn. With 4mm (UK size 8) needles, cast on 102 stitches. Knit 18 rows.

Knit the first and last 9 sts of each row to create a garter stitch border, while working the following pattern on the centre 84 sts:

Row 1 Knit 11, Purl 1
Row 2 Knit 2 Purl 10
Row 3 Knit 9 Purl 3
Row 4 Knit 4 Purl 8
Row 5 Knit 7 Purl 5
Row 6 Knit 6 Purl 6
Row 7 Knit 5 Purl 7
Row 8 Knit 8 Purl 4
Row 9 Knit 3 Purl 9
Row 10 Knit 10 Purl 2
Row 11 Knit 1 Purl 11
Row 12 Purl 11 Knit 1

Repeat pattern and garter stitch borders until work measures approx 24”. Knit 18 rows. Cast off.

Chequerboard

Requirements

Pair of No. 4mm (UK size 8) needles
1 x 100g ball of acrylic double knitting wool – colour A
1 x 100g ball of acrylic double knitting wool – colour B

Method

Cast on 20 stitches in colour A.
Rows 1 – 4 Knit.
Row 5 – 6. Knit 2, Purl 2. Continue this to the last 2 stitches. Knit 2.
Row 7 – 8. Knit 2.Then Knit 2 Purl 2 to last 2 stitches. Knit 2.
Repeat rows 5 – 8 another 4 times.
There will now be 10 blocks of double moss stitch.
Knit 4 rows.

Change to colour B. Repeat the 28 rows as for Colour A. Continue alternating colours until you have completed 7 ‘blocks’ finishing with Colour A. Cast Off.

Make a further 3 strips starting and finishing with colour A. Make 3 strips starting and finishing with Colour B. The size of this blanket can be altered by adding to the length of each row and by adding more rows.

Sew strips together, alternately, the outside strips will begin and end with Colour A. Alternately – make up your own design using a variety of different colours.

Basket weave

Basket weave

Approx 150/200 gm of DK yarn

With 4mm needles (UK size 8) cast on 140 stitches.

Rows 1 – 10 Knit
Rows 11 – 20 Knit 10, * Knit 10, Purl 10* repeat * to * until last 10 sts, Knit 10
Rows 21 – 30 Knit 10, *Purl 10, Knit 10* repeat * to * until last 10 sts, Knit 10

Continue with this pattern until blanket measures approx 24 inches.

Knit final 10 rows. Cast off.

Log cabin (blanket without sewing)

Log cabin knitted blanketsKathleen Gibson kindly provided this copyright pattern for Project Linus UK.

Materials: Approximately 135g Double Knitting yarn. 4mm (UK size 8) needles
Finished size: approx 20 inches square.

Worked in garter stitch, slipping first stitch of each row.

Cast on 20 stitches. Knit 38 rows to make the central square. Cast off leaving last stitch on right hand needle. Pick up 19sts evenly along the left side of the square – 20 sts. When picking up, put pick up needle through the ‘bumps’ instead of the ‘loops’ as this will give a tighter seam.

Knit 19 rows. This creates the first ‘log’ of the log cabin. (At the end of the first row there may be a ‘loop’. If so, knit in with the last stitch.)

Cast off as before, leaving last stitch on right hand needle. Pick up down the left side – 10 sts from the side of the last knitted block and 20 sts from the cast on edge of the original square. 30 sts.

Continue in this manner. The next 2 ‘logs’ will have 40 stitches, following 2 logs 60 sts etc. When 4 logs are completed on each side of the central square (100 sts) cast off. Carefully sew in any ends – or weave them in as you go.

NB. Always cast off with the same side facing up and pick up down the left side of the work.

Variations:

  • Enlarge it – always working the same number of logs on each side of the central square
  • Use a variety of colours and try using more than one colour in each ‘log’
  • Change the central square to a rectangle
  • Change the width of the logs