Festival of Quilts Challenge 2018

Our theme for 2018 is rail fence. This is a very effective design which is quick and easy to make. We’ll accept any size you’d like to donate.

The finished quilt, or top, can be given to your local coordinator or handed over at the Festival of Quilts 2018.

Take a look at our Pinterest board for rail fence inspiration – use up your scraps, go for simple brights, crazy patterns, and then have fun with the different rail fence layouts.

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 – September 2016

Lyn | News from HQ

Our thanks to Upper Street Events for our free stand at the Festival of Quilts. It is always such an exciting event and we meet so many of our supporters there – and encourage new supporters as well. We were lucky enough to have a big stand this year and were able to put up lots of pictures of our ‘satisfied customers’. The happy smiles on the faces of children cuddled up in their quilts and blankets were very encouraging. We also had some lovely stories of children who had received quilts. I heard today that a boy who received a quilt a while back when going to live with his uncle after his parents died ‘saved the day’ when their little girl was devastated to lose her teddy – he let her borrow his precious quilt to comfort her.

Thanks also to the Warm Company. They have been providing us with free wadding for Linus quilts as well as wadding packs and fabric from Lewis and Irene to use as raffle prizes. They even let us sell raffle tickets from their stand at the show. With this, and our scrap sales, this was by far our most successful fundraising ever.

Finally, thanks to the Game of Quilts – a competition for teams to make a quilt in a day at the Festival while visitors watched. The quilts they made were donated to Linus and are on their way to Birmingham Children’s hospital.


Heather | East Shropshire & West Staffordshire

Once a month, on a Friday, a group of ladies get together in the workroom at the Quilters Quest shop in Bridgnorth to specifically make patchwork tops for Project Linus. They pass the tops to Ann Jermey who quilts them, without charge, on her long arm quilter. Ann hands them back and the ladies put the binding on and gives them the finishing touch of a label. As I am usually given anywhere between 30 – 60 quilts at a time having the label already on them is a bonus. In June this year there was a joint venture at St Nicholas church Oldbury, near Bridgnorth, with an open garden weekend and a show of Linus quilts in the church. Pat Beech was in the church making more tops and promoting Project Linus.

Church quilt exhibition

The joint venture was extremely well attended and very profitable. The proceeds were divided 3 ways and St Nicholas church, the Air Ambulance and Project Linus UK each received a donation of £1,005.11. On August 16th there was a presentation evening in the church where a representative from each of the recipients was invited to attend. As the local co- ordinator I had pleasure in attending and received my big cheque with Pat and Mary the founding ladies of the group at my side.


Philippa | Edinburgh East & Midlothian

A lovely thank you note:
“Thanks to the beautiful hands that made the gorgeous blanket that has made my 2- month old baby girl feel so comfy while poorly in hospital. You are all angels xxx “

Baby on quilt


Ann | South Sheffield & Chesterfield

Reece with his I-Spy quilt

This is Reece, who received an I Spy quilt from sew4others – he is 4 and was born with Angleman Syndrome (which means he has a missing chromosome gene 15 whuich delays normal development). His mum says “we are so happy with Reece’s development although he does struggle with walking on his own, and talking. He loves the blanket and takes it to bed with him. Thanks you so much.”


Gerta | North Norfolk

In June the North Norfolk group were asked to stage a display of our work at the Queen’s Birthday Civic Celebration at Christchurch, Fulmodeston, North Norfolk. The church supports our group and gives us lots of publicity at many events in the village. We were asked to decorate the chancel, from the reredos to the chancel steps, including the altar. Our group made a terrific effort and put up a remarkable display of quilts, blankets, prem hats, snuggle squares and toys made by our members.

We are a small group with only five quilters and 16 knitters and we all worked really hard to show what Project Linus does for our local hospital, which is the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. I also collect quilts from a group in Norwich, Surrey Stitchers, and they too contributed lots of beautiful quilts for the display. As you can see, we draped quilts over choir stalls, hung them on walls and put toys on window sills. The centrepiece was the altar which we fronted with a quilt, which actually reflected the tiled floor.

Church quilt display

The display caused much discussion and interest. The outcome was that we have since received many donations of fabric to use in further quilts. We also had a request from Fakenham church for quilts for two bereaved siblings, which we were happy to give. All items have now been donated.

 

Premature baby hats

Premature baby hat

Materials:
Double knitting wool
3¼ mm (UK size 10) needles.

Cast on 48 (56) sts.
Knit 6 rows.
Continue in stocking stitch until work measures 2 ½ (3) inches – 6 (7.5) cms.
Knit 2 together knit 6 – repeat to end of row. Next and every alternate row purl to end
Continue decreasing i.e. knit 2 together knit 5 (4) (3) (2) (1) until 12 (14) stitches remain.
Purl one row.
Knit 2 together 6 (8) times
Thread wool through remaining stitches and fasten off. Sew up using a flat seam.

Scrap value

This pattern is taken from ‘Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles’ by Judy Turner & Margaret Rolfe.

Sort out scrap fabrics into lights and darks. You can have a colour theme: e.g. autumn colours, pastels, brights.

Cut fabric pieces to measure 3 1/2” x 2”. This was a collection of mostly blues. Accurate cutting and stitching is essential.

Using 1/4” inch seams hand or machine stitch pieces together into threes as follows: 2 lights joined along the long side, then a dark piece joined across the top. Then two darks and a light. Join the 3’s into strips as in the photograph and then join the strips together. Finish with a border in a plain dark colour to match.foq-block-2012

60 degree quilt

60 degree quilt by Magnolia Bay Quilts

This stunning quilt was made by Kim Brackett of Magnolia Bay Quilts. Although it initially looks like a fiendish triangle quilt, in fact this is a more flexible quilt. The important thing to remember is that every seam is a 60 degree angle, and that your strips should be a consistent width. (click the photo to view larger image)

NB: To create this quilt you’ll need a ruler with a 60 degree marking.

View the full tutorial and lots of helpful tips, visit the Magnolia Bay Quilts website.

New blanket square

The long double pointed needles you can buy now mean that it is possible to hold more stitches on the needle with the weight of the knitting on your lap. So you can make a blanket all in one go. But even so there are advantages in making a blanket out of smaller squares. The traditional blanket made out of knitted squares was a useful way of using up oddments of yarn. Knitting individual squares means that you never have too many stitches on the needle at once. A blanket knitted all in one go can sag and stretch. But, the big problem with the traditional squares was sewing them together as this is difficult to do well. The sewing has to be firm but not lumpy.

However, this pattern allows you to make a blanket out of squares without having to sew them together. The result has a much better tension, drape and feel than a sewn blanket.

Cast on 41 stitches. Knit one row. Turn. The right side of the work is now facing you.
Knit 19. Knit 3 together through back of loops. Knit 19.
Knit one row.
Knit 18. Knit 3 together through back of loops. Knit 18.
Continue in this way until 3 stitches remain. Knit 3 together and fasten off.

This is your first square and will be on the bottom left hand corner of the finished blanket with the line of knit 3 tog stitches going from bottom left to top right.new-blanket-square-1

To make the next square, cast on 21, preferably with thumb method, and, with the stitches on the right hand needle, pick up 20 stitches along the right hand side of the first square. Work the second square on these stitches. Make as many squares as you want on the bottom row.

To make the left hand square on the next row, pick up 20 stitches along the top of the first square then cast on 21 stitches, using a ‘knitting on’ technique so you are going left to right. Work the square on these stitches.

For the next, and all subsequent squares on that row, pick up 20 stitches on the top of the square below, one stitch right in the corner and 20 stitches up the right hand side of the previous square. Make as many rows as you want.

Weave in as many ends as you can while working, fasten off any remaining ends. To finish it off really neatly, use a long double pointed needle and pick up 20 sts along each square on one side. Knit 3 or 5 rows and cast off all but the last stitch. Pick up 3 or 5 sts along the side you have just knitted then 20 sts along each square on the next side and repeat. Do the same for the remaining two sides.