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

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 – January 2017

Heather | News from HQ

Once again, we have surpassed our previous year’s total of quilts delivered throughout the United Kingdom. This year we have delivered just over 36,000 quilts compared to 30,000 last year. This is all down to the commitment of our co-ordinators and their volunteer quilters who want to give as many children as they can a hug they can keep.


Ann | Chesterfield and South Sheffield

Hi – My name is Denise and I am a very very proud mummy to Theo. He is an amazing little boy and has fought all his short life to stay alive. He has recently had his 37th operation and we met a little girl with one of your Linus quilts at Bluebell Woods Hospice – I thought it was amazing and thought that I would love Theo to be the proud owner of a quilt!

Theo-January-2017

Theo was born 4 month early and had 5 strokes in the first week of life. He has lost his stomach, is fed into his bowel which is now failing. Two years ago, meningitis took his sight but he still keeps fighting to be here. We are under Bluebell wood children’s hospice as Theo is palliative. He’s back in the hospital tomorrow – but want to send you this picture of him with his blanket. He’s taking the blankie with him. You must be a very special people and we really appreciate everything you do. Bless you all.

Thank you so much


Angela | West Dorset

I started as Coordinator in December 2010 and the Dorchester & District Angling Society (DDAS) have supported Project Linus in West Dorset every year. (The link is my father who was a very keen angler). When collecting membership fees every year they ask members to include an extra sum as a charitable donation and we have had the benefit of this. They have also had a duck race with the proceeds being divided between Project Linus and Julia’s House, the local hospice for children. This year they also had a fishing competition – guess the total weight of carp caught in a 24-hour period. A very cold 24-hour period with fish not biting I am told! Biting or not, it resulted in a massive cheque for £625 being presented to us.

I have totalled up all the donations from DDAS over the last years – £2604. They have been superb – so thank you lads!


Elspeth | Lanarkshire and Glasgow East

Jax January 2017

Hi there, My little boy has just received a lovely blanket from yourselves. I just wanted to message and say what a lovely thoughtful idea this is. Just as we were beginning to feel a little down in the dumps after being in ward 19 at Wishaw for 2 days the beautiful blanket we received has perked us up. This is my son Jax enjoying his blanket. Keep up the great work!

Maria x


Pip | Edinburgh Mid and East Lothian

Women’s Aid for East and Midlothian sent us this:

Hello to all you wonderfully skilled and generous women. I’m writing to tell you a little about the impact your quilts make in our service. I work for Women’s Aid East and Midlothian; I currently manage the children’s services. I’ve been around for 9 years. Our organisation supports Women, children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse. At times this can mean that a family comes to live in our accommodation with little more than what they carry in plastic bags. They have left all their possessions, friends, pets, toys and familiar things. Very often children are the last to know what is happening and are bundled up without any explanation or time to gather their most important things. They move into a new house, with lots of new rules about keeping safe. “Don’t tell anyone your address” “You can’t have your cousins over for a sleep over” At a sad and confusing time, we work hard to make things as best they can be. This is where your quilts come in. We believe that every child and woman should have something that belongs just to them (unfortunately our funders won’t pay for these things).

The quilts we receive from you go a massive way to providing way more than warmth. They are bright and cheerful, when all looks gloomy. They are handmade- a massive signal to a family that someone has spent time and care for them- a message of love. They are unique, like each of the family members who receive them. They are security as they are wrapped around a body. They are a story telling blanket, a magical carpet and a tent to hide in. The quilts you make and give to our service users, may be the first thing they have that no one will take from them, threaten to destroy or laugh at their connection with. Your hard work means so much to us, but more than, so much to our service users. So please accept our warmest gratitude and thanks for your effort, care, love and attention. It goes a long way to helping those on a journey of recovery and healing. Keep doing what you do so brilliantly

Fiona McCabe


Jane | Perth and Kinross

I recently held a Linus Workshop Day with Perth Quilting Group “Piece Partners”. A total of 14 quilts were made on the day and great fun was had by all.

Quilting day 1-17-news


Catherine | Carmarthenshire/Ceredigion

I would like to tell you about the Sew Saturday that was hosted on 15th September by our wonderful Kate Barnes, the owner of Calico Kate fabric shop in Lampeter, here in West Wales. Kate has always been a huge supporter of Project Linus, donating large quantities of fabric and completed quilts that have been on display in her shop. Her shop is an Aladdin’s cave of fabric spread over 8 rooms and two floors which brings quilters from many miles around. She decided to host a Sew Saturday to support Project Linus, Pyjama Fairies and the Air Ambulance and invited us to the shop to demonstrate our work and talk to those who were interested.

I made up 20 packs for tiny quilts to go to our local Special Baby Unit in Glan Gwili hospital and was able to hand out 14 of them – so far so good. I also handed out information sheets about Linus. Since that day my phone has been red hot with ladies wanting to tell me they had finished their quilts and could they have more packs, and I have given out another 10 packs with many more on order! Most delightfully of all, one lady runs a children’s club allied to her local church and they raised £180 via their Harvest festival which they are going to use to buy fabric and the children are going to have a go at making the quilts.


Pip | Edinburgh Mid and East Lothian

Poldrate Quilters, who meet in Haddington, East Lothian, have been staunch supporters of Project Linus for many years. They set themselves a challenge to make 100 quilts for Linus during 2016 and achieved this in December. Many congratulations and thanks to the group for this remarkable effort.

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.

 

Festival of Quilts Challenge 2017

For the first few days of their life babies can only see in black and white, so we are making this our theme for 2017.

We’d like you to make a 30” square quilt in a geometric design, using only black and white fabrics. The finished quilt, or top, can be given to your local coordinator or, if preferred, handed over at the Festival of Quilts 2017.

Take a look at our Pinterest board for inspiration, and remember that many of your favourite patterns can easily be adapted to suit a monochrome theme.

Thank you so much to all those who have sent in blocks and quilts, and to those who delivered such beautiful blocks to our stand at the Festival of Quilts this August.

Newsletter – July 2016

Lyn | News from HQ

We’re busy planning for our stand at the Festival of Quilts (11th-14th August) at the NEC. The organisers are kind enough to let us have a free stand, but that does mean that they fit us in around their paying customers. Our stand number will be shared on Facebook and Twitter once it becomes available. We will be selling scrap fabric and raffle tickers to raise money for supplies. The Warm Company, who already provide free wadding to lots of Linus events around the country, have provided a number of packs of fleece and fabric as raffle prizes.

Linus coordinators have also taken stands at various other quilting and craft events around the country, several for the first time this year. I don’t know whether there are more shows, or whether we are just getting more involved. Either way, it has been a great way of meeting more people.

Maybe it is just the company I keep, but I feel that there is a real growth in the number of people willing to get involved in activities to help their communities, or perhaps it is that there are now increasing numbers of baby boomers like me reaching retirement and getting stuck in to organising things. There are lots of people with skills and time who are a great and often untapped resource who can make a real difference to the quality of life in their communities. There are some really active Linus ladies around the country who have managed to inspire their fellow needlewomen. This not only benefits the children who receive the quilts and blankets, and their families, but also provides a creative outlet, good company, and a sense of purpose to their makers. Let’s celebrate this sense of a community coming together and take that spirit out into the wider world.


Sylvia | Warrington

Crazy Quilters and Knitters for Linus celebrated their 10th anniversary at their April meeting with a coffee morning. There was a display of the quilts and blankets they had made since Christmas in the church. The event was well attended and we managed to raise lots of funds to continue our work. Regular visitors to our fundraising events have collected several tote bags for their £1 entrance fee from previous events and they proudly bring them, prepared to fill them with their neighbouring areas too.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 21.40.31

Our star prizes for the raffle were a large Japanese style quilt and an Afghan blanket. Each group member had been involved in one or other of these projects. The cushion tombola proved to be popular with everyone. For the younger visitors we had balloon modelling, name the doll and lucky bags. We are very fortunate in getting lots of donations of fabric and wools and although these are not always suitable for Linus, our ladies keep very busy making lots of craft items for our stalls. At the end of the day, the children enjoyed getting involved by picking out the winning raffle tickets. Thank you to all our supporters.


Anita | Biggin Hill

“I just wanted to write to send you on my sincere thanks to yourself and your team at Project Linus for the support that you have recently given to the Biggin Hill Children and Family Centre. As you are aware , our purpose is to support families across the Borough during both difficult and desperate times for many different reasons. Many of the families that we support are impacted from many different situations and rely on professionals and kind-hearted people like you to support them through these difficult periods.

I am pleased to share with you that the blankets that you made and kindly donated have all been gratefully received by parents/carers and children locally that we felt would benefit the most. Thank you once again for all your hard work and support and I wish you every success for the future with the continuation of the amazing work that you do. We hope that you will come and see us again soon at the Children and Family Centre.”


Elspeth | Lanarkshire and Glasgow East

“Dear Elspeth, Just wanted to drop you a wee note to say thank you for the beautifully made quilt that my daughter received when she left Wishaw General yesterday. She loves it and is using it through her recuperation. Please pass on my thanks to the lady or gent that put so much of their time into making it, she will treasure it. Anne Henry”

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 21.40.56


Jacquie | West London and North Surrey

Last September I was invite to give a talk about Project Linus to Harlington WI. This went down very well, and there was a lot of interest as I passed around a variety of quilts for the ladies to handle. Not long after this I was contacted by the Chairman of the Middlesex Federation of Women’s Institutes. She had decided to offer a challenge to all of the WIs in Middlesex (50) to make quilts for Project Linus. I provided guidelines for the quilts, and two rolls of wadding were donated by The Warm Company for the challenge.

After their AGM in April (where the quilts were on display) I picked up 55 quilts and 34 knitted blankets which filled my car! The Middlesex WIs had really risen to the challenge and produced a variety of quilts in lots of different designs and sizes – perfect for Project Linus. I am hoping that some of the quilters will continue to make quilts for me as this has proved such a wonderful project.


Sally | Fife

Last week I attended a morning assembly at Masterton Primary School in Dunfermline where I gave a small talk about Linus and received 17 quilts made by P6 and P7. The children also said a few words about what they had been doing:

“Masterson Sewing Club runs every Thursday lunchtime by Mrs Campbell and Nana Barbara for P6 and P7 children who can sew. We try to do our best to use as many recycled materials with our sewing as we can from Masterton jumpers, duvet covers, Dads shirts and a lot more.”

This is the third year I have collected quilts from the school, they are so enthusiastic and keen it does you good to meet them.


Clare | Trossachs, Stirling and Surrounds

I had booked a holiday to Ecuador, and shortly before I left, the devastating earthquake occurred there. I asked my travel company if they had a local contact who could distribute quilts to children affected if I could take some with me. They are involved with supporting this charity and their representative was so very appreciative of the thought, and the quilts. They really were so touched to receive quilts from Project Linus UK. It meant a lot to them that the wider world cared about them.


Jacki | Gloucestershire and Bristol

Four year old Erin had five heart operations cancelled before finally having her surgery in May 2016 at the Children’s Hospital in Bristol. Erin’s Mum Tara has asked if Erin could have a quilt, and by the time she had the surgery, she had two – a hospital quilt and big girl quilt in pink and purple. She’s made a fantastic recovery and is a remarkable little girl.


Get in touch

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

Double cut scramble block

Double cut scramble quilt

Start with a selection of 8” or 10 squares. Stack up the squares with right side up.

For 8” squares cut 5 1/2” off
For 10” squares cut 6 1/2” off

Method

  • Use 1/4” seam allowance throughout
  • Make two piles of fabric (large pieces and small pieces)
  • Turn small pile over
  • Taking one from the large pile and one from the small pile (not the same fabric) sew the pieces together
  • Press the seam to the side
  • Turn the block and cut in half
  • Mix up the new halves and sew them together in reverse

8” will finish at approximately 7 1/2”
10” will finish at approximately 9 1/2”

Double cut scramble block

Download the full pattern here.

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.