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!”.

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 the year.

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.

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.

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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”

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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.

Newsletter – July 2015

Lyn | News from HQ

The early summer is a relatively quiet time for me. The year starts with the Linus annual accounts. March is the Guild stand at Olympia where we show beginners how to make a simple block and how it gets turned into a Linus quilt. April is the Guild AGM and the Linus stand at Uttoxeter. Now I can actually do some sewing. The current project is to make 18 larger quilts to go on the bunks at an adventure camp for inner city kids who would not otherwise get a holiday. I am privileged to live in the beautiful South Shropshire hills at the bottom of the Long Mynd. This is prime country for schools in the West Midlands and Birmingham to send pupils to do their Duke of Edinburgh awards. Pontesbuy Deanery, based near us, has been organising these holidays for many years and I was delighted to get involved because I know from my own children how important it is for City children to be able to run around in open country.

Now that I have the Lucey long arm quilter, donated by APQS, it is really easy to make a top into a quilt. I made two tops, each approx 42inches square. The Warm company have donated quite a few rolls of wadding 90″ so I put both tops on one piece of wadding with a length of 60″ lightweight cotton for the backing. It took less than one hour to do the quilting on the two tops using a random meandering pattern. This is worked from the needle side of the machine so you can see what you are doing which makes it much easier than trying to follow a pantograph. How many of you took part in ‘Knit in Public’ day? We had a little group knitting in our local library and chatting – libraries have changed since my youth. It was just as well that we met indoors as it rained all day. It’s good to show people what we do. Apparently the NHS is even considering prescribing knitting as therapy for depression and dementia. How boring life would be if we didn’t keep making things.

Happy quilting – and knitting too


Ann | Chesterfield & South Sheffield

Hilary Jackson and Sarah Humphreys are a Mum and Daughter team who have recently started to organise quilting retreats in Kegworth, Derbyshire. The first retreat, in October 2014, proved so popular that in May of this year they held two retreats – attended by a total of 52 ladies from all over the country. Hilary and Sarah have been supporters of Project Linus UK for many years, having made and donated several quilts through their local quilt groups. They were sure that many of the quilters attending the retreat would love to support Project Linus as well so set a little ‘preretreat challenge’. They circulated the instructions for a simple 10” quilt block and asked each quilter to make one block in bright colours, suitable for a child, and bring it with them to the retreat.

The response to the challenge was fantastic. In all, 160 blocks were donated – enough for ten quilts. During the retreat weekend, Sarah and Hilary sorted and stitched the blocks. Hilary then took them away to quilt and bind. Everyone was delighted with how the quilts turned out and commented on how – with the same instructions – quilters can end up making such diverse blocks. It is amazing though that the blocks still go together so easily to make a wide range of quilts which will hopefully appeal to children of different ages. These quilts have now been given to Home Start in Sheffield for the families to enjoy A big thank you from Sarah and Hilary to everyone who donated a block. They’ll certainly have another challenge ready for quilters at the next retreat!


Janet | Caithness

We had a very productive day’s workshop at Caithness Quilters and made enough blocks for about 5 quilts. This idea came about as some of the ladies had heard that they could make a foundation pieced house block for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August which would go to make Linus Quilts.


Jacki | Gloucester

I have been asked to provide 20 incubator covers – quite a task! The first of these have now been delivered to SCBU at St Michaels Hospital Bristol. The only stipulation was that they should have dark backs to minimise the light. Apparently the babies are then able to open their eyes without the glare of the lights and the mothers say that bonding begins properly at this point. I have been able to use up ‘ugly’ on the back and also light damaged dark fabrics so it is proving quite useful. Only the centre is quilted – 40 x 20 – which I do free motion quilting to ensure it can’t come adrift anywhere. When folded back it folds exactly on the wadding line so stays put.


Pip | Edinburgh, Mid & East Lothian

A few of the Thank You letters received:

“I’ve attached some pictures of your beautiful handmade quilts. Feedback from the families has been great and they all are so thankful of the gift. In one picture the little boy is unwell and is lying in bed with his quilt on top. Another child voiced her excitement of receiving the princess quilt as princesses are her favourite thing. I just want to thank you for you continued support and donations of the quilts; they really mean so much to our families living in our refuge.” Family Support Worker

“We received a beautiful quilt last week when our little boy was in the sick children’s hospital in Edinburgh. I don’t know if it is possible to thank the person who made it. It has a cockerel weather vane in the middle and is edged in deep red and green and is fleece backed. The background colour is yellow. It kept Finn, 16 months, warm and reassured during his time in intensive care and recuperating on the wards after a terrifying episode of septicaemia and toxic shock. We are very grateful for your kindness.”

“Our son has just recently come out of the Sick Kids hospital. The day we were leaving we were giving a beautiful blue/cream teddy bear and balloons patchwork quilt which is now keeping our 1 year old very cosy. Thanks so much for giving us such a lovely gift. It put a smile on our faces after having such a worrying time in hospital with our son. We really appreciate it and it will take pride and place in our son’s bedroom”.


 

Get in touch

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