NEC Quilt Show | The Directors
Many thanks to everyone who gave us a quilt, top or block. Over the 4 days we received a total of 178 and these were distributed among our coordinators who came to the show. We would also like to thank you for your support through the purchase of the various items and raffle tickets we had on sale.
The Sewing Place had a challenge and some of the ladies who took part donated their quilts to Project Linus UK. There were 9 in all.
Pip | Edinburgh East & Midlothian
Our East Lothian coordinator Beth regularly holds Linus workshops. Here’s a photo of the attractive strip quilts made at a workshop at Dunbar library recently which was well attended (although Beth thinks some people come for the cheese scones!)
The October workshop in Edinburgh is full with a waiting list!
We have a Project Linus display at a shop Be Green in Dunbar High Street for 2 weeks. The organisation gave us a grant for £240 recently and asked if we’d like to use their window. We’ve had quite a lot of interest. People are going into the shop to ask if the quilts are for sale, the answer is no, but you can have one of our leaflets or help us make them.
We’re delighted to announce that Edinburgh Linus Group have been awarded £1,500 by Foundation Scotland. This is to contribute towards the purchase of fabrics, fleeces and wadding for quilts.
“I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely quilt that was given to me when I was in the Sick Kids in Edinburgh last week. It really made my Mummy smile when she came to pick me up from recovery after my operation. Unfortunately, due to this warm weather and being in a Spica cast I’m a bit too hot to get much use out of it at the moment, but I look forward to snuggling into it when the weather cools down a bit. Thank you again. Harris”
Elspeth | Lanarkshire and Glasgow East
“I just received three beautiful quilts from my social worker and the craftsmanship is exemplary. I am forever grateful and would like to thank everyone involved in your incredible organisation…once again, thank you ever so much.”
Caroline | Liverpool
A knit and natter group meet weekly at The Brain Charity in Liverpool and knit squares for blankets which they donate to Project Linus. Amanda who set up the group says making squares is ideal for people who have difficulty following patterns and that if people are not well enough to come to the group they can knit at home and still feel involved. She has watched people blossom in confidence and is now teaching people to knit – she loves it when you can see it just click!
Betty | Northern Ireland
I just wanted to share a story with you for the newsletter to show that all our work is appreciated. I broke my arm 9 weeks ago on the first day of my holidays by falling out of my brother-in-law’s campervan. While I was on holiday last week in Scotland I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers via Interflora. They were sent from the Trustees of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity because I send quilts to the unit. I thought it was so lovely of them to think of me.
Diane | Calderdale
The lovely people at Jubilee Quilters in Ossett, West Yorkshire, have made 30 quilts and 2 blankets for Project Linus. They have been quilting and stitching together for many years supporting local hospitals and charities with their beautiful work.
I was invited to join them for lunch to collect the quilts. They always have a buffet, which was delicious. We spent the afternoon together labelling and cataloguing everything. The quilts will be given to a local children’s hospital as well as the St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax who support refugee families in Calderdale.
Barbara | Allerdale and Copeland
The results of a recent workshop at Handmade by You, Maryport, with owner Lisa Harrison and members of the Thursday quilting group. The ladies hand pieced the blocks which I then machine stitched together and quilted.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day and we are looking forward to another workshop before Christmas. Thanks to all involved.
The majority of children love to have bright colours in their quilts. Our theme for 2019 is to make a quilt using ONLY red, blue and yellow. The size of the quilt should be 36″ – 42″square.
The finished quilt, or top, can be given to your Area Co-ordinator or, if preferred, handed over at the Festival of Quilts 2019.
Jacki | Gloucestershire, Bristol, West Wiltshire
Together with Yate and Sodbury District U3A Quilters, we attend the Craft4Crafters event at Shepton Mallet promoting PLUK and selling oddments of fabrics unsuitable for our quilts. This year we ‘inherited’ the Exeter show as well which, whilst a long way away, was a fabulous event. We met Loren whose Mum had ‘missed the Linus lady’ at her most recent hospital visit so we took this quilt from the display. Loren refused to let anyone straighten the quilt for the photograph and held it tightly. It was an absolute joy to see her so happy with the quilt. As Mary, my helper on the day, said ‘That’s what it’s all about’.
Elspeth | Lanarkshire
I wanted to thank you for the beautiful blankets that you and your friends made for some of the children I currently support. I visited one family today (two brothers aged 7yrs and 9yrs) and handed over the blankets to their parent’s. Both mum and dad were delighted and are very excited to see their boys’ reaction when they come home from school. Both boys have complex needs and require 24-hour care. The younger boy is struggling at the moment. He is profoundly autistic. When mum opened up the bag with the Spiderman blanket she was in tears.
Both parents asked me to contact you and pass on their thanks. Both boys will get so much out of their blankets that will go far beyond keeping them warm. I am sure it will provide them with a lot of fun, joy and security. So, thank you Elspeth and all your friends. I will remember you all in my Prayers.
Mary, Social Worker
Pip | Edinburgh, East and Midlothian
Thank you very much for the quilt for our son. This was given to us last week at the Sick Kids hospital here in Edinburgh where he had emergency treatment on the neurological ward for a brain tumour. The gift really brightened our hospital day and as you can see still provides comfort now that we are home. It’s useful as a knee blanket, and when he is well enough to go out, it will be useful as a wheelchair blanket.
He will spend much of 2018 in treatment so the gift will be useful for a long time to come.
It has been made with great care and attention and he enjoys looking at the different pictures on the fabrics. It is even orange-y, his favourite colour! Best wishes and grateful thanks from our son (age 10) and his mum and dad (age not disclosed!)
Dean Patchwork, Edinburgh are one of a number of generous quilting groups in this area which regularly supply us with quilts. Some give them in ones or twos as they are finished and others save them up or have a workshop day and then can give us 20- 50 at a time – As long as they don’t all choose the same month to hand them over we can cope!
Barbara, Beth and Pip | Edinburgh, East and Midlothian
This is a rather special quilt. Some time ago we were asked by staff in the Family Support Unit of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh if it would be possible to involve children receiving palliative care in the making their own Linus quilt. This was a challenge we were very keen to become involved with, and this quilt is the first one finished. Everyone is delighted with the result which has been a real joint effort. A number of other quilts are in the process of being made, with lots of different designs chosen by the children concerned.
This young girl requested hearts and princesses, so we drew outlines of hearts and a princess on white pure cotton fabric squares backed with iron on Vilene. The palliative care nurses took the squares and some fabric paints to the child who completed her own design. The finished blocks were then returned to one of our quilters who fixed the dyes, cut out the shapes and appliqued them as a central panel on the quilt. She was so happy to do this she made an extra mini quilt so that teddy could have one too! The Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity has been very supportive of this scheme and awarded £750 to cover the extra costs involved.
Ann | Chesterfield & South Sheffield
I just want to say a huge thank-you for the quilts, knitted baby blankets and baby cardigans. They are a huge help to the children and families we work with here at Rotherham Council.
Within my team we work with vulnerable children who are subject to child protection planning and, in some cases, have been removed from their parents and are “looked-after” children.
So far, we have used some of the quilts to give to “looked-after” children who have recently been placed in care, as a comfort blanket and something of their own to keep. One little boy was so enthusiastic about his new Batman quilt he was running around pretending it was a superhero cape. I have also provided some baby knitted blankets and a cardigan to an expectant mother who was really appreciative of them. One of the young children I work with is autistic and really shy but gave a big smile when he saw his quilt and described it as “cool”. I have passed some of the quilts to our contact team who were extremely pleased to be able to use them in our contact rooms. This has made our contact rooms more colourful and they are used as play mats for babies when they are having contact with their parents. The work you do is much needed and is helping vulnerable young children, providing them with comfort and a sense of happiness and excitement.
Stephanie, Social Worker
Baby Basics in Chesterfield held an Open Day recently which Pam and I went to – just as they were handing over one of their Moses baskets to a Health Worker who was taking it out to a young Mum.
These baskets are filled with essentials for a new-born and some of our Linus baby quilts and knitted blankets, cardigans and hats go in them. What a lovely group of ladies they are!
Jacki | Gloucestershire
These quilts were made by a number of different people but were sent off to Five Valley Quilters in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire where they ‘pimp’ the quilts. This involves adding three dimensional flowers, textured fabrics, embedding buttons under the top fabrics and adding a squeak or a bell. All these ‘extras’ turn the quilts into sensory quilts for blind and partially sighted children. Everything is secured down to within an inch of its life to ensure safety. These latest ones have clearly been influenced by the weather!
Heather | Shropshire
Heather Russell and Helen Scales manning the Project Linus UK stand at the British Quilt and Stitch show in Uttoxeter.
We would like to thank Mary Ann Caranza and Norma Stolsworthy for helping out on Friday so that we could take a break. It was also nice to put faces to names of the Co-ordinators who stopped by to say hello.
Some visitors and Co-ordinators dropped off fabric and thread for us to sell on the stall. We also received 16 quilts. All in all, a very successful 3 days.
Penny | South Wiltshire
I started as a Project Linus Co-ordinator a couple of months ago. Since starting I have been given some very beautiful quilts made by one of the members of our local quilting group as a donation to this very worthwhile charity. These are the first quilts that I have received. I also made a couple of quilts myself to add to the pile! I have today delivered these quilts to two homes. Both these homes are near to Devizes, namely Cannon House and Julia’s House.
Canon House is a seven-bedroom home that provides breaks for young children who have a severe learning disability and whose physical disabilities necessitate extensive use of equipment, require extensive medical needs and require significant attention at night time. They were overjoyed with the quilts when I presented the quilts to them this afternoon (14th March) and they could not wait to show the children and put them into their own bedrooms. I first met Louise upon arrival but within a few minutes of being there, the Manager and several other care workers who work at the home came into the office and absolutely fell in love with the quilts. I was very kindly shown around the home albeit that they were very busy people and very kindly gave me some insight as to what they are able to achieve at this home.
Julia’s House is the first children’s hospice to open in Wiltshire and was officially opened by the charity’s Patron Martin Clunes on Saturday 6th May 2017. This new hospice gives families the chance to choose where they receive respite sessions and as well as offering access to top class facilities with specialist end of life care and social opportunities. I met Alice who very thankfully took the quilts to distribute amongst the home again giving me their precious time.
Jean | Aberdeen & N.E.Scotland
The St. James’s Craft Group, Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire handed over a magnificent collection of knitted blankets, quilts – some handmade; jackets, hats & bootees and bonding hearts for premature babies. Fay & myself, who are co-coordinators for N.E. Scotland, were warmly welcomed by Jan Blakey and all the other Group Members and were treated to tea and home-made cakes by the lovely ladies, some of whom were busy knitting Peterhead Poppies to remember family members who were lost in WWI. The poppies will be attached to a fishing net and will be suspended from a local church wall.
Pip | Edinburgh, East and Midlothian
I’m desperately wanting to thank someone for the beautiful quilt. My little boy has just turned 7 and we ended up rushing to Sick Kids in Edinburgh very unexpectedly. He underwent a very major operation and when he came round he had the most beautiful quilt which I understand was made by Project Linus. The workmanship that has gone into it is quite incredible and that someone would do that for someone they haven’t met is just amazing. It really touched us all at a time when everything seemed exceedingly bleak. Fast forward a week and he’s up and about and doing amazingly well although the prognosis is still uncertain. I would really like whoever made the quilt to see this pic of him, sitting up all snuggled up in it in Ward 7.
Thank you so much
Beryl | Thirsk, Wetherby, Harrogate & Northallerton
The small quilting group at Appleton Wiske in North Yorkshire has been stitching for six years. Each year we produce 40-50 quilts and blankets which we put on display during our village’s Scarecrow Festival weekend in July, and then they are taken to our local co-ordinator for distribution. We meet fortnightly in each other’s homes and share ideas and techniques. Two of our group are knitters who produce colourful blankets, the rest of us machine or hand stitch using a variety of patterns and fabrics, and sometimes collaborate on a joint project which one member will then finish off. Our quilts have been passed on to a women’s refuge, a local hospice, a nearby hospital and to Social Services. Our annual exhibition draws many interested visitors and certainly makes the Parish Church look colourful!
Pip | Edinburgh, East and Midlothian
I am writing on behalf of my daughter and her husband as they are busy caring for their baby son at the moment but we wanted to acknowledge the kind act of the volunteer who made the quilt that staff at Edinburgh Sick Kid’s Hospital gave to their son.
The recipient was my grandson, who was 4 weeks old when he was taken by ambulance to Edinburgh, from Dundee, as an emergency admission on the 26th December. he had been ill for the 4 short weeks of his life, continually being presented to GP’s by my daughter only to be sent home after being told he was fine. he became increasingly weak and underweight as he was unable to keep any milk down. On Boxing day, he almost died when he started vomiting poo and, at long last, they discovered he had a strangulated hernia.
He was so weak and underweight though it was dangerous to operate and there followed an anxious wait in Edinburgh until he could gather enough strength to be operated on. I’m very glad to say the operation went well and he is now home and is starting to gain weight and get stronger.
The kind acts of your volunteers are so important when parents are feeling like their world is collapsing. My grandson was too young to appreciate the gift but his parents certainly took comfort from the fact that there are people out there willing to give up their time for children who are ill. The quilt now takes pride of place in his nursery and, when he is old enough, he’ll be told the story of how that quilt came to be his. Please pass our thanks onto the volunteer who created it.
Pip | Edinburgh, East and Midlothian
Just before Christmas we delivered over a dozen quilts for the children of women fleeing domestic abuse and in the care of Edinburgh Women’s Aid. We have just received this appreciative response:
We are writing to say ‘Thank you very, very much’ for all your kindness in responding to our appeal over the Christmas period. You really have helped make what can be a very emotional and difficult time for many families within the care of Edinburgh Women’s Aid, that much more joyful. During all the chaos of fleeing domestic abuse, woman, children and young people will often leave behind their belongings and clothes, so we are truly grateful for your generous support. The feedback we get from our service users and their support workers is a wonderful reminder of the impact of your kindness:
Margaret, Marie and Alison
On behalf of everyone at Edinburgh Women’s Aid
Jacki | Gloucester
This is Rubén who, we’re told, absolutely loves his quilt. He attends All Sorts which is a support group for all disability groups within Gloucester County Council. We take quilts to their meetings and the children can choose the one they want.
Chris | Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich
We always enjoy reading Stitching Together and thought we should probably contribute a little paragraph and photo of our group’s activities.
We meet on Wednesdays in a community centre managed by Charlton Athletic Football Club. We make a small
contribution towards the cost of heating and lighting from our “subs” of £2 a week per person which also covers the cost of tea, coffee and milk! In the early years we had to buy our own fabric but over time we have been given quite a large stash of material and threads from other quilters who can no longer sew or from the sewing rooms of ladies who sadly passed away.
In November we said goodbye to one of our members, Maureen Cloke, who was moving to Hereford to be nearer to her son and grandson. We are missing her and are hoping she finds a local Project Linus group to join soon. Although two of our group are registered as Co-ordinators we all decide where to send the quilts we’ve made ourselves or had donated to us by other local quilters, and then we all take part in delivering them. It’s a group effort!
We love our Wednesdays – there’s always a lot of laughter while we catch up on who has been on holiday, whose central heating isn’t working, whose grandchildren are the funniest, what quilting exhibitions are coming up, etc! Our challenge for 2018 is to use up some of the more tricky coloured fabrics we have in the cupboard – waste not, want not!
Betty | Northern Ireland
The ladies from Ballydougan Patchwork and Craft Group, and The Cosy Club from Birches who made quilts for Project Linus in 2017. Both these groups make quilts on a regular basis for Project Linus in Northern Ireland.
Joy | Birmingham South and surrounding areas
We have this week, received a letter of thanks from the Visitor Centre at Winson Green Prison thanking us for the contribution we make to the Christmas parties attended by the children of the Serving prisoners at HMP Winson Green.
For many years my husband Tim and I have taken new and nearly new games, books and gifts for these children on behalf of St Michael’s Church Solihull. These are often the only present a child receives when their dad is given custodial sentence then their children also become disadvantaged with financial hardships and family break up and sometime foster care ensuing.
However, as of 2016 we also took gifts of quilts made by yourselves. These were warmly received. When we visited in 2017 and took yet another gift of quilts we found out just how wonderfully your hard work had been appreciated and the 90 quilts we took were greeted with grateful open arms. In some cases, the children arrive in the winter time wearing just a t-shirt or no warm clothing, and we were told that they are able to leave with a warm quilt which will be their very own.
We would like to thank you very much for your hard work and the contribution you make to this cause. Keep Quilting Ladies. Thank you again, Tim and Sandra
Ann | South Sheffield & Chesterfield
Hi Ann – Once again thank you for your quilts! Looking through some of the design, you have impressed me with the quality and creativity of the designs. You and your group are doing such great thing to help those who are less fortunate in life so keep up the good work. I thought I would also share with you a story about the blankets which you can share with your group.
Here at Foster Care Agency we use the quilts which are kindly donated to put in our memory boxes for children and young people. Once a child or young person is placed in a foster home they receive a visit from me or a colleague where we take out a memory box for them to save precious items in. Recently I visited a 1 year old and in their memory box was one of the blankets which we collected previously. Our boxes also include other items such as colouring books, teddy bears, cards, blank paper etc. When I completed this visit however, the child was not one bit interested in any of the items other than the quilt which they pulled out of the box and started to cuddle. This child had come into placement with very little so for them to have something which was their own, I think was very important to them which to me highlights the importance of what you are doing and the need for your project to be promoted more so more children and young people can benefit from what you are doing.
Nathan, Participation Officer
Heather | East Shropshire & West Staffordshire
On the first Friday of each month a group of ladies get together at Morville, nr Bridgnorth and make tops for Project Linus. They are then handed to Ann Jermey who quilts them on her long arm quilter. Once quilted they are returned for binding. Whenever I can I join the ladies and every few months they hand over 30 – 50 quilts.
During 2014-2015 they made 212 quilts and I presented them with their first Achievement Award. Between 2016-2017 they exceeded this number and made 239 quilts and in February I presented them with their second Achievement Award.
Helen | Head Office
On behalf of the Directors and all the PLUK Coordinators we would like to thank Lyn for all her work over the past 10 years as the fourth PLUK President and also as a Director of Project Linus UK. Lyn decided to retire from these roles on 31st December 2017 but she will continue to be involved with PLUK as the South Shropshire Coordinator.
As many of you know, during her time as President, Lyn has worked hard on ensuring there is good communication between Head Office and the Coordinators through regular newsletters, she has been proactive in ensuring that we have kept up with social media advancements and in 2013 was instrumental in registering Project Linus UK as a Community Interest Company. We were thrilled that the Quilters Guild agreed to put an article (2 pages with pictures!) about Lyn and her involvement with Project Linus UK. If you are not a Guild member, hopefully one of your volunteers will be able to let you see the Winter 2017 magazine.
Lyn and the remaining three Directors have decided not to appoint another President as it is not felt necessary now that we are a Community Interest Company which is run by the Directors.
Helen | East Staffordshire
The volunteers of East Staffordshire have had a busy year. The Whittington Wharf Quilters learnt how to stitch traditional English pieced shells for their turtle quilts, and Shenstone Quilters autumn challenge was to make primary colour quilts.
Ingrid | Ceredigion
We had our Summer Exhibition in Narbeth, Pembrokeshire this year. Many of the ladies who donated a quilt were members of the Landsker Quilters.
Caroline | Liverpool
A special thank you to Bill and Eddie who deliver quilts and blankets for Project Linus to the Special Care Baby Unit and Ronald McDonald House at Arrowe Park Hospital. They are volunteers for the Milk Bank and combine us with their trips.
Heather | East Shropshire & West Staffordshire
On the 18th/19th of November I had a stall at the Quilt Show in Eccleshall, Staffordshire. The show was organised by Jane, the owner of Corner Patch in Eccleshall, to celebrate the 5th birthday of her shop. It was a change to actually be trading in the church. The church was lovely, albeit a little cold, and we had organ music playing throughout the day which added to the atmosphere. As there was a service on Sunday the show did not open until 11.15am. As soon as the door opened there was a large flurry of visitors. I later learnt that it was a coach load who, after visiting the show, were going off to lunch. Now that’s what I call a day out!
As usual, everyone I knew had been very generous in giving me items to sell: Magazines, templates for patchwork, stencils for quilting, small packets of cross stitch (the ones you get on the front of the magazines), various tools surplus to requirements and much more, most of which I sold on the Saturday. Having done so well I had to bring more fabric to fill the gaps and thanks to the visitors I took very little home.
Pip | Edinburgh, East Lothian & Midlothian
During an unexpected stay at Edinburgh Sick Kids we were gifted a beautiful blanker from your project. We were completely overwhelmed. It was so lovely and kind, it made us smile at a horrible and stressful time. Our little girl was just a few weeks old when she was in and looked so tiny in the huge cot. The gorgeous pink blanket made her look much more comfortable and was a welcome distraction from the hospital environment. Fortunately she is now home and enjoying her blanket in much happier surroundings. We will keep her blanket to remind us of the the lovely thoughtful people who made it and how something lovely came out of a horrible time.
During 2017, I have been Lady Captain at Wilmslow Golf Club in Cheshire. I had no doubt that my Ladies would be very generous with their money for my chosen Cancer Charities. But as an enthusiastic sewer, I wanted to encourage some of them to give the gift of their time, by working on items I could pass over to Christine Rush, my local Project Linus contact, who had connections with Manchester Children’s Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital’s Starlight Ward.
Enjoying patchwork, I had known about Project Linus for many years. So, I looked on their website, found my local contact, talked to her, then held a meeting at the Club. About 20 Ladies expressed an interest in making quilts, cushions, ‘Beads of Courage’ bags and knitted items. So, we worked away at home, during the winter months until March when we met again to show our offerings. Amazing. Christine was delighted. She took away our pieces.
My sewing machine was put back into the cupboard for the summer so I could concentrate on my golf. On October 1st, it was back out on the dining table again. We then had 2 months before our next meeting with Christine. We all worked hard to the deadline date. One of the ladies added this message to the back of her quilt ‘May the love that has been sewn into this quilt keep you safe and warm’. I have been thrilled at how much pleasure this whole project has given me and the group of lady members.
Lyn, Heather and Helen are delighted to announce that Sarah Smith (Assistant PLUK Coordinator for Hereford) has agreed to join us as a Director of Project Linus UK. Many coordinators who have been to the Festival of Quilts over the past couple of years will have met Sarah. We look forward to working with her as she assists us with the Head Office admin jobs.
Thank you | Heather
A big thank you to all our volunteers who handed in quilts, tops, knitted blankets and orphan blocks at NEC making a fantastic total of 251. We received many black and white quilts which was our theme for this year. Next year’s theme is rail fence. Any size and any colour.
Once again, our packs of magazines didn’t take too long to sell. A bargain at 4 magazines for £1. We met many people who had not heard of Project Linus UK and they left promising to make a quilt and donate it to their local coordinator.
Caroline | Liverpool
We had a great day at the Abakhan store, turning strips of shirts into quilts for Project Linus. The fabrics are particularly good for boys of all ages and we hope the recipients like them!
Jacquie | North Surrey & West London
I have been supplying small quilts to Baby Basics in Sunbury (Middx) since 2015. It has been amazing to see what this small, local charity has achieved, and a real pleasure to be involved. This is what they have to say about Project Linus’ contribution to BabyBasics:
Baby Basics Sunbury is part of the national Baby Basics charity who supply Moses baskets filled with clothes and equipment for new babies up to three months to mothers who are struggling to meet the financial and practical burden of looking after a new baby. We have been running in Sunbury for three and a half years and we have just delivered our 400th pack! We receive referrals from Midwives, Health Visitors and Social Workers and provide to families over a large area, some are refugees and some fleeing domestic violence. We also supply gifts for ladies in HMP Bronzefield. Project Linus has supplied us with beautiful quilts to place on top of the baskets and they look so special. Each one is different and they really make our baskets look special. We really appreciate the support we receive form Project Linus.
Baby Basics has centres across the UK and you can find out more at http://baby-basics.org.uk
Elspeth | Lanarkshire & Glasgow East
I invite people who make requests for quilts (Social Workers, Health Visitors etc.) to advise if any of the youngsters have special interests. They often do. Below is a reply from a local Social Worker after she received a batch of quilts. The four youngsters mentioned had experienced great trauma. Got it right this time!
You and the ladies do all the wonderful work and today I got to see the delight on 4 children’s faces as I delivered some of the quilts today! (no school today) The wee boy with the aeroplane quilt had a sharp intake of breath when he saw that and said WOW! He wrapped the quilt over his head holding it under his chin and never removed it the whole time I was in for the visit.
The wee girl with the butterfly quilt was also blown away when she opened the quilt out saying ‘I LOVE butterflies!’ I told her this was made especially for her by ladies from your project and she did not have to share it with anyone if she did not want to. The little girl with the princess quilt could not stop smiling saying she loves ALL the princesses and sat on the couch with it wrapped around her.
The 15-year-old said thank you as he was doing something on a tablet, however when I was leaving he had it wrapped around him. They are planning a night in with munchies and to watch a film all snuggled up with their quilts. You all do all the work and I get to see this. Thank you again for making such a difference in these children’s lives.
Margaret | Oxfordshire
Having been a Coordinator for a whole year, I cannot tell you all how rewarding I find the whole experience. I have been lucky enough to become involved in supplying not only quilts and breast pump bags to the Neonatal Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital but also quilts and ‘wiggly bags’ to the children’s oncology unit. (Wiggly bags are small bags used to put the Hickman Lines in that the children have inserted just above their hearts that are used to dispense their medication). I received this email from a mum who has a little boy on the Neonatal Unit and it makes everything we do worthwhile and hope it makes you all feel the joy as well!
By way of introduction, my name is Susie and I’m one of the Mums who has a baby currently on the intensive care unit at John Radcliffe Hospital. I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch but I wanted to pass on a big thank you to you and the group for the lovely blankets and bags you’ve sent to the ward recently. They are absolutely beautiful and very much appreciated. I picked a white blanket with blue trim and have used it to keep my little boy, Benjamin, warm when having a cuddle. And the patchwork bag is proving very useful as a book bag for the story books I’m reading him. I just wanted to let you all know that the hard work is very much appreciated and to thank you for your kind support. All the best, Susie
Helen | East Staffordshire
We have received this lovely thank you email from Aoife’s mother, and wanted to share it:
My daughter was in Great Ormond Street Hospital in April 2015 on ECMO.(ECMO is the use of an artificial lung (Membrane) located outside the body, (Extra Corporeal) that puts oxygen into the blood (Oxygenation) and continuously pumps this blood into and around the body.) She was very ill. We had been flown from Dublin Ireland to London for this treatment. Aoife got her lovely Project Linus quilt at that time. Thankfully Aoife recovered and is doing great now. Her quilt is in use all the time and much treasured. Well done in your great work.
Heather | Wrekin, Shropshire
At Newport P&Qs, a sewing group I go to each week, I ran a Project Linus day. Some of the ladies made a quilt on the day and many others slipped down the binding on quilts that had been made prior to the day. The end result was 28 quilts which were very welcome as my stock was depleted.
Joan | Dumfries & Galloway
In November last year, I was invited to speak to the Annan Quilting and Sewing Group about PLUK. Annan is the other end of my area, (Dumfries & Galloway) about 80 odd miles from my home! Very enthusiastic small group, and they said that they would make a start in the new year.
This week I met their organiser for coffee and handover in Dumfries (not quite halfway!) She gave me 40 quilts from her own group, 16 from another group nearby I had never heard of, and 22 from a previous donor. Needless to say, I was delighted, never before had so many in one month! I am holding some back as my intake is usually thin in December/January, with the holiday season. There were so many good ideas to “borrow”, Their organiser said they would be making more in the coming session. I have found, previously, that a wee talk to a group usually reaps good results!
Maureen | Argyllshire
Dunoon Community Quilters had a wee talk from Maddie McCance the lady who founded Cathleen’ Cabin at Hafton
Holiday Village. It is a static caravan providing a week’s holiday for families who have a wee one with a life-threatening illness or some trauma in their lives.
They come via recommendations from Robin House or Rachel House. Sometimes the parents might come after the loss of a little one for a wee break. I contacted Maddie and have since given her several Linus quilts to pass on to the littleones. The feedback has been amazing as they so absolutely appreciate that there are
folks out there who care enough to make these quilts.
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.
Beryl | Easingwold & York
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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”
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.
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 email@example.com
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.