Festival of Quilts 2014

Every year at the Festival of Quilts we set a challenge. How many blocks can our visitors make on a given theme? These blocks are then made into packs to give to our volunteers across the UK who make them into quilts for sick, disabled or disadvantaged children to provide cheer and comfort. 2014’s theme is “In the Jungle”

Exotic animals and birds, foliage and flowers or characters from cartoons. Any style of patchwork or just squares of fabric. Blocks should be 8 1/2″ square and unquilted ready to be pieced together.

Bring them to our stand next year or send them to:

FoQ Blocks, 18 Alison Road, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 7AT

We will also be having a quilt raffle and a sale of fabric remnants. Last year our ‘pot luck’ scrap bags were amazingly popular. These funds enable us to buy fabric, wadding and fleece for our volunteers to use

Newsletter – April 2013

A huge thank you
Elspeth Russell sent in this letter from a grateful Mum:
“I would just like to say a HUGE thank you … to Project Linus UK and everyone involved in getting these blankets to sick kids in hospital. My daughter spent some time in Wishaw General Hospital after suffering with a condition called Masenteric Adentitis. She received this blanket from the nursing staff and has loved it since she took ownership of it. It brightened up her bed on the ward and she loves to wrap it around her as she tries to get better at home. Although she is still in a lot of pain, she is happy to be home. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to make this blanky. The workmanship put into this is remarkable and a blanky my 9-year-old will no doubt treasure for a lifetime.”

A Royal thank you
You may remember that Prince Charles paid a visit to Angela Hartle’s group at Pauline’s Patchwork. At the time, volunteers were making a rabbit quilt that he commented on as being appropriate to give to a grandchild – this was about 10 days prior to announcement. They were very good and kept quiet but made him a duplicate quilt (not using Linus funds or fabric). Angela sent it off and received a letter in reply from Clarence House which read:

“Dear Mrs Hartle,
I am writing on behalf of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to thank you for your letter of 2nd February enclosing the beautiful patchwork quilt made by Project Linus volunteers. It was extremely kind of you to send this to His Royal Highness and it is obvious a great deal of work has gone into making it. His Royal Highness was delighted to receive this gift and has asked me to send you and volunteers at Project Linus his warmest thanks and very good wishes.”

Women’s Aid Refuge, Sheffield
Jo from the Women’s Aid Refuge in Sheffield came to visit Sew4Others in Dronfield, Derbyshire, and collected 22 quilts to take back to the Haven House Centre. She also collected quite a number of drawstring bags which are used as ‘welcome bags’ for the children and ladies who come to the refuge. These are filled with toys, toiletries, pens etc and together with the gift of a quilt say “welcome” in a very practical way. The children get very excited opening their welcome bags and the quilts stay with them even when they have left the refuge. It was heartening to hear where our quilts were going and Jo’s talk has spurred us on to make even more quilts.

Update from North Yorkshire
Beryl Homes recently received the lovely note below:
“One of my colleagues, Heather, recently passed on a quilt made in the Northallerton area for our daughter Rosa. Rosa is an eleven year old who has Rett syndrome, diabetes and epilepsy. She really feels the cold in winter so the quilt has been great for covering her up in her wheelchair. Can I express our great thanks for this kind gesture; the quilt has been really useful. Helen and Jerry”

Cushions for Manchester Children’s Hospital
Manchester Children’s Hospital recently asked if we could make some cushions, as the older children had asked for them. We’re always up for a challenge, and these were much appreciated.

Westhope College Linus Day

Last October Heather Russell had a Project Linus stand at Shropshire Quilters Exhibition where she met Bronja Gardener, the new Principal at Westhope College. As a result, a Linus Day was held at the college in February. Many of the volunteers were patchworkers but others were novices. It was wonderful to see four young teenagers who had never before made a quilt, getting stuck in and having a go with some guidance from their mothers and Heather. 19 quilts were completed on the day and everyone said how much they had enjoyed the time. The next day is already booked in for May!

Do you have any stories or photographs for the next edition of the newsletter? Please do send these in to share with other volunteers.

Happy Quilting.

Newsletter – January 2013

Rectory Quilters Stir It Up!
You’ve heard of stir-up Sunday; well this was stir-up Monday, a pudding basin full of Christmas fabrics well stirred and made into Christmas quilts for Poole and Southampton hospitals. Rectory Quilters based in new Milton organised a wonderful day where lots of sewing went on along with a few laughs an lots of chat. With their help we are on target to meet the 40/50 quilts to gift over the Christmas period.

Alison Still collected from lovely quilts from a group in Galleywood, Essex. The ladies meet near the old race course and very appropriately call themselves Point-to-Point. As well as having made individual quilts, they had also done a workshop for the foundation technique where they had all made blocks featuring dogs which were subsequently sewn together and donated as a group quilt.

Sew4others Heart Quilt
Once The sew4others meeting coincided with Macmillan’s coffee morning so we invited others to come along to our meeting to show them what we do. As well as raising £220 for Macmillan we encouraged visitors to have a go at making a pin cushion, a Christmas coaster, and sew a heart for Project Linus. The hearts were stitched onto purple squares which were in turn joined together to form a quilt. This quilt has now gone to the North East Derbyshire Women’s Aid Refuge.

Letter from a social worker
Elspeth in Lanarkshire received the letter below from a local social worker:

“I just wanted to let you know how much K loved her quilt. I told her you had made it especially for her and no-one had one exactly like hers. She immediately wrapped it around herself and twirled and twirled all around her room grining from ear to ear while rubbing the fleece section against her face. Everyine in the children’s home had to be shown her ‘special quilt’. She then very carefully folded it so that ‘my huge’ were clearly displayed and gently laid it on her pillow. Thank you again for making this wee girls day so very special.”

Baby Lucas
“I just wanted t send a short note of my appreciation for the beautiful snuggly blanket which my ten month old son received while he was in Wishaw General. It certainly brightened up his little cot in hospital and, I’m sure, his little cot at home for a long time to come. It certainly brought a smile to both our faces. it also reminded me of the gift of a little hooded towel we received when he was born. Again your kindness was very much appreciated. Many thanks, Andrina and Baby Lucas”

News from West London Branch
Six The Thameside Sewing Bees recently presented me with a batch of quilts, having taken on Project Linus as their next charity project. In addition, one of their members kindly quilted three tops I had sandwiched but not had time to quilt. I came home with 13 quilts- all beautifull sewn – just in time for a delivery to Your Sacntuary (a Surrey women’s refuge). I’ll also be delivering 10 quilts made by 1st Oatland Guides from Woking. It’s a lways nice to hear of youngsterssewing, let alone quilting, so thesequilts are very special.

Do you have any stories or photographs for the next edition of the newsletter? Please do send these in to share with other volunteers.

Happy Quilting.

Newsletter – June 2012

Total donations: 209,878
This year to date: 6,700

Around the Country
Lyn Antill (Warrington Crazy Quilters)
In May, I had the pleasure of visiting a show and fundraising event by the Crazy Quilters for Linus in Warrington. They are a splendid example of the benefits of teamwork. They have a very active committee who share the work. This means that, between them, they get a great deal done and obviously have a lot of fun doing it. They had a cake stall, plant stall, book stall and tombola, ‘Linus had lost his blanket’ treasure hunt and goodness knows what else. They meet in their local Methodist church hall which was packed and they raised a lot of money. But what really blew me away was the display of quilts in the church. Every place in every pew had a quilt draped over it. there was a pile of baby blankets in front of the altar and there was a crib, well actually a mock-up of an incubator, with a quilted cover. The colours of the quilts complemented the colours of the stained glass windows and all the quilts seemed to be joining in the worship. Their committee and all the helpers were wearing their Linus tshirts.

Christine Rush (Manchester)
I want to say a big thank you to Barbara Droop for setting up the Manchester Project Linus and doing the coordination for seven years. As a result of her work, there are many groups and individuals making Linus quilts all over the area, and thousands of quilts have been donated to children via the area’s hospitals and childrens’ prokects. That’s a lot of hugs! I am taking over a thriving area, and only hope I can do half as well as Barbara has done.

Carol Scott (North Dorset)
Once a month I go to Little Giants special needs youth club in Shaftesbury, Dorset to give quilts to any new child. Ella is a lovely happy little girl who recently received one of our quilts. She suffers with San Filippo Type B Syndrome. To find out more about Ella and her condition visit her website.

Joan Lambert (South Dorset)
We had a wonderful day at the Wimbourne Folk Festival, raising money and awareness for Project Linus. it is the first time we had done a fundraiser at the festival but I somehow don’t think it will be the last. I made a quilt for the festival which was based on photographs taken at last years festival. Linus ladies voted on 25 photos and I was quite pleased with the results and the quilt proved a great hit among the folk dancers. We had two other quilts which had been donated by Gundry quilters (a local group who support Project Linus). The folk festival quilt was won by the Purbeck View School, which is a residential school for severely autistic children ranging from 9 to 17. We are currently working on providing a quilt for each child, we all felt the quilt had gone to a wonderful home where it will make an interesting wall-hanging for children, families and staff.

We had all worked very hard making items for the sales table ranging from cot quilts, bags, placemats etc. One idea I had was to make and decorate felt hearts and we sold these for £1 as ‘buy a heart for Linus’ with a table of how many hearts it would take to make a large quilt, 2 medium quilts or 4 small quilts. These proved very popular and we sold almost all we made, although I suspect that my very pretty niece with a basketful of hearts may have helped!

Jacquie Cranfield (Hounslow, Richmond & North Surrey)
Last year I was contacted by a Guide leader in Isleworth and went along to talk to both Guides and Brownies about Project Linus. I went back recently and was amazed at what they had achieved. I expected half a dozen quilts, but was shown 40! The troop are going to present 12 to the special care baby unit at their local hospital (sewing on the Linus labels themselves), and I have the rest. I was particularly impressed by the quilt made by the Rainbows. They are only aged 5 to 7 and have put a lot of thought into their quilt which features (naturally) a rainbow. Well done to the leaders that inspired them, and well done to all the girls for producing such beautiful. high-quality quilts.

Lynne Adams (Worcester)
Six year old Lara recently received a Linus quilt during a hospital stay to receive treatment for leukaemia. I gave her Gran the quilt on Thursday and three days later she was able to have her quilt by her side as she came round from a lumbar puncture.

Pat Thompson (SW Essex)
Recently, I once again visited the inspiring Sunshine Quilters of Harlow to collect 23 quilts and two knitted baby blankets. They are a very enterprising group, raising funds for wadding and backing by taking a table in boot sales. The church where a member of the group attends has kindly offered the use of the church hall for one afternoon a month which means they can spread out, take their sewing machines and sandwich quilts together very easily on the large tables available.On the afternoon I visited, they were all very busy ‘auditioning’ fabric for their next batch of quilts, sewing and comparing their work. The group is a shining example of the concept of cooperation. They all contribute, meeting weekly in each others homes and there is always something interesting they are working on. From Linus quilts, quilts for older people or for the Help for Heroes charity.

Lyn Hillier (Cheshire)
Our annual Linus sew-in took place at the Chester Patchworkers and Quilters May meeting. The lovely ladies gave of their time, material and energy to cutting and sewing many Linus quilts; even better many were taken home for completion. We used strips of material to make up nine patches and will take time over the coming months to piece and quilt them. Project Linus is well supported locally with quilts and donations from talks to WI, church groups and others helping to fund the materials needed to boost donated materials.

The Cheshire group is helping parents to make their own children’s quilts. Save the Family is a charity which gives homes to families at risk of being split with children going into care. The nurturing environment provides many things including; financial management, cookery and parenting skills. We always provide quilts for Christmas presents, and decided that we could give some of the parents the opportunity to learn how to sew a quilt and aid them to achieve this. As you might expecting we are getting lots of fun from the venture, making new friends and learning much about colour and design that pleases the children – definitely brighter than we would choose. It is early days with just three families enrolled so far, but we expect this to grow in the coming months. The plan is for each family to have a volunteer allocated to help create their quilts. The workload is likely to be great but the rewards are already apparent in the pride one little girl has in her Mum for sewing her a quilt.

Mary Ann Caranza and Julie Wyer (Derby)
We met at Shipley Community Rooms on 4th February and 26th May for two full-day workshops. Both days were very well attended and we had a wonderful time assembling the ready made-up kits I had prepared. Julie had a pile of Laura Ashley vintage squares which had been donated so a group worked on putting them together in nine patch blocks with sashing (this is still a work in progress). Soup, sandwiches, salad and yummy cakes were provided to everyone. Many quilts were started and brought back to finish on our second meeting. In all we have collected 26 lap to single bed size, 20 cot and 38 neonatal quilts, 16 baby and 11 neonatal blankets plus many small hats. We even had 3 quilts from Cornwall and 2 tops from Arizona! With funding from UKCoal for projects in the community it has been possible to hold these events and to purchase fabric and wadding for the quilts. The great outcome is that it has made it possible for local ladies to come along and work together, make new friends in the community and help make all these beautiful quilts and blankets for children in our community.

Do you have any stories or photographs for the next edition of the newsletter? Please do send these in to share with other volunteers.

Happy Quilting.

Newsletter – April 2012

Total donations: 213,578
This year to date: 3,550

Around the Country
Richard Armitage quilt
Apologies for not including in the last issue the splendid eBay auction of the Richard Armitage quilt donated by American quilter Carol Jehu. Jacquie Cranfield organised the auction on eBay with the support of the Richard Armitage UK Fan Club and raised the amazing sum of £650. The second quilt Carol so kindly donated is going to be raffled at the AGM. Please contact me if you are willing to sell tickets. The quilt won second prize two years ago at the Hannah Dustin Quilt Show in New Hampshire – the first time Carol had ever entered a pieced quilt. Carol is delighted it is going to be raffled and hopes it makes lots of money for Project Linus.

Jan Jones (South East Wales)
We had a very enjoyable day at our Quiltathon at Llantarnam Church Hall with lots achieved including donations to the project along with 34 quilts. The quilts donated and made on the day will be part of a package to be taken to the new Crown Bridge School for special needs children opening after Easter. This replaces an older building and hopefully we will be able to supply each class in turn. There are roughly 80 children ranging in age from 3 to 19 years. There are also quite a few knitted quilts which hopefully will be taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital for the stillborn children, to help and support bereaved parents.

It was a very jolly day with people coming from a wide area, with lots of tea drunk and quite a bit of cake and biscuits eaten which all added to the atmosphere. Quilter love cake! We’re now planning another Quiltathon for the future.

Sue Wilson (Ceredigion)
The last three months have been busy for the area – we have had two craft fairs (both at our local woollen mill) and have made items to sell as well as having a raffle. The fairs have raised money and also the profile of Project Linus in the area. We now have regular contact with two women’s refuges as well as finding many sick children in the community. Our main base is the West Wales Hospital where we supply quilts to the children’s ward and SCBU. Liz Coles and myself visited SCBU to present 6 incubator covers, 12 small bags and 21 quilts making a total of 300 quilts donated to the unit since we took over in January 2007.

Helen Scales (East Staffs)
Our Linus Day in March was a great success. There were 20 of us working hard all day – sewing and eating cake! Kim and I had put together about 40 packs to make quilts between 24 and 42 inches square. Several quilts were finished on the day and many volunteers took extra packs to make quilts at home. The finished quilts will go to the local women’s refuge, the children’s hospice and a school for children with multiple health problems.

Val Lillie (Surrey)
I have a wonderful supporting group called Prospect Quilters whose leader Mary is now 94. They have made more than 400 quilts since 2007, and in fact she has just written an article about Project Linus for her local Parish magazine,
Ed – One of our coordinators has confessed she will be 90 this year, but doesn’t want to own up in public! Jackie Molloy says one of her knitters, Madge, is 91. Is needlework good for you?

Ann Smith (North Derbyshire)
Quilt Time, Stannington, Sheffield, have a special day every year to make quilts for Project Linus and this year it was held on Saturday 5th February. It was a hive of activity with lots of fabric and wadding being cut alongside the whirr of sewing machines. There was a lot of chatter (mostly about patterns and techniques) and a lot of hard work, as well as lunch and tasty cakes. There was a ‘show and tell’ of all the quilts given to Project Linus (lots of oohs and ahhs – and ‘how did they do that’). The result was over 20 quilts being donated and the promise of more when the quilts from teh day are finished. The quilts donated were a veritable collection of bright colours, patterns and patchwork shapes, all beautifully quilted by the ladies of Quilt Time.

Quilters’ Guild AGM
Alison Drayson (Tayside) organised a Project Linus activity at this years AGM in Dundee. She had been left a stash of fabric by Dorothy Bell from Dundee who was one of the early quilters in Scotland and a stalwart of the Quilters Guild. The bits from this were cut into angled strips, joined, then cut and cross-joined. A number of volunteers at the AGM came and helped sew – claiming that they were suffering from withdrawal symptoms while listening to the speakers.

The Quilters’ Guild gave us a stand (and provided sewing machines). It went very well and we had lots of donations of fabric and quilts, and our helpers made enough scrap blocks for 5 quilts.

The Guild is struggling with the cost of running St Anthony’s Hall in York. They are hoping to renegotiate the rent in the short term and to run a lot more workshops and other events to make the place pay for itself in the longer term. Otherwise they will have to close the museum.
Ed – The speakers were amazing as always but I can’t imagine being able to produce that sort of quilt. I’m happy making jolly Project Linus quilts!

Do you have any stories or photographs for the next edition of the newsletter? Please do send these in to share with other volunteers.

Happy Quilting.

Newsletter – March 2012

Total donations: 211,276
This year to date: 2,457

Several people have come back with updates to last year’s numbers. Joan Lambert’s final total was 1,254 making her second only to Celia Wright – congratulations! The latest figure for 2011 is 20,638.

Quilters’ Guild AGM
If you are going up to Dundee to the AGM this month, look out for the Project Linus stand. I have tried before to get us included but Elspeth Russell and Alison Drayson have succeeded.

Warrington Coffee Morning
Crazy Quilters for Linus are having a coffee morning on May 12th from 10am to 2pm and welcome visitors. Details will be posted nearer the event.

Celia Wright (Birmingham North)
Our quilting day in November was most enjoyable and our local Townswomen’s Guild made incubator quilts for premature babies.

Vicky Cowburn (South Lakes)
In the last month I have given two talks about Project Linus. The talk for the NFU Wives at Sedburgh was a great night and as I always take along some of my crafts to sell to help raise extra funds the ladies were very generous and I was able to buy £50 worth of fleece at Abakan in Preston. It worked out at £3 per metre and some great designs. The second talk was to a Good Neighbour group in a local village. They were all very interested in Project Linus and again very generous.

Barbara (a lady from Windermere) arrived at my door last week with 10 beautiful quilts. Her family have begged her not to make them any more quilts as they are all quilted out! She was at one of my first talks some years ago and since then has made quilts for Project Linus, so now I give her lots of fleece and she just keeps making beautiful quilts. Kate, another lady makes me pieced tops so with Barbara’s help we make a good team.

Alison Still (Maldon, Essex)
We recently held a Linus Day with a Difference with the Blackwater Patchwork Group. Group leader Jenny gave all participants a small package of suitable fabric and we joined with a partner to share ideas and coordinating fabrics ready to ‘arrive and sew’ the following week. It was different and fun to share the cutting and sewing, and to combine ideas and of course the quilts grew very quickly. At least six quilts were completed within a week of the initial day and many more are on the way!

Pat Harvey (Ayrshire) (article taken from local Kilmarnock newspaper)
Cross House Hospital Children’s Ward had a visit from the ladies of Project Linus who make and donate comforting quilts to children in hospital. The group members enjoyed tea and mince pies and saw how their quilts are put to good use. Senior Paediatric Nurse Jean Davies said “we would like to give our heartfelt thanks to all the women for the hard work, love and care that goes into the quilts and baby clothes. Being in hospital can be a stressful experience for a child but these quilts and blankets can make the experience more homely and comforting.”

Pupils in Year 6 and 7 at Dailly Primary School near Girvan, Ayrshire recently donated four quilts made in their after-school sewing club. I gave a talk there last year to pupils an staff and the quilts are a result of this. The kids have done so well, haven’t they?

Angela Hartle (West Dorset)
I made a delivery of 80 quilts to Wyvern School in Weymouth (a special school for children with severe difficulties). The 80 quilts meant that every child in the school received one. The school laid them all out and brought the children in class by class to choose their own quilts.

Carol Scott and Anne Pick (North Dorset)
We recently delivered quilts to Shillingstone special school. They later decorated their Christmas tree with laminated photos of the quilts.

Nanzi Beasley and Judith Davies (Swansea)
Firstly a huge thank you to Gwyneth Edwards, who has been the Linus Coordinator for Swansea since 2004. In that time she delivered approximately 750 quilts and blankets, raised money, and constantly encouraged quilters and knitters in the Swansea area. In October Nanzi and Judith took on the role. It needed two of us to continue the wonderful work done by Gwyneth. On February 8th, Gwyneth introduced us to Nicola Lewis, Ward Manager at Oakwood Ward, Morriston Hospital. We were able to visit the youngsters on the wards and distribute fifteen quilts. It was a joy to see their faces and the delight in having a a quilt that would be their own. We were also able to see the six highchairs that had been bought for the ward with money raised by selling fabric donated to Gwyneth by Sandie Silver.

Nikki Webb (Stirling)
Nikki has been doing some great work with local school children. They recently made 37 quilts as part of their textiles class. As well as learning super new skills the teacher said that all the girls finished feeling a great sense of achievement and pride that they were doing something for others and contributing to such a worthwhile cause.

Sylvia Davies (Crazy Quilters, Warrington)
Recently held a stand at the local Christmas Fair to sell handmade items to raise funds.

Joan Lambert (South Dorset)
Vera Menezes had the original idea of setting up a new group dedicated to sewing mainly for Linus. The West Parley Sports and Social Club has recently been refurbished and has a perfect sewing room. This has coincided with an initiative by the Parish Council to encourage more use of all their local facilities and offered the room to Project Linus rent free for three months. A productive sewing day was had by all and we hope that this new venture goes from strength to strength.

Ann Smith (Chesterfield)
Ann sent in a photograph of their oldest and youngest quilters (see PDF version of newsletter for images). She doesn’t win the prize for youngest quilter but does Maddy qualify for oldest quilter at 90? Can anyone beat that from their volunteers? My Mother was 95 when she crocheted her last blanket and knitted her last teddy.

Lynn Fairhead (Lincoln)
Lynn is delighted to join Sue Hall as a Linus Coordinator in Lincoln. In the first fortnight I made four quilts! Two were identical (bright multi-coloured cot quilts with farm animals) for two little boys. The two year old loves the quilt and it goes everywhere with him! The pictures of animals have also helped his vocabulary and skills in making animal noises. The single bed sized quilt featuring football and guitars was designed especially for an eight-year-old fostered boy. The teddy bear cot quilt is suitable for a little girl.

Do you have any stories or photographs for the next edition of the newsletter? Please do send these in to share with other volunteers.

Happy Quilting.