QUILTS FOR COMFORT NORTHEAST

Quilts for Comfort Northeast – Meeting the challenge of bringing comfort one stitch at a time.


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INSPIRATION 

Hi again,

It’s been a while since we got together and here we are at the beginning of September 2016.

Where does the time go? You blink and a week goes by, another blink and it’s a month, then you blink again and it’s another year! It’s as quick as that! Or is it just that I am getting old?  Who knows? Did you know it is a year since the SAS was formed?

Anyway, the passing of time has made me reflect on how far I have come in my quest to be a quilter and all the inspirational people who I have met along the way.

This time last year I was just a ‘hanger on’ going with my good friend June to quilt shows, admiring all the lovely quilts people all round the country had made and envying them their skills. Remember June?  She was the one who started my inspirational journey by retiring and joining two quilting groups, The Quilters’ Cupboard and The Usworth Quilters’

She was to be my first inspiration, making me quilted throws for my settees then a wonderful ‘Star Quilt’ for my 60th birthday. Thanks June 

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It was on one of our jaunts to a quilt show that I met another inspirational lady, her name was Lilian, she was part of the Usworth Quilters’ group. The group would put on trips to various Quilt Shows and on these journeys the ladies would swap ideas and share their plans for the next quilt to be made with the fabrics they had bought. Now all these ladies had with them quilted bags which they had made themselves. My friend Anne (another novice quilter) and I both admired the bag that Lilian had with her and we told her so.  We said how clever she was to have made it and how sad we were that we didn’t have those skills. Do you know what she told us? She said, “It’s easy, you can do it, I’ll give you the pattern!” Anne and I laughed, shrugged our shoulders and said almost in unison, “I don’t think so!” To this Lilian replied strongly, “you CAN do it.”  True to her word she copied us both a pattern and we enlisted June’s help to get the material and follow the pattern and guess what? We DID it, we both made a bag and we felt so chuffed with ourselves. Take a look at Anne’s bag, mine was sent to the Philippines as a gift to my son’s Filipina mother-in-law who is a skilled seamstress and seemed very impressed!

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It was Lilian’s firm belief in our ability to make those bags which fuelled my inspiration to learn how to quilt, however Lilian has inspired me on another level. It wasn’t until I got to know her better that I realised what a strong woman she was. I would see her on the trips to the various quilt shows and couldn’t help noticing that she had mobility problems. I was told about her struggle with polio as a child  which left her hands and legs weak, yet she managed to turn out the most beautiful and delicate quilts. No wonder she was so vehement about Anne’s and my ability to make that bag!  Sadly Lilian succumbed to another long and debilitating illness (liver disease) and she passed away on the 25th of March this year. She is greatly missed. I am inspired by her inner strength and ability to carry on against the odds and would like to pay tribute to her life here by sharing the thoughts of her family with you taken from the Order of Ceremony, (Celebrating an Amazing Woman’s Life)  Thanks Lilian.

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I cant’ believe as I sit here writing to you that a year has passed and I am making quilts!

Some to donate to Quilts For Comfort, I am now onto my third quilt for them! I think you have seen the ‘Miracle Quilt’ made by Anne and me, using the stich and flip method of using up scraps from everyone’s stash. Thanks Everyone.

Then there was my first solo quilt, the Dresden Plate design taught to me by another of my inspirational women, Joan from the Usworth Quilters’. Thanks Joan.

My third quilt was inspired by Jan, yet another of the Usworth Quilters’ group.  She brought a lovely toy train appliqued quilt she had made for her Grandson to show us at our regular Wednesday SAS group. I loved it and Jan showed me how to master the art of applique. I am not quite finished this quilt but I can’t resist giving you a sneak preview of my progress, I am so pleased with it. Thanks Jan 

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I have also just finished my’ Memories of Manay-as’ quilt which began life in the fishing village of Manay-as near Badian in Cebu, Philippines. I took some batik charms squares away with me and hand sewed nine patch blocks, much to the amusement of the curious natives! I am sending them a photo so they can finally see what it was all about!

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Reflecting on this past year I feel that to be inspired is GREAT so to be able to INSPIRE others must be absolutely INCREDIBLE!

I found this poem once when I was searching the internet for messages to insert into greetings cards, which I love to make and I think it sums up how I feel.

My Inspiration

I am constantly inspired

By those people in my life;

By the way they keep going…

By the way they deal with strife.

By the dreams they are creating.

By the smile in their step.

Real life inspiration…

It’s the best sort you can get!

 

Well until the next time, bye for now, Jan


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October Update

Big thank you for all the amazing quilts delivered to Quilts for Comfort…Over 70 quilts have been given for comfort over the last couple of months. I would also like to say a big thank you for the donations we have received …your kind donations allow us to continue buying supplies and giving out ‘extra comfort’….The stitches and comfort continue xx

P.S.       Our roving reporter Jan has been writing another fab article which I will be posting this week


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The Colours of Life

Quilts for Comfort ‘Roving Reporter Jan’ is back with us……

August 2015 10

Hi again,

Remember I told you of my impending visit to see my son and daughter-in-law?  Well I did it!  I survived the flights, the heat and the food and made many new friends along the way. I took my hand quilting supplies along with me, even managing to smuggle that needle onto the plane! I spent lazy days sitting on my veranda hand sewing my squares together to make my nine patch blocks of what is to be known as my ‘Island Quilt’, while we waited for our fishing boat ‘Evergreen’ to return with the day’s catch. I must admit I got lots of puzzled looks from all the villagers who passed by my veranda on their way to and from  work, school or market, until they got the courage up to ask me what I was doing, then it all seemed to make sense to them, apart from the fact that we needed quilts to keep warm and comfortable, (it never drops below 24 centigrade there!)

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There I was in the Philippines, on the Island of Cebu, in Manay-as, a fishing village just off Badian. It was 5.50 pm and almost sunset (the sun goes down dot on 6 pm over there and comes up dot on 6am every day!!) …. As I sat on my veranda at the other side of the world I reflected on the myriad of colours I saw before me, blues, corals, deep purples in the sky, the turquoise and  inky black of the sea all framed by the darkening greens of the palm trees .

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My thoughts drifted to a time just before Christmas 2015 when I visited the  new premises of  The Quilters’ Cupboard, http://www.thequilterscupboard.co.uk/  a fabulous quilting supply shop with it’s own Quilting group which I am sure you remember I have mentioned.  I had the same feeling there as I looked at all the beautiful colours of materials on display in the lovely Rita’s shop.

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They all reminded me of beautiful patchwork quilt patterns.  I can see why all you quilters out there just love to run your hands along those lovely materials…Oh if only I could have ran my hands along all those colours of nature before me.

The owner of the Quilters’ Cupboard, Rita, has a keen eye for colour matching and will generously advise you on what to put with what.

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Just as nature has a way of blending colours together so Rita has a natural ability to do the same.  Thank you Rita for advising me on what colours of material to buy to sew on to a quilt top I am making, there is only one problem!  It is just too lovely to cut into!

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Whilst there I met some of the Quilters Cupboard quilting group and marvelled at their skills as they worked on their personal projects and told me of their contribution to the Quilts for Comfort Cause. A lady called Tina made a lovely ‘doggy’ quilt and Sybil loves to take her quilts up to the Craft House and give them to Sandra. herself. She has produced some amazing quilts despite being colour blind.  She told me “Quilting is a disease!”

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Do you remember the quilt blocks which were made up into quilts by the Usworth Quilters Group?

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They were donated by Rita from a display made by the Quilters Cupboard group.

….thank you Jan for another wonderful report…..wish I could transport myself into those beautiful pictures!!  I visited Quilters Cupboard last week for some fabric for a quilt I’m finishing for QFC and really enjoyed my fabric fix…Sandra

 


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The Thread is Teamwork

…we have another wonderful report from our roving reporter Jan…

August 2015 10

 

“The Thread is Teamwork

Hi again,

I hope everyone has had a great start to the New Year and I guess like me you were ready to start 2016 with your ‘New Year’s Resolutions?’

I had a few myself. One was to undertake ‘Dry January,’ which I did successfully I may say. Leading me to number two, which was to attempt to get healthy and loose a bit of weight! Well I did manage to shed 4lbs unfortunately I have put them all back on now it’s February!! The reason for this is my impending adventure to visit my son and his wife in the Philippines for a month in February/March.

Now ordinarily my weight doesn’t bother me, but as I hate flying I thought it best to drop a few pounds just in case I rock the plane when I get up to go to the toilet! ( It’s a twelve hour flight so I don’t think I will be able to hold on throughout……those who know me know my fear of flying so can empathise with me, although what I am going to do now I don’t know as I am back where I started weight wise!) In order to take my mind off flying my plan is to take my hand sewing SAS quilt project with me to while away all those hours in the sky. That’s as long as I can smuggle a sewing needle into the cabin of the plane! Joan from Usworth Quilters managed on a trip to America so wish me luck.

 

Like you all, another resolution was to finish what I started; you know all those unfinished sewing projects, I think the quilting term is ‘UFO’s.’ As I said I will be taking sewing with me but I must knuckle down and finish my ‘Dresden Plate’ quilt I am working on at the SAS. This will be my first solo project for QFC. However, you know, I am beginning to realise that there is no such thing as a ‘solo’ quilt, for I know I have the support of all my special friends at the SAS, especially those from the Usworth Quilters, to guide me and advise me. There seems to be an endless thread of teamwork which holds us all together. So watch out for the finished article!

 

Now I have talked a lot about the Usworth Quilters group so I thought you might like to hear a little bit more about them and their work: At the end of 2015 I was invited to join them for one of their quilting sessions.  As well as Joan, June, Heather, Denise and Jan who come to the SAS to give us their support and share their expertise, I met many more of the group which consists of 24 currently.

I spoke at length to Rita the Treasurer who told me that as well as personal projects, all the ladies have worked on QFC and many other charity pieces.  They sew Linus Quilts (a charity

whose aim is to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted/crocheted blankets.) Similarly, they have also sewn for The Macmillan Nurses, The RNLI, Bryson’s – a local animal refuge centre and many, many more over the years.  As well as sewing beautiful quilts to support these charities the ladies also donate £3 each at Christmas in lieu of giving each other a Christmas card and then donate that money to a chosen charity, such as Riding for the Disabled and Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Not content with all of the above they also support the local Church, High Usworth, where they hold their meetings.

I was amazed at their kindness and dedication to others, their camaraderie and team spirit, surely an integral strand of the thread of teamwork.  While I got to know some more of the ladies such as Jenny, Beatrix (who is going to pop along to the SAS group soon), Mary, Pat, Judy and Eileen to name but a few, I saw a lot of projects either planned or ongoing for QFC and on their behalf I would like to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of this wonderful group.

Despite being collectively camera shy I did manage to take a few photos so have a look at the team in action ….

 

Another quilting group and another integral strand of the thread of teamwork, which I have mentioned before, meet at the Quilter’s Cupboard,  a shop selling the most beautiful materials. Rita, the owner  generously donated sets of quilted ‘blocks’ made by the quilting group to the SAS to be turned into quilts for QFC when she recently moved premises. We all helped to unpick the bindings of the blocks ready to be reassembled into quilt tops, and perused over colour, style and pattern matching until we were happy with the arrangements. Then Joan from Usworth Quilters took the blocks and she and Cathy her good friend, protégé and fellow SAS member turned them into three wonderful quilts.  Have a look at them to see their beauty for yourselves.

 

Well I am off now but watch this space for more chatter next time when I tell you all about my visit to the aforementioned Quilter’s Cupboard……

 

 


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How many Quilts!!

…..If you could imagine a drum roll right now really loud…..

 468  QUILTS

have been given by Quilts for Comfort

that’s 468 quilts sewn by wonderful, wonderful sewers who ask for nothing in return except the knowledge that their stitches are giving comfort.

I hope you will join me in saying a BIG THANK YOU for each and every Quilt.

 


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Happy New Year to our Quilts for Comfort Family

It’s 2016 and Quilts for Comfort is kicking off the new year with a report from our ‘Roving Reporter’ Jan…she is keeping us all up to date with what’s happening with our Quilts for Comfort sewers..

August 2015 10

And the TEAMWORK goes on…..,………….

Hi, Jan your Roving Reporter here. Take note I have been promoted from ‘wanabe quilter’ to ‘Roving Reporter’.  I have been told by my talented new friends at the SAS and at the Usworth Quilters that I am now officially a ‘quilter’…. Yipee!! I am loving it!!

I am also loving hearing all the amazing teamwork stories I have been told. I feel as if I should share some of them with you.

As you know Quilts for Comfort is a charity with many volunteers such as yourselves, working towards a shared goal to ‘Bring comfort one stitch at a Time’…..

Well today I want to tell you about more of these volunteers and how even though we may never meet each other, we are inextricably linked in our continuous challenge, working together as part of a Team.

QFC is becoming region wide due to ‘word of mouth’ as well the Website connections  https://craftycreativefriends.wordpress.com/   So continues the teamwork.

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A main part of that team are the amazing region wide ‘POONS’ who are the Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Specialists and help QFC to distribute your quilts to their recipients. All you Quilters are another special part of the Team, as without you there would be no quilts to bring comfort to all the families out there. I have already talked about the amazing teamwork going on at the SAS  quilting group, now I want to tell you about one very special quilter. Her name is Jenny and she comes from Cumbria – yes I said Cumbria!

As it became known region wide, Jenny heard about QFC and was touched by our story of “How the Stitching Began,” so wanted to contribute to the cause. Now Jenny has always loved to sew but due to being partially sighted is limited to simple hand sewing. After contacting Sandra at QFC and asking her what she could do to help, she decided to make ‘Quilt Tops’ ( get me I am learning the ‘quilt speak!’) These are the top layers of the quilt, the bit with the lovely patterns on.

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Sandra regularly posts Jenny material from a ‘stash’ (another quilting term) supplied by another lovely lady, Mary, from her own ‘VAST stash’ (apparently all quilters have a STASH!)

Being partially sighted, Jenny struggles with things like cutting, colour matching and pressing so this is where her husband John steps in.  He will cut small, even squares of material cleverly matching them so they complement each other, preparing them for Jenny to sew together. Once sewn to the desired size he will press the finished ‘Top’ ready to pack and post back to Sandra, at a rate of about two a month! Sometimes Jenny’s friends will

help her to sew squares together and Jenny always pops a cute postcard in the package giving credit to them.

As you can imagine QFC has received abundant ‘quilt tops’ so what happens next? I hear you ask. Well, in step the lovely ladies from the Usworth Quilters group once more. Many of them have taken these Tops and have now completed lots of them by adding ‘sashing’ which are like borders-  ‘wadding’ which is the fluffy bit in the centre of the ‘sandwich’ –  the ‘backing’  ( the other side of the quilt) which is usually supplied by Jenny I might add – then finishing with ‘binding’ and ‘quilting’ the whole. (Just thought I would add a few more quilting terms I have learnt!)

And that’s JOB DONE as they say! Many people who have never met from near and far, and I happily include the Postman here, have contributed to a common cause. Brilliant teamwork once again! And as Sandra described it…

“Joining hands and stitches…. the Circle of Comfort is complete,

In the centre of that Circle is the Child we Comfort.”

Thanks for reading, and now look at some of the completed quilts.

Jan x

Here are four of Jenny’s quilts, perfectly sewn and cleverly matched which were passed over to Heather, June and Pat from the Usworth Quilters Group for finishing and now ready to take to Sandra for the QFC.

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….our roving reporter Jan…

Hi from Quilts for Comfort,

we are pleased to welcome Jan back to our blog, our roving reporter out and about gathering all the  news from the different groups that donate so many of the quilts that give comfort…a BIG thank you Jan x

August 2015 10

Hello it’s Jan the ‘wanabe’ quilter again.

I thought you might like an update on our SAS Sewing Group.

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Well since the last time I posted I am delighted to say I have finished a quilt! Yes, FINISHED a quilt.  Well when I say ‘I’  I really mean WE.

Although we are all working on individual projects we share a common goal, that is to make quilts for the Quilts For Comfort Charity, and this quilt would NEVER have been made if it wasn’t for the brilliant team of the SAS to support me.

It’s reasonable to say that I am totally hopeless when it comes to sewing!  I have a sewing machine which my friend June gave me years ago and it was only last week that I discovered I had been sewing with the foot pedal round the wrong way! (Iwondered why the b***** thing kept moving away from me as I sewed)  With help from my new sewing friends I have learned that my machine can do lots of fancy stitches.  It’s a pity I keep forgetting to put the dial back to straight stitching after I have been playing!  That would have saved me a lot of time unpicking my seams.  However I have made a new best friend…it’s called a ‘stich ripper!’

Joking aside, If it wasn’t for my friends encouraging me and sharing their expertise and knowledge I would have given up at the first hurdle. Thanks girls. Now back to the QUILT which I am calling Miracle!  It started out as simple ‘stitch and flip’ blocks which June, a member of both Usworth Quilters and The Quilters Cupboard, showed me how to make from scraps of material. Thanks number one team member. Another of my friends from the SAS team, called Anne was also making this block, imagine our surprise when we compared blocks and lo and behold we were both using the same colour scraps of material.  Enter number two team member! Anne enjoys hand sewing so all hers were made by hand while mine had been machined. Between us we made 12 blocks which we then needed to join together.

In stepped Joan a marvellous quilter from the Usworth Quilting Group and an integral part of the SAS team. Joan showed us how to trim the blocks down to the same size, then make them into a quilt using the ‘Quilt as you go’ method. Enter number three team member!  Followed swiftly by numbers four and five in the shape of Heather and Jan (also from the Usworth Quilting Group)who had many tips for accurate matching of seams, placement of pins and endless words of encouragement. I machined the ¼ inch seams (not very accurately at times) and Anne hand stiched the back sashes very neatly. In order to ralley on to the end we were served endless tea and coffee each week, Cheers Margaret, number six team member. Then Voila one finished Miracle!

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Needless to say Anne and I are very proud of this first attempt and would like to thank the SAS team for all the tutorials, support, advice, encouragement, tea, coffee, biscuits, friendship and laughter which went into the making of the Miracle Quilt.

PS, Although we finished the Miracle 2 weeks ago, due to a couple of ‘senior moments’ I kept forgetting to take the quilt to Sandra at The Crafts House. However, it is now on it’s way………

PPS, Although this is mine and Anne’s first quilt it is not the first quilt completed by the SAS team, please enjoy the photos of other quilts the team have completed.

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Here we have Betty (seated) who loves to hand sew; she made this simple quilt held up by Margaret (left) and Pamela (right) from mixed squares, all neatly sewn together with love and care.

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Ann here is a St. Andrews church member and likes nothing better than joining quilt blocks which have been donated to make into quilts, look at this one. With the help and advice of our SAS team of experts, (thanks girls, you know who you are) Ann completed this beautiful quilt. Proving teamwork is fundamental to our ability to bring comfort through our group.

We have many more quilts almost completed so watch this space to take a peek! Now I have mentioned our mentors and a couple of quilting groups which they belong to. These ladies and the groups they belong to have contributed many quilts to the QFC, so I think it is time to get to know them all a bit better. Again watch this space for my Roving Reports! Till next time……by for now- Jan