QUILTS FOR COMFORT NORTHEAST

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


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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!)

May 2016 1  May 2016 3

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 .

May 2016 2

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!”

May 2016 8

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.

SAS logo

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

 

 


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CHALLENGE NEWS

The Story Tellers Quilt

Hello everyone,

I don’t post here very often nowadays. Last time I wrote announcing The Story Teller’s quilt challenge. Well today I want to tell you all about my experience of joining in to work on this worthwhile challenge quilt.

First of all let me tell you that I’m a true believer in joining in and helping whenever there is a need. I think deep down we all have a yearning to feel useful. The best way I know how to feel useful is to help to bring comfort to the young people who face cancer treatment. So I was more than happy to take a leading role in the making of this quilt. The S.O.S. went out for anyone who was willing to make a storybook related block. Once we reached the deadline for handing in the blocks I purchased some sashing and border fabrics. I needed the blocks before I could really decide what colour/print fabric I needed to pull to whole project together.

The most difficult part of the job of joining all the blocks to make the quilt top was how to layout the blocks. I got a second opinion from my talented art student daughter, Sarah. We rearranged the blocks until we were happy with the look. And then it was finally time to start joining them all together …..

Joining the blocks

A seasoned quilt maker will know that once a quilt top is pieced you have to sort out the dilemma of how to quilt it. As I am a longarm quilter there wasn’t any question how I would tackle the job. In this case I needed enough stitching that the quilt would withstand washing and sitting upon. So I selected an all over cheerful sunshine design to which stitches are distributed evenly leaving no large unquilted gaps.

Longarm quilting The Story Tellers Quilt

Longarm Quilting The Story Tellers Quilt (2)

Now you might think that the story ends here but I do have a few more things to tell you about this special challenge quilt. I did not put a plain backing on this quilt; between us, that is the lovely Linda and I, pieced a storybook related backing using oodles of fabric supplied by Linda and Karen. Here’s a little peek at the colourful interesting quilt back …..

The Story Teller's Quilt Back

It’s a rather large quilt which will drape nicely over the high back chairs at the RVI. Shelley, The Story Teller sponsored by Henry Dancer Days, will use the quilt in just that fashion. She will lay the quilt on her chair and sit on it while she reads to the children. The story reading programme has been so well received that Henry Dancer Days is considering increasing their reading session to two a week.

 

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Once the quilt was longarm quilted I took it to the St. Andrews Sewing group weekly meeting and hand finished the binding in readiness to hand over to Jane who started Henry Dancer Days. And I’m so very pleased to tell you that Jane was as delighted with the quilt …..

Jane of Henry Dancer Days and The Story Teller Quilt

I’m almost finished my account now my friends. I just wanted to mention that I added a simple label on the back of the quilt which included the names of everyone who participated in the making of this quilt. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the label.

I feel privileged and honoured to have been part of this challenge. And what’s more I am so pleased to have been able to take part in this group quilt challenge. Sharing a worthwhile task is the perfect way of bringing people together.

So ladies and gentlemen and quilt makers everywhere, this is my account of how we made The Story Teller’s Quilt.

Until next time,

Happy stitching,

Lucie the Happy Quilter x

 


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S.A.S….St Andrews Stitcher’s

SAS logo                                       THE OTHER SIDE OF THE QUILT

Let me tell you about the newly formed ‘S.A.S’………..

Hi my name is Jan,

August 2015 10

as a ‘wanabe’ quilter with a limited knowledge and ability of sewing I became involved in QFC (Quilts For Comfort) through a Craft Class I began attending a few years ago with one of my best friends June. (Please follow this link to read the full story of how the Charity Quilts For Comfort began.)

June had been learning to quilt for a while and made a beautiful quilt for David the son of Sandra the Craft Class owner, a young man dear to our hearts who was fighting a brain tumour. Sadly he lost this fight but not before he witnessed the start of this wonderful charity which brings comfort to a multitude of similar sufferers.

I love their motto ‘Bringing comfort one stitch at a time.’

Every week I would look on with envy as June and her quilting friends from High Usworth Quilters  and The Quilters Cupboard (she attends two quilting groups) donated fantastic quilts to the cause. I would attend quilt shows with June where I was amazed at the skills of quilters all over the country.  I became inspired; I wanted to make quilts to give to QFC! However, I didn’t know how to quilt; so I told myself ‘I can’t contribute’:

Ha! I have since learned that there is no such word as ‘can’t! June persevered with me and began to teach me the basic principles of quilting, starting with a simple ‘block’ which when there are enough of them can be turned into a ‘top’ then made into a quilt. Using some scraps of material donated by skilled quilters I even made some of these ‘blocks’. At last I had been able to contribute.

But what about the other ‘Jan’s’ of the world? The other ‘I want to contribute but I can’t sew or I don’t sew?’ The trustees of the QFC charity realised there was a need for some sort of ‘self help’ group where the skilled quilters could guide the novices, where the non sewer could contribute in other ways by pinning, tacking, ironing etc.

Thus the ‘SAS’ was born. This stands for the ‘Saint Andrew’s Stitchers’ the first of the self help groups to be formed. It is held in the Community Hall of Saint Andrew’s Church, Washington every Wednesday morning and is open to all abilities. I really enjoy attending. My confidence in my own abilities is growing daily as is that of the other attendees. We have skilled quilters like June, Joan and Heather who are happy to guide us novices; we have Margaret who comes along to take our entrance fee (just enough to pay for the use of the Hall) and makes us our ‘elevenses’. Betty and Pam love to hand sew and have a natter. Anne has introduced her Granddaughters to quilting. Then there’s Chris, who once sewed for a living but since recovering from a brain tumour has been left with limited sight and the feeling that she would never sew again, now confidently using a sewing machine once more…….and it goes on one stitch at a time.

  ……………………………………….This is the other side of the quilt…………………………………………… 

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…these are pictures taken of the group on Wednesday 26th August…

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…every age group is stitching ‘comfort’…

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