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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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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ANNOUNCING A NEW CHALLENGE

Hello Quilts for Comfort Family,

From time to time Quilts for Comfort are approached by different organisations who help bring comfort and happiness to the young people who receive treatment from the Paediatric Oncology and Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the RVI. Sandra recently had a meeting with Jane of the Henry Dancer Days charity. Click here for more info about the charity. This charity supports children and young people 18 years and under with Primary Bone Cancer. The charity sponsors story tellers who go to the Oncology Unit to read stories to the children receiving cancer treatment on said Unit. We have been asked by the charity to produce a quilt which contains story book related blocks. The blocks could be pieced using pre-printed story book fabric or perhaps even hand or machine appliqued using story book themed characters. The Story Teller will place the quilt over the chair they sit on while reading to the children. The idea is that the children will recognise the story book characters making listening more interesting.

We’re hoping for colourful blocks which will stimulate and cheer up the children. Our goal is to make some 30 blocks. So once again we’re asking/begging for help. Have you got a fabric in your stash that’s perfect for this challenge? Have you got an appliqué block pattern that might do the trick? And are you willing to make a block to help us meet the challenge? Your help would be greatly appreciated. The blocks required need to be 12″ which means 12-1/2″ before they are joined together.

We have set a deadline of August 20th for receiving the story book blocks. The blocks will then be joined together, the quilt top will be sandwiched and quilted. We aim to handover the completed quilt at the end of August.

We think that together, one stitch at a time, we can definitely do this. This will be a different kind of comfort which is just as important as the work we have been doing over the past year.

Please let us know by email if you’re planning on helping. By making a block or two you will be helping to bring a little happiness to a child that needs a bit of cheering up.

If you have any questions please email us and we’ll do our best to answer quickly. Time is ticking …..

We hope you’re all enjoying our beautiful summer weather.

Happy stitching,

Lucie, Sandra and Nicola

For

QUILTS FOR COMFORT N.E.


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Hello again my quilty friends,

It’s a while since I last posted here. I have spent most of the past year doing lots of stuff behind the scenes. When Quilts for Comfort the challenge started, yes this charity started off as a challenge, I used to be more hands on. I really enjoyed being hands on by making quilts as often as needed in the beginning but life evolves and things change. I still enjoy being hands on when I get the chance but these days I spend quite a lot of time in front of my laptop composing newsletters, reading and answering emails. My main goal is to help wherever there is a need. I recently finished off a quilt suitable for a boy aged 15-21. And now and again there is a request for a special quilt for which I am quite happy to meet the challenge. Let’s move on to more interesting stuff.

Today I wanted to cover the topic of why and how the QFC Signature Quilt came about. Our Signature Quilt measures 56” x 70”. I am the one who worked out this size quilt based on 12” blocks and 2” sashing in consultation with a mother who has experience and knowledge of what is a useful quilt size on the oncology unit. Another consideration is the backing fabric. We receive lots of quilt tops which have to be layered, quilted and bound by a volunteer before they can be handed over to the oncology unit. We have found a nice affordable soft calico that drapes beautifully and washes nicely. The calico measures 60” and so a 56” wide quilt fits nicely when it comes time to layering up.

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The Signature Quilt also fits on a hospital bed nicely and looks neat and tidy. And if the quilt is bright and cheerful or includes some of the child’s favourite things, well that’s even better. Don’t forget that we cater for children and young people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Over the past year, we have been asked for quilts suitable for boys ages 15-21 and I’m very pleased to say that we met that challenge. The Signature Quilt was perfect for that age group. You must remember that our teenagers can be as tall as 6’ sometimes so a too small quilt won’t go very far to bring comfort and warmth.

Signature Quilt Clipart

Just lately we were asked for quilts for boys of all ages and quilts for little girls. So now we can have fun with making smaller quilts for little boys and girls which will still fit within our 60” backing fabric. I will enjoy being hands on to make pretty little quilts suitable for little princesses. I have plenty of pretty girly fabric which I will really enjoy piecing and longarm quilting.

Have you been wondering why we set challenges such making boy’s quilts for a certain age group? Well now, today after reading this post, you know that our challenges are driven by the requests we receive from the oncology nurses. I for one am glad that the nurses feel comfortable asking for what is currently needed. I think it’s a great thing we do. Bringing comfort to a few hundred kids of various ages going thru a hard time over a period of a year is a great accomplishment. We couldn’t do it without all our wonderful willing volunteers. We can’t work miracles but we can bring a little comfort. Even if it’s one stitch at a time.

I’m off now to dig around my stash for some bright cheerful fabrics to make a quilt suitable for a little girly girl. Would anyone like to help me meet our new challenge?

Until next time,

Happy stitching,

Lucie the Happy Quilter x


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WITNESSING COMFORT

How do you make a child happy? Well most of us know that sometimes all it takes is a few kind words or a small treat. Those of us who are parents will know that we will do almost anything it takes to make our children happy. I am truly blessed because my one and only child is healthy and happy. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been so far. There are many families who have very poorly children. And many of those children are poorly because they have some form of cancer. So I’ll ask the same question again ….. How do you make a child happy ….. when they are poorly?

I recently visited the Paediatric Oncology and Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the RVI along with my two Quilts for Comfort Trustee colleagues. I must admit I was a little apprehensive but I felt it was something that I needed to do. We were given a super tour by Jenny the Matron amongst others. And I must admit I had a rogue tear in my eye thru the whole tour. We were not shown anything gory. We saw plenty of young families in different waiting rooms. And what played on my mind was that all these parents have a poorly child.

It’s a super facility. It’s bright and cheerful and the staff are so good with the children. They are well trained and know exactly how to deal with every eventuality. I was really impressed.

Thru the whole tour as we moved from one section to the next I thought to myself what can I do for these children to make them feel better? And as if by magic I witnessed something that was truly magic. I hope I’m not boring you to distraction. Please bear with me for a wee bit longer because those of you who have donated quilts, quilt tops and blocks will appreciate what I have to tell you in the rest of this post.

During our tour we were invited into a side ward where two little boys were resting. They had recently had some kind of treatment and therefore not feeling very enthusiastic about life in general. One little boy, Boy A, has already received a quilt from Quilts for Comfort which he brings with him every time he visits hospital for treatment. His starry blue quilt was spread over his bed as he lay there watching TV. The other little boy, Boy B, had not received a quilt from Quilts for Comfort yet. In fact his security blankie had been lost in the hospital laundry for which he was quite upset. Boy B really loves dragons/dinosaurs, as little boys do. It just so happens that in our pile of some forty quilts which we were handing over to the unit there was one dragon quilt. I think you can guess what happened next. Our Nicola gifted the dragon quilt to Boy B. From where I was standing, I had the perfect viewpoint of the wee boys’ reaction when he saw the quilt had dragons on it. His face lit up and he was immediately cheered up. I was so pleased to see exactly what happens when a young child or teenager is given a quilt made by the Quilts for Comfort family. It’s magic. And it is witnessing first hand, exactly how the magic works, that will keep me on track making quilts and doing anything I can to help bring comfort to the children who need it.

The whole idea of this tour was really daunting for me. I was afraid of intruding on families that were going thru one of the most uncertain times of their lives. However the staff at the cancer unit knew exactly how much to show and how not to intrude in personal lives. We were made to feel very welcome and appreciated for the quilts we supply. And of course the cakes that Nicola baked went down very well indeed. I may be biased but Nicola makes a mean Millionaire Shortbread!

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So to all the ladies who take time to make quilts, quilt tops and piece blocks, to those who help in any way they can I send a big thank you. I assure you all that every stitch is worth making. So whether you make a whole quilt by yourself or pool together as a group to make a quilt top, let it be known that each and every quilt will bring comfort to someone deserving comfort in a time of need.

I found this post rather difficult to write. What I experienced first-hand was very humbling. I shed more than a few tears remembering my experience but I think it’s worth telling you that I saw with my very own eyes the goodness we’re spreading with every quilt donated. Boy B’s dragon quilt was pieced by Lillian. Lillian if you’re reading this, you’ve brought comfort to at least one poorly little boy this week.

So ladies keep those quilts coming. Our next Quilts for Comfort volunteer day for will he held on October 14th. So why not join us on that day. Remember together we can bring that much needed comfort, one stitch at a time …..

Until next time,

From a very humbled,

Lucie the Happy Quilter

 


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THE HELP KEEPS COMING

We had a little event bringing young and old, mothers and daughters and lots of friends together for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. The goal was to teach a few willing newbies how to hand piece a simple Nine Patch block. I gathered up enough supplies and tools to make some 16 blocks which I will piece together to make a quilt. Here is a photo of my willing participants …..

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It’s amazing how a simple pursuit such as quilt making can bring a group of all ages and all walks of life together. We had three students, a couple of hairdressers/artists, a nurse and a magistrate in our group of willing helpers. One or two of our ladies were rather apprehensive about piecing a block but there was absolutely nothing to worry about. I will tell you more about this quilt as things progress.

For those who are helping us make quilts I would like to remind you that the next volunteer day will be on Tuesday August 12th. Feel free to pop in to drop off any finished quilts, quilt tops or blocks you might have for us. I look forward to seeing you on the day. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Keep on stitching so we can bring comfort.

Lucie the Happy Quilter x


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WHAT’S THE LATEST NEWS

Hiya everybody. I hope you’re all enjoying the summer. It’s a long time since I posted here so I thought I’d give it a go.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time longarm quilting and teaching lately but there’s a side of me that you don’t see. And that side is the part of me that’s working behind the scenes with Quilts for Comfort. Alongside Sandra and Nicola and our Quilts for Comfort family I’m beavering away trying to make a difference one stitch at a time. As most of you know we will soon be holding a launch day just to let everyone know what it’s all about and what’s been happening. So why don’t you come along and see us on Thursday July 10th at The Crafts House. Pop in and have a coffee and one of Nicola’s delicious cakes. Nicola really is the best baker in town and not only that but we’re going to teach her to make patchwork blocks soon. Even if you don’t sew you can play a part in bringing comfort to someone who needs it.

 This morning we got together to get things ready for the near future. We made lists regarding future plans …..

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 And put things in some kind of order …..

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The lovely Sandra played with fabric scraps …..

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And Nicola put oodles of fabric scraps in order ready to be turned into comforting quilts …..

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We had a look at the latest donated quilts …..

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We all agreed that we love the soft animal print on the back of this quilt.

We receive a wide variety of quilts. And as well as finished quilts we receive quilt tops and blocks. And our very helpful and hardworking Quilts for Comfort family members turn quilt tops and blocks into superb quilts which go to young people needing comfort.

It’s not difficult to join the Quilts for Comfort family. I joined last summer when I made a few boys quilts to fill a need and I have longarm quilted a few quilt tops in between everything else I do. And I plan on continuing in this fashion for as long as I can. I also plan on teaching a few newbies how to piece quilt blocks on our Quilts for Comfort volunteer days. So if you don’t sew this might be your chance to learn while doing something worthwhile.

As well as our hardworking family  we have another great source of support. Some of you have already visited Stitchin’ Heaven on the 697 in Longframlington. Anne and Mick Davison run the lovely patchwork shop in an idyllic setting in north Northumberland. Anne and Mick have very generously pledged to help us bring comfort to our young friends. I’m so very pleased to welcome them to the Quilts for Comfort family. We can use all the help we can get.

Anne hiding behind kits
This is Anne hiding behind a whole load of quilts kits.

Mick running the shop

This is Mick taking care of business.

So I’m looking forward to the launch on Thursday. I’ll be the one sporting a big smile. I hope to see you there.

 Until the next time,

 Happy stitching.

 Lucie the Happy Quilter x