QUILTS FOR COMFORT NORTHEAST

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


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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..

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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.

taking quilts to the rvi march 2015 4

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.

box for jenny 1box for jenny 2

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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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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….together we make a difference…

Can you believe it has been a year since Quilts for Comfort N.E. was officially launched!!…( quilts had already been sewn and delivered to the RVI oncology unit in the previous year)

To mark the event we decided to have an appreciation ‘Tea Party’ to say thank you to as many people as we could. We were lucky to be able to hold the event at Burnopfield Cricket Club and the staff were wonderful in setting up the lovely room..Nicola as always provided a lovely ‘spread’ (my Grandma always used the word ‘spread’ when she prepared our Sunday teas!!..Did anyone else’s Grandma do that?)…..her cakes  are the comfort we all need with a cuppa.

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..just before everyone arrived…

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Guests at QFC Tea Party

…some of the ladies seated and ready..

More guests at QFC Tea Party

…friends who sew together..

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2 Thank You Cards

..Great job Nicola…thank you cards from children and teens from RVI oncology unit who have received quilts from you all..we have received many thank yous from children and parents and they always touch my heart …. their battle is a tough one and i love that they take the time to say thank you xx

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we received quilts on the day too…

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Dianne…arranging and stroking quilts..

..I don’t have a picture of JUNE (remember it was her quilt that started it all xx) saying a few words…

keri 13th July 2015

…Keri…

i hope you all don’t mind if this next part is written from my heart..

..the lovely Keri came to meet you all and talk about what the quilts mean to everyone…her official title is ‘Pediatric Oncology Outreach Nurse’…this wonderful..wonderful nurse/friend  along with the wonderful Natalie,Kelly and Viv nursed and cared for our lovely son, they were there at the beginning and throughout his treatment and also when we bought him home to spend his last days with us ….they have continued to support,help and care for us as a family….we will NEVER be able to express in words what they all mean to us …but one thing I know is to the best of our ability we will support and help them in their job ANY way we can….the great thing is each and everyone of you since the very first quilt was delivered have supported,sewn,donated and helped xxx

…..A Big Big thank you to the following groups and shops who have supported Quilts for Comfort N.E over the last year

308170_138613292898086_441228_n..the wonderful ladies from Usworth

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Monday afternoon group and the individual ladies who sew @ The Quilters Cupboard

High Street Quilting……Hilary and the individual ladies who sew @ High Street Quilting

Stitchin' Heaven Button copy..Anne and Mick x

..there are a LOT of individuals i have not listed here who have donated blocks,quilts,tops,fabric,time,fabric scraps,refreshments,support,donations..we have tried to say thank you to everyone and I know I will have missed someone out but that will be down to human error and if your not mentioned by name please know that I/we are saying thank you to YOU too and so are all the children,teens,parents and adults that have received a quilt or ‘extra comfort’.

….at the moment I am busy working my way through the big box of quilt tops that Quilts for Comfort is lucky enough to receive, the box is like a magical never empty quilt top box..its always re-filling!!!.. after layering them i am really enjoying sitting hand quilting them…I Know I’m not the most perfect quilter and some of those stitches (especially when the eyes are crossed!!) I’m glad aren’t measured!! BUT I’m loving it…..it slows me down..relaxes me and because I have seen and felt the comfort they give…Warms my Heart xx

…….I will be posting next week about our plans for the upcoming year…..


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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.

Clipart 1

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