Thursday, 31 December 2015

Sums up 2015

Lots of horrible things have been happening recently, terrorism, shootings, floods, to mention just a few.  But we need to remember that these things hit the news because they are rare, and that acts of kindness and joy are so commonplace that they aren't worth reporting. 
So it is with Project Linus.  Apart from the massive donations of quilts, there are also wonderful donations of fabric.  Within the last couple of weeks have been a generous donation from Lynn of yardage and scraps. 

This bag is chock full of top quality fabrics, jelly rolls and charm squares which will make beautiful quilts.  Th├ínk you so much. 
And then I heard from Edna, who had wadding, orphans, fat quarters, yardage, scraps and other items looking for a good home.  

I could tell her that they would all be put to good use. 
Rest assured everyone, that next year will be filled with kindness and love.  Here's to 2016! 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Final delivery of 2015

The quilts have been flying out of the house recently, such that, when Rosemary from the Diana Service for Children with Life-limiting conditions rang last week to see if she could have some, I had to ring round to see if I could round some up!  Thanks to Maria and Paula I found 13 quilts, and Paula and I went up to Meridian to deliver them. 

Here we are with a cute jelly roll quilt made by Maggie, in front of Rosemary's car.  So far this year we have had 373 quilts donated to local children in need of a hug!  We'll done to all who helped, and here's to more sewing next year! 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Sewing in Coalville

Today Paula, Julie, Maria and I went over to 'Hannah's Room' in Coalville for a Linus sewing day.  With four people and four sewing machines in the car, plus fabrics, we were a bit snug, but my trusty Fiesta can cope with more than that, and did so, as on the way back we had three of my quilts which had been exhibited at Coalville plus four completed Linus quilts!  

Lovely Alison had brought her Sizzix cutter and happily cut tumblers from Linus fabric.  Here is Roxana doing what quilters do best and scrabbling around on the floor laying them out! 

Julie brought her Acuquilt and cut more dogs and cats etc. which Paula and I put together with 9-patches.  Gorgeous. 

Here you can see the dog + 9-patch quilt in the foreground with Maria and Julie beavering away behind a donated bag of scraps.  Julie was first in there to pull out some fabulous batik pinwheels and fabric to make more.  

Paula was 'nose to the grindstone as usual.  She told me off for talking as she was waiting for me to finish applique in the dogs before she could join them up!  Quite right too! 

Alison was sorting and cutting.  Check out that hoodie.  Father Christmas, please take note and make sure there is one like that in my stocking. Please. 

And here is a view of the whole proceedings.  Roxana's Mum Claire was making fleece backed prem quilts.  Cute.  We had a lovely day, with lots of laughter, chocolate biscuits and sewing.  Many thanks to Roxana for opening her shop specially and keeping us all well supplied with tea and coffee all day.  There will be another day on December 6th, so put it in your diary. 

Friday, 6 November 2015


Today Paula and I drove over to Bingham to meet Judy from Fostering Futures to give some more lovely quilts to children who are being Looked After.  It's always lovely to see Judy, and she brought the evidence of the crochet tuition Paula gave her when we last caught up.  She's definitely got the basics, but life has been a bit hectic for her recently, so the crocheted bedspread is yet to be finished (and started!). 

Here she is with her glamorous new hairstyle holding up one of the lovely quilts I fetched from Nether Broughton recently.  She took 30 quilts, which I'm sure will be used to brighten a foster child's day.  As we were leaving, she loaded a box into my car and said it was a bit of appreciation from the children's families.  I had a quick glance, and there were chocolate biscuits and other treats which we will all be able to share. 

How's that for a bit of appreciation!  We're having a sewing day in Coalville on Monday, so will certainly enjoy the sugar rush.  Then I looked further inside the box and there was more!

Pins, safety pins and twenty spools of Gutermann cotton thread!  How did they know that's my personally preferred thread?  That too will be shared out on Monday, and be put yo good use.  There was also an envelope which Judy had pointed out, which I was hoping contained cards from the children.  We always love reading thank you cards, and are very grateful for them.  It wasn't cards, just one card. 

One of Judy's beautiful hand painted card, a letter and a bag with some pictures of the queen in!  To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement!  Such generosity!  Judy suggests we use the money to pay the rent for 2016!  So thoughtful.  The money will definitely be put to very good use, Judy, have no fear! 
And again, many, many thanks! 



Monday, 5 October 2015

Quilts delivered

The pile of quilts waiting to be delivered has been growing recently, so I have been contacting possible recipients with great success.  Everyone likes a hug you can keep! 
Today I went to the Leicester LGBT centre to deliver some quilts for their young people and some children living with HIV.  

Here is proof of the fact that I'd never make a living as a photographer - fancy posing next to a window!  Never mind, you can at least see me and Project Worker Dennis holding a quilt he had chosen.  It's Maria's Scrappy String as it happens.  Dennis was lovely and made all the right noises and comments about the quilts.  Hope they have the desired effect. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Nether Broughton

When I mentioned to my daughter that I was off to Nether Broughton, she said it sounded like somewhere in Middle Earth!  It certainly sounds quite old fashioned, but I was going to a quilting group, so was very confident that it would be lovely!  And indeed it was.  I gave a short talk about Linus, and met some lovely ladies, including the fabulous Margaret (who is another Bonnie Hunter fan - must be a lady of discernment and talent!) who leads the group.  She had had an unexpected windfall, and had spent the money on fabric to teach the group Split Nine Patch!  So generous!  

Here she is with a beautiful strippy quilt.  It was made by layering the backing and wadding, then sewing the strips on to the wadding by stitching and flipping, then all is quilted, and ready for sewing together quilt as you go!  How clever is that!  

Here is the pile of quilts I brought back from the meeting.  There were thirty lovely quilts altogether!  Thank you so much ladies, I had a fun evening.  See you again soon? 
Last week we were lucky to be invited to The Big a Textile Show in Great Glen, Leicester.  If you haven't been to this show, then put it in your diary, as it's quite different - in a good way.  There are a variety of exhibitors and traders, from spinners and weavers, dyers, printers, quilters, embroiderers and all kinds of other textile people. 

Here is our stall, which was manned by myself, Maria (pictured), Julie, Eileen and Emily.  Many thanks to these stalwarts, and all the people who came along to say hello and find out about Project Linus.  We'll look forward to seeing you next year! 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Rutland Quilters

Things have been fairly quiet over the summer, Linus-wise, but no sooner have the children gone back to school, than we're off!  Jenny, from Rutland Quilters contacted me, as they had some quilts to donate. She wanted to meet somewhere and do a handover, but I suggested it would be nice for me to come to a meeting, meet the quilters and have a chinwag!  They meet in Uppingham, so yesterday I set my trusty satnav and set off.  It was a beautiful run from Lutterworth, through the villages, Gilmorton,  Kibworth Harcourt, Hallerton, Cranoe etc. and just when I was beginning to think I was going to end up in the middle of nowhere, there was Uppingham!  Good route. 

They are a small group, but have assembled a gorgeous set of quilts. I was particularly impressed that they had been careful to make sure there were some quilts for boys - look at the lovely aeroplane and sky one on the left. Perfect.  We had a cuppa and they had a look through my pattern folder, and then I had an opportunity to admire their work. 

Look at the tiny hexagons!  I think they were half an inch! The colours were more brown than green, and it will be made into a table runner, eventually.  Did you notice the wrist pincushion?  Great idea!

These were all ladies after my own heart.  This one was using leftovers in black, white and pink to make enough fabric for a bag.  It will look stunning. 

And these ladies were sorting scrap squares into sizes, for ease of use.  It's the only way to do it. 
Then, just as I was going, out came these fabulous cushions! 

Cats!  They were an excercise in positive and negative. 

And here are the two together.  Thank you very much for inviting me over, and for the lovely quilts.  I look forward to seeing you again.m

Friday, 12 June 2015

Coffee and quilts

My friend Jane has recently decided to stop teaching patchwork.  This is a shame, as she's a talented, patient and understanding teacher, but it was the right decision for her.  So, what to do with all the blocks, Blue Peters and samples she had amassed?  Make them into Linus quilts, of course!  We met for a coffee and a catch up, and she handed over a total of ten beautiful quilts!

Here she is with a gorgeous ribbon quilt.  You can see the bag with the other quilts in her boot.  If you want to see all the quilts, look on Jane's blog, where she has photos of them.  Thank you so much, Jane, you're a star! 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Quilts to Cambridge

My daughter Gemma works for a charity in Cambridge which supports young people struggling with their sexuality.  She contacted her local Linus rep to see if there were any hugs to spare, to find there weren't!  Shame!  Luckily I had some, so I was able to deliver some today.  Here she is with a gorgeous quilt.

Having been involved with Linus for several years, and helped with fabric choices, layouts, label sewing and delivery, she was thrilled to be able to be on the other side of the counter (as it were) and be able to receive the love.  And here are some of the young people supported by Sexyouality, enjoying their hugs.

Interesting to see they have chosen a green quilt donated by Hazel, a scrappy windmill, a rail fence sashed in pink, and the red and black quilt which was made by members of Sew Sociable!  
Apparently they were really touched that " some old ladies" we're prepared to make such beautiful things especially for them!  Well, less of the "old ladies" thank you, and maybe we'll send some more!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Another visit from the fairies!

I just popped out earlier this evening to get some milk, when I found the fairies had payed me another visit!  Two carrier bags were outside the front door, one full of fabric (and very heavy) and the other with recent quilting magazines. 

There was a note on top of the large bag, but no identification! 

How kind of you, Good Fairy!  We will indeed appreciate using decent quantities of top quality fabrics, instead of using up scraps, which of course, are wonderful in their own way, but can be very frustrating when they are not quite big enough or the right shape for what you need them for! 

Here is the contents of the large bag.  Two jelly rolls (one with its background fabric and pattern), a huge fat quarter pack in blues and creams (ideal for boy quilts!), a quilt pack, some batik charm packs, some gorgeous animal novelty fabrics, plenty of cream fabrics (you can never have enough neutrals), some blue yardage, wool, an advent calendar, more fat quarters and decent cuts of fabric, some 2" squares and some batik blocks!  I will take all this to Knit and Stitch next week, and share it amongst the Linus ladies there.  They will be delighted, and put it all to very good use.  Thank you so much, Good Fairy, and a Merry Christmas to you too!

Monday, 4 May 2015

More quilts where they belong

Last week I was contacted by Asha, who works for the NHS Partnership, working with vulnerable children in the Saffron Lane area of Leicester, as they needed more quilts.  Had I got any they could have?  The answer was, of course!
She came round to my house on the way back from a training day and collected 30 quilts.  

Here she is with a gorgeous Scrappy Bargello quilt.  I hadn't met Asha before, but she remembered quilts coming in to her office and tracked me down.  I'm delighted that the quilts will all be finding good homes.  That leaves me with 'only' about 30 quilts left, but I'm sure there are plenty in the pipeline! 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sew Sociable

We had a busy week, as on Friday we went over to Sew Sociable's monthly meeting in Leicester.  We were delighted to be invited back for some Linus sewing, and a big thank you to Debbie, Emily, Julie and Liz who came along and helped out. 

The group meets in Saint Martin's cafe in Leicester, and it's a very comfortable venue.  The group started as a free event, but unfortunately they now have to pay for the venue, which means they have to charge a £3 fee.  They also have traders to help out with funds, but that's always a bonus as far as most people are concerned!  And before you ask, yes, I did buy some fabric!  Couldn't resist! 

Despite the charges, the event seemed very popular, and there were over 40 people there, of all ages and both sexes.  

The person in the green dress is Julia, one of the organisers.  She is lovely and a delight to chat to.  

This month's project was to make a simple rail fence block from three strips of fabric.  You only needed to be able to do a small running stitch to be successful.

I took my trusty design wall aka fleece backed plastic tablecloth, and as the blocks were completed, put them up for people to see. 

And here is the completed design.  Rainbow stripes! There were 113 blocks made in total, which will easily make a couple of Linus quilts, and has used up lots of scraps and strings.  Thank you to all the people at Sew Sociable for your hard work, and we'll hope to see you soon! 

Hospital visiting

Last Monday, Paula and I went to visit Ward 10 of the Leicester Royal Infirmary's Children's Hospital to deliver some quilts.  They were keen to take as many as possible, as, this being a surgical ward, there is a fairly rapid turnover of patients.  We took 50 quilts, which is quite a lot to carry!  We were lucky enough to be allowed to use one of those big cages which the porters use (you can see it in the photo)  and despite the fact that it was a difficult to steer, made the whole job much easier.  

When we arrived on the ward, the duty nurse said, "You must be the blanket ladies!  we've been looking forward to seeing you!"  Pip, the ward housekeeper came in from her break and oohed and ached over the quilts.  She said that the quilts are really appreciated by children and parents, as they are so snugly, and give comfort in a tough situation.  
The photo says it all!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Knit and Stitch is four!

This week, Knit and Stitch had its fourth birthday, which is a great achievement.  Sewing and knitting for good causes is obviously very popular.  We had cake (provided by me - so far no one has phoned in sick!) and everyone seemed to enjoy it. 

Here are some of the sewers.  Most people are bordering or binding tops, but the little group on the left are 'de boning' some donated pyjamas, which will make some lovely quilts once the fabric is on useable pieces.  They worked away at this tedious task, and then Dorothy kindly volunteered to take the rest home and finish the task.  Very kind.  

Here are the knitters, busy knitting and chatting.  There were about 30 people there altogether, with the knitters making up the majority.  

Here's a better photo of the sewers.  You can see Emily and Doreen busy with the pyjamas, and right at the back, Fiona (who had a sewing machine for Christmas!) busy under Paula's excellent tuition, making her first blocks.  

The knitters are able to spread themselves along the tables, as they aren't constrained by the position of the electrical sockets.  Recently we managed to fuse the hall, so are being a bit more careful these days! 

Maria is an extremely prolific and talented quilter and she brought along her usual half dozen completed quilts.  Like me, she is a big fan of Mile a Minute, and usually makes one each month!  This one looks so good sashed in red.  

Here is another i sashed.  They both look great, don't they?  Anyone is welcome to come along, so see if you can squeeze it into your diary in March. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


Paula and I had an eventful journey up to Bingham today - wind, rain, hail, sunshine, rainbows, blue skies and black clouds, we had it all!  Judy from Fostering Futures was there to meet us in our usual cafe, and it was lovely to see her and catch up with her news.  She had told us she was keen to learn to crochet, and Paula went equipped and ready to initiate her into the craft.

Here they are, concentrating hard.  Judy turned out to be a natural, and once she's got her tension sorted out (a common problem with beginner knitters and crocheters) will be off!  However, our real business here was to bring Linus quilts, and with her team looking after 78 young people, I had brought 80 beautiful quilts for her.  When we had loaded all the quilts into her car, she and Paula posed for a picture, despite the wind and the fact that it had just started to rain again.  Unfortunately though I thought I had taken a picture, I had in fact taken a video, which I can't upload onto this post!  You'll have to take my word for the pleasure on both their faces at the generosity of all the Leicestershire quilting angels!

Monday, 26 January 2015

A visit to Shepshed

We were well overdue for a visit to our friends at 'Quilting Together' in Shepshed, as we usually manage to see them before Christmas, but no worries, we finally made it.  As usual I took fabrics and orphans. 

As usual, they wasted no time in having a good rummage!  What is it about other people's fabric choices which make them so appealing?  I'm always happy to see the donated fabric being used, and these ladies are so creative, and use it all to good advantage.  
There were several piles of quilts on the table, and here are just some of them. 

Something straightforward made from squares and half square triangles. 

Pinwheels with a difference - don't the circles add an extra pizzazz!

Sashed mile a minute, fabulous.

Crazy mile a minute!  I love the Orange sashing.

Different coloured boats sailing on a very calm ocean.  Which do you like best?

Great use of variously sized orphans.  The frames make the blocks knit up uniformly big.

A stunning quilt made from four patches sashed and bordered.  Gorgeous!

Clever use of feature fabric which apparently was taken from one of the boxes last time I visited!  It all gets used! 

Excellent use of a fairly small piece of racing car fabric.  So clever. 

Intriguing pattern, suitable for an older child.  Altogether there were 41 beautiful quilts.  How good is that!  We also had a sneak preview of a group quilt they are making to enter at Malvern and Utoxeter.  It's crazy pieced hexagons, which are each a little mini quilt.  They will be sewn together with half hexagons along the sides to square it off.

And last but not least, we admired a variation of Bonnie Hunter's 'Grand Illusion'. 

The maker felt it was too busy when the required four patch was placed in the centre, so substituted a pink square.  Very clever.  I can't wait to see the result, and hope it will be complete next time we visit.  (I haven't mentioned the cake - courgette, yum! - or the fact that I was the one mention sex when I told about dropping my drawers in the school car park!  Luckily they were panto costume drawers, and not my own!)