Parkham Patchers Quilting Group are holding a Patchwork and Craft Exhibition at Parkham Methodist Chapel, Parkham, Devon EX39 5PG, Friday 6th July and Saturday 7th July from 10am – 5pm, and on Sunday 8th July 12pm – 4pm.

Parkham Patchers Quilting Group has been in existence for over 20 years, and members have come and gone, and some have come back again (I include myself in this category, as I was absent for about 9 months – doing a maternity cover in school). We currently number about 20 – which is as many as our venue can comfortably accommodate. The age range spans 40 years, and at times the age range is greater still, when daughters and / or granddaughters attend (there don’t seem to have been many sons or grandsons attending). We meet on a Wednesday morning for about 2 hours, have a chat, drink coffee, eat cake (if it is someone’s birthday), sew, and help each other out. From time to time we have speakers and workshops, and we will sometimes dedicate a whole day to a specific project. Such projects have included making Heart cushions for breast cancer patients, and also making quilts for Project Linus. Last summer Jane Kite came to talk to us; she had recently become the Project Linus co-ordinator for North Devon. Following on from this, there is now a monthly Project Linus sewing day in Parkham, and many of our members attend this as well.

Breast cancer cushions made in February 2016
The ladies with Breast cancer cushions we made in August 2016
The cushions we made in September 2017

In February 2017, The Bell Inn in Parkham suffered a massive fire, resulting in the only pub in the village having to find alternative accommodation. What has this got to do with quilting? Well, quite a lot; our group has had a Christmas meal at The Bell for a number of years, and it marks the start of Christmas for some of us. Last year was no exception; the landlord and landlady had set up a temporary bar in the village hall, and they ensured that Christmas meals would be available as well. It was on the occasion of our meal that we were able to present them with a quilt we made for them after the fire. The quilt is made from friendship star blocks – the reason speaks for itself I think! This quilt will be on display at the exhibition.

Rachel and Michael receiving the quilt we made for them, after we’d had our Christmas dinner!

In April this year, Lara Eley from the North Devon charity ChemoHero came to talk to us about the work that ChemoHero does. The charity provides a box of goodies to all patients undergoing chemotherapy at North Devon District Hospital. Contents of the box vary somewhat, but they include drinks, high energy snack bars, pen, colouring pencils, books (puzzle books, mindfulness books, colouring books), hat / headscarf made from soft textiles, ginger sweets, a thermometer (very important for those undergoing chemotherapy), a range of indulgent toiletries – and more besides! We were able to show Lara the quilt that we will be raffling at the exhibition, and we also took an impromptu collection on the day, raising £100 to give as a donation immediately! We are hoping to surpass this amount at the exhibition.

Lara Eley from ChemoHero, with a display about what goes into a ChemoHero box, and the quilt that we will be raffling at the exhibition.

What will be included in the exhibition? There will be quilts and wallhangings, a selection of quilts that members have made for Project Linus, and postcards from our group challenge. Let me tell you about the challenge:

Early in March this year I had an idea – dangerous I know! I suggested that we had a postcard challenge in the group – to happen every so often (no specified dates as to when to set a new challenge), set a theme, and then give about a month to complete it. Looking back at the conversation on Messenger, I said then that it could be a good little show for an exhibition! A week or two later I suggested it to the group, and there was agreement in principle, although some were a little unsure. I took along some of the postcards that I had received from the UKQU Postcard Swap as inspiration / show what could be done. The first theme was decided as being Gardens / Gardening. The completion date was set for the end of April. I will confess here and now that mine was not finished by the deadline – but I have finished it now! We then set our next challenge – tasking the lady with the next birthday in the group to come up with the next theme. She thought of two – Trees and Seaside – the deadline for these is the exhibition. We don’t send the postcards – we’ve just made them for fun and for a small challenge in our group.

Refreshments will be available – including scones – just don’t ask us whether it should be jam or cream on first, as despite us being in Devon, the opinion is very much divided! There will be a cushion tombola, raffle for a handmade quilt, and a sales table. The sales table includes items ladies in the group have made, and also includes quite a bit of fabric – at bargain prices.

If you are in Devon – please do come along to see the exhibition and our members – they are a very friendly bunch – I joined them after going to see their exhibition in 2011! If you are unable to get to the exhibition but would like tickets for the raffle, please contact me directly through UKQU website or by Facebook messenger.