Once we have made quilts for ourselves, for our relatives [who are likely sneaking around corners checking before they arrive that there are no quilts waiting again] friends and neighbours, and the pile still keeps growing, what do you do with your quilts?

Its an obsession, making quilts, once you start, isn’t it.  This should not be confused with fabric collections .. the stash is sacred  and there does not have to be a reason for the stash .. it just is.  We spend time rearranging, colour grouping, sorting into sizes and more.  But now and then the urge will grow and a quilt is born.  But when all avenues of using or giving have been exhausted its a pity that the beautiful quilt, made with fabulous fabrics, just sits on a pile waiting patiently for its role.

This is when Charity Quilting comes into its own.   There are so many different charities that welcome them.  From Linus – the movement started in the US that has many different groups here in the UK or Q4CL who began as a group to support the Lemn Sissay Gold from the Stone Careleavers Christmas Dinners and have grown rapidly over the last couple of years, to the local sewing groups who gather regularly to create quilts for local charities who are not always reached by the National groups.

The sewing group I go too is one such local group.  Our Quilty Pleasures meet once a month to chat, or perhaps I should say gossip more than often, and to learn from each other.  We are a mixed bunch with different levels of skills – several long armers sharing notes, beginners looking bewildered, newbies peering in with trepidation, the more experienced who help everyone, some who like modern quilts, others more traditional.  We often sit and help each other binding, or cutting out.  The usual things most groups will be doing.   We meet at our local College, who generously allow us space to store things in a cupboard.

From time to time we have a gathering of fabrics and things .. and the store cupboard is great to keep them available for the Charitable Sewing Days we have from time to time.    The Dementia/Fidget Quilt box is an amazing conglomeration of ancient and modern lace, velcro, zips, textural fabrics from teddy bear fluff to upholstery hessians, and even the odd small toy.   We are sometimes given fabrics for makes, or we offload stash we are never going to use at home and it sits for everyone to help themselves to.

This year our local Social Services have asked whether we could help make quilts for youngsters leaving their care, a member asked for support to create quilts for our local hospice and we make developmental hearts and preemie quilts for our local hospital NICU and for Chesterfield too.  Now and then we have a fidget day.  Most of our members have connections with all these reasons and if a member has a need we all do our best to help out.

Excitingly we plan an exhibition in June but more about that another time.

We have connections too, so when Vliseline asked if we were interested in sampling their 80/20 batting what do you think we said?   I leave that answer for you.!    What I can say is I would recommend this.  Lovely soft and snuggly stuff, which sandwiches and sews beautifully.    They have a great range of wadding, interlinings and more, which I am sure we are all familiar with and which is generally available online and in our many UK shops.

Jeannie was talking about creating a new charity quilt at the time, with some fabric she had leftover from another make, so I asked her to give it a working over.   She kindly captured the making of a disappearing four patch in pictures for you all to enjoy.  The pattern for this is well known, and there are several youtube videos that will help if anyone fancies making their own.

Firstly she cut enough 5 inch squares to make 35 blocks.   Each block is created from two colours and two of the same light.  You could mix it up as you fancy as each colourway will create a different pattern.  We aim to make these quilts about 40 x 60 inches .. an easy size to sew and quilt whether on a domestic or longarm machine.

The next step is to cut up the four patch into pieces .. here Jeannie used 1.5 inch cuts, jiggled them around and followed this same process for all the blocks.

Then add the triangle corners .. often called the snowball effect because of the shape it creates.

The final stages were to layout the pattern, again jiggling it around until the pattern looked ‘right’ and I am sure we all know that stage is often very frustrating as we move blocks back and forth, but you can see the new patterns emerging.   They were sewn together, border added, sandwiched and quilted.  The pattern for quilting was laughing names ‘Bums and Tits’ and if you look closely enough you can see why.

The binding will wait for our next group meeting when I suspect more than one of us will be helping and share a little gossip whilst we sew together.   A lovely quilt which even a beginner should find easy to complete.  Thanks, Jeannie, and I am sure the eventual recipient will love it too.