I had a great day last weekend at a quilting workshop making quilts for care-leavers. The quilts are being made to give to young people leaving care at a big Christmas Dinner. Christmas Dinners is a project that was started by Lemn Sissay who is currently the Poet Laureate here in the UK. He spent alot of his childhood in care and has set up a charity aimed at giving the young people one memorable Christmas. Six weeks before Christmas last year an amazing lady called Maggie Lloyd Jones had the idea of giving them all a quilt too, a hug in a quilt! By Christmas there were 150 quilts made!!!
Last year I knew I didn’t have the time to make a quilt for them but I was keen to get involved this year. My son had a close friend when he was in primary school who was in care, once he got to know us he would regularly come and have a sleepover with James, it gave us a little insight into the lives of children in care. One thing I always felt very strongly about is that once they reach 18 they are expected to be independent, even if they are still at school!! How many 18 year olds with a stable childhood could be totally independent at that age, never mind someone who’s been through the care system.
This year there are several quilting workshops being organised across the country and one was just a few miles away in Steeton.
There was about 12 of us there for the day, there was lots of fabric there which had been donated, there was also orphan blocks which could be joined together in a quilt, you could make what ever quilt pattern you wanted. We didn’t even have to quilt them if we didn’t want to as there are several long armers who are happy to quilt them! There were piles of fabric everywhere as you can see on this photo of another quilt top finished on the day.
A lovely lady called Julie had given me a lift there and as it happened she brought a half finished quilt. She had started it years ago and fell out of love with it, in fact she was so out of love with it she wanted someone else to sort it. It was lovely earthy colours, strips made from circles, triangles and squares and a few narrower borders too. I thought it was rather lovely, not the colours I usually go for but I liked them, I volunteered to try and make a quilt from it.
The strips weren’t quite the same length, so I added some pieces on the ends, made some extra borders in between and gradually joined the strips together. I thought it would need a big border to bring it up to the necessary size, but when we measured the quilt it was fine. I decided to put a 2.5″ border all round just to pull the design together and to give a secure edge to all the blocks. I laid it out on the floor to check it as I was concerned it might not lay flat, however although it’s not quite true to shape, it’s flat enough to quilt and we decided the shape was near enough.
By the end of the day it was sandwiched and ready to quilt, I’ve got some variegated Guterman in those colours which will be perfect for quilting so I’ve brought it home to finish. The next workshop is at the end of March so hopefully I’ll have it finished by then.
If anyone is interested in getting involved, either making quilts, donating fabric or orphan blocks, or unwanted UFO’s if you’re on facebook then look for Quilts for Christmas Dinners, if not then let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Maggie.