Last Saturday I met up with a group of ladies in Steeton to make quilts for young people who are leaving the care system.I do feel quite strongly that these young people have had a pretty poor childhood and then when they are 18 years old they are pretty much abandoned and expected to be independent. They’re unlikely to have had a decent role model in running a home yet even if they are still at school they are expected to be independent in their own flat. I feel we’re setting them up to fail instead of giving them the support they need even until their mid twenties.
Lemn Sessay is the UK’s Poet Laureate at the moment, he spent a lot of time in care and he has set up a charity to give those leaving care a special Christmas, to give them some good memories to work on. He mentioned once that at times all he wanted was a hug, a special lady called Maggie Howell heard him and immediately had the idea of making them all their own quilt, a quilty hug. It was only last autumn when she put feelers out, but they managed to make about 200 quilts.
This year we’re aiming for a lot more. There are several groups across the country meeting up to make quilts. We met in Steeton a couple of months ago and another lady, called Julie, brought a part made quilt, she no longer liked it and was happy for someone else to do something with it. All the strips of blocks were already made and by the end of the day I’d pieced the strips together, adding a few extras to even things out, we’d even sandwiched it, all I had to do was quilt it.
Of course I left it until the last minute to start!
Have you ever had a quilt that’s fought you all the way!! Well this one did! My machine thread kept snapping, I tried several different types of needles, two of them snapped as I was sewing! I eventually found an embroidery needle worked! I stitched about 18″ square with the tension loopy underneath, a bit of the backing folded underneath…I don’t think I’ve ever unpicked a quilt as much as this one!! Finally it was quilted, I just did my usual meandering to a point sort of design, a few flowers, a few leaves and lots of general abstract! I used a variegated gutermann thread in warm earthy tones which worked well, when it wasn’t snapping! When I finally finished the quilting I was pretty pleased with it.
I stitched the binding on and started hand-stitching it down, hoping to arrive on Saturday with a finished quilt. I ran out of time. The photo above shows how near I was to finishing! So I sat for the first few minutes and finished the hand sewing. My first quilt for care-leavers was complete.
I’d taken with me some fat quarters from Aldi which were nice and cheerful, I also had the instructions for Pat Sloans free pattern Oh My Stars. I’d read it was a very simple and quick quilt to make, it was…
Having probably started about 10.30/11am-ish, I cut out the squares, worked out my colour placement and stitched them together by about 3.30 when we decided it was home time. All I had to do that evening was the border. The free pattern is for a baby sized quilt, but with the extra 5″ square border and a white border to finish it, it was plenty big enough for the care-leavers. I’ve got some feather fabric is just the same colours for the backing and I’ll probably do a scrappy border.
It’s now on my to do pile, I’m hoping I won’t leave it quite so last minute this time!