This project was started in 2012 by Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily's Quilts after she heard about the charity Siblings Together set up by Delma
Hughes. Each year the charity has a Summer camp for siblings who are separated in the care system. It provides an opportunity for the siblings to spend precious time together and have fun making new memories together. Delma thought it would be nice for each of the siblings to have their own quilt to take home with them to remind them of their time together and when Lynne heard about this she was galvanised into action. A simple request for help on Flickr and Lynne's blog was enough to smash the initial target of 50 quilts.
Over the years the quilt drive has continued with the establishment of Siblings Together quilt bees which has provided the opportunity for people to commit to
making blocks or donating fabrics if they don't have the time to commit to a making a whole quilt themselves. You can find more information on the project and how you can help on the project's new blog.
Project Linus was originally established in the USA in 1995 with Project Linus UK establishing in 2000. It is a voluntary organisation that distributes approximately 2000 quilts every month to sick, disabled and disadvantaged children in the UK.
Reene Witchard's daughter received a quilt from Project Linus in 2009 when she was bed-bound with a chronic illness. "Despite being a quilter myself it was humbling and so encouraging to receive the gift of a quilt from a Project Linus. To know that somebody who didn't know us had taken the time to make a quilt as a comforter for a sick child was a bright light in an otherwise bleak time."
Project Linus welcome quilts and blankets of all sizes from premature baby to teenager, provided they are robust and machine washable, in child friendly colours and have no loops or embellishments that could be pulled off and swallowed or caught in hospital equipment. On their website you will find some ideas & patterns for simple quilts and blankets but you are welcome to use any patterns: the children love variety so that they each get something unique.
Bee Blessed is a charity quilting bee which meets monthly on a Saturday afternoon in Christian Fellowship Church on Holywood Road, Belfast. It began in 2011 with a vision to create quilts to bless and comfort those who are going through a tough time by giving them something to remind them that they are cared about. Currently there are about 12 of us meeting and sewing together, from beginners to those with more experience. There is always something to be done, a job for everyone, and we only ask that people can sew. We love that people are enthused and enjoying the group.
To date we have gifted approximately 130 quilts and the way a gifted quilt touches a person’s life is extremely moving. Men, women and children, people of all ages, have received quilts from us. For us the best part is sending them off to their new homes and knowing that what they represent, our thoughts and prayers, will be of some comfort to those who receive them. A quilt is more than pretty fabric sewn together and people seem to understand and appreciate the time and effort spent producing it. It is there as a constant reminder that they have been, and are, cared for and thought about. We, in turn, receive support from people kindly donating fabric, the occasional completed quilt top and also support by means of social media through bloggers or from those reading our blog who make the set blocks and send them to us. We so appreciate all the support we receive. So, if you’re thinking of de-stashing or wanting to make blocks,
please remember us.
Alison Robins started her quilt drive - Soy Amado- after a visit to a children's home in Mexico in 2013. You can read about it here. Along with home-made quilts Alison requested 12 1/2" (unfinished size) quilted blocks that she could make in to full-sized quilts using the Quilt as you go method. Here are two examples of quilts on beds in the children's home (picture from Alison's blog).
We hope you've enjoyed reading just some of the lovely ways that the sewing community in the UK reaches out to bring comfort to those in distress. If you're too busy at this time of year to consider helping any of these causes you could always consider helping them in the new year as they do function all year round.