Coordinators Letter September 2017
Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter “Pieceful Times” and an especially big welcome to all those who have joined us since our last newsletter in May. Congratulations to those who joined at the Festival of Quilts and were lucky enough to get a goody bag....they didn't last long!
It has been a busy summer and congratulations must be given to anyone who has entered a show, prize winner or not. We have had some successes across the region with awards, rosettes and other commendations both at Sandown and at the Festival of Quilts. There were a large number of entries from Berkshire and Oxfordshire residents at the latter which are reasonably easy to spot from the Show Guide.
Thanks must go to Gill Davies, Jean Cozens and Joe Bennison who stepped up and enabled me to send 3 miniatures to the Miniature Specialist Group for their display on the Guild stand at Festival. Unfortunately, there was not enough space for all to be displayed.
The BBC Get Creative Project / Library Open Day in April has produced a small quilt and we have been approached by Wokingham Library to participate in another event in October. Many thanks to Fran Cooke for being the lead liaison in this.
We are still looking for members to join us on the committee and especially for a newsletter editor as Sue Hammond is now producing her penultimate edition of her 3 year term and can no longer continue in this role. The web editor, Joe Bennison, will soon have completed her term too so please think about whether you could join us and take on one of these roles. Shadowing is possible if you come forward soon, otherwise we, as a committee, will have some difficult decisions as to how to proceed. We meet 3 or 4 times a year for a couple of hours, usually on a Friday morning and exchange emails a bit more regularly as needed!
There is also a vacancy for our Young Quilter's Rep, although there has been some interest in this. We are looking for opportunities for outreach in the community, so if you know of a group who might be interested please let us know. Young Quilter's what would you like to do?
If you have any ideas for the workshops at our Regional Days, please contact me. There is an opportunity to borrow Tutor Boxes from the Modern Group of the Quilters Guild and if there were interest, we could hire a hall and get sewing! However, we do need to know that this is what you want.
Can you write an article for our next newsletter? At the moment this is very much committee driven but could be much more about you. We can only write about what we know!
Finally, many many thanks to those of you who opted into our e-newsletter, it has made a small difference to the increasing costs overall although we will be looking at whether this is the best way to continue.
Festival of Quilts 2017
I went to the F of Quilts every day! Curiously it was much less tiring than one visit, but I was very lucky to have a lift every day. I also signed up for a talk/demonstration every day, all were very audible and easy to follow with two screens above the stage and I loved the inspiration and also found it restful and it gave me a chance to have a drink and nibble without wasting viewing time. I also attended the award ceremony and it was good to see photos of the winners’ quilts and very exciting to see Annelize collect her first prize and Sandra Newton, a member of Fitzharrys Quilters, be awarded two second prizes. Susan Brown, Joe? Bennison, Debbie Watson and Gill Towell (Berkshire Modern Quilters) had a HC for their Angel of the North. Well done Region 6!
Biggest thrill was seeing our Workhouse Quilt from the Abingdon Museum exhibition on display and watching people spend some time looking at it. We won no prizes, we didn’t expect to, but had nice comments from the two judges and it was interesting to see the categories they judge on (Design - Visual Impact, Emotional Response; Originality/Content; Design, Composition, Colour; Choice & Suitability of Materials; Surface Design/Embellishment. Construction - Piecing: Construction & Accuracy, Applique: Design & Execution; Quilting: Design & Execution; Edges: Suitable finish, hangs well). These categories are then ticked as Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Needs Attention & Not Applicable. Pretty thorough! We had Good’s apart from 2 Excellent’s (yippee), and one Satisfactory so we felt very chuffed and full of admiration for the judges – what a huge task they have!
In my Fiddle Finger Quilts role I “wore” some fidget quilts and Karen (my partner in crime) and I had some wonderful conversations as we walked around, making good contacts, learning more and being re-inspired.
The quilts – the whole point of the show – were amazing! So many of them, most humblingly well made and sparking lots of ideas. Even more inspiring, but also rather terrifying, were the quilt galleries showing the work of established quilters – work I felt I could never aspire to, but loved looking at! And the shops, so many of them, and being there for four days I ended up smuggling quite a bit back with me!
The Quilters’ Guild had a good presence, stands as you entered for all aspects of the Guild with examples and people to talk to. They also had a display of historic quilts alongside one of Pauline Burbidge’s quilts.
We are so lucky to have an international show like The Festival of Quilts on our doorstep – I feel topped up for the year ahead now!
In the Spotlight
A Festival of Quilts Gallery to showcase quilters nominated by their regions or specialist groups.
Sometime towards the middle of 2016, I received communication from HQ asking us as a Region to nominate an up and coming quiltmaker to represent the Region in this Gallery at Festival 2017.
Little knowing how the rest of 2016 and early 2017 was going to pan out for her, Annelize Littlefair agreed to accept the challenge of the nomination and was accepted by HQ.
There were 18 quilts from 14 Regions and 4 specialist groups on the theme “No Place Like Home”.
All were very different.
Annelize described her quilt: The title of the quilt is “All journeys lead home” and I designed the centre medallion myself, then used a foundation piecing pattern from Norah McMeeking of Bella Bella quilts for the outer areas.”
After the show, we were all given feedback about our quilts and I was delighted to hear that Norah McMeeking was at the show and had left this in the guest book : “Annelize, I was gobsmacked to see your Bella Bella quilt - Wow! It is wonderful - such a thrill for me to see it! Norah McMeeking Santa Barbara, CA”
This was the feedback given to me by the organiser of the exhibition afterwards :
"I was in the gallery when Norah McMeeking came in and had quite a conversation about your quilt. She said that when she made the design she had hoped that people would build on it and that yours was the first quilt she had seen that did what she had always hoped. She was really quite stunned. It was a very personal accolade, and I just wish you had been there to meet with her and hear her at first hand. In more general terms, visitors to the gallery were really enthralled by what they saw as the technical perfection of your piece, and many people quizzed me about your techniques. I pointed them to the gallery folder and I think they went away happy!”
Well done Annelize and thank you!
Coordinators Letter from May 2017
As I sit to write this letter, the sun is shining brightly and it is a very pleasant afternoon. Some of you may be returning from the AGM in Tor- quay and I hope you have had a pleasant weekend. Facebook shows me some of the delights!
Our Berkshire Regional Day in March was a great success and everyone was entranced by the skills of Annelize Littlefair as we learnt how to draw a variety of Feather styles for our Quilting. We were delighted to welcome Margie Jenkins, President of the Guild.
Many thanks to Annelize for sharing with us and to all the people who contributed Christmas Decorations for our competition and to our editor, Sue, for taking them to the AGM this weekend for the Tombola at Festi- val of Quilts.
While we look forward to our Summer Lunches on 24th June and 14th July in Oxfordshire and Berkshire respectively, more details elsewhere in the newsletter, we have been asked at quite short notice to take part in the BBC Get Creative project to celebrate local radio. Unfortunately by the time you read this the workshops in Berkshire will have taken place but there is still time to make a block to send to Diana. If you are in Oxford- shire, we have so far been unsuccessful in finding someone to lead in the area but would welcome Blocks representing the area none the less.
We were sad to say goodbye to Gill Towell recently as our YQ rep, and have been investigating how we might meet the needs of Young Quilters in our area. Can you help?
Do you know of any school groups or other out of school groups that would benefit from some help and expertise to support sewing opportuni- ties for young people in our region? Can you offer your help and become a YQ leader?
You would be supported by the committee. Please contact me if this in- terests you.
And now the usual plea, please please let us know if you have any ideas for workshops and activities or articles for this newsletter. The committee work hard to provide Regional Days, social functions and articles for you and I thank them for this. But this is your region and we need you to help us too. Maybe, you would like to join us on the committee, we meet sever- al times a year and we are in need of some new blood. Please contact me if you would like to find out more.
Happy Quilting! Susan
Coordinators Letter from January 2017
As I write this to you, Christmas is racing up but by the time you are reading it, Christmas will be a memory! I hope however that it is not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year.
My first thoughts are to thank the committee on your behalf who have provided for you in the past year, two Regional Days, one each in Berkshire and in Ox-fordshire and also an extra day at Denman College in November. They have also planned and run Summer Lunches and Christmas Coffee Mornings. You will find reports of all the Autumn and Christmas events within this newsletter.
I must also say a big thank you to Gill Towell who has provided and coordinated events for the Young Quilters of our Region. Unfortunately, Gill has now decided that she can no longer do this and has stepped down from her position. She has promised to help out when she can BUT we need someone urgently to join us on the committee and to undertake this role to mastermind activities and coordi-nate the provision. You will have the support of the committee in doing this and it will be a focus of our next committee meeting!
We are also looking for members to join us to shadow the newsletter and web editor to take over those roles next year (2018). I would also like someone to work with me!
We have provided you with a diary of Show dates and of our own plans for the Spring Regional Day in March in Berkshire at Charvill Village Hall. Summer lunches have dates and locations and the Autumn Regional Day in Oxford will be at Benson Village Hall, as we were all impressed with that location last year.
News from HQ:
There have been some role changes but these have been specified with the Au-tumn Quilter publication.BBC Woman's Hour, the Crafts Council and the V&A unveil a new craft prize called The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize 2017. This aims to find and celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft practitioner or designer-maker resident in the UK today. Over the past 70 years Woman’s Hour has championed and celebrat-ed both the craft of listeners, and of craft practitioners and in that tradition the launch of the prize coincides with the celebrations for the anniversary year. BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour is delighted to be working with the Crafts Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum on this initiative. More details: http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/articles/womans-hour-craft-prize
Hello and welcome 2016
There have been big changes in the Committee since the last edition, as you may be aware I took up the coordinator’s position in January this year as Julia Shay stepped down to concentrate on other things quilty! We said good-bye to her properly at our Berkshire Regional Day in March with a small presentation from the Committee. We also said goodbye, with presentations, to Mary Foster and Fran Cooke who had played their respective parts as Regional Representatives, Coordinator and Treasurer. Thank you again for all your hard work ladies, you leave us in a strong position to move forward.
Henriette Kerr has now taken over as our Treasurer, relinquishing her minute taking role to Diana Brangwyn and we were pleased to welcome Judy Harris and Annelize Littlefair to the committee as Oxfordshire Regional Reps.
Joe Bennison and Sue Hammond continue in role as Web Editor and Newsletter Editor and Gill Towell is keeping the Young Quilters of our region busy with her schedule of workshops. Julie Betts and Sheila Dunscombe continue to support us as Regional Reps (Berkshire and Oxfordshire). If, you feel you could join us we would love to hear from you, perhaps you have skills you can share? More hands make Light work!
Apart from help with committee functions we need some help from you, the membership. We have money to spend on workshops or activities that you would like to see and do. We would like to move forward with the interests of the region at our core but we can only do this if you let us know what you would like.
We have our summer lunch socials coming up in June, which are an opportunity to get together with like-minded folk, chat a bit and show and tell. Please join us at one or both! Other social suggestions are welcomed if work commitments do not allow you to participate.
Our Regional Day in March was well attended and included for the first time, but hopefully not the last, a workshop for the Young Quilters and was coordinated by Diana. We have another day in September in Oxfordshire which will be led by the InStitches team and an extra but small and exclusive workshop led by Jan Hassard in November. We have also been invited to join with Region 7 at their Regional Day in October which will be held in Marlow. More details of all these events can be found in this newsletter.
Looking further ahead to 2017 Annelize Littlefair will lead our Berkshire workshop at Charvil in March and it may be possible for us to become more interactive with Region 7 to provide a greater variety of activities along our shared border. 6
At the moment we have a healthy bank account but our biggest expenditure by far is this newsletter and as costs soar from issue to issue we will soon struggle to maintain this. We have a commitment to the Guild to keep you informed of Regional and National Issues and propose in future to do this with an annual newsletter and quarterly e letters, in pdf format or as a link to one. In this way we can keep our costs down quite considerably. For those amongst you who do not have access to a computer or email, we will endeavour to continue to send you some form of newsletters by post.
To this end, I will send an email to all email address owners, from the information that you provided when you joined the Guild, at about the same time as this Newsletter is published. Please check your spam/junk should you not receive it. If your email has changed please notify HQ as we do not keep our own databases.
Your email should come from Region 6 quilting...firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope also to extend our web based communication and engagement with you by using our Region 6 web page via the Guild and our Facebook page, both of which Joe has recently revamped ready for business. Gill will be engaging with the Young Quilters in this way too...which should enable to us to be far more in touch and in tune than a traditional paper based newsletter. You will be enabled to be interactive, ask questions and offer suggestions, Show and Tell need not be restricted to a few social occasions for a few but enjoyed by more of us, allowing us to celebrate our successes as a Region. Please visit us there asap.
Happy Sewing! Susan Brown, Coordinator
Region 6 quilting …..email@example.com http://region-6.quiltersguild.org.uk/
Facebook: Quilters Guild - Region 6
Pieceful Times ….the next generation
Those of you who look at the financial report will not be surprised to note that its production costs are increasing year on year. Earlier this year Region 6 committee discussed whether it was time to review how best to communicate with our members.
Part of our subscription includes 3 issues of regional news in a newsletter format. However I’m sure back in the 1980’s when the Quilters’ Guild started, it did not envisage the changes to come, in particular those in electronic communication. Websites and email are now much quicker mediums for passing on information.
Whilst we still all believe that keeping members informed is a vital function of the regional committee, we believe the costs of producing paper copies does not represent value for money. We all love to see quilts made by our friends and local groups in glorious colour but sadly the printing costs are now making this prohibitive. The committee feels that the money would be best spent on making workshops cheaper and supporting new ventures such as our young quilters.
Fortunately we think we can achieve the best of both worlds by producing Pieceful Times 3 times a year as an electronic newsletter/magazine containing as many wonderful photographs as we want. Apart from our time the costs will be negligible compared to the £1,675 spent last year on 3 issues. True we do get revenue from our advertisers but they are increasingly unhappy about the quality of printing and we are hoping they will be happier with our electronic format. This would also provide additional income for the region.
Initially current events will still appear in this newsletter but we are going to concentrate on adding these to our newly updated website and over time we hope to see the newsletter evolving more into a periodical looking back at events, celebrating successes in our region and featuring articles of general interest to quilters. Current events will be found on the website and Facebook pages.
We are proposing to produce the Sept issue of Pieceful Times in electronic form only. If you wish to receive a paper copy please let us know before 18th August 2016. Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org or Julie Betts 01635 248896
If you are happy to receive a pdf (electronic version) of Pieceful Times but think we may not have your email address please once again let us know by 18th August 2016 Contact details: email@example.com
Region 6 Committee
The Region 6 Banner is finished
A small group of the original Berkshire team who started the banner making process, Christine Dobson, Gaynor Lloyd and Rachel Gormley, got together with Fran Cooke to put the county sides together and finish the process. Fortunately both sides were pretty much the same size so fitting the two together was not difficult. It took a little nerve to trim to size after very careful measuring – as so many peoples’ work was involved – but when the group agreed it was correct and square Christine took the plunge and it was done.
It was heavy work even to machine sew the three sides of the banner as each county side is independently quilted , so it is made up of two quilts back to back. Then it had to be turned inside out and pressed as it has been well travelled over the several years it has taken the teams of quilters from both counties to construct. The final edge and the openings for hanging at the top had to be trimmed and hand finished, but the tricky work had all been done. So here it was in all its glory at the Regional Day at Charvil Village Hall on 5th March and ready for any other event.
The banner teams:
Oxfordshire: 17 motifs made by 11 quilters
Berkshire: 12 motifs made by 5 quilters
Abingdon Quilters’ Exhibition – April 2016
Our biennial exhibition went very well, we raised £2,800, saw our 120+ quilts displayed properly and realised we had actually achieved quite a bit over the past two years! We also saw lots of quilting friends and had time to catch up a bit!
The three charities supported are The Abingdon Bridge (bridging the gap for vulnerable young people), Flexicare (supporting families with severely disabled children), and Drayton Pre-School, (helping their continual struggle for funds) and we are delighted to be able to help them.
Our invited quilter, Ros Crouch, displayed a stunning selection of her Journal Quilts. They were hugely varied and I wished that I had had more time to study them. She also supplied a very helpful commentary on their inspiration and construction.
Ros is giving a talk at Abbey Quilters on Tuesday 6th September at the Northcourt Centre in Northcourt Road, Abingdon to which everyone is invited. Please come along if you can, it will be well worth it, tickets are £5 on the door and include coffee and cake. Entry 10.30am, talk 11 o’clock.
Our raffle quilt was won by Doreen Smith, a 90 year old past member of Abbey Quilters who is no longer able to quilt. She was so thrilled with her prize and it redressed the balance after having her handbag snatched recently.
Linda Druce of Abbey & Fitzharrys Quilters won the Fidget Quilt competition and received a prize of African fabric donated by our traders who provided a wonderfully colourful backdrop to the quilts with their baskets and fabrics. Anna Christiansen, Abbey Quilter, won the Visitors’ Choice with her blue quilt with subtle but scintillating orange curves. Anna won a £20 voucher from our local book shop, Mostly Books, who also supplied a range of new books for sale.
For the first time we had a Textile Tombola, which did very well and our Sales Table took record amounts thanks to generous donations.
It was also the first time we had an official “opening” and we are most grateful to Linda Seward who did the honours magnificently and also introduced the Fidget Quilts which she had judged.
We were all happily shattered at the end, but amazingly, thinking ahead to 2018 already!
Judy Harris (Abbey & Fitzharrys Quilter)
Fine Cell Work quilters’ exhibition: HMP Bullingdon
On February 16th 2016, the chapel in HMP Bullingdon was filled with quilts. They hung on chairs and tables. They lay on the floor. They hung on boards alongside graphics about quilting and about Fine Cell Work (FCW). This happy and unique exhibition – the first of FCW quilts history inside a prison – owed its existence to the dedication, imagination and hard work of Susie Cole, Head of Learning and Skills at Bullingdon, and Marjorie Coles, lead volunteer.
Fine Cell Work offers quilting, embroidery and stitching classes in prisons across England. The class in Bullingdon, where we quilt, occurs fortnightly and has done for the past 12 years. Stitchers work with their volunteer mentors (Marjorie, Marianne and Henriette) in class, however, the most of their work is done between classes, by hand, in their cell in their own time.
Some work is commissioned through FCW, some is designed by volunteers or stitchers themselves. Commissioned work is often exhibited round the country; some Bullingdon quilts have been exhibited in the V&A as well as the National Quilting Museum in York. Many are sold by FCW.
The exhibition was made up of two sessions the first session was open to prisoners. Many came and showed much interest; several put their names forward to join the group. A lot of very interesting conversations and questions arose, some in considerable technical detail. Some visitors were surprised that all Bullingdon quilts are hand stitched, producing such high 25
quality work. One person got it right when he remarked at the many and various skills quilting involves, which were so obviously being developed in Bullingdon but which are also so transferrable into the world outside. Everyone was surprised at the demand for Bullingdon quilts, and their profile in the world. All were pleased to hear that Bullingdon stitchers receive a percentage of the sale price of their work.
The second session included staff, and many came; chaplains, Officers, Educationalists and Administrators, as well as the Head of Reducing Reoffending, and the Governing Governor. The creative variety, and high quality, of Bullingdon work clearly impressed everyone - and surprised some – as did the high turnout and enthusiasm of prisoner visitors and prisoner stitchers.
The profile of FCW itself, and Bullingdon work, was also remarked. People expressed pleasure with the event, and the word ‘inspiring’ was heard. Indeed suggestions included making it an annual event, extending it to other creative activities, displaying work in the visitors’ centre or at family days. The possibility of stitchers achieving certification was also raised.
The work shown ranged from a beginner’s quilt block, through personal cushion covers to some examples of more advanced, recent Bullingdon quilts and another Bullingdon quilt entered for the Koestler award. This exhibition was a valuable, and highly valued, opportunity to show just how significant this work is to the Bullingdon stitchers and their volunteers. This work is creative, demanding and personally meaningful. This exhibition went a good way to making clear just how serious a matter a quilt is – to the Bullingdon group at least!
Henriette Kerr, FCW volunteer
Outgoing Coordinator’s Letter
This will be my final letter to you as Coordinator though I will continue on the committee as an Oxfordshire Representative until March.
I have very much enjoyed working with the committee and feeling part of the wider Guild organisation. When you see how hard both Headquarters’ Staff and volunteers work to put on events such as the AGM and Conference in Spring every year it feels good to be part of something working nationally (indeed internationally). I am personally sad that the York Museum didn’t “make it” but it was a brave venture, and it nearly succeeded.
I have been increasingly torn between the time taken to coordinate the Region (particularly the emails!) and my desire to attend to the needs of my City and Guilds diploma. Finally something had to give, and since only I can do my diploma work it had to be the Coordinator’s job that went.
The rest of the committee have been very good about picking up responsibilities and sharing out the workload. Fran was already carrying more than a Treasurer should, and Henriette is taking on increasing responsibility as she approaches taking over from Fran as Treasurer in the Spring. My grateful thanks to all the committee. I am delighted that Susan Brown will take over as “the named person” in January. Susan lives in Slough so it will not usually be possible for her to come to Oxfordshire but you will see her at Berkshire events, and Diana Brangwyn is rising to the challenge of being the “front person” at some of the public events whilst everyone else works backstage!
The Christmas Coffee Mornings approach and I will have welcomed some of you to my home in Eynsham again by the time you read this. I hope that you will all have/have had enjoyable, safe Christmasses and that your New Year Resolutions will include supporting local quilters young and old through the Guild. Please do continue to let the committee know what you do and don’t like, and to think whether you might have something to offer the Guild locally, however small.
Region 9 need your help..
This year Region 9 will host the Quilters' Guild Tombola in 2016 at Festival of Quilts. They need a really good selection of really good purses-with-zips.. Show off your creations here - email images to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks.
Two of our Region's Quilters earn prizes at Sandown 2015
Annelize Littlefair and Joe Bennison earned prizes at the 2015 Sandown Quilt Festival.
Annelize came first in the themed category with her 'Graffiti' Quilt.
Joe won the trophy for Longarm Machine Quilting for her 'Night owl' whole cloth.
Hexagon Quilters’ Celebrate their 25th Anniversary with an Exhibition Weekend in March
See our events pages for more detail.
Remembrance Quilts still missing after delivery company fails to report theft
At the start of November, Joe Bennison sent two memory quilts via myhermes the couriers van was broken into and all the parcels were stolen. The van was parked up outside the drivers home in Reading but he collected from Winnersh. The parcel contained two quilts that had been made from the shirts of a lovely man who passed away, they were for his wife and son to remember him by. Please can you keep your eyes open for any dumped parcels or quilts for sale or in charity shops. Some pictures of the missing quilts are posted at the bottom of this page and Joe is remaining hopeful that they turn up as they can not be replaced.
The Tin Quilt
The Tin Quilt was sewn by Round Robin Quilters from an idea of Kirsty’s based on the a favourite tin she had, designed by “gal designs” of Israel. Each member of the group took a section of squares & interpreted them in fabric. We used any patching and applique method that worked. The blocks were made, assembled, and quilted by members of the group.
The group had previously raised money for Alzheimers and Cancer research and other major charities so this time they decided to pick a local one. One of the group, Kim Prior, had worked with local Girl Guides for a number of years and knew that many of the girls came from difficult backgrounds where money was tight. Holidays of any sort are not common and they certainly could not afford to go on the international jamborees and trips that were available to Guides unless funds were provided. So it was decided that the quilt would be raffled to give local Girl Guides an experience of a lifetime, as this might be the only foreign holiday they experience.
The draw was taken on 21st January at the Hexagon Quilters Annual General Meeting in Charvil, Berkshire. The quilt was won by Callie Mitchell, a patchwork bag by Jean Wood, a quilted book cover by Carol Rawlinson, and the folk appliqued bag by Jenny Parson.
£572.20 was raised for the Guides. The Round Robin Quilters would like to thank everyone who supported them and the local Guides.
Round Robin Quilters are:-
Una Rowson and
Round Robin Quilters
In the early 1990’s a group of Wokingham ladies attending evening classes to learn patchwork and quilting, with tutor Yvonne Potter. Early in 1996, six of these ladies, including Yvonne got on so well that they decided to start a quilting house group, meeting in each others homes once a month. The first project was for each member to produce a 12” medallion block, and then each of the remaining five members added a border of any type and size. In short, they made Round Robin quilts for each other; hence the name of the group was born.
Gradually the numbers increased to 9 and generally a new project was started approximately every 12 to 18 months, with everyone contributing ideas as to what that project might be. Over the years, we have returned to the round robin format occasionally but have also tried Journal quilts, unusual shaped or distorted blocks, arty quilts, very traditional quilts like Dear Jane and Civil War quilts. We have had themes based on architecture, the best of Britain, and scrap quilts where we have shared our scraps. In 2003 we did a block swap with a group in Australia, but sadly they never sent us any photographs of what they had made with the blocks we sent them.
Each time we come to the end of the ‘rounds’, the blocks are returned to the originator for assembly and quilting before the completed quilt is revealed to the group. There is no time limit on this stage of the process and can sometimes take quite a while as we are always eager to move on to a new challenge.
On 3 occasions we have all worked on just one quilt. Our first show quilt was ‘Tropical Tessellations’. When the block design had been refined, hand dyed fabrics were used for the flowers, and any green fabric for the leaves. To date, this is our only prize winning quilt and one we are proud to have truly all contributed to at every stage. It was bought by the Art Fund at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and hangs in their Eye ward. The money we raised we donated to the Breast Cancer Unit.
Our second show quilt was The Sea Holly quilt that we exhibited at the Festival of Quilts in 2004. The background was hand dyed, the flowers appliquéd in a wide variety of fabrics. The centres of the Sea Holly were made from tiny stuffed Suffolk puffs. Great fun to do, but sadly no award this time.
We have recently made a quilt to be raffled in aid of a local Girl Guide company.
The inspiration was taken from the lid of a biscuit tin, with the motifs being appliquéd, and then machine quilted. Again we had great fun working together to find just the right fabrics for the blocks.
Currently, we stand at six members again as some people have moved away and sadly, Barbara Hollobon passed away a few years ago. We still enjoy evenings of talking quilts, supporting each other in our ideas and offering advice, eating gorgeous cakes and twice a year we share a lovely meal together.