Siblings Together – our first charity quilt

Hello there

Each year I support a different charity; have done for years. Now that I have the studio, that carries on but it offers me the chance to do something different rather than just set up a direct debit to pay the charity. This year I chose Siblings Together because I follow Nicky Eglinton on Instagram and she’s made so many quilts for the charity; she’s a real inspiration! Click here to read more about what the idea behind the quilts is. The basics are that Marmalade swirl quilt by Nicky Eglinton they’re created for youngsters who have to live separately to their brothers/sisters in foster or adoption homes. The charity does a whole pile of things for them, including run a camp, where they get to have a holiday with their sibling. That is when these quilts are given, so that they serve as a reminder of their time together, keeping in touch with their family.

I was particularly taken by some quilts Nicky created way back when, which she called Tutti Frutti, marmalade swirl and fruity swirls. The very large block, the scrappy nature of the piecing, the modern design and simple structure were all so perfect for a quilt, for a young person, which could be sewn by non-patchworkers, with just the smallest amount of tuition. A quilt for a team, is definitely what I wanted.

The team ended up being Jacky, Vicky and I. We’re an interesting bunch as all involved in working with children. One of the ladies has actually adopted a child, who has a sibling, who lives with a different family but they see each other regularly and have a great relationship. The other lady actually missed the last few monthly meet-ups, as she had to start going to training to become a foster parent. I used to be a primary school teacher in a previous life. So this project is very meaningful to all three of us. That’s one of the reasons I chose Siblings Together to be my charity for 2016.

Considering neither lady had ever done pathchwork before, the first session went really well, as they’re fast learners. We met for just two hours once a month. Sewing and chatting away. No better therapy. We all donated some fabric for the project and those fabric choices look great for the end result but have caused some issues. The backing fabric had been donated by an interior designer and I thought it would feel warmer than cotton. It’s fraying nature though caused quite a few problems. I had to strip piece the backing for the centre block, as there wasn’t quite enough to do a full piece of fabric (thank goodness we saved bits as we went along) . That’s where I put the label. I didn’t have enough of the white available in the end , so had to use some other I had. That’s not ideal but the more you put things off, the less you’re likely to get them finished. These kids are living their lives now. Me fussing about shades of white, doesn’t help them one iota!

Siblings Together quilt label

 

Here’s the label I printed off. Again, I was annoyed that I didn’t just type the names onto the label, as the fabric pens I used to hand write our names on, faded in the wash a bit. Either that or I forgot to heat press them! I thought the blank lines could perhaps be written or drawn on by the child and her brother/sister, as more of a memory creating activity with the quilt.

First Siblings Together blocks sewn in Jan. 2016 (2)

The very first block created in January 2016. The ladies needed a little bit of guidance on how to get started with basics like 1/4in seams but they’re both intelligent women and they soon got cracking. I’d prepped much of the strips beforehand too, so that helps. It’s such a quick and easy, yet so good to look at, pattern. Go on, you must try it!

 

We made a total of 9 Siblings Together blocksblocks and made a few ‘design decisions’ on layout, when a couple of the swirls didn’t end up going in the right direction. You maybe notice that the middle row all goes one way, whilst the top and bottom go the other, so the swirl doesn’t quite happen but hey, if you don’t tell, I won’t!

Then came the sashing strips to cut and sew. We went with white for the front and some remaining patterned fabric (all the same one thankfully) for the back sashing.

I’ve got some brand new Janome 301’s in the studio. They’re definitely a workshop workhorse but don’t have a wide throat but still I managed to do these fine.

Janome 301 sewing machine stitching sashing on a quilt

Then came the binding, which I love! It’s full of all the fabrics we used in the quilt.

It was a lovely sunny day in May when I washed it. Thankfully. It was so relaxing watching it flap gently in the breeze. Listening to the birds.  Click on this link to see the video – it’s a bit weird watching a quilt drying on a line but I am strange probably!

Strawberry swirl Siblings Together video

The fait d’accompli happened after that and I love it. The backing fabric was donated and unfortunately it suffered in the wash, so I designed some relevant fun things to go over those areas. Whichever child receives this will never know. Infact, I’m hoping that it greatly adds to the fun of the quilt.

Applique for the Siblings Together charity quilt

I got all excited when I realised that I could put a campervan applique on the back! Some of the fabric for the front has vans on it, so it all ties in perfectly! The word ‘family’ reinforces what the quilt is trying to do – maintain links with their brother/sister.

 

Blanket stitch on appliqued letters

blanket stitch makes everything seem ok

Free motion stitching on applique

I do love an excuse to do some free-motion sewing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it. That’s our number one. An experience which we all enjoyed and learnt from. Although Nicky says that they’ve had 87 in total, to date. That’s fab, as the target is 100, which will be smashed by July, as the camps are held in the summer hols!

Strawberry swirls Siblings Together charity quilt made in Stitchscape

Now for a blue version with new members helping out, including Rachel.

Bring the fun and games on!

 

Diane xx

p.s I just added the link and we’re number 93! Yay!

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