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Happy weekend everybody! I wanted to share something with you today in the hope that it might appeal to you crafty makers out there too.

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I came to hear about Project Linus (Project Linus USAProject Linus UK) through my dear friend who works as a doctor of critically and terminally ill children.

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You remember Linus from the cartoon Snoopy? He’s the inspiration for the name as he was almost always seen with his blue security blanket.

Their vision is to:

 “Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and Afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”

In short to provide a blanket anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug.

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Blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies etc – read Duncan’s story here but have a tissue ready.

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I have a stupid amount of fabric and yarn stashed away that I will never use up even if I crafted everyday for the rest of my life! And I already have enough blankets and quilts but still love to make them regardless of that. So this was the perfect project for me as I still got to indulge my love of crocheting and quilting, benefitted by slimming my stashes down and got to make something that’s much-needed by someone else.

I used Ikea fleece blankets to make my fabric quilts – it’s a simpler and cheaper way to back them and they are so snuggly.

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And there is nothing I like better than seeing an unappealing tangle of yarn like this…

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magically transformed into a beautiful and useful blanket (and it justified all my tv and film watching!)

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In the UK Project Linus gave away 26,980 items in 2014, their best year yet – I’d love our crafting community to spread the word and maybe make a blanket and help 2015 be even better. And if making something seems too large an endeavour, they also need donations of fabric, money and time.

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If you have been inspired to become a ‘blanketeer’ and you live in the UK you can find out where to donate your handmade blanket here or for the USA here.

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Back in August I asked Lucy if she’d like a quilt. She said she would (thinking it might be for when she left home in a couple of years) but I had Christmas in mind. I like a challenge – never mind that I had already begun two other single quilts, was knitting a pair of socks, wrist warmers, scarf and other stuff. And that’s just in the evenings! If I get the bit between my teeth then nothing can dissuade me that it’s too difficult.

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 I could also sniff the opportunity to have company at the Quilt show this year – a rarer opportunity as the teen years tick by. I asked Lu to pick a pattern that she liked and bless her she picked this one from the Quiltmaker’s Colour Workshop book which isn’t really a pattern, it’s a colour guide.

quilt book

Not to worry, after some internet searching I found that the quilt design was Flying Geese and a tutorial on how to make it. Then we set off to the Quilt show with a loooong list of fabric that needed purchasing (we did agree that every third triangle would be patterned). This bit makes me laugh because I had originally intended for all these Christmas quilts to go some way towards the real use of all the fabrics I have bought over the years.

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In reality I either didn’t have enough yardage or it didn’t go or I just got plain carried away – especially easy when my baby girl bats her eyelashes! It was a dead easy pattern to sew up although you’ll see I struggled to make the geese fly over in a synchronised line! Quack.

lu's quilt

I didn’t think I was going to like the colour choices but once the mustard sashing went on I was won over.  She says she’s never slept better than with this on top of her bedding.

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The backing was my only nod to thrifting – I just striped up the left over pieces which were wide enough and added another of Ab’s clever computer sewn labels.

lu's quilt

There is something very nurturing about making quilts and knowing the comfort and warmth that they bring. It was never a chore to make any of the three Christmas quilts because of that reason alone.

quilt tops

quilt tops finished back in aug

With family spread over the country, we often celebrate christmas multiple times. This past weekend was Christmas No 1 and as this gift is now no longer under wraps, I can show and tell it. For my mum and dad this year, I made a couple of matching quilts for their beds or just to snuggle under on the sofa.

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I was in the mood to begin them in August one week when I was having a painting glitch – I just downed tools and sewed it out! They are based on the Garden Trellis quilt from the book Jelly Roll QuiltsFirst learning curve here was to discover what a jelly roll quilt was! It’s always easy once you know but I selected all these fabrics not realising jelly rolls were already cut at the right width, height and co-ordination of pattern. So I had a bit of prep to do before I could even begin.

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But once I had the correct sizes, the pattern instructions were dead easy and the blocks came together really quickly (although I do always forget that finishing the quilt top is only one third of the job –  wadding, quilting, finishing still ahead…)

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I believe it’s quilters etiquette to name and date your creations these days. My friend Abs has a fancy sewing machine that stitches words and she kindly made me some labels to stitch on the back as the thought of all that hand stitching was a bridge too far!

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The recipients were delighted and put them straight onto their beds 😉

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So this is my last post before Christmas – Have a super festive time with your nearest and dearest and thank you for your support and interest this year.  Claire x

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This is my Pre Christmas, off timetable week and I’m pottering about on some of my #wips 👏🏻 Starting to #embroider this luscious bit of gold screen printing 🧵➰🌿#textileart #textileartist #screenprinting #screenprintlife #gold #leaf #printing #wip #broderie #slowstitching #embroidery #embroideryart #quietcreativedays
Spent a lovely (and last workshop day before Xmas 🥳) making #textileart and #drawingwiththread ➰🧵➰ @mac_birmingham From painting to collage to appliqué and stitches- fun, fun, fun 😝#illustratedstitch #applique #handstitched #textiles #workshop #stitchersofinstagram #stitchery #textilepictures
This Sunday 📆 @paperdollshandmade market 🛒 the @mothershipprojects #MARKit ladies will be selling their #hand printed and #hand sewn products for the first time 🥳 🎉 👏🏻 Please show them your 💙love💜 and be quick to snap up the cutest tea-towels ☁️ (swipe to see just some of the stock) 🏢Custard Factory, Digbeth #refugees #handmadesocialenterprise #everyonewelcome #refugeeswelcome #printedtextiles #socialenterprise #screenprinted #supportlocalartists #womenempoweringwomen #birminghamcity
Yesterday I taught Teacup Totes Embroidery @winterbournehg 🧵 ➿Here’s my sampler for class (finished in front of Strictly last night) #embroidery #embroideryflowers #embroideryart #broderie #stitchersofinstagram #stitch #slowstitching #frenchknots #daisystitch #stemstitch #teacups #stitchlovers #sewingfun #mindfulstitching #drawingwiththread

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