Monday, 21 January 2013

A Dream of an Idea

Welcome to the very first post for the LillyBo Quilts Project!

I had an idea, a little idea and that little idea has blossomed.
Let me briefly tell you the story.....
 a couple of years ago, Christmas was cancelled in our family as one of my little grandees, who should have come to stay for the holiday, instead spent Christmas in hospital. One trauma led to another and eventually she was diagnosed with leukaemia and has spent the last two difficult years on her journey back to health.
We are so grateful that, aged almost 3 years 6 months, she has now, after two years, almost finished her treatment and I had this little idea as a way to give thanks. Whilst she was undergoing the yucky processes, chemo, etc., we were all so very touched when she was given a small patchwork quilt, made by a lady in Germany where they live. It meant so much and was really appreciated. 
It was such a wonderful gesture by the lady who makes them, along with others in a group, who all make and donate handmade comfort quilts to special, precious, children who have to undergo such harsh treatments.
My little idea was to be able to do the same here in England so I contacted the local branch of CHICS, who give care and support in so many ways, and they were really pleased that this could also happen here and look forward to giving quilts to suitable recipients on behalf of 
LillyBo Quilts.
I posted over on my art blog JoZart to ask if anyone would like to be a part of all this and help to make my dream a reality, by making a quilt or two (or more) and Jan in Wiltshire (LLJ)of fabric frenzy, (who was already thinking of putting her sewing skills to charitable use this year), was the first to get on board. Methinks this little idea could get bigger, as already I have had offers from 14 + people willing to make at least one quilt and sewing machines are whizzing away as I type.

If your name isn't already here and you are willing to join in just send me a comment.
Ali TBC,.... Wipso...Lisa...Twiglet.....LLJ.... Sheilagh.... Redanne....Morti.... Charlene.... Hettie.... Tuire.... Tilly.....AnnB ...Annette... ME! 
Hope I haven't missed anyone who responded!

and a good few possibles are still wondering or hoping they will be able to participate.... no pressure, but Famfa... Elizabeth..... Sylvia.... MaryAnne... Charlie's friend.... Shaz SW....have all expressed interest if they can manage it.
Some of these lovely bloggers have come via Julia's WOYWW blog, the weekly view (What's On You Work-desk Wednesday) where we put our art spaces on view to the world and Queen Julia herself will be in cahoots with LLJ to help in some way.  
Some non sewers have even kindly offered to make gift cards and tags to give along with the quilts or to help in other ways.

Thanks to you all and we look forward to seeing the results of your endeavours!
Now we need a few guidelines to get the ball rolling so, after setting up this blog with a good bit of guesswork and some help from my lovely friend Janet of fairythoughts  (huge thanks Janet), the following ideas are just that, ideas, and not set in stone so please send your own suggestions to help this all run simply, happily and successfully.
Anything that will bring joy and comfort to the children and their families will be  most welcome.

Do enjoy making the quilts and make them with love and positive thoughts for those who receive them.
We will all be part of a wonderful collaborative piece of artwork which will be documented here as it progresses.

Some offers have come from abroad and, whilst it would be lovely to give the quilts to one area, you may not want to pay postage to send them here. I therefore think that, if preferred, they could be given to a similar group in your own locality but they would still be added to this blog, with pictures and a short write up, as part of the collective effort.
There is a postal business in UK which offers cheaper rates and collects from all over the country or items can be dropped off at local shops in your area. All items are signed for. Full details here at myhermes 

Quilts for children should be approximately cot size, ie., 140 cms length but can be square or oblong. I am not giving any exact measurements as you may make one a bit smaller or a bit larger depending on what fabric you already have in stock.
You could make a smaller one for a baby.
You could make a slightly larger one for an older child.

It's up to you and almost anything goes as long as it is 
suitable and safe for a child to receive! 
It is essential that all fabrics should be washable.
 Wadding can be added but if you do so, make it quite a thin layer so the quilts are not too bulky.
It would be nice if, instead of adding wadding, the backing was made of brushed cotton or fleece to feel cosy and soft. Otherwise use plain cotton backing. 
The design can be entirely up to you. Make it simple by just sewing together squares of 6 inches or so, or make it more complex if you are a competent quilter or sewer.
Here's the link to the Luenetraum blog where it all started and there is so much inspiration there from the German group. Some quilts are very impressive and skilled but don't be daunted as you can scroll through and see how some of the basic ones are really lovely in their simplicity and choice of colours.
There is so much information for beginners out on the net and we can all help each other.
There should be a fabric label sewn to the back 
with the maker's name, location, and date, 
a space for the child's name to be added
and please add "A LillyBo Quilt". 
This can be written on the label in permanent pen, fabric marker or embroidered.
I will add a picture of my label when I have it ready.
It would be a lovely extra if you can make a simple bag or square cover in which the quilt can be stored for travel and this would also make it into a useful cushion. This can just be plain but here below is a picture of mine made from one of my mistakes. I sewed one of my basic "log cabin" blocks in the wrong order so I used it to make this cover. Almost finished my first quilt too.
Here's a special message from my daughter
When we received our quilt here in Germany last year, we were really thrilled and overwhelmed to be given such a beautiful and generous gift. Illness can be so isolating, and it was encouraging to know that there were people out there, even strangers, who cared so much to offer their time and support. Blessed with the crafty mother I have, I am fully aware and appreciative of the skill and time it takes to make such a work of art. It is not just a patchwork quilt: it’s a comforter and piece of home during the long stays in hospital, it’s a blanket to cosy under on the sofa when you’re not feeling so good, it’s a pillow, a play mat, a den cover, the list goes on...
Our precious little girl is nearing the end of her two-year treatment plan. It's been a tough time, but as a family we have somehow managed to get through it still smiling. She taught us that. And it's projects like the Luenetraum one here in Germany and the (worldwide!) LillyBo quilts one that help put a smile on your face and let you know you are not alone in such times of trouble. I am so touched and grateful to all the people who are joining in and 
helping out. Thank You!!

Soon I will tell you why we chose LillyBo as the name of the project!!
and we'll have a message from Eddie of CHICS,  so keep popping in.
 I can now look forward to seeing all your creations appearing one by one.


  1. Jo this is just a beautiful post. I know that the Sewing Sisters will be raring to go now so watch this space as they say.
    Biggest hugs,
    Annie x

  2. Wow, well done you for getting all this off the ground - it's no mean feat! How fab that so many folks responded to the call...but we always knew they would :) How wonderful to be doing something so positive for such a brilliant cause.
    Jan xx

  3. Well done Jo, now we can get the ball rolling!! Such a worthwhile cause, that touches so many of us.

  4. Great cause Jo - we will soon swing into action!! x Jo

  5. I haven't sewn for years but I am going to give this proget my best shot.
    Thanl you Jo, for having the idea and for putting it in to action, I think this is going to be AMAZING!!!



  6. Think Google is messing with me....

    I have writtne this three times now, so here we go again...
    I have not sewn for years now, but I am going to give this project my best shot.

    Thank you Jo, for having the idea, for putting it into action, I think this project is going to be AMAZING!!



  7. I am a very novice quilter but am raring to get going, Jo. This is such a brilliant idea. I am also going to ask my MIL if she wants to get involved, she's always knitting for the prem baby unit so I think this'll be right up her street.
    You are one amazing lady, has anyone ever told you that!!!!!!
    Hugs Lisax

  8. hi jo
    I found that a very moving post. When my twins were about 8 or 9 (18 years ago)they had a friend who died of leukemia, it was very traumatic watching him go through his treatment and sadly loosing his fight. Treatments are much more successfull these days and anything we can do do make the little ones lives more comfortable has to be a good thing. Hopefully I will start mine tomorrow.

  9. A beautiful post,
    I am still on holiday in Oz, but when I get home next month, this will be my first project!
    Looking forward to seeing the makes

  10. It’s such a wonderful project Jo and I’m only too pleased to lend hand. If you had seen my machining you wouldn’t want it…believe me, you really wouldn’t, Lol but I’ve already made six little gift cards. Can you let me know the message you want put in them. The cards are 10.5 x 10.5, so quite small.

    I wish you every success with your project and hope it’s as successful as my hospice quilt project was in 2010.


  11. Thanks for doing this Jo - your a little smasher. I had already thought about a fleecy backing. Not sure what mine will be like as I haven't done any quilting before (but I do have 'O' level GCE in Needlework - and very proud of it). Can't wait to get going - once I've converted 140 cm to 'real' measurements.
    Ann B

  12. Es ist schön, wenn meine Aktion zur Nachahmung anregt.
    Es macht sehr viel Freude, Kinderquilts zu nähen und an die besonderen oder kranken Kinder zu verschenken.
    Ich wünsche Dir viel Erfolg und Freude mit Deinem Projekt LillyBo, herzliche Grüße.

  13. hi again Jo
    just a quick note about fleecy backing ... I brought a fleece throw in Store 21 today it cost £6 and measured 2.5 x 1.8m so works out much cheaper than buying the fabric, mine was a lovely red colour. I think it will be big enough to make about 4 quilts (it actually measure 2.6 x 2m.) they also has smaller ones for £3. I am sure that other shops like Primark, Matalan etc will also have similar throws or blankets offering good value.
    happy sewing

  14. Hi Jo. I found you on WOYWDW and my blogging friend Lisa put me onto you as well. I have put myself down as a follower and I will see what I can do. Jill x

  15. Hi, Jo. I am so pleased to be part of this project, although I have never made a quilt! I will put a link on my blogs. Will go through my fabric later and see what I have got. Ali x ps Great tip from 'FT' re. cheap fleece throws. I buy those as bedding for the dogs. Will get some today when I am in our 'catalogue shop'.

  16. Well done Jo for this. All being well, I shall put my thinking cap on and have Sunday as a Charity sewing day. You see, two of my friends have recently (and still are having) had treatment for breast cancer. I made Vikki a heart cushion to help ease the pain after surgery. She loved it. So I decided that I will make more to go to the local hospital for others to have. If it is okay with you, I would like to take my Lilybo Quilt/s to my local hospital as they have a special Children's Centre and a friend of my Hubby's has a daughter who uses that place. Unfortunately there is too much nasty illnesses remaining in the 21st Century!

  17. What a brilliant idea, Jo! I wish you all the best in this worthwhile endeavor!!


  18. How wonderful! And such a great response too! I'm glad your little granddaughter is on the road to recovery too!

  19. hello there although I have never made a quilt I would very much like to try and join in with this. I am just finishing a knitted blanket for babies in Africa and will try to get onto the quilt next. My best friends daughter had leukemia and after a long time in hospital and going through treatment is once more at home. So it will be for her as well. Hugs Anne x

  20. So glad to hear that your little grand daughter's health is improving. I will be taking delivery of a new sewing machine tomorrow so this could be a great way of trying it out ! It may take me a bit of time, but you can add me to your list. I work with children who have severe and complex learning needs and i am constantly uplifted by the love and support shown by their families and carers. X

  21. This is a lovely jesture and I will see whatI can manage to do .
    Hugs Mrs A.


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