When you feel helpless, sew – and give!

It was my birthday on Wednesday last week. I had lunch at a restaurant in London with my husband, who had invited four family members and six friends (who I have known for more than 30 years) to join us. It was a complete surprise and I was overwhelmed. Later in the day, I had tea and cake with my daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughter. In the evening, I had more cake with my son and his girlfriend. It was a perfect day.

On the following day (24th February 2022) Russia invaded the Ukraine. Even though we had been warned that this might happen, it was such a shock. This is so reminiscent of what happened at the start of World War II. Like many people around the world I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything but this appalling event. I couldn’t bring myself to merely write this morning about some aspect of textiles (interesting though the topic is) without referring to the invasion.

There is a link with textiles, however. I have proved in my own life, that in times of great distress, sewing has been helpful to me personally. Quilters like to cut and sew fabrics to help themselves through the process of making quilts, but quilters are also generous people and many of them give away what they make. Sometimes the grateful recipient of the quilt will be someone they know. The most generous giving is to release a beautiful quilt to someone you have never met and will never know. The beautiful colours of the quilt and the comfort and warmth of the three layers speak louder than words to someone who needs them. Can I encourage you to get involved with making quilts in this way?

I have joined a group of quilt-makers who are linked to quilter Rachel Hauser’s charity Do. Good. Stitches (further information in the link below). Each of the group members has made a pair of 12 x 12″ blocks, following the design and colour prompts of our leader who is based in Switzerland. The colours for this first quilt are blues, white and yellow-green. These are my first set of blocks:

We had specific instructions as to what designs and prints should be used in the blocks (both made up of half-square triangles, as seen). The finished quilt from this month’s blocks will go to a Swiss charity called Mini Decki (information below) who distribute quilts to refugee children. Currently quilts for boys are needed most.

So if you feel helpless in the face of the situation in the Ukraine, make a quilt and give it away. It will help you and someone else you will never meet. Another practical thing you can do is to donate money to the Red Cross who were already working in the Ukraine before this conflict began. The link is below. I will be using it myself as soon as I have finished writing to you. The Red Cross says:

“We are asking the UK public to help by donating to our Ukraine Crisis Appeal where a donation could help someone affected get food, water, first aid, medicines, warm clothes or shelter.”

Mini-Decki website: https://minidecki.ch/

Do. Good. Stitches: https://www.stitchedincolor.com/dogoodstitches/

Ukraine Crisis Appeal: British Red Cross: https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-crisis-appeal

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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