I volunteered Kent, Surrey and Sussex to organise and run the Quilters’ Guild tombola for Festival of Quilts in the NEC, Birmingham, UK this year.  Hilary Gooding of the Quilters’ Guild Contemporary Group suggested the theme and we began to make things happen.  First of all we needed to create a website and some leaflets to advertise our requests for “hearts”.  When that was in place we started to ask quilters to make us heart-shaped items, items with hearts on them or make something with hearts on the fabric.  So much scope – I have been amazed at how many ingenious ideas have come to fruition.  Some ladies held a heart session at their quilting group.  A few held sit and sew sessions in their homes.  Lots of people sent in individual contributions.  The Quilters’ Guild put on a free workshop in East Sussex to make Heart Bargello cushion covers.

To date we have received lots of door hangers, wall hangings, key rings, purses, pencil cases, tote bags, drawstring bags, trinket bags, lavender bags, bookwraps, greetings cards with fabric or quilted inserts, mug rugs and placemats.  Several cushions arrived with a puzzled postman who is now “in the know” and has started asking what is in the packages that he brings to me almost daily.  Some of the wonderful donations have come from halfway round the world – I have a couple from Australia and one from Texas.  The lady in Texas sent me a Sewing Companion, credited the pattern as being designed by Brenda Dean in Australia and I discovered it had been featured here in Popular Patchwork, so a totally universal piece of work.

Please keep the “hearts” coming – we are hoping to break last year’s record of £8,000 raised for The Guild.  Funds are always needed to pay for our Heritage collection’s care and its storage; our education section which keeps the craft alive by teaching the coming generations and for the promotion of our wonderful art – quilting!  If you need ideas, just look at the web site – we have a Roll of Honour for the photos of the contributions and we have a Tutorial page where generous quilters have allowed me to share links to their patterns.  Have a look and see what you would like to make:-


Hearts can be sent directly to me at :- “Hearts”, The Lilacs, Dittons Road, Polegate. BN26 6JQ or can be left (in a bag marked ‘hearts’) with Lynette Harris (The Stitch Witch) who trades at all the commercial UK quilt and craft shows.  I will be at Sandown in June with my “big heart box” (which was a real draw at the AGM of The Quilters’ Guild in Portsmouth recently) and I know lots of quilters who will be bringing hearts to fill it up for me there!  As long as the items reach me by mid July I will be able to take them to the NEC.  If you make some and it’s after this deadline, bring them to Festival of Quilts and leave them with us on the tombola stand. 

Hope to see lots of you at Festival of Quilts this year!

Jan Allston – Coordinator Region 2, The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles.

Photos: Top - Christmas Hearts by Pam Bowles, Middle - Heart Sewing Kit (Brenda Dean's pattern) by Kim Smith, Texas, Bottom - Hearts Box at Pompey