COVID update

We have taken the decision that we have to cancel the next meeting arranged for Wednesday 25th March. This is for the obvious reason of not taking unnecessary risks in relation to the spreading of the Corona virus by holding non-essential meetings.

We are currently investigating whether we can organise some sort of virtual meeting, so we can still look at the contents of the Contemporary Suitcase virtually, and if you would be interested in being involved in that, please can you contact me at the Southwest London quilter’s email address, or via the website Contact tab or Facebook. We will let you know what we are permitted to do as soon as we hear back from the Quilters’ Guild on this.

We are very sorry that we have had to do this, but we want all our members to stay safe and in the meantime why don’t you post your show and tell on the Facebook members only group so we can all enjoy looking at what everyone has been up to this month!

SWLQ Group challenges

Bi-monthly Challenge

Our Bi-monthly challenge for completion in April is to make a piece ( no bigger than 20″ square) based on a random card drawn from a pack of playing cards. Those not at February’s meeting are very welcome to participate as well, first find a pack of cards, draw a card at random, and make something inspired by the card you picked. (No cheating..)

Block of the month Group challenge 

At the meeting we also discussed the plan to make modern sampler quilts.  Each month we will  provide information on how to make one of the six main blocks that generally feature in a modern quilt  This month’s block is the cross block.  There are no rules about the size of quilt you make, and more information can be found on the Facebook group page, together with pdf of instructions if you require them.  We expect that everybody’s quilts will turn out differently, and the idea is work towards producing work for a future exhibition, but they could also be donated to Linus quilts if you wish.  Please see the post on the Facebook group page for further information.

Next month’s meeting

Wednesday 25th March 2020

Just a heads up that we will be looking at the Contemporary Quilt groups suitcase collection titled “On the Road”.   In case you wonder, contemporary quilts  can be described as quilts with a modern twist, `or as described on the Quilters’ guild website: “take traditional techniques and push them to their limits by using new fabrics and technology and encouraging original design”.  This is a recent collection which was only curated last year, so we anticipate that it will be an exciting group of quilts for us to discuss.   We haven’t been able to get any photos of the quilts (there are 55)  but have managed to get a list of the artists and the titles of their pieces and we are very impressed by the list.  Please also tell quilting friends who might be interested in seeing these quilts as they might like to come along as a guest (entrance £6.00) as it is a good opportunity to look at a good number of contemporary quilts (A3 size) made by members of the Quilters’ Guild Contemporary Quilt Group. Please do let us know by email if you have friends who would like to come.

Janet Bolton Workshop

SWLQ ran their first workshop last Saturday, 8th February. We were very fortunate to have Janet Bolton, to get us off to an excellent start. Many of you may be familiar with her charming work which has been used to illustrate children’s books.

After a short introduction to her method of making small pictures with scraps of many varied fabrics, Janet suggested that we might like to start by making the background piece and frame etc, so that we had something to work on as our ideas developed. Some members had already done this before the workshop started which got them off to a really good start. It was a really excellent way to get us into the mood for a bit of creativity and hand stitching. 

Janet advised us on methods of presenting the work using picture frame mounts and the advantages of using glass, Perspex or nothing at all. She had brought along a good selection of her works, some mounted, some framed which proved to be invaluable to study at close range.

The pieces we produced were very varied, some managed to capture Janet’s individual style with the needle turned appliqué directly applied. Janet gave us loads of tips on what works for her, but she was very keen to encourage everybody’s individual creativity.

She had travelled the world with her work and she told the story of her trip to The Stitchin’ Post and meeting the Gees Bend Quilters, bringing with her the quilt with their signatures on for us to see. 

Once we have been able to gather images of our finished works, we will put up a mini gallery. We can’t wait to see them all together.

Facbook/membership renewal

At our committee meeting on Monday, we decided that we would like to keep the Facebook group for members only, and we will be removing names of those who expressed an interest initially but have not gone ahead and joined. This is just a polite reminder to please make sure that you pay your annual subscription to the South West London Quilters group by the end of March.

If you don’t want to join but would like to follow our website at you can do that by registering on the site. We will be doing our best to keep the site up to date with news about our activities.

We would love to see you all at our next meeting which is on Wednesday 26th February. There will be a short talk on making a Wendy Williams (Flying Fish – block of the month) quilt by group member Louiisa Lawson. And we will also be discussing our next group project making a modern sampler quilt. There will also be our group bi-monthly challenge and show and tell.

We will also be taking bookings for the Lisa Walton workshop which we have arranged for Sunday 28th June. Details can be found here. It is important to book now as spaces are limited and we anticipate it being very popular.


Just to recap, annual membership is £30 for the year with a £3.00 per meeting fee. Besides the monthly meetings and the numerous benefits of being a member, listed on the web site, you will also get priority booking for the workshops we are organising.

The more members who join, the more diverse and interesting a programme we will be able to plan for the future. More details on

Membership form can be downloaded here.

Please get in touch with Alison Lee who is our membership secretary. Emails should be addressed to

November and December meetings

I was reminded last night that we hadn’t provided a report on the November and December meetings, for which we must apologise. I think it possible that Christmas preparations might have got in the way!

In November the main focus of the meeting was an excellent talk that was given by one of our members, Regina Al-Habib Nmeir. She gave a short presentation about the work that she is involved in with the Fine Cell Work charity.

Fine Cell Work is a charity and social enterprise which enables prisoners to build fulfilling and crime-free lives. they do this by training them in high-quality, skilled, creative needlework undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells to foster hope, discipline and self-esteem. There aim is to allow them to finish their sentences with work skills, money earned and saved, and the self-belief to not re-offend. They also guide them towards training and support on release.

At the Fine Works Hub, a London-based workshop, they also run an Open the Gate programme which provides work experience, formal training and employment to ex-prisoners.

Further information about The Fine Cell Work can be found at:

It was a thought provoking talk and it was interesting to hear how much therapeutic benefits the prisoners gained from their stitching whilst also producing some stunning hand embroidered items. There was a stimulating discussion at the end with various questions being answered by Regina.

We were also delighted to be joined by a number of guests from other local groups. Regina also had some beautiful samples of the prisoners work that we were able to purchase.

After talk we had our usual show and tell, and bimonthly challenge and below are images of some of the work that members brought in. As usual, lots of lovely creatives ideas and stitching .

All in all we had an excellent evening.

December Meeting

We had great fun at the December meeting with our Lucky Dip Secret Santa, a delicious selection of Christmas nibbles and a fabulous Fabric Donation/ Swop which raised an amazing £65 for club funds. Thank you to all who participated, both in bringing fabric, (in particular Viv for being so generous with her fabric swaps), and taking part in buying – you were all very generous and a lot of happy faces going home with unexpected treasure.

Talk on Fine Cell Work

Fine Cell work – Talk

27th of November 2019, at 7pm       

Mansel Road Centre, Mansel Road, Wimbledon SW19 1AA

Dear All,

I will be giving a talk about Fine Cell Work, a charity that is training prisoners in highly skilled and creative needlework.

This is not only an opportunity for them to earn money; it is also a very therapeutic way to spend their remaining time in prison with skilful work. They gain hope and self-esteem, which enables ex-prisoners to build independent crime-free lives.

FCW is working with artists and designers to create beautifully stitched products and high-quality handmade craftworks.

There will be an opportunity to buy small items like lavender bags, needle cushions and purses…on the evening to support the charity. Hope to see you there,


Here is a link if you would like to have a look at their website:

Bi-monthly challenge for November meeting

For those not at the September meeting, the bimonthly challenge this month, is to make a 3D object. This was suggest by Alison and she showed us some samples that she has made. This could be a Christmas decoration for example. Please bring your challenge piece to the November meeting!

Please see examples below.

Ideas for the 3D challenge
Ideas for the 3D challenge

Show and Tell – 25th September 2019

Below are some of the items/work from our Show and Tell on the 25th September. They included items started at Festival of Quilt 2019 workshops. If your work is not included(because I failed to take a decent photograph) or you would like to let me have a better photograph of what you made, please do email them to me! Annie

Fused applique portrait class with Lea McComas at the Festival of Quilts 2019

In preparation for this two day raw-edge appliqué class, Lea had edited and prepared an A3 printout for each of the 13 attendees from photos that they had already sent to her studio in Colorado.

These images ranged from close family members and pet dogs to a blonde prisoner in the dock and 70’s pop icon Donnie Osmond. 

The first step was to create the pattern. Each photo had been converted to grey scale using Photoshop elements so that it had five tonal values. With a light box (or, in some cases, the round windows of Hall 9!) we traced the outlines of the different tonal shapes on to freezer paper with a mechanical pencil, labeling them 1-5 according to their tonal value and simplifying the edges as necessary. Using a highlighter, we drew around the edge of the picture so that we could easily identify the border. We also highlighted the edges of different major shapes to make the piecing easier. The next step was to mark the edges of the lightest pieces, 1, with red arrows where you would need to add a quarter inch seam allowance when cutting out those pieces. When positioned, this allowance would tuck under the adjacent darker piece. Working from the centre outwards, you would then repeat the red arrow marking for edges of the next tonal value, 2, where it would meet and underlie 3, and do this for 3 to go under 4 and so on. 

Carefully tracing the different areas of the face
Marking the face up with red arriows

The pieces were then carefully cut out into the larger sections of the face and background.

A tacky fusible material such as Lite Steam-a-Seam2 or Mistyfuse (which is not repositionable, so one has to be super-confident in accurate placing) was then pressed on to the selected fabrics and the lightest shapes cut out adding a quarter inch where indicated.  

The portrait was gradually built up on a Teflon sheet, from light to dark, and once satisfied with the layout, it was ironed, before transferring the portrait to a calico base-layer. This was done by carefully peeling off the Teflon sheet from the back of the assembled portrait which was ironed firmly into position on the calico. Additional smaller detail such as eyes, lips and frown lines could then be superimposed on the face.

The next step, the usual quilt sandwich followed by as much machine stitching as you wanted, was left to be done at home. Before stitching, very fine bridal tulle (in beige or white as appropriate) can be added over the top to keep the raw edges neat. As a minimum, each piece should be stitched around on the darker fabric, close to the edge. We were also strongly advised not to quilt contours as they are difficult to get right and can easily distract from the form rather than add to it.

Lea McCormas with Annie Folkard at Festival of quilts

The workshop also included instruction on how to prepare digital files for use in making our own patterns, fabric and colour palette selection and tips for stitching and finishing the portrait quilt. 

Finished portrait of Billie


All in all, a great class with lots of helpful tips. (And very challenging! Happily, Lea is a passionate yet patient, calm teacher who never gave up on any of her pupils – Ed)