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.

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

Next meeting date Wednesday 25th September

Hope you have all enjoyed the summer and managed to stitch away despite the heat and holidays getting in the way. Our next meeting is on Wednesday 25th September at  7pm. We should have lots to talk about with all the quilt shows, workshops and courses that members have attended so please do bring any notes or samples to show. We thought it might also be an opportunity for an enhanced Show and Tell with quilts and UFOs  (unfinished objects) and WIPs (work in progress), bags, toys etc that you would like to share with the group. Any new techniques or methods will be particularly welcome. 

Sabine will  present our financial statement, as we have successfully opened a group  bank account and are beginning to build up enough funds for us to consider speakers for 2020.  We will call this an EGM, rather than an AGM, as we have decided it would be better to hold the AGM at the beginning of the year in January.

Please do rememberthat we now meet in the Mansel Centre, 1 Mansel Road, just up on the left hand side from Fielders Art shop. We have now confirmed our dates for 2020 (4th Wednesday in the month) except for August (no meeting) and December (3rd Wednesday) (see below) and as a result we are looking for recommendations for speakers. So please let us know if you have any ideas of interesting talks that members might be eager to listen to. Note, we realise that Wednesday does not suit everybody but this was the only day available for booking. 

I have been in touch with a contact at St. Georges to see if they have any requirements for syringe/chemo bags that we can make from scrap fabrics. Sizes are specific to different hospitals but I will report any progress at the meeting. 

Finally, don’t forget to bring your Lavender Bags along for the Challenge. 

All good wishes


for Southwest London quilters

Mansel Road Centre

Report of SWLQ meeting on Wednesday July 24th.

Although this, our first meeting at the new venue (Mansel Road…..) was only attended by a few, it was as guest, Sue Southwood, remarked very ‘buzzy’.  Sue, a leading member of Wimbledon International Quilters, had brought lots of books from the estate of a fellow Quilter that were being disposed of for donations to Macmillan Cancer Care. Few of us could resist and Sue later reported that the donations amounted to over £70.

Lesley, our Lavender Bag Expert, was not due until later so we chatted and stitched and tried out the very well designed kitchenette just behind our room. Unfortunately we hadn’t sussed out how to turn on the urn so had to resort to the kettle. But, oh ye of little faith, we have now found the important switch and hot water on tap will not be a problem for future meetings. Once Lesley had arrived and settled in she brought forth her bundles of linen and lavender bags and gave us all an insight into both the best fabrics to use, the lavender and the decorative stitches. She was also very generous in letting us choose linens and decorations from her stash with which to make more Lavender Bags for our next Challenge. (To be presented at the September meeting where Lesley will bring enough lavender to fill one bag each. For those of you not able to be present last Wednesday, don’t be put off, you can see from the examples below what Lesley’s Lavender Bags look like but yours might be totally different. Diversity is the name of the game. Please be encouraged to have a go!)

We  had planned to visit the Carshalton Lavender fields project on Saturday but the forecast was not good, rain all day, but details were given on how to get there etc. Alternatively supplies are available from the Daisy online shop.

We then had the Show and Tell,  the theme of which was Light and Dark. Only four entries, with mine, embarrassingly so, being the winning one. Interesting to note that Annie’s  entry was her ruler case. Having just been on a course for learning how to use rulers, she made a very functional but decorative case for her set of rulers, where she practised her ruler quilting which I have to say on first sight looked like Sashiko. If you have any questions about this rapidly popular technique I am sure she will be willing and able to answer them.

So, a new venue, how did it go? A tad small but with windows that opened on to a terrace and the option  of expanding into the next room it has real possibilities. Look forward to seeing you all at the next meeting there on Wednesday September 25th and meanwhile, enjoy FoQ.

Light and Dark challenge entries:

24th June Meeting

At this month’s meeting on Monday 24th June, …..

At this month’s meeting (on Monday 24th June) which is the last one that we will be holding at William Morris House, we are going to tackle another of the Modern Quilters tutor boxes, so please bring with you two or three pairs of contrasting squares measuring 7.5″ which you think will go well together. We will provide a few cutting boards and rotary cutters if you want to get started.

The so called “Marbles” are surprisingly easy to stitch together. Hopefully it will help to overcome any fears we might have about stitching curves which, I must admit, feel very strange to begin with.

This design is quite similar to the block known as the “drunkard’s path”, but it is a bit more “improv” the shapes do not have to match too exactly.

Just to check it out, I had a quick practice and was quite pleasantly surprised that the curved seams went together. You could use this quilting exercise as the theme for next months challenge, if you are short of other ideas as it works well using light and dark coloured fabrics and you could make a small panel, contemporary cushion cover or place mat.

Below is a picture of the sample that is contained in the tutor box that we have received.

You are also welcome to bring along your boxes, which Regina showed us how to make at the last meeting, to show off how the box has progressed, and if not yet finished you can carry on with it in the meeting if you like.

SWLQ May meeting report

There were ten of us at the meeting where, to start with, Sabine announced that we had found a new meeting place which allowed us to book dates for several months ahead. This will give us the chance to book a speaker, when funds permit, which we have been unable to do so far. So if anyone knows of someone in the quilting world who preferably lives in the Greater London area who they can recommend then please let us know. The new venue is the Mansel Road Centre, in Mansel Road just up from Fielders Art shop on the left hand side. We will be meeting there on the 4th Wednesday of every month except December as below:-

July 24th

August No meeting due to holidays

September 25th

October 23rd

November 27th

December 18th

Sue announced that Alison had been coopted on to the committee and will be taking on the role of Membership Secretary from Annie.  We have arranged our first social outing – to the Olive, an Italian restaurant in Raynes Park. It is near the 131, 57 bus route or possible parking in the Waitrose car park. We will be booked in for 7pm on Wednesday June 5th. Alison has taken names but if you missed the meeting and would like to join us, please email

After a few more dates were announced, see below, Regina started on her mini workshop in making fabric boxes. Most members had already cut out their cardboard shapes based on the hexagon templates sent out earlier. They then progressed to covering the sides with fabric and gluing them in place. There were lots of questions for Regina particularly about the gussets which led to peals of laughter when she showed us the Knicker Knot! I kid you not! It is a very secure but simple way of starting a line of stitching. See the instructions in the files area of the website. If members could bring their boxes along to the next meeting it would be good to see them.

After and during the coffee break we bought raffle tickets from Kathryn who was selling them for Project Linus. We also voted on the May Challenge which was to use a piece of brown patterned fabric. The range of entries, although small, was very varied – from a pictorial cushion cover to modern quilted pieces to an intriguing embroidered piece. The worthy winner was Karolina, whose picture of a brown horse on a cushion cover with impeccable applique and beautiful curved bias bindings was for her horse mad daughter. Lucky girl!

Then there was just time for Show and Tell. Annie showed us her sashiko cushion worked whilst in hospital. Not only sashiko but french knots were incorporated into the border.

Sashiko cushion cover

We also handed over to Alison our completed rows of Tiger Tiger blocks for the Group quilt. (Meg, who is away has the photograph we took at the last meeting in case there are any missing row labels).

Next was Alison with her latest work in progress – a double quilt with two different blocks repeated throughout. She had used her own free motion quilting design on each block and was now considering quilting the sashing. No doubt we will see it at a later date. Finally I showed the bunting I had changed to display the group name. I made the bunting many years ago and it has been in use for Camra’s Battersea beer festivals, Garden Museum literary festivals and even a wedding. So I thought I could easily reuse some of it by bondwebbing the letters of our group name on to it. I used white fabric but think I will do a second set with black fabric. I am hopeful that we could use these for our first exhibition. (Nothing like being ambitious!)

South West London Quilters bunting

The Bi-monthly challenge for completion by the July meeting is to be based on light and dark. It should be no more than 20 square inches and when making it, the idea is to think about the use of contrasting colours in the design.

Dates for your Diary

June 5th Olive restaurant, Raynes Park 7pm

June 24th Next Meeting WMH 7pm

June 3rd – June 29th London Quilters Exhibition at Swiss Cottage Library

June 18th – 29th Menier Gallery, Southwark St, “Material Evidence” Quilt Art exhibition

June 21st – 23rd National Quilt Championships at Sandown RacecourseMay 29th – 9th June PRISM exhibition at the Arches, near Hoxton Underground

S W London Quilters Challenge

The Challenge that is part of the South West London Quilters meetings is bi monthly. So every two months a theme is chosen and the entries submitted at the meeting in two months time. The theme is generally chosen by the committee but can be suggested by any member.

The Rules: The work does not have to be new but the maximum size is 20” on any side. This means that it can be as small as a postcard. Work can be 2D or 3D. You can make anything you like! You might choose to make a piece which, like a modern quilt, has no border. It could be pictorial, a landscape, pieced, wholecloth or a piece of textile art using paints, dyes, resist, anything you fancy. Ideally it will be a finished article.

Why you should take part: Taking part in group activities like this is fun and it increases your senses of participation. The fact that the piece can be small is quite encouraging. It feels doable and doesn’t mean a huge outlay in fabric or cost. It is also anonymous which is quite reassuring.

How to take part: If you are coming to the meeting, just bring it with you and leave it on the Challenge table. If you can’t make the meeting email and we will endeavour to pick it up from you and take it to the meeting. Each piece on the table will be allocated a number and during the meeting members (and visitors) will be asked to vote on their favourite piece. The work with the most votes wins a small prize.

(With thanks from Carol Wilkes from Quilters’ Guild Region One for permission to use her article in Our Patch.)

Fabric boxes, materials list for the May meeting

Linked to this post (below) you will find a list of things to bring with you to the next meeting on Monday May 20th, as well as the templates for the cardboard shapes needed for a hexagon shaped sewing box, which is the example that Regina has prepared for us to use.

It would be helpful if you can cut your cardboard shapes out in advance of the meeting, so that we will be working on these, rather than starting from scratch.

Example of completed sewing box
Example of what can be stored in the box.

Mounting card or similar card weight (about 1.5 – 2mm thick)

This also depends on the size of the box (you might get away with a thinner card used for a smaller box).

You can also use thinner cardboard for the inside of your box (empty cereal boxes…)

Use the templates to cut out your pieces; it is best to use a craft knife if you have one, but check the size of the printed pieces first (check length and corners…) also check that the inside pieces are slightly smaller than the outside ones, it helps to label your cards.

Wadding – (if you like, but not too thick).

Fabric (to cover your cardboard)

The seam allowance is about 1 cm; a bit more if you use wadding.

Lining fabric

(to cover the inside cardboard, can be the same or a different fabric…)


to stick the fabric onto the board, this can be a Pritt Stick or fabric glue stick works very well: Sewline or Prym Aqua Marker (I bought one at Amazon….)

Stronger glue

(to stick cards together)


(are very good if you have )


(to hand stitch, colour matching your outer fabric and if possible polyester)

Sharp sewing needles

bring a couple of long and short ones, so you can try out what works best for you.

We will be using a whip stitch to join the pieces together (stitches go through the fabric only)

If you make a sewing box you might want to bring:

  • elastic to hold a scissor and
  • and extra fabric for pockets inside and also the gussets!

Pencil, ruler, scissors…..