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!

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:

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.

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…..