Have you managed to keep your patchwork group going through lockdown? We were asked by The Quilters Guild...

We are proud to say that since the 23rd March, 2020 we have met every Monday (75 in total), not even a Bank Holiday can stop us - never mind Covid. We began on Zoom, which we were helped in setting up by the Canalside Heritage Centre (CHC), having never heard of it before. Members were informed and an advertisement put on the CHC website. This meant we got new members as well as keeping our regulars. During the first lockdown we chatted, sewed and most importantly supported each other via Zoom. We set ourselves new projects, e.g. making rainbow cushions. We shared new ideas, podcasts to listen to, Mel Giedroyc on making a quilt, video courses to watch, including Jenny Éclair’s on Craftivism, and online places to increase our fabric hoards. Feeding back our opinions each week and always had a ‘show and tell’. Amazingly, we all made quite a lot of new quilts, cushions, presents, bags and finished many UFO’s!

As lockdown 1 ended the Heritage Centre opened its garden for takeaway coffees, so we sat wrapped up in many layers still sewing and chatting. Finally meeting our new members who had joined us via Zoom.

As the garden had to close again, we were straight back on Zoom. During the winter months we were so proficient at ‘Zooming’ that members joined us from their hospital beds (still sewing), sneaked an hour from their working day in between meetings and introduced their cats and dogs to the group. Needing new challenges we purchased new projects, Boredom Buster Boxes, Temperature Quilt Challenge 2021 and Blocks of the Month. Again, we set ourselves projects deciding this time that we would make framed fabric pictures for the Heritage Centre.

In May this year after 14 months we were allowed back inside, in small groups! Every week we would show our completed patchworks, share books, giveaway things we’ve cleared out whilst decluttering our sewing rooms, show our ‘work in progress’, share advice and importantly chat.

Now our pictures are all framed and ready for hanging, a Canary Craftivism display in the trees alongside the Canal has been produced and items for the Year of the Roses (an international initiative promoted by Art Culture Tourism UK) have been completed.

We are delighted to say that patchwork has helped us in many ways and maybe only if Christmas Day falls on a Monday will we miss a day, but maybe with Zoom you never know!

By Christine Anderson

The Patchwork Group meets every Monday 10am - 12pm at the Canalside Heritage Centre. It's free to join and no need to book. For more information please call the Heritage Centre on 0115 9221773.