Submitted by: Clare Worthy – Dordogne Quilter
What gave you the idea to raise money for Leukaemia research via quilting?
I am a Moderator of two France Yahoo Groups. Amongst those groups are some fellow crafters – knitters, card makers, scrap-bookers, quilters, cross-stitchers, etc. We started chatting about our creations and the men (some of them engineers) started getting bored. One of my fellow Moderators and I decided to set up a Yahoo Group specially for expatriate crafters. Between us we surfed the net for like minded people and the membership list is slowly but surely growing. It is through this that I first came across Tonya’s blog.
It was during this that I hit upon the idea of making quilts for Leukaemia Research in the hope that they could auction them off to raise funds. I only had one taker – a fellow Francophile living in the Limousin. I then started my blog and asked the question again. No takers. A few months went by and I came up with the idea that if all these quilters didn’t want to make a quilt, then why not a block for a quilt. A fellow blogger took up the challenge and mentioned it on her blog, Life’s a Quilt. The offers then came flooding in. There has also been a bit of bribery – "make me a block and I’ll send you a French recyclable carrier bag".
I have even inspired a fellow Moderator on one of my Yahoo groups. He is a retired engineer living in the Lot et Garonne, has got his mother’s old sewing machine out and is on the way to making his first ever quilt block. Because he is an engineer, no doubt his block measurements will be exact!
In September 2004 my sister’s then boyfriend, Matt Julians (aka Floyd London, guitarist for The Almighty, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
To quote Sophie:
“His type of AML was quite rare (1:70,000) and he was treated with 4 courses of aggressive chemotherapy. Unfortunately a bone marrow biopsy was out of the question as the procedure alone carried a 40% mortality rate. Floyd’s chances of successfully beating the cancer are 50/50 but he still made it to remission after the first course of chemo, and he’s still there now!!! We have another 4 years to get through before we can say he made it! Floyd is a tough wee lad and we know he’s going to beat this leukaemia.”
Floyd went into remission and they got married a couple of years ago. He has still got a long way to go before he is in the clear.
Sophie and Floyd are working their hearts out for this very worthwhile cause. They visit hospitals nearly every weekend, mostly the childrens’ wards. They raised about £25,000 through 2 charity concerts in 2005/6 and have just finished a second bout of fund raising.
We couldn’t hit upon a way of auctioning the quilts off, except through a certain Internet auction site and Sophie and I didn’t quite like that idea.
So we changed the position of the goal posts halfway through and now these blocks (well over 100 at the last count) are made up into quilts and sent to children worldwide.
What gave me the idea?
Watching Floyd and Sophie go to hell and back and wanting to do something to help them help others.
The contributors are mainly from the States (bien sur), but I have contributors from Finland, Germany, Australia, Japan, Turkey, Italy, France naturally, UAE, South Africa and the UK. This is truly "wrapped around the world" One or two people have made "cot quilts".
People send me a "block" which is 8 1/2 inches "unfinished". This block is made up of red and white material, representing the blood cells in any design the contributor likes – basic quilt block design, free piecing, anything. Some of them are stunning!
Allowing for a 1/4 inch seam (and my non-straight seams LOL), the blocks will finish up as 8 inches square. I will then stitch them together, make up the "sandwich" and then quilt.
Number of quilts completed so far is 8 with one on the wall. Quilts have been sent to Germany, the UK, the US and New Zealand.