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Project Linus UK and Fabrics Galore

In these unprecedented times where constant bad news seems to be a daily reality, sometimes it’s nice to highlight the many organisations which are working hard to help people out. Within our fabric world one charity doing just that is Project Linus.

What is Project Linus UK?

Project Linus started in 1995 in America when Karen Loucks read in a newspaper article how much of a comfort a blanket or quilt could be for a child going through cancer treatment. From there she started to organise making quilts for local hospitals but now it is a worldwide organisation. 

Project Linus started in the UK in 2000 in Birmingham when a quilter wanted to use her hobby to help people in need, and since then a huge network of quilters has been created to provide quilts for many people in need.

In the UK, Project Linus makes both quilted and knitted blankets, not just for hospitals but also for hospices, women’s refuges, foster carers, special schools and bereavement services, in fact pretty much anywhere a warm hug might be needed. The idea is that even if they cannot reach out to every person in need, at least the quilt can provide some reassurance that there is someone, somewhere who cares and of course the immediate comfort a blanket or quilt can provide. 

 

How many Quilts and Blankets have been Donated?

Now that all sounds lovely but when you see the number of quilts made, frankly you will be gobsmacked (and this is the just in the UK).

Number of Blankets Donated so Far - 513,727

Number of Blankets Donated in 2022 - 339

On top of that, (yes it gets even better) the South East London Linus Group have started to make specially designed quilts for the neonatal ward to cover the incubators of the premature babies at King’s College Hospital in London, and each one of these saves the hospital £300. IMAGINE. 

 

How To Get Involved…

Now if you are thinking this is something you would like to get involved with then here are the pieces of information you need. The most important thing to remember is Project Linus has an effective system in place and before making something for them please check their website and contact the nearest group co-ordinator.

They are nationwide and have groups quite literally in every corner of the country…….

For more details contact them at 

https://projectlinusuk.org.uk/contact-us/ 

The website also provides details of what each area is looking for and what they will accept; some will even take half finished quilts to finish and donate. Blimey, they are good. Each finished quilt is checked by the co-ordinator and has a label attached so that everyone knows it’s a Linus Quilt and then when they have a pile they are sent to the hospital. There is no specific size for these quilts but here are the guidelines given by Project Linus themselves. 

Best Quilt Sizes for Project Linus

This may depend on each individual hospital, for example Kings doesn’t want any of the smallest ones, so as always it’s best to check with a co-ordinator before starting on a quilt. 

  • Baby Quilts: approx 24”-30” square or 24” x 30”
  • Children’s Quilts: approx 36” – 42” square or 36” x 42”
  • Teenagers' Quilts: approx 42” square or 42” x 48”
  • Knitted Blankets: approx 24 inches square or larger for older children and
    teenagers
  • Some Co-ordinators will also accept tiny blankets and quilts for premature
    babies.

What Fabric is Best for Quilts?

In terms of fabrics, the best fabrics to use for quilts are ones which can be washed over and over again, so that really means 100% cottons and polycottons are the best. The advantage of making patchwork quilts or blankets for these sorts of projects is you can use up some of the smaller pieces pieces you have in your stash, which cuts your personal costs slightly as they are being donated. But if you need a bit extra to supplement your scraps, don’t worry as our range of Patchwork and Quilting Cotton will have something to fit the bill. 

 

Patchwork and Quilting Fabric

Patchwork & Quilting Cotton 

 

What Quilt Design is Best?

In terms of design, you really want something simple, but another important thing to remember is no embellishments, buttons or beads as they could be a choke hazard for the little ones. We asked some of the regular FG customers who make for Linus for some examples of their work to help inspire your makes. (These were provided by Elaine Andrews who has made THIRTY SEVEN Linus Quilts so far and Jackie Smith who is part of the Shirley Quilters group who have made a whopping 1,500 quilts so far)

 

Linus Quilt with flannel backing

 

Linus Quilt    Linus Quilt multicolour

Any wadding can be used, and they can either be hand quilted or machine quilted; they don’t have to be hugely quilted - this is both for speed but also so they keep a nice cuddly feeling. The quilts can either be pieced or made from panels but Linus Quilt Power House Jenny Strong recommends using children’s prints as that is who they are for. When a quilt is given to a child, they keep it so that it becomes a comfort if they have to return multiple times for treatment. 

We have a few different panels which work well for Linus Quilts, especially with a tspace theme. Panels make whipping up a quilt slightly quicker and easier as one block is already done for you. This Space panel fits with the need for a children’s pattern and bright colours. 

 

Fabrics Galore Space Panel Fabric

Cute Spaceman Panel

Incubator Quilts

As previously mentioned, the South East London Linus Group co-ordinated by Jenny Strong has started to make Incubator Quilts which are slightly more fiddly to make, as they are for a more specific job. These must have a dark plain backing, this is to help block the light from the baby so that all their energy can go into the important tasks of growing, sleeping and feeding. The quilts supplied by Linus are a much perkier alternative to the £300 commercial cover meaning that parents can walk into the unit and see their baby straight away, saving them just a little bit of extra stress. Not only that, it makes it a slightly prettier place to work. And at the end of it all the baby can take the cover home to use as a play mat. 

 

Project Linus Incubator Quilts

If you are interested in making a quilt for Project Linus, please contact us at Howdy@fabricsgalore.co.uk and we can put you in touch with Jenny herself who can send you a pattern and more details. 

Additional Help for Project Linus

While we have you here, we may as well mention that during the research for this Blog, Linus mentioned that they could really do with some help cutting out the larger pieces needed especially for the Incubator Quilts. Again if this sounds like something you could help with please let us know by emailing us at Howdy@fabricsgalore.co.uk and if you address it to Annabelle she will  pass it on to the right person. 

Project Linus and Fabrics Galore

As Project Linus has a vast network, with groups all over the country, there are a number of groups in London and so as one of the main fabric shops in London, we have supported them in various ways over the years, whether it be with “generous” meterage, bags of cotton scraps or discounts on their purchases. And now as part of our 30th Birthday Celebration we wanted to highlight the incredible work of the people who support Project Linus right across the country and indeed across the world. If you have been inspired to join these marvellous ladies, please check out the Project Linus Website for more details, but if quilt making still slightly out of your reach then you can also donate money via the website. 

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