Written by Sue Smith

I only discovered Beartown P and Q last summer following a chance encounter with some of the ladies at their Quilt Exhibition in Congleton Town Hall. My daughter and I were impressed with the quality of work on display and the friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

I’ve always loved sewing and knitting but only recently learned the basics of patchwork and quilting from TV craft programmes and youtube tutorials and didn’t know anyone with similar interests. After attending the first meeting as a guest I decided to join the group and now look forward to the fortnightly meetings – it’s a lovely social event and it’s impossible to describe the wealth of skill, knowledge, life experience and kindness that the group has to offer.

Janet (granny Jan) kindly allowed me to take home a “kit” of fabric, blocks and wadding to make up a “quilt for careleavers” as I needed a project at that time to keep me occupied. It was a challenge but I completed it within a few weeks and it gave me the confidence to make more.

Unfortunately I only had suitable supplies for 2 more quilts and had to come up with a strategy to build a “fabric stash” without the expense. Over weeks/months I built up a collection of men’s shirts from charity shops (the patterns and colours, I hoped, would appeal to all care leavers). These were then washed and “dissected” into useable fabric pieces (a time-consuming process) – I’ve even saved all the buttons for use in other craft projects! Quilt patterns were taken from books, YouTube etc. and 9-10 quilts later I’m still using fabric scraps from this original batch of shirts!

And yes – I still buy the occasional shirt(s) from charity shops as there are quite a few more quilt patterns I’d like to try.