A Needle Match for the Girls
An unexpected good deed led to this Roving Reporter article. The snow had fallen on Sunday and my good lady and her friend, Sally, found themselves unsure about driving in the snow and ice on Monday Morning, so I was volunteered as “taxi driver”.
The meeting was of one of the two Patchwork and Quilting Groups within PU3A. Both of the groups meet at All Saints Church Hall, almost in the centre of Peterborough, close to Central Park. One group on a Monday and one on a Wednesday. The two groups are both run by Winnie Wakefield who acts as both host and tutor.
A warm welcome is received when you enter the hall, although for a couple of weeks earlier in the autumn the group was less than warm as the boiler broke down and the ladies of the group almost had to wrap up in their own quilts to stay warm in the hall.
Winnie has been running the group within PU3A for around 20 years, starting from a splinter quilting circle from outside of the U3A.
I was made aware of the various Christmas Trees spread around the hall decorated by groups associated with the hall. There were quite striking ones, including a “Chemical Tree” made from lab equipment and tubes filled with various coloured liquids in test tubes and the like, and another themed “Wine Tree”, decorated with corks and wine glasses. However, at the top of the hall was one decorated by our Quilting Ladies, with padded quilting hearts festooning the branches. Maybe there is some bias here, but I thought the PU3A Quilting one was the best.
I had the pleasure of chatting to 8 of the assembled ladies (Anita, Doreen, Jean, Isabel Gilly, Sue, Sally and Elaine) who offered some interesting facts and insights about the group.
Doreen and Jean have been with the group since it’s inception around 20 years ago, and said that they would be devastated if the group ever packed up, as they get such enjoyment and friendship from the other members of the group. Winnie pointed out a quilt which hangs on the wall of the hall depicting various “Royal Motifs” that was created by about 12 of the then members, back in 2002 to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Doreen and Jean told me that the quilt has not only been on display in Peterborough Museum in Priestgate, but the group also received a letter of commendation from Buckingham Palace.
The group also undertake creating various quilts for numerous charities at times and all are well received by the gaining charities.
Anita, who has been with the group around 18 years, was a bit of a rebel on the day as she wasn’t quilting, but knitting instead. The reason being that her current quilt project was at a point where she couldn’t bring the item in to the group, so rather than miss out on a pleasant morning spent with the ladies of the group she brought along her knitting bag.
Isabel (and yes, I did crack the old joke 😊 ), Gilly and Sue who are relatively new to the Quilting Group at a mere 6 years in, were all busy sewing away at quilts in various stages of completion. Isabel’s Cot Quilt was at an advanced stage, whereas Gilly was at the first knockings of creating a huge masterpiece (well it looked huge to me when I saw the “plan”).
Sally and Elaine are 2 of the newest members, having joined this year after a spell on the “waiting list” and are tackling what are classed as starter items.
Not all of the items created are leviathans – Elaine has recently completed a padded Christmas Bell which she thinks may become one of those family Christmas heirlooms that will be handed down and hung every year with the words “My Mum/Nanny/Great Grandma made that way back in 2017.
The Monday Group have just over 30 members, and the Wednesday Group caters for roughly the same number. The whole set up is very relaxed with the ladies diligently beavering away at their own projects, but chatting around the room and getting help, where needed from Winnie.
Tea, coffee and biscuits are a feature of each meeting at the very reasonable rate of 50p, but that 50p also goes towards buying small sundries that are needed as part of any quilting group such as cottons (if you haven’t got the right colour on the day), wadding and the like.
Even as a non-quilter I can see the appeal of this group – you can give vent to your creative juices whilst having a bit of chat and fun with likeminded people.
I bade the ladies farewell at noon as they were off for their Christmas Lunch at the Great Northern Hotel, which I later found out was a superb affair.
For a picture gallery of the morning see here
The Roving Reporter