Lynne Elwell Cuddle Quilts

Colours of Hope for Children with Disabilities

During these strange and difficult times, its heartwarming to hear a story of positivity and joy. It was during a chance conversation at the Festival of Quilts that we learned of Lynne Elwell's wonderful work helping children with disabilities. We're delighted she accepted our invitation to share her story:

I worked as a photographer until having my children. When my eldest daughter Nicola became disabled at the age of eight months, I made the decision to stay at home to support and educate her.

It was through Nicola that I became aware of the traditional attitude to disabled people from society and from the services set up to support them. I found that the responses to our requests for help and support didn’t fit or work for Nicola. I didn’t have the information or strategies to make sure that Nicola got the best support to have a good life; all I had were my instincts and emotions. I decided to learn more. 

Lynne Elwell Cuddle Quilts

For most of my adult life I have taken part in and led training. Designing and developing work to help disabled people develop social networks through Circles of Support and Leadership courses. I have also renewed my interest in photography, working with people who have disabilities to produce positive images of people.

Sadly Nicola died in 2003. I didn’t want to lose all that we had learnt from having her in our lives and started to reflect on the things that worked well for her.  

Lynne Elwell Cuddle Quilts

I have always loved sewing and made quilts for Nicola. She needed a lot of hospital visits and was able to take the quilts from home to hospital: they smelt of home and brought her comfort. 

For the past 10 years I have been making quilts for children and young people who have long term health conditions. I make a cuddle size quilt and a bag to put it in, with a pocket for parents/carers to put a note or a little toy. It has been important to me to use the best material, wadding and backing for the quilts.

Lynne Elwell Cuddle Quilts

I first came across Oakshott fabric at the Festival of Quilts some years ago. The beautiful colours and quality of the cotton stood out; its perfect for the quilts I make.

The children love the jewel like colours and its a joy to work with. I have added to my ‘Oakshott stash‘ whenever possible and Michael was kind enough to add samples and off cuts to my recent order. That weekend I made a lovely quilt which has gone to Scotland (the families I know live all over the UK).

Lynne Elwell Cuddle Quilts

Today I received this message:

I love the quilt, what an amazing gift! It completely lifted my spirits on a very difficult day with colours of hope.

I so enjoy designing and making these quilts and know they are valued by the families who get them. Messages like this make all the effort so worthwhile. 

1 comment

  • Sian Bates

    The two quilting groups I belong to make Linus quilts, named after Linus in the Peanuts cartoon. They are distributed to anyone who has need- disabled children and often their siblings as they can be sidelined, children in hospital and children with limited life expectancy. Traumatised children after house fires too. Teenage boys are often left out so we make sure they are not ignored.There is always a demand for them sadly but we are among lots of Quilters who are pleased to make them.

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