It’s Going to Need Stitches….

Since the launch of St Abbs Independent lifeboat in 2016 we have been grateful to all those who have kept us floating and functioning as a result of their donations. Over the next couple of months we would like to share a few news stories with you that shine a spotlight on the local groups in particular who, through their activities, have become regular donors over the years.

Today we visited the Reston Quilting Group, a group coordinated by Lyn Warholm who coincidentally was there right at the start of the Save the Lifeboat campaign selling t-shirts on the blustery harbourside in our merchandise trailer. Today, comfortable in a warmer Reston Village Hall, Lyn introduces some of the 12 or so members of the quilting group who meet for the day on Wednesdays in February and October. Members come from far and wide including Foulden, St Abbs, Coldingham, Berwick, Coldstream and Reston of course. The group pay subs to cover the hall hire “plus a bit more” and they chose to regularly give the “bit more” to the Lifeboat. In addition, recently one member of the group donated their equipment for sale in aid of the Lifeboat.

Lyn at work on her dresden plate design

The Reston Quilting Group is not exclusively just about quilting however. It is striking how much the group is really about friendship, sharing of expertise, books, advice and equipment, and generally inspiring one another in a range of needlecraft projects. The group has been meeting for over 15 years with many of the regular members having been there from the start, enjoying the connection for two months every year to spend focused time on projects which, in busy lives, might get pushed to the back of the work basket.

Everyone is keen to display the wide variety of beautiful work that is created during the hours spent in Reston Village Hall. Lyn herself is currently working on a dresden plate design for a table cover and is wondering if the tricky instructions have lost something in translation from their original Danish.  Gill meanwhile has completed a stunning multi-media crane quilt and explains that, whilst she worked happily on the individual sections, when she came to put the whole piece together it was the group that helped her with the techniques for doing this as she wouldn’t have known where to start. Her next piece is based on a deep green velvet throw with intricately hand sewn hummingbirds and flowers emerging as part of the design which she has formed in her head, but is not yet quite sure how it will all fit together in reality.

Gill works on her intricate hummingbird and flower throw

Wendy is the newest recruit to the group and, having bought a “layer cake”, which she explains is a pile of coordinated fabric cuts, the group has assisted her to map these out to enable her to make a vibrant carrying case for her cutting board.

Wendy finishes her colourful carrying case

There is lots of interesting equipment in the room – cutting boards, and wheels, curiously curved scissors and an intriguing set of “one-handed” safety pins for those with fingers which might be suffering aches and pains. Equipment is often happily shared with the only exception being the sewing machines – such a personal piece of kit that even a beginner has to have one, along with an understanding of its complex settings. Present too are the piles of fabrics, threads, buttons and “bits and bobs” that make up any creative person’s collection – that piece of fabric, lace or wool that is lovingly saved and put aside to “come in handy” one day when the inspiration strikes.

After a chatty tea-break, Ingeborg is ready to display her tea-pot inspired quilted wall-hanging which uses Japanese materials, dyes and designs. It is however perhaps her love of gardening and the outdoors that has led her to her current project of quilted ammonites using, as one of the layers, self-dyed tissue paper which has resulted in particular finishing challenges which she shares with the group.

Fiona meanwhile is completing her own quilt which depicts koalas and other Australian animals on fabric she picked up during a family visit there. Fiona donates many of her quilts to Project Linus UK which aims to provide a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are sick, disabled, disadvantaged or distressed. Fiona explains that its good to put talking points such as animals into the design of the quilt so that the child has an immediate connection to the piece.

Fiona’s koala’s will definitely be a talking point

Felicity meanwhile is keen to explain that she doesn’t actually quilt. Instead she displays a range of needlework projects including wall hangings, phone bags and a Christmas centrepiece that looks incredibly complex but stunningly festive.

One thing all the members seem to say is that they all started nervously with a little voice in the back of their heads saying silently “I’ll never be as good as you” when watching their fellow craftspeople – but as time has gone on, and the realisation comes that even the most experienced amongst them has put pockets on upside down, working together in this hall has brought confidence, inspiration and real friendship.

Felicity works on a new non-quilting project

We are of course honoured that the Reston Quilting Group has selected St Abbs Lifeboat many times as their chosen charity. We wish them well on their creative adventures and if this article has inspired you even a tiny bit to give it a try, we know that you will not regret it as they always welcome new members – just contact Lyn using, and she even has a sewing machine for sale for any beginner.

If your group has raised funds for the Lifeboat and you would like to be featured in an article, we would love to hear from you. We obviously need your consent to do an article like this and a bit of time with you to take pictures and fully understand your story. Just contact us using