Friday, December 7, 2007

A Stitch in Time..

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Fine Cell Work celebrate their 10th Anniversary this year. Featured recently on Radio 4's Midweek programme, Fine Cell Work is described on their website as "a Registered Charity that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products. The prisoners do the work when they are locked in their cells, and the earnings give them hope, skills and independence.Savings reduce the likelihood of offenders returning to crime. Prisoners often send the money they earn from Fine Cell Work to their children and families, or use it to pay debts or for accommodation upon release.

The inmates are all taught by volunteers from the Embroiderers Guild, the Royal School of Needlework and the world of professional design. Once trained, they can be responsible for difficult commissions done to deadlines, and support other inmates who are still learning."

The embroidery featured above was a special commission that hangs in Manchester and, quite appropriately, was sponsored by Deans Court Chambers, Manchester. The wall hanging entitled ‘Manchester all stitched up’ was unveiled in December.

After their move to new chambers over five years ago - a splendid Victorian building with an equally splendid reception atrium - the barristers wanted something special as the centrepiece of the reception area. Former Head of Chambers, Stephen Grime Q.C . suggested commissioning a wallhanging from Fine Cell Work.

‘It was a good chance to commission a truly original work and help prisoners at the same time,’ he explains. 'Barristers are normally involved with trial and sentencing. This seemed a good opportunity to do something to help with rehabilitation. Perhaps some of the inmates who took part had been our clients!'

One of the patrons of Fine Cell Work is Kaffe Fassett. From time to time we supply Fine Cell Work with fabrics and theads - it's good to see that the end results are so worthwhile - we thought it worth sharing this aspect of quilt-making that you may not have heard about. They also have a shop, so if you are looking for finished items for Christmas presents...

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The Cotton Patch is a family run patchwork and quilting business which was started by Jean Sewell in 1990. The shop is situated in Hall Green, Birmingham and expanded in 1999 to include the shop next door. Originally offering Mail Order catalogues, The Cotton Patch established one of the first patchwork and quilting websites in the UK. The Cotton Patch continues to be a premier supplier of patchwork and quilting fabrics, tools and notions and supplies customers throughout the UK and the world.