Community Coronavirus (COVID-19) Quilt – stitching your memories into the fabric of time

How would you depict and reflect on the last sixteen months in a textile based image?

Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity is appealing to everyone across Suffolk and North East Essex to help them create a Coronavirus (COVID-19) memorial quilt.

The quilt will be made up of small patchwork blocks and once completed will travel around healthcare and community buildings across the counties helping to continue to raise monies for those most affected by the pandemic. Quilters of all abilities can take part in the project, which is aiming to gather, narrate and share our community’s experiences of Coronavirus (COVID-19). By piecing together individual experiences stitch by stitch, the project aims to create a historical textile reflecting a living social history of our time.

But capturing memories and documenting them to look back on is only part of the story. This is also about local people and places – a way to talk, create and give people a voice. It is about gaining new understanding of the local communities around us and how we coped.

This is a great opportunity to share your own memory with others, or to help other people to share something, and continue to help bind our communities together.

People are invited to send stitched words or designs which reflect their feelings and responses to the pandemic. The fabric should be no more than 17cm square, ideally on cotton or calico and with a half inch border, with your design centred within the 15cm centre area. People are asked to experiment with embroidery, cross stitch, hand sewing, fabric paint or any other medium.

Mandy Jordan, associate director of charities and voluntary services at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust which is co-ordinating the project said “the struggles of this pandemic have shown what truly matters to all of us: family, friends and community.  Whilst reflecting we must also recognise the hard work and determination of all those key workers, NHS and care workers, neighbours and strangers who stepped forward to help us at a time of need.

This quilt is a chance for us to pause to reflect and show our thanks to all those who helped, act as a time capsule of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and record a diverse range of experiences through the pandemic. I encourage people of all levels and abilities to get sewing”.

Completed squares should be sent to the Charity Office, North Zone, Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road, Ipswich, IP4 5PD before the end of September 2021.  We also invite you to share a few lines about your experience of Coronavirus (COVID-19) if you wish to which may be posted on the charity’s Instagram account @cihospitalcharity together with a digital image of your square when received


Further info

We would love you to be part of our Coronavirus (COVID-19) memorial quilting project and importantly there is no need to be an expert sewer!

To complete your project you may need a piece of square paper, pencil, ruler, a small piece of fabric, sewing thread, scissors and scraps of fabric.

For this project we would like you to:

  1. Choose a small piece of cotton or calico fabric to work on or alternatively identify a piece of fabric that has meaning for you. It could be a favourite piece of clothing, a scarf, a blanket, a favourite T-shirt. Something where the fabric – its look, feel sparks associations/memories in you
  2. Cut out a 17 x 17cm square (or 7 x 7 inch square)
  3. You may want to begin by creating a drawing of your design on a square piece of paper. Remember the outer 1cm edge of the block won’t be seen as it is seam allowance. You can mark this section on your square of paper with a ruler and pencil so that you remember, and your design should stay within the 15 x 15cm square in the middle
  4. Spend a few minutes thinking about how you have been affected by coronavirus.  It may be that you cannot do the things you like to do, that you are doing things differently or want a share a message with someone special.  Think about the ways you could communicate this message without reference to any names or in memory mentions.  Begin to think about words and shapes that you could apply to your quilt block and draw a quick sketch. This will help you to think through your ideas, and to finalise your design. It will also act as a point of reference for later on.
  1. Completed squares should be sent to the Charity Office, North Zone, Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road, Ipswich, IP4 5PD by 30 September 2021
  2. For queries, please email
  3. Please also send us the story behind your fabric and design in just a few lines, you can print the attached form to send this with your quilt piece or simply write it up in a short note.
  4. We will use as many of the blocks as possible but reserve the right to not use any that are considered by our team to be inappropriate.
  5. The quilt blocks will be sewn together and backed to create a large communal quilt which will be exhibited at various health, care and community settings later in 2021. More details of venues will follow and we may email you to let you know these dates.
  6. You will be able to see each piece and the story behind it in our online gallery which will be shared via our Instagram page @cihospitalscharity with regular updates also on our facebook and twitter pages. Please follow us to receive all the updates.

We want to see how your personal story plays its part within a large community of voices, come and quilt with us!