Mel Giedroyc’s podcast has made us want to take up quilting

Get your needles out and start stitching a quilt - the perfect anti-screen hobby to take up RN

Mel Giedroyc Is Quilting and Getty Images patchwork quilt

by Sophie Knight |
Updated on

Have you ever made a patchwork quilt? No? Maybe now is the time to pick it up as a new hobby – with extra time on your hands and nowhere to go, it’s the perfect calming pastime, and it doesn't require a screen.

We’ve just discovered a new podcast by Mel Giedroyc and Andy Bush, and we’re already obsessed. Together they’re making a patchwork quilt from scratch, talking us through it, and generally chinwagging about all sorts of things. It’s inoffensive and calming at a time when we need that most.

And, to be honest, we’ve been missing Mel’s wit since she left GBBO.

Click here to listen to ‘Mel Giedroyc is Quilting’ on Spotify

Each week, the pair chat while sewing together odds and ends of fabric, and, until the lockdown, listeners were sending in their fabric to be included too. Now, instead, you can get a shout-out on the podcast by tagging #MelGQuilts and @melgquilting on Insta.

The good thing about quilting is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to get started. You need some fabric, and a needle and thread. Yes, you can use a sewing machine, buy different patterns, and use intricate tools – but you can make a whole quilt by hand without any investment. You can use old shirts and skirts, bedsheets, even your children’s old babygrows. It’s kinda perfect at the moment, when we can’t go shopping for hobby supplies but equally need something to do in the evening.

Mel is joined on the podcast by Andy Bush, who you can listen to on Hometime on Absolute Radio (he's also appearing on Scala Radio at the moment too).

Mel and Andy first worked together on Magic FM but are now brilliant friends as well as colleagues, and their bond is one of the reasons the podcast is so enjoyable – it feels like the two are having a natter and we’re eavesdropping.

What experience does Andy have with quilting? “None – absolutely nothing!” he admits. “I had an horrific school experience with two terrifying teachers – like something out of a Roald Dahl book. They petrified me and I hated it because of that.

“I’ve been surprised by how vibrant and creative the quilting community is. The start point was visiting the American Museum in Bath, which has a collection of quilts made by early Frontier women. Quilts are so often items that you make when in conversation with others, so the podcast idea made sense.”

They’re currently sewing with donated items such as shirts from Shaun Ryder and Mary Berry.

So why are people so inspired by the podcast?

“At the moment, people are making use of stuff rather than throwing it out – we’re seeing value in what we’ve got, and how quickly that can be taken away from us," Andy said. "So there’s this element of ‘I’ll convert this into something else, rather than wastefully chuck it out'.

“People have such busy lives, and are bombarded by information, whereas quilting has a calmness and mindfulness that everyone’s looking for at the moment.

“We’ve been bowled over by how welcoming and encouraging the quilting community has been.”

If you do want some help and advice, here are some useful books, plus some gear if you want to take it a bit more seriously:

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Stuff you need to start quilting

The Quilter's Bible - How to make a quilt and much more1 of 5

The Quilter's Bible - How to make a quilt and much more

This book is a comprehensive guide to quilting, covering pretty much everything you need to know to get started. There are patterns to try, advice on what stitches to use, how to quilt circles, and little projects to get started.

Beginner's Guide to Quilting: 16 Projects to Learn to Quilt2 of 5

Beginner's Guide to Quilting: 16 Projects to Learn to Quilt

Kick-start your new quilting hobby with 16 simple projects. From paper piecing to appliqué, this book covers the essentials with lots of inspiration for newcomers to the craft.

Luxbon Pack Of 39 Spools3 of 5

Luxbon Pack Of 39 Spools

You do need some thread if you're going to start sewing. This is a great starter kit with a rainbow of colours.

30 Korbond needles4 of 5

30 Korbond needles

If you're going to sew anything, you need needles. These are for hand sewing, not machine, by the way.

Fabric Cotton Bundle, 60 squares5 of 5

Fabric Cotton Bundle, 60 squares

If you don't have any fabric round the house that you could re-use, this bundle is gorgeous - and it's all squares that you can get sewing straight away without any cutting or prepping.

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