Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Grosvenor Hospital December 2008

In 2008 new cottages were built for the residents of Grosvenor Hospital.  We decided to make a wall hanging for each of the rooms to brighten them, so we asked the staff to provide us with details of the resident's names & their special likes.

In December 2008, we provided the hospital with a wall hanging for each resident personalised with their names.  The new facilities were officially opened in January 2009.

Here is a selection of some of them.  The names have been blocked out to ensure the children's privacy.

 We also decided to give this wall hanging below to the staff to hang in their staff room

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Grosvenor Hospital November 2007

In 2007 we all worked like beavers to provide a quilt for each of the then inhabitants of Grosvenor Hospital in Summer Hill.  Grosvenor Hospital offers residential care for adults and children with profound disabilities, and has been operating since 1965.  It is the main building, which is heritage listed, is “Carleton House” Summer Hill's largest mansion, which was built in 1884 for Charles Carleton Skarratt, a prominent local hotel owner.

On 21 November 2007, we were invited to the hospital for afternoon tea and the official hand over.
Here is the pile of quilts we took at Darleen's before they were loaded into the cars.  Awesome pile, isn't it??

We make the quilts one after the other, often after piecing a quilt top, often someone else will quilt it.  Its only when you see them in bulk like this that you realise just how many quilts we have made.

And here is a selection of some of them

A simple scrappy four patch with sashing.  So simple, so nice!

And a dramatic black and white quilt with red circles.

The fans in the corners give this one a Japanese flavour, but in fact it was made with lovely soft country colours.

We had a couple of sewing days when we all got stuck into the piles of strips in the cupboard.  We foundation pieced the strips to A4 sized sheets of paper on the diagonal, and then sewed them up.  This method makes an interesting secondary pattern of diamonds.  We actually made several of these quilts in different colourways.

Cute little Sunbonnet Sue & Overall Andy applique sashed and with a scrappy border.

This one is side ways on the blog, and I can't find a way of turning it up the right way, even though I have done that on my computer before uploading.  How frustrating! Love the colours in this one.  Remember the saying "Blue & Green should never be seen"?  Well, I certainly don't think that is the case here.

On Thursday, 22 November 2007 we were invited to afternoon tea at Grosvenor House for the official handover of the quilts.

Jill, Darleen & Shirley looking on while the "Thank You" speeches were being made.

Grosvenor staff, working through the pile of quilts, selecting which one to give to which resident and putting a note on it

And the two below are the piles they have to go through

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Busy Thursday

Another busy day with the ladies - Show and Tell this morning was just wonderful.

The ladies have been so busy over the past two weeks. Among the quilts is a magnificent black and white quilt - really stunning and we have in mind that it will be offered to a school or group in the community for auction.

The bundle of quilts for Drummoyne Meals on Wheels is ready for delivery.

Our ladies are so keen and so productive it is a joy to observe them at work.  Even though most of their sewing is done at home, our days together at the hall are busy with materials pulled out of cupboards, searched through for just the right colour, size etc and another quilt is underway!

Evelyn busy cutting wadding                 Jan didn't get away this time!

Jackie & Robin, with Cheryl & Darleen in the background.  Cheryl moaned when I showed her this pic.  Will she talk to me next time??

Pam having a well earned cuppa

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Address to Drummoyne Rotary

Our Intrepid Leader Darleen, went to a Rotary dinner on Wednesday with 2IC Jill. 

Darleen gave a speech to the Rotarians to tell them a bit about what we do.  Here are some snippets of her talk:
Over the past ten years many of our quilts have been donated to local groups and organizations for their fundraising activities. Their auctions and raffles have raised thousands of dollars and we are very happy about that aspect of our quilt making activities.

During this time also, and importantly, hundreds of quilts have been donated for personal use in the community.

At the end of last year we handed over 44 quilts to Concord Meals on Wheels for distribution.

We were told by one of the Meals on Wheels organizers that they tried their best to match up quilts with the recipients.  One dear old fellow loved to garden so he got a flowery quilt (which we had thought a lady might like) and he was thrilled.  One dear old lady loves the colour purple. She wears purple and has a purple front fence. The ladies, again searched through the pile of quilts and, thank goodness, they found a totally purple quilt and we were told she was "tickled pink". We laughed at that one.

We are now just ready to hand over forty quilts to Drummoyne Meals on Wheels.

And this is where we have to thank Drummoyne Rotary and Canada Bay Council for supporting our group in our work and also Concord RSL for last year's grant.

Our ladies wouldn't accomplish as much as they do without the support and understanding of their husbands.  All our menfolk are keen supporters of our activities. We also keep out of their hair. They have been known to lump bundles of quilts from place to place.  They don't complain when there is material from end of the house to the other and the never ending pieces of cotton and pins on the floor.  Sometimes, they don't even complain when dinner is late and, sometimes, one or two have been known to cook a meal while the machines keep turning.

Now, what is immensely touching for us are the notes and cards of thanks we receive from the Meals and Wheels recipients and other elderly folk.  We know a lot of people are alone and lonely in our community SO the thought that the simple act of giving one of our quilts makes a difference, is really important to us.  We recently received a card from an elderly recipient which read:
'What a lovely surprise I received when Meals on Wheels delivered not only my meals, but a beautiful quilt. It is really lovely and you ladies must have spent a lot of time sewing it. Thank you very much.  The quilt has made me feel very special and I will always value it and take good care of it.'

All the messages we receive mention the word 'love'.  The word 'love' says so much and means so much doesn't it?  For our group to receive such heartfelt messages especially from young people who sometims are struggling so hard with day to day life, makes us grateful that we are able to do what we do.

As long as 'love' is felt by quilt recipients then our ladies will keep right on sewing.
We meet and work at Concord Senior Citizens Centre - on our sewing days we seem to have every table in use and most of the floor too, for spreading out our quilts to admire and to decide who should receive them.

We have been given access to a number of large cupboards for storage of our materials and machines but we always seem to need more!  So now, we have all the space under the stage as well, with more cupboard space on the way.  Canada Bay Council and the Senior Citizens Organization take good care of our group and our needs.

Getting down on our hands and knees and disappearing under the stage into its depths to drag out our large boxes of materials was a hoot and we were worried we were going to lose someone for ever, until one of our husbands came to our rescue with  long broom handle with a big hook on the end and now we manage well without disappearing from sight.

I would like to mention here that at your 2009 Rotary Art and Quilt Show we met a sweet young Japanese lass, Noriko. She wanted to know how to make a quilt and we invited her to visit one of our sewing days. She enjoyed her day and sewed busily, We gave her a quilt to take home to Japan.

Jill, Noriko, Darleen, Dasha, Cheryl, Colleen, Shirley & Rema

On her recent return to work in Australia, teaching Japanese, she sent to us a lovely bundle of materials which we will incorporate into a special quit.

Now, I'll take this opportunity to give you a little insight into just who are the Stitching Hearts Ladies.
As you can imagine, our fortnightly gatherings are full of chatter and laughter and the sharing of most importanbt information.  I often study my friends' faces and I marvel at the wealth of life's experiences so apparent - and I am grateful for their friendships, their willingness and their kindness. They are all treasures.
Well at our last gathering, amidst all the usual chat, I rather foolishly, wondered what our total ages might be - then, after a bit of finger tapping, I worked out the the total age of our fifteen ladies was 926 years (give or take a year here and there).

Then someone asked what I was doing and again (even more foolishly) I told them.  Well, as you can imagine, my response was greeted with howls of protest.

The ladies weren't very happy with that bit of information at all.

"BUT, it's true" - I tried to defend myself and my well known, rather shaky maths ability. (I might add here that they never let me measure or cut materials by myself)

Someone said instantly that I couldn't add up properly even if I tried.  Another whipped our her calculator and found that I was nearly correct.  Then yet another said that something had to be wrong with the calculator !!!

I was in a 'no win' situation.

After all the laughter had  calmed down a bit and I promised to never mention their ages again (until now that is and I know you dear Rotarians wont tell them) I asked each to speak a little about their lives before retirement and I might add here that nearly all said that their lives were much busier now.

SO in a nutshell -

Among our fifteen ladies we have:
Two nurses, one in palliative care in various contries with her doctor husband.
Two librarians
An IT expert and company owner (who is now setting up our website for us)
A pharmacist
A handful of the very necessary secretaries including medical and legal
A service station owner
A TV production company owner
A chef who ran her own restaurant
A successful mustard maker, her products sold and enjoyed widely
We have a couple of JPs and an OAM recipient
We have a professional tennis coach who, with her husband, coached around the world.

Their pursuits are many - keen swimmers, tennis players, golf players netball players, theatre goers, walkers and dancers as well as baby sitters.

They are intrepid travellers
They are cancer survivors

One of our most efficient and productive ladies is deaf and blind in one eye from cancer and she sews like a dream.

They are the mothers of 41 children and grandmothers to 9 and counting.
They are the mothers of disabled children and they have suffered the loss of children.

Their experiences through family life are abundantly plentiful.

Some are still caring for their elderly parents, as well as their own families. Our ladies volunteer in many other areas in the community such as Meals on Wheels, library book delivering, driving, gardening and family history.

All in all  they possess the kindest of hearts and they don't hesitate to share their time and their abilities.  And if there is something they don't know, they will find out, and they will let you know.




That was the end of the talk given by Darleen. 

At the conclusion of the talk, Darleen and Jill show the Rotarians a number of the quilts we had made recently.  This was followed by a presentation of a grant from the Rotary Club of Drummoyne to the group.  This grant will be used to purchase a number of essential items for the group.  Most of our fabrics are donated by the community, but the most expensive item, and one which is essential to every quilt we need to purchase - wadding.  So the grant is most welcome.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

St Mary's Villa 2005 & 2006

Over the two year period 2005 & 2006 the group made a total of 56 quilts for St Mary's Villa, Concord, one for each of the residents who were living there at the time.

We handed the quilts over in two lots, one lot on the 2nd June 2005, the other in August 2006.  St Mary's Villa was so delighted with our quilts that we were invited as a group for a tour of the facility and then treated to an afternoon tea.

Here is a sample of some of the quilts we made:

Colleen loved making the one below.  It was made up of squares of grey & black suiting fabric samples which were donated to us used in the background, on which were randomly placed pieces of colourful fleece.  These were stitched on with naive stitches. 

The one below was a Postage Stamp challenge planned by Dasha.  She gave everyone an envelope containing 49 x 2 inch squares to sew together into a block 7 squares x 7 squares.  I don't think anyone spoke to her for months afterwards!  But it does look terrific, don't you think?

A gorgeous 100 Pyramid quilt in soft florals.  Everyone helped to piece this one, and Jill was emphatic that she was doing "no more triangles"!  We haven't been able to budge her since. LOL

Strippy blocks with blue sashing.  This is a deceptively easy block to do, and what a great way to bust the stash.

Flying Geese & Four Patches.  So simple, so gorgeous.  So often the simple quilts are so effective.

Here are Colleen, Lyn, Darleen & Rema with the representative from St Mary's Villa hiding behind Colleen, admiring the quilts we were handing over, August 2006.

And here is everyone at the hand over August 2006. L-R Jill, Cheryl, St Mary's Rep, Colleen, Dasha, Darleen, Lyn & Rema.  Seated in front are Sister Elizabeth & resident.

Jill & Rema loading up the car with quilts to be delivered.  Stacked up, the quilts makes an impressive pile!

And some happy customers.  Faces blanked out for privacy reasons.  The quilts looked so bright and cheerful in the rooms.

On Tuesday, 29 August 2006, the Inner West Courier printed an article in their "News" section on page 11. 

Inner West Courier 29 Aug 2006, p. 11

It reads: 
"Patch of colour at home

The elderly residents of St Mary's Villa in Concord recently received 20 hand made quilts from the Stitching Hearts charity group, which also made quilts for the the aged-care home last winter.

Stitching Hearts member Darleen Fawl said each quilt took close to two weeks for the eight members to make.

Materials were donated by students of the Purple Patch fabric shop.

Spokeswoman for St Mary's Villa, Elizabeth Landon, said the quilts had added a bit of colour to the resident's rooms"

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Our hand pieced hexagon quilt 2006

Early in 2006 we asked Linda Butcher, one of the ladies working at the Purple Patch, to help us design a quilt to be raffled and mentor us through the construction period.

Linda came up with a great design of pieced hexagons, and we were off to a flying start.

The hexagons were pieced into stars by hand, and then hand appliqued to a neutral background.  These blocks were then sewn together by machine.  Once the quilt top was complete, we had it professionally quilted by Emi's Walton of Emi's Patch.

Most of the work we did at home, but we had several days where we brought our machines to the meeting and sewed the blocks together.  As always there was much hilarity while we worked on these days.

Rema, Dasha, Colleen, Darleen & Jill

Rema & Colleen

The finished quilt

We decided to donate the quilt to the Catholic Women's League, who were planning a State Conference in Adelaide in August. 

Here we are at the handover.  Colleen, Darleen, Kathy (owner of the Purple Patch), Lyn, and Jill were all able to be there at the handover.

The raffle was drawn at the Conference Dinner on the 17th August 2006.  It raised over $8,000 for charity, and the quilt, which had been valued for us at $1,500, was won by a Broken Hill resident.  We were all absolutely overwhelmed at the success of this projecct.

A big vote of thanks had to go to Linda for the terrific design, and her patient leadership throughout the year.