Members of Illawarra Quilters Inc. have a wonderful record of helping the community in a number of ways through their Community Assistance Programme. This includes knitted crochets and sewn hearts, quilts, beanies, scarves and bags.
Illawarra Quilters Inc Members also donate goods each year to the Wollongong Womens' Refuge and Illawarra Homelessness Services for their Christmas hampers.
Members design, create and donate Community Quilts for fund raising and individual use for people in the local community who could use a little help. Many of these quilts are made by Members from their own fabrics. Sometimes pieced tops are made into completed quilts using batting and backing fabrics which were donated by generous sponsors.
In 2019 Members made 116 bed quilts for a variety of local charities and many cheerful coverlets for the Wollongong Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The Royal Flying Doctor Service has also received numerous coverlets.
'Twiddle quilts' are something a little different which Members have begun making for dementia units in our area.
- Fidget quilt are lap sized pieces of fabric , wool or crochet with interesting tactile bits and bobs (e.g. buttons, ribbon, beads) attached for people who are agitated or anxious to twiddle in their hands. They are designed to trigger memories, stimulate senses, and the brain whilst keeping 'restless hands' busy.
- How to make sensory blankets for dementia care
A Community Assistance Working Bee was help in August 2019 which was a great success as the construction of many more quilts got under way. Photos are on the Gallery page.
Community Knit and Crochet
Members knit beanies, gloves and scarves to donate to our community during the winter months.
One Member has knitted 48 beautifully soft beanies for the Leukaemia patients in the Haematology Department of the Wollongong hospital. The beanies were gratefully accepted by the nursing staff who immediately distributed them to their patients.
Another Member knitted and donated a set of NRL team jumpers for orphaned lambs! This story was featured in the ABC News https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-13/orphaned-lambs-don-jumpers-as-winter-drought-bites/11176200
Beads of Courage
A small project with a goal of 20 bead bags has been embraced so enthusiastically that Members have made and donated more than 1,800 bags to the Beads of Courage Programme at the Kids Cancer Centre at the Sydney Children's Hospital and Stella Bella Little Stars at the Sydney Children's Hospital projects!
Scent Hearts, miniature gowns and happy quilts
Members are sewing for three projects at the Wollongong Neonatal Unit. The items are small but they are sewn with love.
Scent hearts: The flannelette hearts are worn by parents next to their heart so that their scent is absorbed into the fabric. The hearts are then placed with their baby so that the baby can continue to bond even if the parents are not able to be physically present. A pattern and instructions are further down the page.
Miniature gowns: These gowns are made with multiple openings for easy access to both the baby and the live saving medical equipment attached to them.
Happy quilts: These are for the cribs to help brighten the room and the day for those families attending the Neonatal Unit. The small happy quilts measure 21 inches across and 16 inches in depth.
These are different and in addition to the Blankets of Love.
Blankets of Love
Members make Blankets of Love for the Birthing Units at local hospitals. These small blankets are given to families when their newborn baby dies. The family can wrap their baby in the blanket or keep it as a memory. These Blankets of Love show the grieving families that others are thinking of them.
Scent Hearts pattern
Directions: Scent hearts are made from 100% cotton flannelette measuring approximately 5 inches by 5 inches. Wash fabric using unscented detergent, dry and iron the fabric. Cut two hearts from fabric using pattern provided. With right sides together, sew hearts together using a 1⁄4 inch seam and leaving a one to two inch opening on the lower side (as shown on the picture below). Clip around curves. Turn right side out and gently press with warm iron. Hand‐sew the opening closed.
Acknowledgments and thanks to http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/volunteer/hearts-and-hands for the use of their pattern pdf
Where have the Community Quilts gone?
Organisations which received quilts in 2018
Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra, Illawarra Women's Health, Southern Youth and Family services, SCARF, Lillian Howell Project, Illawarra Diggers Rest Home, Community Cancer Link, Illawarra and Wollongong Homeless Hub. St. Vincent de Paul. Members of Illawarra Quilters Inc. made 75 quilts for the community in 2018.
Organisations which received quilts in 2017
Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra, Illawarra Women's Health, Southern Youth and Family services, SCARF, Lillian Howell Project, Diggers Rest Home, Community Cancer Link, Illawarra and Wollongong Homeless Hub. St. Vincent de Paul. In total 93 quilts were donated during the year.
Organisations which received quilts in 2015-16
Southern Youth and Family Services, The Homeless Hub, SCARF, Wollongong Women’s Refuge, Illawarra Homelessness Services, Miller St Refuge, St Vincent de Paul, Community Cancer Link and Palliative Care Services.
Organisations which received quilts in 2014
Aspect (Autism Spectrum Services South Coast, Arafmi (Caring for Mental Health Carers), St Vincent de Paul, Lymphoedema Support Clinic (Illawarra Cancer Carers), Illawarra Area Child Care, SCARF (community assistance for refugee families), Lighthouse Youth and Cram Foundation.
Illawarra Quilters Inc thank the IMB Community Fund for the 2014 grant of $5000. This grant has allowed many organisations in our community to be helped by providing quilts for both fundraising and community care.
Organisations which received quilts in 2013
Butterfly Ball Committee Raffle, Illawarra Youth Housing, Youth Off The Streets, Lighthouse Church 'My Place', ARAFMI, Community Cancer Link, Southern Youth and Family Services, Local fundraising event for a Stroke Victim, House With No Steps, Light and Hope Bushfire Fundraising Event.
2013 was the first year that a grant was applied for from the IMB Community Fund. A donation of $1,000 was received to purchase wadding and fabric. In total 87 quilts were donated.