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 quilts, beanies, scarves and bead bags.
Illawarra Quilters Inc Members also donate cash to Need a Feed and goods to the Wollongong Womens' Refuge and Illawarra Homelessness Services for their Christmas hampers.
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 2,000 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!
In May 2020 Kylie Estreich, Deputy Manager, Child Life Therapist, at the Kids Cancer Centre sent this letter of thanks:
I’ve just opened your latest package of bead bags and they are gorgeous! My colleague and I LOVE the jellyfish ones – so cute!!! Congratulations on reaching such a huge milestone, we can’t tell you how appreciative we are for the hard work of you and your sewing ladies.
In the early days we had quite a few donations of bags come through but for the last 3-4 years now your Quilters have been the sole contributors keeping our supply of bags stocked and varied – we are forever grateful!
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.
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
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.
Scent Hearts, miniature gowns and happy quilts
Members have sewn for three projects at the Wollongong Neonatal Unit. The immediate requirement has been fulfilled and we will be advised when more are needed.
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.
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?
Quilts are given to people and organisations which need and/or ask for assistance. In 2020 a number of quilts have been given to survivors of the Summer 2019-2020 bush fires.
Organisations we have helped include:
Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra, Illawarra Women's Health, Southern Youth and Family services, Lillian Howell Project, Illawarra Diggers Rest Home, Community Cancer Link, Illawarra and Wollongong Homeless Hub. St. Vincent de Paul, Wollongong Women’s Refuge, Illawarra Homelessness Services, Miller St Refuge, Palliative Care Services, Aspect (Autism Spectrum Services South Coast), Arafmi (Caring for Mental Health Carers), Lymphoedema Support Clinic (Illawarra Cancer Carers), Illawarra Area Child Care, SCARF (community assistance for refugee families), Lighthouse Youth, Cram Foundation, Illawarra Youth Housing, Youth Off The Streets, Lighthouse Church 'My Place', Local fundraising event for a Stroke Victim, House With No Steps, Light and Hope Bushfire Fundraising Event and Butterfly Ball Committee Raffle.