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Thread: Starting a Sewing Bee at a Nursing Home.....Help Needed

  1. #1
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    Okay everyone pretty much knows that we had to put my FIL in a nursing home a few weeks ago. Well this place is in a small town and feels more like your grandmas home than what it really is. The place is full of love and caring folks and everyone just love living there including my FIL.

    I was talking to the director and was asking if they have a quilting bee per se but they do not. Then my wife suggested that I start one for them and the director thought it was a brilliant idea. SO I am going to bring a couple of my treadles up there (Lord knows I have plenty) and I am going to work with the ladies and men who want to participate in it.

    Now there is the thing that I am having a difficult time with......what are we going to make.

    Now I know there are ladies up there that know so much about quilting and I am really looking forward to learning from them and I am also looking forward to seeing them use my treadles and bring back wonderful memories. :)

    Other than this group I have never been in a quilting group much less taken a class a day in my life. I am like Eddie I just looked at a quilt one day and said "it cant be that hard" and there I go!!

    So how would you guys handle something like this? I am not sure how many ladies will be participating but I plan on buying all of the materials and supplies and I am looking forward to reliving the good old days. This will also give me a chance to have an active role in the home and I can see Paw Paw more often than just once or twice a week. ;)

    Billy

  2. #2
    Super Member Pam Pollock's Avatar
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    I think it would probably be good to keep it simple. Baby quilts for hospital donations?? It mainly depends on the abilities and capabilities of the people you will be working with. Maybe someone else here could add to that? :-D

  3. #3
    Super Member purplemem's Avatar
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    I was a chaplain at a retirement center (chaplains do many things), and we made lap quilts. I like the idea of baby quilts. Some of your quilters will be well experienced and some will just be starting. The treadles will help with memory association. So would material of different textures. Maybe mix squares of minkee with regular cotton, or make flannel quilts? The men might like making "rugged" quilts of flannel shirts, plaids, etc.

    Are you thinking of placing a frame and a quilt that needs quilting in the room? That would be a great community conversation/friendship starter. If you get those stab/stitch double needles that just go up and down it should be better on arthritic hands.

  4. #4
    Super Member no1jan's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to here your FIL had to go to a nursing home but glad you found such a quaint, caring one! And happier still that you are doing such a wonderful project that will benefit so many people!

    Baby quilts are a nice idea, but I was also thinking of having them make lap quilts for the members of the nursing home. As everyone knows, older people feel the cold more.

    By making lap quilts they would be able to use their treasures, plus be able to see them all the time. Once they have made one for themselves, they could make additional ones and "raffle" them off to other members of the nursing home.

    My suggestion here would be to draw names in a type of contest, however once a person wins, their name is removed until all have received a quilt.

    I can just picture a couple of months from now, hundreds of lap quilts as you walk down halls and into the common rooms!
    :-P :-P :-P

    This would allow all the members to see their quilts daily and give a more homey atmosphere to the place.

    This is just like you Billy doing such a caring thing for others. Your shoulders must weigh a ton with all of those angel wings you have collected!

    God Bless You and all your new friends at the nursing home!

    :-D :-D :-D :thumbup:

  5. #5
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    I am a retired nursing home activity director. My residents loved sewing projects. The first thing i thought of was bags. They love carring them around with them. here is an idea of what I mean http://www.psiquilt.com/2009/08/frie...-tutorial.html
    Working with several colors and fabrics ,the scrappy look, is fun for them.
    One year for Valentines we made pillows . I brought in pre cut 2" squares and they made heart pillows. For Thanksgiving we made Turkeys for the tables. For a Christmas gift one year we made stockings. E.Burns has a nice pattern for these. We made 100 of them and passed them out on Christmas filled with homemade cookies. I always tried making something for each season. They just loved the idea of sewing and making something.

  6. #6
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    here is a pattern for the turkey centerpieces we made. We used fabrics instead of felt. It is not quilting but a fun sewing project and when someone would comment on them they could proudly say they had made it.
    http://sewing.org/html/grand_gobbler.html
    Instead of doing the blanket stitch around the feathers we used the sewing machine but if someone is able to do the blanket stitch it sure would give them something to do during quiet times.

  7. #7
    Super Member SuziC's Avatar
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    What an awaesome idea!!!! Maybe start with a small project until you see who has what experience, then maybe ask them what they would like to make.

  8. #8
    Super Member Yarn or Fabric's Avatar
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    For a nursing home. I would make lap quilts, maybe some walker bags as well.

  9. #9
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    If there's a Crisis Nursery or childrens home in your area I would imagine that these elderly people would love to make things for them. They might even make blankets for shelters.

  10. #10
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    our residents in an assisted living place here really like making placemats/table toppers, they can usually accomplish something each time they get together and they have gifts to give their loved ones during the holidays. also 'lap-robes' (wheel chair lap blankets) book covers, aprons. the residents themselves will tell you what they would like to do :)
    what a great thing to do!!! it is wonderful that you are willing to put in the time for this!

  11. #11
    Super Member Friendly Quilter's Avatar
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    My quilt group makes many quilts for the Homes. If they are in wheel chairs a 36X36" quilt fits right on there lap. Many love to decorate there beds with a throw. Having them make quilts for there home first might be a good idea. Then start making quilts for charity. Good luck and God bless you.

  12. #12
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    I think it might be best to start with something simple, like a charm-pack lap quilt. (5 inch squares. Or even bigger). Then ask the participants what they want to do. Some of them would probably like to hand quilt, and will need hoops. Some might want to do some applique. Aside from the basic sewing, there are all sorts of possibilities. Also, if the nursing home has an OT (Occupational Therapist), you might consult with her/him. The OT will probably have some good hints about working around physical problems, as well as having useful little tools and gadgets that will make it easier. And remember that seniors will tire long before a younger person, and take longer to recover, so that sessions should probably not be any longer than 45-60 minutes. Follow the KISS principle, and it will all be great!!

    For those of you who will ask, KISS=Keep It Simple Silly/Stupid

  13. #13
    Super Member Babs194068's Avatar
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    I think this is awesome. Good luck and I know the residents will love whatever you do. Just the interaction is great.

  14. #14
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Billy, the whole thing sounds awesome!!! That will be so good for them on many levels and you will love it!!
    Be sure to keep us posted
    BTW you and Eddie make me mad hahahahahahahaha

  15. #15
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    Kudos to you for doing this project! They will love it!
    Perhaps start out with a simple thing first, then ask them what kinds of things they'd like to do. Maybe lap robes for themselves, then other residents. Maybe a drawing like no1jan mentioned. Make pillowcases, totes, walker bags, place mats, table toppers, etc.
    Again, great idea! Please show pics! :)

  16. #16
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I would maybe start with a wall hanging that is simple for the newbies and those experienced quilters there they could dive into a lap quilt. take a few patterns and let them choose which one they would like to do. this will let them feel in control of their lives. which when they are in homes they may times feel like they no longer have control.
    I love the idea of doing a raffle. depending on how often you get there you could do a raffle once a month or every other month when you have a few quilts done. you could let people put their name in a jar for each quilt that they want if their name get picked in one they don't get win any of the others till everyone has won one alteast.

  17. #17
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    I think lap quilts would be a good idea. I remember when Mother and Daddy were in a nursing / retirement home they were always short of lap quilts. If they made their own, what a joy it would be for them to use them.
    Mother helped to make pies and cakes there, too, and just loved it.

  18. #18
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    WOW :shock: :shock: :shock: I didnt think this would get so many good ideas and post.

    I think the lap quilts for the neighbors in the home will be a priority that way they will have something they have made or the neighbors made for them. I love the raffle idea also!! If I can free myself up from the business a few nights a week I could hammer out a few lap quilts and then we could raffle them off to the neighbors each time we get together or do it when we have enough for everyone. I would love to see the entire neighborhood get a lap quilt for Christmas. There are 67 people in the home and 99.9% of them are ambulatory (meaning they all are up and running around some how) I think it is a very doable thing for their community.

    Picking their own patterns to do would make sense and would boost their self image because they did have a chance to decide. Either way all of t he ideas that you all have come up with are really awesome and I can take something from each and everyone of you and use it towards the project.

    But the home works so hard in making everyone feel like family and to feel loved and I want to be a part of it also. There is so much we can learn from each other and the friendships that I will build with them will last forever. So I do not have a problem in putting everything I have going on hold for a day or two each month to spend it with them letting them know that they are all loved!!

    Billy

  19. #19
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    A simple project to begin with might be pillowcases for themselves and/or for kids in hospitals.

    Check out ConKerrCancer.org for a really great program and pillowcase pattern instructions to follow and also a coordinator in your area that collects and distributes the pillowcases to local hospitals.

    I'm co-chair of my guild's Project Pillowcases and we've made and distributed about 1,000 pillowcases during the past 2 years. In my photo I'm holding a batch of pillowcases that our group made at a recent Sew In. May in Jersey

  20. #20
    Senior Member Andii's Avatar
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    You might also include small Christmas/holiday lap quilts for some of the staff if anyone has favorites...then again maybe the staff couldn't accept presents. I was just thinking the neighbors would like to do something for those who care for them so well. Good luck. Sounds like a new post to follow for us-The Neighborly Quilters? Quilting in the Neighborhood? ;-)

  21. #21
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I wish I could help you. It sounds fantastic. I'm an RN and love working with the elderly. They deserve so much at this stage in their lives. They've mostly lost a lot, having lived a long life. And of course you know I was sorta joking about you and Eddie. Sorta :D
    hahahaha

  22. #22
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Billy, what a wonderful thing you are going to do!!!!

  23. #23
    Super Member Crossstitcher's Avatar
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    Our quilting club makes lap quilts for the veterans hospital patients. They really enjoy seeing us come with the new quilts at Christmas. You might want to check with the director to see how the quilts will be cleaned. I know we have to make sure the quilts are machine quilted and the bindings also have to be machine sewed because they are washed so much. A suggestion I have on the quilts is: If some can't use a needle to quilt the quilt they can tie it with crochet thread. Another thing if they really get into making these quilts is to donate them to a family that might have been burned out. Our club does this also. I made at least 25 long bibs for a local nursing home last year which is something they really need. Hope to make more this year.

  24. #24
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Lap quilts, walker bags, wall hangings all come to mind :D
    Bless you for taking this and and brightening/enriching the lives of so many :D:D:D

  25. #25
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    Gold Star for Billy! Wow, I hope someone does this for me when I'm in a home! Or they let me bring my machine with me.

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