Christmas in NICU

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Spending Christmas in a neonatal unit can be incredibly tough on families. For many Christmas is a time to come together and make special memories. Most neonatal units in Western Australia have a ‘parents only’ visitation policy for infection control, and this means that siblings are often unable to meet their new baby brother or sister until discharge. It also means that families are split on special occasions such as Christmas. We know that many staff go above and beyond during the Christmas period to bring as much cheer as possible to their unit but it’s still challenging for families.

In 2015 we launched our annual Christmas Quilt Drive. This year we were once again successful in delivering Christmas Quilts to all babies occupying neonatal unit beds on Christmas morning in WA. This is only made possible through the generosity of the community! Thank you to all of our Crafty Creators who have put countless hours into sewing beautiful Christmas Quilts and Stockings for distribution. You really can see the love that goes into creating these keepsakes for families.

Each year we have been joined by the amazing family run Perth business, Foote & Flame, who have donated ‘Baby’s 1st Christmas’ ornaments for distribution with our quilts. Their support is phenomenal and to date they have donated a staggering 750 ornaments!

This year we delivered 255 Christmas Quilts to 24 different hospitals in WA. The bulk of them were delivered to Perth’s King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) who have Western Australia’s largest neonatal unit.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to share our Christmas Quilt Drive publicly through 10 News First (watch their story below), The West Australian and The Western Suburbs Weekly. Click through to read their articles. Huge thanks to each of them for helping us raise awareness in the wider community.

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Christmas Card Competition

Do you have a budding young artist at home?  Perhaps your 'tiny spark' would like to design our Christmas Card which will be distributed state wide across all neonatal units this Christmas?  Please pop over to our Facebook page to find out all about the competition.  All the details are on this post and you will need to upload your picture to that post to enter.  Good luck!

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Christmas Quilt Drive 2018

We can't believe how quickly this year is flying past.  We've had lots of enquiries already about our Christmas Quilt Drive, along with requests for project options, so we are releasing all of the information a little earlier than usual.  Here is everything you need to know...

We are thrilled to announce that this year you can choose between two options!  Quilts or Stockings, and if you are enthusiastic maybe both.  Please read right to the end to cover all of the instructions and FAQs from past years.


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Christmas Quilted Stockings

We are grateful to Amy Smart who blogs at Dairy of a Quilter for providing permission for us to use her 'Easy Quilted Stocking Tutorial'. You can find the instructions to make your Christmas Quilted Stocking here.


Christmas Quilts for Tiny Sparks WA

This pattern was kindly designed by Jill of Patchwork Place in Albany. You can download the instructions here, or find them below.

Size 16" x 24"
 Or
41 cm x 61 cm

Requirements

Piece backing approx. 18" x 26"  (45cm x 65 cm) - white or cream
Piece 100% cotton light weight batting/wadding same size as backing piece.
Small amounts of Christmas coloured fabrics.

Suggestions

Any basic 4"  or  8" block pattern

No borders.
Keep blocks simple.
Avoid using yellow or gold.
Use conventional quilt binding or a commercial satin or pre-made binding or finish by “bagging” then turning through to right side. Top stitch around edge if using last method.
100% cotton fabrics (though not essential) are easier to work with.

A - Basic 4" Block - Total of 24 squares cut 4 ½" x 4 ½ "  in Christmas colours

  1. Arrange design into 6 rows of 4

  2. Join together into rows with ¼ " seam.

  3. Press seams in row 1 to the right, in row 2 to the left, row 3 to the right etc

  4. Join the rows together.

 
Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs

Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs

 

B - Basic 8" Block - Cut 6 squares 8 ½" x 8 ½ "in at least 2 Christmas colours.

  1. Sew into 3 rows of 2.

  2. Press seams in alternating directions then join rows together.

 
Basic 8" Block

Basic 8" Block

 

Finishing Quilts

Finished Quilt created by Jill of Patchwork Place, Albany

  1. Lay the backing right sides down, place the wadding on top and finally the pieced top right sides up. Pin together and quilt.

  2. Prepare binding by joining the 2 bits end to end with a mitred (angled) seam.

  3. Press in half lengthways. Sew onto the right side of the quilt having ALL raw edges level. Mitre the corners as you sew.

  4. Trim off the excess from the edges.

  5. Handstitch the folded edge of binding over onto the back of the quilt.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many items will you need? - We will need a minimum of 220 items to mail out across 20 neonatal units state wide so that every baby in a neonatal unit on Christmas Day receives a gift.

  2. Can I deviate from the instructions/patterns/specifications? – No, we ask that you follow the instructions carefully. They have been set out for a reason. The hospitals have very specific guidelines about what can be around the babies in the NICU and SCN. In particular please ensure the backing for your quilt is white or cream.

  3. What material should I use? – Quilting fabric, 100% cotton (or very close please). No flannel.

  4. Should I prewash the material? – Either way is fine please.

  5. What cotton should I use? - Cotton or poly/cotton blend is fine.

  6. What designs can the material have? – Anything that is in the Christmas spirit, please make sure the design is child appropriate. The backing for your quilt must be white or cream.

  7. Can I add a personal touch to the stocking? – Yes! Embroidery and applique is fine.

  8. Can I add my name, sewing tag to the stocking/quilt? – Yes, we just ask that you keep it small.

  9. Can I contact you to make some other arrangements? Given the volume of donations we handle we cannot make individual arrangements.

  10. Will I get a personalised response about my donation? We will attempt to acknowledge all donations sent in, although we are only able to do so if you provide us with your name and email address clearly written inside your package. We are unable to mail a response due to limited resources. Please allow for up to a month for us to acknowledge any items posted or hand delivered.

  11. How many stockings/quilts can I make? – We would prefer that each person make no more than 10 items each.

  12. What else can I sew for you? – We need sewers and knitters all year round. If you’d like to help further, please see the details here.

When and how can I get my donation to you?

  1. We require all donations by Friday December 7, 2018. This will enable us time to sort and send out donations state wide in advance of the Christmas postal rush. Any donations received after this time will be put aside for next year.

  2. You can post your Christmas items to us at:
    Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901
    Please include your name and an e-mail address inside your parcel.

  3. Can you collect my quilt when I am finished? - No, we are a small team of volunteers and unable to collect your donation.

  4. I don't want to mail my donation, how can i get it to you? - Please e-mail admin@tinysparkswa.org.au for metropolitan drop off locations, alternatively you are welcome to come along to our Neonatal November event and leave your donation with us there.

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If you have a question that has not been answered above, please email us at admin@tinysparkswa.org.au  We will do our best to respond as quickly as we can.  Please keep in mind that we are all volunteers and this is a large project to manage so it may take a few days for us to get back to you.

We are so very grateful for your support and thank you for your time and energy in helping us to make Christmas in the Neonatal Unit a special time for our families.

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Christmas Giving Appeal

You may have seen our Christmas Giving Appeal launched in our Summer Newsletter on December 1st.  This Christmas please consider making a donation to Tiny Sparks WA.

When making a donation through our Christmas Giving page not only will you automatically receive a tax deductible receipt but we will also e-mail you a 'Donation Certificate' which you can choose to print and pop in a card or e-mail on as your Christmas gift.

This Christmas we are hoping to raise $3,000 all of which will be put towards supporting WA families in 2018.  As a 100% volunteer run organisation every dollar makes a difference!  We have some exciting plans and hope that you can help us achieve our dreams.

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Christmas 2017 Quilters Needed

We are looking to provide 210 Christmas quilts to 20 neonatal nurseries right across Western Australia and need your help!

Jill of Patchwork Place in Albany has kindly designed a pattern for us to share with our sewers and hope that they might join them in creating some beautiful memories. You can download the instructions here, or find them below.

You can post items to Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901.  We are working to provide a NOR and SOR drop off location.  Please e-mail admin@tinysparkswa.org.au for the addresses.

We would appreciate if all quilts could be sent in by the 1st of December to allow us time to distribute state wide before Christmas.


Christmas Quilts for Tiny Sparks WA

 

Size 16" x 24"
 Or
41 cm x 61 cm

Requirements

Piece backing approx. 18" x 26"  (45cm x 65 cm) - white or cream
Piece 100% cotton light weight batting/wadding same size as backing piece.
Small amounts of Christmas coloured fabrics.

Suggestions

Any basic 4"  or  8" block pattern

No borders.
Keep blocks simple.
Avoid using yellow or gold.
Use conventional quilt binding or a commercial satin or pre-made binding or finish by “bagging” then turning through to right side. Top stitch around edge if using last method.
100% cotton fabrics (though not essential) are easier to work with.

A - Basic 4" Block - Total of 24 squares cut 4 ½" x 4 ½ "  in Christmas colours

  1. Arrange design into 6 rows of 4
  2. Join together into rows with ¼ " seam.
  3. Press seams in row 1 to the right, in row 2 to the left, row 3 to the right etc
  4. Join the rows together.
 
Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs

Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs

 

B - Basic 8" Block - Cut 6 squares 8 ½" x 8 ½ "in at least 2 Christmas colours.

  1. Sew into 3 rows of 2.
  2. Press seams in alternating directions then join rows together.
 
Basic 8" Block

Basic 8" Block

 

Finishing Quilts

  1. Lay the backing right sides down, place the wadding on top and finally the pieced top right sides up. Pin together and quilt.
  2. Prepare binding by joining the 2 bits end to end with a mitred (angled) seam.
  3. Press in half lengthways. Sew onto the right side of the quilt having ALL raw edges level. Mitre the corners as you sew.
  4. Trim off the excess from the edges.
  5. Handstitch the folded edge of binding over onto the back of the quilt.

Finished Quilt created by Jill of Patchwork Place, Albany

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