Rose Blanche An­gels

Sewing love and cheer into ev­ery stitch

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY MAR­TINE BLUE mar­tineblue­[email protected]

These tal­ented and giv­ing ladies are sewing love and cheer into ev­ery stitch.

“It’s a group of ladies that never had any­thing to do with one an­other at any other time, some peo­ple can’t sew at all and they learn, and we’re there sewing and knit­ting, telling sto­ries and laugh­ing, it’s a beau­ti­ful time.”

– Max­ine Ed­wards

Stitch by stitch, the ladies of the St. Michaels and All An­gels Knit­ting and Sewing Group spread good­will and cheer to peo­ple in need from their home base of Rose Blanche to as far away as Africa and South Amer­ica.

The 20-mem­ber group has an ex­tremely long and im­pres­sive list of items it cre­ates to touch and en­hance the lives of peo­ple who are cop­ing with chal­leng­ing life events.

The group meets in the base­ment of St. Michaels and All An­gels church in Rose Blanche ev­ery Thurs­day night. Each mem­ber pays a weekly due of $3, which goes into a pot for pur­chas­ing ma­te­rial.

The ladies so­cial­ize while they work to cre­ate lap quilts for pa­tients re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy treat­ments, quilts the pa­tients then keep to com­fort them at home.

The ladies sew bibs for ev­ery res­i­dent of their lo­cal long-term care home and knit afghans to drape over res­i­dent’s legs.

They knit hats for home­less peo­ple and or­phans in Gu­atemala; sew dresses for chil­dren in South Africa; and they put to­gether emer­gency per­sonal hy­giene kits to do­nate to lo­cal hos­pi­tals, which in­clude knit­ted slip­pers for men and women.

The ladies also knit teddy bears to in­clude in bap­tismal bags given to each child bap­tized in their church. The list of all the items they pro­duce for var­i­ous groups is too ex­ten­sive to list in its en­tirety.

Ev­ery item made by the ladies comes with a heav­enly touch.

“When we get a pile of things, we take ev­ery­thing we make up to our church and Rev­erend Jeff Pet­ten blesses ev­ery­thing be­fore we give it out,” or­ga­nizer Max­ine Ed­wards ex­plained.

The tal­ented knit­ters and sew­ers have even branched out into mak­ing home­made med­i­cal aides. Their hand knit pros­thetic breasts are very pop­u­lar as many breast can­cer sur­vivors find them more com­fort­able than store bought pros­thet­ics. The knit­ted breasts are fit­ted to match the size re­quired by the re­cip­i­ent. The an­gels also comb lo­cal beaches for flat rocks to give the pros­thet­ics some weight and help hold them in place.

Through a re­quest from their lo­cal hospi­tal care givers, the ladies re­cently started mak­ing knit­ted or cro­cheted tachome­ter cases for heart pa­tients who need to wear a mon­i­tor on the side of their body.

They are also look­ing into a re­quest to make touch quilts for Alzheimer’s pa­tients. The blan­kets would be cre­ated with dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als and tex­tures that a pa­tient can touch for com­fort, such as a sec­tion with fur, one with a rough feel­ing, an­other one with strings that pa­tients can tie.

The group was started in 2013 by sewing and knit­ting en­thu­si­ast Pamela Gosse, the wife of a for­mer rev­erend who served at the Rose Blanche church.

“When they left and moved to Stephenville, my­self and Edith Lea­mon de­cided to con­tinue the group, be­cause we loved it so much,” Ed­wards said.

Al­though the group’s fo­cus is on help­ing oth­ers, the weekly gath­er­ing is also ther­a­peu­tic for its mem­bers, gives them an op­por­tu­nity to learn, be cre­ative and to so­cial­ize.

“It’s a group of ladies that never had any­thing to do with one an­other at any other time,” Ed­wards said. “Some peo­ple can’t sew at all and they learn, and we’re there sewing and knit­ting, telling sto­ries and laugh­ing, it’s a beau­ti­ful time.”

As if they weren’t busy enough, the ladies also hold a cou­ple of fundrais­ing nights each year to pay back the church for us­ing its heat.

“We do a lo­cal, old fash­ioned con­cert ev­ery Novem­ber where we go on­stage, per­form and do skits. We sell out both nights,” Ed­wards said.

Peo­ple and busi­nesses also do­nate ma­te­ri­als, money and sewing ma­chines to help these knit­ting and sewing an­gels keep up their self­less work.

The ladies re­ceive per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion from cre­at­ing in­cred­i­ble work and from help­ing oth­ers through tough times.

“It is just the best feel­ing in the world. I can’t ex­plain it and that’s why we all love it,” Ed­wards said.

The group es­pe­cially en­joys hear­ing back from peo­ple who fol­low up with the ladies through the la­bel they af­fix to each item they make.

“We send some lap quilts to the Ron­ald McDon­ald House for chil­dren,” Ed­wards said, “and we’ve had sev­eral pic­tures come back from fam­i­lies who’ve re­ceived those quilts. It’s beau­ti­ful.”

Ed­wards be­came emo­tional when she found out that a chemo­ther­apy pa­tient who owns one of their quilts and found out about all the group does sug­gested that The Gulf News write and share their story with a wider au­di­ence.

“That’s the best Christ­mas present I could have re­ceived, to know peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate what we do,” Ed­wards said be­tween tears. “The ladies will be so happy to hear it.”

SUB­MIT­TED

An­gel at work, Ruth De­veaux.

SUB­MIT­TED

The An­gels of Rose Blanche, front, from left, Mil­dred Hatcher, Edith Lea­mon, Judy Hardy, Rita Cur­rie, Joan Her­ritt, Valarie Pink, Alice Bil­lard; back, Max­ine Ed­wards, Les­ley Hardy, Vi­o­let Clarke, Lena Pen­ney, Erna Buck­land, Phyl­lis Hor­wood and Vic­to­ria Savoury. Miss­ing from photo are Judy Fran­cis, Ruth De­veaux, Au­drey Best, Diane Hardy, Sylvia Mun­den, Diane Mun­den and Wanda An­der­son.

SUB­MIT­TED

Some of the an­gels, from left, Rita Cur­rie, Alice Bil­lard and Max­ine Ed­wards.

SUB­MIT­TED

Knit­ted pros­thetic breasts, an­other im­por­tant pro­ject un­der­taken by The An­gels of Rose Blanche.

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