The Marcia* recently turned 2, and the generous kindy staff invited the ladies of St Mark’s Quilters to share their birthday party.
The relentless, driving rain that Saturday afternoon was … well… not the best for driving all the way to Liverpool on Sydney’s outskirts, but as always Di B, Cath and I received a warm welcome from Karen (centre below), the Director of The Marcia.
What’s a birthday party without cupcakes, and a magician with an adorable bunny for everyone to pat?
Then the best part … presents!
For almost 3 years our little group has been making quilts-to-keep for each little one at the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre, but this was the first opportunity we’ve had to personally hand over some of our quilts to their new little owners, and this was the icing on the cake!
These little ones fit into the autism spectrum, so no arms were thrown around our necks in gratitude and there were no excited shouts of glee. Instead our gift quilts were received with expressions of quiet wonderment by some, gentle stroking of fabric by others, holding of the warm softness up to serious little faces,and enfolding themselves in the comforting snuggliness of the quilted textures.
Some even took one look at their quilt and moved right along!
Nevertheless it was absolutely clear to us that the children and their parents could feel all the love stitched into their quilts by so many makers.
Among the quilts we gave out were creations by Celina, Moo, Margaret, Ruth, Becky, Eleanor, Geraldine and myself. I did try to check the labels as we went along but, as you can appreciate, we had to move quickly with these squirmy worms!
But the gifts weren’t only for the young party guests. We were quite overcome when the CEO of KU Children’s Services, Chris Legg, presented us with a special surprise.
This beautiful hardcover book contains photos of those original quilting newbies who came along to Linda Hungerford’s only Australian Stitchin’Mission, the beginning of St Mark’s Quilters.
It was carefully assembled by Margaret Gibson, the first Director of The Marcia, herself one of our Stitchin’ Mission beginner quilt-makers.
Yes, there were happy tears when we slid off the ribbon and opened the box!
This is such a precious memento, and we can’t wait to share it with the rest of our group this Saturday. Thank you, KU, for allowing us to partner with you as you nurture, teach and care for these darling children.
*The KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre