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A Stitch In Time December 2018

Jane Grimshaw, Hastings Supports Refugees.


One of the most enjoyable things about being involved in the Buddy Scheme is that we can all make it our own. We make a commitment that works for us and we put in as much time as suits each member. We also choose to form our own roles with in the scheme. We all bring different skills and expertise to it. For me various things were a no-no. Whilst I can talk the hind leg off a donkey at less than a moment’s notice, my grasp of correct use of grammar is lackadaisical at best and my spelling is beyond the pale. So, support for English lessons is out. Having a family of my own and my commitments to Hastings Supports Refugees means I don’t feel comfortable being a mainstay of support to one particular family.

And so, I decided to play to my strengths.

Sewing and being bossy.

Ta Dah! The quilt club was born.

I enlisted the professional help of Ness Mann, local illustrator and quilter and there we found ourselves at La La Rookh the sewing studio run by Anna Winston on the seafront in St Leonards on a Monday evening, in a room full of women and children with whom we had virtually no shared language.

Over the months that have passed it has been a pleasure to get to know our ladies more, to watch their children grow, to develop new friendships. We no longer need google translate. We all use sign language and mime less. We understand each other’s jokes and tell silly stories about our families. We laugh. We laugh a lot. You know you have made a great new friend when they can look at you and raise a quizzical eyebrow and you both understand the unspoken.

Giving ourselves time to sit round a table while doing something a meditative as hand sewing has allowed this to happen. Our quilt is taking a long time to make, but every stitch has meant something to one of us.

This quilt, we have decided, is (when finished) going to be a welcome gift to a new family arriving in Hastings.

After that we are heading into the uncertain and rocky terrain of….. cushions. Expect to see many colourful pictures in the near future!

More information about how to get involved in the Buddy Project can be found here.