Hearts for Hospice Needlepoint
Today is what I would consider a special post. It is all about hearts, hearts for our loved ones, hearts for a cause, hearts for hospice.
Perhaps you may have already heard about the Hearts for Hospice project but if not, let me introduce you to this project.
There have been several articles written including one in the January/February 2019 issue of the American Needlepoint Guild publication, Needlepointers. A second article appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Needlepoint Now. Most recently there is an article in Needlepointers regarding Hearts for Courage about the Fox chapter of Illinois. They are stitching hearts for Camp Courage, a week long bereavement camp providing support to youth ages 6 to 16 who have lost a sibling or a parent. They even created a video showing all their donated hearts. As well, there have been additional articles published on various needlework blogs.
The project was initiated in 2015 by the Greater Kansas City Needlepoint Guild to fulfill a need at a local hospice center. When a resident passes, a stitched heart is placed on the door which notifies those passing by to be respectful of friends and family in mourning. The needlepoint heart is then given to a family member and becomes a cherished remembrance.
Earlier this year, I received an email from Sue Dulle who some of you may know is a designer. Sue designed a pattern last year exclusively for Colour Complements and we have corresponded intermittently since. She has also designed some of the freebies offered on the Rainbow Gallery website. You might want to check some of these out.
Anyway, I sent Sue some Colour Complements embroidery thread samples so members could use these to stitch hearts for the project. Several months later I received some photos of completed hearts, all of which were beautiful. AND each one is different!
Sue shared a story on her blog recently which warrants repeating.
“It all began when our friend Georgia went over to “The Home” at her retirement community to volunteer. A staff member saw hearts Georgia was stitching and inquired about them. She was asked if she could make more. Knowing she could stitch a heart, she returned home and started making hearts. Within a month she had convinced several of her friends to join her and soon it became a project. Another friend, Sue Hart organized the members and offered the project to our guild as an ongoing philanthropic project.”
So it began, one heart at a time.
To date the guild has donated over 1400 hearts to local hospices AND have received hearts from 26 states – WOW! All the hearts received are donated to three local Hospice Houses, one of which is a children’s home.
The word continues to spread as many shops across the United States have promoted the project including sponsoring stitch-in gatherings. American Needlepoint guilds as well as many Embroidery of America guilds have adapted the project for either a program OR for their local hospice centers. Two satellite groups have been formed in Victoria TX and Alberta Canada. AMAZING!
Sue has generously designed a couple of heart patterns using Colour Complements threads as well as other threads just in case you may like to stitch a heart yourself. One of the patterns is shown above using Colour Complements Colour #37 and Colour #188. Naturally, any threads or colours you wish could be used AND I think this would be great to use up some of your stash. I talked about stash busters in my post last Friday. All those leftover “bits” from completed projects OR perhaps unfinished projects.
You will find the pattern download at the bottom of this post. Download and draw your heart on some canvas and START STITCHING.
I would like to encourage you to stitch a heart for this worthy project. Remember, you are not restricted to stitching only this pattern. Create your own pattern – experiment! You can always check out Pinterest for more inspiration including stitch diagrams.
Once your heart is complete you may send it to the GKCNG (link below for mailing address and additional information) who will provide finishing and donate locally. Otherwise you may donate the hearts to the hospice of your choice.
If you would like to read more, you may visit the Greater Kansas City Needlework Guild website.
Sue designed a second heart pattern which I will share in the future. Hopefully I will have many more hearts to share throughout 2020 so stay tuned. **Remember, I welcome photos of any hearts completed using Colour Complements threads. With permission, I will post these on my blog.
On a personal note, hospice is very close to MY heart. It is unlikely many of you know but I am a retired registered nurse. Early in my nursing career, I worked on a general medical ward with one designated room for palliative care. I was inexperienced at the time and must admit, I learned a lot from my patients, their families and interestingly about myself. If patients can, they have much to share as do their loved ones. Despite the sadness, I have many fond memories of wonderful family stories. It was not an easy job but I always considered it a privilege to care for patients in the last weeks of their lives.
Thank you Sue for contacting me regarding this wonderful project AND for donating the designs.
I look forward to seeing many heart photos in my “inbox”. Gives a new meaning to “you’ve got mail”!