On Saturday 21st September, Maclean Patchwork and Quilters hosted the North Coast Zone Gathering 2019 .
Only the week before the event, massive bushfires threatened the townships of Angourie, Wooloweyah, Yamba and Shark Creek with live embers falling on the playing fields across the road from our venue.
Thankfully, the RFS were here as usual to protect us and with the help of a late wind change were able to bring the fire undercontrol without any loss of life or homes. Where would we be without them, we are so grateful to these volunteers who give so generously of their time and energy.
Our Zone Gathering was able to go ahead with over 170 quilters from Grafton to the Queensland border decending on The Raymond Laurie Sports Centre in Yamba for a day of friendship and sharing.
Lenore Parker, a local indigenous elder set the tone for the day with a very heartfelt Welcome to Country.
Our Guest speaker on the day was Chris Timmins, well known local quilter, Editor of the Quilt NSW, magazine, Template and winner of this year’s Lut-Da award at the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne. Chris spoke of her quilting life, teaching, mentoring and how she became Editor of Template.
The challenge put to groups attending was to produce a quilt which will be carried on the Hospital Ship to Papua New Guinea for distribution among the villagers there. Kerry Huxham, a nurse on the Hospital Ship, has taken delivery of 42 quilts and will deliver them to their new owners later this month.
Two great raffles helped to raise funds for Maclean Lower Clarence Hospital Auxiliary on the day. The first was a beautiful Blue and White Quilt which was won by the very lucky Ann Tosomeen of Evans head. Second prize in that raffle was a little brother of the large quilt which was won by Wendy Owen of Patch n Chat in South Grafton.
The second raffle on the day was a beautiful Bernina Sewing Machine, donated to us by Bernina Australia and Eastland Sewing Centre in Lismore. The lucky winner of this prize was Sue Woodward, also of Patch n Chat.
Several community sewing groups mounted displays and contributed short talks during the day. The aim was to put together groups sewing for people in need with sewers who are looking for people in need. Days for Girls, Wrap with Love, Quilts 4 Kids, Aussie Hero Quilts, Allowah Children’s Hospital in Dundas and Maclean Hospital Auxiliary all were represented on the day and all reported lots of interest, some recruitments and some donations from our guests on the day.
Our charity of the day was Maclean, Lower Clarence Hospital Auxiliary, and we were very proud to be able to present them with a cheque for $5000 which will contribute to the purchase of an ultrasound machine for Maclean, Lower Clarence hospital.
An extra surprise for the Hospital Auxiliary was the presentation of a quilt which was made by our former member, the late Betty Harris. When Betty passed away she left , as quilters do, some unfinished projects. Betty’s husband Charlie has kindly donated this quilt , which was then finished by Dianne Lyons to be raffled by the hospital auxiliary to raise money for the hospital. The quilt can be seen in the picture above.
A side challenge we set ourselves was to host a zero waste event, with attendees being asked to refrain from bringing any single use items. We were very happy to find that after this very large gathering we produced only one very small bag of rubbish, which consisted mostly of milk bottles, which were able to be recycled.
It was my privilege to lead the team who organised the zone gathering this year. We had a mixed group of experienced people and some members who had barely even attended a zone day before, and I have to say that I am so proud of the way they all worked together to create a day which was both socially and finacially successful. I’d like to thank the quilters from other clubs and areas who have taken the time to let us know that they enjoyed the day, it does take a lot of work and organisation to stage a zone day and it is indeed heartening to know that we have achieved our number one goal, ie to ensure everyone has a great day.
Our very able MC for the day was Janet Pickup who did an amazing job under very difficult circumstances when our PA system failed to perform as expected.
These beautiful little thistle brooches were made by our very multi-talented treasurer, Deb, in order to identify the committee on Zone Day.
Now that Zone Day is over and I think?? I may have mastered the transfer of Photos between my devices I am hoping to service this blog a bit more often …..no promises, but lets see what happens.
Happy stitching ladies