Crafty passion keeps newborns warm

Eating, sleeping, family and sewing are Ellen Mason�s basic human needs. The grandmother of three has spent the past nine years creating hundreds of vibrant patchwork quilts for babies at Mercy Hospital for Women.

Ellen, who has been a  member of the Australian  Quilters Association for  almost 30 years, donates up to  15 quilts to the hospital each  month. They are then sold to  parents with the proceeds  used to improve services and  equipment at the hospital.

After retiring in 2000, Ellen  refocused her attention to her  passion, spending any spare  time in a sewing room she has  set up at her Cheltenham home.  When she heard about a fire  at the former East Melbourne  Mercy Hospital for Women site  in December 2004, she decided  to use her skills to help others.

�I didn�t know much about the  hospital but I felt like I needed  to do something, so I contacted  them and asked if I could send  in some quilts,� Ellen says.

What started as a hobby has  now become a way of life. When  not spending time with her  family, Ellen is at one of her two  sewing machines preparing the  next batch of quilts.

�If I�m not out, I�m in the  sewing room, pretty much  every day,�� Ellen says. �I do it  for the parents, to give them  a reminder of this wonderful  part of their lives. It makes  me feel good as well and  there�s no way I�m stopping  any time soon. It keeps me  sane, it�s a form of therapy!�� 


 Ellen Mason 

Ellen Mason with Charmaine  Viggianio and baby  

Scarlette, s nuggled under one of the  Ellen�s  

special �100 days� quilts.  


Mercy Hospital for Women  Special Care Nursery Nurse  Unit Manager Helen Boston  said everyone at the hospital  was extremely grateful  for Ellen�s hard work. The  quilts, which cost between  $15 and $20, helped fund a  range of items in the nursery,  including nursing chairs and  cot cards. Designs include a  special version celebrating  the �100 days� milestone in premature babies�  development. 

Ellen covers the cost of all  her materials. 

�It is a wonderful thing she  does out of the kindness of  her heart,�� Helen says. �The  quilts are loved by both the  patients and staff.�� 


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