Home Stories

The stitches that bind friendship

9th October 2019 | 12 min read

Making new friendships can seem more challenging as we age, but our wonderful knitting groups at Quakers Hill and Blacktown have discovered that shared interests, coupled with a desire to contribute to the community has helped close connections flourish.

Across our Opal HealthCare family, knitting groups are about much more than producing garments – they’re about creating a sense of community, friendship and purpose. We chatted with Kathleen and Phyllis, two founding members of the knitting group at Quakers Hill Nursing Home. It’s easy to see the warmth between Kathleen and Phyllis and glimpse the close friendship they’ve forged over countless hours of clicking needles.

Opal Residents laughing

A shared passion

When Kathleen moved into the home more than four years ago, she missed her circle of friends. Looking for a pastime to occupy her mind and ease her initial feelings of loneliness, she suggested a knitting group.

The idea was met with enthusiasm, and our Opal team organised all the materials that would be needed. Before long, the knitting group became one of the most popular activities available. In fact, the group was so prolific they needed an outlet for all the knitted toys and garments they created. They began the search for worthy recipients of the countless items knitted with love.

“It feels good to be able to do something for the community.”

Helping the community

Kathleen explains what happened next,

“We started out knitting teddy bears to give to local ambulances, police stations, and hospitals.”

In fact, the knitting group has donated more than 1,000 bears to emergency services, providing comfort to children in times of crisis and trauma. As Kathleen says,

“It feels good to be able to do something for the community.”

In complete contrast to the teddies, the ladies have also knitted skull caps for Australian soldiers, to help them face bitterly cold winters in the Middle East. Kathleen says,

“It’s nice to know our knitting is helping to keep our soldiers warm.”

Phyllis agrees, describing how knitting together gives them a shared interest and purpose,

“It’s great to have the companionship of friends, and doing something worthwhile means we’ve always got something to talk about.”

Passing on skills

Not content with supporting emergency services and our soldiers overseas, the knitting group is also passing on knitting skills to local school children. As part of Quakers Hill Nursing Home’s intergenerational program, the ladies meet with a group of local school children every week. Kathleen says,

“It’s good to be able to pass on a skill to the younger generation. They spend all their time on their electronic devices so it’s good for them to do something creative with their hands."

Crafting a warm welcome

Blacktown Terrace is one of the newer homes in our Opal family, and its knitting group has only recently been formed. Led by dedicated volunteer Jo, the group's first project was to create a knitted blanket for every new resident as a house-warming present. According to Lifestyle Coordinator, Irene, “The blankets have been so warmly received and have created a real sense of family even when everyone is new to the home.”

“It’s great to have the companionship of friends and doing something worthwhile.”

Francis, also part of the Blacktown Terrace knitting group, says the group has helped her settle into her new home, “When I first moved in I wanted to go home, but being part of the group has helped me to make new friends.” She goes on to say,

“It feels good to knit because I’m starting to remember things from my past, especially when my mother used to knit with me as a child.”


Hear from Kathleen and Phyllis.