Donated fabric leads to seamless friendship

Donated fabric leads to seamless friendship

Smithfield resident Marsha Paulhus, right, reached out to the community requesting scrap donations to make quilts, afghans and knitted caps for newborns. Karen Clemence, left, is one of many who answered the call. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SMITHFIELD – Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Smithfield resident Marsha Paulhus has made dozens of knitted caps for newborn babies and more than 12 quilts and several afghans that she donated across Rhode Island with the help of a new friend, Karen Clemence, of Glocester.

In late January, The Valley Breeze & Observer shared Paulhus’ request for donations for scraps to bolster her knitting hobby, something she picked up after retirement to keep her busy, and she was astounded by the support and generosity from the community.

According to Paulhus, she received many donations from more than a dozen people. As a senior citizen on a fixed income, Paulhus, 67, said the scraps will help her to create at least another dozen quilts to be donated to charity.

“I will be knitting, sewing, and crocheting for months to come,” Paulhus said.

Paulhus said she met many generous and caring members of the community, and is grateful for the contributions.

“Everyone that brought me something was thrilled to help a good cause,” Paulhus said.

Paulhus donates her creations to several nonprofit agencies, including Project Linus, a national organization providing handmade blankets to children in emergencies.

Donations led to more than keeping Paulhus’ knitting needles busy. She also met Clemence and the two became friends. Clemence volunteered to drive Paulhus to a Project Linus drop-off location in Cranston on Wednesday, March 6.

Clemence said she brought her relative’s quilting scraps to Paulhus and wanted to help her in any other way possible.

“She’s such a good person, and I love what she’s doing,” Clemence said.

In the Project Linus donation center at Blaine’s Sewing Machine Center in Cranston, Paulhus and Clemence held up a large quilt that Paulhus completed in less than a week. The blanket will go to a local senior center to provide warmth and comfort to the elderly, Paulhus said.

Four squares of the quilt have flowers hand-painted with puffy paint to give the quilt added texture, which Paulhus said may help Alzheimer’s patients remember things.

“I always tell people when I give them the blankets to name the animals on the squares if they are worried. It puts a smile on their face and helps them (Alzheimer’s patients) remember,” Paulhus said.

Using every bit of scrap she received, each quilt features a variety of images. Some have spots, trucks, flowers, and puppies. Others have swirled patterns, cowboy patterns and kittens.

She also knits small caps for newborn infants in hospitals throughout Rhode Island.

Paulhus said she would like to thank everyone for their donations.

She added that she is looking for more donations of fabric scraps and can be reached at 401-516-9784. She uses mostly cotton fabrics for baby items. She said she will use any and all donations, and likes using a variety of colors and patterns so her pieces remain unique.