Sherman woman seeks help sewing projects for those in need

Martha Osborn in her workshop in Sherman.

Martha Osborn in her workshop in Sherman.

Contributed photo

SHERMAN — Martha Osborn, who has sewn lap blankets and ear warmers for veterans, crocheted hats and scarves for New Milford’s homeless, last year made 100 heart-shaped pillows for Matthew’s Hearts of Hope to be given to patients awaiting heart surgery.

She does it all from her “shop” above her garage, where she has two sewing machines and a serger, numerous tables laden with baby bibs and quilted and crocheted blankets, and cabinets full of fabric. Her 900 patterns are organized in boxes, grouped by type. She spends four to five hours a day in her shop, stopping every so often to enjoy the view all the way to Quaker Hill in New York.

But she needs some help in continuing the work that she and her friend Karen Castle did for the last two years. Castle moved to North Carolina, and Osborn is now hoping to revive a crafting group at the Sherman Church to help her complete these projects.

These small fabric bags are made to hang over the bed railing so the patient can access items more easily; she made 180 of them last year. She has made bags for chemotherapy patients at the Praxair Center at New Milford Hospital so they can take instructions and bottles for hydration home with them.

“We also make small pillows for mastectomy patients to place beneath the shoulder seat belt to make riding in the car less painful,” she said. And when C0VID struck, she and Castle whipped up 250 masks to send to the VA Hospital. She has also made bibs and car blankets to give to Hopeline Pregnancy Resource Center in Danbury.

“We are blessed to have a gem like Martha in our community,” said Marie Hatcher of Sherman, founder of Matthew’s Hearts of Hope. Hatcher’s youngest child, Matthew, was born with a serious Congenital Heart Defect, CHD, and her organization raises awareness of this number-one birth defect and supports CHD patients and their families.

“Martha is one in a million,” Hatcher added. “She received the ‘Bless your Heart’ Award from Matthew’s Hearts of Hope in September 2012. She has cut, pre-sewn and sewn closed thousands of heart pillows over the last 10 years. Recently, she took on making quilts with her friend Karen from the scraps of material left over from the cutting of the hearts. They have brought comfort and smiles to many heart children in the ICU at Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital of New York.”

Osborn’s love of and proficiency in sewing come from her Dutch grandfather who was a shirt cutter for Sulka Shirts, one of the world’s most renowned men’s brands, according to The New York Times, until it closed its doors in 2001.

She and her husband, Glenn Osborne, moved to Sherman in 1986, raised three sons, and now have six grandchildren, ages 18 months to 11 years old. Glenn Osborne is a retired design draftsman, and Martha Osborne was children’s librarian at the Sherman Library when her kids were small and then worked for Nestle in 1993 until retirement in 2018. It was then that she really started sewing, although she had made clothing for her kids and grandkids for years.

Her hope in reviving the Friendly Service at the Sherman Church is that women — with skills or without — will be willing to crochet (or learn to crochet), cut and sew quilts for heart patients, veterans and the homeless.

Osborne plans to continue to make all the items she and Castle made but with many extra hands to complete the work. For more information on joining the group, send an email to info@shermanchurch.org or call 860-354-6114.