Written by AHQ

5 February 2013

What a lovely lot of thank you messages we have received of late but this is probably a good time to remind you that we actually don’t hear back from the bulk of the items we send.  I am sure this is more a product of the work load and environment that our recipients are dealing with than a lack of appreciation.  Quite frankly, those of us with young men in the house hold (and some of the not so young men) know how notoriously bad they are at communicating unless there is a girlfriend/wife involved and I am sure that accounts for some of it too.  But please don’t be discouraged as all the feedback we are receiving from those that do respond is that what we are doing is very much appreciated by all.

How is this for a gorgeous cheery photo to start the ball rolling.

One of Liz’s happy customers

This is one of my quilts that I didn’t show on the blog originally as it is quite personal to the fellow it went to and I wanted to wait till he came home.  I have just had a lovely thank you letter from his last week once he had time to settle back in to his life.  I might add that he was then part of the flood relief in Queensland, so home from Operation Slipper and shortly afterward serving us again in such an essential manner.

Thank you so much for my quilt and laundry bag.  I think all the quilts you and the other ladies produce are amazing but to have one personalised with my dog, ute etc was very special.  After receiving it I certainly did look into your organisation. I also gave a lot of recommendations to Mum of guys over there that would love one..  Everyone who had received a quilt thinks they are just the best thing ever and are in complete admiration of all the skill and time they take to produce.
I think receiving something like that and realising that people that don’t actually know you have gone to such an effort and actually care about us while we are away is that is so very special.   I think what you are doing with your team is a great thing and it will always be greatly appreciated. There is not one person serving overseas that wouldn’t appreciate such a special gift.

Hi Jan-Maree,

My quilt arrived last night and it’s AWESOME!! I love it, my boyfriend loves it (I sent him photos, he’s also into scooters), and my mum has just revealed that she’s known about it for a week and knew I’d love it!
I put it on my bed last night and it really brightens my room. You really did get it perfectly right. Thank you so much! Thanks also for the laundry bag and Tim Tams. And I’m not concerned at all about there not being any other ‘goodies’. The quilt and laundry bag mean so much to me. Whilst Tim Tams are always welcome, the effort you and your quilters go to is way more than enough. 

Thanks again

We had a great Australia Day and I hope you did as well. Now for the best news of the weekend…..when I arrived on Friday I helped unpack the recent delivery of mail from Australia and found a parcel marked for me from you. Thankyou Jan-Maree, the quilt and laundry bag look fantastic. I am extremely grateful that you could take the time to make these wonderful gifts for me. The design and detail that has gone into the quilt is amazing. The quilt has pride of place on my bunk and it will remind me of home and your remarkable kindness whenever I see it. The whole contingent here is South Sudan also greatly appreciate the efforts of you and your team that go into co-ordinating these gifts for us and for other personnel deployed on Operations around the world. The work you and your team are doing has a positive impact on our morale and reminds us of all the support from home. 

For Fran T

Fran thank you for the wonderful quilt and laundry bag.  Finding it on my desk this morning meant a lot to me. As always it is perfect and the care in which you make them is just wonderful, I think this one will be great on the wall in XXXX’s room.”

By way of explanation Fran made a quilt for two of this fellow’s children who were born in the last 18 months, which is what the “as always” refers to. XXXX is their four year old son.

HI Christine (WA)
oday I received the wonderful quilt and laundry bag you made for me.   XXXXX is generally a dry, extremely dusty and often smoke filled place in Afghanistan. Your quilt and laundry bag have introduced a fantastic reminder that there is colour in the world outside of this place and I thank you sincerely for the time and effort you have put into making them.

The weather here is cold at the moment though and it has just started to rain so we expect it to turn into a muddy quagmire within hours. I live in a camp which is small but it has the only patch of grass in the entire base, a birdcage with budgerigars and a couple of gum trees planted when we first got here a decade or so ago. It certainly has the visiting foreign forces jealous (especially the Americans).

Again, thank you for the gift. I can assure you that it will be well used and will become an heirloom; a reminder of my time here in Afghanistan

One for Liz B

I was very fortunate yesterday to receive a parcel containing a number of very welcomed items: 

An Aussie Quilt; 
An Aussie Laundry Bag; and 
A few special nibbles. 

As well as a lovely letter providing me with details on who you both are. I must admit I was unsure of where (Liz’s hometown) actually was and must admit, will still need a good map to find out exactly. Having so much land and sharing it with our native animals is very much like some of the land in South Sudan. Unfortunately due to the many years of conflict, the wildlife is yet to fully return to this country. I can however say there is evidence (I have provided you with a photo) of some wildlife on the border between Uganda and South Sudan. It is hoped that over the next few years the wildlife will return to their natural feeding grounds. 

Attached also is a photo of me with your magnificent quilt, which has now taken pride of place on my bed. It will always remind me of my time in South Sudan and the hard work you have taken in making both the quilt and the laundry bag. I can assure you the laundry bag will also be put to great use while I continue to serve in the Army and well beyond. 

All my team who have received an Aussie Quilt are extremely impressed by the efforts of those, like yourself, who have taken the time to make them. 

Thank you very much.

Dear Melissa,

Thank you very much for the laundry bag you made and sent to me. 

It is so nice to know that people like yourself care about the deployed troops, your efforts are greatly appreciated, when I received your parcel it really made my day. Thank you for caring about us and I hope you have a great year at school

Dear Stephanie 
Thank you  for taking the time out to write me I appreciate it, and thanks a lot  for the gifts. I actually needed a laundry bag so it came at a great  time, plus no one here has a laundry bag like it so its awesome 🙂 .   M&M’s were nice too, they didn’t last long… A bit late but I hope ya 
had a good Xmas/holiday, I would have emailed sooner but we’ve had Internet difficulties here.

Good Afternoon,

I would just like to say a quick thankyou for the quilt and laundry bag I received whilst on deployment with the Australian Army.  A special thank you to Carolyn S ( may you pass my thanks on.)  Your letter and package brought a smile to my face.
The items are very much appreciated, I love them!
The boys I work with loved them also, so if possible, may we ask for 3- 4 more laundry bags?
The work you do is very much appreciated and although you may not always receive our thanks, troops everywhere are extremely grateful for these little bundles, they bring a bit of brightness where it’s much needed.
Many thanks again, 

Now time for a couple of requests and reminders.

Don’t forget the next Penrith Sewing Day is coming up on Sunday 17th of February at Penrith Patchwork.
10am to 2pm
BYO lunch, sewing machine and required tools.
I will provide all the materials required.
If you are planning to come it would be great if you could let me know so I can make sure there is enough for all to do – but if you decide to come at the last minute I am sure you won’t be bored!

Quilt Tops

I love receiving quilt tops but can you please do me a favour.  Can you please make sure all seams are firmly pressed flat with a steam iron before you send them.  If the tops have been sewn together without pressing (which is often how I sew myself) it can take me 20 minutes or more to press all the seams flat on the back and then again on the front to make sure there are no folds.  If I have to do that with multiple quilts tops it can take a lot of my time.  I won’t give quilts to volunteer quilters til they have been pressed properly as I can’t expect them to do it, especially when they are donating their time and effort.  If you can help me out with this I would really appreciate it.

Please don’t forget pics etc

Please don’t forget to send me a picture of your quilts and laundry bags – everyone loves to see them on the blog and families and friends of those they are going to love to pick them out too.  Also, and very important, please don’t forget to let me know when you have actually posted your parcel.  I let whoever requested the quilt know that the parcel is on the way and it also stops me from checking up on your progress.  I also really need that postal date so that I can follow the quilt up and see if it has arrived.

Adding Borders

Finally, a quick word on adding borders.  If you are a seamstress and take up quilting or just a novice sewer you usually don’t have too much trouble putting blocks together and getting them to sit flat.  Borders can be a little trickier.   I know some of you are cutting your border fabrics and not necessarily checking the length before sewing it on  –  just starting at one end with a long piece of fabric, not pinning but sewing till you get the end of the quilt and then cutting off the extra.  Why do I know this?  Because I used to do it myself.  This may look okay on the ironing board but this method can be a little dicey as it is easy to stretch the fabric (the border or the quilt top) and then the borders won’t be flat.  I have actually had to unpick borders, yours and mine) and re-do them so that they sit flat otherwise there will be puckers when they are quilted.  This is not something that can be quilted out of it always.  Best to learn to do borders properly to save yourself (and me) some time.

There are a couple of different tutorials here that you might find handy and if you have any questions just ask.  This is probably something that is easier for me to explain over the phone so if you want some extra help you might find it easier to send me your number and I will call you.

How to Measure and Sew Butted Boaders to a Quilt

Quiltville Boarder Hints

Now, I am off to sew…..

Till next time…………keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

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  1. Outback Crafter - Debra

    What a great bunch of thank yous. I have to say the 'wildlife photo' is definitely not what I expected to see.

  2. Wendy

    Thanks for the top about the borders, I would never have thought about it as like you say I am a sewer not a quilter…. Yet!

  3. Janine C

    Wonderful quilts, really love to see all the photos.

  4. Joy Belle

    Interesting what you say about borders. Each time I have added borders the 'proper' way I have found they did not sit flat – go figure….


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