Laundry Bags Divas and a fledgling quilter

Written by AHQ

8 July 2013

People ask me all the time if I ever dreamed Aussie Heroes would become as big as it has.  The truth is I knew it would grow.  There was so much support for it before I even got a dedicated blog up and running so I knew that once I started it there would be no looking back.  I had no idea how fast or slow it would grow but I just knew that if I kept going so would Aussie Heroes.  I knew the troops would love it based on reactions of the Original Aussie Hero, the Lovely Warrant Officer and his team and I knew that quilters would come on board because quilters love a cause and this is such a good one.

One thing I can tell you though is that Aussie Heroes would not be anything without YOU! Those that sew, those that donate, those that read and encourage.  And especially Aussie Heroes would not exist without our Wonderful Aussie Heroes themselves who continually, through their humble appreciation of what we do, inspire us to keep going and to do more.

For some time now I have been thinking that I would like to give credit to some of the individuals who contribute to Aussie Heroes.  Who are the people that make up Aussie Heroes and what do they do for us?  
I started with the Friend of the Day posts but most of you are too shy/humble/busy to want to put yourselves forward for that but we did really enjoy the posts we had.  I do have a couple of other ideas up my sleeve but I need the time to think them through and decide on a format.  In the mean time though four people have made a significant contribution over the last 18 months or part there of and I decided now is a good time to give them some recognition.

Can you believe that we have sent over 2800 laundry bags 
since the beginning of last year.
That is approximately 2800 hours of sewing!  
About 155 bags per month!  

When I named the blog I knew that if I called it “Aussie Hero Laundry Bags” it would not have the same impact.  I mean how many people google “laundry bags” versus “quilts”?  
I knew Quilts had to feature prominently in the name to draw more people in.  That does not mean however that the laundry bags are second to the quilts.  

The laundry bags are what started everything off in the first place.  The need, identified by the original lovely Warrant Officer, to be able to find your laundry easily and quickly at the end of a long hard day.  The need that could be easily met with a personalised laundry bag and a need that the Department of Defence was just not in the position to do. 

But we were and are.
Who sews all these bags?  Well, lots of people – lots of quilters make a laundry bag to go with every quilt they send, lots of people just sew laundry bags, some quilt groups have got together and had a laundry bag sewing day.

Tonight I want to spotlight four ladies who have consistently been sewing laundry bags for some time and between them have contributed nearly a quarter of all the laundry bags that have been sent.

Their names are Karen B, Julie Ann, Joan and Sue N.

First up there is Karen.  She has been sewing for Aussie Heroes for about 13 months now.  She has made quilts and quilt tops in the past but mostly Karen has sewn laundry bags.  On average she has sewn around ten laundry bags a month for the last thirteen months!

Next we have Julie Ann.  She counted up during the week and when she finishes the current batch I have given her to sew Julie Ann will have completed 150 laundry bags.  For some time now Julie Ann has been personalizing her laundry bags with initials and plus appropriate fabric or an applique of some sort.

Now I give Julie Ann a list of people to make personalized laundry bags for and she works her way through it and then gives me a yell for more.  

As all of Julie Ann’s bags now have initials on them she no longer puts patches on hers and she has about a dozen patches going begging if anyone can use them.   Just send me an email if you can use them and I will pass Julie Ann’s details on to you.

Another prolific Laundry Bag creator is Joan.  Including the four that she is popping in the mail today, Joan has stitched 190 laundry bags since she joined us in February this year.  That is approximately one laundry bag a day every day since then!  Joan started making laundry bags when her son came home from his Operation Slipper Deployment on HMAS ANZAC.  She saw how much his laundry bag and quilt meant to him and decided that she could give back to others in the same way.  190 Aussie Heroes agree with her.

And finally we come to Sue N.  Sue was the one that made me think about writing this post in the first place.  Last week I asked Sue N to let me know when she got to 200 laundry bags.  She was happy to go back and check on how many she had done and I think the number surprised even Sue herself.  As of last week Sue has posted 62 boxes each with 4 laundry bags in them – that makes it a total of 248 laundry bags.
But that is not all.  Sue had spent days cutting out more laundry bags and had another 52 waiting to be sewn up and four ready to go so it won’t be long before she has clocked up over 300 laundry bags!

So there you go – four ladies – over 700 laundry bags!
What a huge achievement!
Congratulations ladies.  I just wish I had a GOLD Laundry Bag award to give you all.


And just before I go I want to cheer someone else on.  I just love it with someone tells me that they have returned to quilting, or like our Chelle 
(the postmistress from Egypt last year – see DVD here )
they take up quilting, just so they can join the ranks of those making quilts for Aussie Heroes.  it makes me so proud to think that Aussie Heroes is swelling the numbers of quilters around Australia.  This is one such story.

Marysia wrote to me back in May and told me that her daughter, had put her on to the blog and had encouraged her to get involved.  Marysia’s daughter was about to deploy for Afghanistan herself.  Marysia told me that she used to sew her own clothes some time ago and had always wanted to make a quilt and asked if I could point her in the right direction to get started.  I suggested Marysia find her local quilt shop and check out a Quilting 101 course.  Well, blow me down if that is not just what she did.  If only my teenagers took my advice that well!!!  
Lesson number one was on the 30th of May and Marysia was off and running.  I have seen some progress pics along the way but on Sunday Marysia emailed me with the pictures of her first ever finished quilt!

What a cute little quilt and just perfect for a first quilt!

Now Marysia is off and running and here comes her first Aussie Hero Quilt.

I know I am really proud of her and I bet her daughter is pleased as punch.  

Well done Karen B, Julie Ann, Joan, Sue and Marysia.  Aussie Heroes is what it is because of awesome people like you.

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

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  1. Sue Niven

    What a fantastic read!, I do not know how you do it, but it is a fantastic thing to do and I love being a art of it. Well done ladies!

  2. Carole

    My congratulations to all the ladies who have made such huge numbers of bags!!…I admire you a great deal.

  3. Janine C

    Well done Karen B, Julie Ann, Joan and Sue – what an impressive number of laundry bags, you really are amazing. Congrats to Marysia and Chelle, there is always room for, and a need for, more sewing/quilting ladies.
    I loved the Friend of the Day posts, getting to know the people behind the quilts and LBs and I missed it when it faded away because it was the only contact we had with each other.


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