Just a little more on laundry bags.
Thanks so much for all the support re last night’s post.  Your emails are a great encouragement!  
I was delighted last night to see that this comment was left by one of the fellows who knows better than any of us the value of the laundry bags!
From the mouth of a Soldier, the quilt was AMAZING but, the laundry bag was just as fantastic, it meant that I could identify my laundry immediately and stopped the confusion, it was also a talking point among others. This is how I was able to tell other Soldiers’ what I had received, the quilt remained in my living quarter, but the laundry bag everyone saw, so to the person who said they don’t want to make laundry bags, please don’t stop, these are what everyone sees and gets to enjoy even if they have not been lucky enough to receive a quilt. 
Thank you Aussie Hero Quilts (and laundry bags) for what you do. 
Thanks so much for commenting!  
( must have had a little something in my eye when I read it!)
In response to last night’s post Pauline made the following comment – 
not only is a good way to get rid of that ‘what was I thinking’ fabric, but I’ve also discovered that if I use the wrong side of some cream tone-on-tone floral fabric, I can line laundry bags with it and the floral is very muted and only noticeable if you look really closely. I *knew* there was a reason I bought so much of it so long ago! 
Not everyone has to make laundry bags.  I want people to sew for Aussie Heroes because they enjoy it.  If laundry bags are outside your means or your comfort zone that is fine.   My comments re laundry bags are meant to inform those who have not, until now, realized how much they are appreciated and those that think that the quilts are our main priority.  
If you, for whatever reason, do not want to make laundry bags, that is fine but it is my job to make sure that everyone knows that the laundry bags were the reason I started the whole program and are just as important today as they were in the start.
The quilts are the luxury, the laundry bags are the necessity.
I also received this message from one the lovely ladies who has been with Aussie Heroes since almost its beginning, Marg, and I thought her perspective was worth sharing too.
most would consider quilts more valuable .. so an insight into what is most practical is great.
obviously many have never been in a mass defence force camp in the middle of nowhere with limited facilities; I haven’t but have been in the mustering camp where the easiest and most practical is always the best.. like you value your enamel pannikin much more than the wedgewood dinner set at home!

Hilary made some great points too…

Re the laundry bag post. I can understand you wanting to get the message through to people that the laundry bags are not poor cousins to the quilts – although if your audience is mainly quilters, that does seem counter intuitive, so it does require a bit of explanation about WHY they are so important to the recipients.
I didn’t really ‘get’ the laundry bag thing to start with – I made one and wasn’t too thrilled at the work involved of having to make two (a liner and an outer), and it all seemed a lot of work for nothing that really impressed me when I was done. So I just did quilts. Then after following the blog and reading the feedback I started to understand how useful and valued the laundry bags are, so had another go, but was still concerned about the idea of ‘wasting’ 2 metres of perfectly good patchwork fabric (and yes, I have said exactly those words!) because that would leave me short of a quilt back.
Patchwork fabric isn’t cheap.   I felt a more sturdy fabric would be better. I haven’t seen a standard issue one, but I imagine it is made of something sturdy like drill – my husband said his in Vietnam was canvas. So I started going to St Vinnies and snapping up curtains/doona covers/assorted lengths of fabric etc, when I saw something suitable. On average, I can make a laundry bag for fifty cents to $1.00 each using this recycled fabric – and the cash goes to a good cause too! There is absolutely nowhere I can get 2 metres of patchwork fabric for that price – or even a fat quarter!
This works for me, and now I actually enjoy doing the bags – and the hunt for good fabric to use in them – and coming up with creative ways to put the names on!
I guess the lesson is that if quilters are drawn to participate in the project, then of course they will value a quilt more than a big cotton sack – the art is in teaching them that the recipients – the servicemen and women we are doing this for – really value the bags and, as one correspondent pointed out, they are actually a very good advertising vehicle for AHQ among the troops who are deployed – most don’t get to see each others beds (one assumes!), but the laundry bags are on display for all to see.

Hmmm, maybe I should get Hilary to do some guest posts – she put that very well.
Thanks Hilary.

This is the response I received today when I told a fellow his quilt and laundry bag are on their way.  I just had to share it with you.
Thank you so much, I look forward to receiving them and will email you when they arrive. It is very humbling to know that there are people back home that are willing to take time out to support the soldiers deployed overseas and I wish I was able to articulate how much that support is appreciated.
The following three messages came through Facebook and are for quilts that Nancy sent off.
hey.. I am currently overseas serving and would like to send back a big thank you for the quilt i received today in the mail. i am aware of 5 others that got one each today as well and we all really appreciate them. Once again thank you...

I received my Aussie quilt in the mail today and I absolutely LOVE it! Thank you so much to the people who put so much time and effort into making and sending it. ♥ Sara xx

hi, i am currently overseas at the moment and just received a lovely quilt in the mail from you guys, i am very grateful for your time and efforts, its beautiful. i will be sure to have it on my bed in the upcoming cold nights 🙂 thank you again!

Another exciting message re a quilt that Fran T sent off which is now home in Oz!

I’m a quilter & my boss has been telling me of her daughter who has just returned from active service overseas and received an Aussie Hero Quilt. She loved it to pieces & it takes pride of place on her coffee table!

 I think that this is a brilliant cause & I would love to join. I am going to start sorting through my stash & collecting more fabric now & I will let you know when I have my first quilt ready to go. I’m thinking that my mum might like to join me by making the laundry bags. 

Now that just makes my day.
And this thank you message made Melissa’s day –

Just a quick email to thank you for the laundry bag. It is little things such as this that make life here easier in Afghanistan. Its is quite humbling to think that everyday people take time out of their day to make and send things to us.
A Sydney Aussie Heroes Dinner
Caroline (Deputy Nut) and I are thinking that a nice way to round off the first year of Aussie Heroes would be to go out to dinner with anyone in the Sydney area – some time in late November, early December.  It will be somewhere in the Hills District in Sydney (i.e. not in the city).  It won’t be anything formal or fancy – just a booking at a nice restaurant though we may work out a price that will cover the meal so that everyone knows how much to bring (we will fine somewhere BYO if possible).  
Anyone interested in attending  please let me know.  
And please note – this is open to those who sew as well as anyone else who reads the blog.  If you support Aussie Heroes we would love you to come too.

Suggestions Please
Melissa had a great idea and she wrote to me with the following – 

Could I throw in a suggestion for the blog???????? – would love to know a little more about people who do the sewing etc. Could you do a sewer of the week on one of the blogs???? Ask for a short paragraph on the person to be emailed and a photo. I would love to know if there is anyone around here that is helping you out or close by.

I think this is a great idea.  I did threaten her with being the first contributor and she actually sent me a “Blurb” which you will see on our Inaugural Aussie Hero Friend of the Day Post this Thursday.    I am still working out a format or maybe a list of questions and then you can standby and watch your email inbox for an email from me requesting you be the Friend of the Day ………… unless there are any more volunteers!

In the mean time what questions should I ask?   
Suggestions?  This is what I have come up with so far.

Who are you and where do you live – if not in a house in suburbia please share some more info – farm etc. 
What is your occupation
How far to the local shops and how far to the nearest quilt shop
How long have you been sewing for AHQ
How did you find out about us?
Do you have any connection to the services
What are some of the things you have sewn for AHQ
Why do you sew for AHQ

I just have to say – I think Aussie Heroes is developing into such a lovely supportive group!  I find your emails and kind words extremely encouraging and it makes my job so pleasant and easy to do.  You all know that I spend a lot of time on it but who ever minds spending time with friends!   I really do hope in the future to get around a bit and visit a few of you so that we can meet personally but in the mean time we will have to make do with emails and occasionally, phone calls.

Gasp!  No photos!

How about a little AHQ quality control?  This is Snickers.  Now this quilt was sitting on the floor by my sewing machine table while I re-threaded the machine prior to stitching the binding on.
I guess she thought she should check it out to make sure it was up to standard!

She is indeed a quilter’s dog!  Why lie on your purpose made burgundy dog bed (see it in the background) when there is a spare quilt lying around!

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