Quilt Refresher

Written by AHQ

26 February 2013

Again, with new friends looking at the blog, and even for some of our old hands it is a good idea to have a bit of a refresher and cover some info about the quilts.

I think you all know the size of our quilts – 42″ wide and no shorter than 70″ long.  I would love to make the quilts wider and maybe even longer but it just isn’t practical as we need then to fit in the boxes and I know myself that sometimes that is a bit of a struggle.  Fitting a laundry bag in as well can be a bit of a challenge.

In addition to how hard it can be to get a bigger quilt into the box remember that these quilts eventually have to fit in to the luggage to come home and sometimes the troops are moved around over there.  We don’t want to make things hard for them by giving them something that is too hard to move around.

Please use only 100% cotton batting or a 60% wool/40%polyester batting. Both these types of batting have been trialed in country and we know they do the job.  The climates where these quilts are going vary from tropical to below freezing so these quilts need to be versatile.

We don’t send RAG QUILTS.  They just are not practical in a country that is so dusty and also can you imagine if a luckless soldier put his rag quilt in the laundry with his uniform – oh it doesn’t bear thinking about!

Every quilt must have and Aussie Hero Label on it as follows:

This is an
 made for an
Aussie Hero
serving OVERSEAS
with gratitude for your service.
I would appreciate it if the wording remains the same but feel free to add in who the quilt was made by etc.   I would like all Aussie Hero Quilts to be easily identifiable as such so that they become recognizable and widely known.  Both the blog name and the email address must be on the label so that the troops can find us.  Some can’t email a gmail address and others don’t have access to much internet but hopefully with the blog up and the email address they can get in contact if they want to.
Labels can be printed on printable fabric or hand written.  If you would like help with your labels you can check out the ones that Hilary has volunteered to make here.
I always encourage people to make whatever they want when sewing for us but if someone asks me what I would like them to make my answer is always the same.  I prefer gender neutral quilts as the bulk of our recipients are male but, of course, we also get requests from girls.   If you want to make a girly quilt you are welcome to but there may be times when you have to wait a bit for me to find a recipient.  Numbers of girls on the list tend to vary from time to time, sometimes I have several like now and sometimes I have none.
My second request when asked is that you keep it simple.  I love the fancier or more heavily pieced quilts as much as anyone but the reality is the whatever we send is loved because we have taken the time to make it.  Simple quilts get the same response as the fancier ones so do not ever feel that your quilt is less valued if it is a simple strippy quilt.  
When you are deciding what quilt to make feel free to make anything you like, however please bear in mind that it is really difficult and quite time consuming for me to try and match a special themed quilt with the “right” person.  There are only two ways I can do it.  The first is to put a picture of the quilt on the Facebook page and ask if anyone knows someone this will suit.  This has not been particularly successful in the past.  The second way is to individually email those who have requested quilts and ask if a particular theme appeals to them.  I am sorry but the second method is just too time consuming to do.  It is also fraught with danger because if I go to someone and ask if they like a particular theme and they don’t they often come back with “but I do like ……..”  
So, please, feel free to make anything you like but please also understand that it is often the luck of the draw  as to who it goes to so quilts that will appeal to a broad range of tastes are best.  Additionally, it is actually really hard to get quilts to specific job types such as cooks and dog handlers.  My contacts over there are usually really busy and I really don’t like to email them with requests to find a home for special quilts on a regular basis.  
If you want to use up your themed fabric think about mixing a few themes up and making an adult “I Spy” quilt as those have been really popular or make a quilt that is predominantly colour based and throw your themed fabrics into it based on colour.  Quilts made with a sporting theme, one sport or multiple always go down well, regardless of whether the recipient is a particular fan of that sport.  Just some suggestions anyway. 
This does not mean that I won’t find out specific likes and dislikes if you want to personalize a quilt for a person.  I can easily and quickly send off an email asking what their interests etc are – that is one email (assuming I have an email address of facebook contact of course!)  To chase multiple people to see if they like a specific theme is far more time consuming.  I need to spend my time wisely.
If you are looking for inspiration for a quilt don’t forget that we have a few tutorials for the following quilts on the blog – just under the heading you will see a list of pages that you might find handy.  The following tutorials are available and we always love more if someone wants to write one.

A couple of final words about quilts.  Over the December January break we have relaxed a bit and allowed longer for quilts to be made but now that we are getting back into a normal routine we really need to try and get back to a four week turn around.  if someone requests a quilt on 1 March, and we take four weeks to get the quilt into the mail then that is around 28 March.  If the quilt then takes 2 weeks to get to its recipient it is not too bad but if it takes 4 weeks which is highly likely that is almost two months and I think that is long enough to wait.  That is just another reason to use simple patterns.

Finally please don’t take it personally if you get an email from me (such as lots of you have received today) asking for an update or progress report on your current quilt.  I do that to make sure there are no issues I need to know about – no unforeseen circumstances that have prevented you from completing the request.  We have had all sorts of “life experiences” happen over the last 12 months and we will no doubt have  a few more this year.  If there is a problem I need to know about it as soon as possible so I can maybe do something to help (and that usually means relieving the pressure on you) and still get a quilt to the recipient in a timely manner.

Also please don’t take it personally if you get an email from me checking that the quilt/laundry bag has actually made it in the mail.  I never assume it has actually been posted til I have had confirmation.  I have learned the hard way that that confirmation is essential.

And just before I go – to amplify what I said about the importance of laundry bags in my post on Sunday read this email that Melissa received today.

Dear amazing Melissa,Your beautiful and thoughtful present made me feel very special. Thank you so much for all your hard work, I absolutely adore the laundry bag! I will cherish it and will always remember the stranger who made a gift just for me and brought my kids here 🙂
Your little Holly sounds just adorable, I hope she knows what a wonderful mum she has. I know how hard it is to work with little ones, there’s no easy answer but things do get easier when you have a routine established. 
I never thought that I would do anything like this but I know of the dangers and I’m here because I want to support the young men who have given up a chance of a normal life because of the scars they carry from the job. 
They are the real heroes.
Gifts like yours are like medals of honor. 
Thank you 🙂

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

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  1. Wendy

    Evening everyone, just a quick question about fabric….. I am a sewer not a quilter but am hoping to do a quilt soon….. Does the quilt have to be made with 100% cotton or can you use a blend?

  2. Janine C

    Recently I received some fabric that I'd bought on ebay, it have been packed with a vacuum sealer. I just wondered if something like this would help in packing and posting quilts. The packet I received had 12 FQs, packed inside a plastic bag, in the vacuum. It was like a block of wood and very light weight. The fabric was not crushed or marked. Has anyone else used this method for packing fabric?


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