This time last year … August 2012

Written by AHQ

29 August 2013

Looking back to August 2012 – compiled by Janine C.
Have you ever made a quilt and years later, seeing it again, find a familiar old friend, or do you have to be introduced to it all over again.  In August 2012 some beautiful quilts and wonderful laundry bags were made and posted off to Aussie Heroes overseas and they are all worth another visit – to admire and to inspire. There are a few lovelies here and you’ll find lots more in our quilt galleries above.

A joint effort by Pam and Jan-Maree from a few BOMs and
green fabric donated by Jeff from Penrith Patchwork.

August 2012 saw Jan-Maree off to Canberra as guest speaker for the Canberra Quilters. She said it was a privilege to be asked especially as they were such a lovely welcoming bunch of ladies.  While there she also did some networking, meeting people who were to become very important for AHQs, in helping to distribute laundry bags and quilts, including one of the chaplains she had been in email contact with ‘over there’. “I can’t tell you how nice it was to finally meet someone and talk face to face with them after exchanging lots of emails. And it was lovely to be greeted with a hug too!”  (J-M collects hugs)
Presented to AHQ by the Canberra quilters

In the small Western Australian town of Bruce Rock a school teacher named Glenis, knew about AHQ (being the sister of our JM) and suggested to her Year 8 Society and Environment Class they might like to write letters to soldiers in Afghanistan. The box of letters made it in good time and landed on the desk of the Chaplain in Tarin Kot.

He emailed Glenis to thank her for the  fantastic letters and advised her that he would distribute them to the Aussie Heroes for her and hopefully the students would get a number of responses. He said that they all appreciated the support and encouragement of fellow Australians. The letters were passed to another soldier who also wrote to Glenis and the children.
Dear Glenis,  Please thank your Year 8 Society and Environment class for their written letters to us. I apologise for the delay in our response. We are soldiers from the Special Operations Task (SOTG) based in Perth, WA, so we are very familiar with the Wheat belt of Western Australia. A special thanks to Matilah, Maddison, Tegan, Luke, Rachelle,  Marin, Lawson, Brittany, Ashley, Tysen, and Darnell.  I have personally read their letters and drawings. 
 So, everyone was very happy and then …. Glenis planned to do fabric dying with her students and it came about that the students who had written to the soldiers would dye calico pieces that could be used to make a quilt, with the help of an AHQ friend in Perth (thank you Liz) for the soldier who wrote the lovely letter to the students.  He was due to come home before a quilt might arrive but as he lived in Perth, the quilt was delivered, with a laundry bag, to the soldier’s wife just before he came home. 
And here is the quilt.

Quilt from Bruce Rock School students
with help from Liz of red kangaroo fame, and her aussie animals
Maybe not all our quilts are quite as special as this, with as much work put in, but all our quilts are pieced and quilted with lots of love and that is what really counts, because;  

 – all quilters know that-
A quilt is a blanket stitched with love!

String quilt made by Julie Ann and Julie and quilted by Chris

As HMAS ANZAC left Australia for the Middle East Arena, to support our troops over there as part of Operation Slipper,  AHQ were planning to support them.  Our navy were there to “provide maritime security in the Gulf region, including counter piracy and anti-terrorism operations in the Gulf of Aden and working to prevent the illegal trafficking of people and drugs.”
It would have been wonderful to smother the ship in quilts and laundry bags so that the whole crew were covered but there were also Aussies in Dubai and Afghanistan who needed quilted hugs. It was decided to have a quota system for HMAS ANZAC. 

Sixty three sailors on board HMAS ANZAC put their names forward for quilts and somehow the Commanding Officer and the Chaplain selected 25 recipients and very soon their excited messages began arriving as confirmation.
Spinning boomerangs by Stephanie

 ‘Thank you Jan Maree and your quilters for this wonderful and generous gift to our hard-working and long-suffering sailors so far from their love-ones.   Padre’
‘I am the medical officer aboard the ship and the quilt will be a much appreciated addition to the sickbay for the comfort of those who are ill, and myself and my staff would like to thank you and your fellow quilters for your thoughtfulness and kindness to the men and women of the Armed Forces of Australia.
Please pass on my sincere thanks in advance to all those involved in this very special endeavour. The quilt will have pride of place and be an enduring reminder for my family and I of ANZAC’s operational deployment and all those who have sacrificed and provided service for our great country.’
‘I am one of the lucky 25 to have my name down for a quilt.   If it is possible I would also like a laundry bag.  Thank you very much for the privilege to receive a quilt.’
‘I have been one of the lucky 25 members from Hmas Anzac to receive one of your fabulous quilts. I thank you very much for this heartfelt gesture and I want to assure you that it means a lot to know that folks back in Australia care enough about our servicemen and women deployed overseas, to take the time to make such fantastic quilts.  Once again to all the ladies and their husbands, thank you for taking the time to make these wonderful tributes to our deployed members.  My humblest thanks and my prayers go to you and your families. ‘

And – no surprise to us, an idea from the soft heart of Jan-Maree, after passing on the information that there were 24 girls and 168 guys in total aboard HMAS ANZAC! …….
‘Does anyone want to sew a few extra laundry bags?  I would love to be able to send some to the rest of the crew and I know they will be appreciated, especially once our quilts start to land on board!’

By Jill

And Julie Ann got sewing LBs for HMAS ANZAC
Then in August 2012, Jan-Maree finally got an address for the four Military dogs and their handlers in East Timor. The plan was to send quilts for the handlers AND the dogs and lots of hands went up to make those.

A dog quilt by Angela

And a quilt for the dog handler – by Angela

 ‘Dear Quilters,  Thanks a lot for efforts to make and send a quilt over. It has helped me sleep as the commercially made doona are too bloody hot and I like to sleep cooler which the quilt allows. A better night’s sleep means a lot over here; keeps me and my mates safer when we’re out and about.
Thanks again,’
‘My contingent received their quilts yesterday and everyone was most appreciative of them especially the time and effort that goes into it.
Please pass on our thanks to all the people who have put in such a fantastic effort and also may I say a big thank you to you for organizing everything.
I know personally once, I leave this operation I am getting mine professional hung and it will take pride of place amongst my many military souvenirs and never be forgotten.’
 ‘First up I wanted to say a big thank you for your support to us over in the MEAO (Middle East Arena Organisation), it is greatly appreciated and puts a smile on our face.  I have been advised that we are able to received laundry bags through the service that you offer?  It would be greatly appreciated. I have been over here now for about four and a half months, and have a couple more to go before I’m home. ‘
‘I just wanted to send a massive thank you to everyone one involved with the Aussie Hero Quilts. I am the very proud owner of a lovely quilt and a new laundry bag. The quilt is fantastic, with lots of different pieces of fabric, my favourites are the lizards on one panel and kangaroos and koalas on another. It has really come in handy lately, as the heater has stopped working and the room is freezing during the night. The laundry bag is much better than the one I was using previously. It has seen better days on previous deployments. It really stands out amongst the other plain pillow cases and green bags. I have even started seeing other laundry bags that are similar to mine, so there are a few other guys over here that have them too. It is the best feeling to receive mail, but when it is such a lovely gift from the people back home that do not know you but support you, the feeling is even more special. I will treasure both my quilt and laundry bag and they will follow me everywhere for the rest of my military career. Again, words will never be able to express how special I felt to receive these beautiful gifts. All I can do is to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved.’


‘I would like to thank you from the bottom of mey heart.  My son just returned home safe and sound from his deployment in Afghanistan.  He received one of your beautiful quilts with a few rather yummy treats.   He will cherish the quilt for the rest of his life.  Keep up the fantastic work, it made a world of difference to my son.xxxxxxxxx’
 ‘I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to the ladies of the Aussie Hero Quilts and to XXXXX and XXXXX  (the couple that requested the quilt for their friend) for their part in bringing this wonderful gift together for my darling hubby!!  Thank you all so much.
The quilt is amazing!!!  He told me the other day that he got it and he was so grateful and touched by the fact that someone (or several) went to such an effort for him!  And he was so grateful that you thought to do this for him.  We both can’t thank the ladies involved enough.  It’s perfect!!  😀 and believe me, it’s no little thing what you did…..It really means a lot to both of us that you all took time out of your certainly busy lives to put this together for him! It truly has made him feel special and thought of and for that I cannot thank you all enough!’
A message was posted on facebook by a mother, from her son.  He wanted to say thank you for his quilt and said how it had cheered him up when he was feeling a little down and how his roommates had been amazed by his parcel.  Well those room mates are getting quilts too.
This one will go to one of them.

Mary donated the centre of this quilt to Liz
it is a gorgeous panel

And the laundry bag to go with the quilt above
‘I have just received my beautiful quilt and wash bag in the post and wanted to thank you so very much for the wonderful surprise. It is simply stunning and I am blown away that people take such care to keep us deployed troops in mind. I don’t know how to thank you enough.’

Made by Liz
‘I am writing to say thank you for the quilt you sent me. I really appreciate the hard work and effort you went to in making sure someone you’ve never met was a little more comfortable at night. Thank you and God Bless.’

‘I am no quilter, but I can see the amount of work that has gone into making it. The colour scheme and pattern is amazing. Mary must be a very astute lady, please would you thank her for me. I will treasure it as a great memento of my tour of Afghanistan. The chips and rocky road were also very welcome and were shared over a cup of tea in our office!  Your kindness and efforts are very much noticed over here and help keep morale high when at times things can be a little lively and worrying.  With very best regards and grateful thanks.’

Made by Kristina
‘I received your package yesterday and all I can say is thank you and a great big HUG!  To take time out and do this is a wonderful thing. This is something I will keep for a long time and will be a fitting addition to when I travel, I will try and get as many passport stamps as the quilt.  It looks great on my bed and gives the room a bit more of a “homely” feel.  The Laundry bag was a nice surprise as well.  It has been used already! There definitely won’t be any problem finding it among the rest.  By the way the choc covered pineapple was a nice touch.
Again Kristina and all of the other quilters out there doing the same thing, it is really appreciated to think that someone apart from our families are thinking of us.’

And in August 2012 there was no shortage of Laundry Bags posted off:

Those famous Eagles bags by Marg

Sewing day at Patchwork Penrith resulted in a batch of laundry bags

Angela’s laundry bag for a dog handler
Remember the quilt at the top of this post – here it is at home

A man and his quilt

And the show-off side of the quilt above
Royal Corps of Australian Mechanical and Electrical Engineers

A quilt by Jan-Maree for one of the chaplains
And for another fellow who loves the ocean and now he loves his quilt by Jan-Maree

A girly quilt by Kaye

….. and a pink LB by Carolynne

           … and 31st AUGUST 2012 recorded:  486 quilts and 469 laundry bags sent
And, finally, our pin up for August 2012, meet Caroline’s Hunnigirl, AHQ tester
Thanks Janine.   

If you have sent off a quilt or a laundry bag this week then your name should be on the list below.  If you are not there, and you think you should be just email me.  Sometimes I might hold back a photo for a few weeks until the item has been received but any doubts just ask.  If you have sent something and have not sent me the photos please send it as soon as you can so I can add it to the post for tomorrow night. 

Jenny G
Julie Ann
Liz B
Lynn W
Margaret R
Old Bags and the Dag!
Rita C
Stephanie D
Stephanie T
Sue N

It is going to be quite a week for Weekly Dispatches this week, just you wait and see!

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

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1 Comment

  1. Sue Niven

    It is really lovely seeing them again and looking back helps us go forward. You Rule!


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