All sorts of business today. Hope you don’t mind but we received the request list from HMAS Newcastle last night so I am flat out adding that to our current list and getting ready to send the list out to everyone who wants a chance to make a quilt especially for them. The list will go out either tonight or tomorrow morning. If there is a particular theme you want to make as you already have the fabric let me know. There is just about everything on the list! And some good ones too!
To brighten these word-heavy pages I will punctuate them with some simple quilts of the past.
The need for Speed –
Now I never crack the whip. I refuse to try and hype everyone up to try and reach goals like when we were heading towards our first 1000 quilts. I am afraid that if I do that then people will put themselves under too much pressure and will get turned off sewing for us and it is important to me that you enjoy the process where possible.
Just for once though, I am going to request that we try and choose quick and simple patterns for the quilts we sew for HMAS Newcastle. Experience has taught us that getting the quilts to the ships as soon as possible is the key for making sure that they are received on board in a timely fashion. This is a different MAIL situation from those on the land. Mail to Afghanistan and Dubai and elsewhere typically takes around a month at the most and usually there is plenty of time to get parcels to those locations. With the ships however, the best mail windows are in the first half of the deployment it seems and the last couple of months can be diabolical. Mail can take anywhere from two weeks at the beginning to 6-8 weeks later on. Anything posted too close to the end of the deployment will not make it to the ship before it starts the return trip.
So, please, please, can we choose simple designs, can we get them in the mail as soon as possible and if you have ANY trouble completing your quilt can you PLEASE let me know ASAP so that I have time to come up with a solution if possible.
For Newbies and Novices –
Firstly welcome to all the new followers. It is great to have you along. A few new quilters have contacted me in recent days and that is always good news. If you haven’t already you would probably find it handy to check out the “Intro to Aussie Heroes” page on the blog. Just click here for it. If that does not answer all your questions please feel free to send me an email. Aussie Heroes, much to my delight, has developed into a lovely friendly group and if you are on Facebook you can post any questions you have and someone is bound to give you a helpful answer.
Spread the Word –
It would be great if we could spread the word and find a few more quilters but I need your help. If you could ring you local radio stations, write to your local paper, tell people you meet in quilt shops and anywhere else you can think of. Some people carry flyers in their bags to hand out to interested people wherever they meet them. If you want a copy of the flyers just leave a comment or email me.
When no word comes –
I have never had time to calculate on average how many of our recipients we have heard from and how many we haven’t. There are only so many hours in the day and more so for our lovely people over there. PLEASE DO NOT EXPECT A THANK YOU OR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FOR EVERY QUILT YOU SEND OFF.
There are so many reasons for this and I can only guess at some.
– Lack of communications is a good one – not everyone over there has a laptop so emails may be difficult.
– Some of the guys are going “outside the wire” regularly and when they do come in their first priority is food, shower, clean clothes and hopefully family – somewhere in there they have to clean their equipment, do their laundry and maybe even get some sleep before they go out again.
-Did you know that the average working hours for some of the more senior officers can be from 730am till ten thirty pm? That doesn’t leave much time for letter writing or photo taking either. Further, not all of them have access to hotmail in their offices and not all want to use official email for personal messages.
Finally, as we continue to move towards bringing our troops home, they have to continue to pull down facilities that they have had to make life easier. Now I do not pretend to know what their schedule is and what they are removing and what they are leaving but I do know that as we move closer to December less facilities will remain and who knows what that means for the troops. Already I am noting mothers, wives and girlfriends writing about not having heard from their loved one for days or weeks.
So, in the coming months, morale boosting gestures are only going to become more important but probably less commented on. So stick with it and take heart in the messages that we DO receive. It is a fair bet that they echo the thoughts of the vast majority of our recipients.
Sewing Day Outcomes
We had a really productive day here yesterday making 15 great star blocks which will make one complete quilt, mostly sewn by Rita C while Evelyn and Lisa pieced a cool pink (or should I say hot pink) backing for a whole cloth front – wait till you see the front – soooo pretty. Lisa, whilst not a one for sewing, was an invaluable help. Together we photographed and boxed and folded. It is always good to have a a few more pairs of hands.
The next sewing day is coming up this Sunday. This weekend in Penrith the plan is to make a couple of quilt tops suitable to go off to Newcastle. I am not sure what yet, I want to wait and see what requests are left over after everyone else has had a look at the list. I will have all the blocks cut out and ready to go and will concentrate on simple squares and maybe some big disappearing nine patches.
This Sunday 19 May
97B Henry Street, corner of Woodriff Street, Penrith
Start at 10am and stitch till 2pm.
Bring your sewing machine, your lunch and I will provide your snacks and all fabrics.
If you are interested in coming to one or both days can you please let me know so that I know how much preparation to do.
Well that is it for me – I have to get back to work! Too much to do. Too little time!
Till next time………KEEP SPREADING THE WORD………and sew SIMPLE 🙂 JMxx