In recent weeks new Friends have joined the ranks of ladies who sew (still waiting for a guy to sew) and there are loads of new Followers on Facebook.
So, in order that we all be in the same page, welcome to Aussie Heroes 101. Part 1.
What do we do? The Friends of Aussie Heroes are spread all over the country and we make quilts and laundry bags to send to serving members currently serving overseas. We send twice a year with the welfare mail but if we get a request from a spouse or a member and are supplied with the address we can send a quilt any time of the year. All we need is two or three weeks to get a quilt made and two or three weeks for the post to cover the distance. So far we have coped well with any requests that have come our way and in fact I think we could cope with a few more. We would certainly do our best. We started sending to guys and gals in Afghanistan and are now sending to Egypt as well. We are happy to send anywhere and if requests came in for members in any of the other regions I would be delighted!
If you are not a quilter and don't wish to read all about the quilts you can now jump down to the next lot of orange text!
If you can sew and want to make a quilt or part of a quilt you can find all the specifics with regard to how to make a quilt here. If you look at the top of the blog page, between the heading and the photo collage, you will see a list of pages. Tonight I will be covering a lot of information from the Quilt Specifics Page. All these pages contain a wealth of information.
Quilt Size - the size has been determined to fit into a Bx2 sized Aussie Post Box so that you can post them free of charge - as long as you keep the weight under 2kg. Currently I reccommend making your quilts around 42-44" wide which is around the width of quilting fabric. The length should be no shorter than 66" and no longer than 72"
Quilt Design - You can choose any design you like for your quilt. The original quilts were very simple strip quilts made with 6 1/2" wide strips. We made 28 quilts in very little time in order to meet a deadline. I still think those quilts are great for beginners and because I think it is important for as many people as possible to be able to get involved we need something beginners can handle. As more quilters have come on board the designs have become wonderfully diverse so just go with what works for you. We need quilts for guys and girls but just bear in mind that in Afghanistan for example there only about 20% female to 80% male! We need four more boy quilts than girl quilts.
The Quilt Specifics Page contains general instructions on how to make a simple 6 1/2" strip quilt if you are interested.
Batting - we only use cotton batting as these quilts are used year round. In winter it can get down to -25C in Afghanistan and in summer up to 40C (maybe more?) A cotton lined quilt is useful if the aircon is a little chilly whereas a polyester one is not so good.
Someone asked me what sort of batting do I buy? I don't know the name. I just go the my local quilt store and ask for the thinnest, cheapest 100% cotton batting - that is all I ever use these days, whether for Aussie Heroes or other projects and it has never let me down. The rolls are usually 2.4m wide which means that I can get two quilt side by side if they cut me a little over the length of the quilt or one quilt cross ways if I buy a little over the width of the quilt.
Quilting - is a matter of personal choice and ability. I have annoying arthritis in the base of my thumbs so free motion fancy quilting is not an option for me on quilts of this size so I do straight line quilting. if you can do stipple of fancier - fill yer boots as they say!
Binding - is sewn on by machine or hand - again your preference! Again there is a tutorial page on binding your quilt here if you need it.
Label - it is essential that all the quilts have a standard label in as far as they have similar content. After much consideration I have created a standard label as follows.
Please include the blog name and my email address so that they always know how to get in touch with Aussie Heroes.
If you wish you can add who the quilt was made by and where you come from etc.
I print my labels on Printable Fabric available from printable fabric.com.au. They have been very supportive in the past donating some sheets and giving a 30% discount when I have purchased them. As we currently have no funds at our disposal this is the sort of expense that I hope future fundraising will cover. (more on that in future posts)
The dotted lines represent a couple of sentences that I had to remove as it is a surprise and I don't want to let the cat out of the bag too soon - hee hee you will just have to wait and see!!!
I received another message regarding Belvedere's turtle quilt today as well and thought you would like to read it - some details removed to protect the sender's privacy as always...
I first heard about your quilts when my colleague showed us the one you guys made for our turtle Belvedere. As a mascot he means so much to us and I think it is lovely how proud the boys and girls are of him. They have even made him a little set of body armour and make sure he is on all of our unit photos. All our troops were so impressed with the quilt (blush) and the laundry bag was so cute (thanks for the idea Denise!) It is so nice the things that people do the the troops overseas. We are forever grateful. I think I would really appreciate a quilt. I see it as something you would cherish for the rest of your life, far beyond the deployment. And also add a bit of colour to my room and white linen. I feel quite lucky to be able to work over here and get the experience to deploy. I look forward to hearing back from you and thanks for the quilt you made for Belvedere.
I guess Belvedere is one lucky turtle! I mean really, how many turtles get their own body armour! Wouldn't you love to see a picture of that! Wonder if he has a helmet and a side arm too....
No need to email me and ask if you can do a quilt for this one- there is already one almost completed that I will be putting in the mail on Thursday after I get my hands on it on Wednesday. (but thanks anyway!)