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 on deployment on Operations Slipper and Mazurka. We send items in response to requests from serving members or their loved ones - spouses, family members and friends. All we need is three or four weeks to get a quilt made and two or three weeks for the post to cover the distance. Mail to some areas can be a little unpredictable so I prefer a lead time of 10 weeks for preference. 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 Dubai, the current HMAS ship on deployment and Egypt as well.
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. These are all useful reference information to assist you.
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 recommend making your quilts around 42-44" wide which is around the width of quilting fabric. The length should be no shorter than 70" and no longer than 75". I would suggest you aim for 70" length as the extra length makes it hard to fit the quilt into a box.
Quilt Design - You can choose any design you like for your quilt. 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 to every girl quilt.
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.
I go to my local quilt store and ask for the thinnest, cheapest 100% cotton batting. 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. Another option is to buy 3m which gives you enough for three quilts. In spite of appearances the three quilts below are all the specified size and are laid out on 3m of batting. Note - three quilts will only fit on 3m of batting if they are the minimum lenghth of 70" - you might need a little extra batting if they are up to 75".
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 - Each quilt is to have an Aussie Heroes label on it. I print my labels on Printable Fabric available from printablefabric.com.au The label MUST include the blog name and the blog email address. BOTH are required.
This is what we call it when a serving member or their family find us and request a quilt or a laundry bag. We love these requests as it means that we usually have some sort of personal contact with the recipient and/or their family.
Generally, when I put out a call for a volunteer I get more takers than I need and I usually operate on a first "in best dressed rule". Having said that though, if I know someone is really keen and has missed out on a couple of opportunities then they might get first option the third time. Also, if I know of a quilt that is well under way which I think might be suitable for the request I might email the quilter and ask if they are interested in completing it in time to fill the request.
The account is a legitimate account set up with the Westpac Bank in Dural, NSW in the name of Aussie Hero Quilts(and Laundry Bags) and requires two signatures for any transactions - just so you know.
Today, from early this morning up until 4pm this afternoon I have had over 40 emails including a request for input for another magazine, and several phones calls regarding Aussie Heroes. I just want you to know that if, at times, the response you get from me seems a bit short or to the point please understand it is due to time constraints rather than abruptness. Please don't stop emailing and especially sending me updates - they are invaluable and I record as much of the information that you pass on as I can - but there won't often be time for a long reply.
Now, meet Hunnigirl! She belongs to Caroline and just in case any of you missed it on Facebook, she has a very important role in Quality Control and, of course, takes it so seriously that she dresses the part especially!
The final word for tonight goes to Jamie who left us a lovely message on Facebook tonight and I know not all of you will see it there so here it is...
All the Men and Women in the forces appreciate what you are doing. Its a good morale booster, to know that there are great people like you in our country, that appreciate and support us, through the good and the tough times....Thanks girls, for all that you do!
And bless him for calling us "girls"!