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Thursday, October 20, 2011

300!!! Oh my goodness!!!

300 posts!  I can't believe that has gone so fast.  I am still planning to do a giveaway.  It was supposed to coincide with my 300th post but I am a bit tied up with another project at the moment so forgive me but it will have to wait a few days.  But it is coming...

I have been promising to explain what my current special project is so, assuming my teenage boys can leave me in peace for a little while, I will tell you what is happening.

One of the many blogs I follow is one called Posie Patchwork, written by Jennie. Jennie always makes references to her handsome soldier husband and being ex-military myself that catches my attention.  Last Friday I was reading this post in which Jennie told us her husband was now in Afghanistan.  I was prompted to write to her and ask if there was anything I, or my quilt group and I, could make and send over for him and his mates. You see, I am always reading American blogs which talk about the Quilts of Valor Project.  Such a wonderful project and I always wish we had something like that here, so when I heard about Jennie’s husband it seemed a good chance to do something for at least some of our service personnel. 

As it turns out, Jennie’s husband is in charge of 15 soldiers and, believe it or not, a really useful gift would be a laundry bag.  Sounds like such a little thing doesn’t it?   Well not so.  You see the soldiers send their send their uniforms to an Afghan run laundry, in hundreds of plain white, navy & green ‘sacks’ with only marker pen initials on them for identification.  You can imagine how hard it would be to find your laundry bag amongst hundreds of similar ones and apparently emails go around each day saying “someone picked up my laundry bag”.  Jennie made her husband a colourful one with large initials; he finds his laundry very easily.   So, Laundry Bags it is.

I emailed my quilt group and as I hoped they are all on board as much as the different individuals are able to be.  We are going to be making 15 very durable laundry bags with lots of reinforced stitching etc as the actual laundry bags also get tossed in the hot commercial washing machines & dryers too.  All the fabrics must be pre-washed so no colours run – as Jennie said “we don’t want pink soldiers on patrol”.  We have chosen a selection of tickings and upholstery fabrics which we luckily had on hand and at Jennie’s request will be appliqueing the soldiers’ initials in large letters on the side using various novelty fabrics. 

We will also be adding some goodies to the bags to make them like Santa sacks.  Our goal is to get them in the mail no later than 7th November, or if we absolutely have to, the 10th of November. We want to make sure that the goodies get to the soldiers in time for Christmas and we have to allow for three to four weeks in transit plus the normal Christmas rush!

Once the laundry bags are under control, if not finished, we are planning to start on a quilt for each of the soldiers, hence my sneak peak of last night.  Did you know that it gets down to MINUS 25C over there at Christmas time!!!  There are 14 males and one female that we are sewing for.  All the guys will receive quilts similar to the one I showed you last post, except that we have come up with a few ideas to jazz that simple quilt up easily and appropriately.  The one female soldier is getting some special girly love from all of us.  Her parcel will contain some nice smelly pampering etc.  Her quilt will also be a bit more girly.  We are gathering all our soft and pretty orphan blocks, or making some new ones, and will be putting a much more pretty and feminine quilt together for her. 

Today I cut out her laundry bag from a pretty piece of curtaining I have had for awhile.  I will line it with the same fabric for extra strength and will applique her initials on in green. 

 I also made her a matching tissue cover though I expect I will need to send the tissues along with it.

During yesterday’s sewing bee we sorted out the fabrics for all the laundry bags, even cut some out, divided up all the soldiers amongst us so that we could get on with appliqueing their initials, finalized our plans for the guys’ quilts and began planning for the female soldier’s quilt.

Today I collected some orphan blocks from the lovely Audrey around which we will base the girly quilt. 

We have decided that we will just use the soft and pretty blocks and will save the darker pansy blocks for another time.

Apparently there are other soldiers that Jennie’s husband can identify who do not receive mail on a regular basis and that just breaks my heart.  Imagine being that far away from home and all the normal comforts and not having someone to send you mail and care parcels.  I have decided that once these fifteen soldiers have been sent their laundry bags and quilts I will continue to send parcels over to others as well as long as there is someone to tell me who to send them to.  It is such an easy thing for me to do and it is something that just feels so right!

So, now you know why I am not quite on schedule with my giveaway.  The last few days have been consumed with getting this up and running!  Now you can see why the quilts have to be quick to construct and serviceable in style.   

Till next time....happy stitching!


  1. What a super thing to do! It is the queen of all give-aways. It would be so cool to be a fly in the corner and watch those guys open their bags.

  2. This is a wonderful thing you are doing! My son was in the Navy several years back and I know how he has commented on how great it was to get a box of Christmas goodies on Christmas morning. (I mailed them really early, but they were delivered to the ship via helicopter on Christmas morning! I was really worried it had been lost.) I included hot cocoa mix, homemade fudge, small goodies he had asked for, and I wrapped it all in our home town newspaper. Well, he said he carefully spread out the newspaper, made a cup of hot cocoa and ate his fudge while reading the news (although by then it was a couple of months old!). He said he could pretend he was home. My heart really goes out to these guys so far from loved ones. Your hard work will be so appreciated!!!

  3. Such a wonderful idea!! I'm like Julie, I would love to be there to see them open these. :) You guys are angels. :)

  4. Congratulations on your 300th post! Your new project is AMAZING and the troops will so love what your are doing!! Thanks to you and your sewing buddies for having the big hearts that you do and for making the world a better place one stitch at a time. Way to go, Jan-Maree! Your latest project is going to impact a lot of people in such a positive way. Kudos to you and your fellow quilting buddies!!

  5. You're an angel to be organizing such an ambitious project. And you know how appreciated everything will be, once they get to their destination. The Quilts of Valor are a heartfelt project as well here in the US, but I just wish we didn't have a need for it. Till the need is gone, we'll keep making QOV and sending our boxes and trying to make life for our servicemen and women just a bit more enjoyable for a while.

  6. what a lovely idea! And congrats on 300 posts!!!!!

  7. Congratulations on your 300th post ! And you're such a generous and kind person in what you do.

  8. How wonderful of you to make these items, you know my lovely Son in law is going to Afghanistan as early as the end of December or middle of January.

    Oh dear I don't like to think about it...

    Thank you for making these great items to make heir life a little easier

  9. Congrats on 300 posts and what a wonderful thing you are doing! What a sweet bag for the female soldier.


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