And you know what - I am not sure we really believe what we got done today either!!! We started with 22 quilts - or at least I thought there were 22 quilt tops. Turns out there were 24!!! I think they bred in the dark - a bit like scraps! We managed to get 23 quilts layered, 22 quilts quilted, and all the cords put in all the laundry bags. Sounds so easy when you say it like that!
By the time Irene arrived at two minutes to ten am this morning - two minutes early but actually REALLY early for Irene (she is not an early morning gal) I had almost finished sewing the binding on the girlie soldier's quilt. Irene sat and chatted while I finished that and then we started layering the first quilt. Before we got it finished Andrea turned up and then we were joined by Lyn, Audrey and Cynthia M. Cynthia C dropped in for a while too but she couldn't stay.
While at least two of the girls ironed backings and quilt tops and layered the quilts, I sat in my sewing room at my horn quilting table and quilted. I would have loved to take my machine out and be with the girls (so I could make sure they weren't being rude about me!) but with so many quilts to do, I figured the more ergonomic my work area, the better! And I was right - so far my back and shoulders are just fine. Check with me again in the morning!
I worked out that as long as I didn't run out of bobbin (and that happened regularly even though I started with 4 full bobbins) or have some other technical problem (read operator error) I could just about keep up with the girls layering the quilts. I would have one or two more rows of stitching to do just as they brought in the next quilt. Usually they had to iron something or have a quick drink, or find their drink (Andrea) so I never fell too far behind.
We got to the point where they HAD to start grabbing the quilts I had finished and remove the pins so that we had enough pins for the next quilt! I actually have quite a lot of pins! In the end we did run out of pins as a few pins stayed in each quilt till the binding went on to keep the very ends together. Luckily Andrea had some pins with her! Phew!
We slowly started to amass a pile of quilted quilts waiting to be trimmed.
and our pile of quilt tops grew smaller
At times Irene found the pressure a little too much! I think it is coz she is our token Canadian (oh she will hit me for that!)
Someone set off a quilt bomb in my lounge room. You can see Maisy sitting there kind of dazed by all the activity. The pile of quilts in front of my design wall are quilted, trimmed and stacked with binding. The one folded in half on the floor was used to measure the required lengths of binding to make sure everyone had enough. The machine on the table is my little spare janome, an absolute gem. It was used for sewing more binding.
This is the view I saw most of the day!
finally trimming the second last quilt.
Sometimes we worked so fast our hands seemed a blur!
Finally the completed stack of quilted and trimmed quilts waiting to be bound.
The first finished quilt. This one is going home with Lyn. Her workmate has a son in Afghanistan and she asked if we could make him a laundry bag - we can do better than that!!! He gets a quilt too!
Cynthia managed to get all the cord threaded into the laundry bags so they are all ready to go.
So, what is next, I hear you asking. My, you are almost as enthusiastic as my quilt group!!!
Well, in the next week we will all finish off the quilts that we have - sewing bindings on and giving them their first wash. Then we meet again next Wednesday for our normal Quilt Group Meeting except there won't be much normality to it.
We will be packing boxes. First we will pack the laundry bags into one big box. We want all the laundry bags to go together so there is no risk of any getting lost.
Then we will pack each quilt into its own special box. There will be at least 22 of those. There will be a separate box for the girlie soldier! More on that later. The idea is that the Warrant Officer (WOFF) will take the first 14 quilts that arrive (plus the girlie one) for his teams. There will be one for him as well (of course!!) and then the rest, he can distribute to soldiers who don't get much mail. Sending him more than the required 15 for his team means that none of his team will miss out even if there is a problem with the mail and any extras will still go to good homes.
Finally we will pack up the Christmas goodie boxes. There will be about 20 of those. More on what goes into those next week but suffice to say I hope the soldiers aren't trying to lose weight! Once again the first 15 will go to the WOFF's teams plus one for himself and the rest to those who don't get much mail. Those boxes are going to be well stocked. We have been buying up on specials and other "necessities and of the girls who have to work and haven't been able to come to the sewing bees (Jennie, Debbie and my non-quilty friend Tarja) have sent lots of goodies along too and other friends have given me money to buy goodies.
And finally to our girlie soldier. As her quilt is a different size and shape from those we made for the guys I am not sure that it will fit in the same size box and also we have bought her some girlie goodies which we have not bought for the boys. So I need to find the right size box for her quilt but it may be that we send her quilt and her Christmas goodies in the one bigger box. We will have to see how it fits.
Sometimes it just makes me burst with pride when I think of the generosity of the lovely ladies in my quilt group. Those that have been able to contribute with time and sewing have done so and those that couldn't do that have gone out to the shops and sent treats along with others. Even the guys at the Music shop where my boys and I have out lessons have handed over cash, as has my friend who does my hair. But what has impressed me most - not what people have given, or how much, or what they have been able to do - the greatest gift I have received out of all of this everyone's absolute willingness to jump aboard and do something, anything for our boys overseas. It just makes me so proud to be part of my quilt group, so proud to have such wonderful friends and so proud to be an Aussie!
Till next time.............happy stitching!