Monday, May 30, 2011

Quilts Coming and Going

I finished off another 3 quilts so far this week and they will soon be on the way to Qld to people who have been displaced by the floods. Two of them are for children and will bring some colour to their lives. I'm also packing more boxes of quilts to head off to Qld next week or so, when the truck is available again. Unfortunately it broke down today so I wasn't able to send the quilts this week. At least it gives me time to make more to send.
I also gave another 16 quilts to Rochester yesterday and Lesley Lowe very kindly delivered them for me. She also brought over the lovely child's quilt shown in the last photo.
I also heard from one of the ladies who is distributing the quilts via the community centre.
She said "I had saved a large bed quilt (from your last lot of quilts) for when I needed a bigger quilt - I had an elderly couple come in today who have just returned to their home on Wed - they are really feeling the cold, so I gave it to them - they were so pleased, tears & kisses all round - it was so nice to be able to help them".
It may be only a small donation of your time and scraps but the quilts we've made from the QAYG blocks have brought real comfort to the people who received them. I have one ready to send to Japan and also more on the way for Christchurch so there's lots of quilty comings and goings at the moment.
More to come, Jan Mac

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quilts for the Homeless

I managed to finish off a few more quilts despite having a very busy week with paid work. Now that the nights are so cold it's been inspiring me to keep finishing off quilts so I can send as many as possible to Qld for the next day for the homeless to receive assistance which will be in Ipswich the first week of June.
I'm hoping to get the quilts sent up by truck this coming week and the wonderful beanies and scarves that have been donated will also be much appreciated and given out with the quilts and blankets. I almost have another crocheted blanket finished and then pile of wool is decreasing. I also have finished more scarves so will post photos of them on my other blog soon.
In the meantime I've included a report on the previous day to help the homeless held in Brisbane a week or so ago.

INDIGENOUS ITEMS....went quickly and we kept getting asked all through the day if we had more. These are beanies, fingerless gloves and scarves knitted in black, red and yellow.

ADULT JUMPERS - Particularly for men.....we could have given away at least another 500 from what we had there!!

BLANKETS - As we expected blankets were in huge demand. But BIG blankets, not so much knee rugs. Once again, another 500 or so more BIG BLANKETS would not have gone amiss.

SOCKS/BED SOCKS - Could have used heaps more of them also. I was very surprised at how many asked if we had bed socks!!

OLDER CHILDREN JUMPERS - Once again, needed more than we had. Mainly from ages 6 upwards.

TOYS - Knitted/crocheted toys were as usual popular also.

TOILETRY BAGS - Please get the word out that we need more unused toiletries; especially face washers, combs, brushes, tooth paste, tooth brushes, deodorant.

I was told by one of the organisers from Brisbane City Council that the first "guesstimate" was around 1150 clients. The appreciation for what we do as a group is just so heartwarming. I wish you could all hear and see the words of astonishment, thanks, pure joy etc that come from those in need. There were lots of "new" homeless there yesterday, (quite a lot because of the flooding in January - no insurance etc etc) and lots of "hanging back" thinking we were selling things, until they were told our items were free of charge!
This year I felt there were more women and men in my own age group ie closer to 70 than 60 and I know how much I feel the cold. One volunteer approached me asking if we had men's jumpers because she had found an elderly man who was too embarrassed to come and look for himself. This made me think about how their self-esteem must be affected. We ran out of adult jumpers. I appreciate they take longer to knit and the materials cost more but I think I'm going to focus on doing more in future.

Grandparents, obviously down on their luck, were thrilled to find our wonderful array of toys (mostly knitted) to choose something from as gifts to grandchildren. Can you imagine being a grandparent whose poor financial situation doesn't allow you to give gifts to your grandchildren.

There seemed to be many more pregnant ladies than I'd noticed at previous days for the homeless. They seemed pleased to have such a large selection of baby clothing from which to choose.

It was upsetting when we couldn't provide a jumper for a sturdily built boy of about 10 who was so focused on making sure his baby sister had a hat and a toy that he didn't care about himself. There seemed to be far more children and their resilience is astounding. Despite adversity they smiled, chatted and had great manners. One sweet little girl of about 10 asked if she could take a beanie for a girlfriend who couldn't get there. It turned out her friend is 35 and they "camp" in the same place.
After hearing how quickly the large blankets, quilts and warm garments are snapped up it inspires me to use up what I have here and get more quits etc out to where they are very much needed.
Thank you so much for helping me to help these people who are struggling daily just to stay warm, dry and fed, particularly after the floods.
Love and thanks, Jan Mac

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quilts for Males

I've been making some quilts for males from the donated QAYG blocks and although there are some flowers in the blocks they are not a main feature and the colours are more subdued.
The people who helped distribute the quilts for the bush fire survivors of Kinglake said that although I made quilts which would be suitable for males, mostly they just wanted a warm quilt and the colour or pattern didn't matter as much as the comfort of a quilt.
I still like to make some which are in more subdued colours for the males but if the nights are cold I don't think they'll get less sleep under a floral quilt as long as it's warm and long enough.
Still trying to get more done to send off to Qld as well as Rochester so I plan on finishing a lot more this week.
Hugs Jan Mac

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quilt As you Go with a Difference

I love all the different variations of QAYG and I how they can are a great way to use up scraps and strings. This morning I've been packing boxes of quilts ready to send them off to Qld as well as sorting through the piles of quilts for Rochester in Vic.
I've been working on completing more QAYG quilts too and the first one shown is a variation and was made by the Sussex Neighbourhood House (Vic) and sent by Vireya Jacquard. I love the stained glass effect with the black sashing and the use of colour to define the blocks and it is a lovely vibrant quilt.
The second quilt was made for a teenaged boy as they often want a quilt without a floral theme and I try to make quite a few of them so the boys can choose a quilt they like as well.
Hopefully the quilts will brighten up the beds of their new owners and keep them warm too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two More Today

I've been trying to tidy up my sewing area and still finishing off quilts. I need to tidy more but also need to quilt more before the truck goes to Qld again in a week's time. I still have a few more quilts to bind and then I plan to work on the QAYG quilts again.
These two quilts were made from donated tops and it makes it very quick for me to get them done when I have batting and backing the right sizes so I'm quilting those ones first.
At the moment I'm working on more for Rochester (Vic) as well as for Ipswich (Qld) where they have been badly affected by the recent flood waters.
Then I need to finish and post off a couple for Japan and Christchurch.
It's a lovely way to stay warm when it's cold outside, surrounded by quilts and batting. and packing boxes of quilts for delivery.
More to come soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, May 16, 2011

So Far This Week...

I've had a good start to the week and have finished off more quilts from donated tops and blocks. The first quilt was a donated cheater panel which looks lovely when quilted. The next two very large quilts were made and donated as tops with backing and binding from Maureen Hume of the UK and will soon be on their way to Qld for flood victims and the last quilt was made from donated string pieced blocks made by Margaret of Scotland. I made them into QAYG blocks by adding batting and backing and they were used with other larger 12" blocks from other donors.
All of these donations have made it much easier for me to get more quilts out there where they are needed.
Many thanks, Jan Mac

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday's Finishes

These are all finished quilts made from donated tops. Someone had started to hand quilt the first quilt and it was donated with the backing and lovely wool batting. I quilted it on my domestic sewing machine as it was basted with thread and I cross hatch quilted it. I didn't remove the hand quilting and it's not noticeable that different types of quilting were used. The binding was a bit challenging as I had limited fabric left from the backing and I had to piece a couple of pieces to get enough width to make the binding at 2.5"; but that was what quilters did in the past so it's good enough for me too.

I'm sure that the new owner will be very glad that someone donated the quilt instead of leaving it languishing in the back of the cupboard. I must be a bit strange but I love to finish off other people's UFOs and then donating them where they will be loved.
Luckily I have plenty of places which are in need of quilts to comfort people. Today I was asked for 35 quilts in time for Christmas, for a group which supports children who have been abused and I think that's a great group to support.
If anyone has time to make a few pillowcases from kid's prints they would be great to keep the quilts in and brighten the kid's rooms and lives.
Back to the machine as I still have more to finish for the flooded areas in Qld and Vic.
Love, Jan Mac

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Warm Hugs Sent Again

I received more fabulous quilts again today and they will bring much comfort and warmth to the people who are living in challenging circumstances due to flood damage to their homes.
The first two beautiful quilts were made by Margo Barber (Tas) and the 2 QAYG quilts in blue's and beige's are from Maureen Hume and her patchwork group from the UK. The other lovely QAYG quilt was made by Vireya Jacquard and the staff of the Moreland City Council and the Sussex Neighbourhood house in Brunswick (Vic).
Thank you so much for supporting this quilt appeal and making life a little better for others.
Hugs , Jan Mac

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I've Been Busy

I had a lovely weekend with family for Mother's Day and have managed to finish off some more quilts as well. The first smaller quilt was donated and just needed the binding applied. I love the simple design and it's a striking quilt which someone will love. I've recently heard that many of the nursing homes (retirement homes) aren't using their heating as the costs are now too high so I'm going to be working on more lap sized quilts as well to make life a little easier for our elderly. Many of this type of accommodation was affected by floods in Qld so I know they will be useful.
The last 3 quilts were all made from donated tops and will be going out to either Qld or Vic for people who lost their homes in the floods. I've also been busy knitting and crocheting as I can work on those hand projects while chatting with visitors and the finished garments and blankets will be very welcome to the people who are currently homeless.
Thank you all for your generous donations and continued support.
Bye for now, Jan Mac

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today's Finishes

I quilted two more quilts today and finished the binding on 4 so far as well as making backings for more tops.
The first two quilts were made from string pieced blocks made by Margaret in Scotland. I made some of them into QAYG blocks by backing them and adding batting and then joining them as for the other QAYG blocks. The second quilt I just joined the string pieced blocks together and quilted them after adding a backing and batting.
The third and fifth quilts were made from donated tops and the fourth quilt was made from donated blocks.
I'm working on getting more quilts finished and out of here before our winter really starts. The days are lovely and sunny here at the moment but our nights are getting much colder and the people living in homes which have been gutted due to flood damage will really appreciate the warmth of the quilts. I have more bindings to finish off and will show more photos of the finishes soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Donated Quilts

I've received more beautiful quilts over the past couple of days and they will really bring comfort and warmth to their new owners. The first one was made by Maria Wilson (WA) and the colours are so lovely and fresh and the design is really effective. The following quilts were donated by Terri Pearson and quilters from Nowra and Gerringong (NSW). I love the pattern of the second quilt and I must take a close-up photo in case I have time to make one like it. The thrid quilt is beautifully hand quilted and the last quilt is a lovely one of flowers and their names are stitched on the blocks. They are all such lovely quilts and I know that they will be cherished.
Thank you all for your continued support.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quilts for Brisbane, Queensland

Yesterday I boxed up more quilts and sent off 10 boxes containing 85 quilts, knitted blankets, beanies, scarves, baby and toddler clothes, and cloth tote bags . They are all on their way to Brisbane where they will be donated to people who have lost their homes in the recent floods in Qld. Thanks to a recent donation of 63 quilts from Gladys Schwarz and the Dimboola quilters I had enough quilts ready to send up with a truck and they were added to other quilts I'd finished as well as lots of knitted items I'd either received or made from donated yarn.
I plan on getting another shipment ready as soon as possible as the need is great and will be for some time.
I've included a report here from people who went out with the food vans which feed the homeless in Brisbane. They were there to give out donated warm garments of blankets, hats, scarves, gloves etc and the people were so grateful that the knitted garments were more popular than the food.
We arrived before the food vans but there were still lines of homeless waiting patiently for the food vans. Within minutes the blankets, knee rugs that we had taken were all gone, with beanies going nearly as fast.
We were able to speak with some of the homeless at length (when we weren't helping others find what they wanted), and heard some more amazing stories!! Some of them that were there last night are actually flood victims...most had been renting, lost all their possessions, but hard as they try, can't find more rental accommodation. One lady, her hubby and 2 children told us how they had applied for over....300...rental properties since the floods, and have been knocked back every time. They have "worn out their welcome" at relatives and friends, so now the four of them are living in their car, having to move on every time the police come along and tell them to move on!
All they wanted was to get a couple of rugs for the children...which fortunately we were able to do that and give them all some beanies, a jumper for each of the children etc. They were so grateful.

Another man in his mid 50's told us he had just had 2 days paid work, but he wouldn't get that money until end of next week. Every day he "knocks on doors" looking for more work. He had been living in a boarding house but when they put up the rent to $200 per week, just for a room, a bed with a "flea infested mattress", shared toilet and bathroom he couldn't afford it so moved out!! He was thrilled to be able to get a second hand sleeping bag that had been donated to us. He was going to go last night and sleep at the beach now he had a sleeping bag because "I don't like being around lots of people and all the parks, etc around Brisbane are just getting too crowded with homeless, so the beach is going to be great!!"...But all he really wants is a job that is for longer than a couple of days!! He is willing to do anything he said, even clean toilets, but he keeps getting knock backs even though he goes to 139 Club as often as he can so he can wash his clothes, have a shower etc, so he looks presentable to possible employers!

Then when I was helping one young man choose a beanie and some socks, he said that a lot of the homeless have been looking for us for weeks!! Sure enough, about 10 minutes later a new group walked in, came straight to where we were, didn't worry about the food that was on offer!!

Over 500 donations went within 3/4 hour!! Each and every one of them thanked us so much....but also told us "you will need heaps and heaps of blankets at Homeless Connect". A lot of them were "new to being homeless" and couldn't believe what we do and give away to "someone like me"!!
How blessed are we that we are able to bring comfort to so many people just by doing what we love- whether it's by making QAYG blocks, making a quilt top, making a complete quilt or knitting a beanie, or a scarf. Everything we make and donate is so appreciated that it makes it very easy for me to keep making the quilts and getting them out there where they are needed. Thank you all for working with me with this quilt appeal. The first 2 quilts shown are from the Kyvalley quilters and will be going out with the next delivery. The QAYG quilt was one I finished yesterday and is on its way to Brisbane and the last quilt is one of the 63 made and donated by the Dimboola quilters. Thank you all for all your support and I pray that the communities which have been so badly damaged by tornadoes in the US will also receive help and comfort from quilters there.
Love, Jan Mac