Thursday, February 12, 2009

Firestorm in Victoria

I have just been on the phone.

First - I need to give a bit of background story. A very long time ago my mother remarried. I was grown and married, and so were my new stepfather's children, but our families met from time to time and I am fond of my step brothers and sisters.

Alice and her husband moved to a delightful wooded area in the hills of Buxton in Victoria. I am not giving their full names - Alice is proud and would not like to feel as if she was being given charity.

They set up fire systems, and as fires moved towards them they were ready to stay with their house to fight for it. It was the advice of a neighbour - a man who had a lot of bushfire experience - which made them move. He had cleared fields around his house where Alice and her husband had lots of tall trees - and he said they should get out as they would not have a hope of saving it.

They threw a few things into the car and headed for Marysville.

Now all Australians know that that town no longer exists. All but fifteen houses burnt to the ground. There are terrible and terrifying stories of bodies found and perhaps 100 people died there.

Alice and her husband realised that the town was unsafe - it was being evacuated - and drove just ahead of the fire to Alexandra to the next evacuation point.

It was days before they could get back to Buxton to see if they had a house - and everything was gone. Their tool shed is there so they have garden tools and a lawnmower - but no garden and no lawn.

Alice had started quilting quite recently - and the beautiful blue quilt she was making for her daughter has gone.

They have been offered some temporary accommodation and I am going to send her a machine I can spare at the moment, a rotary cutter and a ruler and mat. What she needs most is activity. I know how calming and fulfilling quilting can be - so I want to try to replace her fabrics so she can work on a quilt.

She was working in all shades of blues and pastels. My idea was to ask if my readers could spare a piece of fabric from their stashes to send it to her.

I would not post something like this without permission so I spoke to Jan, her sister in law and my other step-sister who is in contact with her.

Alice was thrilled with the idea. She does not want to feel like a charity so I am not asking for goods or clothes - only fabric and perhaps some quilt magazines with patterns. Her idea is that if she gets the offered house in Buxton she will start a group for the women there - and if she has some fabric she can share this with others. This means that all colours will be very welcome. I was really touched that she would immediately think of a way to share whatever might be sent.

At the moment she does not have an address so Jan is offering to receive packets for her and will take them to her as soon as she has a place to live.

The address is:

For Alice,
c/o Jan Stinear,
76 Prince Street,
Victoria 3931

Please be generous and send her a fat quarter or a nice piece of fabric - I love the idea of a phoenix quilt group, rising from the ashes.


Anonymous willa said...

I hope you will share this with the quiltart list. I hope Alice is covered up with fat quarters and more!

Have long enjoyed your blog.


11:40 am  
Blogger Jenny F said...

What a wonderful idea - and so wonderful that your stepsister should immediately think of others. I hope the Phoenix group is inundated...
Thanks for letting us know of a practical way to help Jenny.

11:46 am  
Blogger Jenny F said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:46 am  
Blogger Juwles said...

i will definitely be going thru my stash today to see what I can find to send to her, both fabric and supplies, fabulous that we can help out a fellow quilter. Big hugs and prayers for all those in the bushfires.

11:54 am  
Blogger Sooziii said...

Am off to rummage in my staff and send some fabric and supplies. Thanks for letting us know of practical ways to help.

12:13 pm  
Blogger marlene said...

Thanks for giving us a way to help an individual and from Alice other quilters as well.
I will be pleased to deplete my stash.
My thoughts are with all those affected be the firestaorm.


12:33 pm  
Blogger Stephanie Newman said...

Thankyou Jenny for posting this, i have been wanting to find a reliable way of helping those in need apart from financial donation.
I will put a care package together this very afternoon and get it into the post-what a lovely relative you have to be thinking of sharing the joy of quiltmaking with other affected women-this could just be the perfect way to help them all recover from the horrendous events they've gone through. Thankyou!

12:37 pm  
Anonymous Julie C said...

Hi Jenny, I have gathered up some material out of my stash, as soon as I read your post/blog. As a fellow scquilter I am only to happy to share.

Gift from strangers are like angels watching over you. May the angels be with your family and you.

Julie C
West Aust

12:50 pm  
Blogger Joy V said...

What a fabulous idea Jenny. I have been looking for something that I could do apart from cash donations. I am not a fast sewer so feel that it would take me too long to do a quilt - but a stash I have! Also many books/magazines I don't require any more - all are complete with patterns etc. If it is OK, I am visiting family in Melb (Chelsea) late next week so will put tog a box or two of goodies and I can deliver them - would be too big to post. A great way of not only helping a new quilter but others as well. They will need the companionship after all this is over.
Joy, in Anglesea, Vic

12:54 pm  
Blogger Khris said...

I will go through my stash now and send some off. I hope it brings these ladies some comfort in such a dreadful time of their lives. I have posted this to another yahoo list to pass on the word...hugs Khris in South Oz

3:03 pm  
Blogger Marlis said...

Thank you for posting this Jenny. I will definitely go through my stash today and send a package. And I will link your post with my blog (I am a textile artist living in Switzerland, so many european artists will read it).

7:08 pm  
Blogger Lindi said...

Thank you for this opprtunity to assist, Jenny. I take so long to make a quilt, but this gives me a way to help out straight away.
Wishes of hope for the Phoenix group.

8:25 pm  
Blogger Lisar said...

Yet another wonderful practical way to help our quilting sisters...and as the queen of blue fabric, I would just love to share some of my stash with someone who needs it much more than me at this time....Thanks Jenny...

10:28 pm  
Blogger Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

I am gathering fabric right now to send off.

Thank you for letting us know how, in whatever small way, we can help.

4:24 am  
Blogger Carol said...

I have been thinking about the fires in Australia and the devastation of whole towns. It is overwhelming. So this is more of a gift for me than for your stepsister. I have needed a way to personally reach out and this is it. I am sending magazines and fat quarters tomorrow and thanks for posting this on the SAQA list. Please let your stepsister know that many people are thinking of them.

Denver, CO

11:05 am  
Anonymous Judith Thomson said...

Dear Jenny
Love to help and will send a box today. I also have a quilt looking for a home and perhaps others do as well. Does anyone know if there is already an agency that distributes things like quilts eg the wraps with love etc?
Judith Thomson

12:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sending some fabric with love from the UK. I have been wanting to help someone caught in this dreadful disaster. Thank-you for giving me the opportunity.
Maggie in the UK

7:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to send some stuff from the UK too. It is such a good idea and wonderful to have something positive rise from the ashes.

4:03 am  
Blogger lizzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:03 am  
Blogger friedaquilter said...

This is a great idea, Jenny, and I have mentioned on my own blog. I also spend today putting together a parcel with books, thread and fabric which is winging its way to Australia now. A word of advice for people mailing from the U.K. two lighter weight parcels might actually be cheaper to mail than one heavy one. Check with your postoffice before packing!!

4:37 am  
Anonymous Deborah said...

I think this is a wonderful idea and will be asking my local quilting group to help too. Thank you for letting us know how we can help since I live in Devon England and cannot help other than with prayers. Thank you.

6:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jenny, I am Alice's sister. We can't thank you and all quilters who have responded.Your offer of a machine is just the thing to get her going again. Alice and I share the same passion for sewing and quilting.

3:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have passed the word to my quilt group in Dulwich (SE London) and hope they will all send some fabric. I plan to check the rates at the PO this morning but in any case am happy to send some fabric and thread for Alice and her sister and think it is a wonderful idea. I do hope they secure the house in Buxton.

7:03 pm  
Blogger Julie said...

What a fantastic idea, I have been wondering how we could help, other than cash to the red cross of course, this feels so much more personal. I will put a link on my blog to help spread the word.

10:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A kit (fabric and pattern) is on it's way.....the phoenix is rising.
Melinda H

9:06 pm  
Blogger YankeeQuilter said...

What a great idea...I'm off to find a box.


4:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenny, I intended to email you to compliment you on the quilts in Jan Krentz's latest book. Lovely work.

I will look in my stash for fabric for your stepsister. My heart goes out to all those who lost their homes. This happened in the San Diego suburban areas a few years ago and I had friends who lost their homes too. So I can identify with how devastating it is.

My best wishes to all.

Betty Alofs

5:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Quilting group I belong to has been wondering how to specifically target quilters with their donations.
This is it! Thank you. I also have a heap of thread so I'll send that along too.

8:55 pm  
Anonymous Yvonne said...

I have gone "shopping" in my cupboards for some goodies for my fellow quilters because the nearest craft shop is 600km away for me. I even found some crochet hooks for those who don't quilt!! We went to town today, 120km away for us and posted the parcel. I was so pleased to be able to do this and I hope if it was me in this situation, that someone would do it for me too.
Yvonne in the Northern Territory, Australia

10:00 pm  
Blogger Sandi said...

This is just the thing I was looking for as I wanted to help someone in real need. Last summer so many quilters "stepped up" to make quilts and donate sewing supplies to help those in Iowa who suffered flooding from the Mississippi River. I will begin pulling fabric and I have some magazines, new ones, that I will be happy to send along, too!

3:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your message was posted on a Dutch blog which is read by many Dutch quilters. You can be sure that there will be packages from The Neterlands as well, I'll go through my stash tonight!

Bless you for the idea

3:20 am  
Blogger dewhurstphillips said...

This is exactly what I've been looking for to make a contribution to - will make up a parcel tonight, I'm sure if there is more than you sister can use, they will find a way to share it with others in the same situation.
Best wishes

1:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little something is already in the post. More to follow. Am spreading the word. It's good to do something practical. Thank you, Jenny, for letting us know. Some things don't seem so important any more. Thinking of you out there in Australia.

Sue, UK

4:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just received my birthday FQs, from some online groups, so I'll put some in the mail on Tuesday.
God bless, Christine in Los Angeles

6:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Jenny what a wonderful way to help. Only too happy to send some fabric.Good on you Alice for your great idea.

Maria WA

12:14 am  
Anonymous Marianne Planting said...

What a wonderful idea. Is it permitted that I copy the post on your blog and paste it on our forum "Quiltvirus"? We have seen on television what happened with the fires in Victoria and it is difficult to understand how big this disaster is. I thank you for giving the opportunity to do something!

7:37 pm  
Blogger Terri said...

I have just been catching up with your blog Jenny and so have just read about your sister. My heart goes out to her. My sister in law is in Traralgon and thankfully she did not lose anything in that dreadful fortnight. I have been looking to help quilters and have recently sent blocks to another quilter who has family in Benalla who have friends and relatives who are quilters who lost everything and they are also organising to share these blocks to make quilts for other victims. Fabric will be on its way today.
Terri WA

10:11 am  
Anonymous Marise said...

Hello, is it still possible to send fabric to the lady in Australia? i didn't see your blog until today. i live in utah, and can send some blue fabrics, and some others.
Thank you@

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