Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Somewhere far north of WOW where the angels live......

Saturday was truly phenomenal! I am not sure there are words to describe it. There was an army of angels who arrived, focused and got a tremendous amount of work done with incredible synchrony and most previously didn't know each other.

789 blocks in under 3 weeks! Strange timing and we had 7 of our core group that meets weekly to work on Quilts of Valor unable to attend due to prior commitments and untimely health issues and 4 or 5 volunteers chose to work on other projects. That left our overall productivity down by 11 or 12 people. We chose to go with 20 blocks per quilt. We sewed 500 blocks and got 25 quilt tops completed. It is a really good thing our productivity was down or we would have run out of blocks, which was my personal nightmare. Every thing happens the way that it is supposed to. As it turned out, we couldn’t finish what we had. It was perfect and awesome! Volunteers have stepped up to sew the rest of the blocks and return them within a week. Very cool! We should have an additional 14 quilt tops within the week for a total of 39 quilt tops. So very awesome. Good job everyone, very nice work, angels!

The most shocking thing of the whole day was the visual appeal of the blocks when randomly sewn together. I can say it was just stunning. When I made the call for 1600 blocks I had no idea if this would work out well or tragic. You know what my fear was. Fear unfounded. The quilt tops are FABULOUS! I could never have imagined anything this cool. Each quilt top is unique just like the military personnel they will go to. No two are alike. The blocks individually and collectively are absolutely stunning. I had no idea there were so many red, white and blue fabrics and combinations. It is so very cool to see the different fabrics from the different areas of the country.

We had a steady stream of supporters from current military personnel, to veterans, to veterans with restored military vehicles for display in the parking lot to curious quilters to moral supporters to 2 embroidery machines to do labels to those who didn’t sew but stepped up to pitch in. The whole thing was an awesome whirl of focused, dedicated energy of an army of angels in motion. Big “thanks” and humble “good job” to everyone who stepped up and did their part to make this a phenomenal success.

I have no worries about not having more blocks on our first “block party” and actually, I am a bit grateful. We didn’t actually get all of the ones we had completed and I am not concerned about that either. They will all be done shortly. I am thrilled with the results and think it was just the perfect amount. We kept 3 or 4 people busy, non-stop, all day doing the cutting and squaring up of the blocks. We learned something here and will do a lot more of that in advance for future events. I also set the deadline 2 days prior and another lesson learned here. Most of the blocks arrived within 36 hours of Saturday morning. We need more time in there to get the blocks squared so that our skilled seamstresses are not spending time cutting blocks all day. We will move the due date up to allow time for squaring up. Thank goodness we didn’t get 1600, we would have never gotten them all cut in one day! Every thing happens the way that it is supposed to. This was an incredible first run. I just can’t wait to do it again on Sunday, April 20, 2008 in Norwalk. See blog for event schedule and addresses, link below.

Being a part of this is a phenomenal experience. For those who couldn’t be present, we could feel your presence in all the blocks. Thank you for your support and participation. It was an honor to put your work to such good use. Thank you for your trust in us, we appreciate your efforts and will always do our best to make you proud and earn your respect and support. There was a feeling of pride, patriotism and love in that room that I simply cannot describe. It was amazing. We received blocks from Maine and Florida and many points between here and there.

I personally just couldn’t wait to see what one of the quilt tops looked like with borders so Sunday I took the first one off the stack (nope, I didn’t even try to pick one because I could not have as they are all really fabulous). I put the borders on and you can check it out on the blog. I think the borders are going to work but I am more interested in what the recipients think. I am looking for a WOW factor when they receive their Quilt of Valor and something that truly makes them feel honored. I got a “WOW, that is awesome, I like it” from the Marine next door. I put a survey on the blog, check it out and cast your vote on the borders. Only one vote each and only 6 days to do it so get on it if you are going to.


The photos of the day and all the quilt tops are located on flickr as promised for your viewing. Have a blast checking out all the blocks, the rest will be up as soon as the quilt tops are ready so if you don’t see YOUR block, don’t worry, it is coming very soon:


(I have the strangest feeling I am missing a quilt top photo or two. If you don’t see your quilt top up there please let me know.)

Be sure to pass this link to everyone you know to make them aware of the project. I would like as many military people as possible to know that we are here and we care and we are all stepping up. You never know who your friends know. It is a 6 degrees of separation kind of thing. The overwhelming photo is that of all the completed quilt tops on the table. They are 500 blocks literally from all over the country made by Americans to support our American Heroes. Seeing them was quite a moving experience as just as seeing the photo may be for you.

Thanks again everyone for the phenomenal support. Thanks to Barbara for getting our sponsors lined up for food, our venues, registration, getting the word out, counting the blocks and everything else. Thanks to our sponsors, Krispy Kreme, Panda Express and Trader Joe’s. Great fuel enjoyed by all the volunteers. Thanks to our corporate sponsors. We have received a total of 760 yards of red, white and blue fabric.

So many people did not learn about the event in enough time to participate and felt left out so we are keeping the same block for this month by popular request in Red, White and Blue. But to shake things up a bit we are using a theme of Purple Mountains Majesty so for a challenge toss a little purple in your block if you can step up to the challenge. (Actually, if you don’t have purple in your stash it is no big deal, RW&B alone is just fine but I need a little entertainment after 70 blocks in R,W &B!.) I will have a detailed document out in a few days about the block this month but for those of you who just can’t wait to get started…….get going on the Friendship Stars and toss in some purple because we need to double our blocks this month …..and since we jumped to 20 blocks per quilt I am raising the call to 2000 blocks! Let’s see if we can get it done! Raise the bar a bit! Always remember to HAVE FUN!

There is an email below that has been circulating regarding fabric color choices below. You will see for yourself what the recipients preference is so we will give them what they want and we will always stay with R,W & B but we will toss in other colors for variety and for a little challenge. The R,W&B is not up to me. The recipients are the ones who served so they are the ones that get to define preferred colors and it is clearly R,W&B. We will find inventive ways to keep it fresh so we don’t get bored and fall asleep at the machine.

This is not the project I would have ever chosen to work on or thought that I would have been involved in. This project chose me and I am eternally blessed and grateful to have the experience and the opportunity to focus the energy of so many incredible angels. I am doing my best to live up to the blessing. With an army of angels supporting this project it can only go up higher and way larger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get ready, this is only the beginning………it's going to be an incredible journey..........

Thanks for sharing the love, see you April 20th SUNDAY in NORWALK,

From: Tim Sumner [mailto:tsumner@ ...]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:49 AM
> To: QOVFchat@yahoogroup s.com
> Subject: [QOVFchat] Re: www.equilter. com Eagles/Military fabrics
> Great site for QOV fabrics, and good comments from quilters. In the
> Aeromedical Staging Facility at Andrews AFB, we also use a wire
> basket cart on "Quilt Patrol" in the Maryland Room and to patient
> rooms. Because the recipients can see the quilts, it's easy to see
> what catches their eye. Red, White and Blue is overwhelmingly the
> most popular color theme, and I don't recall ever seeing such a
> block of red that could trigger a negative reaction. Camo gets a
> good response, probably because of the strong identification.
> colors and flower patterns are a tougher sell, and frequently bring
> statement like, "My wife will like this."
> Novelty military themed fabrics are fun and the guys like them, but
> RW&B gets them the most. Farming themes aren't as popular as you
> might think - perhaps because some of our patients may have
> to escape the farm. But, John Deere fabric is often a big hit.
> Hunting, fishing and sports themed fabrics get an enthusiastic
> response from some, but service related material seems to work
> On that topic, Army fabric is best because most recipients are
> soldiers. Marines are about 15-20%, sailors (generally Corpsmen and
> SeaBees) perhaps 5%, and USAF & USCG less than that. We receive
> about 10% women, but many of them prefer the RW&B quilts just like
> the men.
> In passing, it's good to remember that we receive patients with
> serious illness and non-combat injuries as much as those who have
> been wounded. Many are angry and depressed that they have been
> separated from their units, and some feel that they have deserted
> their friends. I often sense that they need your quilts more that
> those who return with Purple Hearts. We tell them that while they
> have been serving "down range" you have been praying for them, are
> welcoming them back, and recognizing with the work of your hands
> their service on our behalf. It is a very personal thing that
> touches their hearts and assures them that we know and appreciate
> what they're doing for their Country.

1 comment:

Alycia said...

well I will give you the WOW as well! I am impressed at all the quilts you made, and the whole event. Amazing work!!!

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