I’ve been out of the loop for far too long, and I wanted to post a quick note to let people know what’s been happening, and why I’ve been away.
Last month, we had the worst natural disaster that Australia has ever seen in recorded history – bushfires that destroyed whole towns, killed over 210 people and made 7,500 homeless. The fires burnt over 1,700 sq. miles (450,000 hectares; 1.1 million acres) and came with a ferocity and a speed no-one here has EVER seen before.
If you are in the US, or overseas from Australia, you may have seen it on the news for a day, perhaps a couple of times over a week, but for us here it’s been weeks of living with the horror, shock, grief and more complicated emotions as the days unrolled. I don’t want to write a lot about it: much, much has been said on my own blogs, friends’ blogs and the sites of the relief efforts.
For the craft community in Australia, which is tight-knit (pun intended) and strong, we were and are still aware of the friends whose towns were obliterated, who mourn good friends and family, and who live in camps, trailers or temporary accommodation, surrounded by ash. For so many, nothing will be the same again. We have an overwhelming desire to give, to do something to help. We can also burn ourselves out with the extended emotion over weeks. Crafting for anything — other than another quilt to place around a kid and their single Mom whose house is gone — well, it just doesn’t happen.
Jennifer, you’ve been wonderfully supportive of our efforts through initiatives such as Handmade Helps, the bushfire fundraising cookbook I am co-editing with a handful of crafty ladies, and the sewing bees run by wonderful crafters. Thank you for understanding when I disappeared from Posted Stitches.
There are still quilts being made, packs of fabric and sewing notions packed in my front room, ready to be delivered to crafters who lost everything, the cookbook to be edited, friends to keep an eye out for, and above all, money to be raised for the long term, for the rehabilitation and those extras beyond the basic needs for shelter and food. Winter is coming here in Australia, but now there are many hands to help and the load is slowly getting lighter.
We’ll be back to Posted Stitches soon, with the previous quilt, a new one to show you — and perhaps a mid-year challenge to pitch the Aussies against the Americans in a good old-fashioned art quilt challenge bout. (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! -Oi Oi Oi.)
Oh, hang on, I’m Canadian. What do we shout, eh? (It’s probably something like – ‘Excuse me, pardon me, but if you don’t mind, that’s my quilt, eh?’)