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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.

Reader Comments (37)

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.


February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwilla

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.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny F

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.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJuwles

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

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSooziii

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.


February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermarlene

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!

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Newman

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

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie C

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

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoy V

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

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKhris

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).

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarlis

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.

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLindi

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...

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisar

I am gathering fabric right now to send off.

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

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTristan Robin Blakeman

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

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

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 littleswamp@bigpond.com

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudith Thomson

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

February 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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.

February 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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!!

February 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfriedaquilter

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.

February 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

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.

February 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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.

February 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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.

February 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

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

February 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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


February 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYankeeQuilter

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

February 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBetty

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