A year ago today I was rushing home from my Sydney-city office to escape the nearby effects of the Sydney Siege. Many of you are familiar with the tragic events of that twenty-four hours, and since that day, our city has indeed begun to heal. My personal response was one of immediate helplessness, that I quickly transformed into action. I vividly remember the moment I was standing in the archway of my sewing room watching the events unfold further on the television, and thinking, “I have to do something. I just have to.” All I knew to do was, well, quilt. So I put out a call for hash tag blocks to create quilts for the victims’ entire families, and the Sewing For Sydney project was born. What started as a small request, blocks for only two quilts in fact, quickly turned into an enormous affair! I still can not believe the way the quilt community responded. To recap,
2,169 hash tag blocks made
14 countries, 4 continents represented
Over 400 volunteers
Over $1200 raised
14 quilts made.
There were so many people that assisted in so many different ways. There were quilt team leaders, long arm quilters, fabric and batting donations, cutters, assemblers, notion donations, binders, monetary donations, morale supporters, design advisors, shipping donations, label makers, businesses and fabric designers spreading the word, goodness, just everyone! So to all of you, I want to send you the biggest glitter-filled hug I can! You are incredible, so thank you. Due to the sensitivity of the situation, I have had to stay mostly silent about the progress over the past months.
But what now? What’s happened since then? Throughout the past year, I have been working with the New South Wales Commissioner of Victims’ Rights in organising their delivery. At the moment, the quilts are all still with me, protected in my sewing studio. As one could only possibly imagine, the wounds of this situation are still extremely raw for the families of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson. There is still an inquest happening into the events, there’s been a memorial designed with their consultation, and the media still clamours at their every step. To that end, the Commissioner wants to ensure these quilts are delivered with the spirit in which they were created. That makes the timing of their delivery so very important to their positive reception.
However, please trust that the Commissioner whole-heartedly supports the actions that we took together and is committed to delivering these quilts at the right time. (She is a self-confessed quilt-lover herself!) I don’t know when that will be, or how it will be, but I have full faith that it will be done in the most sensitive and appropriate manner possible. I share all this with you so that you know that your efforts haven’t been for nought, and they are so very much appreciated by all involved. Also know that the money raised that was not used for the expenses of the quilt making is being split in half to be donated to the families’ chosen charities, the Katrina Dawson Foundation, and Beyond Blue. Additionally, my employer offers a 100% donation matching program, which I am utilising so that each charity will receive at least $1000.00! When these quilts are finally delivered to the respective families, I will be sure that you are the first to know. Again, I thank you for all you have done then, and since!
If you’d like to (re)read the previous relevant blog posts: