Where in the World are Camo Quilt Project Quilts?

It’s been just over 10 years since Linda made the first camo quilt. In that time, over 25,000 quilts have been given to active military troops on deployment. Ever wonder where those quilts have gone over the years?

Here’s a list of places they have been sent:
Afghanistan,
Egypt,
Guantanamo Bay Cuba,
Iraq,
Japan,
Jordan,
Kuwait,
Oman,
Persian Gulf,
South Korea,
West Africa
and places that the Defense Dept calls “Undisclosed Locations”.

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April 22nd Madison Send-Off & Quilts Arrive in Afghanistan – Finally

It’s a rare Saturday that the Camo Quilt Project shop is not open so when it happens, you know it’s for a very good reason. In the case of April 22, 2017 it was a Send-Off in Madison.

The Blackhawk helicopter unit is made up of 86 soldiers. They are heading to Afghanistan soon.

Linda and DuWayne were at the send-off to distribute the quilts and to join with families and several dignitaries to wish the troops well as they prepared to deploy.

MadisonSendoff 4-22-17If you look closely, you can see the quilts under the chairs.

Sometimes, the unit deploys before the quilts are ready. In that case, the quilts are shipped to wherever they are needed.  Of course, sometimes, the shipping time is less than ideal. The unit pictured below was waiting for about a month before the boxes arrived with their quilts. Whether they get the quilts before they deploy or a month late, they really do appreciate the quilts and often send “Thank You” cards, emails or photos like this one.

A Great Day for a Brat Fry

Friday and Saturday May 5th and 6th found many Camo Quilt Project volunteers trading in their scissors and sewing machines for grills, Nesco roasters and lots and lots of brats. The annual brat fry coincides with the village-wide garage sale in Elkhart Lake.

The Fry Guys got started early FryDay (oops, Friday) morning. With dozens of orders for lunches for area businesses, it was all hands on deck to assemble, wrap and pack up all the brats, burgers, hot dogs, chips and cookies. Once those orders were done, it was time to wait on the walk-up customers. Business was steady even though the weather was chilly both days.

As often happens, many individuals and organizations contributed help, supplies and food to make the sale a success. Thanks to the following for their contributions:

The information on donations is still being gathered. Please check in later.
In the meantime, check out the photos from the brat fry.

After everything was cleaned up and cleared away, about 20 volunteers got together one more time that weekend for dinner at Three Guys and a Grill – East. It was a nice change to be waited on after many hours of waiting on their customers.

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Whew! That was a lot of work but worth the effort. In all, the event raised $2,727.00. It turns out that was our best result ever! We sold 100 pounds of brats, 100 pounds of burgers and 80 hot dogs.  These were topped with 12 pounds of cheese, 7 pounds of onions and 3 large bags of sliced pickles.

Thanks Elkhart Lake. See you next year.

Updated Stats

Some of the information here on this blog is out of date so I guess it’s time for an update. The number of camouflage quilts that have been made and sent to troops on deployment (drum roll please) has now exceeded 25,000!

The number of lap quilts given to retired veterans who are living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospice care has just passed 900 and is on the way to 1000!

We’ve just recently begun making Fidget Mats and have so far made approximately two dozen mats with lots more to come. 

All of these items are made and presented to the recipients at no cost to them. The fabric, batting, thread, equipment and even postage is paid for through fund raising or donations. Check out the next post for a look at our annual brat fry. 

Rise to the Challenge

A while ago, Camo Quilt Project received a donation of several bolts of fabric.
One of the bolts had a panel design while the others were Panelcomplementary fabrics. The panel is diamond shaped and has an eagle along with stars and bars. Each diamond measures about 24″ square. That’s a lot of eagles!

As the volunteers thought about the donation, and tried to figure out a way to encourage others to try using it (working with diagonal lines can be a bit tricky) it was decided to announce a “Challenge”. With a couple of quilt tops as samples, the challenge was announced and boy, did the volunteers rise to that challenge!

As of mid-April, there are 18 Challenge quilts made by 16 different volunteers. Each one uses all or part of the diamond panel, and each one very different. Many of the quilt tops were quilted by Leah Z. using the long-arm machine and they have special stitching patterns – words or images such as stars, hearts, statue of Liberty, etc. You can check out the designs below, but the special stitching is hard to see in the photos but we have an offer you can hardly refuse.
For a limited time you will be able to see the quilts “in person”. Starting in early May, you can stop in at Generations Senior Center for a display. (Exact dates of the display will be announced soon and a write-up will be included in the monthly Generations newsletter.)

Interested in trying to meet the Challenge yourself??? There are still LOTS more panels left! Stop by the office on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday from 9 to 3 to see what is available.

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The Long Arm of . . . the Quilter

Several months ago, Linda & DuWayne received the donation of a long arm quilting machine. While they did have to purchase a dedicated laptop and software, the quilter itself represents a significant financial investment. Now, to learn the software, and the hardware and to have the time to get proficient on the quilting machine. DuWayne tried to put in a few hours here and there but there was always something else that needed to be done. Much of the time, the quilter went unused.

That is, until as Linda puts it, “we were blessed with Leah.” Leah Z. offered to learn the software and how to use the quilter. Before you know it, she had finished her first quilt and she hasn’t looked back since.

Now that the machine is in regular use, it’s time for a name. Volunteers have been submitting suggestions for the name for the machine. Some ideas so far have reflected the size of the machine – Big Bertha is one idea. Another was to name it after an aircraft carrier. The suggestions will be voted on in a few days and the results will be included in a future blog post.

Leah Z. checks on the GrandQuilter         Here’s a little better look at the new
long arm machine.                                  quilter and laptop.

Coming Events

The shop will be CLOSED on Saturday April 22nd, so Duwayne and Linda can take camo quilts to Madison for a send-off.however it will be OPEN this, Saturday, April 15.

The Annual Brat Fry will be held May 5th and 6th from 9 AM to 3PM. This is the weekend of the annual Elkhart Lake garage sale. Location will be at Janet’s home at 11 Moraine Dr.
Linda is getting all the food items and supplies except cookies. If you are a baker as well as a quilter, consider bringing 2 dozen home-baked goodies to the sale on the 5th or 6th, or bring them to the shop prior to the sale.
You are always invited to help out either on Friday or Saturday or both.

A New Project (Sew Many Projects, Sew Little Time)

We are already making camo quilts for active military personnel on deployment and “pretty quilts” – lap quilts for veterans in nursing homes or hospice care. Now we’ve added another project. Following a request from Aurora Home Care, we have started making Fidget Mats (AKA Busy Quilts). These are given to patients with dementia. Each mat has several things that the patient can manipulate – zippers, snaps, pockets, buttons, hooks etc – and several different textures of fabric.
Often, people with dementia have a hard time keeping busy. Without something to do with their hands, they may get anxious. The Fidget Mats provide a variety of different things to do that keep the patients’ minds and fingers busy.
After a few samples were made, volunteers went through their home “stash” of fabrics and notions and brought them in to the shop. Combined with military theme fabrics from the shop, more mats were made. But there was a problem – what to do with the growing pile of donated fabrics and notions?
Storage-1
No problem – Julie C. and Mary K. spent a recent Saturday organizing  beads, fake fur, leather, satin, star-shaped buttons, fleece, zippers, Vel-Cro and various other fasteners. It’s still a “work in progress” but at least it’s not piled up on the sewing tables. (The TV will be moved to another place so we can store the donated fabric pieces with all the rest of the items for the mats.)

Military themed mats are going
to be given to veterans while other mats will be donated to a local nursing home’s dementia unit. So far, over a dozen mats have been made with materials available (and carefully organized) to make many more. Here is a small sample of the ones that have been made in the past 2 weeks.


PamB-FidgetMat
Pam B. must have caught the Fidget Mat bug. She has made several mats in a very short time. Here is Pam with one of her mats.

If you have interesting fabrics or notions to donate for this project, please contact Linda at linda.camoquilt@gmail.com

If you’d like to try your hand at making your own Fidget Mat, you can download these directions.
Have fun!

FidgetMats-Directions

Credit Where Credit is Due

Recently, both DuWayne and Linda Wieck have received recognition for the work they do for Camo Quilt Project. The February 23rd edition of the Kewaskum Statesman ran a front page article with photos from the quilt distribution at Kettle Moraine Gardens. The extensive article included 3 color photos along with the history of how the Camo Quilt Project got started and the process by which the camo quilts and the “pretty quilts” are made.
About a month later, Linda was pictured in the Sheboygan Press. Back in December, she had received a call from Four Seasons Comfort, a Bryant Heating & Cooling contractor located in Plymouth. Linda had been nominated and had won the 2016 Bryant Community Hero award for the Sheboygan County area. “The person chosen for this distinction must demonstrate how someone with passion and determination can use his or her time and energy to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Linda & DuWayne had a new Bryant high efficiency gas furnace installed in their home by Four Seasons Comfort on Dec. 28, 2016.
Linda had been nominated by Jeffrey Lubach, also of Plymouth. Lubach saw an ad by Four Seasons Comfort in the local paper, and took the time to visit BryantCommunity Heroes.com to nominate Wieck and recognize her as a local unsung hero from the area.
He wrote “Linda started and runs the Camo Quilt Project for members in the armed services. She started this project by making a few quilts for her son-in-law and my brother-in-law who were stationed overseas during the Gulf War. It has since grown into a three day a week job with volunteers providing quilts to our servicemen, and also to veterans in nursing homes all free of charge. She has provided training to other groups around the country to do the same. She has given countless hours to make a difference to our men and women serving our country!”

For more info on Four Seasons, call 920-565-2095 or email fourseasonscomfort@tds.net.

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