Quilters Help in Wake of Australian Fires
The 2019-2020 fires in Australia have been fueled by prolonged drought, which has resulted in over 18 million acres of burned land and the death of millions of animals. These fires have had huge impacts on residents, animals, and the environment. People from all over the world have donated money to help with the cost of fire-fighting equipment, rebuilding efforts, prevention research, and more. The amazing part of these donations is that they're coming from a variety of individuals that are from all walks of life - from celebrities to corporations to quilters!
Quilters are some of the kindest, most generous people and the following individuals are no exception! Mathew of Mister Domestic set up an Instagram account where handmade items from various makers were auctioned off and 100% of the proceeds were donated to help with the bushfires. The auction ran from January 8 through January 13. In that short 6-day period, Matthew raised over $24,000 dollars! It was a collective effort from all of those who participated - makers who generously donated their items, buyers who helped raise money, and Matthew who organized the whole thing.
A handful of other makers have joined in fundraising efforts on Instagram. Some have sold patterns and donated a portion or all of the proceeds. Others have auctioned off quilts and projects that they've had stored around their homes. There's no way to track down everyone who has been selling products, but we want to quickly highlight a few!
Elizabeth Hartman sold her adorable Koalas pattern and donated all proceeds to WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue. Her efforts raised over $13,000 dollars.
Giuseppe of Giucy Giuce helped facilitate the auction of a quilt designed and made by Anneliese of Eye Candy Quilts. Proceeds from this auction also went to WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue.
Nicole of Modern Handcraft ran an auction on her Instagram page from January 10th through the 14th. Winning bidders were able to donate directly to the charity or organization of their choice.
If you missed these previously mentioned auctions, don't worry! There are other groups and individuals still working on fundraising efforts that you can join in on.
The Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild in Australia is collecting quilt blocks to be made into quilts to donate to families within their community who have been affected by the wildfires. This effort is ongoing, so if you want to find out how to make blocks to donate, check here.
You can buy patterns from the following makers who are currently donating proceeds: Sew Fresh Quilts, Sew Quirky, Corinne Sovey, The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, Penguin and Fish, and Lynette Anderson. There are plenty that we missed, so keep your eyes peeled on social media for other amazing patterns being sold!
To help the animals that have been affected by the Australian wildfires, thousands of crafters from across the world have been sewing, knitting, and crocheting protective gear for native wildlife. The Animal Rescue Craft Guild is a community of crafters that creates handmade blankets, mittens, pouches, and other forms of shelter for animals affected by crises. Since many young marsupials, including possums, koalas, and wombats, have been separated from their mothers, these animals are now relying on sewn or knit pouches for recovery. Rescuers say mittens have also helped to protect and heal the burnt paws of koalas. The response has been so overwhelming, that the group has actually put a pause on crafting so they can do an inventory of all of the items they've received. Even though they are asking people to stop making for a bit, we encourage you to check out their Facebook group and see all of the amazing items being made.
Even though the Guild has put a pause on sewing and making, consider making donations to other groups. Donating money can be more effective and offers more flexibility than donating physical handmade items. Storage space for handmade items can become an issue, whereas money can always be spent in a variety of ways.
While the bushfires are on the top of everyone's minds right now, keep in mind that this is an ongoing effort to rebuild the communities affected, and will take a long time to fully recover. So, if you feel like you've missed the boat on the quilt auctions or pattern sales mentioned previously, don't worry! Maybe these stories will inspire you to set up your own fundraiser or just simply make a donation to an organization you care about. We are all part of an amazing community of quilters who jump in to help during times of need.