Monday, March 24, 2014

Dear Soldier

The QOVF Director received an email with the following letter attached. It just had to be shared. The email also referenced a book by Tom Brokaw, "The Greatest Generation."  You might enjoy this video, a speech with Tom Brokaw regarding the Candy Bomber.

The Letter:

December  12th, 2013

Dear Soldier,

I'm very sorry, but I'm not a good diary keeper, but here are some thoughts about why I made a quilt for you.

I have been making quilts as part of Quilts of Valor for three years now. I want to give back for the protection you and your fellow soldiers are giving. For me it is not just about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it goes further back. I was born and raised in what was then West Germany and I have always been grateful for the protection the American Armed Forces provided, as well as to those soldiers who fought during World War II to free Germany and made it possible for me to grow up in a democracy.

I grew up close to Frankfurt, so I was always aware of the American military presence; there were always plenty of soldiers around. But I could also see the big American military planes going in to Frankfurt airport. Germans had nicknamed these planes "raisin bombers" during the Berlin blockade by the Russians in 1948. The airplanes used to deliver food and other supplies to West Berlin during the Blockade. The pilots started to drop chocolate bars, raisins and other candy tied to little self-made parachutes for the kids, hence the nickname, which stuck. My father remembers being liberated by American troops, and especially the chocolate and chewing gum he got. The part of Germany where he lived was later handed over to the Russians and his mother with her four sons fled to the American zone in October 1945. So there is a lot of gratefulness in my family towards American soldiers.

For 14 years I have lived in the United States and am a citizen today. So, again I owe you a "Thank you" for protecting freedom and democracy.

I'm including some pictures so you can see how a quilt is made. These are not pictures of your quilt but actually from various quilts, so you can see all the steps. The first step is to come up with a general pattern and choose fabrics. There are plenty of books with patterns, but I often make up my own patterns. The fabrics get all washed and ironed.

Once this is done, the fabrics are cut into stripes and then stitched together to create a square (in the pictures I used a triangle in a sand color and added stripes in blue). Quilts are almost always based on squares, which get then assembled into the quilt top. Once you have all the squares, you have to trim them to be perfect squares and all of the same size (there are special square rulers to make this easier as you can see in the pictures).

Once you have done that, you stick the squares on a design wall, and choose the ultimate design (in the pictures you see two choices). Now you sew all the squares together and finally attach a border. The quilt top is finished! The last step is the back, which is usually just two long pieces of fabric sewn together. The next step is to contact Quilts of Valor, they let me know who will do the longarm quilting. So your quilt now travels by mail, and you can see on the label to which state. Longarm quilting is done on a big machine and there are several pictures included. There are two options, you can either program the machine to stitch a specific pattern, or you can do what is called free motion quilting, for this you hold the machine by the handles and guide it, drawing lines of thread all over the quilt so to speak. When the longarm quilter is done, she sends the quilt back to me. I finish it up doing the binding and the label and taking it to the Laundromat. Finally I'm ready to pack the quilt and send it to you!

Giving you the gift of a quilt is a team effort of several people as you can see, starting with me making the quilt top, next the coordinator assigning a long arm quilter , the person doing the longarm quilting , then the destination coordinator and finally the person presenting it to you . And truly you are at the beginning of this team, because without your service, this team of volunteers would never come together.

I hope you’ll enjoy the quilt as much as we did making it for you.

Best wishes,

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this letter... what an inspiration.