Quilting for Nepal: A Sewing Bee on a mission

On Thursday 14th May we hosted a Nepalese Night at The Patchwork Dog and Basket to raise both money and awareness for a charity called Search and Rescue Dogs Nepal, who were a vital part of the search and rescue mission following the recent gewROTo5_400x400earthquakes and are still working to help those who have survived the disaster. We wanted to make a quilt, which would then be raffled to raise more funds. But we felt like we needed a few extra pairs of hands…
On the Night…

The plan for the evening was for everyone to make a patchwork block in the shape of a house, to represent the rebuilding of the country and we decided to stick to red and white fabrics for the whole quilt. Red is the national colour of Nepal and represents victory. We felt this was appropriate at a time when the country was facing such great challenges. To prepare for the evening Jill put together a simple step by step guide of how to make the block and with the help of Carolyn, our resident Long Arm Quilter, we raided our stashes so that fabric was in plentiful supply.

We were overwhelmed by the response to tickets sales and with over 22 people on the guest list it did cross our minds whether or not we had enough room, let alone chairs for everyone. However we reassured ourselves by saying things like ‘well, its not like everyone will arrive at 7 on the dot’ and ‘not everyone will be sewing at the same time’ – we could not have been more wrong! The bells at market tower had barely struck when our keen quilters arrived on mass and ready for action. A production line was established faster than you can say Kathmandu, with cutters at one end sorting out the fabrics and sewers at the other, with sewing machines at the ready, not forgetting the pressers who were doing a stellar job of ironing before and after sewing had taken place. Its a good job we had limited the colour selection as more choice would have slowed down the process, and this just simply wasn’t an option! Anyone who didn’t have a job joined a small spin off group in the corner who were mass producing our Nepal Flag badges, which we are still selling in the shop for £5 each, all of which will go straight into the fundraising pot!

In no time at all our busy guests were stacking up finished blocks. I had prepared a traditional Nepalese supper for the workers, but we it took some persuading to get them to stop! Eventually people decided they needed a little break and tucked into a dinner of Dahl Baht – thats rice and lentils, with yummy roast cauliflower on the side, and Coconut Everest’s for pudding photo 3(recipes to follow shortly!), but soon got back into the swing of sewing. By the end of the night we had 26 blocks sewn, pressed and ready to go, which was deemed to be a resounding success and certainly not bad for two and half hours work!

With a little extra help from Anne Commin, we had the quilt all sewn together in no time, at which point Carolyn fired up her Long-Arm Quilting machine and worked her magic. Thanks to everyone’s enormous effort we now have a very gorgeous quilt, which is on display in the shop just waiting for a new home. Tickets are on sale now, and the winning ticket will be drawn during Lewes Artwave between 22nd August & 6th September – so plenty of time left to buy yours!
Search and Rescue Dogs Nepal….

SAR Dogs Nepal are based in Pokhara, Nepal. During the immediate aftermath of the Earthquake they were dispatching as 1many teams as they could into the worst affected areas of the country, but they were in desperate need of funding and resources. As the aftershocks continued, and eventually another huge Earthquake hit the country the search and rescue operation became increasing difficult and dangerous, however knowing that their local knowledge and experience of some of the most remote areas of Nepal was invaluable, SAR Dogs have continued with their work. Their most recent efforts have involved securing classrooms so that they are made safe for children to return to school and get back to a normal way of life wherever possible. One of the most striking things for me was the footage from the Langtang National Park. I was lucky enough to spend 5 weeks in Langtang teaching in a very small school. The children were very energetic and were far more interested in running up and down the Himalayas than learning how to tell the time in English, but for me the experience was unforgettable. Sadly this area of Nepal was one of the worst hit, and the images I have seen since the earthquakes are simply unrecognisable to what I can remember.

One of the things that struck me about Nepal when I was there was an overwhelming sense of community. It was like every village was a family in its own right; there were people coming and going all the time, but those who were there would work together in one big team and everyone was very content. It is something like the 13th poorest country in the world and yet you would never know it from the attitude of it population. The work of SAR Dogs truly represents this sense of togetherness and positivity and it is reassuring to see that what I remember as a very spirited country remaining that way, despite the physical landscape being changed forever.

It is has been suggested that Nepal will need a high level of aid for up to 5 years in order to get the worst hit areas back on their feet. The money we are raising is just a drop in the ocean but we hope too that it will raise an awareness of the recovery operation that is still taking place and will continue to do so for many years ahead.
So, raffle tickets cost £5 per strip and all the money goes straight the SAR Dogs. We can send the raffle tickets anywhere in the country, so no excuses if you can’t make it into our shop before the end of August – although it would be lovely to see you! There is no limit to how many tickets you can buy so if you’ve already got some, why not buy some more and increase your chances of winning this lovely quilt. It is on display in our shop in Lewes for anyone that wants to come and give it a cuddle – but remember its not really about winning, its the taking part that counts!