I own . Over the years I have made great friends from all over the world. One such friend is Els from South Africa. Several weeks ago I got an email from Els asking do I know anyone that can help her group? You see in her country where she lives in South Africa the ladies are not as fortunate as most of us being able to have a fabric stash. They remind me of the Gees Bend Quilters, they use every inch of fabric from anything they can get their hands on.

2013 Els guild is hosting a quilt show. She sent me the below letter and I am asking for you along with me to see if you can mail a manila envelope to her so that she can share the fabric with the ladies that can not afford to purchase.

I guess we take so much for granted in our country. Basically most of us can just go get what we want and we have more than enough most of the time.

I decided to start the Manila Envelope Fabric Project for her guild. I am going to get several envelopes together and put fabric in them and send them out this week in the mail. I am going to send some each week.

Now if you do decide to help also here is what I am going to do for you ONE LUCKY PERSON WILL RECEIVE A DESIGN WALL. Els agrees to send me the name of the ones that she received the envelopes from. The more you send the more chances you have to receive a very nice gift from me.  I have ordered a portable design wall from Checker Distributors. I will call Janis tomorrow to verify she received the order and it is in stock. This is very nice. I have one here at home that I leave up all the time. If I need to take it down it has its on case to carry wherever you need to take it.

I think most of you have followed my blog for a long time and you know me by now that I would not post or ask you for help that was a scam. Like I said, I have known Els a very long time and they need help. Are you willing to send your manilla envelope?

Here is the email I received from her and below it I will post the address where to mail the fabric. THANK YOU SO MUCH AND I WILL REWARD THE WINNER WELL.  If you can not send a big manila full just send what you can in a regular envelope.. These ladies will appreciate anything!

Hi Chris!
Here is a bit information of our Outreach of our Oranje Quilters Guild. Please, be free to change my words or sentences – my English is not of the best. We speak most of the time my mother tongue  – Afrikaans.
For the background – two of our quilting ladies, go once a month to a nearby Township, Bochabelo, to help a group of black ladies with patchwork and quilting. They teach them to make beautiful quilts. They use odds and ends of fabric, because they don’t have the finances to buy real cotton. They use any fabric they can get hold of. Few of them won prizes on our yearly Agricutural Show here in Bloemfontein. From the 21st – 24th of March they’ll participate in a exhibition with other quilters in one of our local Museums.
It is our turn to organize the Quilt Festival in 2013. This will be the first time for us. Our Guild is not so big as the other in our land, South Africa. Every two years, for the last about 20 years, it is held in another city.
We invited 15 ladies of the township to attend the Festival  for free  and do two classes for free. We’ll spoil them also with a Goodie Bag packed with useful things they can use at home, also for their quilting. They’ll also get filling meals, fruit and other delicacies. We arranged with two teachers who will inspire and encourage these ladies to seek further  knowledge.
But we need your help. I’m asking your support in the form of fabric. Please, can you help us to make this an unforgettable Festival for these 15 ladies?
Thank you so much. I appreciate your help so much.
Chris, here you it. I’m going to make. Myself a very big mug of Green Tea now after all this English. Thank you so much for understading and trying to help me.
Love, Els.

You can read about the guild here

Els van der Bijl
PO Box 31951
Fichardtpark 9317
South Africa
  ONE LAST NOTE.. We are doing this to the end of May. So will you start this week sending your envelopes of fabric?  I am sure you will be blessed helping out others. I am going to start sending mine tomorrow.  Just mark is as GIFT and around $5.00 in value so they will not have to pay tax.
Please search your heart to help these ladies. Can you imagine loving to sew, quilt, embroidery, paint or whatever and you not have the finances to even buy one supply?  I think I will put some needles and other things in my envelope to help these precious hurting ladies. If you do not have fabric to send could you maybe sent needles, thread, scissors. Anything that will help them!    THESE LADIES WILL GLADLY TAKE ANYTHING FROM A FAT QUARTER TO YARDAGE. Whatever you can spare…  THANK YOU.
Here is a photo of my sweet friend Els
Els van der Bijl


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17 Responses to It Is Better To Give Than Receive THE MANILA ENVELOPE FABRIC PROJECT.

  1. BJ says:

    What a great project. Wouldn’t you just love to go to that quilt show? It would be so much fun to see their patterns & quilts.
    BJ´s last blog post ..ABC 33/40

  2. shirley bruner says:

    i would love to send about 20 yds of fabric for their project but can’t afford the international shipping of 4 or 5 envelopes. usps site shows $16.10 per envelope. could i possible send a box to you and you can forward it on to them? i could send you a large flat rate box. please advise.

    shirley bruner

  3. chris says:

    BJ If I were not afraid to fly I would be making my arrangements. Els is one of the nicest ladies I know.. She truly reached out because those ladies are desperate. I can’t imagine not having any fabric to sew with.. I have 5 envelopes full going tomorrow and I am going to send every week until the end of May. The least I can do to help because I am so blessed.

  4. Kay Allen says:

    Is there a preferred size? I have LOTS of remnants and scraps 5″ square and larger. Would help guide my selections if I have a size range….


  5. Large collection of fat quarters or more yardage of one or two fabrics – which is best?



  6. chris says:

    These ladies will gladly take anything from scraps to yardage.. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

  7. Mayke says:

    I’ll organise to send some fabrics soon.

  8. --Terri-- says:

    Chris, this is an awesome gesture for those ladies. You are the best. I’ll be sending an envelope, more if I can. Thanks for sharing this with us. Quilters are the most giving/sharing people I know.

  9. Pam M says:

    Will send some fabric to these ladies. Thank you Chris for including us.

  10. Cheryl says:

    I wish I’d known about this earlier today. My quilt guild had a quilt show, and we had tables of fabric, some FQ’s, some yardage, lots of strips and squares. I could have bought tons. Darn!
    Cheryl´s last blog post ..Valentine’s block lotto blocks (finally)

  11. Els says:

    So many thanks to all of you. We as quilting guild do appreciate it sooooo much. The ladies will be so happy. Anything, scraps, strips, anything, is so welcome.
    Love, Els

  12. Heidi says:

    Thanks for letting us know Chris. I would love to share my fabric stash with them! I will be sending some out this week.

  13. Karen Traweek says:

    I will do as much as I can – fat quarters in manila envelopes and include thread, I imagine. I will base it on what the postage runs… I feel bad to have to much and them so little, but it costs so much for international postage. I will do as much as I can manage with the shipping…. I’m starting small and building up 🙂 Karen

  14. Marlene Pantos says:

    I’m on board for this! I’ll get mine out this week.

  15. Katina says:

    Count me in too!

  16. chris says:

    Thank you all.. just a couple of fatquarters would help them out.. I have two boxes I am sending this week and then manila envelopes until the end of May.

  17. Barbara Lockwood says:

    Great idea! I need to “purge” my stash. This will help me to clean up those 2 messy bedrooms!!!