Cool Ties for Mahwah Marine Moms

I've put aside other projects for the moment to help make Cool Ties for the Mahwah Marine Moms.

In April, the Mahwah Marine Moms posted an ad in our church's weekly bulletin requesting help from "those who sew and would be willing to help make 'Cool Ties' needed by the troops" this summer when the temperatures reach 120 degrees.

I saw this as an opportunity for me to share my time, talent and treasure, so I contacted Terry, one of the Moms, by email and she sent me the instructions and some of the background information below.

What are Cool Ties? Simply stated, they are a tube of fabric with sectioned pockets that contain water absorbing crystals. When soaked in water, the crystals will hold many times their weight in water. Our troops wear them around their necks or under their helmets, providing a cooling effect as the water evaporates.

Who are the Mahwah Marine Moms? This group of Moms collects items needed by the troops posted in Iraq and Afghanistan and ships care packages throughout the year. They have a permanent drop off box at the Mahwah (NJ) Town Hall where they collect travel size personal items and they receive donated items at other times throughout the year.

Currently, they are working to ship over 500 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that have been donated by various local Girl Scout Troops. Next they will be sorting, packing and shipping to 4 platoons in Iraq and Afghanistan. A few weeks ago 37 cases of individual personal care packages and an assortment of t-shirts, socks, large packages of Q-tips, foot powder, lotion, wipes, travel pillows, etc. and a case of snacks were shipped. They reached 6 platoons with that shipment.

Last night I had a chance to meet several of the Moms -- Terry had a supply of the special "water crystals" used to make the Cool Ties and I stopped in to pick up enough crystals to get started. The Moms were getting ready to make up the individual care packages, assembly-line style. There were tables full of cookies, snacks and other items. What a job! A couple of the Moms are also making Cool Ties, so they gave me some advice on getting started and showed me some finished examples.

The preferred colors for the Cool Ties are desert colors -- tan, khaki, taupe or camouflage. I bought a few yards of 100% cotton fabrics at JoAnn Fabrics in Ramsey at the end of April and had already pre-washed and cut out the fabric strips. I wasn't able to find cotton camouflage patterns in desert colors, so I have solid taupe and khaki colored cottons. I also have just over a yard of fabric donated by Denise of The Cozy Quilt Shoppe. I estimate I have enough fabric now to make about 40+ ties . . . but the Moms will be shipping all summer long, so I will keep stitching!

I'll post pictures of my progress in a future entry -- last night I started sewing a few ties using my serger to make the "tubes", I need to turn them and stitch pockets and fill them with crystals.

Would you like to help make Cool Ties for the troops? If so, you can contact Terry by email at MahwahMarineMoms at yahoo dot com for more information. Instructions can be downloaded from here.

The ties are very simple to make, even for beginners. Young sewists would require supervision when measuring the water crystals and sewing the pockets to be sure the seams are secure so that the crystals don't escape and end up in the sewing machine.

Next: read an update on my progress with photos to go with instructions

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Other Links:
article from The [Bergen] Record Online about Mahwah second graders' cookies for the troops
article from marinecorpsmoms.com about making cool ties

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