Tips for mailing quilt squares.
I was recently asked by a lotto participant about the best way to send squares through the mail.
Theresa, thanks so much for the question. As I've opened the lotto packages, I've been intending to make a note of this, but forgot whenever I logged on.
The primary thing is to make sure your block is inside something waterproof. Especially in inclement weather, envelopes do manage to get wet, even from just a corner. This can cause water stains if the moisture gets to the fabric.
There are several ways to accomplish the dryness goal:
Put your square in a plastic bag, and then in a mailing envelope.
Use a plastic or bubble wrap lined envelope.
Wrap your squares with multiple wraps of plastic wrap and then tape to seal.
One lady shrink wraps hers.
From the receiving end, I'd like to make a few suggestions.
If you use the plastic bag inside an envelope, you do not need to use a zip lock bag unless it's just easier for you. Before I mail them out, I end up cutting off the zip seals and then seal with tape to reduce bulk.
If you don't trust the seal on your outer envelope and want to tape it, PLEASE don't run the tape over the whole end of the envelope. When the tape completely seals the flap, I can't get to the little slot in the corner very easily without using scissors. I worry so much that the square is up against that end and I'll cut it by mistake. This is especially true of the bubble wrap lined envelopes, as I can't shake the square to the bottom in them, and I can't feel through the bubble wrap how close the square is to the opening.
If you use plastic wrap, please remember to seal the edges with some tape for water-proofing.
As for the US Post Office rules (don't know about Canada or Australia, maybe some GW members from there could add advice), here are the size classes:
A first class letter can be in an envelope up to 6-1/8" high and 11-1/2" long, but no more than 1/4" thick and not over 1 ounce without an additional fee. If you're only sending one square it's possible to use this. Current mailing rate $.44 US.
A first class Large Letter can be up to 12" x 15" and 3/4" thick up to 1 ounce is $.88 US. Additional weight incurs a surcharge.
NOTE THAT THERE IS A SURCHARGE FOR USING ENVELOPES THAT HAVE A CLASP ON THEM. I still have some of these, so I just remove the clasp and close with packing tape.
I try to post a message with 3 days of receipt of any squares, though life sometimes gets in the way of that. If you have any question as to whether I've received your squares or not, please feel free to email me & ask.
So far, while I've been doing the lotto moderating, we haven't had any squares lost in the mail. I do send the squares out to the recipient using flat rate boxes with a delivery confirmation.
For international lotto participants, please contact me if you'd prefer to cover the $1 participation/mailing to winner fee in some way other than US dollars. I'd be happy to work with you on an easier solution, such as sending along a fabric 1/8 or something similar and I'll submit your $1. I'd really like to see more international participants in the lottos. Fabric availability varies from country to country and it's always so interesting to see pictures of projects from quilters in other countries.
Again, Theresa, thanks for jogging my memory about posting this!