Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Good Start.

 Yesterday was very productive with lots of packing and furniture moving so we can prepare another bedroom to paint. Each one that's finished looks so nice and fresh that the list of rooms to paint is growing. We have 5 bedrooms and we were originally going to paint 2 but I think now we will do all 5. It would have been a good idea to get them to paint their room before they left home. LOL
    As a break from moving furniture I quilted the first 2 donation quilts for 2017. The second one had been sprayed with glue and quilted, then the quilting had been removed and it was just bound and stuffed into the donation cupboard. When we had the big clean out of the cupboards I thought it was prudent to deal with all of those little jobs that get put to one side so I removed the binding and quilted it. I'm not a fan of the glue spray and I think that was why the project was shelved without being quilted, as the backing had a few creases. I managed to fix them and it's now sorted and ready to donate.
  The first quilt was also a donated top made by one of the members of my Melbourne quilting group and it just needs a binding. I'm going to machine stitch a binding on and leave it for a member to hand stitch it down as we have our Sit and Sew day in March, when we are working on Gift Quilts and many of our members love to sit and hand stitch so I have learnt to stockpile quilts needing some binding stitched for them as there never seems to be enough to go around. I plan to get some more done before then so there will be a big pile for the hand stitchers.
I am still hand quilting and have almost finished another smaller project to share tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by and also for your very kind comments. My Star Quilt will be finished before I go on to work on another UFO, so many thanks for your encouragement.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Getting Organized.

 I spent most of last week in Melbourne getting things organized at our new home as well as working for two days on organizing for our Gift Quilt program. We have had some donations of fabric and hadn't had time to even go through the current bins of fabric which have been there for a while. Some of it is from the 80s and we are trying to use them up for backings as well as mixing them in with more recent fabric acquisitions. We had some great workers as usual and we got more accomplished than we expected. We matched tops with backing and made binding to match. Also cut batting so we can hand out quilt kits for members to finish.
 I also wanted to sort the fabric by size, with anything less than half a metre going into a scrap bin, then bins of half metre, one metres and then bins of larger amounts suitable for backings. Sorting them into colours also will make it easier when we want to find binding to match a top and will mean that we don't have to open every bin. We've also planned the agenda for our Gift Quilt day in March so we are ready to start the year when our February meeting comes around. I also found a couple of quilts which had been stuffed into the cupboard as they had issues. I have fixed one by removing the binding, quilting it and then rebinding it so it is ready to donate.  I also quilted another top I had pinned so we are starting the year with a clean slate and plenty of quilts ready to donate.
    We are still making progress on the house painting and have another room ready to paint. I'm off to Melb again for a few days this week so we will see how much gets done this week.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 2, 2017

Time To Plan.

 This would be my oldest UFO or WIP at the moment. It's a 1930-40s quilt top and no I'm not old enough to have pieced the top. I bought it from a dealer in the US in the mid 90s. I started hand quilting it and chose a fancy flower shape for all the plain hexagons. That might be why it has taken me so long to finish the hand quilting. The fabric is still lovely and not faded as it was never used and the cream hexies show printing on them and they are feedsacks fabrics.
 The Lemoyne Star and hexagons are not uncommon but they still make a pretty quilt. I am hand quilting a 1/4 inch on the inside of the star pieces and the floral design in the hexagons. Luckily I had marked the whole top for quilting as I have packed my templates. I had even marked the border with a cable design. I started hand quilting this using the typical shorter quilting needle and a frame. Now I have picked up the top to hand quilt again, I am trying it with a longer needle and no frame as I find holding a shorter needle makes my hand ache after a while. I have compared my stitches both with short needle and frame and long needle without frame and really can't see a difference. I won't win any competitions perhaps but my stitches are usually uniform and I am enjoying the process.
 I have actually hand quilted about 80% of the top and I am determined to get it finished now. I am trying to add some stitches every day and then she will have a good soak and a label. I was going to plan to finish off 17 UFOs this year but I find I do better if I focus on one and then choose another. Otherwise, I get interested in something new and forget to go back to finish the first piece.
Quilting is my stress reliever so I don't want to add to my stress by making too many deadlines for myself but this one is doable and I still think it's a pretty top so I just want to have it finished so I can enjoy looking at her without thinking of what I still have to stitch on her.
   So that's my plan. Finish this one UFO and then see how I feel. I want to keep hand quilting as I have lots of tops to quilt now and I also have lots of UFOs. I will probably select another one to finish, maybe a cross stitch piece or something which just needs to be made into a wall hanging. Don't hold me to it but at least I have a plan for this month. Can I finish this quilt by February? Time will tell. I'm back working nights and painting bedrooms so really only get time to stitch at night but you can get a lot done in a few hours.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let's Welcome 2017.

 Happy new Year to all of my blogging friends and many thanks for your kind comments and support throughout the years. The census seems to be that 2016 was a tough year and many are glad it's over. I try not to wish the years away but hope that this coming year holds many blessings for us all, including good health, good friends, lots of laughter and many quilts finished.
   I have long held the belief that what you spend time doing on the first day of the year will be what the year holds for you. I'm very hopeful that my days will be filled with lots more hand quilting and vintage quilts so I have finished the cross stitch on a vintage quilt kit I purchased. Working only in the evenings, it's only taken me a week or so to stitch one block and I have 5 more to go. I might make it with sashings or add alternate pieced blocks to make a larger quilt.
 I also have been busy unpicking a damaged quilt with plans to remove the most damaged blocks and remake some with parts from the discards. The quilting was simply 1 inch apart on the diagonal across the quilt and it was a utility quilt so not heavily quilted.
   I also worked on hand quilting this fragment of a quilt and will share that, and the history of the quilters named, in a post very soon. I hope to have more restorations to share very soon as well and I guess tomorrow will see us back to painting another bedroom. Progress is being made but the heat is not helping.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas and Surprise News.

 There is always such a build up of events leading up to Christmas and then it seems to be over very quickly. We had a lovely time at our DD's place and I didn't have to do a thing. We were very spoilt but she is hoping I will return the favour next year.
   Now that I have met up with all the family and given them the news I can tell you that we have bought a home in Ferntree Gully, a suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne and only 10 mins from our DD and our son-in-law. We were viewing houses while we "cat sat" for them while they were on their honeymoon. We decided to use our time there as a holiday but we were so busy house hunting we didn't have time to do many tourist things, so that will be on the list for next year.
    We have bought a 4 BR home but it is considerably smaller than our current home, which is what we needed to down size. Fortunately we were able to buy and make a gradual transition from living here on the farm. Downsizing after 30 years of living here has been challenging and tiring but we are making progress and although I am losing my very large sewing room, we will have plenty of storage. Luckily I didn't sell my quilting machine as we have room at our new home.
  I made a new Christmas wall hanging from a panel so we were able to welcome Christmas in our new home. We have moved enough basic furniture to be able to stay there and after Christmas we will continue to paint and pack. I hadn't wanted to announce it until we told family and I have asked them not to tell my Dad yet as he is 91 and would only worry about us moving away. It might take us some time to sell and we will return frequently for visits but there's no need to worry about that at the moment.
  I finished one more skirt for DD2 but didn't get time for a photo and have more sewing plans while I take a break from quilting for a little while. The weather is suddenly so hot and humid that sitting near the AC is a much better option at the moment. The cat quilt is one made by one of my quilting groups and I only had to quilt it before donation. It's very striking when seen in a photo or at a distance.
  I hope you all had a lovely time with family and friends as well as time to re-charge the batteries. Here's hoping 2017 brings us peace and many blessings, as well as good health.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This and That.

 Life still seems to be busy as we race towards Christmas. Or at least it feels like we are racing. I have quilted another donation quilt but forgot a photo so that will be next time. I may or may not have purchased some more vintage quilt tops needing repair.
 I am in the process of sewing skirts and dresses for DD2 and this is the first skirt. The second is almost done and the third will be cut out tonight. I also have a couple of dresses to make for her but we have been painting so I have less time and I'm more tired than I anticipated. We were going to pay for painters to do the work but once we emptied the room we realized that was the hard part done. We have thought we would start with one room and see how we go. Now that we have finished the first room we are getting the second ready for painting. We find it's manageable if we work for a few hours take a break and then do some more.
 When I need some time to take a rest, I have been attaching a new backing to an antique quilt from 1860-1880. The backing had completely shredded so I have been stitching a new one using a stitch similar to a big quilting stitch and it will give it more strength. Then I have some repairs to make to the blocks and a new binding to attach. Then she badly needs a good long soak in the bath.
She will be a treasured addition to my growing collection of vintage and antique quilts and I can't wait to take some photos once she has been cleaned. I have really enjoyed working on her as it gives me a chance to study her up close. She was quilted with white thread in the pink blocks and black thread in the pieced blocks. I hope she'll have another 100 years of life after my repairs, and I need to decide which one to work on next.
    It's been good to take some time for my own projects as I delivered the last donation quilts yesterday. Four of the larger QAYG quilts went to the homeless teens group and they were very happy to receive them.
I'd better get back to the dressmaking while I can.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 12, 2016

There's Still Time.

Thanks to my very generous blogging friends who have sent QAYG blocks, there was time to put together another QAYG quilt for the homeless teens. These blocks are 12.5 inches in size and I still have enough to make another one. Whether or not there is time to do it though I'm not sure.
   I still have Christmas shopping to do and I have packed up my sewing areas apart from leaving some of these blocks ready to access in spare moments. There might be time to finish another 1 or 2 before Christmas but if not, I have 4 large quilts ready to deliver. Thank you all for your help with these quilt projects throughout the year as we have blessed many of the needy with quilts again this year.
   The weather is getting warmer and summer is finally here. This means some lovely relaxing days watching the cricket on the TV while I do some hand stitching. I've found that my interest is drifting toward working on some redwork or cross stitch, which will be cooler options than hand quilting. In the meantime I'm still packing boxes and getting ready for painting some of the rooms. I haven't decorated for Christmas as our DD's cat has sustained injuries twice by climbing the Christmas tree and it's not worth the risk again, as it's a very expensive exercise.
   I hope you are all getting ready to enjoy some relaxing time with family and friends.
Hugs, Jan Mac