Friday, November 27, 2015

The Last Block.

 I've finished stitching the last block for my Chester County Criswell quilt. This was one of the early blocks and it's great to finally have all 33 of them finished. I have them laid out on the design floor while I rearrange them so the green ones are evenly dispersed. I'm sure that I will find an error as soon as I have them stitched together. The blocks are 10 inches finished as I didn't want a lot of negative space between the blocks. I'm thinking of adding a plain border, using the same fabric as the centre block. I will be machine quilting it as soon as I'm feeling up to the task.
    I hope to have a better photo of the top soon as the daylight was fading when I took the photo. It's a bit frustrating to have time to do things but no energy but I'll just have to be patient.
Hugs, Jan Mac

QAYG Blocks from Victoria.

My chest XRay has given me the diagnosis of pneumonia again. It's most likely that it didn't clear completely from when I had it in July as I have been coughing since then although I was feeling better during September and October. Hopefully more antibiotics will finally cure it. Many thanks for your kind words as well as your donations of blocks.
   I received 24 more beautiful QAYG blocks from Ann Birch from Victoria. Thank you so much for your lovely donation. I hope to feel well enough to get some more quilts finished for donation very soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Special Delivery From Holland.

A very large box has arrived from Holland and it contained a treasure trove of lots of QAYG blocks as well as other goodies. Marijke, one of my lovely blog readers has sent two quilt tops with binding, lots of little shorts and skirts as well as 64 QAYG blocks and some fleece fabric. Marijke must have been sewing for ages to make so many and they will make some lovely quilts.
    The box also contained some beautiful red Dutch handkerchiefs which I can make into a quilt, and Marijke sent me a special treasure- a Dutch market scene cross stitched cushion which her mother had stitched. It is such a lovely keepsake and I will treasure it. I think I may use it as a wall hanging to preserve it.
     When we were in Europe last year,Marijke and her husband, Chris, were so very kind to host us for the day. We took the train to the nearest city where they live and they took us home for lunch and then drove us around the countryside to see the dykes, windmills and their beautiful garden allotment. Ray and I gave such lovely memories of the day we spent with Marijke and Chris and I feel very blessed to have met such wonderful people through my blog. Marijke has also made and sent many quilt tops for me to finish and donate and her lovely work has blessed many people who have experienced disruption to their lives through natural disasters such Bushfires and floods.
      Thank you so much for your donations, Marijke but also for your friendship. On the health front I'm not much better so off for a chest XRay today, and another week of antibiotics.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, November 23, 2015

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt of 1858

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt of 1858 Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt

The original quilt is part of the Virginia Quilt Museum Collection.
The purpose of this blog is to offer a monthly Sew Along to raise awareness of this special quilt and to help fund the VA Quilt Museum. The sale of every pattern is directly contributed to the museum.
These patterns are for personal use ONLY. The copy and distribution of this quilt in any form is prohibited without written permission from the VA Quilt Museum.
   The blog is found at
It's time for a change from illness. I've been to the Dr again and now have more heavy duty antibiotic medication to try and as I'm sick of being sick, it's time foir a change of focus. I am joining in with this blog and will endeavour to catch up as the BOM stitch along started on Oct 1st. I bought the pattern online and downloaded it. I have enlarged mine to 141% of the original so my blocks will be 12 inches square.
Come along and join us. You know you want to.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, November 20, 2015

Over It!

 I can't believe that I have contracted another sinus and chest infection. From the end of June until mid September, this year, I already dealt with a prolonged chest infection so I can't believe it's happened again. I've spent the last 4 days in bed and I'm so disappointed as I had planned on spending three days in Melbourne with our DD. I can't speak without coughing so I have to be antisocial and not share the germs.
      I was so sick of being sick that I spent 10 minutes stitching down the binding on the last top I'd quilted. I also stitched about 10 hexagons but that's as much as I can manage so I'm going back to bed. Hopefully my usual good health will return soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Progress in Bits and Pieces

 Lots of bits and pieces are getting done in between working nights and sleeping. Lots of sleeping! I bought these little Dresden Plates in Houston last year and I've now finished appliquéing them to 6.5 inch squares. I think there are 58 of them and I plan to put them together into a quilt now.
      I also tried some more free motion quilting on another donation quilt but I had lots of thread breakages and I could have meander quilted 3 quilts in the time it was taking me to quilt half this quilt. I ended up taking it off the machine and meander quilted another top instead. I was happy with my efforts on the other quilt but when I tried more stop and start patterns the thread broke. I think that maybe the quilting machine isn't suitable for that type of quilting. I can use the techniques I learnt though when I free motion quilt with my domestic sewing machine.
       I also received two large postal bags stuffed with yarn for the blankets I make for the homeless. Kaite M. From Bathurst has been very generous with donating yarn and it will make some lovely blanket squares. I know it's getting to be too hot for the blankets but making the squares are easy to do in spare moments of time and it will be good to have some on hand for when they are needed.
     We've had quite a lot of rain over the last week but the sudden hot weather and the drying off of the bush land means that Bushfires are still going to be a real threat for us this summer.
Time to get busy quilting again. As soon as I catch up on my sleep.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Time To Practice.

 This year I decided to take some classes from the long arm quilting machine experts. I have a short arm machine and have been in the habit of quilting large meanders on most of the tops I donate because it is quick and easy and most people who receive a quilt don't notice the quilting design. They are attracted to the color, design or it's warmth and I have quilted thousands like this.
     I know I could have been developing my free motion quilting skills but I've had so much trouble with thread breakages or tension problems that I became frustrated even just quilting a pantograph. I'd even considered buying a more expensive machine but as I have no desire to quilt for anyone else and I mainly use my Janome for fancy quilting on my own quilts, I couldn't justify the cost.
     I took classes with Linda Taylor and Pam Clarke as I thought the skills would be useful to use with my domestic sewing machine as well as my quilting machine. Of course the most important factor is practice. Lots of practice! I have found that So Fine Superior thread works well in my quilting machine so I'm going to practice my free motion quilting and try to develop my skills. I will be quilting lots more donation quilts so I really should make an effort to increase my skill set.
     The first quilt top I finished today was a quick meander but the second one I tried free motion loops and stars. They are not perfect but that is why practice is required. I could see that having taken the classes I was already better prepared for free motion quilting. The best part is that I have two more quilts ready to donate.
Hugs, Jan Mac