Friday, August 31, 2012

The Chester County Criswell Quilt

   Sharon from Two Bits Patches has released a new Block of the Month with a fabulous applique quilt which has been passed down in her family. I've finished the first block which Sharon has provided free of charge and the details for the BOM are as below. There is a blog for participants as well and I hope many more people participate in re-creating this lovely quilt with me. Who knows, Sharon may even be able to organize an exhibition of all the quilts when the BOM is completed. My block hasn't been trimmed yet as I do that when I am ready to put them all together. I think the second block may be ready now so check out Sharon's website at  http://www.twobitspatches.com
 Here are the details from Sharon's website:
The Chester Criswell quilt was made in 1852 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  It was made by friends and family for Alice Criswell and Jesse Jackson Smith for their wedding in November 1852.  The quilt has 61 blocks in total, all appliqued in red and green with signatures and locations of all the participants.
36 of the blocks are being drafted month by month for lovers of reproduction quilts.  Each month a new block will be available as a downloadable pdf file along with interesting information about the maker of the block.  There is also a blog all about the quilt, the monthly block and local history stories and pictures.  Following the blog gives you the chance to share with other participants and show off your own work.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Very Welcome Addition

 I have a very welcome addition to the team here at Quilt Central- I bought an industrial sewing machine. It's a re-conditioned one and runs very quietly. I have killed 2 domestic sewing machines by sewing thousands of donation quilts and QAYG quilts on them and as I was working so many shifts I decided to try to find an industrial sewing machine which just does straight stitch but with a strong motor.
 As you can see the motor is much larger than my domestic machines. I put a QAYG quilt together this afternoon once we got it all set up and it sews through the thick batting like a dream. I had been spending a lot of time trimming the batting from the seam edges of the QAYG blocks before I joined them as my machine was struggling to sew them, so it will save me lots of time which I can spend on finishing off some of my UFOs. The seller told me that I will hardly ever have to change the needles, and he was very surprised to hear that if I changed my sewing machine needles every 8 hours of sewing then I would be using one a day. It self winds bobbins while I'm sewing and does back stitching and cuts the thread.
  It's a dream to use and will be a much used machine which has meant that my neck and shoulders aren;t suffering at all tongiht, from trying to push the fabric through my other machine.
I'm a very happy quilter tonight and will have some finished quilts to show you tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First of Five

There's been a lot of baby deliveries in the family lately and I like to make a baby quilt for a gift for the newborn. I can't finish the quilt until the baby has been named as I like to make them individual by adding the baby's name on the front of the quilt.
  This one is for a friend of youngest DD's and she part-made a quilt for a boy and one for a girl, when she was last home. Once we knew the name and gender of the baby I just had to do the finishing touches of stitching the name, adding it to the blocks, adding borders, then quilting and binding, so not much at all really.! LOL I managed to stay awake long enough to finish this one off yesterday and now I have 4 more to make.
  Two of the babies have already arrived so I need to get them finished ASAP and the next 2 are due in January. I think I may make a few extra so I'm ahead for the next lot of deliveries. It seems like there's going to be lots more babies on their way as many of my nieces and nephews are at the age of starting their families. Of course there may be grand-babies of my own to sew for sometime too so I can see more baby quilts ahead of me for some time to come. Luckily they are fun and quick to make. Last evening I spent some time on some needle-turn applique on a new project for me and I'll show you the finish very soon.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, August 27, 2012

While I Was Sleeping

 I have been working more night shifts and while I was sleeping my quilting angels have been busy making more QAYG blocks to donate.
 Anne Bennett (Vic) sent a lovely set of pastel blocks as well as some money to pay for binding and the blocks will make a lovely quilt for a lucky lady.
  The other lovely blocks and knitted beanies came from Delys Rogers of WA and will play very nicely with some of the blocks I have here to make another lovely quilt.
Thank you so much for your generous gift of blocks which helps to get more quilts finished and out to where they are needed.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Applique Heaven

 Yesterday I had a wonderful day of sharing with other Lovers of Applique at the Castlemaine Applique Group. This group is so popular that there is often a waiting list of attendees. The day is run by Corliss and Megan of Threadbear and the Show and Tell was fabulous as usual.
  I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Linda of Quilts in the Barn blog and she showed the beautiful raffle quilt (as shown in the first photo), which has been made by a group of generous quilters and will be raffled at her exhibition of Red and White Quilts. The exhibition will be held on Fri 5th to Sun 7th Oct 2012 10am-4pm, entry $5 and all funds raised are donated to Breast Cancer Research. Check her blog for more details and as I missed the Red and White exhibition in New York I am very keen to visit her quilt show. We are supposed to be taking a trip to WA but that may have to be delayed until after the Show LOL.
  There were many beautiful quilts shown but I didn't have all the details of their makers so I am only showing a couple and I think more may be seen over on Linda's blog at Quilts in the Barn. The miniature quilt won first prize in the recent Vic Quilters Showcase and was made from 1/4 inch hexagons by Alison Gardner of Goldfields Quilters from Castlemaine. It is a magnificant piece of fine piecing and I think it will be on display at their upcoming 10th Exhibition "As Time Goes By" on Sat 21th and Sun 21st of Oct 21012 at the Castlemaine Town Hall. Buy a ticket in their raffle too if you get the chance as it won second place in the Groups section of Vic Quilters in July and is valued at $2,500.
  The last two photos show Rhonda Coates' fabulous red, white and green quilt which she made while traveling on the train each day. I don't know how she kept it in such pristine condition. Of course she custom quilted it and it really is a beautiful quilt which shows her expertise in hand applique as well as long arm quilting. Rhonda and I spent many hours together delivering donated quilts to those devastated by the tragic bushfires in Kinglake area in 2009, and she is a lovely and very talented lady. Kilmore Quilters are also holding their Quilt In on Sat 13th Oct 2012 10am-4pm at the Kilmore Memorial Hall.
There are so many wonderful quilting events to attend which will invigorate our creativity with more fabulous quilts so we shouldn't be lacking for inspiration. Now I just need more hours in the day. When I see so many beautiful quilts I think I must waste a lot of time on non-essential things like sleeping and the computer. Time to get busy!
I hope you enjoyed the report of upcoming events in Victoria for the next few months and that some of you will take the time to support these groups. Maybe I'll see you there!
 Hugs, Jan Mac



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Finishes and New Beginnings

 I sent off another 10 finished quilts today as well as more knitted beanies and another crocheted blanket and the finished quilts will be shown on my other blog. It's been good to get more donated tops quilted and I have now finished enough quilts for the kids' camp. I also finished knitting the baby shawl, jacket, hat and booties and forgot to take a photo before I delivered them.
  Now it's time to get busy with some of my projects. My quilting group is going to hold an exhibition of Dear Jane quilts next February and I have decided to make at least a Baby Jane quilt to display. My original blocks were in blues and creams but these are made using Australian theme fabrics. I did have 4 or 5 blocks made originally and have started a new one yesterday. I made 6 or 7 blocks so far as well as working on more preparation for my Civil War Bride blocks and plan to get more done tomorrow. It feels good to work on some new projects and I need to finish off more of my UFOs as well. In the meantime I'm planning a few more quilts but I will focus on some finishes as well LOL
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, August 17, 2012

Applique Anyone?

 Believe it or not I have actually made enough blocks for 3 Baltimore Album appliqued quilts and I do not have one finished for me. I gave away two of the quilts to quilting friends and still have the blocks to put together one for me. Unfortunately I work so much on donation quilts that I often don't get mine finished, or if I do, I donate them as well. I've also donated quite a few of my hand appliqued quilts as well to the local women's refuge where the ladies are thrilled to receive a special quilt.
  I really must start working on some for my family to inherit or receive as gifts so I have finally unearthed this one to finish. Why do they get put to one side? Well often there are others which are more pressing or I'm not sure I like the sashing or I've put away the fabric and can't find it ! LOL
  I bought more greens yesterday for this quilt and of course as soon as I got it home I found the original green fabric. I'm not sure if there is enough for all the stems on the borders though so I may introduce a similar green fabric for some of the stems. I use a variety of green fabrics for the leaves as I think it adds more interest- but I could be wrong.
 There's many different ways of appliquing and my favourite is still needle-turn. I trace the shapes on freezer paper and cut them out, then iron them to the front (right side) of the fabric and draw around them with pigma pen, leaving a seam line of approx 1/8th of an inch. I used to use a chalk pencil but I can get a finer line with the pigma pen and the line is turned under so it's not seen. I also trace the pattern on some interfacing which I can pin to the fabric and then slip the pieces to stitch under it and in its right place.
 I stitch with silk thread but when I started these blocks I used cotton thread and it's not visible. I can't find the border pattern yet so I just photocopied the stitched piece I have already completed and made a pattern from that. You can see the problems which result from not working consistently on one quilt at a time? You can misplace the pattern, or the fabric or use the fabric for something else etc.
Anyway I have several green fabrics cut to 1 1/2 inches wide and ironed the freezer paper leaf templates ready to draw around them. They can be re-used several times before they lose their sticky backing. Check back and you never know I may manage to finish this quilt before I lose anymore pieces. This is the second border I've started as I didn't like the first one and can't find it now. Then I wasn't sure if I would prefer to piece the sashing between the blocks but I think it may be better to just "GET IT DONE"!
  I hope to manage some prep work with the applique at work if it's quiet on nights shift for the next few nights. It hasn't happened yet but I live in hope.
Hugs, Jan Mac

A Finish or Five

 This week was a good one for finishes as I finished quilting 5 donated tops and they will be on my other blog, Oz Comfort Quilts. Having such a good pile of donation quilts done I decided to also finish off a donated set of Storm at Sea blocks which had been partly joined as a top, I measured and made more backings to match the donated tops left to quilt and then I was called into work so I was happy with my progress.
  I decided it was time to finish off one of my UFOs and have found this border for a Baltimore Album quilt I have had waiting for borders for some years. It was a cold and wet day today and after getting all my household jobs done as well as the weekly shopping, I started tracing and prepping leaves for the border. Night duty will take up more time for the next few days and then I'll get back to finishing off some more quilts to donate.
I hope you all enjoy a weekend doing what you enjoy as mine will include some stitching and crocheting more blanket squares. Have fun with whatever you choose to work on.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, August 13, 2012

Life in the Fast Lane

 I didn't intend to be absent for the week but life has been very busy here. I worked several night shifts and then spent almost a week in Melbourne. It was great to spend time with family and I was also very fortunate to attend a 2 day workshop with the lovely Michele Hill from Adelaide. Vic Quilters had arranged the workshop and I was so pleased to be able to attend as Michele is winding down with her teaching commitments and she is a lovely teacher and very generous with her knowledge. She has challenged me to finally enter a quilt in the Vic Quilter's Showcase as I have been quilting since 1978 and have never had a quilt hanging at a major show.
  She has given me 12 months and then extended it to 2 years so I plan to finally design and stitch a quilt for me. I'm excited to start and it will be hand appliqued so I will still be making and donating quilts to the various organizations but will also work one for me when I am unable to use the sewing machine.
 It was a lovely break but it's good to be home again. I received more lovely knitted beanies and the first photo show those made by J. Billington from Vic. The other photo shows the lovely beanies knitted by Ann Birch of Vic and they will all be very welcome as the weather continues to be cold here and it looks like we are in for a few days of rain as well.
  I did manage to quilt two more tops before I went away and they will appear on my other blog very soon. I hope you're all enjoying some time by the fire with your favourite projects if you;'re in the southern hemisphere. If you're on the other side of the world you're probably sipping a cool drink and trying to stay cool.
 Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac



Friday, August 3, 2012

Fun with Quilts

 This quilt is one I finished yesterday and sent off with another shipment of quilts for the needy. I love the graphic design of this quilt and I used a pre-quilted backing that Gina E. had donated and it quilted up beautifully. I also received 2 more quilt tops from Janice of Needy Stitches and will get them quilted and back to her ASAP.
I also bought up plenty of fabric for baby quilts as lots of my nieces and nephews are having babies and I am already behind with making 2 of them and have just heard that 2 mo0re will be needed in January. I plan to have some fun making some baby quilts over the next couple of days and watch some of the Olympics as well. Our days have been lovely and sunny and I should also spend some time in the garden but the baby quilts are at the top of the list at the moment and I still have another quilt on the machine which I need to finish as well.
I hope you all have a fun weekend with some time for what you enjoy.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More Donations to Share

 I received two more lovely parcels of donations and they will soon be on their way to a group which helps the needy. The first parcel was from Gina W. (Vic) and Gina has been busy again making another lovely tartan quilt as well as sending a lovely crocheted knee blanket.
  Delys R from WA has also been busy with her knitting and she sent another lovely 7 knitted beanies which will keep some lucky people warm this winter as well as some lovely tote bags.
  Thank you all for your ongoing support. I spent most of the day knitting the baby jacket as I wanted to concentrate on the pattern. It has 250 stitches and if I make a mistake that's a tedious job to correct it. I managed to get it finished up to the yoke which is plain stocking stitch so I can happily knot and watch the Olympics tonight. Once I got the knitting up to the easier part of the pattern I then quilted 2 tops and have almost pieced another backing. I plan to finish the bindings and quilt at least another quilt tomorrow so check my other blog for updtaes tomorrow.
 Is anyone else watching the Olympics? I enjoy it when I'm not busy with paid work. Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac