Monday, September 30, 2013

Two For Monday

I stayed up sewing until 11.30pm last night and almost finished piecing the blocks for the Broken Dishes quilt. Today I finished piecing the blocks, added borders and quilted the top as well as stitching down the binding. This one will be donated for Christmas as well as the previous quilts. I really wanted to get this WIP finished  before I start on some new projects.
 I also quilted and finished this donated quilt top for a baby.
 I used a pretty fabric from my stash for the backing as I'm trying to use up some of my older fabrics.
Now I'm working on sorting scraps of fabric and batting and I want to get back to working on one of my WIPs tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Super Sunday Quilting.

 I'm still on a quilting blitz here with another four quilt tops being quilted and bound today. That's 11 in the past 3 days and the pile of donation quilts is growing. I will be traveling again soon and also have more nights to work so I really want to get them done early for Christmas giving.
The first quilt is a lovely modern quilt and I love the fabric with words printed on the fabric.
 This is another donated top and quilted up nicely.
 These last two quilts were also donated and the pile of tops waiting to be quilted is starting to dwindle.
I need a break from quilting so plan to piece more blocks for the Broken Dishes quilt, tonight. I have been playing the TV series, The Gilmore Girls, while I quilt and it makes the time go quickly. I had promised DD2 that I would watch the series but never made the time until now. I don't hear all the dialogue but enough to enjoy the show about life in a small town. And now it's back to the sewing machine and hope to get another top finished soon as I have so many others I want to make.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, September 27, 2013

An Early Start

 I really wanted to get some more tops quilted today so I started early and finished 4 before the AFL football Grand Final started. I think uncovering more scraps meant I was prompted to get moving on the tops so I can work my way through the scraps. The first quilt is a QAYG made from donated blocks.
 I made this Square in a Square block as I had a stack of uninspiring nine patch blocks I needed to use up. Placing the blue triangles around the nine patches made it look a bit more interesting.
 This is made from Bonnie Hunter's free pattern, String X. The pattern is on Bonnie's blog at Quiltville and it's a great way to use up shorter scraps.
This was another donated top which was easy to quilt up. The colours are much brighter than the photos suggest and hopefully they'll warm some hearts for Christmas.
I plan to get some more done this evening so I may have to focus on cutting up the scraps this time to give my shoulders a break, and quilt some more tomorrow.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Spring Quilting.

 Christmas is rapidly approaching so I decided to quilt some tops which will be donated and distributed as Christmas gifts for the needy. The first and third quilts shown here were made by Marijke from Holland, I think. The middle quilt was also a donated top and I intend on getting some more tops finished as a way of tidying up my sewing area as well as donating for Christmas.
 The quilts are much more colourful than the photos show and I know they will warm the hearts of their new owners.
 Today was a beautiful spring day and I thought I'd share the lovely bush scene I can see from my sewing room. I found lots more scraps while I was looking for tops and suitable backing so I can tell that tomorrow will be another day of taming scraps.
I hope you are experiencing some lovely weather in your corner of the world too.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Playing With Scraps

 Last night I cut up some more scraps into 2.5" squares to make the Bow Tie blocks. I'm hand piecing them as a change from sitting at the machine and they go together quickly with 6 being pieced last evening.
 These are the total number of Bow Tie blocks made so far and as I'm tidying the multitude of scraps I have here I'm also putting aside more to make more of these blocks. I'm thinking of making a baby quilt in pink from these blocks and maybe a multi-coloured one as well.
Today I stitched the blocks together for this quilt made from the 2.5" squares and 4.5" half square triangles.I still have 3 or 4 more rows to make before it's finished and I think I'll add borders as well. Tomorrow, I'll  sort more of my scraps but I am making progress and will also start cutting up some of my older fabric to add to the bins of squares. I find I always run out of light coloured fabrics so I plan to cut some of my light coloured FQs to add more variety to the scrap bins.
 Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dressmaking- Not Quilting, But Fun.

 Before I started quilting as much as possible I used to sew clothing for myself and the rest of the family. I don't usually sew clothes now but my youngest DD is a teacher and studies ballroom dancing so my dressmaking skills have been pout into use again. I found lots of lovely evening dresses being sold off for $1 each at an op shop last year and bought up lots. I didn't have DD with me and I knew that I was going to alter them so sizing didn't matter. Several of them were long or ankle length and I just had to take them in and shorten them. This lovely green crepe dress is a vintage one from the 80s but it's a classic design. It was ankle length so not long enough for evening so I shortened it and took it in to fit and DD will wear it to a wedding this weekend.
 This lovely cowl neck dress just needed to be taken in to fit and looks lovely.

 DD loves this little dress and it needed a lot of new seams to be added to make it fit but it does look cute.
 This dress was shapeless but with some darts added and the side seams being taken in, it made it a nice fit.
 I love this evening dress which had its own shawl. It only needed to be taken in at the sides and it looks elegant. I altered all of these dresses this morning as well as two other dresses and a skirt we forgot to photograph.The photos don't do the dresses justice but I think we achieved a lot with dresses that were languishing in the op shop, while saving a lot of money. I still have more to alter but that is enough for now.
Buffy, the kitten, was over-seeing proceedings from the safety of a box of quilt blocks. They've gone back home now and the house is quiet again so I plan on getting some more scrap-sorting done over the next few days.
 Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, September 23, 2013

Finding Fabric in the Op Shop

 There's been no sewing for the past two days but it has been fun to have our DD home for a few days and her kitten certainly livens up the household.
 I've ordered some of Bonnie Hunter's (of Quiltville) books and in preparation for when they arrive I've been turning a huge pile of op shop shirts into usable pieces.
As you can see I've been collecting shirts for some time and only buy them if they are 100% cotton and on sale. We went op shopping yesterday and I found lots more to bring home as well as some denim jeans for $1 each. I'm planning on making some picnic blankets so I need to add to my collection of denim pieces. So I'm not sewing but the scissors are getting a workout.
 Now I have some dressmaking to do as we found some lovely evening dresses at the op shop yesterday and I need to alter them to fit DD. I hope to have some exciting news to share soon as well.
Have a lovely day and thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Shouldn't Be Sewing.

 I was supposed to be tidying the scraps and not sewing today. However when I saw the full bin of 2.5" squares and the plentiful supply of triangles which will make a size to match the squares I just had to make a few blocks to see how they look. I know this is how UFOs are born! It was more fun to sew the squares than to trim more to add to the bins. I was going to make Bonnie Hunter's Blue Ridge Beauty quilt pattern but the book hasn't arrived yet. Luckily a very kind quilter from the US told me what size the 4 patches and half square triangles are in the pattern. Bonnie used 2" squares but I had lots more 2.5" squares so I decided to use them. Bonnie's quilt is lovely and uses blue and neutrals but I'm making an "everything goes" scrappy quilt. If it's in the scrap bin it's fair game. I was going to save the blue and yellow half square triangles for another project and then thought that was silly and it was better to just use them up.
 I found some funny prints like the halloween one as well as some very old small floral prints.
 There were some crabs and sea shells.
 There is even an old label from a swap I had where I had made too many labels. If you look at the pale triangle in the middle of the photo you can see one with pale hearts. That is a signature block that I cut in half and I used the back of the label so the signature doesn't show.
I sewed all afternoon and really couldn't stop. I have laid the blocks out but not joined them together and as our youngest DD is coming home, and bringing her cat tomorrow, I'll have to throw a cloth over them or they will be strewn everywhere by a playful kitty. The blocks measure 8" finished and I plan on setting them 6 x 9 to give me a top which measure 48" x 72" without borders. I'll make the decision on borders later when I see whether or not it needs them.
 Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement Linda and Maria. I won't call you enablers as I had started before your messages of encouragement came through but I hope it has encouraged you to get stitching with your scraps. The tidying of the scraps will have to wait as I have two scrappy projects on the go now.
 Oh dear I've just started another WIP and will have to persist so it doesn't become another UFO. I'll try to focus on the tidying but this was more fun!
I hope to show more progress soon of the cat allows!.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, September 20, 2013

Getting Scrappy

Maria asked where I got my Patchwork of the Crosses template so I thought I'd answer her here in case others were interested. I bought a set of paper and a template from Sue Daley of Patchwork with Busyfingers. The pack is Pack 10 and it includes a template of the elongated hexagon as well as 50 papers for the elongated hexagons, 50 of the 1" sq papers and 50 of the 2" sq papers as well as the pattern. I was going to piece them over the papers but tried hand piecing and found I enjoyed that as a change from my other paper piecing projects.  



 For most of the week I've been playing with my scraps. That is, I've been sorting through the boxes and bits and pieces of scraps in varying sizes. I used to have them sorted in their sizes but my method of dealing with them has slipped and I really wanted to get them sorted so I could use them up. Here are two of the bags and bins I've been working through.
 You can see I have been making progress but it's a slow process as I have been pressing, cutting and sorting them into sizes. I plan to make the next few quilts based on the sizes I have in plentiful supply.
I needed a break after 3 days of playing with scraps so I made more Broken Dishes blocks and have started to join the blocks together into rows. I have a lot of scraps pressed so I plan on getting more done tomorrow. In the meantime my head is spinning while I think about which pattern I want to try out first. I really want to make some baby quilts so I can practice my free motion quilting. I have lots of half square triangles in varied sizes as well as the squares so I make just decide on a block which uses both shapes.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Old Ways Still Work

 I've decided it's time to start reverse appliquing the sunflowers to background but don;t have a circle template large enough. Knowing that in the old days many quilters used plates to make their circle templates I thought I'd give it a try. These sunflowers are 11" across and I had to try out quite a few plates which were a bit too small before I found one large enough.
 Then I traced it on some cardboard and cut out the template.
 I drew it on the back of the background fabric and then reverse appliqued the sunflowers in place. I was originally planning to use cream fabric as the block background but as I increased the number of sunflower blocks I didn't have enough cream fabric. I did find one that was similar in cream and then found I had enough of my focus fabric so used that instead. I know it looks a very strong colour here but I will be cutting the blocks down so not as much background is visible and then using cream in the sashing.

I thought it was better to go for something completely different rather than try to match the cream colours and the sunflowers stand out more on the darker background. I'm thinking this one might be called Evolution, as although I started out with a pattern from a class with Chris Serong, the quilt has evolved with my changes in design as I enjoyed the process of hand piecing the sunflowers. Either that or Tequila Sunrise. What do you think? Do you name your quilts?
 For the past two days I been busy taming the scraps so I hope to show some tidy bins with the pre-cut shapes neatly organized. How long they stay that way is anybody's guess though. haha.
Have a great day of stitching.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, September 15, 2013

While I am Sleeping

 I've been working more night shifts so I thought I'd share some of the photos of our trip to the Mallee area of Victoria, while I am sleeping. It was 4.5 hours drive from home and the weather was lovely and warm, although cold at night.
There was a huge sand dune called Snow drift.
We found some camels at a holiday lodge.

 The best part of traveling during the week is that we had the place to ourselves.

 We climber to the top of this red bluff and enjoyed the view as well as the exercise.
I'm off to catch up on some sleep now and will post some more photos of my quilting progress very soon.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, September 13, 2013

Getting My Vitamin Q

 Wow the last two weeks have just flown past and I'm so sorry that I've been MIA for so long. I have worked lots more night shifts than normal and the rest of the time has been very busy with quilting events. I am semi-retired and have been for the past 4 years which means that we are free to travel but I am also available for paid work when we are at home. Having held the same position as an After Hours Hospital Manager for the past 30 years, it's no hardship to work when I am available. My employer is happy as there is always a problem with getting experienced staff, especially at short notice to cover sick leave etc, and we are happy as we can take off for weeks at a time and I don't have to work around the holiday schedule at work. It's finally spring here but I have been extra busy as sick leave always increases during the winter months and so I've been working shifts in around my other activities.
 I attended my Melbourne quilting group and was very lucky to see up close this lovely hexagon top which was made I think in the late 1800s. I'll update this information if I have the timeline wrong. It's easy to see why hand piecing and hexagons have seen a renewed interest as this one was delightful and it was fun to see how the quilter had fussy cut her hexagons.
 I have been busy prepping more elongated hexagons for my Patchwork of the Crosses blocks. Oh did I tell you this is another new WIP? Naughty me for starting something new when I have so many others to finish but it is a good take-along- piece of hand stitching. At least that's my excuse and who can resist such lovely fun in deciding which scraps will play nicely in the blocks.
 I worked last Monday and Tuesday nights, then slept Wednesday to catch up and then caught an early flight to Brisbane to see the V&A quilt exhibition. It finishes on the 22nd of September and it was well worth the trip to see some of the beautiful quilts in their collection. The catalogue for the exhibition was sold-out but luckily I had already purchased my copy of the V & A book and I scanned a couple of my favourites to share as we were not allowed to take photos of the quilts.
 The quilt above was made by Ann Randoll in 1802 and was just exquisite. It was surprising how vibrant the colours were after all this time.
 The quilt below was the Changi Prison quilt made in 1943 by 20 girls, aged 8 -16, who wanted to make it as a surprise birthday present for their Girl Guide leader. It was made from precious scraps of their clothing and stitched in secret.
 I think the next quilt was my favourite but choosing just one is like being asked to select your favourite child! It is believed to have been made by Francis Brayley when he was stationed in India from 1864-77. It was made from 0.5 inch hexagons and stitched using wool fabrics, possible from military uniforms. The detail and workmanship was incredible and the colours and design were very graphic too. It may have shown better than some of the others because it was hanging whereas some of the others were placed flat over a bed form.
I stayed overnight in Brisbane and really enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather where I was able to get some Vitamin D and well as plenty of Vitamin Q. As I flew home I was asked to work nights again so that is why I have been absent for so long. All the "hurry up and wait" at the airport gave me plenty of time to work on my hand stitching so I did enjoy even the hours of waiting for planes.
I worked two more nights when I returned and then we took a four day camping trip so that report will wait until later today. While we were away I was booked for two more night shifts, starting tonight, so life has been busy but wonderful!
 More to come soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac