Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Friendly Frankfurt

After a long flight with little sleep, we arrived in Frankfurt at 0530. I had been unable to select our seats prior to the lfight so we were in the middle of a row of 4 seats which made it difficult to get up and stretch. When we picked up our luggage we went to the Luftansa ticket desk and selected better seats for our flight home. Then we took the airport train into Frankfurt main station. Our hotel is right in front of the station and basic but good value, including a much better breakfast than expected.
  We spent the day riding the city's trams on a day pass and found people are very friendly and helpful, and also able to speak enough English for us to communictae, ask questions etc. We had a lovely day and saw lots of the suburbs as well as the old part of Frankfurt. Today is a public holiday here so we couldn't get a seat on the train to Paris until 1700 so we are taking the train to Koblenz for the day and then leave for the 4 hour trip to Paris.
 I was very happy I brought my hexies to work on as I got a lot done during transit. Both enjoying the trip and Ray was very happy to see all the expensive cars in the showrooms here.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Family Wedding

 We had a lovely night away, attending my niece's wedding. They have requested that we don't share photos until they are able to do so. Here is my great nephew dancing on the dance floor. He is just walking and very cute.
We had a lovely time catching up with family and I managed to glue fabric to cardboard for about 3 hours during our drive home so I have made more progress in prepping hexagons on our trip. We leave in 2 nights time so there's still lots to do.
Bye for now, Jan Mac

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hexagon Obsession: Obsessed- Moi?

 These two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we moved my Dad into assisted living accommodation and then we had to empty his unit. Luckily my sister has helped us but we are both time poor at the moment as I fly overseas next Tuesday and she has a daughter getting married this Saturday. Apart from all the settling in, moving out, canceling things and altering addresses etc I have been busy finalizing our travel plans and starting to get things in order to pack, charge up camera batteries, put books on the kindle etc. Luckily I only have to show up at the wedding and have fun with no responsibility.
  As well I decided to start a new FB page for quilters who are making Rhonda Pearce's Insanity Quilt, consisting of 10,339 hexagons which measure half an inch along each side of the template.
 I have become addicted to tiny hexies and strangely enough they don't seem to be tiny at all now. I guess it's like when I was nursing premmie babies- after a while they seem pretty big! My first love was always needle turn applique but I have become obsessed with these little hexies, probably because they will be an easy project to take on our travels.
 The photo of the blue hexagon quilt shows my progress of Grit's Life "La Passion" quilt. I had made a mistake when placing the flowers around the central one and luckily a lovely German member of Grit's La Passion FB page, noticed it and told me. I was able to remove the surrounding flowers and piece them in their correct position before I had too many to undo. Now that I've fixed it I can't believe that I didn't see the mistake for myself.
  The other hexagon quilt I'm working on is my version of the Insanity Quilt. I was going to call it "Memory Lane" as I am using scraps. However that name is feeling like it isn't special enough for this lovely design. I'm starting to think of words Like "La Stupenda" which was how Dame Joan Sutherland was known, or "My Magnificent Obsession". I have even been pondering some French names, probably because this time next week we will be in Paris. Also how lucky am I that I found the two quilt shops in Amsterdam are in walking distance from our hotel there, as well as on the way to the Anne Frank museum, which we plan to visit. Things are falling into place nicely. Now I just have to pack and finish sorting out all the paperwork into a manageable file. I'm off to stitch again. Bye for now.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fabulous Hexagons- La Passion.


I'm sure that many of you already know about this fabulous quilt made from half inch hexagons. It has been designed and made by Grit of Germany. Grit has provided this pattern on her blog Grit's Life. Other quilters have joined in with Grit's journey in making this quilt and the colours chosen all look wonderful as the design unfolds.
  I have chosen to make mine the same as Grit's in blues but where she has used some subtle hints of pale green I think I will use turquoise instead if I have enough of the fabric. As you can see I am only in the first first stages of making the quilt but I have Grit's quilt photo set as my desktop background so I admire it and become inspired every time I turn on the computer.
 Grit estimates that this quilt will use 17,250 half inch hexagons so it will be another long term project for me but a very enjoyable one. I just need to decide whether or not to take it with me and stitch it while we are in Germany too.
 Please go over to Grit's blog and see other lovely colour combinations as well as her other lovely designs. I'm going back to playing with my little hexies again today.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Hexagon Insanity?

 Some times it's best to just sit and stitch on something which doesn't require too much concentration and this quilt made from half inch hexagons is just what I needed. I plan on taking it on our travels and it is so easy to put together that I have made good progress. The pattern was originally by Rhonda Pearce and she called it The Insanity Quilt. When the pattern came out on the cover of an Australian patchwork magazine I didn't keep it as I thought I'd never be crazy enough to want to stitch such small pieces. It seems that I was wrong!
 I am going to tackle it like a Dear Jane by keeping a record of how many pieces I have stitched and I hope to be able to share photos of me stitching in various places on our trip to Europe. I will leave the largest piece at home though and just work on part of the top and then add it when we return.
 One thing which is making this project very easy is that I have bought a die from Accuquilt which cuts half inch hexagons (6 at a time) and on the other end it cuts fabric large enough to use with the half inch templates. IT has made it very easy to quickly cut fabric and more templates.
 I've found that the cardboard packages for a lot of grocery items are ideal to cut as templates.
 I'm using glue sticks as they work as well as the Sewline glue and I can buy 4 for $1 or $2. I have found it is easier to remove the templates and I can re-use them if I glue them rather than stitching them across the corners as I prefer to do with larger pieces.
My Insanity Quilt (with a huge thank you to Rhonda Pearce for sharing her pattern with us) will be known as "Memory Lane" as it's like taking a walk down memory lane every time I use up scraps from previous quilt projects.
 This quilt uses a total number of  10,339 hexagons sized at half an inch.
Total diamond flower shapes are 158 (1422 hexagons).
Total hexagon flower shapes are 64 (448 hexagons).
Total solid sashing uses 1068 (I am using a Moda red).
Total number of colourful random hexagons in the outer border  are 2012 hexagons.
Total number of white/neutral hexagons are 5389.

I am using a mix of white, white on cream, white on white, and cream for my neutrals.
Total Hexagons Stitched to Date:
 Diamond shapes: 27 of 158.
Total hexagon flowers: 13 of 64.
Solid red sashing 6 of 1,068.
Random hexagons for outer border: 101 of 2012.
Neutral hexagons: 85 of 5389.
 I have started to stitch some of the diamond shapes together as stitching all the neutral hexagons will be tedious if I leave them all to the last bit of the quilt. I think it will be a very good project to take with me as they don't take up a lot of room. I'm now having second thoughts about taking some applique work in case the lighting isn't good enough for that type of stitching.
Hugs, Jan Mac


Friday, April 18, 2014

Plotting and Planning

 I finished a few more hexagon flowers last night and cut lots more to take with me on our trip which is fast approaching. I have a little notebook which I'm going to use to keep a tally of how many flowers and hexagons for the borders are needed. They are going together quite quickly despite not having much time to stitch at the moment.
Today was spent mostly typing up our itinerary and finalizing all the travel plans. DH played cricket for a team on the outskirts of London in 1968 and 69 and he's hoped to be able to meet up with some of the men he'd played with but hadn't tried to contact them. Last night I emailed the club and received a lovely response this morning inviting us to make contact and see them when we are there. Ray was very touched that they remembered him and I was so pleased that I'd been able to facilitate this for him as he has such happy memories of his time there.
  I also emailed the Quilt Museum in York (UK) to see if it was possible to see some of the quilts from their Heritage Quilts Collection. I was very pleased to receive a prompt email telling me that I could make a booking and select 5 of the quilts to see while I am there. It is hard to select just 5 but I have made my decision and will happily pay for the opportunity to see them while we are there.
  We fly off in 10 days time after a family wedding so time is passing very quickly now. I do hope the tulips are still in bloom by the time we reach Amsterdam at the start of June. I've planned lots of castles and World War 2 sites for DH as well as visits to two quilt museums in the UK. He was happy to tag along for those as he knows how much work I have put in to the planning of the trip.
 I still have some more stitching to prepare so I'd better get busy again.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pottering with Hexagons

 Not much time or energy to sew for the past few days but I have made a few more hexagon flowers using half inch hexagon shapes. This one is using lots of scraps from other quilts so I'm calling it Memory Lane!
Yesterday and today were busy with family commitments so i'm hoping for a restful day tomorrow and some time to stitch.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happiness Is Having Time To Applique.

 After working a week of night shifts I really need to catch up on sleep. I also had a quiet day today to rest up and recover which made it an ideal day to do some needle turn applique. This is the first block I've completed of my Flowers From My Garden quilt kit. I've been meaning to make this quilt for ages so it's lovely to finally have time to start it.

 This is the 4th block (on the top right hand side) and I think I'll tackle to 15th block next. I do love Lori Smith's designs and this one will go together quickly as the pattern has been made into a kit and having all the background fabrics provided makes it quick to get the blocks started. I've also completed another block for my Chester County Criswell quilt so I am catching up.
 


We are moving my Dad into assisted living accommodation tomorrow so I expect that I will need to do some more relaxing stitching when time allows.
  Hugs, Jan Mac
 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Quilt Without Guilt.

 I've been wanting to make this applique pattern< Flowers from My Garden" by Lori Smith for some time. It has 16 blocks which are 9 inches in size and will be a lovely quilt for me to practice on with my free motion quilting. I bought a kit on Monday and have almost finished the first block, after starting it yesterday.
I'm also making good progress on my half inch hexagon project too. I've been called back to work again tonight so not much stitching will happen now for a little while but it was lovely to just relax and stitch today.
I know I probably shouldn't have started another project but I have a few stressful things I'm dealing with at the moment so I decided to allow myself to just enjoy stitching without guilt. There will be time enough to finish off some more UFOs in the future. In the meantime the relaxing action of stitching is very soothing.
  Have a great weekend everyone. I won't be able to get to the AQC this year due to work and family commitments but there is always next year.
Hugs, Jan Mac
 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Beginnings.

 I have started a couple of new projects, even though the number of works in progress are still fairly high, because I'm auditioning projects that I will be able to take on our travels to Europe. I have been wanting to make a reproduction of Susan McCord's Trailing Vines quilt and I have the book, Quilts From Henry Ford, so started by tracing the leaves and vines. Then I realized that it made more sense for me to free-hand cut the leaves from scraps as that would be what was done by the original quilter. You can see my progress from just a few hours and I think this will be a good project to take as it doesn't take up much room and involves fairly intense amounts of stitching without needing a lot of precision  in placement of the leaves.
 I am also working with half inch hexagons and have made some good progress with the hexagon flowers as well as the random hexagons for the border of the quilt. This is another good project to take on our travels as they are small and won't take up much room in my luggage. We'll have some waiting time for trains and planes so some stitching may be done as a change from reading.
 In the meantime I'm enjoying working on some new things but I still have a couple of quilt tops ready to quilt so I should probably put in some time on them as well. I plan on having some more to show very soon and it maybe some new projects or some older ones finished. It will just depend on how I'm feeling at the time.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Some Delicious Quilty Goodness.

 While I recover from working nights I thought I'd share some of the fabulous quilts on display at the Australian Quilter's Association (AQA) exhibition held in Melbourne at the weekend. The first quilt by Dorothy Ramage won viewer's choice and it is a stunning applique quilt.



 This is one of the 21 Elizabeth's Legacy quilts and has followed the original pattern faithfully. It's a very large quilt.





 I love the use of hexagons with some applique on the borders.

This quilt by Heather Bingham won the Irving Green award for best use of colour. Her quilt is made from batiks and looks lovely.
 I've been doing a little bit of hand stitching so hope to share that progress tomorrow.
Love, Jan Mac

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Quilts At The AQA Exhibition

 This is a very quick post as I am home from Melbourne and off to work nights again. It was lovely to see my quilts finished and hanging at the AQA Exhibition and DH was very impressed with them which was a bonus. The first one is my "Mrs Williams and I" quilt which is a reproduction of a mid 1800s quilt. The pattern is called "A Tribute to Mrs Williams" and it is still available at Threadbear and is by Corliss Searcy.
 This quilt is my version of Elizabeth's Legacy and our group was given permission to reproduce the quilt which was started by an 8 year old girl, Elizabeth Smith, as she started her new life in Australia, living by the Yarra River in Melbourne. My version is quite different to the others presented as I used modern fabrics and it was lovely to see how everyone had made their own versions of this quilt. I'll show close-ups of this one as soon as I have time.
This last quilt I named "Hexagon Charm" and was made from the squares of fabric I swapped with quilters around the world to celebrate the Millennium. I included this one as hexagons are undergoing a revival and hopefully it's one of those quilts that might encourage some "new to quilting" ladies to start their own quilting journey.
 I was thrilled to hear from one of our award winning quilters who told me my machine quilting was good and I shouldn't be worried about whether or not it was good enough for an exhibition. That was so lovely to hear as I know I need to practice more but will try to quilt more and worry less with future quilts.
  Thanks for stopping by and it was lovely to meet up with Pam as well as Kate at the Exhibition.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Applique On The Go.

 I took a break from stitching hexagons today to work on some more of my Chester County Criswell quilt. I completed the block of tulips and decided to make the flowers yellow to add some colour to the top, other than red and green.
 I've completed 11 blocks so far and I'm slowly catching up with the blocks that Sharon has posted so far. I will be behind again as we are leaving on another trip very soon but they don't take long so I can always play catch up again when we return.
 I may have prepped another hand applique project to work on and may take it with me on our travels. More to come soon.
I've also started my first block of the BOM from Sentimental Stitches, called Scrap Savers Baltimore Applique. I couldn't resist it as I love, love, love Baltimore Applique quilts and it was only $5 per month for the digital download.
 Hopefully I haven't just started more UFOs but as there is no time pressure for these new projects, and as I have just finished 2 large quilts, I'm going to enjoy the hand stitching process. Tomorrow I'm off to Melbourne for my group's Exhibition at the Box Hill Town Hall so plewase say hello if you see me there. I'll update my blog with lots of photos afterwards.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac