Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tidying By Sewing.

 While cleaning up the piles of fabric I'd been using I found a pile of donated 9 patch blocks and thought it was a good time to make them into a top. I sorted them into piles according to colour and I found there were mostly browns and autumn colours. I also found 8 half square triangles in green and cream so decided to use them and make more to match.
 I trimmed the blocks to 6.25" as they were made by many different people and varied in size. It was time consuming but made it much easier to get them to sew them together.
 I found a variety of different neutrals and greens and made more HST's. I decided to use more blocks to achieve the size I wanted instead of adding borders as I wanted to use up the blocks and not have to find fabric for borders.
I finished stitching the blocks together but ran out of time to get it quilted. i plan to bind it with bright green binding which should also make it look brighter. My distribution of bright and dark greens wasn't as good as I'd liked as I laid them out on the floor and not on a design wall but it will keep someone warm and that is it's purpose. The top measures 42" x 60" and is fine for a boy. I had planned to machine quilt today but didn't feel like it so I guess another top is still a productive use of time. I need to get back to the hexies though as I have lots on the go.
 Off to bed now as I work tonight.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Scrappy Progress and a Change of Plans.

 Apart from doing the weekly washing, today was spent dealing with some of my many scraps. I'm a messy quilter! I wish I wasn't but I am. I aim for the waste paper bin when I trim squares etc but as much goes on the floor as in the bin. I also find I have many scraps falling to the floor when I am in full-steam working on a project. So this morning was spent in sorting all the different pieces of fabric that needed to be put away as well as gathering all the random scraps around the cutting table. I wanted a break from sorting so I started making half square triangles, just joining light and dark triangles. I didn't worry about their size as I sort them into bins according to their size later. This gives me a ready supply of bits and pieces to work with. Lately I've been using the 2.5" scraps to make Split 9 Patch blocks and I've just finished one using 3 " squares and HST's.
 I make the triangles larger than required and then trim them as I find it is more accurate for me.
 My largest pile at the moment is the 3" bin and I also have mostly 2.5" size. I try to select a pattern which will use these sizes when the bins start to get full. Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville http//www.quiltville.com has some great patterns to use up scraps and I just adjust the size I'm using depending on what size is most plentiful in my scrap bins.I'll start piecing more blocks soon so I can tidy up more scraps and get them made into quilts.
 I also finished off the third blanket using crocheted squares I made on our trip home from Queensland. I used more pink than I would have liked but I was almost out of yarn and pink was the only colour I could find in Atherton (Qld) as their hot weather for most of the year means that they don't stock much yarn in the remote areas. I wouldn't normally use so much pink in one blanket but it was all I had and will still keep someone warm.
While I'm tidying and sorting the sewing room, I'm also thinking about which projects I want to focus on to get some UFOs or WIPs finished. Last year I found it easier to get things finished if I selected 4 and focused on them, otherwise it's easy to get caught up with the next "New" thing and not get things finished. I had good reason to get some projects finished for two Exhibitions so I think I need to do it again and keep focused. I also want to do the same for my cross stitching, knitting projects etc. I have had a re-evaluation of the ripple blanket I had started before we went to Qld. I mainly started it because I wanted to try the pattern. I was not really happy with the colours I chose and as I have no particular need for the blanket at the moment, I've decided to pull out what I have done and use the yarn for more crocheted squares to make blankets for the homeless. I can stockpile squares and as the warm weather is coming I think I'll put away my crocheting soon and focus more on my other hand work.
  I'm back working nights again tomorrow but hope to get some more stitching done beforehand. I must get back to my half inch hexies too now that I am home again. I didn't take my La Passion hexies with me to Qld as I am working with lots of white hexies and I knew it would be hard to keep clean while we were camping.
Is anyone else making plans for their UFOs or is it just the Spring weather affecting me?
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, August 29, 2014

Here Comes Spring.

 It's almost Spring here and I'm supposed to be spring cleaning but couldn't resist making a donation quilt from scraps while I tidied the scrap bins. There hasn't been much progress with the purging of things but at least there is one more quilt ready to be donated to the needy.
Lesley gave me some more QAYG blocks from her quilting group when we met on Wednesday and I already had some binding strips ready to use so I also put another QAYG quilt together this afternoon. I will get back to the spring cleaning but it's good to have a couple of quilts ready to donate when needed. The warm weather is very welcome here and my quilting machine was more co-operative today so I may just make time to quilt another top while she's working well. If she starts to play up and breaks thread frequently again I can always use my other machine to finish off a few more QAYG quilts. There is also another blanket I am making with the squares I crocheted on our trip so there's plenty to do here, as usual.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Getting Reacquainted

 As we have been traveling for most of the last 4 months I haven't been using my quilting machine recently. In fact before that I was quilting my two quilts for exhibitions using my domestic sewing machine. Consequently  she didn't want to play nicely when I loaded a quilt top to be quilted. We have found that machinery needs to be used on a regular basis or things don't work as well. This time when we returned we found DH's computer refused to work and our second car's battery had died, and now my quilting machine kept breaking thread. I persevered and she's working well again but it was frustrating getting both of these tops quilted. They were very kindly donated by my lovely friend, Marijke, of The Netherlands and I wanted to get some more quilts finished as I was meeting with the lovely Lesley to hand over some more donated items for Needy Stitches. I'm sure the recipients will love their new quilts so I was very happy I finished them in time.
 While we were traveling this time I crocheted 3 blankets. Two of them were finished and I ran out of time to join the squares for the third so they will have to go off for donation another time.
 It's surprising how many squares you can crochet while sitting in the car on long trips. I had started to work on my hexies but the roads were too rough to be able to stitch them nicely and crocheting is easy as I don't need to watch what I am doing. I'll keep adding to the pile of squares as time permits.
 I'm also spring cleaning and decided to clear out some more scraps. I have started using 2.5 inch squares in a Split Nine Patch top and love the easy effect you can get just by using light and dark fabrics. This time I wanted to make the blocks a little quicker for a donation quilt so I'm using 3.5 inch squares so the blocks are 9 inch finished instead of 6 inch.
 I will probably add borders and hope to finish it soon. I know it's not really tidying as I seem to be making more mess with the leftovers but it's fun to do some mindless sewing again.
Check back for the finish soon- I hope.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Journey to the Tip of Queensland.

 The tracks on the Old Telegraph Track have been badly damaged by cyclones and heavy traffic use during the tourist season, so they need to be carefully assessed before attempting a crossing. If a crossing is too difficult for your vehicle you can take a detour back on the main road and avoid the more challenging tracks. We would have liked to complete the entire Old Telegrpah Track again but some of the other vehicles were not equipped for that part of the journey and we didn't want to risk damage to the vehicles.
 There were some lovely swimming holes near Elliott and Fruit Bat Falls, which are safe from saltwater crocodiles.

 There were a few river crossings and more waterfalls.
 Reaching the top part of Cape York requires you to cross the Jardine River by ferry and crocs are known to frequent the river.
 We visited some wrecks of aircraft which crashed during WW2.
 The tide was out when we walked out to the Tip- the most northern part of Australia.



 The usual group photos when we reached The Tip!
 A resort which has been abandoned and damaged by neglect and cyclones during the wet season.

Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Road to Cape York

 Our first night out of Cooktown was spent at the Endeavour Falls Tourist Park. It's a pretty camp near the Endeavour Falls and well worth an overnight stop.
 The Endeavour Falls.
 There are warnings at all waterways, lagoons etc as the saltwater crocodile can be found in fresh or saltwater and it's not the crocs you can see which are the problem but those hiding in the rivers or waterpools. We did swim wile we were away but only where no crocs have been reported and where there are rock pools and where the bottom is visible.
 There are many water crossings but these weren't dee enough to cause any problems.

 We love the red dirt of the outback.
 This is Old Laura which is the remains of an early homestead, preserved for tourists to see how tough life was for the early settlers.
 There are some beautiful lagoons of water lillies but the possibility of crocs kept us away from the water's edge.

 Fuel stop and overnight stop at Musgrave Station.


 The cyclones cause erosion of the tracks and roads and many roads have to be rebuilt every year.
 Cattle are often found on the road and you need to be aware of the need to slow down near them as they can be unpredictable and cross the road in front of the car.
 We took a side track to Port Stewart for a lunch stop.

 It's remote and a popular place for fishermen.
We love the Cape for the challenge of driving the creeks and roads.
More to come.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Now Where Were We?

Yesterday we arrived home from our trip to Cape York and we are now busy with working our way through our lists of jobs to catch up on. Due to lack of internet, I was unable to update my blog with our progress while we were traveling so there will be quite a few blog posts showing our beautiful country, while I get back into the quilting UFO's.

 
 On our way to Cooktown, we traveled through the Daintree Rainforest which is world heritage listed as a natural wonder.
 We camped on some wind-swept beaches on our way to start the trek to Cape York. This one is Archer Point, just below Cooktown.
 Cooktown has sustained some damage to to cyclones a few months ago but it is still a beautiful place.
We visited the Cooktown cemetery where the headstones tell a story of hardship during the early days of settlement. DH doesn't share my interest in cemetries but is happy to indulge my interest. More to come and it's good to be back home and blogging again.
Hugs, Jan Mac