Friday, July 31, 2015

Gratitude.

 Today was special as I delivered four finished quilts to a local organization which works with homeless teens. I think teenagers get a bad rap when often the reasons they are homeless are not their fault. Sometimes it's due to mental health issues, theirs' or their adult parents', or parental drug or alcohol abuse, or extended illness or lack of housing, or even due to the death of their parent or step-parent.
     The organization was very pleased with the crocheted blankets I'd donated a few weeks ago and Peter, the Home's Director, wanted to show us around their facilities. It was very pleasing to find the 3 crocheted blankets were carefully laid on the back of the couches and one of the Counsellors said the kids really loved to wrap themselves in them when watching TV or when they just needed some quiet time. She also said that it made the room feel so much more homely and that the kids respond positively to their surroundings.
      When you can see first- hand how quilts and blankets, made from scraps of fabric, batting, or even yarn, can make secondhand furniture welcoming it's very rewarding. They currently have 10 teens living there at the moment so I pledged another 6 for them and also asked for the teens to keep their own quilt when they are able to graduate from the program and live independently. I also could see that some large and colorful cushions which I make from scraps would also add to their surroundings.
      It was also lovely that my DH was with me and could see again how much the quilts are appreciated. It might help to soften the blow for him of living in a constant quilt factory. LOL!
I have tried to cut right back on my donation quilts as I want and need to make some for my family but it's very hard to change the habits of 20 years, especially when the result benefits others.
     So I will take any donations of QAYG blocks again if anyone wants to make some from their scraps. I am very grateful for all the blocks which have been donated in the past as it means I can put quilts together and donate them in a timely manner. In fact, the QAYG quilt in this blog post was made when we came home this afternoon, so now I have another 5 to finish now.
     I am also very grateful to Sheila, Michele and Marijke for their lovely comments about the donation quilts. I have made and donated thousands, thanks to so many lovely quilters donating QAYG blocks. I only ever wrote the blog so people could see that their donated blocks etc were finished into quilts and donated on their behalf. If I have been able to inspire others to do the same, then that is a wonderful result.
     I'd better get back to the sewing machine now and get some more finishes. The last quilt is a wonderful cot quilt which was a donated top from my Melbourne quilting group. How lucky am I that I get to play with lots of lovely fabrics and warm someone with a hand-made gift as well.
     I'm very grateful to everyone who has contributed to our quilt drives as well as reading and offering supportive comments on my blog. It seems that I just can't retire from making and donating quilts and today was a lovely reminder of how special the gift of a quilt can be for those in need.
  Hugs, Jan Mac
P.S,
. If you have any QAYG blocks to post, email me for my address.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beginnings and Endings.

 I finished another QAYG quilt from blocks made by Bev Kendall. Bev has been very busy turning scraps into beautiful blocks and I have made 5 quilts from them so far, so some homeless teens will appreciate all of Bev's hard work. I also appreciate it as it means I can finish and donate quilts more quickly.
   Another niece has had a beautiful baby , this time it was a girl so it's time to make a pink quilt. The new Mum loves pink for girls and the baby is named Charley Rose so I have included pink roses in the fabrics. I'm using my 6.5 inch tumbler die to cut the pieces and it makes it so much quicker. I hope to have it pieced to demonstrate at my next quilt meeting so members will be keen to make some donation quilts using tumblers. It will also be a great shape to use for quilts for males or even I Spy quilts for kids. I'm working again tonight so off to bed again soon.
   Hugs, Jan Mac


A Finish and Stars' Progress

 Yesterday was a rest day as I'm still having restless sleep and lots of coughing. Just when I thought it was gone too. I did finish the binding on this donated top, which I'd quilted earlier this week. I also spent some time stitching more of my stars together. I still have some to add but I am making progress. I'm back to more nights now so not a lot of stitching will happen but hopefully more sleeping.
Hugs, Jan Mac


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Four Will Have To Do.

 Today wasn't as productive but I still managed to finish binding four of the quilts from yesterday. The first two will go to cancer sufferer's at Peter Mac and the last two will go to a local organization which works with homeless teens.
   The rest of the day was spent making curtains for my DD's home. I have two more sets to go. One window is 3 meters and the other is a sliding door of 2.5 meters. I really want to get them done so I can move on to other UFOs. Hopefully I can finish the binding and the curtains in the next day or two, before I'm back working nights again.
Hugs, Jan Mac



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Almost Six.

Yesterday was a fun day as I went to Melbourne for my quilting group's Sit and Sew. We spent most of the time sorting the finished tops , matching them with backing, finding border and binding fabric and basically getting organized. Of course there were lots of  laughs and chatting too.
     Today was a fantastic day for quilting and I have six quilts almost finished. I machine quilted 4 tops after making backings for them all. Then I made a large quilt from the QAYG blocks I received last week, so that one is finished. I have almost finished a smaller quilt from the QAYG blocks too and plan to finish that one tomorrow. I still have 4 quilts to bind, which will hopefully get done tomorrow. Also my cough is finally subsiding and I'm starting to feel better so it was a great day.
    I'll have photos of finished quilts to share tomorrow. It's been great to have some time for quilting after working four nights last week. I plan to get more done before my next stint of nights.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Donation Quilts.

 My lovely friend, Lesley, delivered a huge bag of QAYG blocks last week and our sudden burst of cold weather has prompted me to get busy making up some more quilts to donate. I made up a larger one which will go to a local organization which helps homeless teenagers. I have plenty more squares to use now so plan on getting some more made soon.
    I also quilted another donated top which will go to Peter Mac for kids having treatment for cancer. There's always plenty of needy people who can use the warm hug of a quilt and our winter weather is ideal quilting weather too. I'd better get back to it again.
  Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hexagon Madness.

 I'm not sure why I stopped working on this hexie project but it must have been to finish off a UFO or make more donation quilts. Anyway I've pulled it out again and I really feel like I am making progress. In fact I'm enjoying it so much that DH wants me to make another one in different colors. Lol.
     I have more than 2,500 joined of the 17,500 required and they are starting to feel quite large in size now I have stitched so many of them. The hexies are half inch in size but not hard to work with and I have the Insanity Quilt in progress in half inch hexies too, so hexie madness has taken over. They make a very portable project for when we are traveling too.
   I've also been stitching my star pieces and hope to have that top finished soon. In the meantime it's back to more paid work to do.
Hugs, Jan Mac


Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Pieceful Day.

 Today was my meeting day for my Castlemaine  Quilting Group and despite the very wet weather it was a day of seeing fabulous quilts and fun. It's a bit over a 2 hour drive for me but well worth it to stitch and chat and be inspired by beautiful quilts.  We had a guest speaker, Deborah Dorward, who shared her quilt journey and her quilts were fabulous. My camera stopped working for our Show and Tell but the photos I did capture made up for that.
  It was a lovely day and I won't even complain about the heavy rain as we really need more to fill our tanks.
  I hope you all had some time to stitch as well.
Hugs, Jan Mac














Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Side Tracked Again.

 I found my Civil War Bride blocks and decided this will be my next UFO to finish. I had already completed half of this block and it didn't take long to stitch the ostriches, although the feet were the fiddly bits to needle turn.   I need to make some more bias stems for the next block and I have already traced the next block ready for back basting so plan on getting started on that soon.
   However while I was looking for some fabric to use on another hexie project I found the cream background fabric for this UFO. I think I started it 6 years ago, using 6 inch squares from an internet swap. The theme was Oriental and I was able to get 3 stars, measuring 2 inches along each side, from each square. I had almost finished it but misplaced the cream fabric so the project stalled. I have 8 more stars to piece and then add them to the top. As the fabric is oriental the stars are multi-colored and red was the predominant color for many of them. Now I need to think about a quilting design so I can finish this project before I lose any more pieces again.
    It will be great to have another UFO finished and I must keep working on my Civil War Bride top too so that one will soon be finished. This cold weather is good for stitching as my cold is keeping me indoors too. I guess finishing another UFO is a good way to be side tracked.
 Hugs, Jan Mac


Monday, July 6, 2015

My Melbourne Meeting.

Yesterday was a lovely day at my AQA quilters meeting. We celebrated the 90th birthday one one of our founding members and the occasion was celebrated with warm tributes to the birthday girl, an insight into the history of the group, and of course a lovely cake.
It's always good to catch up with like-minded quilting friends and I also managed to back baste two blocks from my Chester Criswell County quilt. I have all the patterns now and a few weeks of concentrated stitching will see them finished.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Two UFO Finishes.

 I took a two day class of Stained Glass Appliqué technique with Dianne Johnston, about 8 years ago. I completed the floral wall hanging in the first day so I bought one of her patterns and completed the Pelican wall hanging on the second day. All I had to do was stitch them down and complete the quilting. The technique uses raw edge appliqué which I haven't done before as my favorite technique is needle turn appliqué.
    Maybe that is why it took me so long to finish them but most likely it was because there was a need for me to finish donation quilts at the time. I had shown the Pelicans on my blog recently but I hadn't finished the edges then.
    I'm very happy to have these two UFOs off my long list and it has spurred me on to complete some more so I have pulled two more UFOs out to work on. I'm going to try to be strong and only quilt 3 or 4 donation quilts each month and get some more of my own quilts completed. It's hard to break the habit of 20 years and not just make quilts to donate but I'm going to try.
    I also have cross stitch UFOs I want to finish and I was doing well with them when I set aside a day a week to work on them so I probably need to get back to that system. Does anyone else have a plan which works to prevent the buildup of UFOs? Please let me know if you think it will help.
Hugs, Jan Mac


Friday, July 3, 2015

Time For Some Finishes.

 These tops have all been finished this week,and will be donated to warm the needy. Our nights are cold here now and I'm very grateful for my warm bed, especially as I have a chest infection and lots of coughing is happening here. I didn't feel well enough to quilt but I'm happy I made the effort and my chest infection is improving now.
    The last quilt was made from various orphan blocks and the first two were donated tops. I left to find the labels and when I returned I found that the cat in residence had found a warm spot to rest.
  Now I am working on a few more finishes so will have more to share very soon.
Hugs Jan Mac



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Family Gatherings.

Before we left on our latest trip we all got together to celebrate my Dad's 90th birthday. There was lots of chatter and laughter as well all caught up with family, cuddling new babies and hearing about the family's news.
   It was also a good opportunity to hand over one of the quilts for the new babies. They had flown down from Qld and it was lovely to finally meet the newest arrival. The quilt was made in colours selected by the new mum and she was thrilled with it. Using such a limited colour palette made it difficult to find a variety of suitable fabrics but she was happy so that's all that matters.
  I didn't get the second baby quilt finished but they live locally so a finish wasn't as urgent.
  We're home again after a lovely trip which was cut short due to me getting sick and we decided to finish the Simpson Desert part of the trip when the school holidays are over. Now I'm getting over the chest infection, it's time to finish off some more UFOs and quilts to donate.
 I hope you are enjoying some warm weather wherever you live.
hugs, Jan Mac