Friday, November 27, 2015

The Last Block.

 I've finished stitching the last block for my Chester County Criswell quilt. This was one of the early blocks and it's great to finally have all 33 of them finished. I have them laid out on the design floor while I rearrange them so the green ones are evenly dispersed. I'm sure that I will find an error as soon as I have them stitched together. The blocks are 10 inches finished as I didn't want a lot of negative space between the blocks. I'm thinking of adding a plain border, using the same fabric as the centre block. I will be machine quilting it as soon as I'm feeling up to the task.
    I hope to have a better photo of the top soon as the daylight was fading when I took the photo. It's a bit frustrating to have time to do things but no energy but I'll just have to be patient.
Hugs, Jan Mac


QAYG Blocks from Victoria.

My chest XRay has given me the diagnosis of pneumonia again. It's most likely that it didn't clear completely from when I had it in July as I have been coughing since then although I was feeling better during September and October. Hopefully more antibiotics will finally cure it. Many thanks for your kind words as well as your donations of blocks.
   I received 24 more beautiful QAYG blocks from Ann Birch from Victoria. Thank you so much for your lovely donation. I hope to feel well enough to get some more quilts finished for donation very soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Special Delivery From Holland.

A very large box has arrived from Holland and it contained a treasure trove of lots of QAYG blocks as well as other goodies. Marijke, one of my lovely blog readers has sent two quilt tops with binding, lots of little shorts and skirts as well as 64 QAYG blocks and some fleece fabric. Marijke must have been sewing for ages to make so many and they will make some lovely quilts.
    The box also contained some beautiful red Dutch handkerchiefs which I can make into a quilt, and Marijke sent me a special treasure- a Dutch market scene cross stitched cushion which her mother had stitched. It is such a lovely keepsake and I will treasure it. I think I may use it as a wall hanging to preserve it.
     When we were in Europe last year,Marijke and her husband, Chris, were so very kind to host us for the day. We took the train to the nearest city where they live and they took us home for lunch and then drove us around the countryside to see the dykes, windmills and their beautiful garden allotment. Ray and I gave such lovely memories of the day we spent with Marijke and Chris and I feel very blessed to have met such wonderful people through my blog. Marijke has also made and sent many quilt tops for me to finish and donate and her lovely work has blessed many people who have experienced disruption to their lives through natural disasters such Bushfires and floods.
      Thank you so much for your donations, Marijke but also for your friendship. On the health front I'm not much better so off for a chest XRay today, and another week of antibiotics.
Hugs, Jan Mac




Monday, November 23, 2015

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt of 1858

Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt of 1858 Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt

The original quilt is part of the Virginia Quilt Museum Collection.
The purpose of this blog is to offer a monthly Sew Along to raise awareness of this special quilt and to help fund the VA Quilt Museum. The sale of every pattern is directly contributed to the museum.
These patterns are for personal use ONLY. The copy and distribution of this quilt in any form is prohibited without written permission from the VA Quilt Museum.
   The blog is found at http://svbotanicalquilt.blogspot.com.au/
It's time for a change from illness. I've been to the Dr again and now have more heavy duty antibiotic medication to try and as I'm sick of being sick, it's time foir a change of focus. I am joining in with this blog and will endeavour to catch up as the BOM stitch along started on Oct 1st. I bought the pattern online and downloaded it. I have enlarged mine to 141% of the original so my blocks will be 12 inches square.
Come along and join us. You know you want to.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, November 20, 2015

Over It!

 I can't believe that I have contracted another sinus and chest infection. From the end of June until mid September, this year, I already dealt with a prolonged chest infection so I can't believe it's happened again. I've spent the last 4 days in bed and I'm so disappointed as I had planned on spending three days in Melbourne with our DD. I can't speak without coughing so I have to be antisocial and not share the germs.
      I was so sick of being sick that I spent 10 minutes stitching down the binding on the last top I'd quilted. I also stitched about 10 hexagons but that's as much as I can manage so I'm going back to bed. Hopefully my usual good health will return soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Progress in Bits and Pieces

 Lots of bits and pieces are getting done in between working nights and sleeping. Lots of sleeping! I bought these little Dresden Plates in Houston last year and I've now finished appliquéing them to 6.5 inch squares. I think there are 58 of them and I plan to put them together into a quilt now.
      I also tried some more free motion quilting on another donation quilt but I had lots of thread breakages and I could have meander quilted 3 quilts in the time it was taking me to quilt half this quilt. I ended up taking it off the machine and meander quilted another top instead. I was happy with my efforts on the other quilt but when I tried more stop and start patterns the thread broke. I think that maybe the quilting machine isn't suitable for that type of quilting. I can use the techniques I learnt though when I free motion quilt with my domestic sewing machine.
       I also received two large postal bags stuffed with yarn for the blankets I make for the homeless. Kaite M. From Bathurst has been very generous with donating yarn and it will make some lovely blanket squares. I know it's getting to be too hot for the blankets but making the squares are easy to do in spare moments of time and it will be good to have some on hand for when they are needed.
     We've had quite a lot of rain over the last week but the sudden hot weather and the drying off of the bush land means that Bushfires are still going to be a real threat for us this summer.
Time to get busy quilting again. As soon as I catch up on my sleep.
Hugs, Jan Mac


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Time To Practice.

 This year I decided to take some classes from the long arm quilting machine experts. I have a short arm machine and have been in the habit of quilting large meanders on most of the tops I donate because it is quick and easy and most people who receive a quilt don't notice the quilting design. They are attracted to the color, design or it's warmth and I have quilted thousands like this.
     I know I could have been developing my free motion quilting skills but I've had so much trouble with thread breakages or tension problems that I became frustrated even just quilting a pantograph. I'd even considered buying a more expensive machine but as I have no desire to quilt for anyone else and I mainly use my Janome for fancy quilting on my own quilts, I couldn't justify the cost.
     I took classes with Linda Taylor and Pam Clarke as I thought the skills would be useful to use with my domestic sewing machine as well as my quilting machine. Of course the most important factor is practice. Lots of practice! I have found that So Fine Superior thread works well in my quilting machine so I'm going to practice my free motion quilting and try to develop my skills. I will be quilting lots more donation quilts so I really should make an effort to increase my skill set.
     The first quilt top I finished today was a quick meander but the second one I tried free motion loops and stars. They are not perfect but that is why practice is required. I could see that having taken the classes I was already better prepared for free motion quilting. The best part is that I have two more quilts ready to donate.
Hugs, Jan Mac



Friday, November 13, 2015

Chester County Criswell Penultimate Block.

 I've been steaming ahead with these blocks and have finished the third and second last blocks. Now I am back basting the 12th block which is my last. I'm trying to stay focused and get this quilt finished as I have a couple of exhibitions I will be entering quilts in for next year. I also have some other tops which are almost to the quilting stage so I need to focus and get them done before I start any new projects. That's easy to say but I have lots of ideas for new quilts bubbling away in my mind.
  I also have two nieces having babies in the next few months so I need to get busy with a couple of baby quilts too as well as finishing off some more QAYG and donation quilts for the needy. November always seems like a short month as I try to fit lots more finishes in before the end of the year. I'd better get off the computer and get busy sewing.
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

QAYG Blocks From WA.

A lot of work and sleep are happening here at the moment and not a lot else. I must still be adjusting because I am sleeping almost 12 hours a day after working through the night. I won't complain as I know I will soon catch up and get back into a routine requiring less sleep.
   I received this parcel of beautiful QAYG blocks from Delys Rogers of Western Australia. Delys sent 4 large and 6 smaller blocks and they will be made into quilts as soon as I can stay awake long enough. Lol
  Thank you so much for your help Delys. The quilts will bring some comfort to the homeless for Christmas, which will be here before I am ready so I'd better get busy. After I sleep of course. Lol
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, November 7, 2015

QAYG Blocks From USA and New Zealand.

 I received two more parcels of lovely QAYG blocks from quilting friends and as soon as I finish unpacking I will get started on making them into more donation quilts.
    My internet friend, Carol E, from the US sent 12 of these lovely blocks and Vicki Smith from New Zealand sent 4 beautiful blocks. They are very much appreciated and help me to get more quilts out to the needy. We've been lucky to have quite a lot of rain over the past few days but there are still fears about Bushfires for summer as it will quickly dry out again. I plan to have some quilts ready to donate if needed. Otherwise they will be Christmas gifts for the needy.
    Last night we celebrated our youngest DD's engagement and it was a fun night with family and friends. She's shown wearing the dress I made her before I went to the US and she looked beautiful. I feel like I am starting to return to normal, thankfully as I will be working nights again this week.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Less Than Epic Journey.

I am relieved to be home after a difficult trip back from the US. It started well with a pleasant flight from Houston to LA and I even managed to get all the luggage on the plane, which I was having doubts about! I hadn't had lunch so at 3pm I had a cold frappachino at LAX. About an hour later I was feeling a bit off, when without warning I projectile vomited over my top, my suitcases and my shoes. I was standing near some seats and only one woman noticed and asked if I was OK. Well I could hardly say I was, but just made my way to the restroom to clean myself up. Luckily I hadn't checked my luggage and I was able to retrieve a clean top and wash extensively. I had taken a tablet for travel sickness though I rarely get it, and of course it didn't stay down long enough to work. I still had 4 hours to wait until the flight left and I needed to check my bags, but before that was possible, and while I was still in the restroom, I had another urgent episode of vomiting and diarrhoea. Luckily I was seated on the toilet and, while vomiting all over the floor, I managed to avoid my clothing and shoes. More cleanup resulted and many thankful prayers that I managed to leave the toilet stall without slipping in the mess.
  If you're still reading you are made of stern stuff!
 I did manage to check my bags and contemplated whether or not to try to delay my flight until I felt better as spending another 20 hours in these conditions of ill health, whilst in a confined space in the plane, were not an experience to be welcomed. Our youngest DD  and her lovely fiance are having their engagement party 3 days after my return so I really couldn't delay the flight and just hoped I could hold it together until I got on the plane.
      Finally I was able to take my seat and the flight started. Surprisingly I still had a further episode of vomiting and diarrhoea, despite not eating and only sipping water. Luckily this time I had the trusty airsick bag on the plane and uninterrupted time in the toilet. With the help of 2 cups of peppermint tea, nothing to eat and dozing off and on I managed to survive the flight from LA to Auckland. I had another 2 hours break there and had an uneventful flight to Melbourne. I've been home for 2 nights and I'm just starting to feel like I am returning to normal. I must have got food poisoning but the worse part was the severe aching from the strain of vomiting. You can tell I am a nurse, I know, because of the health report. LOL
    Anyway it's great to be home and I did have another fabulous trip, marred only slightly by my undignified behaviour at LAX. If questioned, I will of course deny all knowledge of the events and pass them off as a piece of creative writing for your entertainment.
   As a means of making the topic just a little bit respectable, I can share that I stitched 3 more blocks for my Chester County Quilt and I think I only have 2 or 3 left to stitch so I am looking forward to having a finish soon. If you've stuck with me for the length of this I hope you can have a laugh at my expense. Traveling on your own and getting sick is one of the few drawbacks and really I wouldn't have wanted to inflict that on anyone else anyway. Although it would have been handy to have some one to watch my luggage instead of having to cart it with me throughout the ordeal.

Some nice scenery to admire on the flight from Houston to LA. All will soon be well and I did manage to get all my fabric purchases home so I will soon be planning new projects when I should be finishing off WIPs.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Last Day of Quilt Festival.

 Some more fabulous quilts to share with you. I didn't have time to record who made each one but thought you would enjoy seeing some of the wide range of quilts on display in Houston.
   Now I'm trying to cram everything into my luggage as I leave for home tomorrow. I may have to wear more clothes for the trip home as the bags are full.
Hugs, Jan Mac