Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let's Welcome 2017.

 Happy new Year to all of my blogging friends and many thanks for your kind comments and support throughout the years. The census seems to be that 2016 was a tough year and many are glad it's over. I try not to wish the years away but hope that this coming year holds many blessings for us all, including good health, good friends, lots of laughter and many quilts finished.
   I have long held the belief that what you spend time doing on the first day of the year will be what the year holds for you. I'm very hopeful that my days will be filled with lots more hand quilting and vintage quilts so I have finished the cross stitch on a vintage quilt kit I purchased. Working only in the evenings, it's only taken me a week or so to stitch one block and I have 5 more to go. I might make it with sashings or add alternate pieced blocks to make a larger quilt.
 I also have been busy unpicking a damaged quilt with plans to remove the most damaged blocks and remake some with parts from the discards. The quilting was simply 1 inch apart on the diagonal across the quilt and it was a utility quilt so not heavily quilted.
   I also worked on hand quilting this fragment of a quilt and will share that, and the history of the quilters named, in a post very soon. I hope to have more restorations to share very soon as well and I guess tomorrow will see us back to painting another bedroom. Progress is being made but the heat is not helping.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas and Surprise News.

 There is always such a build up of events leading up to Christmas and then it seems to be over very quickly. We had a lovely time at our DD's place and I didn't have to do a thing. We were very spoilt but she is hoping I will return the favour next year.
   Now that I have met up with all the family and given them the news I can tell you that we have bought a home in Ferntree Gully, a suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne and only 10 mins from our DD and our son-in-law. We were viewing houses while we "cat sat" for them while they were on their honeymoon. We decided to use our time there as a holiday but we were so busy house hunting we didn't have time to do many tourist things, so that will be on the list for next year.
    We have bought a 4 BR home but it is considerably smaller than our current home, which is what we needed to down size. Fortunately we were able to buy and make a gradual transition from living here on the farm. Downsizing after 30 years of living here has been challenging and tiring but we are making progress and although I am losing my very large sewing room, we will have plenty of storage. Luckily I didn't sell my quilting machine as we have room at our new home.
  I made a new Christmas wall hanging from a panel so we were able to welcome Christmas in our new home. We have moved enough basic furniture to be able to stay there and after Christmas we will continue to paint and pack. I hadn't wanted to announce it until we told family and I have asked them not to tell my Dad yet as he is 91 and would only worry about us moving away. It might take us some time to sell and we will return frequently for visits but there's no need to worry about that at the moment.
  I finished one more skirt for DD2 but didn't get time for a photo and have more sewing plans while I take a break from quilting for a little while. The weather is suddenly so hot and humid that sitting near the AC is a much better option at the moment. The cat quilt is one made by one of my quilting groups and I only had to quilt it before donation. It's very striking when seen in a photo or at a distance.
  I hope you all had a lovely time with family and friends as well as time to re-charge the batteries. Here's hoping 2017 brings us peace and many blessings, as well as good health.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This and That.

 Life still seems to be busy as we race towards Christmas. Or at least it feels like we are racing. I have quilted another donation quilt but forgot a photo so that will be next time. I may or may not have purchased some more vintage quilt tops needing repair.
 I am in the process of sewing skirts and dresses for DD2 and this is the first skirt. The second is almost done and the third will be cut out tonight. I also have a couple of dresses to make for her but we have been painting so I have less time and I'm more tired than I anticipated. We were going to pay for painters to do the work but once we emptied the room we realized that was the hard part done. We have thought we would start with one room and see how we go. Now that we have finished the first room we are getting the second ready for painting. We find it's manageable if we work for a few hours take a break and then do some more.
 When I need some time to take a rest, I have been attaching a new backing to an antique quilt from 1860-1880. The backing had completely shredded so I have been stitching a new one using a stitch similar to a big quilting stitch and it will give it more strength. Then I have some repairs to make to the blocks and a new binding to attach. Then she badly needs a good long soak in the bath.
She will be a treasured addition to my growing collection of vintage and antique quilts and I can't wait to take some photos once she has been cleaned. I have really enjoyed working on her as it gives me a chance to study her up close. She was quilted with white thread in the pink blocks and black thread in the pieced blocks. I hope she'll have another 100 years of life after my repairs, and I need to decide which one to work on next.
    It's been good to take some time for my own projects as I delivered the last donation quilts yesterday. Four of the larger QAYG quilts went to the homeless teens group and they were very happy to receive them.
I'd better get back to the dressmaking while I can.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 12, 2016

There's Still Time.

Thanks to my very generous blogging friends who have sent QAYG blocks, there was time to put together another QAYG quilt for the homeless teens. These blocks are 12.5 inches in size and I still have enough to make another one. Whether or not there is time to do it though I'm not sure.
   I still have Christmas shopping to do and I have packed up my sewing areas apart from leaving some of these blocks ready to access in spare moments. There might be time to finish another 1 or 2 before Christmas but if not, I have 4 large quilts ready to deliver. Thank you all for your help with these quilt projects throughout the year as we have blessed many of the needy with quilts again this year.
   The weather is getting warmer and summer is finally here. This means some lovely relaxing days watching the cricket on the TV while I do some hand stitching. I've found that my interest is drifting toward working on some redwork or cross stitch, which will be cooler options than hand quilting. In the meantime I'm still packing boxes and getting ready for painting some of the rooms. I haven't decorated for Christmas as our DD's cat has sustained injuries twice by climbing the Christmas tree and it's not worth the risk again, as it's a very expensive exercise.
   I hope you are all getting ready to enjoy some relaxing time with family and friends.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Having Fun With the Past.

 I have decided to try to get some of my rescues finished now that I have handed over almost all of the donation quilts for the year. This little blue quilt was a remnant of a quilt top which i rescued and hand quilted. It was imperfectly pieced but I love it anyway.
 This quilt was from the 1940s and I only needed to add a new binding. I didn't realize that the sashing and outer borders were originally pink and are now very faded. The binding was darker pink initially but I added a paler version to suit the softer colours of the quilt as it is now.

 The embroidery is still in very good condition and it's a cute little cot quilt for my collection.

 This quilt is from the 1880s to 1890s and was originally a pretty quilt with a very shagged backing. The owner then cut up this fabulous Seven Sisters quilt and tacked it along two sides of the first quilt to make a larger batting for another quilt. It was rescued from the innards of a tied comforter.
 I am removing the worn and partially cut block parts along each end and will add a false backing to strengthen the quilt. I will tack it and unfortuantely you won't be able to see the quilting on the back but at least it will prolong the life of the quilt.
 Wouldn't you love to have the original Seven Sisters quilt? I know I could never cut it up to make batting for a newer quilt but I guess if it's cold enough and money is tight, you do what you have to do.
In the meantime I'm havinbg fun repairing and restoring these old lovelies.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Plain Needlewoman's Vintage Quilts

 I had a quick trip to Melbourne again to attend my Melbourne quilting group's meeting and to deliver 20 quilts for Peter Mac Cancer Clinic. Our meetings are always enjoyable and we had a real treat with a visit from Janette McInnes who showed her vintage quilts.
 It's always a pleasure to see vintage quilts and hear about their finer features and Janette's talk was very good. Her blog is The Plain Needlewoman 
If you have time check it out as you will see much better close up photos of some of her quilts.

Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Almost Christmas.

 The year seems to run away from me once it reaches November but I have managed to finish another couple of donation quilts as well as more hand quilting. The hand quilting is a lovely change from working on a sewing machine all the time.
 Last week I delivered 20 quilts to Impact to be distributed to those affected by domestic violence. Tomorrow I have 21 to deliver to Peter Mac Cancer Clinic. I still have 3 left which will go to the group which helps homeless teens. I think that will be the end of this year's donation quilts as we are starting to get busy with work and family commitments.
   I really appreciate all of your support throughout the year with these donation quilt projects. Every quilt a needy person receives reminds them that they have not been forgotten. I have another new project to share very soon but in the meantime I'm back to repairing vinage quilts and more hand quilting- very good as a stress relief.
Hugs and grateful thanks, Jan Mac