Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Important for Me to Know...

how I like to function as a quilter. I love buying magazines and often just browse through them, not even reading all the articles. I also have found that I don't use the patterns and usually take a photo for inspiration and make up my own pattern. Actually I think I've only ever made one thing from a magazine and that was a bag.
I have cancelled 2 subscriptions about a year ago and now I'm ready to cease another subscription. It's not that there's anything wrong with the magazines, but as I've been quilting since 1978, I find that many of the patterns are too simple or the articles are repetitive. I particularly noticed this as I spent today going through my magazine collection. I have far too many and they are taking up too much space. It would be worth giving them shelf space if I referred to them frequently but if I browse at all it's usually with books of antique quilts. I started thinning out my magazines a couple of years ago and used to tear out anything I thought I'd want to refer to again. Then I would file these pretty pictures and patterns in folders which may as well have been trash bins as I rarely looked at them again. I found that the same thing happened with patterns I downloaded and printed from the internet. I filed them and never looked at them again. It was easier to seek them again online and often there was also something else that sparked my interest more.
So today I spent a couple of hours going through my magazines and found that I saved very few pages of interest. I do like to cut and paste photos into a scrap book for quilts that interest me and I will continue to do that.
I think it's just a matter of finally knowing how I work and reducing some of the clutter that gets in the way of my progress. I know that my tastes in quilts will change but that's OK as they are always bringing out new magazines and books to tempt me.

I also plan to thin out my kits and patterns and will post about them soon.
Yesterday I managed to make another 2 sunflower blocks and I'm liking how they look. I'm working on being as accurate as possible and it's been good to practise my piecing skills.
Bye for now, Jan Mac

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I was going to post a quilty report but as it's ANZAC Day I thought I'd honour the soldier's of my family. The large photo of of my grandfather Les Ebbott and he was one of Jacka's Mob in World War 1. He was shot in the lung, sent to England for 4 months to recover and then back to the front. After that War he took over a soldier settlement block and became an orchardist.
That's why the next two photos were taken with the men posing in the orchard. The next photo is of my Dad when he enlisted at 18. He was a navigator and stationed in New Guinea. The last photo is of my Uncle Ted and he was a bomber in a G for George plane and was shot down over Germany just before he turned 21.
I never knew my Uncle Ted as he was killed before any of my generation were born. All his 4 siblings named one of their boys Edwin, to honour his memory.
My Dad is almost 85 now and doesn't talk much about his experiences but we're lucky to have the photos and I've taken on the task of scanning them all so I can share them with the rest of our extended family. More quilting reports later.
Hugs Jan Mac

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Following On...

from the weekend. I should have said that the photos in my previous post were of Chris Serong's award winning quilt and not mine. Here are the 4 blocks I managed to finish and I have another 9 large blocks to finish and 11 more small star blocks. Gee that won't take long will it?
I'm also working on my hand sewing of hexagons. Like many of you I also participated in exchanging 2 1/2" squares with quilters from around the world. Postage cost quite a bit and I haven't done anything with the squares. Some weren't a precisely cut size so I decided to sort them into similar tones and shades of colours and make elongated hexagons with white on cream hexagons between the blocks. I'm happy with the way it's looking now and I'm enjoying the handwork as I find it very relaxing.
I've also been piecing a Challenge quilt for my Online SCQ Retreat in Bathurst on the second weekend of May. I won't show that one until after the retreat but it's coming together OK and the challenge is to use "used flannel shirts".
I'm posting the photos of the 4 finished quilts on my other blog at
Now I'm off to practise with my new sewing machine before my free motion quilting class with Deborah Louie next week at the Australasian Quilters Convention.
I'm going to make more sunflower blocks while I practise with the new machine so I can complete two tasks at the same time.
More later, Jan Mac

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Lovely Quilty Weekend

I signed up for a weekend of quilting classes at a nearby venue at Dookie and took a class with Chris Serong. She taught her award winning Sunflower pattern and she is an excellent teacher. Chris is very well organized and very generous with her time and knowledge. She's only going to teach this class for a short time and then she'll retire it so if you get the chance to take the class I can highly recommend it. I'll show the 4 blocks I finished when I post tomorrow.
Today, I also managed to finish the binding on 4 quilts and make 2 more rice bags so I did bust some stash and will post more photos tomorrow.
Hugs Jan Mac

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rice Bag Instructions

I've re-posted the directions in case anyone wants to help put by making some rice bags.

This is one of the rice bags made for Hiam Health, an organization which distributes free rice to the people who are suffering from malnutrition. They use the bags to refill each time the people come for more rice and this helps to keep their costs down.
They work in Dili and do a wonderful job with saving the lives of many people.
The bags measure 35cm (13.5") across by 50cm (19.5") down. Then turn down a 2cm (1") part for a drawstring to go around the top of the bag. Make a drawstring to measure 140cmx 2cm (55"x 3/4") wide. You can overlock or just sew the drawstring together.
Just email me for an address if you want to make some to donate. You can use any washable fabric which isn't suitable for quilts- but not rubber backed fabric, in case it rubs off into the rice.
It's another good way to give some help to others.
Hugs Jan Mac

It's Good To Be Quilting

I've finally had a productive week of quilting or at least better than before. I attended my quilter's meeting of AQA on Monday and as that's a 2 1/2 hour trip each way, not much else got done but it was great to catch up with my quilting friends again. Actually I forgot that I did manage to make 2 rice bags for Timor.
Then on Tuesday I quilted 4 tops and finished putting a crocheted blanket together. Then on Wednesday I bound 2 of the tops and quilted 2 more as well as packing boxes of goods for East Timor. I received a large box of 90 rice bags for Hiam Health in Timor and they were made and donated by a group of quilters from Wauchope in NSW. They've done a wonderful job in making so many bags and they will be used to distribute rice as part of Hiam Health's program to combat malnutrition. I was told they can use 55,000 and although they have received some 2,000 or so, they can still use more so I am busy cutting and making bags when there's time.
My back and shoulders were complaining after quilting so many quilts for the last few days so today was a day to catch up with other chores. This weekend I have a quilting weekend of classes at the Dookie Weekend and it's always a fun time, especially seeing the tutors Show and Tell. I've shown 2 of the finished quilts and the blankets but need to finish off the bindings before I take more photos.
Last night I de-constructed 9 flannel shirts for a retreat challenge which is due in 3 week's time, so there's plenty of time to get that done- isn't there? At least I've made a plan and that's usually the biggest challenge!
Bye for now and back to the binding.
Hugs Jan Mac

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Puzzle Solved

I worked hard and finally got the UFO finished off so I can hand it in at my quilting meeting on Monday. There were some challenges but someone will be happy to snuggle with it now it's done. The QAYG quilt will also go to Odyssey House via AQA and it's good to get some more quilts finished.
I'm working night shift tonight and have made a big pot of soup today so that's our evening meal sorted. I also have a challenge quilt to make for my Southern Cross Quilters Retreat in 4 weeks time so that had better be my next project.
Hugs Jan Mac

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's a Puzzle...

...Or at least a UFO. the photo of small fabric squares is a UFO kit I said that I'd put together for my quilting group, AQA. We make and donate quilts to Odyssey House, which is a rehab unit for drug addicts in Melbourne. I received the kit which seemed to have an unusual number of pieces and many were differing sizes and not very accurately cut, so I'd been struggling with what to do with them. I like to cut my half square triangle pieces larger than needed and then trim them to make them accurately. That wasn't possible as the triangles were cut too small. So I spent yesterday and today putting the blocks together and plan to sew the blocks together, add borders and quilt and bind it so I can hand it in at our meeting on Monday. I'm also working night shift again tomorrow night so I need to get it finished before then. I really want it done so I can move on to some other UFOs I want to finish and I haven't touched my hand sewing since Christmas and really need to get some more hand appliqued blocks finished. I've been too busy with knitting and crocheting instead.
On Wednesday we took our DD for a BBQ lunch to see the koala colony near us. We saw lots of them asleep and it was hard to get good photos but one koala was awake and sitting in a fork of a tree so you may be able to see him if you enlarge the photo. We also saw lots of kangaroos but they moved too quickly to capture on film. I thought my overseas readers may enjoy seeing some of our wildlife so I hope you can see him. The river is very wide and although it was an overcast day we did have a lovely lunch and there was still time to make a few more blocks when we returned home.
I also finished a QAYG quilt so I hope to have more photos to show tomorrow.
Bye for now, Jan Mac

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Break

I had a lovely break at Easter time as we were camping with friends. I've been fitting in some quilting but mainly crocheting and knitting as it's a more portable project. I finished off a scarf and crocheted enough squares for a blanket and now just have to join them together.
I bought almost a kilo of grey yarn at a thrift shop and it was very inexpensive as it was in an almighty tangled mess. I spent 3 days winding it all into balls and getting the tangles out of it so it's now being used up as blanket squares for Pine Ridge. I also knitted a face cloth from knitting cotton and sewed a rice bag for Timor.
I've been busy with family things as well as one of our children has been home for holidays and it's been lovely to have her company. I plan on getting more quilts finished off very soon as I want to send another shipment off to East Timor very soon.
So there's not a lot of quilting to show you lately but I have been putting another QAYG quilt together from donated blocks as well as making more blocks.
I also had a comment from Liz about the instructions for the QAYG blocks. I couldn't find your email address to reply to Liz, but if you check out my blog for Feb last year, you should find all your details there.
More to report later.
Hugs Jan Mac