Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Beanie Festival

We were lucky enough to time our visit to Alice Springs with the Beanie Festival. They hold it every year and this year it attracted approximately 5,000 entries. Those entered in the competition are displayed in the local art gallery and the creations were incredible. There were many and varied uses of threads and textiles with many being knitted, crocheted or felted and the embellishments ranged from animals, flowers to a beanie which depicted a chess board with knitted chess pieces. My favourite was called "A Bowl of Cherries" and the beanie was blue and white striped with very detailed cherries made from stuffed and felted red wool. It was hard to believe that many of the creations were beanies and there was also an amazing creation of an owl with feathered wings and head and it was made by a 16 year old girl and won a prize. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take photos but if you check out their web site you may be able to see them there.
In an adjoining room they had a display of beanies hanging from fish netting and they were all for sale. I saw one girl wearing a striking creation of a red and white chicken beanie. Ray was very interested in the wool spinning display.
Today we also visited a gold town which is a ghost town east of Alice Springs. It was fun to see the mud ovens and the old bush beds made from bush wire.
We're off across the Tanami Desert tomorrow and won;t have internet access until we reach Broome in another couple of weeks.
Until then, take care.
Jan Mac

Friday, June 25, 2010

So Far...

We've been away for over a week and it seems like it's been much longer. We have been camping out in the desert for most of the time and are presently in Alice Springs. We weren't able to get a camp site with power so using the internet has been a bit of a struggle as the lap top only lasts for 2 hours of battery. However we're having a great trip and the weather has been lovely with sunny days and cold nights. We love camping out in the desert on our own and just enjoying the quiet.
I'll try to upload some photos but may not get many done as our connection is slow. We plan to visit a few of the gorges here tomorrow and will then take the Tanami Track across to Western Australia probably on Monday.
The first photo is of a rock formation called Chambers Pillar which is near Alice Springs and the second photo with the flagpole is the geographical centre of Australia. The next photo is of the river at Mildura where we camped for the first night and the following photo is of the sunset in the desert near the Northern Territory border.
I'll try to post again before we head out into the desert again.
Hugs Jan Mac

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We're Off..

Last week I donated another 8 quilts and 2 crocheted blankets to a support group for Burmese refugees who have been relocated in Bendigo as well as another 4 quilts to the women's refuge here. I've also been busy making moire QAYG blocks and putting together another QAYG quilt which sent to the local refuge.
I'm still making and distributing quilts to the bush fire affected areas but we are off traveling for 3 months so I ask that if you have any parcels to send, that you please wait until I return. I am keeping the quilts for bush fire areas until they request more as their storage space is limited and we will be going down the Kinglake again when we return.
I've also received 3 quilts donated by AQA for Kinglake, and Warracknabeal quilters sent over a huge box of rice bags as well as quilts for Timor. I really appreciate all the support and donations that you have given and I will continue with distributions again when I return home.
We leave tomorrow and will be traveling across to Alice Springs, where I hope to visit the Beanie Festival and see a display of quilts which will be held there at the end of the month. Then we are going across the Tanami Track to the top of WA and then making our way down the coast and across SA to get back home.
I'm going to be having withdrawals from the sewing machine but I will be taking hand sewing with me and I did manage to sneak a large bag of wool in the camper so I can knit hats and crochet blankets while we travel.
Stay safe and say hi if you see us on the track.
Hugs Jan Mac

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's a Challenge

I made the 2 1/2 hour trip down to Melbourne again on Monday as I wanted to attend my quilter's meeting of AQA. We were very fortunate to have Esther Aliu as our guest speaker for the day and I really wanted to hear her and see her quilts. She is a delightful lady with her own blog of followers where she posts a free quilt pattern. Her first free pattern "Red Delicious", is a stunning quilt and her second is also lovely.
I've shown a photo here of her second free quilt pattern and it's called "In The Pink". It has a tulip design.
I also wanted to hand in my challenge block for our Symposium which will be held in September. I won't be able to attend the Symposium so I wanted to hand my block in early. The first photo shows the piece of fabric we were given for our block fabric. We had to construct a 12.5" block in any design, using some of the supplied fabric.
Mine isn't perfect but it is finished, so I'm happy with that. The block was cut using templates and the design is called "Swirl". I think it would also make a lovely scrappy block.The blocks will be put together to make a donation quilt so it's a project close to my heart.
More later.
Jan Mac

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Family Fun and a Quilt

We had a lovely family gathering last night with a celebration for one of my niece's engagement. It's always fun to get together and we never seem to have enough time to speak to everyone, but we did try.
The engaged couple are very much in love, the venue was lovely and the food was fabulous, so what more could you ask for!
I also took along the quilt I made for my first grand-niece. I stitched her name onto the quilt and my sister said that means that I would have to make a new one for the next child as it couldn't be passed down. I luaghed and told her that was the plan. The new parents loved it, especially because it was hand made and had their baby's name on it. I told them to make sure they use it and if they wear it out I'll make them another one. The second photo shows my sister with her beautiful first grandchild and my Dad in the background.
I'm off to my quilting meeting tomorrow so I'll show my Challenge block for that later.
Bye for now, Jan Mac

Friday, June 4, 2010


I spent yesterday taking 8 quilts and 2 crocheted blankets over to Bendigo to be given to refugees from Burma. They are being supported by a group there and have been asking for warm bed clothes. The second photo shows the crocheted blanket and is a good way to use up scraps of wool and acrylic yarn.
I also took the time to visit a couple of op (thrift) shops and bought some sweaters which have been lightly worn and which weren't selling. I then pull these apart and make them into crocheted squares for blankets. It's a good way to recycle what would otherwise be thrown out as people seem to prefer to wear clothes which are easier to wash.
I also bought some dolls which I plan to freshen up, using instructions from the internet. Then I'll make new clothes for them and donate them to children in foster care.
I also received some lovely purses made by Kaite M. from Bathurst. These will be going to East Timor for the ladies to sue as coin purses and they will also be sent with cloth shopping bags. Kaite also included a large pile of these and they will help to make life a little easier for the Timorese women.
Off to work now.
Hugs Jan Mac