Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Country Living

I had intended to post before this but we've had no phone or internet connection since the weekend. Believe it or not the reason we lost the service was that cockatoos had chewed through the wiring on our aerial. We often have lots of them around our home and last week there were literally hundreds and obviously we're going to have to keep an eye out if they land on the roof area again. They can be very destructive and often chew through tree branches which are a thumb's breadth in size.
In the meantime it meant I was able to finish off more quilts which are shown on my other blog, as well as finishing off another crocheted blanket and a knitted scarf. We've also been busy spring cleaning the shed so lots of old things are being removed and more space cleared so DH can work on the cars in there again. It's 50x25 ft in size and was where we lived while we were building our home. Having so much extra storage can be a trap as you tend to hold onto things in case you need them. It's good to have a big clear out and sort through what you want to save and what you can bear to let go. Luckily we live out in the country so we can burn the unwanted rubbish and the rest is being donated or sorted and stored for future use.
We have more to do tomorrow and then I plan to spend the rest of the week quilting so I will have more to donate to people affected by the floods in Qld. The lovely sunny days are making up for the cold and frosty mornings and although it's still winter here it feels like spring is on its way.
Stay warm, Jan Mac

Friday, July 22, 2011

Today's Arrivals

Today's mail brought more parcels with donations from around the world. Gail Oxford (NSW) sent 2 huge parcels with ready cut fabric strings as well as 23 pretty QAYG blocks which will be used in a quilt as soon as possible. The second photo shows some of the lovely knitted garments donated by the Kyabram quilters and delivered by Lesley Lowe (Vic).
Cathy Bruton (Vic) has also sent another 13 lovely QAYG blocks as well as a donation of money for postage costs and a lovely crocheted blanket.
The last parcel came all the way from Finland with my blogging friend, Ulla Rantakari sending a beautiful quilt with a striking sashing design (shown on my other blog) as well as 6 beautiful pillowcases made from kids' prints fabric, and 3 kniited beanies a scarf and a lovely pair of warm knitted socks.
All of these donations will bring comfort to so many people and I thank you all for your ongoing support.
Love and hugs Jan Mac

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quilty Comings and Goings

I've received more wonderful donations from around Australia and it means that we can help so many more people to stay warm.
Mary Bargery (NSW) has again sent a beautiful quilt shown on my other blog as well as 39 beautiful QAYG blocks.
Dallas Neumeyer, Pauline Lees and the Come Quilting Loose Threads quilting group also sent a fabulous parcel with a quilt (shown on the other blog), as well as a quilt top and backing, basted and ready to be quilted, and 15 lovely QAYG blocks.
Delys Rogers (WA) has again very generously sent a pretty pink quilt top, with backing and binding for a young girl, as well as some fabric, a bag to match the quilt and 6 knitted beanies. I'll be quilting the top tomorrow and it will be given to a young girl when she attends a camp for abused kids.
Yesterday I also met up with Lesley Lowe who brought over two very large bags stuffed full with 3 quilts (shown on the other blog), as well as many quilt tops with backing/binding, cloth bags and many knitted beanies and fabric. The Kyabram quilters have been very busy supporting others less fortunate by making quilts etc.
As well as all of these donations coming in I sent off 2 very large boxes containing 14 large quilts, knitted/crocheted blankets, knitted beanies, scarves and baby items. They will be distributed to needy people who are helped by different organizations around Melbourne. The boxes weighed a total of 26kg so that's a lot of warmth to share around where its needed.
Thank you all for your ongoing support with these quilt appeals.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sewing and Spring Cleaning

Yes I know I've been missing from blog world for a week but our youngest DD was home again on holidays and my time on the computer was limited.
The weather was lovely and although the nights were cold and we had morning frosts, we were in the mood for some spring cleaning. I went through my patchwork patterns and removed those I know I'll never make as well as some notions for dressmaking that have been sitting on the shelf for far too long.
I also tidied up my magic cupboard of fabric and found that I have more than enough pairs of denim jeans to make into quilts as well as plenty of shirts to make into quilts for males ala Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville patterns. By grouping all the different types of fabric together I now know what I have to work with and what to stop acquiring so I hope my cupboard won't be bursting at the seams again. I also gave away a lot of dressmaking fabric that isn't suitable for quilting and I know I'll never use. It was time to bless someone else with them.
We also had our DD's playful kitten with us for the week and she took over the house again. I've never seen a kitten play "fetch" before and she loves you to throw her soft mouse toy and she keeps fetching it until she tires of the game. We also found DD's earliest quilt top that she jade at about 12 and it was never finished. She chose all the fabrics because she loved them at the time but can now see that they would look better with a narrow sashing between the blocks to tame the colours and prints. I'll take that apart for a future sewing project. We also made another couple of skirts and the pattern has been used so much that I've made a duplicate from interfacing as it had started to tear.
I've also been finishing off some more QAYG quilts and they will be on my other blog.
Later I'll post the latest delivery of donations from around Australia.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mail Delivery Today

I've been busy finishing off QAYG quilts (shown on my other blog) from donated blocks and it was lovely to receive more blocks today to add to the pile to work from.
Kaite Matilda from NSW has been busy again and sent some money for postage, some baby wool, a lovely quilt, which is shown on my other blog too, as well as 12 more bright and fun QAYG blocks for kids' quilts.
Wendy Carter (Vic) has also sent another 35 QAYG blocks in lovely colours as well as some bright blue binding strips so they will make another fun quilt for someone.
Cat from New Zealand has also sent a lovely collection of FQs to help make more quilts for Christchurch as well as for others. They are also in bright and fun fabrics and she included a really cute hand-made card.
I have packed another box of crocheted blankets, knitted items and quilts to post off to a group which helps the homeless in Melbourne so I'll update the total when they are on their way.
Thank you all for your ongoing support with these quilt appeals. The weather is so cold here at the moment that it's no hardship to stay indoors and quilt or knit. In fact I hope to finish some more squares for a blanket tonight.
Hugs and thanks, Jan Mac

Oz Comfort Quilts On TV

Click on the link following to see a couple of our quilts which were given out to the homeless by Mission Australia at a special Christmas in July event held in Brisbane yesterday.
Seeing the smiles on the faces makes it all worthwhile even though you only get a quick look at two of the quilts.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Family Celebrations

This week I did manage to finish off the fitted dress for our DD as well as another couple of skirts. I also had to finish a quilt for my new great-nephew. I've started to make quilts for my nephews and nieces when they have babies and I stitch the child's name on the quilt so of course each new baby will have to have their own quilt. I like to personalize them and as this little boy is named, Jhett, and his mother is a teacher, I used ABC fabric as well as fabric with planes. The parents were very pleased with the quilt and as you can see my brother is very happy with his first grand child. Jhett looked a bit worried with all the attention but I think he was due for a feed.
The reason for our family gathering was my older sister's special birthday. It was a lovely night spent catching up with family and friends and a special visit from one of my brothers who'd flown across the country to make the party after telling all of us he'd be unable to be there.
I did manage to finish off another QAYG quilt to donate before we left for the party, and that is shown on my other blog. Tomorrow I plan to get busy quilting again as soon as I catch up on my sleep. We had a very late night with all the talking and the time just flew so we only had a few hours sleep but it was worth it.
More tomorrow, Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dressmaking 101

This week has been filled with sewing but not quilting as I've been teaching our youngest DD how to make her own clothes. She quickly learned the value of finding a pattern which fits well and then using this with a variety of different fabrics to make outfits. She started with a simple skirt pattern and has finished 6 skirts so far this week. There is still one more to finish off but it's a bit fiddly as it has a chiffon over-skirt. The rest of the skirts varied from a suede to suiting to satin fabrics and all will look different with a variety of tops.
I also made a fitted black shift dress and spent quite a bit of time taking it in so that it fitted as she wanted. I'll try to take another photo of this being worn as it looks much nicer than it does here.
She's been drawing up her plans for clothes for some time and is so excited to be able to make up her designs and will have lots of new clothes to wear to work. It's been fun to pass on my Mum's sewing skills to my DD and we've both loved spending time together. Her new kitten has also joined in the fun and has had to be separated from the patterns before she tears the tissue paper so when she popped into a tidy bin for a moment it was a good chance for a photo.
I did manage to finish one quilt shown on my other blog and hope to get another one done soon. I'll be able to resume normal quilting duties next week.
Hugs Jan Mac

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lovers of Applique

I had a special day on Saturday when I attended an extra meeting of my group- the Castlemaine Applique Group. We meet 4 times a year but this was an extraordinary meeting as we had special international quilters as guest speakers.
Approximately 200 quilters attended and ay what is the largest applique group in Australia. Mary Koval, a specialist in reproduction fabrics and fabric designer from the US, spoke about her designs and how she became interested in antique quilts and fabrics. She has a stall at the Houston Festival every year and sells antique quilts and fabrics there. She asked for all quilters attending on Saturday to sign her memory quilt and most lined up as you can see in the photo.
Petra Prins, a Dutch quilter who designs fabric and also has a quilt shop in The Netherlands, spoke about antique Dutch fabrics and quilts and showed one of her new books, Treasures from Holland.
The next speaker was Nels Kooiman, who co-owns the quilt shop Den Haan Wagenmakers in Amsterdam, with Petra, also spoke about her quilting journey and how she had enjoyed traveling with Petra and being inspired when visiting other quilters.
The last speaker was Carol Veillon, who produces the French quilting magazine, Quiltmania. She spoke about how she started out to produce a magazine which is now sold with three translations to meet the need of quilters internationally.
All of the speakers were very entertaining and the fabulous quilts which were shown at Show and Tell were very inspiring. Carol said that she was very impressed with the amount of time and detail that Australian quilters spend when creating their quilts and said that she would be putting out a special magazine edition about Australian quilters and their works. There was a photographer who took photos of the speakers quilts as well as those shown at Show and Tell and we could all purchase a CD so we're sure to get some nice photos to remember the day too.
The day was very well organized and it was lovely to meet up with one of my blog readers, Ann Birch, from Vic.
I took some time to work on another block of my Civil War Bride quilt and enjoyed taking some time for hand work. Since then I've been busy dressmaking with our youngest DD so I'll show progress on that tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day in the Country

It's been a week busy with family commitments but I did manage to hand stitch a donated star to a background fabric. It was easier to do this than to measure up and try to fit pieces to each side of the star which varied a bit. Now I need to add borders and make it larger with some added squares of fabric or other blocks.
I met up with Lesley Lowe again yesterday and she once again very kindly brought over a large number of donations from the Kyabram (Vic) quilters. They have been very busy knitting and the sweaters, beanies and scarves will be so appreciated as we are in the middle of our cold weather now. They also donated 9 quilts which are shown on my other blog as well as some quilt tops. The ladies have been very generous with their time and talents and the warm garments and quilts will help to make life a little warmer for the people who receive them.
I also sent off 6 large quilts to Cat to distribute to the people of Christchurch (New Zealand) who are facing many challenges in staying warm this winter after the earthquake. I did say that 500 homes won't be re-built but I got that wrong and it is actually 5,000 homes which must be incredibly hard on the Christchurch communities and I hope that the quilts will help to remind them that we are trying to support and send comfort.
Today I contacted a group of volunteers who are helping farmers recover in the Charlton area after the floods and they gave me a contact person who may be able to distribute quilts for me. However when I rang them they said that they had quite a lot of blankets donated and if someone was feeling the cold they were welcome to take a blanket. Having already sent 30 quilts for distribution I've decided not to send any more unless they would personally give them out to people who suffered damage to their homes. I only make two stipulations when donating quilts and that is that they aren't sold or stockpiled and I can't be sure that these things won't happen if I send more quilts as they kept talking about them as blankets and didn't seem to understand that they are a gift of comfort and not just for warmth. In the meantime I get so many groups in need of quilts and willing to distribute them correctly for me that I'll keep working with them at this stage.
Today has been a lovely sunny day and I was very keen to finish off a QAYG quilt I'm putting together but we had to cut fire wood so I took some photos so you can see where we live. We cut up any trees which fall down in storms and try to get them cut up before the ants move in a eat them away. We love the peace and quiet of living in the country with farming land on three sides of our farm and natural bush and river frontage on the other side. We've had koalas and kangaroos in the bush land near our home and we have plenty of noisy bird life around us as well as a group of magpies which have made their home here. They never swoop us and they sometimes come and tap their beaks on our glass door if they want some bread to eat.
My Dad has recovered from his surgery and now our youngest DD is coming home for some holidays and to have more lessons in dressmaking with me. She has many ideas for skirts and dresses that she plans to make this coming week so I anticipate another busy week, but I'll be trying to fit in some quilting time as well.
If I get off the computer I should be able to finish another quilt now.
Hugs, Jan Mac