Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Focus and Finish

In spite of working night shifts again I did manage to maintain focus and get some of the knitted garments finished. I still have 2 baby jackets and a baby shawl on the needles as well as finishing off another crocheted blanket so I should have some more finishes soon.
I also finished off two more quilts for kids and they are on my other blog.
The last two photos show the cushion (with scenes from London) I made for DD's upcoming birthday combined with one I bought. I love fabric with writing on it and these will suit her couch perfectly as well as bringing back happy memories of her travels. It only took me about 15 minutes to make the cushion and add a zip so I need to make some more for me too and replace some of ours that are looking a bit tired. A bit like me at the moment LOL!
I know it's still early but I'm off to bed again to try to catch up on some more sleep.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Side-Tracked Knitter and a Donation

Firstly I found some of the pattern and the fabric from the last dress I made for DD2. I sent it off to her and I'm still waiting to hear if it fits. I was trying to get it done while the weather is still warm enough to wear it and I posted it off to her last week. DD's Grade 3 girls loved the goodies I included in the parcel and think that her mummy is very clever- Thanks girls!
The weather has also turned colder at night so I've been working on a few different knitting projects. I must get side-tracked easily because I often have more than one knitting (sewing and quilting too) project on the go. Can anyone else relate?
DD2's best friend is expecting her first baby in a few months so I've been working on some baby knitting for her. I like to have some in pinks, blues and as well as a beautiful soft creamy colour so I can produce a gift at short notice. The blue cardigan with a moss stitch detail is from a recent Paton's baby knitting book. Oh I forgot I also have a cream baby shawl on the needles too! Whoops better show that another time or you'll really think I get side-tracked easily.
The beautiful bright pink will be a beret for a little girl. I'm using one of the Guardian Pharmacy free patterns for that an I'm happy to share if anyone wants it. It fits sizes 1,2 or 3 years. The yarn is an acrylic I bought from the Wangaratta Woolen Mills when we passed through there on our way to Beechworth. Actually we had to make a special detour to visit the factory sales and it was well worth the side trip. They sell acrylic for $12 a kg which is fabulous for making items to donate. They sell all different plys as well as pure wool and also fill phone orders if you're not able to visit them.
The last piece of pink knitting is for a scarf for the Brisbane Homeless Connect Day to be held in May. I bought the wool for 50 cents a ball at Spotlight and am using that when I need a break from fine knitting. Actually I also crochet sqs for blankets when I need a break from all knitting or when I need something which requires no concentration. Perhaps I get bored easily rather than side-tracked!
I also received a fabulous quilt top, backing and binding from Pat Tenorio and the ExSanity Quilters from NSW. It will make a wonderful quilt to donate so I'd better not get too side-tracked and get some more finished. I also have some more donated quilts to show at Oz Comfort Quilts.
What is on your knitting needles and do you get side-tracked by different projects too? I hope to show some more finishes soon so thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Upcycling This Week

I have sent off a 15kg box and a 18kg box of items for the homeless and there were a variety of knitted items as well as 11 quilts. I've also been doing a lot of dressmaking and sent off some dresses and skirts that I'd made for our youngest DD but unfortunately I forgot to take photos before I sealed the parcel so will have to try to take photos later.
I also made some more tote bags from singlet tops I bought at the Op Shop for 50 cents to $1. Secondhand clothing is one of the largest resources available at relatively low cost so I thought I'd upcycle some of these garments which were still in excellent condition and maybe just out of fashion, and make them into useful items to donate to the needy.
The red dress was a strapless dress woman's size 8 and in excellent condition so I took it in at the sides, closed the back slit of the skirt, cut off a couple of inches from the hemline and made straps for the top and then re-hemmed it. I'd re-sized it to fit a 7 to 8 year old girl and looks like a new dress.
I also up-cycled a satin top which was made in an oriental style, and made it into a new cushion cover for one of our lounge cushions. The top had a back zipper so it was an easy transformation to make it into a cushion cover and a bargain at $1 as I already had the cushion insert.
I've also been quilting donated tops again and finishing off more QAYG blocks into quilts so I'll have more finished quilts to show you on my other blog very soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Op Shopping in Canberra

We have become avid treasure hunters in Op (Thrift) Shops when we visit new towns. I guess it's the thrill of the find and I often pick up bargains that I can re-purpose and donate to people in need.
On our recent trip to Canberra we only had time to visit 3 Op shops but one was so good that we went there twice. I read about them at the blog site I Op Therefore I am and also found info about Canberra shops there.
We were staying at the caravan park in Watson so a visit to Tiny's Green Shed at Mitchell was very easy. It's a "tip" shop so items that are available have been rescued from the garbage. There are only general price guidelines and the price you pay is calculated by "eyeballing" by the person serving. My favourite bargain was the wooden piece like a portable writing desk and I think it has also been used as a bread keeper. I paid $5 for that and it needs a clean but doesn't have a mark on it apart from some dust.
I also got a lovely Harrods tote bag and a smaller wooden box which needs painting for decoupage, as well as some lovely pottery cups and 3 glasses to donate. The clothing was free and I only picked out a couple of pieces which are in excellent condition and will donate them. The kid's socks were brand new. We also bought quite a few books and probably spent $20 all up for all our purchases there. I couldn't resist taking a photo of the bin of crutches available. There was a large amount of things to choose from but you need more time than we had allowed to sort through for more treasures.

From there we visited a nearby Salvos shop but it didn;t had anywhere near the selection and things were much pricier. I bought some vintage patterns and a couple of craft magazines but at $3 for each pattern book I knew I could get better deals elsewhere. I also called in at an Op Shop near Parliament but the pickings there were slim as it is a much smaller shop and prices were also dearer. I bought 2 tote bags and a couple of magazines there and really we only visited that shop because it was near where we were sight seeing.
If you only have limited time I'd suggest just visiting Tiny's Green Shed at Mitchell for value and choice it was the best by far.
I've also been op shopping locally and have been buying clothing at 50 cents to $1 an item and re-purposing them into useful items to donate. I'll show some more finished projects soon.
Working night shift and extra shifts has cut into my quilting time but I have managed to finish another couple of quilts, shown on my other blog.
More later, Jan Mac

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Break from Routine

We had a long weekend here in Victoria so we headed off to our favourite camping destination- the Victorian High Country. The weather was perfect even though it was colder at night and the days were sunny and ideal for 4 WDriving along the bush tracks. There are many huts built in this area for the cattlemen to use as refuge when they were working their cattle during the winter months.
You can even get snow up here in summer so the huts would have given refuge to many cattlemen over the years. Some have been burnt down during the bush fire season but the local 4 WD clubs have rebuilt most of them so their history isn't lost.
Hope you all had a good weekend too. Before we left, I sent off a 15 kg box of quilts, blankets and knitted garments for the Melbourne Homeless Connect Day so now it's time to get busy on filling another box of donations.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Donations, Floods and a Special Blanket

While we were at the Australian War Memorial we saw a very special blanket made by Corporal Cliff Gatenby. He was captured in Crete during WW2 and was sent to Stalag 383. He had never embroidered before but covered his blanket with embroidery for something to do. He used thread from socks, scarves, pullovers, and old towels and by the end of the war the blanket was entirely covered with scenes of the camp and his service in the middle East. I was just so impressed by all the different stitches, the scenes and the bright colours he'd used so i wanted to share and advise you to check it out if you get a chance to visit Canberra.
The flood waters are continuing to rise here but I think we'll be fine here although our access road may have water over it for a few days. I'm working night shift tonight so I'll take our 4WD in case I need to drive through water.
This week I was also received more wonderful donations for the Melbourne Homeless Connect Day to be held in March. Delys Rogers and Stephanie Driel, both from WA, respectively sent 9 and 8 beautifully knitted beanies which will be very much appreciated by their recipients this winter. Judy Cooke from Geelong also sorted through two large boxes of donated fabrics and sent some lovely blocks as well as cut out pieces of fleecy fabric to be made into baby's hats.
Thank you so much for your continued support and I hope that you are all safe and dry and not in the path of the flood waters in NSW and Vic.
Thanks for your comments about changing my blog name too, it seems that it isn't a problem so I will leave it as it is. I'll post about my Op Shop finds soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, March 2, 2012

Canberra and the Changi quilt

We're home safely from a very water-logged Canberra and Southern NSW. It rained the entire time and there is more rain coming so it was good to get home safely. Even the main highway was covered by water between Wangaratta and Albury. The traffic was held up for miles.
We were lucky enough to see the Changi quilt again and I found this trip to be very emotional when we also took a guided tour and hearing the stories of privation is very sad. One of my father's brothers died in WW2 and was shot down over Germany. He was in the Australian Airforce and only did two missions from Britain before he died. We really enjoyed all the new exhibits and there was even one detailing the role of nurses in each of the overseas deployments of our armed forces.
There was a lone piper who played at the closing ceremony of the War Memorial and it was a fitting end to the day.
The following day we attended a sitting of our Members of Parliament and had tickets to observe question time. It was an undignified rabble at times and it's hard to see how they manage to achieve anything worthwhile- perhaps more happens behind the scenes! A lot of the time was spent in apparent time-wasting events.
I was also lucky enough to be able to attend a a rally outside Parliament House, held by the Save Murray-Darling Basin, and organizes by the group- Women for a Living Basin. I'm grateful to Shona from Coleambally for alerting me to this rally and very supportive of the women from the Riverina for fighting to save their livelihoods. Sadly the decisions being made for our rural areas are made by people who have little connection and understanding of our communities.
We saw a lot of heavy rain and flooded paddocks on our way home and even had to drive through water so it's ironic that our MPs are making decisions to change our water supply based on the belief that drought will continue to be a problem.
Sorry this is so long but the poor internet speed in Canberra meant that I couldn't load photos or blog reports while we were away. If you're still reading then I appreciate your effort. LOL

PS I'm thinking about whether or not I should change my blog to just JanMac to make it easier to type when searching for blogs- I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have. I had failed to consider how annoying it is to be constantly typing long blog addresses. My other blog Oz Comfort Quilts will still remain for the donation quilts.
Hugs, Jan Mac