Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time With Mrs Williams

 Today it was time for some stitching for me and I'm working on the Square in a Square blocks for this quilt. I need to prep more applique blocks for this quilt for times when I am able to do some hand stitching. So far I'm happy with the mix of fabrics with a Civil War flavour.

 Yesterday we took a day trip off to the High Country to try out the camper and 4WD before we leave on our trip. We had planned to stay overnight but my face was aching again after all the rough tracks so I was happy to be home in my own bed again.
  Tomorrow is my day to take my Dad to the Doctor, do his grocery shopping and have a coffee before I work nights again so there may not be much stitching done but time will tell.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, May 27, 2013

Three For The Boys

 I have purposefully been working on some male focused quilts as it's often hard to get enough for the boys or men. I don't think they would be too turned off by a more feminine quilt as long as it's not shocking pink. However I have been sorting through my scraps for those which are more suitable for boys. The first quilt was a top I'd started using the Disappearing Nine Patch pattern. I ran out of car fabric so I substituted two squares in black to make the top. It's been languishing in the pile of UFOs until today when i found some red and more check fabric to make suitable borders to make it large enough. I'm happy with it now and I've also finished quilting the String X top and put another QAYG quilt together.
 I was going to work on my Square in a square blocks for my Mrs Williams quilt but just can't stop piecing more scraps together for another String X top. It's a great way to use up those short and thin scraps that have been sitting here for far too long.
  It's lovely to have time to get some of my UFOs finished and ready to donate. I only have two more quilts to finish and I will have enough for the kid's camp so I plan to have them done by the end of the week.
 I hope you are all enjoying some stitching time too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Feeling Scrappy

 I'm slowly recovering and battling an infection but wanted to play with some scraps so I've been taking it easy and sorting through my scrap bins. I found this set of 12 snail's trail blocks which had been donated along with a lot more triangles to make more blocks. I decided to sew these blocks together and I'll add a border and donate it a smaller size for the kid's camp. The other pieces will be added to my scrap bins and made into other tops.
 The second top was a good way to use up some scraps that have been sitting here for too long. The nine patches were not very interesting and have been waiting for their turn to become a quilt. I almost tossed them out as they aren't very pretty colours. That would be a waste of the time I put into them as well as the fabric so I decided to make them into 9" blocks by using up some of the 6" squares I have sitting in boxes. I used to cut all donated fabric into 6" squares and firstly my lovely Mum and Dad used to make the squares into tops that I donated. Then when Mum was unable to sew any more, a lady I worked with took over making the tops. She has now moved interstate and I still have lots of boxes of 6" squares so I thought I could use the brighter ones to make the nine patches look a bit more interesting. I am determined to use up all of these scraps that are filling boxes and bins and now I'm not taking any more donations I am making time to go through all my scraps.
  The last top was made using Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Sting X pattern and I have made enough for a quilt of 48 blocks. It's a quick pattern and a great way to use up smaller scraps that are too short for QAYG blocks.
 I have 5 more quilts to make before we leave so I plan to quilt some tops tomorrow. At least taking it easy has given me some time to think about how I want to use up some of these older scraps and projects.
 Thanks for your kind words.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fragile State.

No sewing yesterday or today either yet as I'm feeling a bit fragile still. I had a dental check-up yesterday at 8.45am as I'd had an occasional dull ache in my jaw. My dentist found that he needed to do a filling then instead of just a check-up, and he wasn't sure how long the tooth would last as it was in a tricky spot between two teeth. It was painful afterwards but OK and then the local anaesthetic wore off. For the next 6 hours the pain was increasing and my strongest analgesic wasn't helping with the pain spreading to my ear and eye on the affected side, as well as some fever. Finally I rang my dentist and he said to come back in later in the day. He saw me in between patients and said that the tooth would have to come out. Not an easy extraction and after two more local injections and the assistant holding my head to give him some traction, he finally managed to pull it out. He knew it wasn't sufficiently numbed but said he had to continue. Wow I'm pretty stoic when dealing with pain but this was the worst. On the other hand at least the tooth extraction relieved the pain I'd been feeling and now I just have the pain from having 3 injections in the same area of my jaw and the aching face.
Oh and I bled and the assistant had to clean the blood off my face before I left and scared any patients. Haha! My dentist is a lovely guy and must have been worried as he gave me his personal phone number and told me to call him if I needed him overnight. Ice cream helped a bit last night but I can't eat solids yet and still feel fragile.
 What a nuisance, as I had things I wanted to do. So I'm lying down or sitting quietly, tracing more pieces for my china plate blocks for my Mrs William's quilt. I need to make 12 and I have 2 completed and 4 more ready to stitch the halves together. Hopefully I'll feel more like sewing tomorrow when the antibiotics kick in.
 Sorry for the tale of woe and I hope you all have a great weekend as I plan to sew!
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Working in Reverse

 I had a lovely afternoon today puddling along with a quilt I have been wanting to make for ages. It was designed by Corliss of Threadbear and is a replica of a mid 1800s quilt. Corliss ran it as a block of the month in 2006. I've been so busy with donation quilts that I just haven't made time to work on this quilt, and as they say "It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"
 I have been working in reverse as the time allows and made the outer half square triangles first and now have started on the second last round of Square in a Square blocks. The instructions are easy to follow so I made a list of all the different blocks I need to make and I'm crossing them off as they are done. I need to prep the hand applique now and make more Ohio Star blocks when I finish the Sq in a Sq blocks. Having sorted my civil war repro fabric has made it easier to make decisions about fabric choices and it won;t take me long to actually put this quilt together once I have all the blocks done. I'm really pleased with my progress and hope to get some more done tomorrow but it's a big day of dealing with family commitments so time will tell.
   Before I started work on my Mrs William's blocks I finished off two more donation quilts. The first one was a top made by Marijke of Holland and the second one is a simple top of squares of kid's prints. I had a lady (non-quilter) who was happy to help me by sewing up tops from 6" square blocks. Unfortunately she moved interstate about 5 years ago and this is one of the last tops left to be quilted. I'm determined to get the owing quilts finished by the end of next week so I can focus on packing for our trip. I also want to get more of my Mrs Williams quilt made before we leave so I'd better get off the computer.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Two More Down

 I have a final number of 9 more quilts to make for the kid's camp for abused kids so I've been working hard as I really want to have them finished before we take our trip. I put together 2 more QAYG quilts today. The last quilt used 12 " blocks which Lesley L brought over yesterday. So there's two done today and 7 more to go. It looks like tomorrow will be another day of donation quilting.
  I did take some time late this afternoon to pin one of the quilts I want to finish for me. It t will be quilted simply as it is from the 1930s to 1940s and I don't want to out too much stress on the fabric. I bought it as a cutter quilt and took it apart, then I trimmed the blocks down to a smaller size so I could remove the tattered pieces and also a large black ink mark on one of the sashing pieces. The embroidery is in good condition and I added a new border to make it a bit larger. I think it will be quilted using the hanging diamonds design and I have used new batting as the old batting was very thin. It was originally quilted with Baptist Fans but I think that will stress the fabric too much. I also found another top I had put away as well as a set of blocks which are an old UFO and they are all being washed now and will make some more nice quilts to donate as well as clearing my shelves.
    Back to the machine now to see if I can get another one finished.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, May 20, 2013

Just in Time

I'm still recovering from working night shift but manded to stay awake long enough today to put together another QAYG quilt. Lesley Lowe from Rochester met with me today and is transporting more quilts to Needy Stitches for me. I sent off 8 today and I think I need to make another 7 or 8 before we head off on our travels again so I want to get them done by the end of next week.
    Lesley also handed over a huge number of QAYG blocks made by the KyValley and Rochie quilters so I'll be  making them up as quickly as possible.
Now it's off to bed for me as I need more sleep before I'm back to normal.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Clearing Out the Scraps

 Before night shift on Friday I spent  most of the day sewing up the scraps that have been accumulating in various containers. I have almost made enough blocks to make another String X quilt top using Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville pattern. It's a great way to use up those shorter scraps and I am using up the leftovers which are too short for the string pieced QAYG blocks. As you can see I filled a wastepaper bin with the leftovers from the leftover scraps. lol.  I have been saving scraps and cutting them and then sorting by size as Bonnie Hunter recommends but I find that once they are in the containers I rarely use them and just work with what are current leftovers from whichever quilt I am finishing. The system isn't the problem but it obviously doesn't suit the way I work.
 I've enjoyed clearing out all the scraps and emptying the containers without trying to hand on the "special" scraps, although I have been putting triangles aside and really need to think about whether they should be saved for a pattern which uses up lots of triangles, or whether it would be better to use them up now and get them into scrappy quilts. The triangles work well with either the string pieced blocks or the String X blocks so they won't go to waste.
  It's good to get some more quilts finished to donate as well as restore some order to my sewing room. I'll need to think about the triangles as I don't want to start another pile of scraps that will sit unused for a while.
  I also received these beautiful QAYG blocks as well as a generous donation of money, from Colette Truscott of Perth in WA and these will be made into a quilt and donated ASAP before we leave on our travels again. Thanks Colette for your generous donations.
Hugs, Jan Mac


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Power Sewing

 I still haven't managed to pin the two quilts I need to quilt for me but I have been powering through the scrap bins and finishing off more blocks. This was a mis-mash of donated large blocks so I made enough extras QAYG so I had enough to make another donation quilt. It may not be pretty but it will be warm and hopefully appreciated. As you can see I also used up some block pieces for the back as well.
 Not as much sewing today as it was time to take my Dad out for the afternoon with shopping and a coffee as a nice way to finish the day. I plan to stitch some more scraps tonight and tomorrow before I head off to work some more night shifts. It's just the right weather for a good rummage in the scrap bins as we have finally had some nice showers of rain. I'm still not working on my projects but it's good to see some progress with decreasing the scrap bins and a clearing of the piles of blocks too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Scrap Therapy

 In the process of cleaning out my scrap bins I found these blocks with pale blue triangles. There were 24 and I thought they would make a quick quilt if I added a border to make it larger. Then I found these blocks which were similar but different. I decided to make more blocks to make the quilt larger and took these blocks apart and then re-made them to suit the first set of blocks. I like the effect of the different coloured blue blocks on the outside as it makes it more like a border. The pattern is one of Bonnie Hunter's from Quiltville and I think it's known as String X. It's a great way to use up lots of shorter scraps. The second set of scrap strips for the blocks were half an inch narrower so I just cut the triangles larger. I like to make them larger and trim them to size and the blocks end up 7.5" before they are joined together.
 I also quilted one of the tops I've made smaller and it's a really pretty donation quilt for a little girl with lots of lovely machine embroidered hearts. Then as I was enjoying cleaning out more scraps I worked on making more QAYG blocks as well as a new set of the String X blocks.
 They are quick to make and I should have another quilt to show very soon.
It was lovely having such a productive day of playing with scraps while we seem to be heading towards winter very quickly here.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Stitching

 Our weather was much cooler today and it's perfect weather for more tidying of the sewing room as well as finishing off more quilts. I still have some kids' quilts to finish for the camp for abused and neglected kids. I was on a roll today and finished off two more QAYG quilts as well as clearing out more bins of fabric. I'll post photos tomorrow of the next UFO I'm tackling.
  I've also had a few requests to keep the Oz Comfort Quilts blog site up so I'll continue to add the photos of finished quilts which will be donated. I've also made a few QAYG blocks from scraps and it's good to have some of those older fabrics used up and out of here.
  I hope you are having some time for some stitching as well. Back to the machine again to see if I can finish off a few more quilts.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

 I hope you have all had a lovely Mother's Day with some time for yourself as well as seeing family. My children couldn't come home this weekend so we celebrated last weekend instead. Today I have been busy making half square triangles for two different projects. The first lot were in 1930s reproduction fabrics and measure 2.5" square. I think I have almost made enough so I decided to continue on with making them in civil war reproduction fabrics as I need 128 of those in the same size.
 Now that I've sorted my repro fabric into colour-ways it was an easy way to pull 13 light and 13 dark fabrics from my fabric collection. I prefer to cut them a little larger and then square them up when they are stitched together.It may take a little longer but this way I know they are accurately pieced. I have almost made all of the 128 needed so I hope to finish those tomorrow.
  I'm working backwards on this quilt as it was made in sections and I have been making the different sections before I put them together. I need to get all the parts together and see how many more sections are needed. Check back soon and I should have more progress to show you.
  It's not easy to change my way of working to working on my projects but I have also been hand-piecing stars for a donation quilt as well as de-constructing more house blocks. I think I had planned to make them into a vest many, many years ago. I hope to have enough blocks to make a quilt from then and will probably donate it when it's done.
   I have been asked to keep the Oz Comfort Quilts blog site still active so I will keep it and post photos of donation finishes as they happen. Thank you for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Laugh or Cry?

 Firstly I want to thank all of you for your lovely messages of support. It has been a hard decision to make not to continue to only create quilts to donate. Instead I will be working on more of my own projects for family. However, please don't worry if you have donated money, fabric, blocks etc as I will still be making and donating quilts, just not in the same large quantities and I won't be accepting anymore donations asI have lots of my own UFOs and scraps to work with too.
  As for laughing or crying! I'm laughing here because I have finished two more quilts to donate today. One was a donated top and the second was from donated QAYG blocks. The top didn't photograph well as the light was fading fast so I may try it again tomorrow when the sun is out.
  I hope I haven't upset anyone or caused anyone else to cry as I have started deconstructing some of the donated tops. I received a lot of large medallion tops to quilt and they are too large for the groups I am supporting now. Therefore I am taking them back to no larger than 50" by 70" as that is a more practical size. I am using the leftovers to make more quilts or to add to the backing so they will all still be used. I hope no one minds me changing a top you donated, but I need to make it easier to get them finished too.
 I am still cleaning out my sewing room and making decisions about some UFOs. I am re-purposing those projects that will be suitable for donation quilts, and some just need to be taken apart and the fabric used for something else. I took a beading class some years ago and really enjoyed the class. However, it has sat in the pile of unfinished projects for too long and I know that I won't use it now so I have taken all the beads off and will use the fabric and beads on another project. I feel that I learned a lot in the class and it was a class sample but not something I can make into a usable item.
 So I'm laughing that my break from donation quilts was so short but I have two of my own quilts to quilt and I'm procrastinating as I can't decide on a quilt design for the hexagon diamonds. Anyone have any ideas? Never mind there is always tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Change in Direction

     It's time for me to take a change in direction now. After almost 20 years of making and donating quilts and other items I have decided to retire from spending all my time making items to donate.  I will still make and donate quilts and blankets but on a much smaller scale and I will no longer be accepting donations as I still have a lot of donated tops and blocks to finish off.
   I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone for their support and donations for the needy and those affected by floods and bushfires. We have managed to bring comfort and warmth to many in need. I do encourage you to continue to make and donate as you see fit, and there are many organizations which help in our communities. 
Janice of Needy Stitches in Melbourne ( supports many different organizations which help the needy in Melbourne and country Victoria. She is able to accept finished quilts, knitted items as well as crocheted or knitted blanket squares. I have been sending quilts to her as well and she passes them on to many different organizations. She is unable to accept fabric or unfinished quilts and tops though.
 I need to take time for me as well as more time for the family and I hope you all understand that this wasn't any easy decision to make.
 Today I finished my hexagon top and I'm still pondering what quilting design to use. I have also been hand appliqueing stars to a cream background. These stars were donated and  the finished stars are now stitched to the background but there are still some more stars to construct from the donated pieces. I'm using this as a handy take-along project when I need some hand stitching to work on.
  I will post some more finishes very soon, or at least show some progress on them.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Warm Quilt From Finland

 The postman has been busy again and has delivered a fabulous quilt all the way from Finland. Ulla, one of my blogging friends from Finland, (her blog is ) sent this quilt which uses striped fabric to make a beautiful secondary design and it will be very much appreciated by its new owner. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with the needy, Ulla.
 I also received two more lovely blocks from an anonymous donor. The final two quilts were donated tops that I quilted for the last shipment and the bright one will cheer a small child; while the second one is a cheater cloth top and will also warm someone this winter.
 The quilts are much brighter in person but the day was overcast so the photos aren't showing the true colours.
On Sunday, we drove 4 hours to make the delivery of quilts, blankets and donated goods and then stayed overnight in Melbourne before making our way home again. I sent off 17 quilts and 4 crocheted blankets (2 of which were donated) and I finished the last blanket in the car on our way.
 While we were in Melbourne I attended my quilting group's meeting and it was lovely to catch up with friends again. Today I took it easy after the frantic quilting activity last week and because I'm still recovering from night shift. Tomorrow will be spent taking my Dad to appointments etc and yes Kaite he is quite well but aging and he will be 88 next month.
 This afternoon was time for a catch up with my sister and time went too quickly but I'm grateful that we live close enough to catch up regularly.
  I hope you are all enjoying some time with family and friends too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Support From Holland

 All of these wonderful items were made and donated by a very kind friend, Marijke from Holland. We haven;t met yet but maybe one day. Marijke reads my blog and has sent over quilt tops in the past and this time she has surpassed herself. She sent 7 beautiful tote bags, a lovely crocheted blanket, more crocheted squares, as well as 7 more quilt tops with binding already cut. The bags are also fully lined and will make such lovely gifts for the needy. I think it is so sad to see people with all their worldly goods in plastic bags. It just seems so demeaning to me. They will be very proud of these hand made bags as they are sturdy but also very cute.
   I'll be quilting the tops up very soon so they can warm more bodies this winter. I have finished up 8 quilts in the past few days and the photos are over on my other blog, Oz Comfort Quilts. I had a lovely afternoon taking my Dad (soon to be 88) to the Doctor, shopping and then coffee overlooking the lake. It was lovely sitting in the sun and reminiscing with him and enjoyable for me to be able to give him the time. I plan to get more quilts done tomorrow before night shift and will post my progress again soon.
Thanks for stopping by and please forgive me if I'm slow in responding to you.
Hugs, Jan Mac