Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A UFO From the 1860s.

I have been inspired to finish off some UFOs. Some are mine and some are from other quilters. I purchased this set of blocks from the US about 20 years ago. They were made in the 1860s so another 20 years waiting for completion wasn't really a big issue. They have never been washed and are in pretty good condition considering their age. They are all pieced by hand and are not really accurate, leading them to be of different sizes. As a result, I decided to frame each block and then cut them all to the same size. This cuts off some of the star points but I didn't want to put too much stress on the fabric by trying to stretch them to fit.
I am adding sashing which blends in with the framing fabric.

As you can see they are made from clothing scraps and by finishing them as a quilt I hope to prolong their life as well as being able to enjoy them rather than having them in a cupboard somewhere.
This is my favourite quilting book for working with blocks of different sizes. It's an older one but also gives lots of good ideas for working with odd numbers of blocks and it's the book I use the most when piecing block sets.
  I've had a few nights of work and now have a little break so I plan to get this quilt finished while I have all the pieces set out and before I lose anything. LOL This may well be my first finish for 2015 and after 155 years it's not a moment too soon! I hope you all have a very happy and prosperous year for 2015 as well as finishing up lots of your UFOs. That is my aim for the coming year but time will tell if I can maintain my progress before succumbing to starting something new.
 Happy New Year everyone.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Fickle Quilter

My first love with quilting is needleturn applique and I had every intention of maintaining my progress with catching up with the Chester County Criswell Quilt BOM. I was on a roll and really enjoying my progress. Then I didn't get my prep work done so returned to working on these 1930 hexagons. I have finished all the white hexies around the edge and now just have the edges to fill in with parts of hexie flowers.
It's a very good project to have when I have time for some hand piecing. Then I had the urge to finish off some UFOs and when that urge strikes I like to go with it.Some of the UFOs are mine and some are antique or vintage tops and blocks. I'm very grateful that I don't earn my living  from my quilting as it means I can be fickle and capricious and change my mind about my favourite quilts and techniques. I can work on what pleases me while the mood strikes and I hope my changeable way of working on projects will lead to more finishes very soon. In the meantime I am back to working nights again so I can ponder which project I'll pick up when I'm awake. I'm starting to go through the antique blocks I've bought about 20 years ago and plan to get some of them finished. Or I might change my mind and get back to the applique - so many choices to make.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Fish Quilt.

 I offered to make a gift quilt for my Melbourne Quilt Group while I was home long enough to get one finished. LOL! The blocks were made by the group's members and there was a good mix of colours for the fish. I deliberately put one of them swimming against the tide and I named this quilt - "There's Always One"! I guess I like to swim against the tide too at times.
 I used some fish fabric from my stash and it will make a nice quilt for my group to donate.
I've added a copy of the instructions in case anyone other than Marijke wants the pattern. It would make a very cute kid's quilt, especially if all the background "sea" fabric was the same.
  It's good to get a gift quilt finished and now I'm back to working on some of my own UFOs as well as some from others.Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, December 27, 2014

It's All About The Kids.

 A very cute Scarlett loved her quilt. It passed the crawl test and she is already commando crawling quite quickly.

 A little princess visited us.
Even Batman made an appearance.
 I hope you all had some fun with family and friends. I'll be back to sewing soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

I want to wish all of my lovely blog readers and blogging friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope you are all able to enjoy some time with family and friends and even a little time for stitching.
  Thank you for your lovely comments and support though the year and i look forward to lots more friendship and fun next year.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Finally Finished.

It's been a race to the finish to get these quilts finished by Christmas Day and I've finally got them done. I hope to take some photos with the new babies and their quilts. I don't really feel ready for Christmas this year as our normal family celebrations have been disrupted a bit due to other commitments but it will be good to get together even if it's for a shorter time than normal.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The 1930s Hexagons Re-visited.

There has also been a little bit of time for some hand stitching while I take time out to watch the cricket. I usually don't but this was a very good series against India so far, an a very good excuse to work on these hexagons. This is the last full flower I need for the top. I had to add a floral hexagon from the several "part hexagons" to make up the flower as this was one of the original hexagon flowers which had been cut. I had to do the same for one of the black and white hexagon flowers but it's not too noticeable as to detract from the piece.
I've joined all the full hexagon flowers together and now I just have to add more of the white so there is a double row of them around each flower shape. Then I have to make up the part flowers to add around the edges. I'm happy with it so far and I think it will look better with a press. Using the cardboard for each hexagon has helped to make them uniform in size and eliminate the poor cutting and piecing of all the white pieces.

More night shifts and some family get-togethers will keep me busy this week, and I'm not ready for Christmas, but all will be done in time and I might even get a little bit of stitching time.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, December 19, 2014

Still Sewing.

I've been very busy working on these two baby cot quilts and have almost got them finished as tops and then will have to quilt them. No pressure- as long as they are finished by Christmas Day when I see the new babies and the rest of the family.

The tops are pieced and I just have to blanket stitch around the letters before I add the last border to each. I'll stitch them by machine and it's a good way to get used to the new sewing machine. so far I am very impressed with it!
I didn't feel like tackling the blanket stitching last night so I started putting another top together. These blocks were made by members of my Melbourne quilting group and I offered to put them together and then it will be donated. I should get it finished soon and using the floor as my design area does mean I have to keep working on them before the family want to walk there. LOL

I have also sent off 7 quilts, a crocheted blanket and some gifts for the homeless for Christmas. It looks like we are going to have a very hot and dry summer with threats of bush fires again so I plan to get some more donation quilts ready in case they are needed. There have been fires near us already so I hope there is no loss of life this time.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Special Gift.

It started as a friendly chat with a quilter on FB. She said she had just bought another Lone Star quilt which had piecing issues and she should have known better as it had happened with another purchase years ago. I suggested she take it apart and re-make it so that the inset corner pieces and triangles lie flat. She has decided to take the latest one apart and recut the large diamond pieces to fit the plain pieces. Then she offered the original Lone Star disaster to me so I could re-make it. How could I refuse! The quilt top has just arrived from the US and I am thrilled. As I told you before I love to remake- these vintage treasures and give them new life. This one has lots of faded areas in the red diamond pieces but the fabric is otherwise in very good condition for a vintage quilt, probably made in the 1930s.
Can you spot the bright pink diamond here. Also three of the diamond pieces have a darker burgundy fabric on the outer pieces so she must have run out of fabric. The light fabric diamonds also change in the outer pieces.
It is all hand pieced, even the large plain pieces.

The stitching is very good but I think the measurement of the individual diamond pieces must vary which has led to the wavy edges where the plain fabric is inset.

There's that cute bright pink diamond. I think it gives it a really quirky look. What am I going to do with the top? I will take it all apart and re-make it by hand. To avoid the faded fabrics I will turn all of the red fabrics and use the underside which is still in good condition. I will probably disperse the burgundy diamonds so that they don't appear to be as a result of lack of fabric- or I may just re-make it the same as the original. Time will tell.
  What a blessing for me and I'm very grateful to the very generous quilter who shared this treasure with me. I can see why she bought it as it looks lovely when it's folded up and she failed to spread it out for a good look before purchase. Check back in a little while and we'll see how much I've done. In the meantime I'm getting those baby cot quilts finished and will share them soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I made good progress with the red and white cot quilt on Sunday and just have the borders to add as well as machine appliquing the baby's name on their quilt. It's for baby Scarlett so of course it's in red and white. I didn't want to have too much plain white as it is for a baby afterall and they can be messy. LOL
I used Cat in the Hat fabric for the centre star and also had some fabric with kid's prints to make it more child friendly.

When my new sewing machine arrived yesterday just after lunch, I wasted no time in getting it out and becoming acquainted. It sews very quietly and is a lovely machine to use. I have made half the blocks for the next baby quilt before I had to work last night. I'm using a jelly roll with a few more brights added and I hope to get it finished in the next few days.
The jelly roll is of bugs but I also added some little cars and Dr Seuss fabric so it's not too matchy-matchy. I found the pattern on the internet and it wasn't hard to work out how it was constructed.

 I've also started to join more hexagons together and want to get it finished while I have time as I have more WIPs and UFOs I want to finish while I have time.
 Thank you very much to everyone who took the time to comment and thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Finally A Finish.

It didn't take me long to hand stitch the binding down on this quilt and now it's finally finished. I must have quilted it 4 or 5 years ago and then I wasn't happy with the binding on the irregular edges and so it sat while I procrastinated on whether or not to try replacing the binding. Finally I decided finished was better than perfect and just got it done! I guess it's not too bad to be waiting for binding when it took 70 or more years to quilt it.
 Of course it wasn't one of my UFOs but one I'd purchased as a top from a dealer in the US, probably in the mid 1990s. It's hand pieced and it will be much easier to enjoy as a quilt than a top. As I'm working on these vintage treasures I like to think about the quilter who started the project. Perhaps she was keeping busy with her stitching while she waited for news about a loved one in WW2? It's nothing special historically and I have just outlined the stars with quilting so it doesn't detract or distract from the stitching.
  I am also a very lucky girl as Santa has come early for me. There was a special offer of this beautiful Janome MC7700 sewing machine at half price and free freight from Sydney. DH encouraged me to spend some of my night shift money on this and I'm so happy that it arrived in time for me to have a play before I started nights again. It sews beautifully and is very quiet. The extra large throat space will make quiling easier too. My DD's cat, Sid, has given it a CAT Scan and I've made room for it. I have sewn half of one of the cot quilt tops this afternoon and I love it. I plan to get more of my UFOs, both mine and those I've accquired finished in the near future. I have been traveling a lot this year so not many finishes but I'm having fun and enjoying all the travels both here and abroad.
 Thank you for your kind comments everyone.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time to Finish Some UFOs

I should be making the two baby quilts I have do for Christmas but I must be a free spirit because I work better if I am inspired by a project. I had also planned to stitch more applique blocks while I was on a roll with them. However, I have been spring cleaning again and found this 1940s quilt which has been waiting for the binding for 4 or 5 years. I usually get them done as soon as the top is quilted but this has a zig zag border on 2 sides and I had stitched the binding around the edges but it's not hand stitched down to finish it. I wasn't happy with how the zig zag bits worked and left it thinking I should take it off and try again. While I was tidying I was moving this quilt again and thought, you know it just needs to be done- not perfect. I am working on the hand stitching for the binding and it will be as good as i can get it and that will be OK. I'll show a photo when it's completed.
I've also stitched two more hexagons from the 1930s re-make I'm doing and I'm loving those lovely vintage fabrics.

I was going to wait until I'd made all the hexagon flowers before I joined them together but couldn't wait to see how they will look. So there you have it- I'm a side-tracked quilter this week but I am getting some UFOs finished. Actually they're not my UFOs, but a quilter from long ago but I do enjoy finishing off these pieces and giving them new life. It will be lovely to have a pink and white 1940s quilt to display instead of an unfinished top in the cupboard. I have lots more UFOs in the cupboard so I will keep working on more finishes if the inspiration lasts. Oh- and I'd betetr get those baby quilts done.
Hugs, Jan Mac