Thursday, January 30, 2014

Two to Donate.

 I've been working lots of nights and I know I should be finishing the two quilts for the exhibitions when I have any spare time but I've had a sudden urge to purge the house of excess stuff! We spend the first half of our lives getting stuff and the second half getting rid of it. I'm in the second half. So far I have donated and culled about 8 large bags of things I am not using. I was all set to take a photo of the car stuffed full of donations and the camera battery was flat so no evidence but I can see empty space in the linen cupboard as I donated lots of sheets which are still good but with only the tow of us here and our kids visiting, we just don't need as many as when the kids were little. I have lots more to do but the extremely hot weather and the need for sleep has slowed me down a bit.
   I have also been making more QAYG blocks to clear out more scraps of fabric and batting and today I made up another two quilts to donate. When I have a pile of blocks to work with they go together very quickly and I must get a few more tops quilted as well for donation quilts. In the meantime I need to focus on getting the machine quilting finished on my Mrs Williams quilt as well as more hand piercing on my heart's Desire quilt. I must be contrary as when I know I have to work on a quilt for a deadline I immediately think of other projects I'd rather be playing with.
 Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe it's because I have to be so focused in my professional life that I want to just work on what takes my fancy in my hobby time.
 Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mindless Stitching

 I have been busy quilting along all the sashings and around all the blocks on my Mrs Williams' quilt and have now just started to quilt around all the appliqued pieces. Also as a change of pace I've been doing some mindless stitching, making QAYG blocks as I tidied up the scraps of fabric and batting. This morning I had enough to put another QAYG quilt together for donation.
I've also been busily working on my heart's Desire blocks and have finished another hand appliqued block and I've pieced another block and I'm now hand appliqueing it to the background. I need to get back to the machine quilting again and I'm still hand sewing in the ends of the quilting thread. It's good practice to make this quilt to the best of my ability and not take short-cuts, even though it won't be entering any competitions.
  The cooler weather is very welcome and I really want to have Mrs Williams finished by next weekend.
I'd better get back to it.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Working on My Heart's Desire

 Did I tell you that I love, love, love hand applique. My favourite method is needle-turn and I love how relaxing it can be to sit and sew and not be using the sewing machine all the time. I have also found a new love of hand piecing so this current project is perfect for both my loves. I have finished the 4th block of 9 and only have one more applique block to make. If I wasn't making this to be finished for an exhibition in mid March I'd be very tempted to make this quilt much larger, so I may make these blocks again for another quilt.
This is the second hand pieced block and it will soon be ready to hand applique down to the background. My DH is loving these colours and I'm enjoying using a modern range as a change from my reproduction fabrics. I'm still sleep-deprived but plan to catch up on sleep, some more spring cleaning as well as more time to sit and stitch.
I hope you are enjoying some stitching time as well.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bits and Pieces.

 Not a lot happening here other than sleeping and I work again tonight after one night off. Today I did find some time to go through some cupboards and toss out the stuff that is no longer needed. Anything useful will be donated but most of it could just go into the bin. The linen cupboard will be next andit feels good to be clearing out the cupboards.
 This afternoon I made a cushion cover from a set of blocks I'd found and then the rest of the time was spent quilting my Mrs Williams quilt.
I'm off to bed now and hope to have more to show very soon.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, January 17, 2014

Not What I'd Planned

 It was 45 degrees here today but I decided that Jenni of Jacaranda is right. It's summer and we should expect the weather to be hot. I was going to sit and do some hand stitching to stay cool but thought I'd start quilting this quilt to get into the swing of things before I tackled the larger Mrs Williams. This is only a smaller quilt of 44" x 66" and I had planned to do some free motion quilting but this quilt really just needed a plainer type of quilting so I quilted it in a hanging diamond pattern by quilting through the hexagons. The stitching is vertical in one direction and diagonal across the other.
   Originally this was going to be a millennium quilt using fabrics I swapped with quilters around the world, so that tells you how long the fabric has been waiting to be used. I started a top but the design wasn't working because I received lots of dark fabrics but few lights. I unpicked them and decided to make a couple of smaller projects and as I wanted a hand stitching project I started these 1" hexagons.
The size was determined by the wish to make a quilt for a future grand daughter and that is why it's bound in a lovely hot pink fabric rather than a red or dark blue as I was planning. My youngest DD has requested it to be put away for her future daughter so this one will go into a  hope chest and if she doesn't have any daughters, I'm sure one of my nieces will be happy to receive it for one of their children. I stayed cool while I quilted it and stitched the binding down by hand as I used a fan directed onto me as well as having the air conditioning on. I was so pleased that I'd finished it that I started quilting my Mrs Williams quilt. At the moment I'm only stitching around all the blocks to stabilize them but I am further along than if I'd just given in to the heat and avoiding quilting until the weather cools.
  So I thank you Jenni for reminding me that although it's hot I can still get some quilting done. It's a pretty little quilt and better finished than in pieces, and it also got me started with my bigger quilting project. I'm off to bed now as I have several nights to work now.
 Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's Too Darn Hot!

 Today the temperature reached 46.5 (115.7F) so it was worse than yesterday. It didn't seem as bad though as we stayed home all day in the air conditioning. Yesterday was spent on family commitments but I did manage to sew up some cushion forms I'd made from batting scraps.
 I also made another removable cushion for my DD's classroom as well as some more QAYG blocks to use up more scraps of batting and fabric.
 This morning I decided to pin baste another quilt- the hexagon one above. I thought I'd start doing some free-hand quilting on that before I tackle the much larger Mrs Williams quilt.
This afternoon I worked on another hand appliqued block and only have one more to make when this one is finished. DH and I are off to Europe at the end of April so I've started the planning for that trip and I'm really looking forward to it. We will be doing our own tour using Eurail so I need to take a lot of time in the planning so it all runs smoothly. Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter again and I'm back working nights again so I hope the promised cool change arrives in time for me to be able to sleep.
  So if you are in the Southern Hemisphere drink lots of fluids and stay in the shade and for our friends in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope your weather warms up but not as much as we are having here.
 Stay safe. Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

We're Having a Heat Wave!

Yesterday it was 40 degrees (104F) and today it was 44 (111F) in the shade. It's predicted that the heat wave will continue for at least a week so stitching will be worked around what is possible to work on in the air conditioning. I worked last night and only managed 3 hours sleep today so I'm very grateful that I'm not working tonight as well.
I sat and stitched my 3rd block for this current quilt project. I think I'll call this one "Heart's Desire" and I'm loving working with these colours. I have 2 more hand appliqued blocks to make and then 4 more hand pieced blocks with the black fabric as a highlight. The next block is prepped and I plan to stitch that one tonight until I can't stay awake any longer- probably not long!

 Here's the 3 blocks so far. I'm happy with my colour choices so far.
 I got up early yesterday and pin basted my Mrs Williams quilt before it became too hot. I pin baste on a table tennis table in our shed and as it isn't insulated the temperatures rise very quickly. By the time I was finished I was starting to drip on the quilt but I did get it done.

It's too hot to quilt it now, even in front of the air conditioning but i'll get it started as soon as it cools a bit, or when I'm not so tired. In the meantime I have plenty of hand stitching to keep my occupied.
Many thanks for all your very kind comments about my progress and thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Big Finish

 I have finally finished my Tribute to Mrs Williams quilt top, which is a reproduction of a quilt made in the 1800s. the pattern is by Corliss of Threadbear. It's a large quilt and the first one I've done for me for about 15 years or more. It could have been finished much quicker if I had just focused on one quilt at a time.
 It's hard to get a good photo but this is the completed top. I had made the outer triangles at 2.5 inches instead of 3", which wasn't a problem as they still fit the measurements of the top and I had made extras so had more than I needed. I want to pin baste it so I can start quilting it but it's too hot at the moment so I'll work on some more hand stitching.
Last night I finished two blocks for the next quilt. I think I'll call this one "Hearts Desire". DH loves the colours and it's good to have one he likes. These are his favourite colours. Now I plan to prepare some more blocks and get this one done soon so I can have it shown at our exhibition in mid March.
 Thanks for all your lovely encouraging comments.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Applique Progress

 I am having trouble taking a photo of my Mrs Williams quilt now as it has grown so big. I just have one more border of Square in a Square blocks and then the triangle border to attach to the whole quilt. I had planned to finish it today and then baste it and start quilting it tomorrow. Unfortunately the weather is now extremely hot and it's going to get worse next week so I'm going to have to work on it early in the morning before it gets too hot.
 Instead I started work on my second quilt that I want to finish by mid March so I can show it in our first exhibition of applique. It consists of 4 pieced and 5 appliqued blocks and then a pieced border.
The quilt is a Michelle Yeo pattern based on an 1800s quilt. I've chosen to make it in modern colours rather than my usual reproduction fabric as a change in style. While it's so hot I think my hand stitching will be more pleasant to work on than quilting a large and hot quilt. I hope the weather cools down again soon as it will be hard to sleep during the day when I'm working nights and also hard to get the quilts finished. I never have a lack of hand stitching I can do luckily.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sashing, Sashing!

 I made good progress yesterday despite a couple of glitches! I cut one of the appliqued blocks too small and had to re-applique the hexagon to the background. Then I found that I'd also cut one of the China Plate blocks too small when I first made them so that one was re-appliqued to a new background as well. Luckily I'd stopped trimming blocks when I was making them or I might have had to re-do them all!
 Now I'm making lots of sashings. Lots of them! I'm fussy cutting them and really like the effect. I love the small leaf pattern on the blue and would have used this for the whole quilt, even though the pattern has different sashings for each round of blocks. Sadly, I didn't have enough of the fabric to use it for the whole quilt.
Now I'm making sashings for the outer edge and then I have one more set of blocks to add and another round of sashings and then the half square triangles for the outer edge. I'm happy with how it's looking and I hope to start the quilting at the weekend when I recover from the next lot of night shift.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunday Sewing and an Outing.

 Last night I put the last applique stitches in my Tribute to Mrs Williams quilt. Now I plan to start putting it together today with all the separate blocks and borders. Maria I won as DH was too tired to be bothered going camping too!!
 I added more features to the flowers by adding circles to all the flowers to give them a bit more definition. Would you believe that I have misplaced the pattern for these two triangles? That's a problem when you work on too many things at once and take too long to complete a quilt. I was determined to "get it done" so I photocopied the instruction sheet with its smaller photo. Then I enlarged it on the photocopy until it was large enough. Some of the templates were the same for all four triangles so it wasn't too hard to get the size right. Some of the pieces may be a slight bit smaller than the pattern but no one will know but me and at least it's done!
 Yesterday we also attended my sister's 40th wedding anniversary. We had a lovely lunch at a winery near Nagambie and then took a lovely boat ride around the wetlands. It was a lovely way to spend the day, catching up with family again.
Now it's time to tackle Mrs Williams!
Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Slow Week for Stitching.

 I've had extra paid work this week so not as much time to sew as I would have liked. As it was all night shift I spent any free time sleeping and trying to get back to normal hours. I've also been busy spring cleaning even though it's summer now. When the urge to purge strikes it's a good idea to go with it and I have been busy sorting patterns etc that I've taken  from magazines.
  I did manage to get some stitching time in yesterday and have finished the last 2 triangle pieces. I am now adding some appliqued circles to some of the flowers to add some interest to the shapes.
I'd love to get started on joining all the pieces now but we have a family celebration at lunchtime and that will be a fun time with catching up with all the family again. I have another few days before I work again and I'm hoping that DH will change his mind about wanting to camp and allow me some more time at home so I can keep cleaning and stitching. We shall see! I told him it was up to him and I would go if he really wanted to be camping for 2 nights.
  We have been enjoying watching the cricket matches on TV while I make some time to stitch.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

 I'm not sure if I believe in the saying that what you do on the first day of the year is what you will do for the rest of the year, but I wasn't willing to risk it so I decided to get busy with some hand applique. I worked 2 extra nights and I'm really feeling sleep-deprived and didn't want sleeping to be the activity I did most of the rest of the year, although that seems to be an attractive idea at the moment.
I am down to appliqueing the last two triangle pieces and I have about 8 Square in a Square blocks to make and the individual parts of this quilt will be done. Then I can get busy on putting them altogether and then the quilting.I am off tonight and then work another night tomorrow night so I hope to get more stitching done before I go to bed again tonight.
 I hope you all had a Happy New Year and wish you all the best that life can bring for the coming year. Thanks for being part of my blog world and encouraging me to continue with my quilting journey.
Love and hugs, Jan Mac