Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Anxious Week.

 Our Youngest DD has been in hospital for surgery and it has been an anxious wait to hear if all was well. Today I have my 5 monthly check-up and my SIL also had her's this week. Sadly my SIL's check-up showed that her cancer has spread but it is slow-growing and we're hoping that I will have good news today.
  In the meantime I've been trying to distract myself by machine quilting my Mrs Williams quilt. I used a cardboard cut-out of a leaf shape to stitch around for some of the blocks,  and it was easier than marking the quilt and then removing the stitching guidelines.  I'm getting there and hope to have it finished in time.
 I've also been doing some mindless stitching on my 1.25 inch hexagon project and when I'm tired it is an easy and relaxing project to work on. Yes I do sleep Sharon, especially when I'm working nights. I'm back on nights again tonight so hope to have some more mindless stitching to share soon if I can stay awake long enough before I go to work again.
My Elizabeth's Legacy quilt is still a top and I need/want to have it finished to be shown with the other quilters' interpretation of this quilt at our Melbourne quilt Exhibition the first weekend of April. I have a few more small borders to stitch and then there are larger borders to add. Of course I haven't stitched them yet so they will be on the machine as soon as I finished with Mrs Williams. Wish me luck!
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trying To Beat The Clock

 There's been more paid work than usual so less time for quilting and I'm under time pressure to get the quilts finished for the coming Exhibitions. I have decided that hearts Desire is not going to be quilted in time so I'm working hard on finishing Mrs Williams as I have another one to finish by early April too.
   Some relaxing hand applique has meant that I have another of my Chester County Criswell quilt blocks finished, making 8 so far so I am catching up. I varied this block as I added a piece of fabric in the middle of the block instead of having a cutout of the red fabric. It reminded me of a picture frame so I added a cloth picture.
 I have finally finished out line quilting all the hand applique and just have the pieced blocks to quilt now but still lots to do.
The mindless stitching of more hexagon blocks has taken place when I've been too tired for anything more complex and this top is growing nicely, although there is no time pressure for this one.
Thanks for stopping by and I plan to spend tomorrow quilting again and hope to get most of it done as today's quilting was interrupted by family commitments.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chester County Progress.

 I've been enjoying re-visiting my Chester County Criswell blocks and have finished another one and half finished one. I am making my blocks to be 10" finished as I didn't want as much blank space around the applique and I'm happy with how they are looking so far.
I'm off to bed again as I have more nights to work so no stitching for a bit. I have enjoyed watching the ice dancing while I stitched and have done some more decluttering with lots more cupboards being emptied.I still have lots of magazines to go through before I donate the ones I no longer need.
Cheers, Jan Mac

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Zen of Hand Stitching

 I have been making the most of any time I have been awake and not working to do some more hand stitching. I finished this block of my Chester County Criswell quilt.
 This brings my total of completed blocks to 6 now, which is one third of the blocks which have been released. I'm preparing another one to stitch tonight so I'm very pleased with my progress.
I have also been stitching more hexagons together and this is an easy project to pick up while I'm feeling sleep-deprived. They go together quickly and I need to make some more hexagons to add more variety to the mix. Today was spent with family commitments and I'm very lucky that I am able to find a bit of peace from some of the stressful events that are occurring at the moment, by enjoying some quiet time stitching. I'd better get busy with my machine quilting tomorrow so I can finish at least one quilt for the nearing Exhibition date.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wrestling Mrs Williams.

 I finally stopped procrastinating and got back to machine quilting, AKA wrestling, my Tribute to Mrs Williams quilt. I really should have finished it by now but I kept putting it off due to the extreme heat and then I lost confidence.That sounds strange when I have quilted at least a thousand quilts but i usually do a quick meander on my short arm quilting machine. This one is being quilted on my Janome 6600 and I think my expectations were too high which lead to procrastination. Nothing kills productivity like the stress of perfection! I psyched myself up to "Just do It!and I think I'm back on track again.
 Work and a few other things have been stressful of late so rather than face my fears with the machine quilting I've just taken time to relax with some hexagons I'd had sitting waiting for their turn in the rotation process. The hexagons are 1.25" along each side and I think this will most likely be a donation quilt. It's a great way to use up scraps and I love the peace of hand stitching.
Mrs Williams will be left to rest for a few days while I work nights and catch up on sleep. My sister gave me a lovely cup which says, "I wish I was still in bed" for my birthday. She knows me well!  Working nights is harder physically but easier mentally (usually) and it does pay well for me to travel so all for the good.
Back in a few days.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Keep Them Coming.

 I am procrastinating with machine quilting Mrs Williams but really enjoying making more applique blocks. Sharon has released 18 blocks so far and I am enjoying catching up with the blocks. To date I have finished my 5th and have started my 6th block.
 This one is block 10- credited to Rachel Dickey.
 I have prepped and started the stitching on Block 5 now. It reminds me of a geranium stem and leaves.
 I also finished the hand stitching of this heart block and now have to hand applique it to the background. There's more night shifts ahead of me so not sure how much I will get stitched in the coming days. I did meet up with the lovely Lesley and handed over another 10 q\donation quilts as well as boxes and boxes of donated wool and yarn for the ladies who knit for Needy Stitches to use for charity knitting.
Time for bed now. Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Returning to Chester County

 The Winter Olympics are on which means it's a great time to escape our hot weather and spend some time stitching while watching the Olympics. My favourite is the ice dancing and I just have to stop stitching and watch when they are in progress. I have a few new BOM's that I want to start so I thought it was time to catch up on the current one I was working on- The Chester County Criswell quilt. I had only completed two blocks to date as I had a computer crash and lost most of the patterns. Luckily Sharon re-sent them to me and in the past two days I have finished stitching two more blocks. Sharon has set up a blog to share her progress with reproducing the quilt.
 The top block is the 7th in the BOM series and is listed as being from William and Harry Clendenen, in the original quilt. Sharon Barnes from Two Bits Patches has developed the blocks for the BOM which reproduces a quilt left to her from her great-great-great grandmother, Alice Carlile Criswell. Sharon has done a great job with the patterns and also provides information about the people who made the original blocks, which adds to their interest.
This is Block 9, credited to Eliza Whiteside. I just have a small keyhole piece to stitch and then I can move on to the next block. Sharon has sent out 18 blocks so far and the BOM is taking place over 2 years so I think if you were interested you could still participate. I'm not working on them in order but getting them done is more important on which ones I stitch first and I am selecting blocks I think would be fun to stitch while I keep an eye on the Olympics.
 Is anyone else having a Stitch-a-thon while the Winter Olympics are on? I'm also planning our trip to Europe and UK now so busy in between working and sleeping.
PS. Margaret I'm not sure if we are coming through Leeds but we will be heading north to the Lake District and through to Scotland. I haven't planned that part yet.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happiness With Hexagons

 It's been a big week with more night shifts and lots of sleeping. It was also my birthday yesterday so the family are home for the weekend and no time for sewing. I really need to get back to machine quilting my Mrs Williams quilt but a stressful week of work and the extreme heat has deterred me from sitting at the sewing machine. Instead I've taken the time to prep some hexagons for hand stitching. This is the second block from the Hexie Blog Project and it's a heart for February.
 I'm using scraps and some hexagons I had left over from another project. Here's the first two blocks. I managed to stitch the second block together today while visiting and chatting to family.
 I've also started to prep some half inch hexagons for a new project. We're off to Europe and the UK at the end of April for 7 weeks, so I think I'll take some hexagons to stitch while we have some waiting time at airports and train stations. DH is coming this time and we will be doing 4 weeks in Europe with Eurail and then 3 weeks in the UK with Britrail.
I also started joining some more hexagons that were leftovers and will most likely be another donation quilt. The weather was very hot again today so hand stitching was an ideal project for staying indoors in the air conditioning.
 I hope you have a weekend of stitching wherever you are from.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Hexie Blog Project.

 It's good to know that I'm not the only recalcitrant quilter among us. I quilt for enjoyment and sometimes that means stitching on what I feel like and not on what I should be finishing. The weather has been unbearably hot again and too hot for intense quilting on my large quilt so I have started a new hand piecing project.
 There is a new 12 month stitch along with the Hexie blog and I have been cleaning out stuff again this morning and then sat and stitched the first block of the month. It's a Snowflake block from hexagons and I am making it all from stash. I found a small supply of some 1 and 1/8th inch hexagons so I'll use them and add to them from my scraps. I will use different backgrounds and this one is a mottled tan colour. The next block for February is a Heart made from hexagons. Anyone else joining in?
As it cooled down a bit last night I quilted another donation quilt from a set of blocks I'd received. I just added borders to make it larger and the donation quilt pile is slowly growing. I had planned to go to Merlbourne today, stay overnioght and attend my Melbourne quilting group's meeting but temperatures of 45 degrees has meant that I'm going to stay home and stitch in the AC instead as I have more nights to work starting again tomorrow.
  I hope you are getting some time to stitch wherever you are from.
Hugs, Jan Mac