Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Castlemaine Applique Group's First Exhibition.

 Time has been moving too quickly for me but I have finally loaded some photos of our first Exhibition held by my Applique Group last weekend. This is a group of very talented quilters and there were so many fabulous quilts to see that I walked around the Exhibition several times and still felt like I hadn't taken it all in. We had 1,300 visitors and raised $10,000 for a local Oncology Unit to purchase equipment. Visitors came from London, Norway, and quilters flew in from interstate and some even came on bus tours. The response was wonderful and the best part for me was the opportunity to catch up with friends as well as meet new ones. It was lovely to meet Carole from the Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus blog as well as Lesley and Kaye from Rochester. Carole attended with her sister Judy and it was lovely to finally meet up as we are both stitching the Chester County Criswell quilt by Sharon Barnes of Two Bits Patches. Carole, Judy and I did meet again at Threadbear, the local patchwork shop and we may or may not have purchased a few more bits and pieces.
Corliss owns the shop and it is one of my favourite quilting shops as she keeps a very good selection of reproduction fabrics as well as the Quiltmania books and lots of great patterns. It was packed all weekend with eager shoppers so the ladies were exhausted by the end of the weekend but I think they also enjoyed meeting so many quilting friends, both old and new.

My "Mrs William's and I" quilt. The pattern is by Corliss of Threadbear and is named "A Tribute to Mrs Williams", a reproduction of a quilt made in the 1800s.

 I took lots of photos of parts of quilts so you can see closeup the fine work of the stitching and quilting.

I was busy on duty and didn't get all the details on the quilts on this camera but you can see lots of lovely photos on lots of blogs such as Carole's, Threadbear, Every Stitch blog (you can see me stitching in one of the photos here) and I'm sure there will be many others you can find if you use Google.
I hope you enjoy the photos and if you attended the Exhibition that you enjoyed seeing such a collection of beautiful appliqued quilts all in one place. It was lovely to meet so many keen quilters as well as people who are about to start their quilt journey after being inspired by their visit. It was lovely that quite a few ladies came over to see the hexagons I was stitching and thought that they would like to start making some too.
   The weekend was over much too quickly but I hope to show more photos soon. In the meantime I have to finish off my current quilt in the next two days for another Exhibition the first weekend in April.
 Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hexagon Insanity

 There's been no time for quilting on my sewing machine so I've been preparing hexagons for some hand stitching. I've been mindful of the need to have some small pieces to take with us on our upcoming trip too. I have therefore started preparing hexagons which are 1/2 an inch in size. I have a nice little container of them already for stitching when a few moments of time allow.
 You can see the very large difference between the new hexagons and my last hexagon quilt.
 I showed this hexagon quilt at my last quilt meeting and it was surprising how many quilters came over to check it out.
 I was also stitching these 1" hexagons at our Exhibition last weekend and many ladies who are beginning quilters also came over to check them out and talk about how to join them without showing the stitching. One lady was so keen after our chat that she said she didn't want to see the exhibition now but just wanted to get home and starting stitching! I do hope she enjoys her new journey with hexagon stitching.
 I am currently working on these two hexagon projects- with half inch hexagons for one project and 1" hexagons for the other. I've also used my Go Cutter to easily cut more paper pieces in the 1" size. It's a shame that they haven't put out a cutting die for the half inch size as I will need so many more of them.
So that's what's been happening in my little part of the world- plenty of hexagon stitching and much more to come. In the meantime I'll be having some early nights to catch up on my sleep too.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stitching, Pinning, Quilting.

 The top is finally finished and I can get it pinned and start the quilting. I only have a few days to g work on this one as I have more nights to work and I need to have it finished by next weekend- no pressure at all!
 You can see I added a triangular piece to make the borders fit before the last floral border.
 I had some koala fabric which was ideal for the backing.
 I toyed with the idea of marking and quilting a feathered design around the outer border. Then common sense asserted itself when I remembered how little time I had to get it finished. Also the dark fabric wouldn't have shown up the design enough to make all that work worthwhile. I want to practice my free motion feathers but that will have to wait for a smaller quilt when I have more time.
 The top is now pin basted and quilting has begun.
I have out-line quilted all the small Hour Glass borders and am now ready to quilt the remaining borders in the ditch before doing some sort of pattern in the wider borders. We have a family party to attend tonight but I plan to get a lot more of the quilting done before I work again tomorrow night.
 Overall I'm really happy with my progress.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Friday, March 21, 2014

Creativity with the Pattern.

There's been a lot of working and sleeping done this week but today there was finally some sewing. Not having time to sew gave me time to think about what to do with the borders which wouldn't fit as per the pattern. I decided to add corner blocks which followed the "Hour Glass in the corner" theme as in the previous inner rounds. That meant I could cut the border to fit the top and allowed me to float the blocks at the end of the border. That is, I added more of the background to the feature fabric in a square and then trimmed the border to fit the top. Probably clear as mud but the borders now fit.
  I have one more border to add and as I don't have enough of the feature fabric to make 4 borders the same, I'm having two pairs the same and using another Hour Glass block in each of the corners.
 Although I have deviated from the pattern  I think it will be true to the nature of the original so should be OK. I need to finish the top tomorrow and get it pinned ready to quilt as time is running out.
  Back with more soon and hopefully a finish to show.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, March 17, 2014

Measuring, Sewing and Back to Work.

I had a fabulous time at our Applique Exhibition on the weekend and I'll share my photos very soon but I have night shift to get through again before I'll get much time of the computer.
 In the meantime I have to keep pushing ahead with my next finish as I have to hand this quilt in on March 30th and I have about a week of nights to work as well so lots of sleeping will be occurring- at least I hope so.

 This is my version of Elizabeth's Legacy with a modern twist as I'm using modern fabrics of Australian flowers. I spent all afternoon making the next lot of borders and they are too big for the quilt as it currently measures. I've checked and checked my measurements and it doesn't work. It is probably my fault but I'm going to have to make some alterations to make it work. It's frustrating when you are under time pressure to have trouble with measurements but I'm regarding this as a design opportunity! It won't be as large as my Mrs Williams quilt so hopefully it will be quicker to quilt too. I won't get time to sew again until the end of the week so I plan to have worked out a solution by then.
   In the meantime I seem to have started another quilt! I have some Robyn Pandolph jelly rolls and have started making hexagon flowers with them. I'll share more details soon. I was preping the pieces over paper while sitting and selling raffle tickets at our exhibition and it was surprising how many people came over to ask about them. I may have introduced some more people to my addition/ passion! That's a good thing isn't it?
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Progress on Elizabeth's Legacy

 I've spent the past two days completing our train timetable for our upcoming trip to Europe so not a lot of stitching is happening. We leave in 6 or 7 weeks so I really needed to focus on the trip and today I have almost completed all the hotel bookings. It will be a very exciting trip and I managed to book an hotel just 2 minutes walk from the Neuschwanstein Castle, which is Ray's favourite. We will be able to spend more time at the castle and walking around the grounds taking in the sights of the Bavarian Alps.
   I did manage to complete another round of hour glass blocks for my tribute to Elizabeth's Legacy quilt. I have replaced two more rounds of Hour Glass blocks with a border of wildflowers and the Hour Glass blocks as the corner blocks.
The original quilt was made in the 1830s and I have quite a few quilts using reproduction fabrics from that era so I decided to have a modern take on the pattern and I'm using Leesa Chandler's Australian wildflower fabric. I have a few more borders to add and then get it quilted by the start of April. I took this week off work so I could focus on booking the Europe trip without being sleep-deprived and I want to get it all done by early next week before I start back on night shift again.
  Thank you all for your very kind words about my Mrs Williams quilt. I won't be donating this one but the hexagon flowers will be donated and I have made a few more hexagon flowers as it's a very good project for hand stitching in odd moments.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's Finished and a Break.

 It's not a great photo but it is the only one I have of my finished Mrs Williams quilt. The label was stitched while we traveled to Castlemaine to deliver the quilt on Friday, after getting up early to stitch the hanging sleeve. What a relief it is to be finished, although the quilting isn't great as I need lots more practice with my free motion quilting on my domestic sewing machine. We dropped the quilt off on our way to Colac for a weekend of camping with other Active Camper owners.

 The weather was lovely and we took in some of the local sights.
 I also made time for some more hand stitching of hexagon flowers.
 This morning I got my Elizabeth's Legacy quilt out to finish it as I have entered it in a quilt exhibition of my Melbourne quilt group on the weekend of April 5th and 6th. I have 3 more rounds to complete and then the pattern has larger pieces. I'm modifying my version and using modern fabrics from Lessa Chandler's fabric range of Australian wildflowers so mine will be very different to the quilts of other members who have mostly used reproduction fabrics. I think 15 of us expect/hope to enter our finished quilts so we hope it's a lovely display of quilts to share.
 Time to get back to the machine again. Thanks for stopping by.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Quilting, Quilting, Binding

 I went to my Melbourne quilting group on Monday but my camera battery was flat so I was unable to take any photos. One highlight was meeting one of my lovely blog readers who came and introduced herself. I'm so sorry that "night shift brain" has meant that I'm not sure of her name so please say "hi" again. When you write a blog you are never sure that anyone is interested in reading and seeing what you post on your blog. It always helps to hear that people enjoy what we share with blog readers and I'm sure that other bloggers agree.
   This week has been all about finishing off my Mrs Williams quilt by tomorrow. It has taken a lot of quilting and I made up some freezer paper leaf shapes to reflect the petal shapes in the applique. I could have quilted more densely if time allowed but just finishing the binding, adding a hanging sleeve and sewing in all the threads as well as adding a label will be a very ambitious job for today.
 The quilt measure 83" square so I have lots of hand stitching to do before the binding is finished. I hope to get a good photo of it hanging in the Exhibition, that is if it's finished in time. I'd better get back to stitching.
 Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Steaming Ahead in Chester County.

 Good news I think for my results, although I won't know until the pathology results are back in a few weeks time but at least we are moving forward again. Many heartfelt thanks for your well-wishes. I'm sure it helps to have good wishes and prayers for a good outcome. DD is slowly recovering and my SIL is doing OK at the moment. Life can throw us challenges and we just have to meet them as best we can and move on with positive thoughts. I have been steaming ahead with more hand applique and have now completed 10 of my Chester County blocks. Sharon of Two Bits Patches has released 19 so far and I am quickly getting back on track with them and liking how they are looking.

I repeated this block as I thought they would look sufficiently different in the quilt. I will also make a duplicate of the block with the palm frond as I need to add some to make the quilt large enough. At least I think that was the plan. I may wait and see how many more blocks Sharon has for us before I make more duplicates. As you can see I still have "night shift brain" and not functioning at full capacity today.
 It's DH's birthday today and we are off to Melbourne to visit DD and go to my Melbourne quilt meeting tomorrow so I will probably take some hexagons to work on while we are away. I was wanting to work on more hand applique but I'm running out of time for prep work before we leave.
  I'm hoping to have more blocks to share very soon. Have a pieceful Sunday everyone.
Hugs, Jan Mac