Friday, August 28, 2020

UFO Finishes No. 10 and 11.

 It's great to have another 2 long term UFOs finished and these were commenced in approximately 1998. Like lots of UFOs progress stalled as more urgent finishes took precedence.
   My daughter made the first top when she was 14 and she's now 36 so it's time to finally finish it. Hopefully she won't read my blog as this is supposed to be a surprise for her when we can finally meet again. I remember how much she enjoyed sorting thtough my boxes of scraps to select her fabrics and this is her first quilt, after piecing a patchwork cushion cover. She spent lots of time selecting fabrics and sewing them together while I cut the squares and pressed her seams for her. My job was to quilt it and I should have done it at the time but was busy with studies, work etc. It sat for a few years and when she found it again she'd fallen out of love with it and wanted to take it apart and add sashing between the blocks. She had added an aqua border to it too and I got as far as removing the border before it was put away again.
    While sorting boxes of dabric in the sewing room I found it again and decided to add new borders and quilt it for her so I hope she's happy with it. As her piecing was very accurate and it's her first quilt I thought it should be kept as her 14 year old self planned it. Adding double borders helped to give it a lift and it can be useful for a picnic blanket,  a fort for the boys etc. It's  a shame she fell out of love with it as she's made quite a few baby quilts since then and now she prefers more modern fabric. Lots of these fabrics were from my dressmaking scraps, baby clothes etc and I am going to write a little letter to be put behind the label so she remembers the fun she had with the whole process.
It looks much better now than tossed into a box and unloved so hopefully she will fall in love with it again, or at least appreciate her workmanship.
When I found the first top I also found this one which was started about the same time. I thought I may as well finish this one too as a donation quilt and I used the aqua borders which had been made for the first quilt.  They weren't quite big enough so I used the trick of adding squares of different fabric in the corners.
    Not as many UFOs finished as last year but any finishes are better than none. How about your UFOs? Is Covid isolation inspiring you to get some finished? I'm trying to use what I have on hand and it does mean that I have to be more creative which is a good thing too.
Hugs, Jan Mac 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thank You Emails- Part 2.

More thank yous have arrived for the beautiful quilts we've donated and it's lovely to hear how much they are appreciated.
Dear Jan,
I have just chosen your quilt that you made earlier in the year and I would like to say thank you for it. It is so beautifully made . Having tried quilting and deciding the dog would prefer it as a pillow I know what work went into it. Thank you again for thinking of this community and I will enjoy the quilt for many years to come. Helen

Hello Jan,
I received your beautiful quilt last week from Kaye Nankervis, who came to see me re bushfire assistance. 
Your quilt has pride of place on our bed, knowing that you have taken the time and pride in making something that will give my husband and myself comfort.
We lost all our farm, all fences, hay, pasture 90 head of stock( amazingly some survived), our hut, tractor, 4 wheel motor bike, cattle & sheep yards& most of our farm equipment.
Our home is nearby, but on separate site and although we had fire coming from 3 directions, my husband & son saved our house & shearing shed. 
My husband had 5 coronary bypasses 3 years ago, so all I prayed for is that my husband would be safe and he was.
I lost my Mum in November after my two sisters had just completed chemo for breast cancer & and now we all are learning to live with the threat of the corona virus. 
So from all of this, I have learnt humility and not only do I still have my darling husband, but I have witnessed such kindness. 
Thank you Jan, for all your time, effort and expense and care in making my quilt. You are so kind and I think of you every night I snuggle down safe & warm in my own home And under your quilt. I am so blessed.
Thank you,
Gayle L.

Gayle's quilt was donated by Patchwork and Quilters of Vic (P's and Q's).
I would like to say a very big heartfelt Thankyou to Dorothy Ramage(Vic) for the beautiful Quilt I have received. We are dairy farmers in the Corryong area. We lost 200acres, haysheds but no animals in the January fires. Many of our neighbouring farms at Tintaldra lost many stock. There are 50 of our neighbours cattle buried on our farm . It was a horrific time. I’m so proud of our son Brad at 19y, he helped save houses and drove bulldozers all around our district during the fires. And my husband also helped friends in Cudgewa save their homes. We had no power at our dairy farm in Biggara for 24 days.
I chose this quilt. As a seamstress and try hard quilter I really appreciate and acknowledge the hours in making a quilt. 
Thankyou so very much, it’s the most generous precious gift I have ever received. 
💐💐💐 Thankyou 
Maree C.
Dear Dorothy Ramage,
Yesterday the staff at Corryong College were surprised by the most generous act I have every experienced. We were invited into one of the classrooms to pick a quilt. I am a fan of quilts and spent a long time admiring them all. It is my ultimate candy store.

I chose a quilt made by you and wanted to thank you for you generosity and kindness you have shown by participating in the quilts for bush fires project. It is a quilt with blue, white and grey stars. I'm a Math and Science teacher and love visual patterns, the play of light and dark that you have created.

This year has been an emotional roller coaster and the toughest in my career of 20 years. When the fires first hit I thought myself lucky our house and friends we safe. I didn't think of myself as victim and went about supporting the farmers and their children who were hard hit. As a teacher, I was told what to expect from students and how to support them. Six months on, I have found it very stressful . I'm shocked by the total destruction of the environment and waterways. I'm a water watch volunteer and the reason I live here is to enjoy this unique environment. The rivers have dead fish and the forests are gone. I  spent the first three months after the fires testing water weekly to help  understand how  the rivers were coping after the fires. My students are struggling and often confide in their worries but can also be angry or spaced out. I try to be professional and offer them support. I attended a funeral of a past student who took his own life, as a teacher to support the students and as a friend of the family. Covid has added another level of worry as we try to support students through the internet.

When we were offered the quilts I didn't think I deserved one,  I wasn't a victim. Some of the other staff explained that we are. The role of the teacher puts us in the center of the communities problems and I realized all the stresses I was feeling is taking an emotional toll on the school. I was having a bad day yesterday. I felt like I was walking through mud and that this is never ending.

So I humbly thank you for your quilt and will always appreciate your kindness.  It has been very much admired by my children and we have all cuddled up in it last night. I think it is now the story book quilt. It offers a lot of comfort and I explained to my children why it was special.

With lots of love to you 
Vicki K.

Many thanks to all of you who have donated in so many ways. You've made a difference in people's lives as well as mine. XX
Hugs, Jan Mac

Thank You Emails.

Some lovely messages of thanks for the donations received from Oz Comfort Quilts have arrived and it's wonderful to hear how much your contributions are helping others in need.

I received a lovely thank you note and some photos from Peter Mac Patient Services showing their staff using the gowns, scrub hats and masks we made for their training purposes. They said they had the "best dressed COVID intubation team"! Many thanks to everyone who contributed.

We also received a letter of thanks from Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), for the masks we made and donated so they could continue their essential work for the communities of Arnhem Land in the NT. Many thanks to everyone who contributed.
More to follow as my blog wouldn't load all of them at once. 
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Finishes, Donations and Puddling Along.

 I'm puddling along still trying to tidy my sewing room but it's "like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic". Perhaps I should throw all the bits and pieces in some boxes, put them in the garage and start again. Although I guess I already did that when we moved and I am still looking for things.  Lol.
     I put together a kit of orphan blue blocks and Kaye H.  from AQA's night group put them together as a top. Now I have quilted it and it's  ready for donation and a really pretty quilt.
I received a lovely long strip of pieced leftover jelly roll strips ( I think from Margaret Bryant from Vic) and it was great as an addition to make a backing large enough for this quilt.  If you have any fabrics you've tired of I can always use these long strips or 10.5 inch squares which I piece as tops. It's a great way to use up FQs that have stayed too long in the cupboard.
 Anne Marie Ward from WA donated this lovely set of crocheted squares and I have finished them into a blanket to donate.
 More knitting has been happening again this week and I have finushed a baby jacket and hat which will be donated to St Kilda Mums, an organization which supports disadvantaged young mums and their children.  They're also helping young families who have been affected by the recent bushfires.
 I've been machine appliqueing donated odd blocks and will put them together as a kit when I have enough.
 Leslie Schwartz from Vic donated this lovely top and $20 towards the cost of backing etc. Leslie commented that it was probably not appropriate for the bushfire quilt drive and I will finish this one for a patient at Peter Mac.
 Jill Ferguson from NSW donated 4 lovely quilts and her granddaughters had helped her with the smaller 2 quilts. It's lovely to hear that so many people are willing to help others in need.

 Today I received another parcel and it was from my local library. I usually access their online resources but there were a couple of books which weren't available on line. I was very surprised that they offered to post them and they asked if I wanted any others to fill the box so I asked for any books on quilting. What a great free service! We're half way through our Stage 4 lockdown and the number of people infected is finally coming down so it has been worth it. I neec to nake some more masks for family too as it looks like we will need them for some time.
    Today I've been making backings for donated tops so I can get some more quilted soon.
Stay safe everyone. Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, August 24, 2020

Happy 3rd Birthday Jake.

 It's hard to imagine life without our precious grandsons and Jake turned 3 today. We can't visit for the celebrations and we'll have to celebrate again when Covid restrictions are finally over. Having built a sand pit for the boys we can't wait until they can use it again. At least the weather should have warmed up a bit by then.

We're missing seeing the boys every day but very grateful that we were able to sing happy birthday via face time. It looks like he had a lovely day and was very busy playing with his cars. Thankfully we're both well and the numbers of infected people are finally going down.
Hugs, Jan Mac 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

UFO Finish No. 9.

 Having more time means that as well as sorting scraps, sewing tops etc, I've been keen to finish off more UFOs. Our precious Jake will be 3 on Monday and we won't be able to celebrate with him so I thought the next best thing will be to finish his quilt so he can wrap himself in a warm hug from us.
    I started his quilt 18 months to 2 years ago and made up the design myself as his Mum wanted a woodlands theme. I procrastinated over it and finally decided that finished was better than a perfect design. I was going to quilt around the applique and do some fancy clouds etc but really it will be dragged around and used to make cubby houses etc so I quilted it with a serviceable cross hatch. It's great to have it finished before he's too old for it and it's also a good feeling to have another UFO finished.
I drew my own version if a caterpillar as he loves them, as well as butterflies. I think he'll be happy with it and it will be warm and cuddly from je, which is the most important thing.
   Now I have discovered a 21 year old UFO so that will be next.  I have other tops that I packed away when we moved and I would love to finish them but I need to find them again first.
Stay safe everyone.
Hugs, Jan Mac.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Many Thanks Lesley Lowe.

 Lesley Lowe from Victoria has been a long time supporter of Oz Comfort Quilts and she has very kindly sent another 2 large parcels of donations. Lesley sent 2 lovely warm quilts which will be very welcome to warm some needy people.
 She also sent 3 more quilt tops as well as 2 backings.

 Lesley has also been very busy knitting and has sent 23 beanies to be donated as well as some baby yarn.
 The baby yarn will be knitted into baby garments for the organization, St Kilda Mums, who provide young mums and children with support.
Thank you so much Lesley for all of your support and help for people in need of comfort. We're able to help many people thanks to you.
Hugs, Jan Mac 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Bits and Pieces.

 I'm puddling along with lots more sorting and cutting of scraps as well as progressing with a few projects, but there's still lots of kits to make up.  My fingers were sore from doing so much hand stitching so I have been doing more knitting and winding the yarn I bought in bulk. I have also made progress with this quilt top I was making for Jake. It became a UFO due to lack of time as I started it about 2 years ago and it's ready for quilting now and the backing has been made.  I'm planning to pin baste it tomorrow and I have decided to do simple cross hatch quilting. It was for Jake but now he's older his interests are changing to trucks and cars so it might go to Aidan, but the main thing is to get it finished first and then decide who receives it.
 Some of these were donated blocks made from 2.5 inch squares and I had also started a project using the same type of blocks. However this was October last year and now I can't find the aqua fabric I was using so I removed the aqua strips and will just keep making blocks until I have enough for a quilt top. I might just put it together as a kit to be finished later. I have also been making 9 patch blocks from random 2 inch squares and will make enough for a quilt before I  start to make them into blocks. I like to use these as the centre of Square in a square blocks.
I also started this elongated rectangle crocheted blanket in October last year and it's finished now so that's a relief that it didn't become a UFO.
The baby hat was knitted from some of the yarn I have been winding and it will be going to St Kilda Mums for their clients who need support. I also have my Lyre quilt top backing prepared and plan to pin baste that one in the next few days and it will be lovely to have a finished quilt that I plan to keep and enjoy.
   I hope you're all enjoying some time to work on your projects too.
Hugs, Jan Mac 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Finishes and Arrivals.

 It's funny how you can faff around when you have plenty of time to catch up on all those projects but that only lasted a couple of days last week and now I'm busy sorting all of the donated scraps and UFOs as well as excavating my sewing room.
    I have also finished a few more donation quilts and this fabulous quilt in 1930s pastels was donated by Sandra McLay (Vic) and it has been beautifully quilted by Sharon Siacci of Beyond Meander Quilting. Sharon very kindly quilted many of the large quilts for Oz Comfort Quilts.
 This beautiful bright quilt top was made by Sandra O. from ACT for our bushfire quilt drive.
 Christa Lobb from NSW sent a very large parcel of lots of sets of colour co-ordinated string pieced blocks and I have sewn this large top of donated blue blocks.
 This lovely quilt top was made by a member of AQA, my quilting group and it will be going to Peter Mac.
 This lovely hexagon quilt top was also finished for AQA. I noticed that lots of members didn't have hand stitching to do at meetings so we prepared kits of hexagons and it's lovely to hear how much our members have enjoyed stitching them. We've had lots of lovely hexie quilts made to donate to those in need of comfort.
Kim Court from Qld sent these 2 beautifully warm crocheted blankets for Oz Comfort Quilts  (OCQ) and they will be very much appreciated with our chilly weather.
   When we visited Corryong at the end of June we traveled through Wangaratta and called into the woollen mill there and I bought lits of beautiful yarn to crochet and knit more items to donate. They had a huge bin of tangled yarn pre-packed in lots of different colours and, as my DH says, I have plenty of patience so I have been untangling and rewinding the yarn and have done about 5.5 kgs so far, with lots more to do. I'm also knitting baby jackets and crocheting blankets for the organization, St Kilda Mums, who help disadvantaged women with young families,  and it's been a chance to use different muscles after using the rotary cutter so much during the last week to cut up lots of fabric scraps. We also face timed the boys today and Jake sang us songs and read us some stories while Aidan blows kisses and tries out new words, so it was a highlight of the day.
   Tomorrow I am planning on working on a long-term UFO of mine so I will check back and show my progress.  Stay safe everyone.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, August 10, 2020

Taking Stock and Hope.

 In Melbourne we're now in Stage 4 lockdown as the Covid virus continues to spread with over 3,500 people infected in 7 days and life has changed dramatically for all of us. We had the boys here for the first couple of days before lockdown started but now we can only face time to see them. We think we could continue to babysit as we had a prior arrangement but our children thought we should be extra cautious so we can't hug them for at least 6 weeks, and we think lockdown  will probably be extended.
      Now that we have plenty of time it took a few days to adjust but we've now adapted and I have been working on some projects for me. I have finished the Lyre quilt top which was a Di Ford Hall's design based on an antique top in her collection,  and I plan on basting it this week and start machine quilting it. I starred at the end of April as a tribute to Di's wonderful contribution to quilting as well as honouring her friendship.

 I've also been very busy sorting lots of donated scraps, pressing them and then cutting into usable squares,  from 2 inches to 6.5 inches, and in half inch increments, so I get the maximum use of the donated fabric. I used to keep 1.5 inches too but really these will be for donation quilts and I need to make them more quickly than 1.5 inches will allow.
 I've also been deconstructing bits and pieces I'm finding in bags of scraps and making what I call "quilt soup" as I add lots of new fabrics to freshen my boxes of scrap squares. From these I'm now making up kits so I have them ready to make more donation quilts.
 My other passion is restoring vintage and antique blocks and tops. These star blocks are from the late 1800s to early 1900s and the brown fabric has totally shattered. There were 18 blocks but 8 are very damaged so I am remaking them so I have 16 blocks and this way I can combine rescued fabric from the damaged blocks. It's a labour of love and a lovely way to do some slow stitching.
 Jake is 3 in a couple of weeks and, like most of us, we haven't been able to get together to celebrate many birthdays this year so we'll have a big celebration when these restrictions are finally over. We face timed them on the weekend and when we had finished Aidan went and picked up the iPad again and gave it to his mummy saying "NanNan", so at least this time Aidan is old enough to remember us.
I also heavily pruned our standard roses as they were very top heavy this year and the weight of the flowers in the rain caused the bushes to bow dramatically. In jyst a couple of weeks we can see lots of new growth which is giving me hope for a beautiful spring. I think we all need to hold onto hope that we will get through these challenging and uncertain times and be able to enjoy face to face interaction again with family and friends. In the meantime stay connected as best you can, stay busy doing things you enjoy, and stay hopeful for better things to come.
Hugs, Jan Mac 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Stitching In Isolation.

 The sun is out today and I have been spring cleaning and it feels good to be able to pack away things we no longer use. We can't drop off things to the Op Shop but it feels like progress to move things out to store in the garage until we can leave home again.
       I have still been busy quilting donated tops but I have also started a few new projects for me. I love hand needle turned applique and I have started Collector with a Needle's new design, Fig Leaves and Flowers, a reproduction of a 19th century quilt. I love the petals and I decided to stitch it predominantly in reds and greens.
 I'm back basting it and find that I get a lot done in the evenings if I have prepped the pieces in advance.
 I'm auditioning fabric for the flowers next to the tulips and then I will start the next wreath surrounding them.
 I have almost finished the Lyre quilt top which was one of Di Ford Hall's designs and I have used fabric that I had in my stash as I couldn't go to the quilt shops.
 I've decided to change my quilt by not adding the sashed border as I was undecided about what to use for the shirting background. Instead I decided to use a lovely border print fabric and it will be ready for quilting soon.
 I also have hand appliqued a UFO piece that has been donated and I will add to it and make a table runner to be sold in the Peter Mac auxiliary shop.
I'm also working on my Poppies quilt so I have plenty to keep me busy for a while in between quilting donated tops. I hope you're all enjoying your stitching too.
Hugs, Jan Mac