"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Experimenting with a four patch block.

Kris over at Freebies for Crafters has so much to offer, I sometimes miss seeing interesting stuff.   It was only when I saw this on Elyte's blog that I went back to Kris's blog and found the tutorial video.
It was a cold wet day here, and after I'd done my chores I decided to play in my scrap stash box.  My three quilt tops have gone off to their respective recipients; my July CQ block is waiting for the hand stitching to be done; but I wanted to relax and mess around.  This is what I came up with.  Ken said "That's pretty".  Thank goodness he didn't follow up with "What is it?" because there is no answer - it just is!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Craft & Quilt Show, Melbourne.

Today I visited the Craft & Quilt Show at Jeff's Shed. Doreen (Creative Meanderings) is staying in Melbourne for a few days, so I picked her up on the way, and we spent a happy couple of hours at the show. I'd marked a couple of workshops and craft circle events that looked interesting, but in the end, we were just happy to wander up and down the aisles looking at all the stalls, and chatting to people. It was extremely crowded, and we stopped for coffee around midday to have a break from being pushed and shoved! But that's the way it usually is at these events, so you just accept it.
I took a list of things that I needed, and was determined not to get sucked into any impulse buys...
This nifty little jigger is something I wanted when I saw it advertised:  a light and magnifier that drapes over the sewing machine to make it easier to thread the needle - dying to try this out!  I spent precious minutes trying to thread my machine needle.  I believe modern sewing machines thread themselves?  Maybe one day I'll have one, but until then...

 I have been looking for ages for these quilt hangers to hang my wall quilts.  I'd measured my hangings and was able to buy the right size for them.
 Oh dear.  This was an impulse buy.  Chooky fabric for $15.
 And this was another impulse buy - blokes cars, for $12.  Ken likes both of these, but won't be seeing anything made with the car one - that's for a future Aussie Heroes quilt!
 This was an unexpected gift pack from Doreen, all handmade by her good self.  Gift tag, note book covered with lace and vintage picture, and a hand made card.  She said on her blog recently that she has lost her mojo of late.  Her mojo looks in pretty good shape to me!

I snapped Doreen while she was chatting to someone she knew on the Bernina stand.
I took a heap of photos of the Quilt show, but have posted them on another blog as I always do for quilt and craft shows. You can see them here.Craft & Quilt show

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quilts for our Aussie soldiers.

If you have been reading my blog and wondering what all the fuss is about with the donation quilts I've become involved with, just go to this post on Jan-Maree's blog and look at the short video there. It is a five minute clip from the Australian servicemen and women over in Egypt, who received a package of Aussie Hero Quilts. They were just blown away with the thought that the girls back home would spend their time making these quilts for them. I was keen before, but after seeing this, I am on fire to do some more!!! What about you ladies out there reading this who have all that fabric stashed away and no plans for it????

Last quilt for a while!

This morning I completed the third quilt top I've been working on. I wanted to get three done quickly, to send to the three ladies I've mentioned previously on this blog - Jan Mac in Kialla (Oz Comfort Quilts), Jan-Maree in NSW (Aussie Hero Quilts), and Julia in the USA (Phoenix Quilts). They will all be sent off on Friday, and I can relax for a while!

The next project on my agenda to complete is my July CQ block. Thank goodness I made up the block during the month! It won't take long to embellish, and once that is done, I can focus on getting my linens ready for the exhibition at Bundoora Homestead, which is fast approaching. It isn't until the end of August, but there is a lot of preparation to be done - details of each item need to be provided to the curators so they can make cards to attach to each exhibit. I also have to figure out a value for insurance purposes; how the hell do you put a value on something that is priceless? Literally priceless, as vintage hand stitched linens can never be replaced if they were to be destroyed in a fire or some other disaster. No amount of money could make up for their loss. I just hope that nothing will happen to my collection while it is in my possession!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Quilt top completed.

I'm on a roll here! Can't wait to see the last of all that tartan fabric, so I'm cutting and sewing like a crazy lady. With this one I just made four patchblocks, using all the tartans at random. Ken says it is too much of a mish mash, and would have looked better with fewer patterned fabrics, but I think it looks nice and cheerful, and some homeless boy or man will like it too.

Ah well, just to please the MOTH, my next top is using just four of my tartan fabrics - four patch blocks again, with two colours in each.
Once I've finished that one, I'll decide where they are going. The Aussie icon one will of course go to Jan-Maree at Aussie Heroe Quilts, and the others will go to Jan Mac (Oz Comfort) and Julie (Phoenix Quilts) in the USA.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Aussie Heroes quilt top done!

Talk about flying by the seat of one's pants! Today I planned to start my first quilt top for Jan-Maree of Aussie Heroes, and possibly finish it. Well, I did - just after midnight! We had to go out this afternoon for a couple of hours, so that threw the proverbial spanner in the works, but as soon as we got home, I kept working on it, and only stopped for dinner, and to wash the dishes. I'm out all day tomorrow - a Guild meeting in the morning, and my first watercolour class in the afternoon, so I felt compelled to get the quilt top done, so I can start another one for Jan Mac at Oz Comfort, not to mention the new Phoenix Quilts for the fire victims in the USA....If I choose easy patterns like this one for the rest, I'll whiz through them in no time!

It is a bit hard to see, but this middle section has vintage Australian food brand names on it. I've had this fabric for years, just waiting for the right project!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July CQ Block started

Before I started work on piecing quilt tops for our Aussie Heroes, I needed to get this block done. Once I've got these CQ blocks pieced, it doesn't take long to embellish them; it's the getting started that takes time! The theme for my July block is "July 4 with Aussies on side". Sorry, it's a bit of a pun, and a bit silly, but I couldn't help adding an Aussie touch - after all, our flag is also red, white and blue! Why should the Americans have it all their way? (Waving to my American bloggy friends :-)

Ten reasons why we should join sewing groups!

Linda Steele recently posted this list on her blog, and I was so inspired, I asked her permission to republish it here, and Linda was happy for me to do so.

Here is my list of the top 10 reasons to belong to a Group.

1. Inspiration.
Who cannot help but be inspired by other peoples' quilts.

2. Information
In our busy world it is impossible to keep up with everything going on.

3. Camaraderie
Sewing and quilting can be a solitary activity. Of course we all need time alone to prepare, design and achieve but it's good to show others what we are doing as well.

4. Critique
Honest feedback is hard to find in the quilting world. Family and friends are too close and often don't have the expertise. This is where a group with the skill to articulate and use the principles of Art and Design as their base is invaluable.

5. Insight
Everyone's work is different and it is very interesting to see how other people approach a theme or idea.

6. Competition
Nothing spurs you on like a little bit of friendly competition.

7. Support
Designing your own quilts and entering competitions can be tough and rejection is common. This is where groups can offer understanding, commiseration and encouragement.

8. Purpose
Self - esteem is often built on achievement and finishing a quilt or helping organise an activity is very rewarding.

9. Confidence
Advising, listening, supporting and sharing with others have the advantage of boosting our own confidence.

10. Friendship
I have met so many wonderful people including online friends through my quilting groups.

I have tried to be succinct in my descriptions of each reason so this is a blog post and not an essay. I realise the benefits of belonging to a group and while groups often help the community they are also helping us.

Another charity quilt project.

You may have noticed the new icon I have added to my side bar - Aussie Hero Quilts.  I found this blog whilst surfing other blogs, as one does - and decided immediately to be a participant.  Jan-Maree lives in NSW, and after seeing a similar blog in the USA dedicated to making quilts for their serviceman and women overseas, she searched the internet to see if anyone here was doing the same for our Aussie soldiers.  Finding nothing, she decided to start up something herself, as she already has contacts in the Armed Services, and discovered that our servicemen would be tickled pink to receive handmade quilts from the sheilas back home!
As luck would have it, Jan-Maree came down to Melbourne this weekend for her MIL's birthday, and she asked on her blog if any of her readers would like to meet up for coffee at Beasley's Nursery in Warrandyte.  Beasley's is about 10 minutes from my home, so I wasn't going to miss this opportunity of meeting this lady and finding out more about the background.  There were two other ladies (and one husband) there when I arrived, and the five of us stayed chatting over coffee for about two hours.  I asked them if they knew of Jan MacFadyen and her work, and they had heard of her, but didn't know exactly what she does, so I enlightened them.

I think it is fantastic that we have these two highly motivated, generous ladies to organise comfort quilts for needy people here, and our servicemen/women stationed overseas. I am not an expert quilt maker by any means; in fact I don't even finish mine - I just make the tops.  But both Jan Mac and JanMaree are happy to accept the pieced tops, and finish them off to distribute.   Going by the blogs I read (and some people I know personally - neighbours and rellies who don't read this blog!), there are many women out there who just love making quilts, but have run out of people to give them to, so they just store them in cupboards to be rotated around their home.  If anyone reading this has excess quilts in their home, perhaps you might consider donating one or more to people less fortunate who are in real need of something to keep them warm on cold nights.  And if you have a huge stash of fabric that you know in reality you will never use in a hundred lifetimes, why not make it up into quilts or quilt tops and send them on to Jan Mac or Jan-Maree - both of whom you will find on my side bar.

OK, end of lecture and hopping off my soap box.   I'm off to get some of my tartan materials out and start cutting!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

It is so cold here, but I'm lucky to be warm.

Did that title grab your attention? Good, read on. If you are a regular reader here, you will have noticed my postings about Jan Macfadyen's blog Oz Comfort Quilts. She has just written a piece on her other blog Sew Many Quilts, about Karen in Qld. who Jan sends quilts to for needy people up there. You can read the whole article by clicking on the link, but the following is just part of it, to give you an idea of what Jan and her friends are constantly battling to do. These women really are angels on earth.

When we left he was at his car, standing holding a baby of about 9 months old, wife was sitting in the car, but this little baby was dressed nice and warmly (it was 1 degree in Ipswich when we were there!) but coughing its little heart out, red eyes , very pale looking...apparently they had taken the baby to a doctor, given a prescription but didn't have the money for the prescription, that's why they were trying to get a few $$'s from the centre.
As a man from Shelter NSW said in the Today Tonight interview tonight, (where they interview a young mum with a 5 year old boy who are living in a tent in a caravan park for $180 p.w., its all they can afford) in such a rich country as Australia is, it just SHOULDN'T happen...but it does...then they went straight onto the next story ... the politicians pay rise...even the backbenchers RISE is more than some people earn in a year!!

At the Brotherhood of St Lawrence opshop where I work, there are always blankets, crocheted rugs, and the occasional quilt donated. As our prices are very low in order to help those who are genuinely in need, I plan to buy some of the rugs that have been on the rack for a month or more, and send them up to Jan to distribute. It only costs me a few dollars to pack fabrics into an Australia Post satchel and shoot them up to Shepparton. Do you have it in your heart to do something? Jan is asking for people to knit or crochet squares of wool so she can make them up into blankets or rugs. I don't knit or crochet, that's why I am sending the opshop donations instead.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

USA Independence Day

Happy July 4 to my American cyberspace friends! It's been all bad news on the media here, about the terrible fires and freak weather, so I guess many people won't have much to celebrate. I hope that whoever is reading my blog over there is safe and well, and will have a wonderful day.

June block for CQ Challenge is completed.

A few days late, but at least it is done. My theme for the June CQ block is Winter, and the ties I used are in colours that I perceive as wintry - black, blue, grey and white. I added a few glass beads to the clouds in the centre, as well as some silver stitching to highlight the water. The Squaw Valley is one of those souvenir
embroidered badges; I found a heap of them in an opshop once, and thought they might come in handy for a craft project one day! This photo is not square, because I scanned the block instead of photographing it, as the detail shows up better with the scan.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Peacock Duchess Set finished.

About six years ago I bought this duchess set on eBay. One of the doilies had been completed, but nothing else had been stitched, and as there was no instructions with it, I had to figure out for myself what colours and stitches to use. I've been working on it all this time, a few minute here and there, but today I decided I would finish it for once and for all. I was on volunteer duty at the Guild, so I had uninterrupted time to work on it. When I got home, I soaked it in Napisan for a couple of hours, dried it with a towel, and pressed it. Voila! Isn't it gorgeous, even if I do say so myself ;-)

This photo is a bit washed out. I took two - one with flash and one without flash. The other pic is on my Peacocks blog here.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Quilt shows - one event and one non-event!

Weird, huh?  Well, it's like this.  Earlier this year I made a list of all the craft, sewing, quilt, etc. shows that are scheduled to happen this year.  I Googled all the regular shows and found the dates for those, then looked for anything else that was happening.  One of the events I found was a 'Quilt In' at a suburb near me.    The write-up made it sound like a quilt show, with an admission charge, afternoon tea, and so on.  I drove over there in pouring rain yesterday, only to find that it was a gathering of the ladies of a local quilt club, who sat around and worked on their quilting projects.  I wasn't allowed in, but I could see (and hear) them all in the hall around the tables.  At a guess I would say there were about 50 people; the noise was deafening, but they all looked to be enjoying themselves.  In a side room there were two trading tables where local shops had some wares set up, so I took advantage of that and bought a cute panel with cats on it, and some machine sewing cotton.  Then I went home.

Today, the MOTH wanted to attend a chook show at the Melbourne Showgrounds on the other side of town, and as friends of ours were taking some chooks along to show, I decided it sounded like fun.  Not only that, the female partner of said friends told me there was a quilt show at the Showgrounds too, so we took off on our own as soon as the blokes got busy with the chooks!  This event wasn't actually a show of quilts, but a gathering of businesses who are in the patchwork and quilting trade, so there were a lot of quilts on display, but they were to show what the traders were selling.  The event is called Mad Quilters Gathering, and if you click on that link it will explain better than I can!  Sadly for the organisers, it was not very well advertised, so they didn't have big crowds there.  The weather was against them too - it was bitterly cold  with heavy rain most of the day, and the Showgrounds are not a good place to be when it is like that, as the Pavilions, despite having been re-built in recent years, are mostly used for livestock shows, and are huge and unheated.  But the traders' misfortune was our good luck, as it was great to be able to browse through the hall without being pushed and shoved by crowds, the way one is with the big craft events at the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne.
I did a little shopping: five rolls of sewing machine cotton,
 A metre of fabric with vintage trains - one for the boys in my life!
 This was a freebie.  We were watching the lady make these on her stand - she was gluing little squares of fabric or paper on to a grid, then placing a template over the grid and cutting out the shape so it turned out like this.  There is more to it than that, but I was quite intrigued, so she presented me with one that she'd finished.  Her website is http://www.paperquiltcreations.com/ - do have a look, as she has some fabulous designs.
 I saw this magazine on another stand, and pounced on it, as I'd been trying to obtain a copy for some time.  I'd been told that there was a write up in this issue, about my linen display at Bundoora Homestead next month.  When I picked it up and started looking through it the lady manning the stand (Deborah) asked what I was looking for, and I told her.  "You must be Gina! Did you get my email?" she asked.  I'd emailed them to ask if I could buy a copy of the magazine direct from the publisher, but didn't get a reply.   Deborah was upset to hear that I didn't get any response, as she says she did reply to me.  So she told me to take a copy with me today - how nice was that! 
 There are TWO write ups in it about my display!

Jars of preserves quilt...looking unfinished?

I've been looking at that small quilt I made the other day, and thinking that it looks a bit unfinished without binding.  The front is okay but I'm not happy with the back.  I used the pretty fabric so I could flip it over and use that side if I wanted to, but I think it needs something else.  I used the 'envelope' method of finishing this off - sewing the layers together on three sides while inside out, turning it right side out and hand stitching the fourth side.  If I am going to add a binding, I'll have to unpick the whole lot - is it worth the trouble?
I was going to hand quilt it, but haven't done that yet - just as well!