Monday, January 31, 2011

Too Darn Hot

It's been 40 degrees C (104F) today and it is expected to be hotter tomorrow so sewing is a bit of an ordeal while I try to stay in the air con.
I managed to finish off this first QAYG quilt before I went to work yesterday and I finished off the second one today. Then I took a break and knitted a child's beanie and worked on some more QAYG blocks in larger sizes.
I also took photos of all the parcels that have arrived and the photos are on my other blog.
I plan to get an earlier start tomorrow before it gets so hot although I suppose I did manage to get quite a bit done as I've remembered that I also made 2 lots of binding.
I'm looking forward to cooler days soon as I will be working night shift over the next few weeks and I want it to be cooler so I can sleep.
Can't complain too much though as we avoided the flood waters and bush fires so far and I can still have fun with my quilting.
Hope everyone else is staying cool and dry.
Hugs Jan Mac

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quilts to Emerald, Qld

We had a 21st birthday party yesterday for one of my lovely nieces so we drove to Melbourne on Friday and I delivered 34 quilts to the people who are sending another truck to Emerald this week. It was a very good way to be able to send so many quilts without having to pay so much postage. The previous 9 quilts I sent on last week's truck have also gone to Emerald as the team of workers decided to take them inland to the towns which were badly affected as assistance seems to be more concentrated along the coast and around Brisbane.
The young men who are doing the clean up were apparently very worried about how they gave out the quilts as they were trying to give one per household. Then they met an elderly lady who is in her 80's and her daughter, probably in her 60s and when they heard that the two ladies are living in their car and they have no bedding or really anything else, they gave them each a quilt. Actually I think the ladies were allowed to select a quilt they liked. I've passed on word to the wonderful young men who are doing such a wonderful job that of course they did the right thing. I know their hearts will guide them where the quilts should go and where they can be of the most help.
I believe that this week's quilts numbering 34 will also be given out in Emerald and although it's only a small amount so far at least 49 people in those areas will have a quilt for comfort. Unfortunately I have paid work to keep me busy in the next couple of days but I'll be sewing as much as I can in between time.
Thank you all for your wonderful donations and please know that you are making a difference. The two quilts shown here were from donated blocks and Jill from New Zealand also added a label to the back of one of her QAYG blocks and I thought that was a great idea if anyone else wants to do the same when they're sending some.
Hugs Jan Mac

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day and Quilts

These are the finished quilts from yesterday and today. I didn't get as much done yesterday as our youngest DD arrived home from a holiday in the US so we had an early start to the day with a trip to Melbourne airport. Then of course we had to hear all about the trip but I did manage to bind two quilts and start a QAYG quilt and today I finished off that QAYG as well as making 2 more.
The first quilt shown was donated in bits with some of it sewn together and the rest was just the star blocks and some of the sashing. It's a lovely bright quilt for a child and will warm the heart.
The next QAYG used up the remaining 12.5" blocks and some extra I'd made. The third photo shows a donated top I quilted and the last two are QAYG quilts. The pretty one in pinks and pastels was a complete set donated by Coleambally Quilters and it's a really pretty quilt for a lady. The last quilt is made from QAYG blocks with a boy's I Spy theme and some little boy is going to have fun looking for all the animals on the fabric.
Unfortunately they haven't photographed showing their true colours as the light had gone before I finished the last of them for the day.
I had an enjoyable Australia Day and thought of all my blessings while I sewed and quilted for the flooded areas in Qld and Vic. I thought that if everyone made just one block it would make many quilts for the people who need some comfort in these areas. The photos of them are surreal and more like a war zone than suburbia, and we're lucky that we can't smell the sewage and mud which is still lying in many areas.
I'm going to take a break from sewing tonight and knit a beanie instead as it will be winter and cold before we know it.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, January 24, 2011

Arrivals Yesterday

These beautiful quilts were all made an donated by Margie W. from NSW. They are so bright and colourful that they are sure to bring some comfort to those who lost all their belongings in the Qld floods.

I also received 10 other parcels yesterday and will show the photos on my other blog at Sew Many Quilts. I also received a card and generous donation of money from Carol Lee from the USA.

I also finished off some quilts and have more to photograph soon.

Thanks for all your interest and donations of QAYG blocks. They are a real gift of time for me and allow me to finish and donate more quilts where they are needed.

More to come, Hugs Jan Mac

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Five Finished Today

Today was a productive day and I have five finished quilts to show.
The first photo shows a set of donated blocks I put together into a top and I quilted and bound it today.
The next quilt was a donated top and it is really pretty in pinks and greens. It's a disappearing 9 patch pattern and very effective.
The following two photos are of donated tops that I quilted and the colours are much better in real life than in the photos.
The last quilt I showed in two photos to show how the lack of light makes it look much darker than it is. It was a set of QAYG blocks made to 15.5" square and I took less than an hour to finish it off. It is a very pretty quilt in various shades of purple with a few other colours on some of the fabric.
They will all be on their way to Queensland this coming week and are sure to bring some comfort when they are given to their new owners.
I think tomorrow will be the day for making some more QAYG blocks before I go to my paid job.
Take care, Jan Mac

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today's Finishes

Today I quilted 4 tops but only managed to finish the binding on one of them so the rest will have to be photographed when they're finished tomorrow.
I also finished off the second QAYG quilt that Kaite and Coralie from Bathurst (NSW) made and donated. They also included a matching bag and this is such a pretty quilt with pinks and greens and a lovely print with rabbits to add interest. Lovely work ladies and the lady who receives it will love it.
The second quilt was a donated top and it is much more vibrant than it shows here. It's in lovely shades of teal blue with some caramel colours and reminds me of the sea. I'm sure it will be loved and well cuddled when it arrives in Qld next week.
I received 7 more parcels today and will show them on my other blog at Sew Many Quilts.
Did you see that the designated ribbon for flood relief is a mid blue colour so Kaite chose well for the lettering of the blog button.
I plan to quilt some more donated tops again tomorrow before my paid job and then will start putting more QAYG blocks together again so check back soon for progress. In fact there should be more to see here tomorrow. LOL!
Hugs Jan Mac

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Finishes Today

I had a very productive day and managed to finish off quilting 3 donated tops as well as finishing the bindings. The photos aren't great and the quilts look much better up close, but you get the idea.
The cute fabric is one of the backing fabrics sent by Margaret H and it is of a zoo print and makes a fun backing for the child's quilt.
I hope to get more tops quilted again tomorrow and I'm also working on another QAYG quilt.
I'm trying to get as many quilts finished as possible over the next 5 weeks as I have a contact with a church group who are sending volunteers up to Qld to help with the clean up and they will take the quilts to hand out when the houses are cleaned. I prefer this method where the quilts are actually given to the people who need them rather than work with a large agency who may stockpile the quilts. This method worked well with the bush fire quilt appeal and I gave out almost 2,500 quilts as well as toys, knitted items, books, sewing kits etc. all to the people who live and work in the areas most affected and I knew that they arrived where they were intended
I won't be stopping in 5 weeks time though as I'm sure I'll find other ways of getting the quilts delivered. I've also heard that many of the small towns in farming communities which have been badly affected by flooding in Victoria will also need a lot of help so the need is great and the quilt appeal will be ongoing for some time.
Thank you all for your support and donations which make this possible.
Hugs Jan Mac

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quilty Comings and Goings

I picked up a box from the post office yesterday and found a finished quilt shown in the third photo, 66 QAYG blocks made to 12.5" each, 3 quilt tops, 3 sets of bindings, and some fabric for backings. Margaret H. from Springwood in NSW has been working on the QAYG blocks all year and I put 2 quilts together with them today. I set them 4x6 as the larger blocks meant that I didn't need so many for each quilt. I also had 2 blocks already in those sizes and will easily be able to make a few more to have enough to make another quilt from the remaining blocks.
Then I posted off two large boxes of finished quilts this afternoon. Six quilts have gone to Theodore in Inland Qld as they have been involved in their clean up since last week, being one of the first towns to be inundated with the flood waters.
I also posted off 9 large quilts to a lady in Melbourne as she has contacts with a crew who are sending a team of workers up to Qld to help with the clean up and they are carting a truckload of goods up with them and will hand out the goods when they have cleaned the homes.
So 15 quilts are on their way so far. It's a drop in the ocean so far but as many areas aren't ready to accept quilts, not having anywhere clean to keep them yet, it's at least a start for some of the people affected and will hopefully bring a little comfort and hope to their communities.
Now it's back to the machine again and time to make some more bindings.
Also I'll add a link to my other blog which shows how to join the QAYG blocks together for those readers who may want to try it. There are many ways of joining QAYG blocks and I use this method because it's quick, sturdy and all done on the sewing machine.
I hope to have more finished quilts to show here tomorrow.
Cheers, Jan Mac

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some Hints About Making QAYG Blocks

As you've probably heard there have been 43 towns in my state of Victoria, affected by flood waters as well as some areas of NSW and Sth Australia. All together 5 states of Australia have been affected but to date the worse affected areas have been in Queensland. I will be making and donating quilts through Oz Comfort Quilts and documenting the donations here. How many and how quickly I get them made will depend on how many blocks are donated. But this is a marathon and not a sprint so please don't feel pressured to make and send blocks quickly as it will be some time before the people are in a position to accept quilts as they have no where to store them at present. I will be delivering the quilts through local contacts so they don't become stockpiles in storage, but actually end up with the people who need them. I found that this was a vital part of the bush fire quilt appeal, that I gave them directly to locals who worked with their community and I knew that the quilts were given to those to whom they were intended.

I've been making these blocks again today so I can get enough to make another quilt. I've been working on some which are all in various shades of blue as well as another set of prints which would be suitable for a boy. The reason for focusing on these blocks is to match some which have been donated. I don't usually make a quilt in just one or two colours but I have some blue blocks and I want to match them.
I've made hundreds of blocks as well as hundreds of quilts from these blocks and these were a major part of my quilts donated for the Victorian bush fire quilt appeal in 2009.

Things I've learned: * I try to make the blocks either "pretty" in colours for girls or with "boys" fabrics. The people who received them didn't really care they just wanted something which was sturdy, bright and cheerful. They appreciated the fact that they were handmade especially to comfort them.
* I cut the background fabric to 11" square and then trim them down to 10.5" after sewing down all the strips of fabric over the batting- as it is quilting the fabric as we sew down the fabric it can sometimes makes the background fabric creep a bit and it may measure smaller than what you start with. It also means that you will completely cover the background and batting with the fabric strips and not have any seams not covered by the binding strips.
* It doesn't matter what batting you use- it doesn't have to be lightweight and it doesn't matter if it doesn't match the other blocks. The batting will be completely enclosed by the fabric and as it is stitched to the backing as a foundation, it will not move when the quilt is assembled.
* You can also use polar fleece or tracksuit fleece for the blocks as they will work in the same way that the batting does.
* If using thicker batting I trim a triangle off each corner of the block so there is less bulk at this area where I'm joining the blocks.
I usually work with strips of fabric from 1" wide up to 2.5" wide as if I'm using batting strips for the block it makes sure that they are securely anchored and I think they look better to have more variety of colours in each block.
* I often use triangles of fabric in the corners to lessen bulk.
*The only rule I have for fabric selection is that I don't use the same fabric more than once in each block.
*I often join smaller pieces of fabric and cut them into strings which adds interest to the blocks.
* I try to make them a variety of bright and dark so they don't have murky colours but the binding strips allows the eye to focus and makes all the different fabrics work together.
* If cutting binding strips I cut them to 2.5" wide and across the width of fabric.
* Plain or tone on tone fabric works best to tame down the rest of the scrappy colours but it's not vital to use plain colours.
* It takes 21 strips of width of fabric to join the QAYG blocks set 5x7 as well as to complete the binding of the quilt.
* Have fun with the process as I find it's like eating peanuts and it's hard to stop at just one.

I'm sure there is something else that I can add but I don't want to make too many rules. Whatever you donate will be used. Sometimes I've received blocks that are a different size or theme and I work with them and often make more to match before putting them together. I'm going to avoid having quilts that are too brown and which will remind them of floodwaters, as with the bushfire quilts I avoided using predominantly red and black for the quilts, but apart from that have fun and use up your scraps. The quilts will be warm and sturdy and will convey the thoughts and good wishes of you all to wrap them in a warm hug from all of us. I write " A hug from Oz Comfort Quilts" on the label.
Any questions please ask and bear with me if I'm a little late in replying as I'm spending more time at the sewing machine than the computer.
Thank you all for your interest and I'll keep you updated with the progress on both blogs- here as well as at Sew Many Quilts
Stay safe and dry,
Jan Mac

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three More Finishes

The first quilt shown is the pretty pinks and greens made from blocks donated by Kaite and Coralie from Bathurst. It will be loved by a lady who has lost her home to the floods in Qld. The next quilt was made from QAYG blocks, some donated and some made by me and the last quilt was made today. I had 4 QAYG blocks donated which were larger than the others I had in the pile. I made another 16 today, using a UFO of bright strips which I'd started almost 2 years ago in a class on curved piecing. It will make a lovely bright quilt for a teenager and it's good to have that UFO finished up as well as a bag of bright scraps that I'd saved. I also made some more QAYG blocks 10.5" square and plan to make more tomorrow so I can build the pile of blocks up again and have plenty to select from when I put another quilt together. Thank you all for you interest and support and for helping to spread the word about making and donating QAYG blocks. I chose them when I was making quilts for the Victorian bush fire survivors as it is an easy way for people to use up scraps and an easy way for me to get quilts finished and out to the people who need them. It also is a huge saving for me as I don't have to buy a lot of batting to finish off tops. I will still accept tops though if you prefer to donate them and I'll quilt them and donate them on your behalf.
Time for a break now,
More to come, Jan Mac

Thursday, January 13, 2011

They Have Started to Arrive

Today I received two lovely parcels of QAYG blocks and they will be quickly put together. The top photo shows the blocks sent by Terry P. of Quaker's Hill (NSW). She made 8 blocks using fabrics that would appeal to a boy and they are lovely and bright. I've started making some more to join them and have found a cute print with frogs and spiders to use.
The next set of blocks are from Kaite M. in Bathurst (NSW) and they are a set of 35 blocks made in pretty pinks and greens. She also sent a lovely burgundy fabric for the binding strips and also a burgundy bag to use to give the quilt out when it is completed. Kaite and her lovely Mum, Coralie, are making more blocks. Coralie is in her 80's and had never made a quilt block before but got involved with the bush fire quilt appeal and made a really pretty quilt in pink which was loved by the little girl who received it. I love how these type of quilt appeals allow people to join in with a positive contribution no matter where they live.
I've already heard from quilters in the UK, Canada, Holland and Africa and Ulla in Finland has already posted off some QAYG blocks as well as binding strips and fabric bags. What a generous group of friends we have in blog land and hopefully more will join in and send some blocks for quilts.
I mentioned blocks arrived from Shona (NSW) this week and they have already been made into a quilt shown on my other blog at Sew Many Quilts

I made more blocks today as well as crocheting squares for blankets for a homeless person. There were many homeless people living in some of the areas which were flooded so they will need some dry clothes and blankets as well. If anyone has any wool or acrylic yarn they wish to donate I can use them to knit hats and scarves, baby clothes and crochet blankets for the homeless.
The last photo shows the large pile of baby wool that Terry sent in her parcel and boy was that bag stuffed full. I have almost finished knitting a premmie jacket with the wool that Kaite donated this week and plan to get started on the lemon wool as there will be a need for warm clothes before we know it. It gives me a break from the sewing machine too.
I hope you are all safe and dry at home and please spare a little time to make a few blocks or even just tell your friends about how they can help. If you would like to spread the word please add the blog button that Kaite made for Oz Comfort Quilts to help get others involved.
Thanks for your interest.
Hugs Jan Mac

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Else but QAYG

I'm sure that many of you are as stunned as I have been at the devastation caused by the floods. Who would ever expect an inland tsunami with a wall of water at 8 metres high and no warning. Now there are 10 confirmed dead and they are still searching for about 60 people.
I know that at the moment people need man-power when they can start their clean-up as well as money to help replace their household items. It's just incredible that some houses have been completely submerged under the water and there will be nothing salvagable when the water finally goes away. Then there is the raw sewerage which has also contaminated many houses and will require everything in contact with it to be thrown out.
I find that it's better for me to stay informed but not focused on the television reports as there is not a lot I can physically do to help from where I live in Victoria. However I can make quilts- and I can make a lot of quilts if you are able to donate a few QAYG blocks or even binding to help me get them finished. I worked all day at the sewing machine and wasn't going to post a blog and then thought I'd better tell you what progress has been made.
Firstly, my wonderful friend Kaite has made a blog button to help promote the need for donations of QAYG blocks. She even talked me through how to install it and is willing to help if anyone has problems uploading it. Please consider posting the button on your blog and help to spread the word about the need for QAYG blocks. There doesn't seem to have been as much media attention internationally this time, compared with the bush fires 2 years ago and I really need help from the blogging community to make this happen.
Of course I am also making blocks and today I made 2 quilts- one with a set of 5x7 blocks and the other set 6x8 blocks. I ran out of blocks for the second quilt so had to quickly make some more. It's so hot and humid here while I was wrestling with the larger quilt that I'll be happy to spend tomorrow making more blocks.
Here are 3 of the quilts I've made this week and the other quilt didn't get photographed so I'll post that later.
It's only possible to make all of these quilts so quickly because of your very generous donations of blocks. It's 11.30pm and time for bed now. Don't feel pressured to make blocks quickly as it will be some time before the people are in a position where they have somewhere clean and dry to keep their bedding and I believe that the donation of the quilts then will help in the recovery process as it did following the bush fires.
More to come, Hugs and thanks, Jan Mac

Monday, January 10, 2011

Heartbreak as Floods Spread

Anna Bligh the Premier of Queensland has said "It might be breaking our hearts at the moment, but it will not break our will."
Read more:

I'm so sorry to be asking all of the blogging world for help again when you were all so generous with your donations for the bush fires which devastated parts of my State- Victoria, almost 2 years ago. Then I asked for donations of QAYG blocks so I could make and donate quilts to the people who lost their homes, family and friends in the fires.
Now unbelievably the devastating floods have also caused loss of life. To date 8 are confirmed dead and many others are still missing. I always thought that floods were less devastating than fire as there was less chance of losing lives but this has certainly proven me wrong. The sad part is that they are continuing to evacuate part of Qld and even New South Wales as the flood waters continue to spread and even the city of Brisbane has 6,500 homes under threat.
So dear readers I am asking again for your help to make and donate QAYG blocks so I can put more quilts together and bring comfort to those affected, to let them know we are thinking of them. This was what meant the most to the people devastated by the bush fires- that we were thinking of them and supporting them.
This will be an ongoing project as it is going to take some time before the water even recedes and the clean-up can begin. The Qld quilters were so generous with their help for our bush fire quilt appeal that I want to repay their kindness and generosity by offering our support now. Imagine having to clean metres of thick and smelly mud from your home- some of which have had water up to their ceilings, and some were even washed off their footings. Then while sorting through the debris you couldn't find any thing to salvage. Wouldn't you love to have a fresh and pretty quilt, pillowcase, toiletries and so on to give you a little hope that things will improve.
Thanks to Kaite from Bathurst whom posted a tutorial on how to make QAYG blocks on her blog
as well as a lovely quilter from Holland (who has a DD currently living in Qld) and who has requested quilters from Holland via her blog (http://:// to send either heart blocks or string pieced blocks, same as QAYG but without batting to cut down on postal costs. I have also posted a tute on my blog to show how to make the QAYG blocks. There is also a tutorial on my blog in the notes for Feb 2009 which shows how to put the blocks together. However dear readers I am not asking you to join them togther but if you have a small amount of time, as well as some fabric and batting scraps then any you are able to donate will be put together and donated on your behalf. I also use 21 strips cut across the width of fabric and measuring 2.5' wide which are used to join all the blocks.
If you are able to donate any QAYG blocks, or even any blocks, they will all be used to make quilts for the flood survivors in Qld. My address is shown on both my blogs and I would also really appreciate if you could get the info out to as many quilters as possible so we can get the quilts ready while they are doing their recovery. I will be investigating help from a transport company to deliver the quilts to some local ladies who will give them out to the people affected and I prefer this to delivering to a general donation area where they could be "lost" among other donations.
I'm sorry to ask for your help again so soon after our last quilt appeal but the situation is much more serious than first thought and many more people will be needing help now.
Thanks for reading.
Love and hugs Jan Mac

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Week One Finishes

I've decided to post photos of finishes a couple of times a week and post the total number of quilts finished every week and will try to keep the report on target. I was trying to calculate how much stash I was using but I get so busy quilting that I forget to keep an accurate count of what fabric I use. I doesn't matter much really as I make a lot of quilts and use a lot of fabric. I'm a member of a stashbuster group online but I don't need to get rid of stash as I use it up all the time for the donation quilts.
The pinky mauve sashing makes the first quilt a pretty one for a lady, then the next quilt was a QAYG made using different blocks. I put this one together using the more traditional method of hand sewing the covering strips on the back of the quilt as it would have detracted from the design if I'd used my quicker method. The next 3 quilts were made from donated tops and will be loved by the people in Qld who receive these. The last quilt was donated as bits and pieces of blocks and long strips and I put it together using Bonnie Hunter's pattern of Scrappy Bargello.

So for the first week of the year I've finished 10 quilts to donate and I hope to get more done tomorrow. Having so many QAYG blocks has made it much quicker to get so many finishes and I've also been making up QAYG blocks to match some which were donated and not the same size or type as the diagonal string blocks. It's good to empty out the boxes of bits and pieces and I just have a few more blocks to match some which were 13.5" square. Four were donated and I'm making another 8 and should have that one done tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by.
Cheers, Jan Mac

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Still Love QAYG

Luckily I don't tire of making these QAYG quilts as I have made more then I remember but they all have a charm of their own. I've made these in the last couple of days and have also made bags and a pillow as well as a couple of scarves. I'm also making more QAYG blocks as I have almost exhausted my supply. These ones will go to the people who lost their homes to the severe floods in Qld but they won't be going for a while until after the cleanup so I plan to make some more to go with them. Luckily my sewing machine is behaving and I made 3 yesterday and I have another almost finished today.
Better get back to it.
Cheers, Jan Mac