Dare I say it?? Christmas is approaching!

I subscribe to Quilters Newsletter magazine.

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They had a ‘good deal’ on their subscription last year, and so I treated myself to a one year term.  It has proven to be a good read as well as a good deal.   The most recent issue had a foundation pieced Christmas tree that caught my eye.

020 As it can be done week by week, it made me think it could be a do-able project, and if I caught up with the sewing I could complete it by the end of October.

I decided to download the weekly patterns, and use the Christmas fabrics in my stash – of which I have quite a few acquired over the years.

011 It is interesting looking back on the ones I have accumulated – from the ‘traditional’ reds and greens and golds to the more modern and the ‘country’ look.

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They will all work – I hope.

For the past few weeks I have been foundation piecing like mad.

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It is a messy business!!

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It’s made me search out some small prints and not use the bigger ones in this project.

022But the results are fun!

008 I have been searching out some very tiny ‘conversation’ prints:

016And I have been sewing with Aurifil Ne 40 (the green spool).  For me it has the strength to cope with patterns printed on paper.

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I hope to be able to show the completed top by the end of the year.  I guess this means I have started another project – darn!

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Charity Quilts

Most of us who are quilters have been involved in creating quilts for charity.  We do this for many reasons, but primarily our gift quilts show that we care about the people who receive them, and they offer a very tangible way of receiving comfort and warmth.

As a member of Lutheran Women of Australia, I recently attended its convention in Adelaide.  In the year prior to convention, our president issued a request for quilts to be made and presented at convention.  Quilts could be sewn, knitted or crocheted. Organisers hoped for around 400 quilts to be distributed around the country wherever need is found. Many will go to African migrants, most of whom are refugees who have been through appalling experiences before coming to Australia.

I decided to hand sew my quilt, slow I know, but it had the advantage of being portable and would use scraps of fabric in the stash.  My thread of choice was Aurifil Cotton Mako (of course!!), this time in 40 weight. I made quilt-as-you-go hexagons and figured that if I made just a few every month I would have enough when the time came to take my quilt to Adelaide.  In all I made 67 hexagons.

Making individual hexagons.

Making individual hexagons.

Camera file May 2013 287

The completed hexagon quilt.

I invited my mum to help me make a second quilt, this time a knitted one since Mum does not sew, but she is a great knitter and between us we have lots of scrap wool.

This time we required 64 squares, making roughly half each.  I sewed them together and crocheted a border around the edge.

The knitted squares made into a quilt.

The knitted squares made into a quilt.

When we arrived at convention, the venue was decorated with many quilts hung around the walls.  A number of trestle tables and clothes airers held many more. Many styles and levels of difficulty and ability were represented, but all were colourful and the generosity of the makers really shone out.

Lots of quilts.

Lots of quilts.

Before very long it became apparent that there was insufficient space to display all the quilts and so organisers simply had to pile the quilts wherever they could.  Soon not only were more tables brought in, but all the space under the tables was used too!!  A preliminary count at morning tea on the first day indicated more than 1200 quilts and still they kept coming!

Many quilts did not go to Adelaide but will be distributed in their state of origin and so at the time of convention it was difficult to estimate exactly how many had been donated.

Too many quilts to display.

Too many quilts to display.

But in case you are wondering what the latest count is……. (drum roll). ….over 4000!  What a great effort!

Handbag Scensations

Some time ago I came across a pattern in Homespun Magazine (June 2010) for cute miniature handbags by Melbourne designer Nicole Mallalieu   http://www.nicolemdesign.com.au  

Miniature handbag ....an ideal Christmas gift.

Miniature handbag ….an ideal gift.

These little bags are filled with lavender and hobbyfill and can be placed with your clothing and linen or used as pin cushions.  At the time I first saw this pattern, I made a mental note that these would be great gifts for friends and family, and could use fabrics and notions already on hand.

Bags in production.

Bags in production.

As December  approached, I decided I would make some of these little bags as Christmas gifts.

First of all, one for each of my colleagues at Always Quilting!  For this batch I did buy fabrics… for these girls I wanted to use items from within the Always Quilting store.  www.alwaysquilting.com.au  Of course this had to be done with a certain amount of secrecy, but I managed to purchase some fat quarters from the Cuzco range, some matching braid, and Aurifil threads, without arousing suspicion.

Bags made with Moda Cuzco fabrics.

Bags made with Moda Cuzco fabrics.

As you can see from the photos, I added the braid and rick-rack with a contrasting thread, Aurifil Cotton Mako 12 weight, for added interest.  To do this, you simply sew over the rick-rack in one direction, then go back in the other.

Adding decorative stitching to the fick-rack.

Adding decorative stitching to the rick-rack.

You can also decorate the braid with colonial (or French) knots. Again Aurifil Ne 12 is ideal.

Using Colonial knots to decorate braid.

Using Colonial knots to decorate braid.

In all I made 15 little bags, 14 as gifts for family and friends, and one for me!!

A batch of bags.

A batch of bags.

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