Friday, December 31, 2010

Stick a fork in me, I'm done

Yes, I'm nearly done with 2010. In 12 hours (New Zealand time), a new decade is about to start. You know when you get asked at job interviews "where do you see yourself in 5 years' time?", I can never answer. It's hard enough just looking ahead for one year, so I'm not even going to try to predict what this decade might hold.

Right now, the hearts are still coming in and so are completed tops and quilts. Here's 2 quilts that have been compiled from heart blocks and quilted by Joy Hurley. Don't they look good?

And here are some completed quilts that arrived just before Christmas:

I have all the makers' names on the quilts but am too lazy to go upstairs and rummage throught the piles to find them. From my notes, I can tell you that there are 6 quilts from Rangitikei Country Quilters (amazing effort!), 1 top that was quilted by Jan Main of Kiwiquilters, 2 quilts from Kaikoura Patchwork Shop and 1 from Judith Harvey of Australia.

Happy New Year, everyone. I really appreciate my blog readers, and I love to read your comments. I hope you will all have a happy and prosperous 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Going retro

When I was younger, aprons were something that my mother and grandmother wore. I wouldn't be seen dead in them. However, like knitting, aprons have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. After taking up dyeing, I found aprons useful to prevent splattering myself in dye. Also, now that I make most of my own bread, I wear an apron to avoid covering myself in flour.

At present, I'm feeling rather quilted out, so I decided to make myself another apron. Being determined to not buy any more fabric, I rummaged in my non-quilting fabric bags and came up with this hemp. For those more acquainted with hemp's negative side, it makes a beautiful crisp neutral fabric that's mainly used here for curtains. Expensive curtains, I might add. It's an unusual fabric, like an openweave linen, so I matched it with a neutral linen for the pocket and straps.

I have some much lighter cotton that has a lovely retro 50s look, and I'm thinking of making a frilly apron with that - maybe as a gift. Aprons are (generally) quick and easy to make, and satisfy the creative urge.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Scenes from the festive season

Cass in "I'm the king of the castle" mode.
Mark, Sophie and Cass about to start eating our Christmas lunch out on the deck. We had baked salmon, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, and various salads, followed by fresh fruit salad, whipped cream and brandy snaps.
This is one of the bags I made for family (the female ones of course) this year. This one is for Catherine, Cass's girlfriend, who spent Christmas in Auckland with her family.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A mixed bag

This is my living room, showing the chaos created by sorting a week's worth of heart blocks and then counting them into bundles of 60. This took me at least a couple of hours today, but I needed to do it as I was sending bags of blocks to quilters around the country and I didn't have enough made up. I wanted them on their way before Christmas.
My son Cass arrived yesterday evening and is staying until the crack of dawn on Boxing Day (seriously! his flight leaves about 7am, so we need to leave here by 6am).
Because I couldn't see the lunar eclipse (in the east)from here, I photographed the setting sun in the west instead. That day, we had a huge high cloud bank that accompanies the strong, hot nor'wester winds, and which is called a "nor'west arch". Usually it sits with a clear sky beneath it but by sunset, there was more cloud. Winds of around 100 kmh blew my TV aerial off the roof.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas greetings

Before everyone gets too busy or starts going away, I'd like to wish all my blog readers and their families a safe and happy Christmas, and best wishes for the coming year.

I am still busy with the miners' quilts. In under 4 weeks, I have received almost 6000 heart blocks, as well as many donated quilts (over 50 now). I also have in my living room around 30 quilt tops which need to be made into quilts. I've sent bags of heart blocks and also some quilt tops to various parts of New Zealand to be made up.

Today, I had blocks from England, the Netherlands, Scotland, Australia, Riyadh and Canada as well as NZ. Who knew there was an international quilt group in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)? They sent me one of their guild badges which features a camel - a bit different from NZ badges!
The variety of hearts on the blocks is amazing. The number of hearts ranges from 1 to 14. The hearts are appliqued, paper pieced, strip pieced, embroidered, beaded, inverted, diagonal, outlined, cascading and rotating. They come in every colour imaginable. The block makers vary in age from 8 to 88.

So many people have been touched by the disaster, and have wanted to help in some way. A local long-arm quilter contacted me and offered to quilt some tops despite being incapacitated following a hip operation (she has an enormous Nolting machine that you have to walk beside). Some quilters have sandwiched and quilted as many as`3 tops, and many are donating their own batting and backing to the appeal. Some quilt groups have got together and made great numbers of blocks, including some Australian groups. Other groups have made quilt tops or completed quilts. Some individuals have also given several already made quilts, representing hours of work and many dollars in materials. Their generosity is humbling.

To everyone who has contributed in some way to make this appeal so successful - thank you so much. I leave you with a photo of a slightly festive poodle - I'm not doing Christmas decorations this year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snowed under?

Today I received these 2 lovely quilts from the stitchers at Christofer Robyn Quilts in Wanaka. The colours on the hearts quilt are delicious.
And what could be more blokey than a rugby quilt?

For those worrying that I have been snowed under (as opposed to snowed upon, which I would be if I were still in the UK or Europe), don't be concerned. The flow of hearts has slowed somewhat (only 180 today). I am quietly plugging away at the quilts that I'm personally working on, and I have a number of quilters and sewers, both locally and around the country, who are also quietly beavering away at sewing blocks together or turning tops into quilts.

Over the past few days, I've been concentrating on sewing bags for Christmas presents. I've completed Mum's bag (sorry, no photo as I was in a rush to get it in the mail) and the other 2 are near completion - I may be able to sneak a photo onto the blog of one of those.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday's Quilts

A wee hearts quilt from Ali Honeyfield of Tauranga...
..and a truly magnificent large appliqued quilt from Kathy McCaffrey of Taupo. A huge amount of work has gone into this quilt (click on the image to enlarge it), so it's a very generous donation.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In other news...

...actually, there IS no other news. It's quilts, quilts, and more quilts. Above is a star quilt made by Village Green Quilters in Whenuapai.
Two quilt tops that were donated as tops and have now been quilted by Joy Judd. Thanks so much, Joy.
Below is a huge hearts quilt made by Turramurra Quilters in Sydney - what a wonderful effort.
Today, the total of heart blocks received passed the 5000 mark. The committee of Christchurch Quilters' has uplifted a week's worth of blocks (around 1800 or so) and will be working their magic on these, while I continue with what I have here. Thanks to all those around the country who have asked me to send them blocks or tops to work on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back into it

Here are 2 lap quilts from Geraldine Patchworkers.
This quilt, and the following 2 are from Jill McCoy of Tauranga- a wonderfully generous donation. Looking at these quilts through a camera lens, I'm constantly reminded of how quilts are like oil paintings - when you view them from a distance, you become so much more aware of the beauty of the designs and colours than you do when looking at them close up.

This quilt, from Jill Pheloung of Katikati, looks quite different when seen like this - the dark diagonals become visible.
A lovely scrappy quilt from Picton Quilting Group.
I think this is from Margaret Knight in Auckland.
This child's quilt is from Jacqueline Foster of Picton. Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recharging my batteries...

...literally and figuratively. I have a bunch of quilts to photograph but this will have to wait.

Totals to date - 4,650 blocks and 37 quilts donated, plus around 20 uncompleted tops. See why I'm taking a break?

Back tomorrow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Taking a break

Yesterday I had an Open Home so I had to spend some hours sorting, tidying and cleaning, as you do. Consequently, I took a break from the Quilts for Miners project. I have also stopped sorting the heart blocks, as there are enough sorted for 20 quilts at present. I had a rush of completed quilts arriving on Friday. Above is one donated by Linn Norman from Cottonfields in Christchurch.
Please forgive me for not acknowledging the makers of the next 2, as I have now folded them up and put them away.
The last 4 small quilts were made by Pauline at Quilters' Quarters here in Rangiora.

Today I have another Open Home, so maybe I will make a start on the bags that I'm making for my daughter and my son's girlfriend for Christmas. Or maybe not.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

What I Didn't Do Yesterday & More Quilts

Yesterday, I didn't get the blocks I received in the mail sorted. Today, I have twice the task. Here's the 460 blocks that I need to sort.
Today, I also received some completed quilts. The first 3 shown are from Rangitikei Quilters via Mary-Ann Kane.

This one, and the following 2 are all from Margaret Rogerson of Wellington.
I am secretly coveting this lovely batik one, and also the one below, which has some lovely Kaffe Fassett fabrics in it.
You can see how much fun it is opening the mail!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Today's Quilt Top

As the heart blocks arrive, I sort them into categories - boys, girls, red, purple, green, blue, yellow & orange, and black/brown/multicoloured. Then I sort out 60 of each category, with a couple of spares, put them into plastic bags and label them, so that when I get a volunteer who will sew a top together, they're all ready to go.

Some of the blocks I've received are harder to place than others, especially when there are a large number that are all the same or they're made to an unusual design. I decided to make a quilt with repeated blocks, instead of aiming to have all the blocks different, and include some of the unusual ones. I was able to find quite a few pink and red ones but not enough. Then I remembered that 2 people had send in hearts of black fabric with small hearts on it, so I added those. The border fabric is red with black and white circles, which seemed to match. I'm pretty happy with the result, so I'll sandwich and quilt this once I finish the blue one.

A thousand thank yous

A heart top donated by a local quilter.
Another heart top in florals by Jill Haines.
A completed quilt kindly donated by Mrs Pratt of Masterton, as is the one below as well.
I hope no-one is offended by not receiving a personal thank you. Many of you have sent me your email or blog addresses, but with between 200 to 350 hearts arriving each day, it is simply not possible for me to acknowledge individual donations.

Please acccept this as a thank you for your contribution.

I have received almost 2000 hearts so far. Around 600 of these are being made into quilts at present; the rest I am sorting into colours and childrens/adults piles to be available for the next volunteers to start work on. Completed quilts received now total 17; and there are 18 uncompleted tops. I know there are more on the way.

This has turned into a huge task, and I am trying to not get overwhelmed by it. I have removed the self-imposed "get all the children's quilts to them by Christmas" and will simply work away at trying to co-ordinate the making of as many quilts as possible. I will be personally donating 3 quilts - the first is completed, the second is being quilted.

Please also be assured that there will not be "too many". Any hearts or tops or quilts that are not able to be used for this project will be used to provide comfort for another deserving cause.

Thank you all.