Looking Forward, Looking Back

At this time of the year I am in two minds …looking forward to the new year with anticipation, but still looking back at the old with surprise as to what we actually achieved in the past twelve months.

We wrote about exhibitions we enjoyed,

July is the month that everyone looks forward to the popular  Victorian Quilters exhibition in Melbourne. This year we sponsored the challenge with Aurifil prizes for the winners

Fran won first prize with her entry “The Jungle & Totem Poles”

Another exhibition that we enjoyed was Quilts in the Barn. It is an annual fund raising exhibition that is well worth visiting.

blog photosQuilts in the Barn 2012 012

and we wrote about our stitching projects,

We featured Hand quilting  with cotton Mako’28  in a lot of our posts

Crosshatching quilting all finished

Crosshatching quilting all finished

We shared our differing versions of the 2012 Aurifil Embroidery Block of the Month .

Judysew4th stitched her blocks with Cotton Mako’ 12,

MY Summer colours

MY Summer colours

while I stitched mine with Lana.

The February Aurifil Block of the month stitched with Lana wool thread on a felted wool fabric

I even wrote a post about  how to replace other threads with Aurifil thread colours  so that you can stitch your embroideries with your favourite (Aurifil) thread.

Ladybirdee used Lana for a lot of her stitching projects this year,

Some of the threads I used - perfectly blending in with the felted wool.
Some of the threads I used – perfectly blending in with the felted wool.

Judysew4th joined the machine quilting challenge and

The February FMQ Challenge

The February FMQ Challenge

KnitsnQuilts worked on a lot of her favourite appliques

The finished cushion.

The finished cushion.

 We shared posts about our customer’s stitching.

We love seeing (& sharing) the projects that our customers are making with Aurifil

Zoe’s embroidery pattern uses Cotton Mako’ 12

Zoe Clifton's beautiful embroidery design stitche din Cotton Mako' 12

Zoe Clifton’s beautiful embroidery design stitched in Cotton Mako’ 12

This motif below is part of a beautiful hand embroidery  stitched with Lana thread by Jeanette,

A beautiful beetle

and for a change of pace, Marlene’s machine embroidered quilt is stunning

The bottom corner of Marlene's quilt

The bottom corner of Marlene’s quilt

and Juliet sent us a photo of her  pieced quilt. As you can see it is a star!

Juliet's "Star" quilt was stitched entirely with Aurifil threads

Juliet’s “Star” quilt was stitched entirely with Aurifil thread

We posted tutorials about techniques that we have used this year,

Knitsnquilts showed us how to transfer the design to the fabric to simplify the placement of applique pieces:

Cut out windows for the placement of bias stems leaving some bridges.

Cut out windows for the placement of bias stems leaving some bridges.

We shared a post to show you how to make a quick wrist pincushion and

My raggedy old wrist pin cushion was made from four small half-square triangle blocks

My raggedy old wrist pin cushion was made from four small half-square triangle blocks

how to make a simple cushion cover

Our cushion with a seaside theme

Our cushion with a seaside theme

We even wrote a post about how to edit photos for your blog

To speed up the page loading time it is a good idea to resize photos for blogs

To speed up the page loading time it is a good idea to resize photos for blogs

and we wrote about events where we represented Aurifil.

The Summer & Winter Australian wholesale Quilt Markets are highlights on our annual calendar.

We decorated the side wall with Ladybirdee's glorious quilt

We decorated the side wall with Ladybirdee’s glorious quilt

These are smaller events than the USA Quilt Markets, but they are just as important for us, as they allow shop owners to visit with the Australian textile craft wholesalers in the one location, and are a great opportunity to see the latest & greatest products.

We enjoy using these opportunities to introduce the new Aurifil products.

The new Kit Art Collection of Aurifil threads from Edyta Sitar is very appealing

The new Kit Art Collection of Aurifil threads from Edyta Sitar is very appealing

So what is ahead for us in 2013?

Find out by bookmarking our blog so that you can keep up with our activities in 2013.

Or even better,  subscribe to our blog so that you have each post emailed to you as soon as it is published. (Simply fill in the subscription form found on the menu above and to the left)

Stars for Christmas

Handmade Christmas Angel

Handmade Christmas Angel

When I decorate my Christmas tree in early December I always enjoy finding old treasures among the many, many decorations I have collected or been given over the years.  I try to remember who gave me a certain decoration, or when I purchased some for myself.  I like to buy a new one each year, and should be more disciplined about putting the date on the new addition – but of course I forget.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have many handmade decorations given to me by patchwork and stitching friends.  I do remember who gave me those, as they are so individual, and I treasure them all.

Cathedral Window and Stocking ornaments

Cathedral Window and Stocking ornaments

In one of my sewing groups a few years ago, we decided to make a star for each member of the group and exchange them at Christmas.  It seemed like a great idea  when the topic was raised in the early part of the year.  However as the months went on, and no stars were started, the last minute panic began!!  I managed to get all of mine done, and was happy with the result.  Naturally, I ran out of time and didn’t make one for myself!!  But the photos below, show the variety and beauty of the ones I received.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They are a special reminder each Christmas of my friends in this stitching group, and I feel very lucky to have them in my life.

All of us at Always Quilting, wish our blog readers a very happy festive season, and may 2013 be full of joy and lots of time for quilting, patchwork and stitching.

Tuesday Treats: gift tags at the last minute

This is the last “Tuesday Treat” before Christmas so I thought that a link to printable gift tags was the perfect one to share.

I always seem to run out of tags as I am wrapping the last of the presents, so I was so pleased when I found these delightful tags that have been shared by Lori McDonough on her Fresh Picked Whimsy blog.

these printable gift tags are just what is needed for those last minute presents

These printable gift tags are just what is needed for those last minute presents

So enjoy!

We will be back with more Tuesday Treats in 2013

More links to Gift tag ideas:

If you really have to have a stitching fix, this gift tag idea from  Cloth Paper & Scissors requires a little more planning, and can be individualised

A Little Christmas Stitching

I have a number of stitchery patterns by Marg Low marglowdesigns.typepad.com/ and I recently decided that I would like to make up a couple of these designs in preparation for this Christmas.

My collection of Marg Low patterns

My collection of Marg Low patterns

Some of these patterns use delightful buttons by Theodora Cleave. http://www.theodoracleave.com/

Some of my Marg Low patterns with their matching Theodora Cleave buttons

Some of my Marg Low patterns with their matching Theodora Cleave buttons

And this is the pattern for my first project.

Marg Low pattern with a Theodora Cleave button

Marg Low pattern with a Theodora Cleave button

The design uses a “Kissing Birds” button and I placed this on a blue background to match our blue and silver Christmas colour scheme.

Gathering and preparing materials.

Gathering and preparing materials.

Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 12 is an ideal weight to use for these stitcheries.

Stiching with Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 12.

Stitching with Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 12.

I used plastic inside my stitchery, rather than cardboard as Marg describes in her pattern.  The plastic worked well, but keep in mind that if you use plastic you will also need to use craft glue, which requires a greater degree of care to avoid a mess!!

The finished decoration.

The finished decoration.

My other project is the little heart hanger from the Sweet Romance pattern.

Blog photo - A little Christmas stitching 011

The Scented Heart hanger.

Again, I used Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 12 for the stitchery, this time in a rich Christmas red, (colour 2265) to match my backing fabric.  The heart has a little dried lavender added to the polyester filling so that it smells good too.

The little heart is quite small, only about 7cm not counting the hanging cord, so suits a small tree or hanging space.  I have mine hanging on the doorknob of our entertainment unit.

Hanging on a doorknob.

Hanging on a doorknob.

I used 3 strands of Aurifil Ne 12 thread to make the twisted cord.

Close up showing the twisted cord.

Close up showing the twisted cord.

It’s always fun to make these small decorating items to put around the house at Christmas time.   For someone who tends to take on large labour-intensive hand projects (think needleturn applique/ handquilting) it’s also lovely to have something that is finished quickly and ready for display before Christmas is over!!

Tuesday Treats: Birds are my favourite Christmas decoration

I have previously shared a photo of a Rainbow Lorikeet, the bird that reminds me that summer (& Christmas) is really upon us, so I thought that I would go one step further and show you some of my favourite bird decorations.

I have birds made of fabric,

This is a simple fabric bird shape, but they look great when used in a group

This is a simple fabric bird shape, but they look great when used in a group

and embroidered birds.

This cross stitch bird would also make a lovely pin cushion

This cross stitch bird would also make a lovely pin cushion

I don’t restrict my collection to fabric birds, there are birds made of glass,

I received this glass bird in a Kris Kringle swap one year

I received this glass bird in a Kris Kringle swap one year

and even glittery birds.

I couldn't resist a touch of bling for Christmas

I couldn’t resist a touch of bling for Christmas

I am always on the look out for more bird motifs, & decorations, to add to my collection of  Christmas decorations.

So when I did a web search, I was delighted to find even more bird decorations.  I will be getting out the needle and threads to add to my collection.

It is too late for me to stitch a new bird for the tree this year, but I will certainly have it ready to hang next year:

Amy  Friend used a Sizzix cutter to cut the base shape before she embellished her bird with embroidery.  I love this idea, but I will be using Cotton Mako’ 12 or our Lana wool thread for my embroidery.

I just love this embroidered bird designed by Amy Friend

The article by Martingale about Linda Lum deBono’s Sew Merry and Bright book  featured this great set of bird decorations. I can imagine a tree dressed only in these bright birds:

These colourful birds designed by Linda Lum DeBono are delightful

You can use Jody’s bird tutorial ,  to make an updated version of my fabric birds.

You can download a tutorial to make these birds from Jody Herbert’s blog

Having spent time searching for birdie decorations I am now going to spend some time with needle & thread and fabric to increase my collection.

What about you?

PS: Don’t forget to come back on the weekend to see what KnitsnQuilts has been stitching for her tree.

Christmas Ornaments Patchwork Style

My Christmas tree is completely decorated and it is only the first week of December.

The collection of handmade ornaments grows each year.  This year the Aurifil Designers even joined in the festivities.

In the last few years I have also been collecting the beautiful Jim Shore Santa Clauses.

Santa Ornament

Santa Ornament

Each of these has a lovely patchwork design as part of the Jolly Old Elf’s robes.Ornaments

The large Santa has two puppies in his arms.

Santa and the Pups

Santa and the Pups

We also dust off the musical instruments and play our favourite Christmas Carols from the Silent Night ; Carols for Christmas book. This well-loved song book has been illustrated with the works by textile artist Belinda Downes.

Carols for Christmas

Carols for Christmas

I think it would be a fun activity for a friendship group to interpret a favourite Christmas song into a picture with fabric and thread.

Once in Royal David City

A wonderful close-up of Belinda's Embroidery

A wonderful close-up of Belinda’s Embroidery

This can be a very busy time of year but try and fit in a few moments to enjoy some hand stitching. It can be a present to yourself.

Happy Christmas from JudySew4th.