"Modern Market"

"let's start at the very beginning"

“let’s start at the very beginning”

Last Friday afternoon we set up our booth for the Melbourne Wholesale Quilt Market at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.  It is hard work!! Packing the van to drive to the city, unload the van onto trolleys or wheel in big suitcases full of quilts, stock and fittings.   Up and down ladders pinning and  placing.  Covering stools and tables with cloths and samples.   However it is fun – watching an empty space become an advertisement for our quality thread.  It is also fun watching the other booths start from scratch, and become beautiful areas displaying their new products.

Our Quilt Market is, of course, a mini version of the overseas markets.  The population in Australia does not have the same large quilt population – but it exciting to see all the new fabric ranges,  new notions being unveiled as well as quilt designs from the other traders.

Our Modern Quilt Display

Our Modern Quilt Display

As well as using our modern quilts as samples this year, we ‘revealed’ our Aurifil spool quilt – each one of us at Always Quilting made some blocks for it.  It was quilted in the different thread weights – Ne 50 for the orange spool, Ne 40 for the green spool etc.  From a distance it looked stunning and we were thrilled with the compliments it received from various passers by.

Spool quilt

Spool quilt

At Quilt Market we love seeing our clients come to visit, putting faces to names,  and we enjoy meeting new shops too – explaining  the four different cotton thread weights, and introducing them to Brillo and Aurilux and the gorgeous  Lana.   Of course, I love telling them about our Thread Club, something I organise each month, and how we spend so much time selecting the threads for this special club which is sent out to the shops who request it.

Jenny at Quilt Market

Jenny at Quilt Market

By the time Sunday afternoon comes we are tired – but happy. It means we have lots of orders to process – and ——– Christmas decorations need to be up in the shop as the festive season is just a month away!

Wednesday Wonder: The Poppies by Dijanne Cevaal

I was so pleased that I stayed to listen to Dijanne Cevaal,  the guest speaker on Saturday evening, after the day of vending at the Australian Quilt Market.

A close up of one of Dijanne's  Poppies series

A close up of one of Dijanne’s Poppies series, stitched with Cotton Mako’ 28

Dijanne talked about her creative textile journey, showed examples of her work, and shared stories from the years when she curated touring exhibitions of her own quilts, and those of other Australian quilters, around the world.

It was fascinating to see how an event, or conversation, could lead to the most amazing places and experiences in the world of textiles.

Dijanne Cevaal, as featured in the advertising blurb for her guest speaker appearance.

Dijanne Cevaal, as featured in the advertising blurb for her guest speaker appearance.

If you have followed Dijanne’s  work on her blog you will know that one of her ongoing projects in the past was a series of Sentinels.

Dijanne said she had made the sentinels her height, so they were realistic & they looked stunning in real life.  She is currently working on a series of embroidered faces, inspired by the feminine representations found at Chartres, which can be viewed on her blog.

Her work is often a combination of hand and machine decoration on hand dyed or printed fabric. I was particularly interested to see the work that she showed us where she had embellished the surface with Cotton Mako’ 28.

Another close up of one of Dijanne's Poppy wall hangings.

Another close up of the Cotton Mako’ 28 stitching on one of Dijanne’s Poppy wall hangings

Dijanne Cevaal is truly an artist, her medium is textiles, and she creates stunning works with fabric, paint, thread and beads.

As well as selling her art, she also runs workshop and sells kits to help you create your own masterpiece. See the Poppies, and other pieces, that are for sale on Dijanne’s blog.

This was just one of the highlights from the Australian wholesale Quilt market last weekend. Watch this space on Friday to see what Ladybirdee has to report about the market.

Crazy Heart Tutorial

After I posted about finishing my free motion quilting challenge , I received a request for instructions for making the quilt. So here it is for Eva …..

Well, I’ve written the instruction for making the crazy heart block, and have left it up to you to decide on the block layout for the quilt …. with sashing, or blocks side by side, or maybe you won’t even make the hearts into blocks  … made smaller the hearts would make great decorations.

Now the instruction for Crazy Foundation Piecing:

I have used a light interfacing as the foundation for my crazy piecing.  The finished size, and shape, of your appliqué is drawn onto the interfacing. The blocks in my quilt were about 12″,  so I made the heart about 10″.

Draw the finished sized shape on interfacing

Draw the finished sized shape on interfacing

Start at an edge of the heart;  place two fabrics right sides together and stitch a straight seam.

Fabrics are auditioned and added one at a time

Fabrics are auditioned and added one at a time

Press the fabric open.

Place another piece of fabric, at an angle with wrong side up, on top of the opened fabric and stitch a straight seam.

Fabric will cover the ends of the previous scraps.

Fabric will cover the ends of the previous scraps.

Continue to build up the fabrics, at random angles, until your shape has been covered.

The fabric is trimmed along the shape outline

The fabric is trimmed along the shape outline

Trim the heart shape  along the drawn line.

Glue the heart onto the quilt background fabric using a small dab of Sewline Glue.

A dab or two of Sewline glue holds the shape in place

A dab or two of Sewline glue holds the shape in place

You are now ready to sew the heart  into place on the block. Use 40wt Cotton Mako and a straight stitch or Aurifil 12wt Cotton Mako and a decorative machine stitch.

Once the hearts are all stitched into place on the background fabric blocks, you can join them together in your preferred layout to make the quilt top.

If you don’t want to make an entire quilt as I did, you can make some festive place-mats or even a single coffee mug mat. This is a wonderfully fun way to use up those scraps you love.

Tuesday Treats: Folded Star Christmas Decoration

I had my hair cut last week …. not really a noteworthy event except that, as I booked the next appointment, my hairdresser & I were struck by how close it is to Christmas.

I know that it is mid November, but some how I hadn’t transferred that thought to the reality that Christmas is less than six weeks away ….  and it is time to start decorating the shop.

One of my favourite decorations is the folded star that I hang on the front door.


This is an easy, almost “no sew”, project that can be put together in an evening.

They make great Christmas decorations or, with a little more time taken to securely stitch the points into position, they can be used as a place mat or trivet.

I made mine many years ago from a pattern in a magazine, so I had to do a google search to find some patterns online for you.

A quick gift that doesn't require a lot of fabric or stitching

A quick gift that doesn’t require a lot of fabric or stitching

Check out the instruction that I have found, grab a needle & thread, some fat quarters, backing fabric, batting & a foundation fabric and get started on making your own version of a folded star for Christmas.

This Folded Star Prairie Point Trivet pattern on the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association website only needs a loop added to the back to convert it into a door hanging.  (You might also like some of the other patterns on this website)

Also check out these instructions, with step by step photos,  written by Lisa & Sarah of  A spoonful of Sugar Designs. This pattern is a little different to the one on the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association website as the prairie points are made from circles, which may make the positioning of the fabrics easier.

The pattern that I used  “way back when” had a combination of circles & squares to make the prairie points.

If you find it easy to follow a spoken instruction this YouTube video, by Rose Smith, for making a folded star for the centre of her Somerset Patchwork cushion may help you work out the placement of the prairie points:

Each instruction has achieved the folded star in a slightly different manner, so choose the method that appeals to you.

In all case, remember that the best effect is achieved by having a good contrast, in each round of points, to show up the design.

Have fun creating your own version of the folded star door hanger

Made With Love

A young member of my extended family has been going through an extremely traumatic experience in recent months, so what better way for me to show my love and support for her, than to make her a quilt?

I wanted a reasonably straightforward design, totally machine pieced, using modern and pretty fabrics.

Quilts of hope 001

Rotary cutting in progress.

Quilts of hope 002

Preparing to piece.

To piece the blocks I used Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 40 in a warm light grey (colour 2615). This blended in very well with all the fabric colours in the blocks.

Quilts of hope 003

Chain piecing underway.

I used sixteen 15 inch blocks to make the quilt, and had eight different fabrics in addition to the white background and soft grey corners and borders.  I have been going to use grey in a quilt for some time and am really pleased with the effect.  It has become my new favourite base-colour!!

Quilts of hope 004

Arranging the placement of the blocks.

Spring 2013 003

Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne40 used for quilting.

After trialling a number of different colours, I decided that white (Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 40 – 2024) was my choice for quilting.

Judysew4th quilted  my quilt on the long arm machine at Always Quilting.  Thank you Judy for such a great job!! For details about the quilting service at Always Quilting  go to http://www.alwaysquilting.com.au/index.php?act=viewDoc&docId=14 

Spring 2013 006

Quilting my quilt at Always Quilting.

Spring 2013 007

Edge to edge quilting design.

This quilt was completed in about 5 weeks, quite remarkable for me as I usually make involved needle turn applique quilts which are long term projects.  It’s a treat to reach the finishing line so promptly!!

NZ Nov 2013 014

My completed quilt.

The quilt which I called “Garden of Hope” has now been given away and I hope brings a measure of comfort (and warmth) to my relative.

Special thanks to my colleagues at Always Quilting for your help and support during its creation.

Tuesday Treats: What spurs you on to finish your projects

Did you read Judysewforth’s post, last week,  about finally finishing her free motion quilting UFO?

This got me thinking about the incentives that get me to finish a UFO or WIP* (and I always have several in the cupboard).

I decided it is usually the need to have a new quilt to show at a trade event, or a guild presentation….. the events that are my personal goal setters because, these days, almost all the stitching that I do relates in some manner to my work at Always Quilting.

The latest UFO / WIP / quilt in my head / under construction

The latest UFO ( WIP ) the fuzzy quilt in my head, still under construction, which needs to be finished next week in time for the Australian wholesale Quilt Market

However,  when I was guest speaker at the Wyndham Vale Patchwork Guild last weekend,  I saw a very clever “goal setter” plan that could help other people, without business deadlines, finish their UFOs.

The Guild had set their members a UFO challenge at the beginning of the financial year.

At the July meeting, members who chose to enter the challenge had to register a list of the UFOs that they wanted to finish.

The deadline for the Wyndham Vale challenge was the November meeting and people who produced a finished project at show and tell, from their list,  “won” a lucky dip prize.

As you can see lots of people achieved their goal of a finished UFO.

Lots of quilts were finished. Both baskets were full at the beginning of the show & tell.

Lots of quilts were finished. Both baskets were full at the beginning of the show & tell.

I’ve been guest speaker at two Guild meetings in Victoria in the past month, last weekend at Wyndham Vale,  and back in October at the Point Nepean Patchwork Guild.

I always start my talks by saying:

“thank you for inviting me,  I love to talk about thread, for patchwork, quilting and embroidery so you could be here for a very long time”

Aurifil-smile-blog Not really, the talks are usually 30 -45 minutes, including questions.   I talk in general about  choosing the right thread for a task and why it makes a difference, about choosing the various Aurifil thread weights to achieve particular stitching results, choosing thread colours for different purposes and I always finish with a list of the Aurifil suppliers in the locality where I am speaking.

It is a treat to be a guest speaker at a Guild, and a wonderful opportunity to see what people are stitching around the country so contact me if you are interested in finding out about my schedule for 2014.


* Definitions:
UFO = unfinished object
WIP = works in progress (a kinder term for those quilts waiting to be finished)


We would love to hear about other goal setter ideas for finishing projects, so please leave a comment to share your incentive.

Free Motion Quilting Project is Finished!

I have heard the saying, “Slow and steady wins the race” and while quilting is never a race, it is nice to finish a project that has been around for a while.

Now that I have finished the quilt, I have decided to name it, “Crazy Hearts”.

Back in February 2012, I began machine quilting my Crazy Hearts Quilt following the monthly contributions of well-known machine quilters.

As the months passed, other projects with definite deadlines came and went and the Crazy Hearts disappeared deeper and deeper into the UFO pile.

Last week, while looking for something else; I know you can identify with this activity…I ‘found’ my Crazy Hearts quilt.

I threaded my machine with  Aurifil Cotton Mako 50wt thread and quilted the remaining hearts.

I am very pleased with the results and my confidence in machine quilting has increased since I first took on this project so many months ago.

My photography needs Work

My photography needs Work

I tried to photograph the entire quilt…but I am short…I even stood on a chair and stretched my arms as high as they would go…

My arms are too short to take a picture

My arms are too short to take a picture

At least my quilting is improving faster than my photography.

The February 2012 FMQ Challenge

The February 2012 FMQ Challenge

Free motion quilted feathers 2013

Free motion quilted feathers 2013

Have you put a project aside only to pick it up later and discover your skill level has improved? We would like to hear about your projects and I would appreciate some pointers on photographing quilts as well.

Tuesday Treats: A clever way to carry your Aurifil threads

I love a clever idea … especially when it is to do with thread.

When Lois came into the store to add to her thread collection last week she pulled a “necklet” of spools out of her bag to help with the selection of new colours.

Lois had strung her spools of Aurifil together on a ribbon

Lois had strung her spools of Aurifil together on a ribbon

She said she had linked the threads together like this

  • firstly,  so that she had a quick reference for the colours that she already had in her stash
    (maybe she is like me …I’ve been known to buy a book twice because it took my fancy)
  • and secondly so that we would know what colours already belonged to her

Well it took less than five seconds for us to see the possibilities of this idea, and I have already created one necklet of threads to carry around with my latest stitching project.

I've not got much further with the stitching but at least my threads will now stay together until the applique is finished.

I’ve not got much further with the stitching but at least my threads will now stay together until the applique is finished.

Don’t you agree, it is the perfect way to keep spools of thread tidy, and together, for each project that you have under way in your sewing room.

No more lost threads as they roll under a chair, or get left on a table when you pack up the current “carry around” project.

How do you carry the threads for your current project?

Leave a comment to share your clever ideas.

A Modern Welcome is Ready for Quilting

Your quilt top is finished and ready for quilting. All the extra fabric pieces remaining in your charm pack and the pieces left from making your blocks were used to create your backing piece.

Make sure you allow at least 2 ½ inches of your backing to extend on all sides of the quilt top.

I have used a 80%cotton20%polyester wadding in this project.

Lay the backing down first, wrong side up; then the wadding; then the top.

The backing and batting extends on all sides of the patchwork top

The backing and batting extends at least 2 1/2″ on all sides of the patchwork top

The three layers may be basted with thread or the layers may be pinned together with large safety pins.Once you’ve done that, you are ready to quilt.

I am quilting on my domestic machine and I have used a walking foot for the straight line quilting

and Aurifil 28wt Cotton Mako thread on the top and Aurifil 40wt Cotton Mako in the bobbin.

Aurifil 28wt for top thread and Aurifil 40wt for bobbin thread

Aurifil 28wt for top thread and Aurifil 40wt for bobbin thread

To make a neat start, with the presser foot raised, bring the bobbin thread to the surface of the quilt. Lower the foot and take a few stitches. Then backstitch for one or two stitches to secure your threads.

Begin by pulling bobbin thread to the top

Begin by pulling bobbin thread to the top

Anchor both thread with a few backstitches

Anchor both thread with a few backstitches

Walking foot is an excellent guide for straight quilting  lines

Walking foot is an excellent guide for straight quilting lines

A darning foot was used to free motion quilt the pebbles in the appliqué block background.

Aurifil 28wt for fun free motion pebbles

Aurifil 28wt for fun free motion pebbles

The Modern Welcome Quilt is the perfect size to try free motion quilting and experiment with some of your machine’s built in stitches for a unique quilted effect.

When your quilting is finished, carefully trim the backing even with the quilt top. The excess backing will be used next month to create your binding.

For more information about Machine Quilting for Beginners check out Cheryl Fall for more tips and tricks.