Inspiration Islands.

At the New Zealand Quilt Symposium in January 2015, I had the privilege of listening to a lunchtime lecture  by Sheena Norquay from the United Kingdom.  Sheena’s  talk was for 45 minutes, and it was inspiring.  I could have listened for another hour at least as her photos (80 or more) and the information imparted was fascinating.  The lecture was titled ” Quilts and the Orkney Influence“.

From symposium catalogue it says

”  the lecture shows how the landscape, seas, skies and wildlife of the Orkney Islands, where Sheena was born, has influenced her work. Sheena finds Orkney’s colour palette and special quality of light very inspiring, as well as its rich Viking heritage; in particular, Norse myths and legends which she often incorporates into her pictorial quilts”. 

The talk gave me an insight into how living in such a remote location can influence your quilting – both in design of a quilt and the quilting designs.  It made me think about the Australian and New Zealand landscapes and the colour choices I would make.

I must admit I had never heard of Sheena Norquay until at the shop, I came across some of her thread selections.  We have in stock her Autumn Selection in Ne 50 (Kit Art box 1300m) and small box (200m) plus her Seascape Selection in 1300m and 200m boxes.

Recently we ordered another thread box “Linen and Lace” – a mixture of linen threads,  floss, Lana wool and cotton mako Ne 12.  I am very tempted to buy it for myself! (email us if you want more information about this collection)

Aurifil Pack

Very very nice colours inside!

Inside Aurifil Pack

When the Symposium catalogue arrived, I noticed that Sheena was one of the tutors, and I had hoped that I could do a class with her when I put in my preferences for tutor selection.  Sadly I couldn’t get into a class (but was very happy with the tutors I did learn from!) and  I did get to see some of her work close up though  (sorry about the photo – it was hard to stand back far enough to take a distance photo – plus the two quilts were long and narrow).

Sheena Norquay

The tutors exhibition had this wonderful piece of work on display – the detail in the quilting is amazing. I want to run my hand over the stones – they look so realistic.  The colours merge from one piece to the other.

closeup 2

and another (just lower down on the same quilt). Look at the little birds.

Thank you Sheena for your inspiring words and making me research the islands you love so much.

New in Store: Aurifil Designer Collections

The latest Aurifil shipment arrived recently so look at some of the new Designer collections that we have on hand.

Wildflower-Meadow-webSome have been collated by Australian Designers

Sue-Daly-croppedSome are boxes of 12 large spools, while others are boxes of 10 small spools

Sarah-Fielke-small-resizedAnd some are collated in neat little bubble packs

Aurifil-Calypso-bubbles-croppedWatch this space for more updates about the Aurifil Designer Collections or visit our websites (see links to left of screen) to find out more.




Wednesday Wonder: Aurifil colours are fashion forward

The latest thread shipment arrived mid last week so we have been in a whirlwind behind the scenes here at Always Quilting.

It is always “all hands on deck” to get the cartons unpacked, and the stock shelved, as it is impossible to move until we get everything put away ……  so apologies for the delay in responding to anyone who placed an order in the past week.


The fun part of unpacking is the first “real life” viewing of new products.


This time we got two new Designer Collections and Edyta Sitar’s Winter Essentials.


The colours in Edyta’s Winter Essentials perfectly mimic the start of wintery days here in Melbourne.


And the two new designer collections will be the antidote needed to brighten those dull days ahead.


Even more exciting, was to see the new colours that Aurifil has introduced to the Cotton Mako’ range for 2014.


At first glance they looked very similar to the existing greys, khakis & blues on the colour chart but then, with a closer examination, the subtle differences became obvious.

I can already see how well they will work with the new season fabrics.

I’ve found two colours for fabric swatches, left with us by a pattern designer for thread matching, and another colour would have been the perfect grey/brown to quilt a project that a customer brought into the store today.

We have a limited number of the new designer collections in stock but unfortunately we do NOT yet have spools of the new colours in stock.

However, watch this space after our next shipment arrives.

To see the full range of Aurifil Designer Collections pop over to the online store.




Happy Birthday and other surprises

I thought you may be interested to see some new sewing I have done.  Well,  it isn’t that exciting – but it is supposed to be a secret – so that means I can only offer a glimpse of the yet to be completed project.  Any guesses???!

Secret Sewing

The staff at Always Quilting are getting ready for the wholesale quilt market held in Melbourne at the end of November.  Here we have a booth showing all the wonderful Aurifil threads, Kit Art boxes and other thread treasures.   My sewing is part of a ‘display’ we are creating – and I am hoping all the parts go together well.  I will reveal the actual creation once the market is over (make mental note to self to do this in blog late November).

Happy Birthday

The other exciting event is Aurifil celebrating their 30th birthday.   I remember where I celebrated mine – standing on the Artic Circle in Norway.  Now that is a place and date (and year) I can’t forget.

Birthdays are always fun, and if you want to celebrate Aurifil’s 30th with us at Always Quilting, visit our website and subscribe to our retail newsletter.   I won’t say anymore than that – but I am sure you will be delighted with our ‘present to you’.  And don’t be worried about being inundated with our newsletters, as we are soooo busy in the shop with our wonderful customers, we don’t get much time to write newsletters that often!!!

Tuesday Treats: Another chance to be an Aurifil winner

The internet is overrun with competitions of all variety but every so often I come across a simple one, like this, that really is worth sharing.

The AURIbuzz blog, the official Aurifil blog, has a great competition running at the moment to win an exclusive box of 12 Cotton Mako’ threads but be quick as it closes on 15th August.


The prize is an exclusive set of 12 large spools of Aurifil Cotton Mako’

It is really easy to enter.  All you have to do is visit the AURIbuzz blog  and leave a comment answering a simple question about your favourite quilting style.

And here you can see the thread colours inside the box.

And here you can see the thread colours inside the box.

However, here is my tip!

Take the time to read the blog post first before scrolling to the competition question and comments. It features a very clever art quilter, Luke Haynes,  and the photos of his portrait quilts are worth a look.

The competition is open to international entries and closes on 15 August 2013 so don’t waste time. You could be the lucky winner.

More about Luke Haynes

Tuesday Treats: a Treasure Chest of Aurifil

This wonderful chest of Drawers was delivered to the shop this week.

The Beautiful Chest of Drawers holding the full selection of small Cotton Mako' spools

The Beautiful Chest of Drawers holding the full selection of small Cotton Mako’ spools

It is the new, updated, “full” selection of Aurifil Cotton Mako’.

This chest holds 252 small spools of Cotton Mako’, that is one spool of every colour in the range, and it is available configured in each of  the four thread weights.

The chest is beautifully designed, with a cover to protect the drawers.

Once the lid is in place the chest can be securely transported

Once the lid is in place the chest can be securely transported

Once the cover is removed, and the chest is laid flat on the table, the drawers can be opened or removed to access all the threads

Individual drawers can be removed to carry the threads to your favourite sewing chair

Individual drawers can be removed to carry the threads to your favourite sewing chair

Our only “complaint”was that the chest lacked handles to make it easy to carry to our friendship group meetings and workshops, but as it weighs over 6kg we realised that handles would probably not work.

So, with some lateral thinking, we quickly solved the transport problem by making a quilted tote bag. The Chest of Drawers is now easy to take out for show and tell at our next sewing day.

Our quilted Tote Bag is the perfect way to transport the Chest of drawers to workshops and friendship sewing groups.

Our quilted Tote Bag is the perfect way to transport the Chest of drawers to workshops and friendship sewing groups.

You will have to call back in a week or so to download a pattern for the bag.

This week, at Always Quilting, we have been busy packing for the Australian Quilt Market , the wholesale trade show being held in Sydney next week, so I had time to make the bag but not to write a pattern.

PS: We will include our free Tote Bag pattern with every order for a Full Selection Chest of Drawers.

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)

Tempting Summer

This week “Always Quilting” received another huge delivery of stock from Milan in Italy.  We were eagerly looking forward to seeing our storeroom full of thread again, and the front of store shelves groaning under the weight of lots of lovely thread!   As well, we always enjoy seeing the new Kit Art boxes unpacked, as there are so many gorgeous colours to enjoy in the special selections.

Some more lovely colours in our Kit Art boxes

Coming up soon is the  wholesale quilt market to be held in late November in Melbourne.  As Melbourne is our home ground, some of the staff are fortunate enough to attend the weekend market. Usually Jenny goes to the Sydney one by herself, while we are left to ‘man’ the shop in her absence.   It is always lovely to catch up with old customers and introduce Aurifil thread to new customers at the Quilt Market.

Aren’t these colours summery????

Jill Finlely selected the lovely colours shown above

Of course we like to make the occasion special and put an extra effort into making our booth enticing and creative.  We have chosen a new ‘theme’ already and will blog about it in the last week of November.   Just to give you a little peek at what we are planning, one of the new Kit Art boxes we unpacked, was appropriate for our theme!

1300m on each of the 12 spools – all in one special box – fabulous!

Perhaps you can guess what the theme may be????

Kit Art mini

Hooked on Crochet

Judy is now hooked on miniature crochet!  As soon as she saw the new Lana KitArt Collection from Cecile Franconie she was determined to see how the miniature crochet granny squares would look. (See the previous post for more information about Cecile’s KitArt collection)

Miniature “Granny Squares” crocheted with Lana wool blend thread.

The KitArt collection does not include a pattern but Judy said it didn’t take long to work out the best technique.

She stitched 5 rounds, using two strands of Lana, and started with a slightly larger hook but thought the squares were working up too “floppy”.

As soon as she changed to a smaller hook, a size 10  US/Imperial (I am sorry you will have to work out your own conversion to metric), she was happy with the firmer result.

A sample colour combination for Lana wool blend granny squares

For the first sets of squares she crocheted, she included colour changes and she chose to carry one colour through the entire square, only changing the second colour.

For example, for the square  above, it is crocheted with light yellow throughout the entire square. So the first rounds were made with light yellow & dark yellow, the first colour change was to swap the dark yellow for blue and the second change swapped the blue for pink.

However, there are NO rules for this fun, if slightly crazy, activity. Mix the colours to suit your taste and use the squares to make scarves, brooches, decorative trims or what ever takes your fancy  ……..?

These tweedy granny Squares only use 2 different colours, crocheted together, for each square

Our staff voted that our current favourite colour combinations are the tweedy look above. What do you think?
If miniature crochet takes your fancy rush over to the online store to buy some fine Ne 12 Lana wool blend to make your own granny squares.