Happy Valentines Day

Let us share some of our favourite things with you.


I searched our previous Valentine postings to re-visit things that we had shared in the past.

valentine-cookiesCan’t go past a good biscuit snack but re-visit our 2012 blog for some great ideas for drawing heart-shaped quilting designs. In that same month JudySewforth shared work on her freemotion quilting of feathers and heart designs

Don't you just love our Aurifil heart?

Don’t you just love our Aurifil heart?

So Happy Valentine’s Day!

To make it an extra special day this year
visit our online store to find great specials on
all things heart related

Round Robin Blocks for the 21st Century

This year we have been “Taking the Round Robin into the 21st Century” as a challenge at our work.  In February each staff member had to bring a 6 inch starter block in a designated colour from the colour wheel.  This week we took possession of ‘our’ block and now we have to  feature Aurifil threads on it to make it into a mini quilt with quilting and/or embellishments.

Back in February, I had to work with the colour Violet and make a 6 inch block.

Starting block

Then every two months we were  to add borders of different sizes to each relevant quilt block.  Round two of mine was made by Judy using  a red-orange colour to create an asymmetrical border on four sides.

RR Block 2

Then Yellow was choice of colour for Jenny, with an even size border on four sides ( no more than 3 inch wide) added.

Round Robin block 3

Finally, a border on two sides, no more than 3 inches wide was added by Denise in Blue Green

Round Robin Block 4

Here are all the quilts (hung over some of the batting in the shop) showing the results.  It will be fascinating to see what everyone chooses to do with their individual quilts.

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 no.1

And a closer look of them (Jenny and Judy’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Jenny and Judy

and the other two (mine and Denise’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Heather and Denise

We have been given some time to finish the quilts as they will be displayed at the Melbourne Wholesale Quilt Market in November – and if we are really keen and finish them before hand, someone may even blog about them earlier!!

Tuesday Treats: Monday in disguise

Monday public holidays always throw my week into colourful chaos.

Some of the Aurifil orders picked ready to be packed

Not that I don’t enjoy a day at home, or out at an exhibition, free from work but ….

it does mean that the Aurifil orders from the weekend, that we would normally have picked and posted on a Monday, are still waiting for us on a Tuesday.

Aurifil Cotton Mako' 12 spools are great for hand embroideryDon’t you just wonder how these gorgeous Cotton Mako’ 12 weight pinks and purples will be used.

Aurifil Lana wool thread, in two spool sizesWhat about these Lana wool colours?

Aurifil Cotton Mako' 50 makes invisible stitches in needle turn applique easyor this collection of small Cotton Mako’ 50 spools?

Needle turned applique maybe?

Adding an Aurifil Cotton Mako' colour chart to your order is a clever ideaThis clever customer included an Aurifil colour chart with her order of Cotton Mako’ 40 threads

This customer has taken advantage of the discount for pre-selected thread packs in this orderand this one included some of our pre-packed selections in her order of Cotton Mako’ 28

Not all the orders go out to consumers.

The starter kits for an Aurifil thread club are ready to be posted out to a shop. Luck customers!The lucky customers at this Patchwork shop are about to start receiving an Aurifil thread club.

A new shop has just ordered an assorted range of colours as a starter to introduce customers to Aurifiland once we box and pack this order for posting, it will make a great starter selection to introduce customers at a patchwork shop to the joy of working with Aurifil thread.

As often happens after a day of picking & packing orders for our online store, I went home with a head spinning with colour.

this customer ordered a colourful selection of Cotton Mako' 40 & 50 weight threads

This customer ordered a colourful selection of Cotton Mako’ 40 & 50 weight threads

Happy Valentine to You

Today we collected some of our favourite heart things from work, & home, to share with you

Don't you just love our Aurifil heart?

Don’t you just love the heart that we made up with spools of Aurifil?

Blog hearts 019

Knitsnquilts made this sweet little wallhanging in 2003 using a pattern,  “Life’s a Journey”,  designed by Jackie Nicholls of House on the Hill Design Company (New Zealand).

Ladybirdee has a heart wall quilt too, one of the first patchwork projects she sewed.


Have you been tempted to make your own heart quilt?


These books are available online, at a special discount this month.


What about a country decorator heart for you, or someone special?

Blog hearts 021Applique heart shapes always look good when used to grow a fabric garden

love-heartJudysewforth found this Love fabric in her stash.

multiple-heartsWe were surprised to see how many things in the store fitted into our Valentine’s Day photo gallery theme.

Heart from antique quilt
Ladybirdee has a heart made from an antique quilt.

T-shirt-sloganAnd of course, our last words had to be “I love Aurifil”

Christmas Greetings


from all of us at Always Quilting.  We have now ‘shut the shop’ and will be on a holiday until January 13, 2014.  Some of us are travelling far away from home, while others are just staying put.  We are all hoping that the temperatures won’t be as hot as 39  degrees, like we had this week, but knowing the fickle Melbourne climate, the weather is very changeable and we could be looking for our warm clothes by the time the new year arrives!

Christmas Star

We have planned some exciting projects to share with you in 2014 and we are working on them over the holiday period (well – some of us are – in between eating Christmas leftovers!).

We wish all our blog readers a very Happy Christmas, and a safe and healthy year ahead.  May the New Year bring time for completion of ‘old’ projects and some time to start some new ones – all using Aurifil threads of course!!



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!!!

Glass Half Full – half way through the 2012 Australian Quilt Market

I guess I could have taken some photos of the AQM set up day yesterday, but to be honest we are usually so busy that the camera is the last thing on our mind.

Set up of our stand finally done.

Also, as Ladybirdee said’ “Why would we talk about ourselves in our half undressed state?”

This year we printed chair backs!

I always think that setting up a display stand is a bit like getting dressed to go to a formal function:  the fashion gurus always tell you that “less is best”, they recommend that you look in the mirror before you leave the house and take off one piece of bling.

We always try to have lots of examples of how Aurifil can be used for patchwork, quilting and embroidery, such as judysew4th’s bathing beauties hexagon quilt.

It doesn’t matter how often we set up a stand for a quilt event, we always start out with a plan and it is completely different by the time we have finished the set up.

This time we set up the display, based on our original plan, then went off for a cup of coffee.

We decorated the side wall with Ladybirdee’s glorious quilt

When we came back we were able to re-arrange things with “fresh eyes’.  In fact I think we tweaked & re-arranged several times but somethings, like our side wall above, were perfect the first time they were set up.

This year we started with a summer beachside theme, suggested by judysew4th and confirmed when we received Sheena Norquay’s beautiful Seascape kit Art boxes.

The Seascape kit art sets by Sheena Norquay. One set holds 12 spools x 1300 metres and the other 10 spools x 200 metres of Cotton Mako’ 50

Today, the first day, was very successful. Quilt Market is always a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, and to meet people who we may only know via telephone or email.

I quilted an ocean scene to use as a backdrop.

AQM is held over two days in Melbourne so,  today, half way through the event it truly is a half glass full with more fun still to be enjoyed.

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

What type of quilt batting is best?

This week I was asked which batting was better, specifically if 60/40 wool mix was better than 100% wool batting, and what a dilemma this question of better/best poses. 

The quilt batting rack in the shop holds a roll each of wool/poly batting, in natural & charcoal, plus a roll of cotton /poly and a roll of very thin pellon style polyester.

The quilt batting rack in the shop holds a roll each of wool/poly batting, in natural & charcoal, plus a roll of cotton /poly and a roll of very thin pellon style polyester.

There are a multitude of battings on the market, and the choice of batting is determined by many factors, so the following comments are based on my quilting experiences, and observations, and will not necessarily agree with your quilting experiences and observations. 

The starting point for my favourite quilt batting
I have always used the 60/40 wool mix as I like the idea of the polyester scrim & needle punching to stabilise the wool fibres. My quilts are all soft, with a nice quilting definition, and they can withstand gentle machine washing on a wool cycle without the fibres migrating through the cotton fabric. Although there is that element of synthetic in the batting, the quilts are still comfortable to use all year round as they “breathe”. 

I used wool/poly batting in the elephant attic window quilt

Batting is always a personal choice so the other thing to consider is how you plan to quilt …. hand quilting, domestic machine quilting or longarm quilting all have different requirements. 
I machine quilt with a longarm machine, holding the handles as I guide the machine head over the quilt, so I can “feel” the effort required for the needle to push through the batting.
I have found that the needle passes through the wool & wool/mix battings much easier than through cotton batting.
You can actually feel the vibration, & hear the needle “punching” into a cotton batting, as it stitches. The only time this is not noticeable is when the cotton batting has been pre-soaked/pre-shrunk so that it has been softened, and then the needle action is smoother, but still not as smooth as for a wool batting.
Surprisingly, even though bamboo batting is also made from a plant fibre, it has a softer stitching action with the needle passing through the quilt sandwich almost as easily as the wool & wool mix battings.
A word of warning here though, don’t be tempted to pre-wash bamboo batting, it needs to be stabilised inside the quilt before washing.
So, although I am a machine quilter, and do very little hand quilting,  wool or wool mix batting would be my choice for hand quilting. 

Hand quilting

Cotton batting creates a static relationship with cotton fabric so that it “sticks” to the fabric. This can be useful when quilting on a domestic machine, provided the quilt is flat and has been well basted before hand.  
However the static relationship is not desired when quilting with a longarm machine where the quilt & batting are moving independently of each other. In this situation the static relationship can form tucks & pleats very easily.

Quilting with a longarm machine means that the 3 quilt parts move independently until they are actually quilted together

The other factor to consider is the finished appearance of the quilt.
Do you like a quilt to have a traditional fluffy appearance or a flatter smoother texture?
You will achieve a traditional fluffy result by using a cotton batting that has not been pre-washed, as this will allow the shrinkage resulting in the first wash to puff up around the quilted stitching. 
Wool, wool mix & bamboo battings do not seem to have this same effect so the quilting texture will stay very much as it was when first quilted. 
So you can see,  “best” statements should always be put into context so that you can see how the writer/speaker works, and understand why their choice of batting is best for that person/job.