The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sew Along Epidemic!

I admit it! I get very excited about patchwork and quilting. Sometimes I even finish some of the projects I begin with this unbridled enthusiasm.

My current passion is THE FARMER’S WIFE 1930’s SEW-ALONG. There is a ‘one stop page’ for all the information curated by GNOME ANGEL. (

My book arrived last week and I am busily preparing my patterns and choosing my fabrics for the September 28th start date.

The Farmer's Wife 1930s Book and Fabrics

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Book and Fabrics

I know I have promised some unique results from the 200g of scrap swap….

Scraps Become a 'new' fabric

Scraps Become a ‘new’ fabric

Half Square Triangles created with these great papers

Half Square Triangles created with these great papers from Quilters Barn

…and I will finish that project…
BUT, this is a SEW-ALONG and I have never done a SEW-ALONG like this before. The group has its own Facebook page and there are already over 2500 members. Can you picture the diversity and cleverness of all these Patchworkers sewing along? It quickens the pulse.
My bobbins are full and my needles are new.

Fabrics, Bobbin and Needles

Fabrics, Bobbin and Needles

Come on and join the world wide project that has developed a life of its own! You know you want to…think of it as using up lots of fabric you already have to make room for new fabric that hasn’t even been designed yet…..ooooo aaahhhhh.

Playing with Fabric and Making New Friends

I learn something new everyday. Sometimes the ‘new’ thing has been around forever…but, it is still new to me. For example, QUILT CLUB AUSTRALIA. This is a closed group (you have to ask to join) on Facebook.
This group has over four and a half thousands members. They describe themselves as “a bunch of seasoned and newbie quilters, from all over Australia……”. They do all sorts of exciting things.
Several of their activities involve swapping fabrics and/or finished items.
Charm squares can be swapped or a particular designer’s fabric line.

Charm Square Swaps

Charm Square Swaps

Swap Fabrics from your favourite designers

Swap Fabrics from your favourite designers

They share tips and links to a variety of quilt related information. They have been around for a while but I HAVE JUST DISCOVERED THEM!
I came upon this group because I have recently been involved in a swap with the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild. Participants weighed 200grams of their finest scraps; placed them into a small postal bag with a self-addressed small postal bag, and sent them to the nominated distributor.

Parcels in the post full of goodies

Everyone who participated received a parcel. You would have thought I was waiting for a winning lottery ticket the way I ran to the post-box every day.
Note: if my family had seen my excitement over 200g of fabric scrap they would have wondered why I needed a room for the rest of my fabric collection!

200 grams of treasures

200 grams of treasures

I will be sharing the project(s) using my 200g of treasure in the near future.

Creating a 'NEW' fabric with my scraps

Creating a ‘NEW’ fabric with my scraps

In the meantime, have a look at what is ‘new’ in the quilting world. You may find yourself re-energised by QALs (quilt alongs), SALs (sew alongs) or swaps.

My Aurifil Dog

I attended the New Zealand Symposium in Manawatu earlier this year and was privileged to take a class with Melissa Burdon. Melissa transforms photographs into works of art.
I chose a photograph of my beloved Jack Russel, Dougal. He is 13 years old and has become MY dog even though he was a pet for my sons when they were young.

Meet My Dog, DOUGAL

Meet My Dog, DOUGAL

Using the computer program GIMP, the photograph is altered removing colour and leaving a gray scale image. This technique allows a tracing to be made of the subject separating areas by their shading.

My photo after GIMP

My photo after GIMP

For this class, our photos were shaded into 6 levels. Each of these shades translated into a shade of our chosen colour. I chose purple.

The process begins

The process begins

The picture is slowly built up a piece at a time until it is ready to place onto a background. Finding just the right background took some time until I found a print of his favourite thing…TENNIS BALLS.

The background

The background

Once the background was complete and Dougal was fused in place, it was time to quilt.

Aurifil Matches perfectly

Aurifil Matches perfectly

Using Aurifil Cotton Mako 40wt and 50wt threads the ‘fur’ began to ‘grow’.

The 'fur' grows

The ‘fur’ grows

Quilting the Toes

Quilting the Toes

Quilting the Collar

Quilting the Collar

All of the quilting was done with FMQ. Each tennis ball was carefully outlined so they would ’bounce’.

SIT....Good Dog!

SIT….Good Dog!

If you have a photo of someone or something special, have a go with GIMP and create your own fabric photo.

Tuesday Treat: Creative E-book from Lisa Walton

Even if, like me, you don’t think of yourself as an “Art Quilter” you will find some wonderful inspiring ideas in this new e-book by Lisa Walton, released earlier this month.


The book description says:

This book guides you through the ways in which you can turn beautiful patterns and textures into stunning textiles.

The first in a series of books titled ‘Creative Journeys’, Lisa Walton imparts expert guidance, tips and techniques coupled with over 140 illustrations to help inspire and encourage you to turn your ideas into creative textiles.

With a focus on fabric painting, stamping, decorative rubbings, metallic foils, simple screen printing, stencilling, creative stitchwork, textural quilting, Lisa shows how these can be used to create stunning textile art.

You can preview, and purchase, the book:   Creative Journeys: Fun & Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques

It is Lisa’s second book, and is only available in the digital book format.

Visit Lisa’s blog to find out how this book came to be, and follow the story as the next book in the Creative Journeys series is developed.

PS:  Her first book, “Beautiful Building Block Quilts”,  is available in both print and digital format and shows you how to start with an easy quilt block like Four Patch or Flying Geese, stitch it up in several different sizes, then build your blocks into striking improvised quilts.

They make a great set to get you started on your free wheeling creative journey.


If you have been doing creative things with Aurifil send us some information so that we can feature your work in a Tuesday Treat or Wednesday Wonder


Another Day; Another Scrap Quilt

Last week I shared my Square in a Square scrap quilt and discussed my choice of quilting thread.

Today I will discuss my choice of piecing thread on a scrap quilt. I have been working on an ‘Easy Big Block’ Pineapple quilt, designed by Cindi Edgerton for McCall’s, using only white and red fabrics.

When I say ‘red fabric’, I really mean anything remotely looking red in my stash.

Blocks with fabrics that 'read' red

Blocks with fabrics that ‘read’ red

And then, of course, when I say ‘white fabric’, it could be beige, tan or snow white.

White Fabrics...compared to the red fabric

White Fabrics…compared to the red fabric

This type of quilt construction lends itself to a production line approach sewing strips of fabric to the paper foundation, following the numbers in order.

Tissue Paper Foundations from Cindi Edgerton

Tissue Paper Foundations from Cindi Edgerton

I don’t want to worry about my thread colour choice becoming an issue with each new fabric addition.

Here are the threads I considered on several pieced blocks.

Auditioning Aurifil thread  colours

Auditioning Aurifil thread colours

I decided on the Aurifil Mako 40wt Colour 2900. It is ‘neutral’ enough to blend with my ‘white’ fabrics and ‘brown’ enough to blend with my ‘reds’.

Decision Made!

Decision Made!

I can wind several bobbins and sit and sew without changing my thread colour every time the fabric colour changes.

It is helpful to have a range of basic piecing colours so you can choose the right one for your current scrap piecing.

Several Panels are ready to stitch together

Several Panels are ready to stitch together

The ‘basic’ , or MUST HAVE Aurifil thread colours are different for each of us. What are yours? Personally I want them all!

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!!

Red, White and Blue


Many colours in our lives have special significance. Some colours reflect age old traditions and some reflect new and exciting trends.

I am the proud owner of a red, white and blue quilt. When I moved away from the Midwest in America, my quilting friends made this delightful quilt. It came with plenty of room for signatures and thoughtful phrases.


Red, White and Blue Goodbye Quilt

Red, White and Blue Goodbye Quilt

Happy messages from dear friends

Happy messages from dear friends


Wonderful edge to edge quilting adds texture

Wonderful edge to edge quilting adds texture

Today when I consider making a quilt with red, white and blue fabrics, Aurifil’s variegated threads spring immediately to mind as they give me several choices.

I can use these traditional fabric colours with Aurifil Mako Cotton Colour #3852

Traditional fabrics and thread for patriotic blocks

Traditional fabrics and thread for patriotic blocks

For a more modern look, I match the colours in the Mako Cotton Colour #4647.

Modern Fabric Choices and matching thread

Modern Fabric Choices and matching thread

The next time you want to remember a place or an event with a quilt, try matching your Aurifil thread colour to a Holiday themed quilt or a country’s flag. I’m off right now to gather my red, white and blue fabrics for an Independence Day or maybe a Bastille Day quilt …..

Reproduction Introduction

This week I had the pleasure of completing a quilt. Yay!! The majority of my projects are hand-sewn, so to reach the finishing line always feels good – to me, it’s a significant accomplishment!

My quilt is called “Reproduction Introduction” because it is the first quilt I’ve made (i.e. finished) using reproduction/reproduction style fabrics. Yes, it’s taken me a while to “catch on” to the pleasure derived from working with these fabrics.

I started with a piece of blue background and some contrasting “strawberry” fabrics.

May 2014 031

The best greens  were these poison greens.

May 2014 047

Marking the design and being able to see it on the background fabric was a considerable challenge, and eventually I made a design transfer overlay which worked very well and which I discussed  in a previous blog.

I had fun, needle-turning to my heart’s content…..

May 2014 042

May 2014 040

…and engaged in some fussy cutting.

May 2014 039

May 2014 041


I even made a label featuring the centre design and its fussy cutting.


May 2014 038

And finally, the quilt was finished…May 2014 003


… and on the bed.


May 2014 043

And in case you are wondering, this lovely design is “Louisa” by Cherry Pie Designs.  I made a couple of small adjustments to the original.

For the needleturn applique I used Aurifil Cotton Mako 50 weight, and to machine the components together and complete the binding, Aurifil Cotton Mako 40 weight was my thread of choice.

My “Reproduction Introduction” is just that because already I have other reproduction quilts in progress or waiting in the wings.  You might say I’ve caught the bug!




Round Robin Round Two

In 2014 the staff members at Always Quilting are challenging themselves by producing  Round Robin quilts. For some, (yours truly), this is very challenging and completely outside my comfort zone!

The parameters were set in January and include the size and symmetry of each block/border, the colours to be used, and the fact that all fabrics must be solid colours.  For full details see:

After some weeks of secretive activity and cryptic comments, we have now completed the centre block and first border.



Jenny’s centre block.

I received Jenny’s centre block made from yellow/green fabrics,  to which I had to add a border using colours from the blue section of the colour wheel.

car and blog 003

My task was to add an assymmetrical border to Jenny’s centre block, which is very geometrical and has straight lines and sharp corners.  I decided to add some curves  and designed my border to incorporate small ovals.

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In the photo above you can see how I used a piece of string to draft the curves.  I “fiddled” with this to obtain a design with which I was satisfied and drew this on the paper pattern, which in turn I transferred to the fabric.

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This photo shows the construction of the narrow bias.  In a previous post I explain how I do this using Deborah Kemball’s method which does not use bias bars.

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The completed bias curves.


Now I was ready to add the oval “beads” to the curves.  Initially I thought I would be able to make my oval templates by folding and cutting paper to draft the ovals, but after producing some shapes unrecognisable as ovals (!!), I realised that I needed some help.  I purchased a set of Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Ovals which were indeed perfect for the task. (Always Quilting stocks “Perfect Circles”, “Bigger Perfect Circles” and “Perfect Ovals” )

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Tacking the fabric over the oval templates.

The finished border looks like this.


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This has now been passed on to ladybirdee for her contribution.  I wonder what she will add?

All will be revealed at our staff meeting in June so keep watching for further updates.

Globe Trotting with Passionate Pat

Pat Sloan has a passion for all things patchwork and Aurifil thread. She has a radio show, patterns and books, her own line of fabric and her favourite Aurifil Thread boxed collection.  Her passion for quilty things is contagious! This year, Pat has offered her blog readers a Mystery BOM (block of the month). It is called, Globetrotting and she is making the quilt in 2 colour ways.

The first block ‘visits’ Washington, DC and since I grew up in this part of the world, I HAD to join in the fun.

Fabrics from my stash and Aurifil thread

Fabrics from my stash and Aurifil thread

I want to use only fabric from my stash for this project. The colours I have chosen can be added to easily as the quilt progresses. The neutral linen dot looks good with brown, aqua and purple. There is also a touch of grey and black in the centre print.

Block 1 Washington, D.C.

Block 1
Washington, D.C.

The second city we have ‘visited’ is Venice in Italy. Like Pat Sloan, I have never visited Venice but it is on my bucket list.

Block 2 Venice

Block 2

I look forward to my next destination during the first week of March. I have my passport (fabric stash) all ready.

What ignites your passion for a new project? We would love to know.