Wednesday Wonder: Thread Painting

How time flies!  This time last month I was frantically packing threads into the van to drive to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in Adelaide.

Ten hours, and 800 km,  later it was time to set up the vendor stand in association with Hettie’s Patch, one of the Aurifil retail outlets in Adelaide.


It is the third time Lorraine, the owner of Hettie’s Patch, & I have collaborated to take Aurifil threads to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival and it is always a fun weekend helping people choose threads for their classes.


This year, the highlight class was a two day workshop learning to thread paint with Pam Holland and, at the Hettie’s Patch stand, we took great pleasure in helping students colour match the Cotton Mako’ 50 threads to their images in order to reproduce them in stitches.

It was great to see the projects developing over the two days and I was sorry to miss seeing them all at completion but Jill W did bring her finished stitching back to show us how well the threads worked on the photo of her pet.


And a close up view of Jill’s dog to show the realistic light & dark, 3D effect, that she achieved with the stitching, I keep expecting him to bark.


AMQF was a wonderful experience as, as the wholesaler/distributor of Aurifil in Australia, I don’t always have an opportunity to be so closely involved in helping textile artists match their thread choices to a particular project.

If you missed the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in 2014 be sure to watch for the next event in 2016.

As to our next venture into collaborative marketing with a local Aurifil retailer, we are just waiting for the invitation. So come on retailers contact us.


Wednesday Wonder: Thread Colours for Hand Quilting

Last week we helped a customer choose threads for hand quilting, something that we often do but we don’t always get to see the results.

Well this week Judy L sent me a photo of the quilt ….. just look at her beautiful feather and cross hatch quilting.


I loved this feedback, especially as Judy wanted a thread colour that would add a little contrast to the beige background fabric, so it was interesting to see how the colour selection had worked


We played with several colours from the Cotton Mako’ 28 range.

In fact we spent quite some time agonising over the colours … some looked too dark while others looked too light.

Judy L finally decided upon a deep greenish brown for the feathers and warm brown for the cross hatching.


In her email, Judy commented:

Just thought I would show you this,  the different colours don’t really show

This reminded me of the times that I have helped a customer choose the thread colour when machine quilting.

We have ALL the Aurifil colours at our finger tips, and many spools are open, so we can spread a length of thread across the quilt to preview the effect.

Doing this has made me realise that you don’t have to have the “perfect” colour. More often than not any one of 4 or 5 colours would work, and look good.

As Judy has found with this quilt, as long as the colour she chose was deeper & richer than the fabric colour, and the contrast was pleasing to the eye, it would achieve her desired effect and her hand quilting was always going to be a beautiful feature on the quilt.


Wednesday Wonder: Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder

I enjoyed reading a recent response to “A Quirky Question” on the Martingale blog.

The question was: “Have you ever made an ugly quilt?” and the winner’s response was an eye opener.

She finished her response with:  ” ….. Ugly can serve a purpose because I won’t stress over damaging an ugly quilt. Twenty years later, it is still holding strong!”

This jogged my memory of a challenge that I entered when I first started patchwork.

Way back then (1991),  living  in a remote community without access to any patchwork, or even fabric, shops it was a challenge to source fabric, so our small patchwork group decided to share our stash in an unusual way.

We had an “ugly fabric” challenge.

We each had to contribute a piece of fabric that we didn’t particular like … a piece that we considered to be ugly!

Everyone’s fabric went into a basket and we then had to choose a fabric that we liked, and make up a block for a shared quilt.

It was amazing … everyone found at least one piece of fabric that they liked, and the finished quilt looked quite good.

Beauty (& ugly) really was in the eye of the beholder.

In fact the quilt looked good enough to raise over $300 for charity when it was raffled for a $1.00 per ticket.

Sadly, the photo has faded so I can’t share that quilt with you, but making it did give me a fascination for quilt challenges.

The next quilt challenge that I joined was with the neighbouring patchwork group (260km away).

We each purchased one metre of bright, wildly striped, fabric with an instruction to feature the fabric in a quilt design of our own choice.


I cut the fabric into 4 1/2″  stripes, and then fussy cut triangles, using a technique that had been described by Jan Urqhart in the Down Under Quilts magazine.


This method of cutting a striped fabric created 12 triangles, enough to piece the centre and points  of  one six pointed star from each stripe.


I took the instruction to feature the fabric in the quilt to heart, and used every centimetre  of fabric in the quilt.

Sadly, I don’t get that many challenge quilts finished these days but I am trying to keep up with our office Round Robin Challenge.

We would love to hear about your Challenge Quilts, so write a comment, and share the story.


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.




Wednesday Wonder: Windflower Embroidery with Aurifil Lana

I love seeing projects that people have made using Aurifil threads, so it was a treat to have Janet Kerton call into the showroom today.

Janet is the owner of Windflower Embroidery, where she specialises in creating & teaching embroidery, particularly wool embroidery and applique.


This delightful folding book design can be used as an embroidery compendium, or as jewellery storage folder, and it is one of Janet’s current teaching projects.

The felted wool applique has been embroidered with Aurifil Lana, a wool blend thread that is ideal for hand embroidery, applique and embellishment.

A selection of the 180 colours available in the Aurifil Lana range

A selection of the 192 colours available in the Aurifil Lana range

With the wonderful colour range in the Lana wool blend there is plenty of choice for creating  beautiful projects.

Spools of Aurifil Lana, wool blend thread

Visit our online store to see the range in greater detail, or to purchase your own set of threads.

Wednesday Wonder: It is a wide brown land in which we live

Happy New Year to all, wishing you a wonderful crafty 2014.

I think this gum blossom could be a great template for a thread painting exercise

I think this gum blossom could be a great template for a thread painting exercise

After three weeks spent driving from one side of the country to the other, and then back again, I am trying to get my thoughts back into work mode this week without much success.

a view of the Great Australian bite from the edge of the nullabour

A view of the Great Australian bite from the edge of the nullarbor

I’ve driven across the Nullarbor many times  but I always forget how far it is between towns, and localities, and just how far it is in kilometres from one side of the country to the other.  

Flat country as far as the eye can see

Flat country as far as the eye can see

(We drove 7,800+ kilometres from door to door, & back, leaving home on 19 December & arriving back on 12 January)

How do these trees survive on the edge of a salt lake?

How do these trees survive on the edge of a salt lake?

So I thought that the post today should be about the amazing country through which we traveled.

This sandstone sculpture in Wudinna commemorates  the contributions of Australian Farmer

This beautifully carved sandstone sculpture in Wudinna commemorates the contributions of farmer to the Australian economy

It was worth all the driving as we had a great visit with family  for Christmas, and then met up with more family at a nephew’s wedding.

We bush camped in amongst this breakaway country

We bush camped one night in among this breakaway country

In the process we were able to test the livability of a great little camper trailer along the way.

Here we are bush camping on the edge of a salt lake,

Here we are bush camping on the edge of a salt lake,

I’ve hardly picked up a needle and thread since mid December (I tell a lie … I had to repair a lost button while we were travelling … but that doesn’t really count as stitching does it?) but I think that I have collected some great photos for landscape appliques and thread painting!

The fields of wheat at the foot of the Stirling ranges remind you of how tough life must have been for the soldier settler farmers

The fields of wheat at the foot of the Stirling ranges remind you of how tough life must have been for the soldier settler farmers

But not everything was dry and brown


the birds are beautiful

The honeyeaters made the most of the water bath in this garden

The honeyeaters made the most of the water bath in this garden

and the kangaroos treated one of the caravan parks where we stayed as home.

It was 6am and the Kangaroos had already had breakfast and were getting ready for a lazy day in the shade.

It was 6am and the Kangaroos had already had breakfast and were getting ready for a lazy day in the shade.

The ocean views were stunning

The coastal views around Esperance are stunning

The water around Esperance is a vivid blue

as were the sunsets


It makes me realise that I really should take more time away from the city to enjoy a quiet time without the telephone, computer or TV.

Not all the country is dry and brown.

Not all the country is dry and brown. The Wimmera River was a welcome sight at Dimboola

Well our next post will be back to work with some great ideas for using fabric & threads  so do subscribe or call back to this page regularly.

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.

Wednesday Wonder: Feathered Rose hand quilting

I love to see photos of the work that people have completed with Aurifil thread so I was delighted to receive these photos  from Judy.

Judy leckie's Feathered Rose quilting underway

Judy Leckie’s Feathered Rose quilting underway

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Judy came into the shop to pick out the Cotton Mako’ 28 threads for this quilting, and now it is finished.

The finished quilt

The finished quilt

We had fun picking the two colours, one just a little deeper than the other, to quilt the feathers.

Try choosing a shade up & down of the one colour to add depth & variety to hand quilting

Try choosing a shade up & down of the one colour to add depth & variety to hand quilting

Judy wanted to create some extra depth and interest by playing with colour on the feathers, and doesn’t the use of the soft shading of one colour do just that.


This close up show the great use of colour in the quilting

Thank you, Judy,  for sharing your beautiful hand quilting with us.

You can see more of Judy’s award winning work here.

We would love to share more stories like this so send us some photos, and a background story, if you have a project made with Aurifil threads that you would like to see featured in a Wednesday Wonder post.

See Songbirds a previous Wednesday Wonder

Wednesday Wonder: Song Birds sing with Aurifil

Yesterday, I went out for the day with my patchwork friendship group so I ran out of time to prepare a ‘Tuesday Treat” this week, but all is not lost as it has given me an opportunity to share a “Wednesday Wonder” with you.

This delightful design, by Anita Goodesign has been stitched with Aurilux

This delightful design, by Anita Goodesign has been stitched with Aurilux

The photo was sent to me by one of our customers, a machine embroiderer, who took advantage of our Aurilux sale earlier in the year. She has asked not to be named, but said this in the email that accompanied the photo:

Here is my finished Aurilux project. The designs are from the Anita Goodesign collection called song birds, I am very happy with it , the threads are wonderful.

Ps you are welcome to post the photo but please don’t use my name

When we were discussing her order, she sent the photo below to show part of the project:

A close up of one of the birds in the design.

A close up of one of the birds in the design.

When she sent this photo she said:

……. I really like the  Aurilux threads and have been contemplating buying the full set for a while now  as my few colours are a bit limiting I also noticed your wonderful new cotton mako chest they look very smart  wish there was one for the Aurilux. Here is my latest project using Aurilux, it has so much more texture than if done on other threads.

It is a real treat for us to see the work that people stitch with the Aurifil threads.

If you would like to see your project featured in a future “Wednesday Wonder” send us an email with a good quality photo, and some information about the project and threads used.

We would love to hear from you.