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.

The Poppy

I began sewing my poppy in 2007 after visiting a Quilters Unlimited show in Herndon, Virginia, USA. I purchased the Carol Morrissey pattern at their merchant’s mall and then spent several years deciding on which fabric to use.
The years sped by and the applique took place a petal at a time with other projects started and finished as the poppy was pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ pile.
The poppy has special significance as a flower of remembrance world wide. After the first World War the following resolution was passed:
“The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia and other Returned Soldiers Organisations throughout the British Empire and Allied Countries have passed resolutions at their international conventions to recognise the Poppy of Flanders’ Fields as the international memorial flower to be worn on the anniversary of Armistice Day.”

” Centenary of Gallipoli ” Poppy

The Centenary of The First World War; 1914-1918, is being commemorated with poppies in many ways around the world.
The 5000 Poppies tribute calling for knitted poppies is now pushing 130,000 poppies as of late February this year.
• The quilt historian, Barbara Brackman, has featured a World War 1 Remembrance quilt on her blog; Material Culture during 2014. Where Poppies Grow-Remembering Almo was designed and made by Denniel O’Kell Bohannon and Janice Britz. My friend at Colvin Kiwi Quilts has made her version of Where Poppies Grow to commemorate her Great Grandfather’s involvement in WWI.
The Tower of London marked the centenary with poppies as well. Artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper created 888,246 ceramic poppies that progressively filled the Tower’s famous moat between 17 July and 11 November 2014.
As 2015 approached, in Australia and New Zealand, the ‘Centenary of the Gallipoli Landings’ significance was spoken about more and more, I felt my poppy needed to be finished for ANZAC Day, April 25, 2015.
With the hand applique finished, I decided to machine quilt the whole flower to the yellow background with Aurifil 40 wt and Aurifil 50wt thread.

Poppy pin basted and ready to FMQ

Poppy pin basted and ready to FMQ

With all the beautiful threads to choose from, it is hard to decide!

With all the beautiful threads to choose from, it is hard to decide!

The petals were made using hand dyed fabrics and many Aurifil threads were auditioned to either match the colours or complement the pieces as I quilted the petal’s texture.

Thread for a perfect petal

Thread for a perfect petal

The stamens were quilted with a patterned stitch that came with my sewing machine. A zigzag or blanket stitch would have worked as well.

The Poppy Stamen and Petals

The Poppy Stamen and Petals

The label includes the poem In Flanders Field written by a Canadian Medical Corps doctor, Major John McCrae, who was serving with a Field Artillery Brigade in Ypres.

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields

The Poppy Label

The Poppy Label

If you have created a textile piece to commemorate an anniversary from your history, please share with us so we can all remember.

Sewing holiday

I’ve been away over January.  I wonder if you can guess where  from the photos?
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Is it an English Country Garden?005
I think not – given the time of the year and the season!

Perhaps it is another country with this magnificent gum tree in flower?
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Or maybe it is a tropical island?
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No – none of the above. I attended the New Zealand Quilt Symposium Manawatu held in Palmerston North.146

I had a wonderful time and was able to do a two day classes with Karen Stone from the USA in “Clam Session – the decorative one-patch”.  Just so much fun and so many inspirational ideas to go away with.

Part of Karen’s quilt:

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and the colour combination of fabrics I worked on:

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A long way to go with this quilt!
I also had a workshop for two days with Adrienne Walker of New Zealand called “Wind Fall” making an autumnal wall quilt.

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and my leaf being constructed under machine.  It was a very steep learning curve!
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I loved the week I spent at the Symposium, and next month I’ll ‘bore’ you with more photos from my time away and perhaps some photos of my “works in progress”.

Well done to the amazing Manawatu Symposium committee – all volunteers – who work extremely hard and so ‘professionally’ to make the symposium so successful.

It is January so it must be time for a Fabric Frolic

January in Melbourne means “Fabric Frolic” time from 16th to 25th.

Seven shops in the eastern suburbs collaborate to organise a splendid week of treats, shopping and competitions for the patchwork enthusiast.

This year I was pleased to see that two of the shops on the shop hop map are Aurifil retailers so be sure to stock up on your thread supplies when visiting Patchwork Passion and Palm Beach Quilting.

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Patchwork Passion in Cranbourne has a good supply of Cotton Mako’ 28 for your blanket stitch applique & quilting.

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and Palm Beach Quilting in Carrum Downs stocks an extensive range of Cotton Mako’ 50 for piecing and needle turned applique.

So it is time to get together with some friends and plan a road trip to visit these shops in the next few days.

 

 

 

Quilter on Vacation

I have just returned home to Melbourne after three wonderful warm weeks in Queensland.  While the weather was not always sunny and dry, we always found things to occupy ourselves: a mixture of sight-seeing, exploring new places and revisiting familiar haunts, picnicking (almost every day), and most importantly relaxing!

Whenever I head off on holiday I am always accompanied by my good friends, my collection of handcraft projects, and this time was no exception.  ( The count this time was something like three applique items, one embroidery and four knitting projects).  I know some would be horrified by this, but this is the way I enjoy myself.. and that’s what a holiday is all about.

Stitching begins on the plane.

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Blunt-tipped scissors are great for use when flying.

 

I am sure that members of the public find my activity quite strange… but I don’t care as I’m happily doing what I love.

 

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Stitching by the sea.

In the photo above (taken by the marina at Yorkey’s Knob) I am the little green blob sitting beneath the rock, right in the centre of the shot.  On this occasion I was working on my embroidery.

A local resident provided some entertainment by bogging his ute in the sand in spectacular fashion.

While I stitch, hubby does this.

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Taken in the same spot before the cloud cleared.

No bites on this occasion.  Bites are not always what you want…. this was waiting on the bank, 50 metres from a popular fishing spot on the Mowbray River,  just south of Port Douglas.

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Three metre croc waiting for dinner.

We visited a number of markets on our travels.  I purchased a second-hand quilt book at one of them.

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Second-hand book in as -new condition.

I can’t read Japanese so I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s full of interesting quilts and patterns.

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We drove up the range to the Atherton Tablelands several times. A favourite place to visit is the quaint town of Yungaburra where we walked along the river in the hope of spotting a platypus.  We think we did, but it was such a fleeting flash in the water,  it’s hard to be sure.  We also inspected the new Avenue of Honour, recently established to honour Australian service personnel who have given their lives in Afghanistan. We thought this has been very tastefully done and provides a peaceful place to reflect and be thankful for all that we have in Australia.  It’s worth a visit.

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Avenue of Honour at Yungaburra.

One of my holiday projects was to make clamshells for a quilt border. However I discovered I’d left most of my spare papers behind. GRRR!!  Well one has to be resourceful in such circumstances and so a used cracker packet came in handy (being careful not to enlarge the size as I went!)  Later I discovered a tourist brochure was even more suitable.  The papers in my project tell a story!

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Tracing and cutting more clamshell shapes.

The tools in my sewing box came in handy for more than I’d planned.  In addition to sewing a button on hubby’s trousers and repairing a hole which mysteriously appeared in my cardigan, a pin was required to unblock a fishing sinker. It obviously pays to be prepared!!

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Not your usual sewing project!

Hope springs eternal in the heart of all fishermen and here we are at another fishing spot, this time near Bramston Beach.  You can see my book and knitting on the rock…. so no prizes for guessing what I did here.

 

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Some fish were biting, but they were too small to keep.  Meanwhile, as I enjoyed the view, I too was getting lots of bites… of the sandfly variety. Despite repellent, I was soon covered in bites which stayed with me for many days. Thank goodness for anti-histamines.

 

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The perfect view (not so perfect sandflies).

All too soon our holiday ended, but we returned home relaxed and refreshed (and itchy).

 

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Flying out of Cairns.

Aurifil at Market Trends, Brisbane

Did you have an exciting weekend?

Brisbane

I did!  ……  I went to sunny Brisbane and escaped the cold Melbourne weather for three days.

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I had a vendor stand at the Market Trends wholesale trade show, held at Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane.

It was a great opportunity for people to see the Aurifil threads first hand, and for me to meet, in person, with people who I have only previously meet by telephone & email.

Camille-Jenny

As well as being the place to “put faces to voices on the telephone”,  trade shows are always a great opportunity to meet new friends.

I was particularly excited to meet the special guest, Camille Roskelley,  and to see her beautiful modern take on traditional patchwork blocks.

Camille-Roskelley

Camille also had her books, patterns & Aurifil Collections on display.

Market-trends-hall

This inaugural Market was quite small,  but well attended by retail store owners from Queensland & northern New South Wales.

Camille-Roskelley-talk

As well as having plenty of time to speak to each of the Wholesale vendors,  the visitors had morning training sessions and demonstrations during the day.

They were also treated to an evening talk by Camille, explaining her fabric design inspirations, talking about, and showing, the quilts that she has made for each of her Moda fabric ranges.

Camille-Roskelley-Miniatures

It was fascinating to see her miniature quilts, and to hear how they started because she wanted to keep a smaller version of each of the larger “fabric range” quilts on her wall.

Camille said that she stitches her quilts with Aurifil Cotton Mako’ 50, and she has created patterns for each of her miniature quilts so you can make your own versions.

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Each wholesaler had put a lot of effort into setting up their displays to make the market hall look interesting.

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My  “across the aisle” neighbor even had cupcakes made, and decorated with designs inspired from their Tilda fabric range.

Just too, too tempting.

Suitcases

Then suddenly the weekend was over, my display stand was pulled down, packed into two  suitcases, and I was ready to ride away into the sunset ….. no …. I mean catch a plane back to Melbourne.

Cinderella Transformation at the Australasian Quilt Convention

The beautiful Melbourne Exhibition Building underwent a cinderella transformation yesterday as the quilts went up, the exhibitors stands were decorated and the classrooms were prepared for today.

Melbourne_exhibition_buildingSet up day was misting rain all day so I was pleased that I had loaded the Aurifil parcels into the van the day before, ready for an early delivery run into the city.

loading-car

Even so, by the time I arrived the merchant hall was well on the way to being well dressed.

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Orange fluouro vests were the standard dress for people, but the walls were looking much more appealing.

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I love the way each exhibitor has stamped their own store personality on their display

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Yesterday was a rumble of trolleys, and ripping of boxes, as stock was unpacked and displayed but for the next four days the hall will be a buzz of excited chatter as visitors discover amazing treasures of “must have” items.

I can’t wait to see the transformation.

Make sure you visit the Aurifil retailers to take home some thread treasures for yourself:

Stand 43    Cherry Pie

Stand 45    Elm Grove Patchwork

Stand 21    Fifi’s Fabricology

Stand 181  Millrose Cottage Quilting & Gallery

Stand 44    Miss Sampson’s Drapery

Stand 23    Needles & Pins

Stand 58    Somerset Patchwork & Quilting

Stand 55    The Quilted Crow

Each retailer has chosen the threads that are particular to the fabrics, designs & techniques that they are featuring at the show so you may wish to visit each one to build your collection of Aurifil.

Happy Treasure Hunting!

 

 

How to find Aurifil at the Australasian Quilt Convention

It is less than a week until the Australasian Quilt Convention opens so we have been madly packing threads for the various teachers, using Aurifil in their workshops, and the patchwork stores where it will be sold at the Expo.

Each exhibitor will stock the particular Aurifil thread weight that relates to their patchwork style and patterns, so take note of the retailer’s stand number, and the Aurifil product line, so that you will know where to find the thread weight that you wish to purchase.

The latest thread kit from the factory.... a set of 4 piecing colours in Cotton mako' 50

Cotton Mako’ 50 will be found at:

Stand No: 43      Cherry Pie Designs

Stand No: 23      Needles and Pins

 Aurifil-mako-parcel-blog

Cotton Mako’ 40 will be found at:

Stand No: 45       Elm Grove Patchwork

Stand No: 58       Somerset Patchwork & Quilting

Yummy flower colours for broderie perse

Cotton Mako’ 28 will be found at

Stand No: 21       Fifi’s Fabricology

Stand No: 55      The Quilted Crow

Aurifil Lana wool thread, in two spool sizes

Lana will be found at

Stand No: 181    Millrose Quilting & Gallery

Unfortunately none of the exhibitors will have the Cotton Mako’ 12 for sale this year, however you can always place a special order with us for collection at the Convention.

Cotton Mako' 12 is the thickest thread in the range

Cotton Mako’ 12 is the thickest thread in the range

PS:  Contact us before midday Tuesday 8th if you are wish to pre-order a particular thread weight or colour so that we have time to arrange for a collection point for your order.

 

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

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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

Sunset-at-Ceduna

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.

Quilts of Valour

This year I have been involved in making a number of quilts to donate to various areas of need.  In June,  I wrote about Charity Quilts and  two quilts I made early in 2013. http://www.alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/charity-quilts/

Recently, one of the friendship groups of which I am a member, decided to make a quilt to donate to the Quilts of Valour (Australia) programme. We chose the Carpenter’s Wheel design, with individual blocks measuring 18 inches.  Each member of the group would make a block and we would then join them together.  Each member would use her own fabrics, but choose a warm beige as the main background colour.

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Gathering supplies for my block.

I decided to hand piece my block.  For this task, Aurufil Cotton Mako’ 40 was ideal.

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Using a template to mark sewing lines on each piece.

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My completed Carpenter’s Wheel block.

When my friendship group met this week, several of the blocks were finished.

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Six of the nine required blocks are finished.

The Quilts of Valour Foundation http://www.qovf.org was originally started by in the USA in 2003 by a mother, who, on her son’s return from deployment in Iraq, saw the need to support soldiers effected by war.  In 2012, Victorian resident, Helen, decided to establish an Australian organisation based on this foundation.  At present, Quilts of Valour operates in Victoria and Queensland, but the intention is for this to be a nation-wide activity, with committee representatives in every state.

Quilts of Valour Australia’s mission is to present quilts to wounded service members of the Australian Defence Force in recognition of their sacrifice for Australia whilst deployed on combat operations.  The recognition will also be extended to the families of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Since Australian deployment in Afghanistan in 2002, 260 soldiers have been injured and 40 have lost their lives. To read more about the Australian QOV organisation go to http://www.quiltsofvalour.com.au/
Perhaps you too would like to become involved in this very worthy project.