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.



Aurifil Winter Solstice Give Away

I’ve had an idea to brighten up the shortest day of the year.

The Aurifil prize

One of the Aurifil prizes

As the days get shorter I find it very difficult to get an early start on the day.  I really don’t enjoy getting up in the dark and I need an incentive, something bright and cheerful, to encourage me to get to work on time.

So I thought that I would run a quick competition to
give away four Aurifil thread packs
on Monday morning.

To enter the competition all you have to do is leave a comment below telling us the colour code number and/or name of FOUR of your favourite Aurifil colours.

They can be Cotton Mako’, Lana, Brillo or Aurilux colours.

If you need help making a decision, pop over to our website where you can check out the full colour range for each thread type.

To enter the Competition:

  1. You must use a valid email address when making your comment.
  2. Prizes will only be sent to addresses in Australia & New Zealand.
  3. The competition  will close at midnight Sunday 23rd June, Australian Eastern Standard time
  4. Prizes will be awarded by lucky number draw
  5. the Judge’s decision is final

So Easy!

Join in the fun!

Leave a comment telling us your 4 favourite Aurifil colours for a chance to win one of the threads packs!

Thank you

The competition is now closed

Tuesday Treats: Is Aurifil better than Chocolate?

We will have to ask the winners of the Valentine’s Day lucky draw if a parcel of Aurifil is better than chocolates.

Yummy chocolate hearts from Sisko

Yummy chocolate hearts from Sisko

Congratulations to the following five winners:

  • Lynne
  • Glenda D
  • Jess
  • Jennifer
  • Elspeth

All five have been contacted, and an Aurifil parcel will be winging its way to them as soon as they respond to our email.

The Aurifil prize

The Aurifil prize

Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun, making a comment about your favourite colour. We wish you better luck next time we have a competition on our blog.

Tuesday Treat: Our Valentine to You

Our Happy Valentine to You

We wish to share our favourite Aurifil colours with you


We each picked out a selection of Aurifil threads in our favourite colour …

or our favourite colour of the day because, with 252 colours in the range, who could claim only one colour


Ladybirdee chose her favourite reds……


JudySew4th chose her favourite purples


I couldn’t go past Emerald Turquoise & Teal Blues


KnitsnQuilts couldn’t  limit herself to only one colour  …


Bronwyn is the quiet member of staff, but she joined us on the blog to share her favourite colours of Coral & Peach

So Happy Valentine’s Day to You from Us at Always Quilting

Now we would love you to join in the fun for a chance to win a prize that is even better than chocolate.

 Five lucky people will win an Aurifil thread pack, Valentine Gift, from us!

 To enter the lucky draw for one of the prizes,
simply comment here to share your favourite thread colour with our readers,
and be sure to fill in the comment form with a valid email address
so that we can contact you when you win.
(Email addresses are not disclosed on the blog)

Entries close: Midnight Valentine’s day (Eastern Australian Standard time)

Competition is only open to residents of Australia & New Zealand

Tuesday Treats: The Aurifil Designers Ornament Hop is nearly over!

This week is the last in the Aurifil Designers Ornament Blog Hop that I featured in an earlier Tuesday Treat.

If you have been meaning to download the patterns, and get in on the fun, but somehow haven’t yet done so, now is the time.

So get started collecting patterns and making ornaments.

Here are the 12 ornaments in the blog hop. The FREE patterns are available on each of the designers blogs

You will find the links to the designer’s blogs at Auribuzz

  • Visit one of the designers to download the free pattern
  • Browse on from there to the next designer
  • DON”T forget to leave a comment on EACH of the 12 designers blogs on their ornament day.
  • SIX lucky people who leave a comment on each designer’s blog on their day, will win a box of Aurifil thread

You can also share photos, on flickr, of the ornaments that you make using the patterns.

So check out the photos in the Flickr folder and add your photos as well.

Comments  will close on  all twelve blogs  on Dec 1

Good luck!

Tuesday Treats: Have you seen the Aurifil Designer Blog Hop?

My Tuesday Treat seems to be getting later and later each week!

This week I can blame the late posting on the Public Holiday … where I live, the first Tuesday in November is always a holiday for the Melbourne Cup.

Immediately after Melbourne Cup we all start thinking about, and planning, our Kris Kringle gifts for our groups so the Aurifil Designer’s Blog Hop is perfectly timed.

The first ornament in the Aurifil Blog Hop was designed by Sherri Falls

The 2012 Aurifil Designers have created Christmas ornaments just for you!

Over the next 4 weeks they will each be posting a free ornament pattern on their blog so you will need to visit three blogs each week, to collect the 12 ornament patterns to make the set.

However, you have plenty of time to collect all the free patterns.

The Blog Hop only started this week with the pattern for the ornament above, found on Sherri Fall’s blog:   Little Bits of This & That

The free pattern for the second ornament, below, can be collected from Gail Pan’s blog: Gail Pan Designs

When you visit each blog, not only do you get a free pattern to stitch a pretty Christmas Tree Ornament, if you follow the instructions on the Designer’s blog you can enter to win some great prizes from Aurifil.

Truly a Win / Win situation!

Look for this Blog Hop symbol on the Aurifil Designer’s websites to collect your free patterns

So be sure to visit each blog in the series, to enjoy some Christmas stitching!

Don’t forget, if you need some Cotton Mako’ thread to stitch out these designs, exactly as they were planned by the designers, you will find it in our online store.

Tuesday Treats: Do you enter Quilt challenges?

Quilt Challenges can be a great way to extend your skills and “challenge” your boundaries but, sadly, people often avoid entering because they think that they are “not creative” or that their stitching is not “good enough“.

So, as the sponsor, I was thrilled to see the clever pieces that had been entered in the Victorian Quilter’s Inc 2012 challenge. Congratulations to the winners :

First Prize:  Fran Batrouney
Second Prize: Ramona Resurreccion
Third Prize:  Janet Kidson

Fran won first prize with her entry “The Jungle & Totem Poles”

The challenge was entitled “Loose Threads”,  and the participants were free to interpret the words in any manner they wished, on a quilt that was approximately A3 in size.

Ramona won second prize with her entry, ” Bush Retreat’

The winners each won a box, or bag, of Aurifil threads and, this year, all the other entrants also received a sample pack of Aurifil threads as a thank you gift for having the courage, and taking the time, to enter the Challenge.

Janet won third prize with this piece, titled “Backlit Orbweb”

There wouldn’t be any quilt shows if people didn’t participate, so next time you start to make excuses for not entering a quilt remember that old saying “practice makes perfect”.

It is certainly true when it comes to patchwork competitions, and an easy way to start is to enter one of your local Guild’s  small quilt challenges.

Like the “Loose Threads” challenge, they are often no bigger than an A3 page size, and may even be smaller, so they are a “low risk” way  to get started.

  • They will not use up very much fabric
  • Should not take months to stitch
  • You can experiment with new techniques, or colours.
  • When finished, they don’t take up a lot of storage space.

So next time your Guild, or favourite magazine, promotes a small challenge, be brave and have a go.

Photos of the above winning quilts have been posted with the permission of each owner.