Aurifil @AQC

The Australasian Quilters’ Convention is just around the corner (16-19th April) held at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building.


This is always an exciting event for quilters: an opportunity to see the latest in quilting trends, be inspired by the work of others, and shop for all things quilty.

Even the venue itself is full of inspiration!

Melbourne Exhibition centre, Calton Gardens

Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Carlton Gardens

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Stencil detail from Royal Exhibition Building….would look good as an applique border!

Here at Aurifil we have been very busy packing up stock for the Aurifil retailers to display on their stalls.

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Packing thread for one of our retailers.

Some of the retailers are taking a range of individual spools in various thread weights, while others are running special projects (such as block of the month) and we have been making up small packs of specially selected threads for these.


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We have also put together some new four packs, including 3 new reproduction basic collections, just perfect to give you a range of “go to” reproduction-coloured threads.


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One of three new “Reproduction Basics” collections.

These little four-packs also make great gifts (for yourself too!)

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New Four Pack: “Purple Passion”

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New four Pack: “Bubbles”.

The retailers who we know will have Aurifil for sale on their stands are:

Other Aurifil retailers present at AQC are:

In addition, some of the talented 2015 AQC tutors including Deidre Bond-Abel, Kathy Doughty, Karen Styles and Lisa Walton use Aurifil thread.

Look out for Aurifil at AQC and be sure to make certain that you have all the Aurifil supplies you need to successfully complete your current and future projects!

Excellent exhibitions

I have recently attended two quilt exhibitions, each one a treat.  The first was “Quilts in the Barn” and the second “Eastern Palliative Care Quilt Show”.  Each is held annually during spring in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and each is a fund-raiser for very worthwhile causes, breast cancer research and Eastern Palliative  Care respectively.  In this post I will share some photos of Quilts In the Barn. (Permission given).

My friend and I arrived right on opening time which meant we avoided a  long queue. Before very long things became very busy, especially so later in the morning when a coach-load of eager ladies arrived!!

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Entrance to Quilts in the Barn.

This magnificent quilt was hanging in the entrance.  It is called “Homage to Sallie Anne” and was designed by Di Ford-Hall.  This version was made by Helen Hayes.  (Should I confess? …I too have a Sallie Anne lurking amongst my UFOs).

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“Homage to Sallie Anne”.

One of the guest tutors/ exhibitors was  Brenda Papadakis of Dear Jane fame. Understandably there were some Dear Jane style quilts.

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“Zutphen” made by Jenny Bear.

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Another Di Ford-Hall design, this one made by Jenny Bear and called “Jane Austen in Texas”.

Here is a close up showing the fussy cut borders and quilting.


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Close up of “Jane Austen in Texas”.

There were quilts made from hexagons. This is Jenny Bear’s Jane’s and Vera’s Garden. Lots of fussy cutting here!

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This is a miniature hexagon quilt, stitched and quilted by hand by Marion Edwards.

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This antique quilt caught my eye.

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These quilts were made by Michelle Yeo.

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The Quilted Crow girls Leonie and Deirdre were there with their shop.

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The Quilted Crow shop.

Shoppers could see (and touch!) some of their latest offerings: their fabric range “Pomegranate Lane”, their wool range, “The Seasons”, and their hand-dyed velvets.  Aurifil Threads (Cotton Mako’ Ne 28 – on the grey spool) are available in two Quilted Crow Girl Collections which coordinate with their favourite colours.  Check out the collections at

They also had copies of their recently released second book.  This is one of the quilts which is featured in it.

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All this viewing and shopping  is thirsty work and the bevy of helpers in the cafe did a great job!

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Such exhibitions involve a great deal of preparation and work by many dedicated people, but provide a wonderful service and inspiration to us all. (Quilts in the Barn raised $16,000 this year). Well done!!

My Waverley Quilt Show

A banner to quicken the pulse

A banner to quicken the pulse

Every two years my local quilt group presents the work of their members. I have been a member for 15 years and I went to my first Waverley Quilt Show just a few months after I moved to the area.

Every Quilt Show visitor received a bookmark

Every Quilt Show visitor received a bookmark

The quilts on display were all beautiful and represented every genre of patchwork from traditional to modern; hand pieced and quilted to machine pieced and machine quilted.
This year I entered my “Big O” Birthday Quilt. My friendship group, World Wide Wanderers, secretly worked on this quilt for a year. They even covertly contacted my husband to find out places of personal significance to me and then represented these places with its floral emblem.

My Big 'O' Birthday Quilt

My Big ‘O’ Birthday Quilt


Appliqué detail

Appliqué detail

I was so pleased to show off this quilt to the community. It represents so much more than a special birthday. It is a treasure from my dearest friends.

More appliqué detail

More appliqué detail

If you would like to see more quilts from our show, including the Viewer’s Choice Award winning quilt, visit Rose Lewis Quilting.

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


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.


Quilts and tutus on show!

Last month I was fortunate to escape Melbourne’s wintery weather and holiday for a fortnight in Queensland.  Fortunate indeed because I was able to visit “Quilts 1700-1945” during my time in Brisbane.  This exhibition of more than 30 quilts, bedhangings and other handcrafted items is from the Victoria and Albert Museum and would, I think, represent one of the most important quilt exhibitions ever to come to Australia.

In addition to this treat, the Rajah Quilt was also on display, something that doesn’t occur very often because of the need to preserve this important historical item.

Signage for the exhibition.

I joined a free guided tour (provided by volunteers) which was a wonderful way to learn lots of interesting details about the quilts’ history and construction as well details of society of the time.  Who knew that it was the norm for women to entertain in their bedrooms in the eighteenth century? I certainly didn’t, but of course it explains why wealthy women used their bed quilts as a showpiece to display their craftsmanship.

Photos cannot be taken in the exhibition (the light would be detrimental to the textiles), so unfortunately I cannot share visually with you some of the wonderful things I saw.

For example…

…the quilt made by an officer in the British Army in 1864 who was recovering from TB.   Thousands of tiny hexagons made from thick uniform material.

…a clamshell  bed curtain made for a four poster by orphans in the workhouse. Over 6400 pieces!!

… the incomplete Changi quilt made by young girl guides for their leader, using scraps and threads taken from the seams of clothing.  It was worked on for a year before being removed by a guard, and that it survives today seems quite miraculous!

Ladybirdee has alerted me to these short videos which are interesting to view.

One of the things that struck me was the colours and designs of the fabric.  The reproduction fabrics so readily available to us today are a true representation of the style fashionable so many years earlier.

Clamshells used in a current project.

Clamshells used in a current project.

This  is one of my current projects, Queen Square by Sue Ambrose.  Four of the blocks use Clamshells, but fortunately for me, only 12 Clamshells are used in each block .   So only 48 to make, not 6400 as in the bedhanging on display in the exhibition..

Here is the finished block.  The colours and design would have fitted well with some of the antique quilts on display.

Reproduction style fabrics.

Reproduction style fabrics.

A display of quilts by Ruth Stoneley (1940-2007) entitled “A Stitch in Time” was also on display in a separate exhibition at the gallery. Ruth was a very inspiring and innovative craftswomen and I shopped at her store when I lived in Brisbane in the 1990s. Some of the items on display reflected the trends of time in which they were made, but some were ahead of their time.

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“A Women’s Work is Never Done” by Ruth Stoneley.

By chance I happened to also come across another interesting exhibition at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex, just over the road from the art gallery.

Ballet costume exhibition.

Ballet costume exhibition.

This was a free display of ballet costumes used by dancers of The Australian Ballet and Queensland Ballet.  Again, I was not allowed to take photos, but it was a very interesting insight into the costumes, the development of the tutu, and showed how a classical tutu is constructed. (A bit different to how my grandmother toiled to make ballet costumes for me!)

And as if I didn’t have enough stimulation I also took in a regional food festival held at Southbank on the same day.  Thanks Brisbane for such an enjoyable day!

Tuesday Treats: More from the Sydney Quilt Show

I did promise to tell you more about the Sydney Quilt Show so here we go ….

Chris Jurd has given me permission to add some photos of her quilt here.

Chris Jurd's quilt design called "Hatchet"

Chris Jurd’s quilt design called “Hatchet”

Chris is a wonderful quilt maker.  She teaches in many of the shops around New South Wales and I noticed quite a few other quilts hanging in the exhibition that had Chris’s class, or name, listed as the makers inspiration. It is well worth a visit to Chris’s blog to see more of her work.

A close up view of one of the blocks in Chris's quilt

A close up view of one of the blocks in Chris’s quilt

She is very fond of using Cotton Mako’ 50 for her piecing and quilting, and this fine thread is ideal for the small piecing, and sharp points, that she has created in this quilt.

The labels added to quilts at exhibitions are always interesting

The labels added to quilts at exhibitions are always interesting

I always like to take a photo of the quilt entry label, as it not only works a reminder for me as to the name of the maker of the quilt but, as can be seen here, it usually contains an interesting “story” about the quilt.

Here is the link to NSW Guild website just in case you haven’t already seen all the winning quilts

PS:  Don’t forget to come back on Friday to find out the results of Our Winter Solstice Competition. The winners have been notified, and their prizes are already in the mail but, before I post the results, I want to collate some stats on colour preferences from all the comments.

Tuesday Treats: April means the Australian Quilt Convention

The Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne is less than three weeks away so we are busy packing threads at Always Quilting.


Most of the other craft fairs in Australia feature a mixture of crafts, knitting, paper crafts etc.

The Quilt Convention, on the other hand, is significant in that it is dedicated to patchwork and quilting and you will find a great variety of exhibitions, full day workshops, information sessions, make & take sessions and lots of vendors that are all fabric & thread related.

So we are hard at work packaging Aurifil threads for some of our wholesale customers who will be vending at the Convention.

Look for our pre-packed sets of Cotton Mako

Look for our pre-packed sets of Cotton Mako

Look for  Aurifil threads at the following vendor stands:

Marg Low is famous for her love of red & white designs.

Marg Low is famous for her love of red & white designs.

  • You will find more Cotton Mako’ 50 at Elm Grove Patchwork, a new store in country Victoria and a new vendor at the quilt convention.
These Cotton Mako' 28 packs are full of rich colours to match the fabrics from the Quited Crow

These Cotton Mako’ 28 packs are full of rich colours to match the fabrics from the Quilted Crow

I hope you will make a point of visiting our Aurifil retailers at the Quilt Convention.

Watch this space as I add more information about our stockists over the coming weeks.

Tuesday Treats: Dear Jane

Do you love working with small blocks with lots of parts?  or

Are you horrified by the thought of 4″ blocks made up of 42 pieces? or

Are you simply fascinated by the thought of making a quilt with 160 or more small blocks but are not going to be tempted?

Either way, the Dear Jane Quilt Exhibition is the place to be this weekend.

The Dear Jane Quilt Exhibition is being held at the Box Hill Town Hall, Whitehorse Road, Box Hill (Melbourne)

The Dear Jane Quilt Exhibition is being held at the Box Hill Town Hall, Whitehorse Road, Box Hill (Melbourne)

The Exhibition will be open from Friday 8 to Sunday 10th, from 10am to 4 pm each day.

There will be at least 58 Dear Jane quilts on display, mostly from the Melbourne area but some have been entered from regional Victoria and from interstate, so the exhibition should be quite varied.

In addition to the Dear Jane quilts, the Australian Quilters Association will  also exhibit 15 to 20 Reproduction  Quilts, made by  members, as the background setting for a collection of antique garments (dresses,night attire,lace etc) and period items.

There will also be a Market Hall, in conjunction with the exhibition, where you will find books, threads and vintage fabrics.

Our Cotton Mako’ 50 is the perfect “go to” thread for making small blocks and miniature piecing,  so we have arranged for Aurifil threads to be represented in the Market Hall.

Look for our pre-packed sets of Cotton Mako

Look for single spools or treat yourself to one of our pre-packed sets of Cotton Mako

We will have a good selection of Cotton Mako’ colours available for purchase from the Needles & Pins stand.

Entry to the exhibition will be $7 per head, and morning and afternoon tea will be available for purchase.

For more information about the exhibition.

The Universal Welcome of Quilt Shows

I have been quilting for 28 years and I have visited dozens of quilt shows.

When touring the USA recently, I visited a community quilt show in Sonora, California that was held at the fairgrounds.

 The moment I entered the grounds I was greeted with the friendly smiles and familiar signs leading to the raffle tickets, refreshment area, shops and the members market full of handmade items for sale.

Sonora, California Quilt Show

I could have been at any quilt show anywhere in the world.  The universal kindness and generous spirit is something all quilters share.

The only difference, that became evident as I looked at the quilts, was the overall fabric colour used. In general, the colours reflected the environment around the quilter. The colours in that part of California were different to the colours one would see in many quilts here in Australia(THAT intense red earth).

Australian Colours in Lee Taylor’s Bargello                            

Gay Losher’s California Colours

Barb Young’s SNOW DAYS in Wisconsin USA
                                                    A Crazy Quilt made by Scott Mattson’s grandmother in the 1950’s-USA

Sometimes the quilt style was familiar but the actual subject matter was quite personal and unique to the location.

Detail from Everyday Life on the Reservation
Detail from Everyday Life on the Reservation

The friendships were evident in several group quilts and I particularly liked this quilt celebrating an 80th birthday.

Joice Swadell’s 80th Birthday Present from To Bee or Not To Bee members
Detail of Home is Where Your Friends Are

On my return, I attended a local quilt show near Tyabb in southeast Victoria. The similarities in the quilts and in the generous welcome were striking.

Linda Burns uses the One Block Wonder Pattern-USA


                                Ann Mill’s Kaleidescopes and Cubes from the Quilt Show Tyabb-AU

This Victorian show had a special activity in the refreshment area to keep visitors entertained while they enjoyed their coffee and light lunch.

Can You Name These Townships?

When home or away, visit a quilt show near you!

A feast for the senses!

Each year in October, Linda Collins hosts “Quilts in the Barn”  ( at her lovely property in Wonga Park, on the north-eastern edge of Melbourne.  I have been going to these quilting exhibitions for a number of years and am always impressed and delighted.

Linda and her group of helpers work extremely hard to run an event which is very well organised.  From the time you drive along her road, marked by signs and colour  balloons, to parking your vehicle as directed by friendly husbands/sons and other men pressed into service, and to the yummy food served so efficiently, you feel that attention has been paid to every possible detail.

Entry to “Quilts in the Barn”.

Each year has a particular theme, this year’s being  “Infinite Variety Revisited – an Exhibition of Red and White Quilts” and the variety of styles and fabrics was certainly extensive.  Whether or not you are particularly drawn to red and white quilts,  the display was stunning.

A pattern is available for this eye-catching quilt.

I was particularly drawn to this quilt because of the fine applique and the hand-quilting.

Hand applique and hand quilting.

Close up showing hand quilting.

More lovely applique.

It is interesting to see how quilters find inspiration from various fabrics.

This quilt was designed around the pattern on the fabric.

The quilt displays are always arranged very artistically.  Some of the props are as much admired as the quilts!

This miniature furniture was coveted by many visitors.

And speaking of miniatures… there were many small quilts on display too.

Lots of little quilts too.

I loved this miniature hexagon quilt with fussy-cut centres.

Don’t forget to look up too.

To satisfy our urge to stash-build, there is also a visiting shop.  This year, as in 2011, the “Quilted Crow” came over from Hobart. 

Deidre and Leonie from the Quilted Crow serve eager customers.

The Quilted Crow specialises in applique designs featuring felted wool, although you can also create the designs using cotton fabrics if that is your preference.  Of course if you are using wool, Aurifil Lana (50% Australian wool and 50% polyester) makes a good choice for sewing thread.  It is available in 192 colours, including some variegated shades, and is suitable for hand and machine work.  To check out all the details and see some examples of Lana in use, check out the Always Quilting website (Click on Thread on the left hand side, then Lana).

Another  draw card to Quilts in the Barn this year was the inclusion of a number of antique quilts from the collection of Mary Koval from Pennsylvania, some of which were for sale alongside some fabrics. Mary designs for Windham fabrics.

More beautiful quilts.

The only disappointing feature of Quilts in the Barn was that I did not get a phone call to say I had won one of the raffle prizes.  All money raised from the exhibition, refreshments and raffles goes to support breast cancer research.  It’s such a worthy cause even without the incentive of a beautiful prize.  Never mind, better luck next year.  I’m looking forward to it already!!