Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fashionably late - and a new Quilt Show fashion?

I'd just about abandoned the idea of writing a wrap-up post on the Sydney Quilt and Craft Show when this arrived in my Inbox. 

Well (I thought to myself) if it's not too late for a sophisticated soul like Molli Sparkle to do a post on  how he made and used his cute mini quilt / sash at the show, then who am I, a card-carrying member of the glitterati, to beat myself up over being just a tad late to the party?

I've been itching to cut into my FQ bundle of Emma Jean Jansen's Terra Australis, but I'm waiting till Terra Australis 2 is released shortly and I can add some of her extra colours to my fabric palette. 

For now, however, I gave that itch a little scratch by snipping off some teensy weensy pieces of said Terra Australis to foundation paper piece a name tag with my Instagram handle so any of the Sydney quilters I 'play' with on Instagram but haven't met in real life might identify me and say 'hi'.

The 'wing span' of each of those flying geese is approximately 1/4 inch, so I can safely say I still have oodles of my special fabric left.

My name tag worked! Apart from catching up with old friends like Jen, Sel, Michelle, Lissa Jane, Heather, Lisa, a couple of Sues (and more), the lovely Louisa and Lorena recognized me too, as did the delightful Molli, seen here helping our group of three Di's and a Sue take a #selfiewithsparkle

Sue Miller, of Fabric Garden, the 'fabric enabler' from whom I bought my Terra Australis bundle, had plenty to tempt us, and Di B, Sue M and I happily scrambled to sign up for her 6 month Mini Quilt Club using patterns by Julie Herman (Jaybird quilts). We also came home with Jaybird Quilts' Hex 'n' More rulers in both the full size and the mini. Sue's stall was an absolute delight!

A few new fat quarters from here and there might ... (ahem) ... have come home with me too.

Helen Godden had me dreaming of owning a Sweet Sixteen quilter after her fabulous demonstration, but unless I win the lottery that won't be happening any time soon.

And with next year's St Luke's fundraising stall already on my mind I bought patterns from Cameron - James Designs to make the adorable Digby the Dog and Stripes the Cat. It was so hard to choose from this wall of cuties!

I didn't receive permission from Paddington Patchworker Isabella Klompe to share her quilt until after I had done my previous post on Quilt Show favourites, so here it is now, a pretty fantasy in black and white.

And did I mention fashion? Here's the selvedge skirt I made to wear on the first day.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then my friend Linda, who inspired me, can take a big, deep bow. 

Her Name Dropper skirt, which she made to wear to the AQS Quilt Show at Paducah earlier this year, was A line, but I felt a straight, pencil skirt might look better on me.

Before I started I sorted my obscenely large collection of selvedges into colour piles. I'd decided on a rainbow colour scheme, with the full spectrum running across both the front and the back.


In a similar fàshion to Linda I sewed selvages together, end to end, to get strips of each colour long enough to reach from waistline to hem. When I use selvedges I like to leave at least half an inch of coloured fabric attached.

From my commercial straight skirt pattern I cut 3 base pieces from some neutral yardage that had been in my cupboard for ages. Since it was going to be covered up the pattern wasn't important as long as it was pale enough not to show through.

I started from the side edges, working in, covering the base fabric with selvages. To help keep my strips relatively straight up and down I pressed a seam down the centre of the front piece, and used my tape measure to measure and pin one selvedge at a time all the way down before machining.

For the two back skirt pieces I used the centre back edge as a guide to keep my selvedges straight, until the base pieces were completely covered with selvedges.

I sewed as close as possible to the neat edge of the selvedge, being careful to cover and catch the raw edge of the previously sewn selvedge underneath.

Once all three skirt pieces were covered I turned them to the reverse side and trimmed off the excess selvedges to make them the exact size and shape of the pattern pieces. Then I sewed darts, inserted the back zip and finished the skirt following the pattern instructions, with just one variation - I left the waist of the skirt without a band attached, and simply trimmed off the hem edge to a suitable length. Then I bound both the waistline and the bottom edge of the skirt using a nice black Japanese fabric whose origin escapes me right now.

In keeping with the selvedge theme, when Di B and I went back the next day I wore the selvedge Stable Bag that I made last year. Selvedge overload? Quite possibly!

Let me leave you with one final colourful pic from the quilt show, the brilliant sunset we enjoyed as we waited at Glebe Island, footsore and happily weary, for the ferry to take us home.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Inspiration is everywhere

Every St Mark's Quilter is different, but whether she's someone who picks her fabrics without hesitation, already knowing what she wants to do, or whether she spends half the day auditioning fabrics, matching, comparing and rejecting, the quilts that are created in our monthly Saturday workshops always have loads of child appeal.

Inspiration is everywhere, as any keen quilter who's ever stopped in his or her tracks to take an iPhone photo of a shopping centre floor knows!

So, just for fun, last Saturday while everyone was busy creating I took my Big Red camera out into our peaceful church garden away from the whirring machines, and photographed some of the colours and shapes I found. Then I combined these with photos of the fabrics and quilts our quilters were working with inside the hall, and created some colour boards...


A sunny Blanket of Love by Perdita


Pinning in progress on Sophie and Susan's latest quilt for "The Marcia" 

Di B finished machine quilting her cute blue and white 'Li'l Twister' quilt, a Blanket of Love for RPA Newborn Care. Now for the binding😟


With sixteen little houses on the front, and little people scattered across the backing, there's plenty of amusement to be had making up stories about which people live in which house. Di C loved that house fabric, and designed the quilt around that. It's destined for a little child at "The Marcia"

Blanket of Love by Gail 


Quilt for "The Marcia" kindy, by Barb

And Pink

Quilt for "The Marcia" kindy by Sophie and Susan

See our latest Blankets of Love and Kindy Quilts for The Marcia by clicking on the tabs above.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sydney Quilt Show 2014

Forget sugar plums, when I close my eyes since last week's Sydney Quilt Show I have visions of quilts dancing in my head. Bright, exuberant, happy, ingeniously conceived quilts, cleverly pieced, intricately quilted and beautifully displayed in our new exhibition venue. 

It's just a (hugely) glorified tent, made comfortable with carpeted floors, air conditioning and all other services connected, but from the time the first exhibitors arrived to set up the word on everyone's lips was 'light'. The fabric of the roof - you can see it in the first photo - diffused the sunlight, and simply lit up the quilts with the most amazingly soft, flattering light. We all like a bit of that, don't we?

Come on, let me show you.

{Lucky for us, I have the permission of all these quilters to post my photos of their quilts - Rachaeldaisy, Jen Davis aka Penny Poppleton, Michelle Law, Chris Jurd, Selina Cheng, Sue Rowles, Sue Robbins - and even Janet Treen!}

Rachaeldaisy has been teasing us on her blog,in the most delightful way, for the last few weeks, revealing tantalizing glimpses of whimsical clamshells, but saving the big reveal of her entire quilt until the show. Here it is, in all its colourful, cheeky, prize winning glory, a fitting winner of Third Prize in the category Mixed Techniques, Anything Goes!

Happy as a Clam

By Rachaeldaisy of Blue Mountain Daisy

Next is this year's collaborative quilt by the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild. This beauty has taught me never to underestimate the 'wow' potential of a humble, traditional block in the right hands. These SMQG girls are experts at 'wow', and have worked their modern magic on the pickle dish block.

Rainbow Rays

By the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild

{Photo posted with permission from Jen Davis aka Penny Poppleton}

Michelle Law was another quilter who shared little glimpses of her creative journey on her blog. She had no expectations of winning with this seemingly simple concept, but her fabrics, placement and wonderfully textured quilting made it a clear winner of First Prize in the category of Modern - New Traditions from Old Favourites.

Across the Universe

By Michelle Law of Buttontree Lane

You can always count on Blue Mountains quilter and quilt teacher, Chris Jurd, to come up with something spectacular. Chris is the 'queen' of New York Beauty, Mariners Compass, Curved Geese and the like.

Come up closer so you can get a good look at her piecing in these New York Beauty blocks. Those points!


By Chris Jurd of Patchwork Fundamentals

Selina Cheng is a talented young modern quilter, one of the SMQG creators of Rainbow Rays. I always love the way she uses colour!

Mondrian Dreaming

By Selina Cheng of Mad Quilter's Disease

Fellow Paddington Patchworker, Sue Rowles, entered two quilts in this year's show. Zig Zag, which she made from jelly rolls, demonstrates that monochrome doesn't have to mean monotonous. Her Zig Zag has zing!

The white space gave Sue the perfect canvas for showing off her skill as a long arm quilter.

Zig Zag

By Sue Rowles of Sue's Top Finish

She also works in glorious colour, and the colours in this quilt are her favourite palette. I like how the lines of chevrons at the top and bottom add flair to the design.

Stars for Ruby

By Sue Rowles of Sue's Top Finish (02 9519 5907)

I was excited to take this photo of my friend Sue Robbins, another Paddington Patchworker, with her quilt Bungendore. I love to see a quiltmaker standing proudly with her quilt, and Sue has every reason to smile. Her beautiful quilt, which she describes in her notes as 'a riot of colour', won Third Place in the category Commercially Machine Quilted Quilt (Small), and was quilted by none other than Sue Rowles!


By Sue Robbins

Also on display were all the state winners from the 2013 Quilt Shows, the work of the creme de la creme of Australia's quiltmakers. 

Janet Treen took out Best of Show with her entirely hand appliquéed and quilted quilt, Rings and Roses, at the Sydney Quilt Show last year, and it went on to be chosen as Best of Australia earlier this year.

Rings and Roses

By Janet Treen of Quiltsalott

Amazingly, Janet again won Best of Show in this year's Sydney Quilt Show, this time with with her quilt Coxcombs and Currants. 

In a milieu increasingly populated by modern quilts, Janet's consummate skill with a needle and thread has ensured that her exquisite, more traditional quilts have risen to the top two years in a row.

In addition to Best of Show Coxcombs and Currants won first prize in the Traditional Professional category, the Retaining the Tradition prize, and the Best Hand Quilting Award. Wow!

In case you think I'm indulging in hyperbole, here's a close up photo of Janet's work. Can you believe this is all hand stitched?

In a nod to the Amish tradition of including a deliberate mistake in their work (reasoning that only God can create something perfect) Janet has tweaked her design in a tiny way. Can you spot her deliberate mistake?

Coxcombs and Currants

By Janet Treen of Quiltsalott

You can see why I'm in inspiration overload, and itching to try some new quiltmaking techniques and designs. Who knows, I might even do something courageous and enter a quilt next year.

I think I just need a few more hours in my day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


How blessed am I? I've been spoiled with some pretty special gifts recently.

My friend Di B recently surprised me with this cute Edith Bag she made from pretend selvedge fabric. She knows what a selvedge 'tragic' I am😊

It was designed by Edith Bieri of QuiltsUndMehr and you can find a tutorial to make your own here on Linda Hungerford's blog

I love 'just because' gifts. Especially when they're as pretty as this. Thank you, Di.

Not a personal gift, but a couple of months ago Anorina, Samelia's Mum offered to give these pretty little items on Facebook to the first Follower who could identify what they were. Can you guess?

Yes, they're holders for grasping hot saucepan handles! I guessed correctly, and I now these humble little items grace my kitchen bench and make me smile me every day. Thank you, Anorina, I love Flower Sugar 😊

Most recently my young friend, artist Jo Chew, ink-painted this amazing picture of my darling Chester and gave it to me the week he turned 5.

She's totally captured his shiny black coat in this typical Chester pose, and I'm as much in love with her exquisite painting as I am with the real Chester. Thank you, Jo.

Finally, I was just a bit excited when our local real estate agents, Martin Property, approached me a few weeks ago and asked if they could feature me in our neighborhood magazine as Local of the Month for July. 

It took me a whole nanosecond to think about it!

I've never been called a 'superstar' before, but I could get used to it😄.

I am indeed a passionate 'Zetlander'. Every day is a gift living here, and I'm so grateful to God that Chester and I are part of such a friendly neighborhood.