Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Prize

Wow, I still can't believe it.
I just got back from Wentworthfalls TAFE where I attended the awards ceremony for the Blue Fringe Arts Festival. I have entered once before many years ago. But the festival has become more well known and prestigious since then.
I arrived a bit late (I'd gone to the wrong venue) and missed 15 minutes of the first speech which was being given by John Fenely, the Commissioner for Mental Health NSW. He gave a great speech about how mental health issues need to be addressed at a community level before hospitalisation becomes an option. One of the things he said which really struck me was "As humans we are exceptional because we are so complex". (I spoke to him about it afterwards and he spoke passionately about the diversity of humans being something which makes us great).
Then the awards were presented and I heard the Highly Commended Prize for textiles and craft go to Monique Donaldson. Her entry was an amazing Regency gown. I heard someone behind me say "she only got Highly commended?".
And then they announced the winner for the textiles/craft section and they said my name.
I got up nervously and I was shaking. They took my picture and presented me with a certificate and a sealed envelope (which I later discovered had a cheque in it). It felt quite surreal.
Here I am with my entry which I called Plumage. The judge was Pam De Groot, an international textiles and felt artist. I am shocked and delighted.
This is probably a better photo of the entry.

I think Monique's entry was just as worthy of first prize, but I am very grateful for the prize and the cheque, which will go towards buying my daughter a piano (and aiding in her recovery from depression as well).
Sorry I haven't updated in so long. I really must write more often.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Handi Quilter Warning

I'm writing to you to tell you of something stupid I did in the hope that other Handi Quilters see it and I can let them know what NOT to do.

I ran out of bobbin. I had cleaned the bobbin cavity and squirted in some oil. I wanted to work it through the bobbin housing a bit so I unthreaded the needle and ran the machine on precision with nothing under it for a few seconds. All fine. The mistake came when I FORGOT to turn the precision off and started to thread the needle.

I had my left hand right next to the needle assembly ready to receive the thread I was feeding through the top hole in the assembly. But I bumped the machine forward and it started the needle going up and down, trapping my first finger of my left hand between the needle assembly and the spring. The machine sensed a needle strike and froze in place, my finger still trapped. I screamed out for help and my daughter and son were in the house. But I wasn't thinking clearly. I told them to turn the machine off, which of course kept my finger trapped. So I screamed at them to turn it back on and I started to press buttons.

Thankfully when I hit the needle up button after a few times the needle let go and my finger was free.
The only damage I got was a chunk out of my finger, a tiny bit of bruising and a very diminished ego. The machine (thank GOD) has no damage.

I read the manual this morning and it clearly says
• Keep fingers away from all moving parts. Special care is required around the machine needle.
• Switch the machine to the symbol “O” position to turn it off when making any adjustments in the needle 
area, such as threading needle, changing needle, threading bobbin, or changing presser foot, and the like.

so it is no fault of the manufacturers. I just had a lapse of concentration.

Just remember, this is a commercial machine and industrial accidents can occur. PAY ATTENTION when using it.

I haven't been afraid of sewing machines since I was a little girl, and I'm not about to start now. But I will be very careful around it from now on!!!

If you know someone who uses a Handi Quilter, or even another type of long arm , please pass this on.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe while sewing.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Time To Quilt

I forgot to show you this quilt.
It was published a few months back in Patchwork and Stitching. Didn't they do an amzing job of staging it for the photo?
It was features on the cover of Patchwork and Stitching Magazine Vol 15 No. 8.
I had a few dramas while making this. The most dramatic was when I had finished the middle applique and then cut it wrong (the sides sloped into a parralelogram) and I had to re do it.

I love the way it turned out though and it was an excellent way to use up the pieces of floral I had hanging around.

Sunday, 7 September 2014


I've started writing a Newsletter for my quilting customers. I'll repeat it here (apart from the giraffe photo which I shared in the last blog update) with colour photos.
After Piece Newsletter
September 2014
Hello there, dear quilting friends.
I thought it might be a nice idea for me to send you a letter with news about what I have been doing and what is coming up. You are receiving this letter because you have expressed interest in my quilting service or you have already had a quilt sewn together by me.
Firstly, thank you to all my lovely customers who have placed their quilts in my hands to work with. I enjoy seeing all the different quilt tops that pass through my little studio.
Most of you know by now that I have upgraded my smaller Husqvanna Viking set up for a larger and computer driven set up. This change over took a few months to sort out, but has been well worth the wait. Those customers that have already had a top quilted using the QBOT system have all agreed that the new patterns are lovely. The QBOT works so well as an edge to edge, over all quilting system. However I have also been experimenting with my own quilts to do custom finishes.
I submitted one of these custom finishes, which had QBOT block patterns combined with my own free motion quilting into the Penrith show. The quilt received a second place ribbon in the commercially quilted class, which I was very pleased about as I had no idea of the standard of entries before I took the plunge. Now that I’ve seen the first place quilt, I’m sure I can top it for next year. J

Just after I upgraded to the larger, more advanced set up I had some professional Development sessions with Master Quilter Michele Turner of Pinetree Cottage Quilting. Michele has won many awards and been quilting for 10 years, though she is now winding down her quilting operations while she studies. I learned a lot from Michele. She built upon my knowledge with lots of small detail type hints which have helped to polish the way I work.
Below is a photo of the work I did for Caroline Wilkinson on her baby quilt. The filling stitching around the applique is highly influenced by Michele’s teachings. Carolyn was very pleased with the work I did for her and said I could quote her as saying the quilting had taken her patchwork to a new level. That feels like very high praise indeed, and exactly what I aim to do for you and your quilts.

Here is my newest pattern to be published. It's in this month’s edition of Patchwork and Stitching Magazine. These placemats are foundation pieced and the coasters were made with scraps.

September Quilty tip.
I can’t claim to have thought of this little gem. I saw it on the back of a quilt at the Springwood quilting show (sorry I can’t remember which one).
Use vintage doilies as labels for the back of your quilt. I picked up an assortment for a good price on Gumtree. Then I used an iron erasable pen to write my message and back stitched onto the doily. It’s easy then to slip stitch it to the back of the quilt.

And yes … it took me 14 years to complete this particular quilt (it’s the one I entered into the Penrith show). I made the quilt top in 2000 with help from a quilting show on Foxtel. It was one of my first quilts and I was so proud of what I had made I was hesitant to quilt it for fear of wrecking it. For the show I custom quilted it using QBOT block patterns in the middle blocks, in the ditch and scallops for the house and free motion feathers in the border. 
Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Oh So Cute

I've just finished quilting a baby quilt for a lovely lady called Caroline Wilkinson.
The blocks were hand appliqued and embroidered by members of the family for the baby.
I completed it with free motion quilting around the qpplique/embroidery blocks and pretty rose or swirl borders in the dragonfly fabrics.
The quilt will be a wall hanging so the buttons were OK to add.
Carolyn loved what I did (I bound the quilt and also added the rod hanging so I was able to hand over a completed quilt which is a nice change).
She said my quilting took her patchwork to a whole new level and I could quote that for my blog. How nice!


Friday, 15 August 2014

Black and White

Hi again

I'm quite sick at the moment with sinusitis.

So I'm just working on a black and white quilt for a customer, using the QBOT.
I got up this morning feeling yuck and thought it would be a good project as most of the work is done by the robot.

Hmmmmm .... Things conspired against me. I think it was because I'm unwell. First I pinned the backing on wrong side out on the frame and had to unpin it. Then I pinned it so that the shortest side was the bottom. When I looked at the quilt top I remembered it was directional and had to unpin it again. Luckily I was paying attention.

THEN when I started the robot I had a threading issue which I had to fix. Sigh. But oh well. It's running away happily in the background now and I'm able to blog.

I'm already feeling a bit better thanks to the antibiotics. A few more days and I'll be well enough to tackle the custom baby quilt which was supposed to be next on the list.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

July's Magazine Project

I'I ran out of m well into my next project for Patchwork and Stitching magazine.
Here is a sneak peek.
Of course it has to involve applique ... my favourite thing to do.
The materials I picked up on special from Fortunes and Fairies, in Richmond NSW and I've been itching to use them. It was only a few months ago that I bought them so I was grateful when Louise, the new editor gave me the go ahead to do the quilt.

I ran out of the nice firm stabiliser I use behind my applique and the two patchwork shops I've been to so far don't stock it, so I guess that means a trip to spotlight tomorrow. Although one shop did sell me a different stabiliser that looks promising. It has perferations on it so you can just tear it off when you are finished. But it can't go anywhere near an iron or it melts. I might give it a try tomorrow morning before driving the half an hour to spotlight.

I hope your projects are all going well!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Quilting Practice

After my sessions with Michele Turner, and after the quilting show I've been inspired to practice some heirloom style quilting.
The first one here is a butterfly design I drew myself in a cream thread.

and then this one is half of the Kings Crown pattern by Gina Perkes from her book Mastering the Art of Long Arm Quilting, with my own fills.
I can't wait to do some more on a big quilt, but I will have to be patient as I have a magazine deadline approaching. At least I'll get to quilt when I've finished piecing that quilt.

See you next time

Friday, 11 July 2014

NSW Quilt Show and a finish

Yesterday I was in quilt heaven walking around the Sydney Quilt Show. I do have loads of photos but I can't show you many as you need the creators permission.
Tracie Stewart is a friend of mine, so I can show you hers, called Alchemy

I can also show you the pin I got for being a volunteer at the show. I didn't enter this year as I was busy with magazine project but I have made a commitment to myself to get one done next year.
I met quite a few nice people from the guild and I intend to become more active in the guild.

Here is a picture of the Aussie Hero quilt I quilted recently. The piecing is not my work.

 And here is a close up of my quilting.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Michele Turner Visit

Hi everyone,
I've been so busy I forgot to update last week.
This week I had my first visit with Michele Turner who is a professional Quilter in my area who also tutors machine quilters who want to take advantage of her expertise. Michele's business is called Pinetree Cottage Quilting which she runs out of her home in Cranebrook NSW. She has been awarded the Master Quilting award and it clearly shows in her wealth of knowledge.

For me, the best thing about Michele's visit was her advice to me on running my business. I have been practicing long arm quilting for 2 years now so I'm not exactly a beginner and we only touched on technique yesterday. In my next visit on Monday, when I visit her studio we plan to do some more work on the practice pieces.

One of the reasons I really wanted to talk with Michele (other than her business advice) was to discuss the best way to approach custom quilting. She had some wonderful advice for me on a quilt that I have been stuck on for years.
This was the first quilt I put together with the help of a quilting show I was watching on Foxtel. I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the show as it was at least 10 years ago. And that's how long I've been stuck on this quilt. Part of the problem for me has been it's sentimental value. I really want to do a good job on it, even though the piecing was questionable, some of the seams are now pulling apart and the outside borders don't line up.

With all the different blocks and a pieced border I had no idea how to tackle it. Quilt in the ditch just didn't seem special enough for me on this quilt either. But with Michele's help I now have a plan. I won't reveal the approach here as I feel that is Michele's knowledge to share. But I will put up photos of the quilt as it progresses and when it's completed.

I'm really looking forward to my visit on Monday. I already have a few questions for her.

See you soon

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Jenni Herring Rose and Feathers

Yesterday I finished quilting this rather large quilt by Jenni Herring.
She chose the art nouveau roses as an edge to edge for the center and feathers for the border.

I popped it on my bed to take some photos ans also so that you could see the size. You can't really see it in the photo but it hangs well over the end of the bed even when over the top of the pillows.
 I hope the lucky recipient is very pleased ... and I can't see why she wouldn't be. It's a wonderful quilt.

And now on to the next one which is another why from Jenni. This one has motor bikes features on the material and will be quilted with flames.

See you again soon

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Daphne's 70th Quilt

It was nearly two months ago now, but I realised I hadn't put up Daphne's 70th quilt on my blog to show off.
My mum and I made this one together. Daphne is my mother in law and my mum is also good friends with her. I'm lucky to have two lovely ladies like these in my life. and even luckier that my mum is as crafty as me (well actually I'm as crafty as her ... I grew up with her knitting, sewing, embroidery all around me, so it's no wonder it finally rubbed off).
My mum's speciality is machine embroidery so we planned this quilt to have my applique skills and her embroidery skills combined.
I think you will agree the result was gorgeous and Daphne loved it too.
Looking at the dress she is wearing that day ... I think we chose the fabric well. :)

On Norm and Daphne's bed

 The applique centre
One of the rose appliques on the first border and also showing the cross hatch, nouveau rose and stipple quilting

Showing off mum's machine embroidery and the pebble quilting I did around it.

Sorry for the photo heavy post ... but I felt like it needed to be done.

I'm currently quilting the nouveau roses on a customer's quilt with feathers in the borders. I'll take a picture when it's done.


Thursday, 12 June 2014


I've just finished quilting a Kimono quilt for a Textile Teacher called Cathy.
She brought the top to me with a story of how it was supposed to be the backing of another quilt for her aunt. So it was basically one large panel with printed kimonos and black borders had been added. But when she took it to the quilters the backing wasn't big enough so she bought another piece. Then she decided she would put the kimonos with more wadding and backing to make a whole new quilt, but ran out of enthusiasm for the project and decided to bring it to me.
So it became the first quilt for my new machine and frame (a Handi Quilter system).
I quilted a kind of curly paisley design around the kimonos as a stipple to make them pop out. And around the black borders I did large peacock feathers.
She was very happy with the result.

The new machine was a scary decision as they are very expensive. But my hand was forced really by the fact that my old machine wasn't performing. It would sew fine for about 12 minutes and then large loops started to form at the back (without me changing any settings). I tried once to have it fixed and it performed well for two quilts and then started playing up again. So it was upgrade ... or fold. I've decided to carry onwards and upwards.

Next week I'll be adding a Qbot to my set up and computerised patterns will be offered to customers.

So wish me luck.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Friday's Quilt

Hi everyone
I just finished a customer's quilt and I really like how it turned out ... so I'm sharing.
This is the back of the quilt
It was a risky move using white thread with such a vivid red backing. But the customer was happy for the quilting to show. I think she will be really happy with how it turned out. The pattern was one I modified after seeing it on the internet (to fit my rather narrow 5 inch neck space and my personal sewing style. I called it Almost Fleur in my book of patterns that I showed the customer as I thought it almost looked like a fleur-de-li.
In this photo it's just rolled out from the quilting frame and the top is resting on a nearby table (hence the waves of the fabric. It sits perfectly flat on a table which I'm really pleased about).
Hope you enjoy sharing

Monday, 28 April 2014

Happy News and New business

Hi everyone.
Gosh it has been ages since I updated. The major reason for that is my son being at home this year doing an online course. I NEVER get near the computer when he is home. He is out helping his grandfather today, and earning himself some cash so I jumped on.

The other reason is that I have been super busy with my new business venture ... I started quilting for other people. It has had me working hard every day and I'm earning some much needed cash too. Everyone I've completed quilts for has been happy which is a great relief as I was very worried about pleasing people. I've had lots of repeat business, so I must be doing a good job.

And my last bit of good news is that my quilt (pictured in the previous post) Art Deco Hats received 6 viewer's choice awards at the Springwood quilt show. I am delighted. I've never had ANY awards before. Of course 6 is no where near enough to win you a prize. But I am just stoked that 6 people though my quilt was good enough to rate best in their opinion.

Well I'd better get cracking now. I have four quilts lined up to get done, one on the frame, and a magazine project due in tomorrow.

Busy, busy, busy.

Let's hope the next update comes much sooner!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Art Deco Hats

I'd like to introduce my newest quilt which I have called Art Deco Hats.
It is now on display at 'Down Patchwork Lane' in Penrith (NSW Australia) and I hope to start classes to make the quilt at the end of March.
As long as there is a minimum of three quilters interested in taking the class it will run on the last Thursday of the month from 1:30 to 4:30.

The pattern will also be available in my ETSY store at the end of the week.
The quilt will also be on display at the Springwood quilting show at the end of April.

I really hope we get enough interested people in taking the class!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Elephant WIP and Issue 15.2

I've had a productive day with everyone out of the house.
The Indian Elephant I'm working on is coming along nicely. Here's a WIP photo and I'll show the full thing once it has been published.
Meanwhile, my project is in the latest issue of Patchwork and Stitching (Vol 15 No.2)
That's my hearts cushion on the cover (on the white chair).

I gave it to my daughter when she was feeling a bit low and said it carried my love with it. So she took it with her when she walked to a friend's house recently. It's nice to know she's taking my love with her!

Keep Stitching

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


I'm working on a quilt for the Springwood Community Quilt Show. It will have at least 5 different hat blocks.
Here is the first as a WIP
Well, it was going to be the first ... but then it was snapped up by the editor of Patchwork and Stitching Magazine to be made into a wall hanging. It hasn't been slotted into an issue yet ... will have to keep you posted on that.

Meanwhile I'm working on an Elephant for P and S magazine which will go in a hoop.

Thanks for reading

Friday, 31 January 2014

Pam Bono Butterfly

I bought this pattern nearly a year ago to try out Pam's patterns.
Yesterday I finally got around to trying it out.
I enjoyed the process and learned a few things along the way, and here is the result.
Of course the pattern calls for at least 8 butterflies and there are many other elements that make up the absolutely beautiful quilt.
One day when I have more time I'd love to make the whole quilt ... but this was always going to be an exercise in learning a new method of piecing.

And now on to other things.
Thanks for reading

Thursday, 23 January 2014

First Workshop

Well it was for my mum ... but hey! It counts.
We were working through my Crinoline Lady to iron out any kinks in the pattern before I take my workshops to the retail outlets.
Here is how hers turned out.
Hers has a much more country feel to it than mine but we both loved how it turned out. Of course it will look even better once she has done the satin stitch around the raw edges on her machine. 
I'm looking forward to finishing the quilt top with her and then taking it to other ladies to complete as well.


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Valentine Hoop

I've been enjoying designing some hoops lately after being inspired by the latest Homespun article on them. I've seen them around before of course ... but that article really kicked off my ideas.
Here's a little one I have on sale at ETSY
but most will be designed for publication.
I can't get away from the fact that applique is my absolute most favourite thing to do! And what a great way to use some suffolk puffs and buttons which I also have so much fun with.

Spotlight and Lincraft were actually out of quite a few sizes of hoops when I went to buy some more ... have they not realised that they are a craze?

See you again soon

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Here's to a New Year

I've started with a new design.
This may look like a pillow ...
Well, it kind of is. It's a quillow. It's a quilt which has a pocket at the back. you can then fold the whole quilt inside itself to make a pillow.

The snow flake design is for the Winter edition of Patchwork and Stitching (on sale later in 2014).
The quilt has 3 applique snow flakes and 3 pieced blocks all set in a checkerboard style with this wonderful snowflake fabric I found at Penrith Patchwork.

Once I've finished writing the instructions for this quilt it's off to the magazine for photography.

Next week I plan to work on a very large fairy applique quilt to show at the Springwood Quilt show which is coming up.

I also need to work on my '10' entry for the Australasian quilt show.

Guess I'm starting the year off as busy as ever!