Coromandel Valley Quilters Exhibition

My local quilting group is holding an exhibition on the 21st and 22nd May at the Community Centre. They exhibit every two years and put on a wonderful show. There will be a trading table, demonstrations, Devonshire tea and a local quilt shop to tempt us.

I thought that this would be a good excuse to ‘play’ with one of the vintage supper cloths that are in my collection – and the one that appealed the most was a far-from-square, blue embroidered cut work cloth that had multiple stains which had resisted every attempt I’d made to remove them.

I didn’t think to take any ‘before’ photos, but here are some in the early stages of quilting. I started by playing with a free quilting motif from Forest Quilting . I had to re-shape some of the feathers to fit comfortably within the square shape that I could sit neatly between the embroidery and cut out design features.


I also designed a plumed feather shape to fit around the embroidery so that a continuous bordered line was set up around the outer edge of the supper cloth.

I quilted a double echo around the feathers and filled with pebbling. I love pebbling, but it sure takes time.


The worst of the stains were in the centre of the quilt, so I decided that some seriously dense quilting was in order.

IMG_2273Some of the stains are still evident, but the quilting does focus the eye away from them.

IMG_2274The double echo lines really help to emphasize the feathers. I used a blue wash out marker to draw in the plume shapes – and sometimes a quick spritz just spread those blue lines around! You can see that I had to do a bit of reverse quilting in one corner – the initial 3/4 inch grid that I drew up was just too big in scale. The 1/2 inch one looked much better.

The greatest challenge with this quilt was trying to determine the boundary within which to quilt the feathered border. I had no points of reference to use on the white cloth – which was nowhere near a perfect square.

IMG_2278I had to get creative and use a combination of square rulers and some spare vertical blind blades to mark it out. I double checked by measuring the two verticals – I needed to do a bit of fudging with the blind blades, but it was so successful that the strategy is now on my ‘must remember to do in future’ list.

IMG_2277Then came my favourite kind of quilting – continuous feathers. All I marked was a centre line though the four borders and an uneven number of curves above and below that line on each side. There is nothing regular or predictable in the feathers, and it looks wonderfully organic. I echoed once on the inside edge and multiple times on the outside edge as I don’t like the puffy look that you can get between a feathered border and the binding.

IMG_2295The quilt top got a good soaking while I set up my interlocking mats and drew up lines along which to block the quilt. Three sides lay down beautifully but the last edge needed a bit of coaxing…..

IMG_2285But we finally played nicely together.

It was a lovely warm day with a gentle breeze so it didn’t take long to dry – and it is now as flat as. What a relief.

IMG_2286I’ve now bound it and it’s all ready for the exhibition. I haven’t taken a photo – will leave that until it’s been hung.

Til next time.


A Holiday Break and AQC16

It’s been a busy week – hubby and I took some time off to have a bit of a holiday, to visit with family in Mansfield and to attend AQC in Melbourne.

We love to stop at local bakeries to break up the looooong road trip (and check out their vanilla slices!) and this is one of our favourite rest stops – at Bordertown on the South Australian and Victorian border. There is so much to see  inside this unique bakery, which has a delightful gift shop attached.

The bakery is built over and around the old Police Station.
The bakery is built over and around the old Police Station.
The toilets are the old cell block.

Rural Victoria is an absolute delight at this time of the year.

Glorious autumn colours.
Glorious autumn colours.


Relics of the past
Relics of the past


A bit of a history lesson.
A bit of a history lesson.
Peaceful picnic spots.
Peaceful picnic spots.
Quilting inspiration is to be found everywhere….


I wish we’d had time to see the Marilyn Monroe exhibition in Bendigo – which has embraced the Marilyn theme throughout the commercial district.

Then 3 wonderful days in Melbourne. It started on a high on the first afternoon when I randomly walked past a dress shop and saw a jacket in the window by a designer that I love and haven’t been able to find locally in my size. I was recently Mother of the Bride, and am about to be Mother of the Groom – one who was still searching for the perfect outfit. What a relief. The wedding is in July, in Calgary, and finding suitable clothing options when our shops are full of winter outfits has been challenging to say the least.

Then on to AQC. This has become an annual pilgrimage and once again it didn’t disappoint. I am always awestruck by the talent of Australian quilters and this is particularly evident to me in the AQC Challenge each year. The diversity of creative thought processes is a total mystery to me.


This year, too, was special because of this:


I have to admit: it was a bit of a buzz to be a participant in the exhibition.

Til next time…


That’s What Friends Are For….

After being on the lookout for a quilt design that would help diminish my ever growing tub of scraps, late last year I settled on Bonnie Hunter’s “Wild and Goosey” foundation pieced pattern found on the Quiltmaker website.


Naively I thought that if I could finish one mini block a day I’d have enough blocks for a quilt in about a year. At one block a day that quilt was destined become a UFO very, very quickly.

I increased my output to 2 mini blocks a day and my row of blocks slowly began to take shape. But it was going to be a very small quilt. I had printed the original pattern out at 2 3/4 inches and it took 4 mini blocks to make each 5 1/2 inch Wild and Goosey block. After a month I knew that I had to make at least 4 mini blocks a day to get anywhere fast.


I had also realised by this time that I have a particular predisposition when choosing fabrics (they tend to read as solids) and that relying solely on my own stash would increase the boredom factor significantly. Needing more variety, I sent out an SOS to one of my wonderful quilting groups asking for a small bag of scraps from their stashes and the response totally lifted my spirits – novelty prints, quirky prints and colours not found in my stash lifted the look of my blocks. That’s what friends are for….

I packed my trusty Elna Lotus for a 2 week babysitting stint in sunny Queensland and managed, in between Grandma duties, to make 8 mini blocks a day for almost a fortnight. I was in full production mode.


Since then I’ve continued to make at least 4 mini blocks each day. On occasion I produced 12 – 16. I took my mobile sewing production line to sit and sew days and was encouraged by the feedback from my sewing groups.

I’d also done the maths by then. I needed to make 672 mini blocks. Each had 13 pieces in them. That’s 8,736 scraps of fabric. More friends came on board with baggies of scraps – the last bag I received came from a friend who said that I couldn’t make a scrap quilt without some of her scraps being in it.

Last weekend I took the almost finished quilt top to a quilting group for Show and Tell. That border fabric has to go, said one. She was right. I was trying hard to use up what was in my stash. Luckily we meet in a fabric shop and we all happily settled on a much more effective choice. That’s what friends are for….

In recent days I totally ramped up my production line and made 16 mini blocks a day. I could taste, smell and feel that finish line!

last one


Now all 672 mini blocks are finished. Mostly I have been able to keep up with their ongoing construction into Wild and Goosey blocks, then sashing and joining them into rows of 14 as the mini blocks were completed each day. The remaining two rows are at various stages of coming together – but there is light at the end of the tunnel!


And…..there are definitely less scraps in that tub now!



Vintage Quilting


I confess to being an absolute devotee of Cindy Needham. I love the fact that, through her influence, stored away vintage linens are seeing the light of day and being re-purposed by today’s quilters. Every time I put myself to bed with the flu I take my laptop and once again enjoy Cindy’s Craftsy classes. She is a mine of information and sooooo inspirational.
Last year, just 3 weeks before entries were due for South Australia’s Festival of Quilts Exhibition I placed an embroidered table runner on top of a piece of red fabric, took a photo, guessed the finished measurements and entered a quilt. I loved every minute of the hours and hours of quilting (and beading) that I put into that quilt – challenging myself to try techniques never before attempted.
The quilt won First Place in its category and then a Judges’ Special Award for Domestic Machine Quilting. Next week it travels to Melbourne to be exhibited at AQC.


The teeny tiny seed pearls were gifted to me from a lovely quilter in Broken Hill about 20 years ago.
Twisted Ginkgo Background Fill with teeny tiny glass beads at each intersection.
Some of the open areas were beaded with larger glass beads.

So, in true form, with the looming Coromandel Valley Quilters Exhibition next month I started quilting a supper cloth this week. Already I wish I’d made other design decisions, but that’s always the risk when your personal approach to design is serendipitous! Til next time…..