Thursday, June 11, 2009

This beautiful quilt was hanging at the Sydney show, and was made by Rhonda Coates. She and three friends stayed at Kaye's last night, and Rhonda kindly gave me permission to post the photo of her quilt. It's based on the Nearly Insane blocks, and is just the sort of quilt I like, very antique looking. I love it.

I saw some desirable things at the show. These wooden stamps are from Bali and were used to print Batiks. I had a hard time choosing just one to buy. I've always wanted a collection of them, and bought a simple edging one to start with; I hope to add more each year. The ones on the left are new, carved for the tourist market, and the ones on the right are older, used ones. I would rather have the old used ones. I'm in no hurry to amass a large colletion, so I'll just wait and buy nice ones when I see them.

And there was sock wool. Mereth and I can fight over who gets what when I get home.
I bought a few bits and pieces of material,some for Mereth and some for specific projects. Some of the shirtings are to make more blocks for Kaye's quilt. I love that pretty pink stripe, but I have no idea where I'll use it. I can see another Pretties quilt in my future.
Mereth would be proud of me, using up all these scrappy bits in Kaye's blocks. I love the look of them, I will make a few more tonight after tea I think. I don't know that Kaye will bother with all the tiny bits, so I'll try and get them all into blocks before I go home.

And as an aside, it's Freezing cold! Down to 1 degree overnight, and decidedly chilly in the mornings. I'm appreciating the electric blanket and the extra quilts on my bed.....


We were up early yet again, and on the road by 7am. The traffic reports were for long delays everywhere, so I went well prepared. I sat on the back seat of the van with a quilt and a pillow, a cup of coffee and my sock knitting , and I was perfectly happy for the two hours it took to get to Darling Harbour. We did try to go to our favourite shop, Quiltsmith, but the Navman took us to the wrong place, and there was no arguing with him, though Bruce did, as usual. Navman maintained we were at 75 Nelson St, but there was no shop there. If only we'd had a street directory we could have looked it up the old-fashioned way; I rather think we were in Nelson Lane instead.

It's so exciting to walk into a show early in the morning and start hunting down the things you want. The Busy Thimbles booth had lots of quilts that made me want to go home and start stitching straight away.

I took ages choosing things at Hatched and Patched, Anni Downes shop. We have quilted several of her Block of the Month designs for our customers, and they are just gorgeous. I fell in love with her appliqued wool ornaments, and bought patterns for several stitcheries.

I wanted to buy some gifts for friends, and some wool, and meet up with friends, and I did all that and more. It was busy without being crowded, and it was pleasant to see the quilt exhibition without loads of other people around. Unfortunately I can only post photos with the owners permission, so most of them I can't show,. However, this is Kaye's entry, and she doesn't mind me sharing it. It's a reproduction of an antique quilt, and it's just beautiful in real life.

I chatted to Annette Gero, who is the author of this stunning book, The Fabric of Society; Annette has been collecting antique quilts since1982 and is Australia's best-known quilt historian. The book is outstanding, and there were some of the original quilts hanging at the show. This chintz one was beautiful, but I really loved this faded, damaged old hexagon. Each hexagon was about 3/4" along the side, and many were pieced from smaller bits of fabric. Even worn and faded, it was still amazing.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Aussie quilters may recognise some of the faces in this photo from our Statler day. This group of machine quilters has been responsible for quilting an enormous number of quilts in total; some have been in business more than 10 years, and that's a lot of quilts in anybody's language. What a great group, we have such fun when we get together.

On Sunday Kaye took Dawn, Cheryl and I to Berrima Patchwork, where we managed to find a few scraps of fabric to add to the stash. Of course my batteries died, so all I have is a photo of the ouside of the shop. Inside it was warm, and full of fabric and quilters choosing material for their next project. It was a delicious way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Cheryl is very much like Mereth, organised and tidy and singleminded. For the last two days she chained herself to the sewing machine and as long as we kept cutting and ironing she didn't complain, but it was awful hard work keeping up with her. Dawn left yesterday, and within an hour I was moaning 'I miss Dawn already!!' because I couldn't work fast enough on my own. Which just goes to show, it's the cutting a pressing that take the time; sewing the pieces is really quick.

This is what 700+ nine-patches look like. I think we were a bit appalled when we added it all up. Each block takes 5 nine-patches. We are aiming for 42 blocks for each quilt, and we are about 10 blocks per quilt short of that; when we get home we will make up the rest from our own stashes, and send a set of our blocks to Kaye for her quilt.The quilt that inspired all this madness is from a book called The Quilter's Resource Book by Maggi McCormick Gorden, and it's a lovely book, about 2" thick and full of lovely photos. The scrappy border is wonderful, that will use up all the little leftovers nicely. My next task is to digitise the quilting design for Kaye, and come up with alternate ones for Cheryl and mine; Dawn is a designer herself, so I suppose she will invent her own. And next year we will have a little mini-show of the four quilts, finished. Should be fun.

Tomorrow we have plans to visit the Sydney quilt show, I'd better get the camera batteries charged for that. It promises to be a long day.


Monday, June 08, 2009

My first post has taken nearly a week, as we were busy with the Trade show for the first two days, then recovering and getting ready for the Statler get together on Saturday. The internet at Camden has been down, which is very inconvenient. I haven't read my blog list for a week, it will take me forever to catch up.

The Finishing Touch booth looked very nice, and we caught up with lots of fellow machine quilters, and shop owners; I did a bit of buying for our little shop, and found some threads for Mereth to play with on Millhouse, so I had some fun besides doing the workshops.

I met up with the lovely Nic Bridges, who was teaching workshops also. She always looks fabulous, what a wonderful smile. I hope to catch up with her and Lisa Walton at the Sydney show on Wednesday. Kaye doesn't have a booth there this year, so we will just spend one day there and see the quilts and catch up with as many friends as possible.

The Statler get-together was fun and we learned a lot about the new software releases, and compared notes on how we do things. There were 9 laptops set up, with people concentrating very hard and trying to absorb all the new knowledge.It was a great day, and there were 15 of us at dinner that night. Kaye is such a superb hostess, I'm sure I couldn't seat that many people and feed them and keep them happy. Thanks Kaye!
Dawn and Cheryl (that's them in front of the laptop in the picture) and I have been staying since Tuesday, and to help earn our keep we offered to tidy up Kaye's fabric bins. At the same time we were looking through her books, and there was a gorgeous 9-patch that we all loved. None of us remember who suggested it, but somehow we came up with the idea of making it for Kaye; she agreed, but said only if we made blocks for ourselves as well. And so we've been sewing up a storm in every spare moment, working on our sets of blocks. We worked out a system and everyone had a job to do, and we've made great progress since this photo was taken. Kaye will have a new quilt without much effort on her part, and we've cleaned out a lot of scraps in her fabric bins. I'm channeling Mereth, and using up all the tiny offcut scraps to make totally scrappy blocks.

I've been sewing on Kaye's new baby, and it's a steep learning curve. It's such a lot of machine, and has so many functions that it takes me a while to get going, but it sews beautifully. I'd better enjoy this machine here, because I won't be getting one of my own for quite a while!

And lastly, a photo of Kaye's crazy quilt that she bought on Ebay. It's all silk and wool, dated 1886, and it's very beautiful, and very fragile. It's such a treat to be able to examine an antique quilt close up, and see the individual stitches and touch the fabric. I hope this beauty lasts another 100 years.

Internet willing, I'll be back tomorrow with another update.


Monday, June 01, 2009

I'm in transit right now, staying with my nephew in Adelaide and getting on the plane to Sydney tomorrow. I'm teaching a slew of workshops at the Craft Expo, and I've been finalising notes and class samples and arranging things to run smoothly while I'm gone. I just hope I've thought of everything, and if I haven't, well tough.Yesterday I finished quilting these little wholecloth samples, and that was a lot of fun. I love patchwork, but there's something very satisfying about quilting plain fabric where the designs show up so well. I just love making these patterns and working out easy ways to stitch them. Even on Millhouse they can't be quilted all in one pass, the quilt has to be rolled on and the next bit done, and it's an art to make it all match up perfectly. Or as near as you can get.

Who could ever get tired of feathers? I just love how classical they look, and they suit so many types of quilt. They are such fun to work with.
On Saturday it was a glorious day, so we went off to Bowman's Park for an afternoon walk. It was the end of autumn, so we thought we had better get in some quality outings while the weather was good. We walked up by the quarry, and along the top pf the ridge to the lookout. I love these trees and spinifex grass, and the clear blue autumn sky. So Australian.The view from the lookout was wonderful, and towards the eastern ranges it looked like a watercolour landscape, all soft and delicate. It's well worth the climb up.
I tried to get photos of Dolly, but I only have about 20 blurred images as she galloped here and there at great speed. With no other puppies she had the full brunt of Bonnie's and Macca's attention, and it was a bit overwhelming; she spent a lot of time racing around with them bowling her over and both trying to play with her. Parents can be a bit like that.

She's growing up so quickly, I just hope in two weeks time she'll still remember me. It's a long time in puppy time. I know she's Mereth puppy, but it's the closest I'll get to owning a dog for quite a while. She's has my highest praise; she's as good as a cat.

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