Monday, January 27, 2020

January sewing day

Scheduling a sit-and-sew-day for January was a popular move, providing a good opportunity to catch up, and to work together after a six week break from regular meetings. We found plenty to do, working on our own projects and a number of community activities in preparation for our 2020 Quilt Show in April.

Louise volunteered to bind a community quilt

Hilary removed a lot of papers from a donated quilt
top that she is renovating.

Elaine likes to organised - her blocks are
numbered in neat stacks.

We finished of the 60 fabric flowers we have made for the
Fearless Flowers project, armed with felt, glue guns
and brooch pins.

Coffee, glue guns, glasses ... all set!

Some needed a little filling in their undersides ...
They'll make a colourful donation ...
... and help to promote awareness and funding for
ovarian cancer research and treatment.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Crafting for bushfire recovery - an update on some initiatives

Like so many people, crafters want to help in the recovery from bushfires, and are generous in their efforts. Cash donations have been swift and generous, and will continue to be needed, and crafters are contributing in numerous ways. Here's an update on just a few of the ongoing ways crafters are contributing. Please check updates on the individual groups regularly as needs change, and to find what is needed where, and when groups are unable to receive items ...

Cool the Vollies is an initiative to make and donate cooling cotton neck ties for volunteers. All details and requirements are on the group facebook page.

Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild has called for tree blocks that they will make into quilts for people affected by the fires. All the requirements are available on the Facebook page (6 January 2020 post), as are several design suggestions, and an address for postage. You can also follow the progress of this block drive via Instagram. Some quilters have posted block patterns and tutorials, such as Bonjour Quilts and Happy Sew Lucky

The Animal Rescue Craft Guild is coordinating distribution of crafted items to animal rescue groups through a series of collection hubs, and updates its site very regularly. They have recently imposed a pause on making while they conducted a stocktake. They provide patterns for wildlife pouches and recommendations on fabrics. Please note their post of 21 January explaining the current situation, and their thanks to the many crafters that have helped them reach current goals.

Crafty Adventure's Healing Hands Project is a local drive for new quilts and crocheted or knitted blankets, organised by quilters and designer Paula Storm and Jo Patton, who are located in the Ulladulla area (on the NSW south coast), and will distribute the quilts and blankets locally. Their Facebook post on 3 January gives details, and postal addresses for donations.

Piccolo Studio has shared free patterns/tutorials for wildlife rescue pouches on their website, Faceook page and via a private Facebook group, as well as writing patterns for the Animal Rescue Craft Guild.

... is Australia's largest wildlife rescue organisation. WIRES mission is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same. WIRES works under a license issued by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (

There are other ways of contributing, for example, one of our members gathered a group of friends and sewed 20 rescue pouches last weekend - they posted a photo on Instagram and were immediately contacted by a small animal rescue group in regional NSW who asked if they could have them, and they have been posted off to a group tat definitely needs them right now.

Friday, January 17, 2020

First show and tell for 2020

We're off to a good start with three meetings this week, including a sit and sew / community sewing day. Here is the first batch of show and tell ...

Janice won first prize in an online sew-along for the Christmas 
stocking she made for her granddaughter (on the right), so 
she made a new one for her grandson as well. 
Congratulations Janice, we are not at all surprised that your 
beautiful work won the prize!.

Sue started the year well, wth the last stitches in her
'Little Miss April' (pattern by Margaret Sampson George)
sewn on 1 January. It is finished with a classic English knife
edge seam rather than binding. Not bad for a novice
English paper piecer and hand quilter!
Everyone loves Miss April's backing!
Hilary used the summer break to finish her SuperStars quilt
top, made entirely of batiks, many from a 2019 trip to Bali.

Elsa bought a kit, but thought she would have difficulty
 making it. So Yvette cut it out, Dawn pieced it, and now
Elsa finds she really likes it. Great team work.

Sewing days are a great opportunity to enlist extra hands and
use the big tables to baste quilt tops. Jo-Ann plans to machine
quilt concentric circles on her Zen Chic Moda quilt.

Robin strip pieced a Christmas tablecloth for her family,
that was very well received, and happily stayed on the
table for every meal in Christmas Day.
A Christmas gift of a Cri-Cut machine has kept
Daphne happily busy.

Nerida has been enjoying her 'Bessie Creek Road',
using her lovely fabric stash.

Lyn is developing her already considerable quilting skills,
practising with her free motion quilting rulers on her
domestic machine.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

All That Jazz - 2020 raffle quilt

Officially  introducing our 2020 quilt, 'All That Jazz', to be raffled in conjunction with our Quilt Show - the raffle will be drawn on Sunday 5 April 2020 ...

Proceeds of the quilt raffle will be donated to Beecroft House, a project of partner organisations including Hornsby Kuring-gai Women's Shelter, 'that will provide safe and secure transitional housing to women over 55, for a minimum of two years, with ongoing support to help identify permanent housing solutions.'

'All That Jazz' is one of two quilts made from blocks made by many Fairholme Quilters, for a block challenge exhibited at our 2018 Quilt Show. The quilts were assembled by Val and Roslyn, and quilted by Yvette.

Tickets will be available from Fairholme members from mid-February, and/or at our 2020 Quilt Show, 3 - 5 April 2020, at the Thornleigh Community Centre (in the northern suburbs of Sydney).

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Bushfire and drought relief message from the Quilt NSW President

President of Quilt NSW, Mandie Tyler's detailed and thoughtful post about how quilters can best respond immediately to the current bushfire and drought emergencies can be found on Template Free (the Quilt NSW blog), and on the Quilt NSW Facebook page, and Instagram. Please read and share.

Summer reading, viewing and listening

Some reading, viewing, and listening for these summer days when you might not be sewing...

Craft in America: QUILTS (video)
This one-hour episode premiered on PBS on 27 December 2019. This link is to the You Tube posting.
Learn about contemporary quilters from diverse traditions as we celebrate the important role quilts have played in our country's story. Featuring Susan Hudson, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Michael A. Cummings, Judith Content, the International Quilt Museum, and special guest Ken Burns ...

The trunk show to end all trunk shows (pt 2)
Here is the advice I’d like to share with you, quilters. This comes after five years of writing the Scout, 11 years of quiltmaking, a decade in the industry, and a whole lot of life spent around quilts ...  Mary Fons, Quilts Inc

Quilting helps this vet with PTSD
After two tours as an Army Battle Command Systems operator in Iraq, Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee was discharged with PTSD. It took awhile once home to find a focus, but one day he discovered a Joanne’s Fabrics flyer in the mail and decided to make a runner for his Mom ... Quilting Digest, 11 November 2019

The history of the zipper
It was a long way up for the humble zipper, the mechanical wonder that has kept our lives "together" in many ways. The zipper was invented with the work of several dedicated inventors, though none convinced the general public to accept the zipper as part of everyday life. It was the magazine and fashion industry that made the novel zipper the popular item it is today ... Mary Bellis, ThoughtCo, 4 October 2019

A thousand needle workers volunteer to finish dead woman's quilt
Shannon Downey was at an estate sale in Chicago where a 99-year old woman named Rita Smith used to live. In the bedroom Downey found hundreds of pieces of fabric that had been intended for a big quilting project which Smith started before she died.
Downey, who often looks for antique and vintage textiles to work with, said she was "emotional and overwhelmed" when she came across the unfinished quilt ... Rozina Sini, BBC News, 24 October 2019

'The Quilt', Ami Williamson
One of our members, Pam, has alerted us to this song by Australian singer Ami Williamson, who will be performing at the local Hornsby Folk Club in February. If you are a Sydney sider, you might recognise the quilt shop location, and the quilters in the video, and there is more about the making of the quilt in the short documentary about the making of the album, The Quilt, available here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Year of colour 2019

Sharing from our Instagram page, a fun end-of-year activity popular with quilters is to have Year of Colour process your year's posts to produce a series of colour maps.  Here are two  graphic 'reports' of our 2019 'year of quilt colours'.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Community quilts 2019

We don’t have a target for the numbers of community quilts we make each year, we make what we have time and resources for, and work alone, or with others, depending on what each person can and wants to do. It’s not as chaotic as it might sound - we enjoy our community sewing days, we work well together, and we get a lot done. Here are just some of the community quilts we’ve made during 2019. We've already started on the 2020 collection.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

Christmas Bush, Ceratopetalum gummiferum,
Garigal National Park, NSW, Margaret R Donald 2013

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Quilts and other community activities 2019

In addition to our regular community quilts program, we were able to contribute to a number of broader community initiatives during 2019, only one of them planned in advance. Thanks to everyone who responded to every request.

  • In February, we sent QAYG blocks to be made into quilts for people affected by bushfires in Victoria, by the fabulous Ladies From The Land Australia.

  • We held a Biggest Morning Tea event at the end of March, in support of the Cancer Council, raising over $1100

  • In May we sent a green heart quilt to New Zealand for the 'Healing Hearts for Christchurch' quilt appeal in response to the terrorist attcks in the city in March.

  • This week it was good to hear from Ladies From The Land Australia again, that our quilt donation in response to the devastating on-going east coast bushfires has arrived along with more than 300 other quilts. They will begin distributing them in the Manning Valley/Taree area soon.
We sent this beautiful quilt, that had been generously donated
to our community collection. It was started by Marianne's
Singapore group, and finished by her after she moved to
Sydney. Several members donated quilts individually as well.

  • We have been making 'Fearless Flowers'  for some weeks to support the 'Pink Meets Teal' campaign based in Newcastle to raise funds and awareness about ovarian cancer. Our collection is still growing and will be handed over to the organisers early in the New Year.

Monday, December 16, 2019

All the 2019 'SuperStars'

Photos of our 'SuperStars' quilts made following a workshop with designer Miriam Jones (@sewmiriam) have been appearing in our posts for several months - here is a summary of progress made so far with this very popular new design ...

Miriam a great teacher and communicator,
so it was always going to go well.
Thanks to Nerida for organising and staging
such a lovely and productive day.

Sue pattern tested for Miriam, so we knew she had
enjoyed making the quilt, and her version was
an excellent example.
Roslyn made a very cute test block
- a 2 1/2" panel for a tiny pouch.

The success of the workshop can be partly measured by the numbers of
'SuperStars' quilts that are either finished, or well on the way to being
finished. You can see larger photos of all of them by following this link
through our archives. We know that at least three others are in earlier
stages of preparation, so we'll be sharing them through 2020 as well.

Miriam's Superstar quilt design is available both as a pattern to purchase, and as a project in the Quiltmania magazine, Issue #134.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Sewing, knitting, crocheting for native animal rescue

Many quilters and other crafters are interested in using their skills to make items to help wildlife during the widespread bushfires in NSW and Queensland. There are many regional and local services caring for particular species in particular areas, and each will have its own requirements.

The response has been very generous, and some services have all the mittens, pouches and liners that they can currently use and store. Please check with the service you wish to help whether they are accepting items now, or will need them in the future before sending your contributions off, and for the materials that they can use (most need natural fibres, particularly cotton).

Media attention has been largely focussed on koala rescue, but other species are, of course, also affected.

WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) is Australia's largest wildlife rescue organisation. WIRES mission is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same. WIRES works under a license issued by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (

The WIRES fact sheet on pouches are here:

One of our members who has been a WIRES rescuer recommends that washed flannelette sheets and pillowcases make excellent pouch liners as they are very soft, but closely enough woven that claws don't snag.

This article points out that there will be much rescue and rehabilitation work to be done with native animals once the fire emergency has passed, and that crafted items will be needed long afterwards - so keep making, and be ready to pass them on as they are needed.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Last community sewing day for 2019

We usually fit in ten monthly community sewing days, February - November, as we did this year. They allow us to access our community fabric stash for several hours at a time, make decisions as a group about which causes we can support, sort through and prioritise donations, work as a team basting finished tops (none of us is up to crawling around the floor to do it), share out tasks like quilting and binding, encourage each other in the choices we make as we put a quilt together ... and of course we have plenty of time to talk, solve the world's problems, and enjoy each other's company. Over the last ten years it has become an anticipated social and volunteering day that results in the making of about 60 - 70 quilts each year (we don't set a target, we just make what we have time and materials for) that support our local and the wider community as needed. In between our monthly days, we sometimes work on our quilts at home, and sometimes other things have to take priority.

Here are some of the things we worked on during our last sewing day for this year ...

A thrifty mother kept the wild-west cotton fabric left from
her son's long-ago bedroom curtains, and gave it to
one of our members ...

... so we backed it with this fun print from the stash and
made two reversible wholecloth kids' quilts.

We buy batting in large rolls, and economise further by sewing
the offcuts together to make it go as far as it can.

We basted a number of quilts, including this one for Helen ,
with a two-part backing to compliment it's predominantly
red and blue top.

There are three quilts here, cut from two different lengths of 
vintage-style 'cheater' prints, kindly donated, and with borders
added by Dawn.

Laura has kindly quilted them on her long-arm machine ...

... with oak lives and vine ...

... and a very cute apple design on this one.

We backed them with a sale fabric we bought in an end-of-bolt
sale, that suited the vintage look of the tops.

Elaine W worked on her current community project, that
will have this pretty Dresden plate as its centre.

We found a length of a soft blue and cream floral  backing
for a quilt made by Barbara, and basted it ready for quilting.