Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jenny Bowker: links

Many of us have admired Jenny Bowker's quilts for many years, and some of us have been lucky enough to do workshops with her. Her website and her blog are both essential reading and a feast for the eyes - both are now available as permanent links in the right hand column.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

just browsing .....

This Wall Street Journal article surveys some quilt exhibitions from the North American summer. Click on the "slide show" button for a larger view of 12 quilts, including a quilted skeleton (!) by Susan Else, and some stops along the Quilt Trails of Western North Carolina, featuring barn "quilts".

...... a handful of events gather the best of the traditional plus new quilts as startling and original as the best modern art (and nearly as expensive). The number of quilt makers in the U.S. has doubled in the past decade, as new tools, like quilt-design software, have spread. There has been a corresponding explosion in the number of quilt shows, and they aren’t just for those who stitch or collect. Go and be dazzled.

For a closer view of the quilted skeleton, visit Susan Else's website,

Friday, December 11, 2009

"My favourite things" block challenge

Tuesday Night Group's Christmas Challenge for 2009 was to make a 9 1/2" block featuring "my favourite thing" on a pastel coloured background. The blocks will be put together into a community quilt suitable for a child.
Fifteen blocks were revealed on Tuesday evening, with a few to come a little "after Christmas". The photos were taken while the blocks were laid out on the floor - they really are straight and square, not wonky as some of them appear!
Noelle's plane - great sky background fabric!
Dawn's drumming teddy

Marijke's foundation pieced dolly

Pam's silk worms

Jill's bubbles

Lynette's hot air balloons

Louise's stitchery with buttons

Jo S's clown ,,,, and below, her ice-cream sundae

Janet's tumbling blocks

Helen's elephant

Heathers flowers ....

... and Heather's Christmas

Elaines gifts and balloons

Bev's cats

They will make a fabulous quilt once we decide hopw to put them together.

the end of another year

Who can believe that Christmas is in two weeks, and that in three weeks we'll be seeing in the New Year? Of course we always say that, but this year really has gone by so fast!

Fairholme Quilters have enjoyed two end of year parties, and revealed the outcomes of our two Christmas Challenges. Photos of the Monday Group party and Challenge are coming soon. This is what Tuesday nighters got up to. Dina kindly invited us into her home where we had a lovely evening, just dodged some rain and rounded out our year very pleasantly. Thanks Dina - you are very generous.

Of course there was a little chatting .....

And a little eating ......

And then a there was dessert .... an excellent range of goodies, including this ice-cream based version of Eton Mess devised by Lousie that proved VERY popular. She added a crumbled (small) Christmas pudding, broken up Toblerone, a honey comb bar, some dried fruit to softened vanilla ice cream and re-froze it. Louise says just use whatever is at hand - it certainly went down well.

Dina allowed us to poke through her sewing "room" - a combination of two rooms and a good sized landing. This is her bespoke ironing table - everyone wants one! Dina can wave to Marijke in her sewing room, from her own sewing room window!

A few treats were given out - a selection of reindeer ears with flashing lights -very chic.
And Heather very kindly presented me with this Ozzie Ostrich pen to help with the Blog ...... should I tell her that it's done on a computer, not with a pen? Maybe not!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Summer break .....

As you know, after this week's festivities on Monday and on Tuesday evening, we will have a break for several weeks over the summer. No doubt we will all have plenty to do (...... a comfy seat in the shade of a tree, gentle cooling breeze, a book, maybe a little hand sewing. maybe even some quilting on cooler days .....), but if you'd like to see some action on the blog from time to time, please feel more than welcome to contribute. Here are few easy ideas, I'm sure you'll have more ....
  • send a photo of any of your quilts that you'd care to share, with or without a note about it
  • tell us about your very favourite quilting book
  • tell and or show us what quilting/sewing you are working on, or just thinking about while we are having our break
  • if you are doing something or going somewhere exotic, let the rest of us share it vicariously in a note and/or pictures
  • do you have favourite quilting websites or blogs that we don't have linked here?
  • what is your favourite quilting gadget, and why?
  • if you come across any quilting news, such an exhibition we might need to visit, please pass it on.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Progress notes ....

Susan's "woven" top is ready for quilting - the block border fabric is a great choice to set off her Japanese print.

Heather reoriented her little "X-blocks" to achieve this basket weave effect. It is now ready for its brown borders.

Bev's Cut-out Magic fish are now caught in a couched bronze net (except for the escapee at the bottom!).

Wedges and diamonds

Jane is going round in circles with her wedge ruler - these are two separate pieces, although they might look as though they're joined in this photo. It is interesting that the design of the one on the left, created by the placement of the light and dark pieces is much more obvious as you either view it from further away, squint at it, or see a smaller image.

Back to the straight and narrowish, this combination of fabrics gives a 3-D look to Jane's table runner made from the leftover wedges.

Likewise with Dina's "French General" (named for the red fabric), the swirling pattern is more obvious in a smaller image:

Dina is trying out machine quilting with perle cotton - more when she is finished.
This is Dina's two jelly-roll large (!) quilt for her own bed, now completely finished, with every single diamond ditch-quilted by Dina, and stippled borders by Jane.

Jane's very similar sized, same pattern quilt is next under the machine.

...and one more ....

This photo "fell off the top" of the last post, so it gets its own ...... Maureen has made a vibrant delight for a little boy, with fabulous big-stitch quilting in the counterpanes (an idea that might get pinched for a few future productions ....). The backing is a fabulous train/plane/"things that go" print that someone forgot to take a photo of!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Community quilts

We've had a very good year for making community quilts. Thursday Sew-ins have given our efforts a good kick along, as well as giving members of the two groups opportunities to work together. Of course there have been others beavering away at home either making their own contributions or finishing off quilts that began life in the group. Here is a selection of those we still have - they will be going off to their new homes soon.
Dawn, Gerogie, Helen and other contributed the blocks for this jewel-box design. Lynette put the blocks together and had a few four-patches left over, which became the trip-around-the-world variation below ...

These lovely blocks were made by Lorraine M, Val, Lorraine K and Lynette, who again put them together. The touch of blue is brilliant.

Lyn L donated some yellow gingham and blue nine patches. With a little reinvention and the addition of a floral print or two, Lynette turned them into this very nice disappearing 9 patch.

A very appealing quilt has emerged from Helen B's mixed floral squares, put together by Lyn L, with a light green small check between. Jo S added the peeper and border, quilted it, and then bound it!
Thank you to everyone who has contributed, and continues to do so. We know there are about a dozen more still in the making to start us off in 2010.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thank you ....

Some of you know my son Declan - he's a delightful young man who has Down syndrome. He joined the Hornsby Rockets, a ten pin bowling team located at the local bowling alley, about eleven years ago. It has grown into a very important part of his life, and that of the 30 other members. You probably know some them too - Simon who works at Harris Farm and Warren who works at Franklins, Carolyn who works at Denman's cafe, perhaps. They meet up every Saturday morning, and of course some close friendships have developed over the years.

They sometimes travel to bowling competitions for the day or for the weekend, and each year for a week to attend the "Nationals". The club has no secure external funding and is supported by the members, their families and some very generous local individuals, organisations and businesses. Our President (a parent) is also, luckily, a professional bus driver! We're all happy to do it, but the budget is always a bit tight.

Next year's Nationals are in Perth and about 15 of the Rockets are planning to fly over, with a small group of parents to act as the necessary supporters. We are raising some money to help defray the costs (especially for those who do not have families to help out), including a Trivia Night scheduled for early 2010. Fairholme Quilters have very generously donated this quilt to help with fundraising on the night. Thank you so much - the Rockets would never have asked, but I thought you might consider it a worthy local cause to support from our community quilts efforts over the last few months .... and you did!

Susan and Helen selected five quilts from the "stash" for me to choose from, and it was a tough ask. They are all beautiful, and I know how much thought and work has gone into each one. I thought this one would appeal to a wide "audience", and it is a versatile size, as well as being gorgeous. I took it to the Rockets meeting on Saturday, and everyone said they hoped they won it (and offered to "mind" it until it has to be handed over to its eventual winner).

So thank you again. This one quilt will help " build community" for a few of our more vulnerable citizens, who need their community as much as any of us.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Good Weekend - 1984 revisited

The Good Weekend magazine (distributed with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne) is celebrating 25 years of publications. In a special edition to mark the occasion, GW took us back to significant events of 1984, including the scene in "A Country Practice" when Molly Jones died. At first glance it looks as though Molly's sofa is covered with a quilt, but on closer inspection it looks more like a fabric with a patchwork print. Does anyone remember?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Dear Jane" in glass .....

You know how quilters take inspiration from all over, and translate designs and artworks into quilts? Here's someone who has taken inspriation from Jane Stickle's Civil War quilt, and translated it into glass!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The X block files ......

This simply elegant quilt top was made by Dina from strip sets sewn from just three coordinating fabrics, cross-cut into squares - it has no angled seams.

Using the same technique, Lynette's black and white strip sets became these blocks (displayed on a design wall consisting of the underside of a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth):

And Pam's tan and cream blocks (note there are two sets) became the complex woven design below:

How can this be?

On Tuesday evening, Dina showed us how to use an X-block ruler:

Bev produced these classic blue and yellow combinations, and is deciding which way she wants the lines to run in the finished quilt.

Marijke chose pretty pink and cream:

Heather made a variation, with a narrow centre strip in earthy tones:

And Noelle began with true nine patches, with a subtle pattern in the centre, and a jade "zinger". The blocks are set in the same arrangement as Lynette's black and whites above, and Dina's finished top (first picture):

Very intriguing .......