28 April 2012

Springwood community quilt show

When I see a sign like this, I know to expect a treat.

The Springwood community quilt show is on for the seventh year and I was determined to go. I arranged to meet a friend for lunch at Springwood (she wouldn't let me back out) so I had the morning to drive to the beautiful Blue Mountains and visit the show. Look at all the quilts!

There were big quilts and small quilts; bright quilts and pastel quilts - everywhere.

Of course, I bought tickets to win the raffle quilt, a gorgeous blue and white Seven Sisters design. (It was made to come to me! Honestly, blue and white - fingers crossed I win.)

I admired the stunning quilts of Guest Quilter Lynne Alchin.

I chatted to the wonderful Isobel Lancashire, winner of the the 2012 Lut-Da Award, which goes to a quilter who has made an outstanding contribution to their local or quilting community via the medium of quilting.

I also caught up with the lovely Chris Jurd, a very talented quiltmaker who teaches all over the place!

I visited each of the TEN vendors there. It's worth going just to browse the stands for goodies. 

And, as I was leaving, I convinced one of the vendors to let me photograph her shoes. Aren't they fun?

The show is on again tomorrow at Springwood High School, Grose Road, Faulconbridge between 10am-4pm. I recommend a day in the mountains!

25 April 2012

Today we remember

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…

You are now living in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…

You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

 Mustafa Kemel Ataturk - 1934 
ANZAC  Memorial  at Gallipoli, Turkey

23 April 2012

Reflections on: my ideal quilt event

I have a daydream that one day I will encounter my ideal quilt event. It will provide everything on my list of desires and cater perfectly to them. This is my fantasy, so I get to choose what's in it.

Since I started visiting quilt shows, conventions and other events 25 years ago, I have been compiling a mental list of things I like and do not like about them. When I started out, I liked pretty much everything since I was new to the quilting world and fairly ignorant of what was out there. I was like a sponge, soaking up all information I could glean and buying whatever fabric and products I liked.

Soon, though, some events started to irritate me and others left me wanting more. I became selective and stopped going to many of them. After all these years, I can now pronounce exactly what I would like to see in my perfect show and what will make me excited.

Physical factors of the event’s location play a part. I want a place where there is free parking nearby or a train station right outside the venue. I don't want to have to pay ridiculously high prices for parking (Darling Harbour, I'm looking at you). Actually, a free pick-up from my home and return at the end of the day would be ideal, thanks. Casinos do it, so why can't other venues?

The entrance price to the show should reflect the value of its content. To pay over $15 just to have the opportunity to shop from a limited range of vendors - forget it. I'd rather shop online.

The venue must be air-conditioned and have excellent lighting. Nothing is displayed at its best in dark spots and shadows. The floor should not be hard and unyielding, but comfortable underfoot. There should be decent food available on site at reasonable prices and every visitor should always be able to find a seat when they need one.

The event should be free of small children. (Remember, this is my fantasy. If you have small children, feel free to disagree, but you'd probably enjoy a show more without your kids. They only see people's legs - where's the fun in that for them?)

There should be an extensive program that is on an easily accessible web page months before the event and a printed version I can collect at the show. It's not good enough to say they've all been taken in the first hour of the day.

There has to be stimulating content and activities to attract me to the event, not just a hall full of people selling stuff. Once I am there, I want well-displayed quilts and textiles that take my breath away; vendor’s stands full of interesting and tempting purchases and plenty of product demonstrations.

I don’t want multi-day workshops. I want hands-on workshops that last half a day at the most, so I can arrange my days to allow me to dip into different techniques and learn from a variety of teachers. The workshops will be at reasonable prices and include all the requirements so I don't have to lug around more stuff.

I want to listen to quilters and textile artists talk about and show examples of their work. Hour-long lectures are exciting – it’s long enough to get inspired. I want also to be able to talk to practising quilt and textile artists as I watch what they do and how they go about creating their work in studio situations. (I still haven't recovered from my visit to the Festival of Quilts in England three years ago. It was simply paradise.)

Obviously this is my very personal list of desires. Yours will be different, and I’d love to hear what would be on it, so please leave a comment about your fantasy show. I bet all of us have two requirements in common, though – feet that never get sore as well as plenty of spending money!

21 April 2012

16 April 2012


Sometimes I just yearn to make a simple, pretty quilt. Something with cool colours and not a lot of contrast. To make me feel restful and soothed.

So I'm happily sewing these tumbler blocks. Sitting at my machine in front of the window, with a gentle breeze blowing in. Really, this is so satisfying.

12 April 2012

Sewing room reorganisation

Slowly and thoroughly, I am purging my sewing room of all the rubbish that has accumulated there over the past 12 years. It's a long, skinny room and it had become way too easy to dump stuff there. Do you have a room like that, too?

It's not finished yet but I am starting to see the bones of a more functional room. It will also be one in which I will enjoy more time.

So. Imagine you have walked through the door and start looking anticlockwise. This is the sewing end. Imagine the entry door that is next to the bookcase. Existing bookcase, new tables (I love them), existing sewing table (SewEzi - brilliant), colourful drawers for my sewing tools, bobbins, machine feet and scissors etc. Just ignore the vacuum cleaner.

You can see the wall under the window is partially painted. The new colour is a lovely light buttery yellow. I love it. More painting to come. 

Next to the colourful drawers are two tall existing bookcases. To paint that wall, I will have to remove all the books and move the bookcases. Not sure I'm feeling motivated to do that, to tell the truth. Maybe that can be my last step.

Next to the bookcases and under the second window is my cutting table. Hooray - I now have a standing-up height cutting table! This used to be the table I used as a desk but, since its legs are adjustable, I decided to use it for this purpose.

This is the opposite end of the room to the sewing room. It has the existing design wall and ironing board. I like to get up from the machine and walk to press pieces because it makes me move.

You'll just have to imagine the other wall (the one facing the windows. It has a filing cabinet, four sets of drawers on castors and two large cupboards full of fabric. Trust me, you're not going to see that!

There's still a lot of sorting and organising (and painting!) to be done but I'm happy that I can actually use the space right now. Excuse me now, I feel the urge to go back there.

04 April 2012

Sari ribbon

Look what arrived today! Absolutely gorgeous sari ribbon (Pretty in Pastel colourway)
 from Dale at The Thread Studio. I didn't really know what to expect - here is my hank.
 All hand-dyed, so there are subtle colour variations.

Here's a closeup shot of one end, where you can better see the variations and the embroidery.

I couldn't wait to unravel it, so as soon as I did, I took this closeup shot of some of the strips. See that tiny blue jewel? My strips have several of these - aren't I lucky?

I was planning to knit all the strips but now that I've seen them, I will set a few aside for a different project as well. Thanks Dale - fun times ahead!