Wrap up of our October meeting

Before November progresses too much further, here’s the wrap up of our October meeting.

First – the show and tell. There was so much! So inspiring and such great stories to tell.

And next, Crystal and Amira filled us in on publishing patterns – filling us in on Craftsy and more. Crystal has added her handout to our Facebook page.

Four quilts
Clockwise from top left – 1. Paulette’s challenge quilt. 2. Jen’s Bright Amy Butler quilt. 3. Nurdan’s fantastic take on modern. 4. Tracey’s stripes and flowers for her mum.
Applique and feathers
Top – Clair’s applique in progress – from a class with Sarah Fielke. Bottom – two shots of Mon’s quilt featuring free motion quilted peacock feathers.

Members spotlight: Danielle part one

With this post we have another very talented guild member, Danielle. To start, tell us a little bit about yourself! What got you interested in quilting? When did you first find modern quilting?

It’s a little hard to say how long I’ve been quilting, it’s been something that has evolved over quite a few years. I grew up surrounded by craft, my Mum was a dressmaker and made all my sister’s and my clothes when we were little. She did a course at TAFE and was even proficient at making bras and undies although I don’t think she particularly enjoyed that part of the course and nobody in the family ever benefited from that. We did, however, have a wardrobe of beautiful dresses and other pretty things. My Nana (Mum’s mum) was also a prolific sewist, as well as a knitter, spinner and weaver. She taught me to knit when I was about seven, but before (and after) that I remember trying my hand at the spinning wheel, and my grandfather made me a mini version of her loom. Family holidays at their home in Cooma were very crafty, and it was there I learnt to appreciate the cosiness of sitting by the fire with a cuppa and my knitting. I’ve always been a Nana!! I knitted and cross-stitched my way through uni but it wasn’t until I had a proper job that I took a real interest in quilting (my Mum – and Nana – had by that stage made a definite shift from dressmaking to quilting) – I must have known that some income would be required to support this hobby! I started hand-piecing blocks (they were never sewn into a quilt), and made a couple of quilts for friends’ babies, always with help from Mum. It wasn’t until the first wave of more modern fabrics arrived (around 2009) that I became really swept away (this was around the time i discovered quilting blogs too!) and the sewing (and fabric collecting) frenzy began. I spent a lot of time lurking on modern quilting groups on Flickr, and participated in quite a few swaps and bees.

The first quilt Mum made for me is now over twenty years old and still lives on our couch – along with another she made for my 30th birthday – and I love to see my kids snuggled up under them now, one of the reasons I love quilting and making so much.

Do you do any other craft besides quilting?
I still love to knit, although this has been on the back burner in recent years. I used to make a lot of jumpers and cardigans, but now prefer to make things which are quicker to finish (and so I’ve made the same cowl pattern now seven times in a row, why not stick to a good thing?)

How has your style changed over the years?

My early efforts in quilting consisted of a lot of blanket stitch appliqué, my (very small!) fabric stash was quite cottagey, and probably the only fabric designer I knew by name was Debbie Mumm. Nowadays my style is much more eclectic, I like saturated colours but I also love to mix things up a bit – a repro 30s style flowery print can look quite at home next to a bold geometric black and white print. I’m learning a lot about what I do and don’t like, and which fabrics work together, through the online fabric shop that I run with my friend Jeannette Bruce, Polka Dot Tea.

I think I’m still finding my way in selecting fabrics and colours, I would love to have more time to be free to play and experiment – at the moment I just need to sew as fast as I can in the limited time available, there’s no time for standing back and gazing at the design wall, unfortunately! Hopefully there will be in the future. I don’t do any blanket stitch appliqué anymore (except on my son’s scout blanket!)

What are you currently working on?

Well, there is a large number of WIPs, I can’t deny it. But the main projects I’m working on are a few EPP (English paper pieced) quilts – I’m addicted to hexies, and I can see myself making at least one hexy quilt every year into infinity. I love hand sewing and I’m rarely sitting down doing nothing, there are always hexies to be stitched or basted, appliqué to be stitched, or hand quilting to do (and if not, there’s knitting). I am about 70 per cent through making Jen Kingwell’s Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt, which is a mixture of appliqué, hand and machine piecing, and I really must pick it up again. In terms of machine pieced quilts, I have a second Swoon quilt well underway, and a number of others in various states (farmer’s wife, granny squares, butterflies, to name a few) – I’m trying to get through a few in order to allow myself to start on some new projects.


Danielle’s current hexy project – 7/8″ Liberty hexies

What is your favourite part about quilting? What is your least favourite?

My favourite part is probably making the individual components of blocks – I really dislike sewing rows of blocks together, but by that stage I just want to get the thing finished so I don’t stop! And of course I love stitching hexies and appliqué.

Show us your sewing space! What’s the best thing you ever bought into it?

My sewing space is one of my biggest WIPs, but it should be finished soon, I hope. I’m lucky enough to have our converted garage as a studio, but I’m still in the process of getting it organised. My Dad made me a fantastic cutting bench with storage underneath. So currently my sewing space is the dining table – and my husband is very tolerant of my piles of fabric which tend to accumulate there (and yes, other places around the house too). I like to sew at the table though, it means I’m in amongst everyone and can still be with the kids.


Where else can we find you?

Hanging out on Instagram (@petitselefants), or in the shop ( My blog ( is quite neglected these days but is a good record of a lot of my work.

Thanks Danielle for telling us about yourself. Can’t wait until the next post where we’ll learn about her inspirations and what technique she’d like to learn next.

Meeting on Thursday

Our next meeting is Thursday, back at the civic library – 7:30pm.

If you’ve finished your challenge blue and white quilt for the Braidwood quilt event, bring it along. More information here.

Getting your patterns published will be the theme of the night. Crystal and Amira will step us through the world of Craftsy and more.

Could be a great way to make some money to buy more fabric essentials!

Braidwood Quilt Event – Blue and White Challenge hosted by Canberra Modern Quilt Guild

In 2014, the Braidwood Quilt Event will be holding a Blue and White Challenge. Within that challenge will be a special feature of mini quilts. The quilts will be displayed as part of the Event on 22 & 23 November 2014. All quilts, including Mini Quilts entered will be eligible for the Blue and White Viewer’s choice award. Please read the rules carefully before filling out the online entry form.

  • Quilts may be in any style (traditional, art, modern, etc).
  • Quilts may include any design elements (including handwork, applique, piecing, whole cloth, improvisation, etc).
  • You do not need to be a member of any quilt guild to enter a quilt
  • Entry is open to all makers from any country.
  • Quilts must have not been previously entered into a Braidwood Quilt Event.
  • Quilts must be labeled with the quilt name, makers name and date and have a hanging sleeve.
  • Quilts must be provided in a fabric bag (a pillow slip is perfect) labeled with the quilt name, makers name and makers address.
  • All quilts entered in the Event must meet the following requirements:
    • Be made using PREDOMINANTLY blue and white.
    • Have three layers (backing, batting and top) joined together with stitching or tying.
    • Have a finished binding on the edge of the quilt.
    • Have been made in the past two years.
    • If entering a mini quilt: For this Event, a mini quilt is one that measures 24″ or less per side or has a total perimeter of 96”. The quilt can be any shape as long as it does not exceed the size or perimeter limit.
    • All of the people who worked on the quilt (paid or not) must be credited on the entry form.
  • There will be a Viewer’s Choice award for the quilt which receives the most votes between 9am Saturday 22 November and 2pm Sunday 23 November.
  • The Exhibit Organisers reserve the right accept or deny any quilt for display and to reject any quilts that are in poor condition when received and seen in person. Including but not limited to stained or torn fabric (which does not form part of the design), poor craftsmanship, an unfinished quilt or a quilt that does not meet the size requirements. Any quilt that is rejected by the Event Organisers will be returned to the entrant and will not be displayed in the exhibit.
  • There are no refunds on entry fees once a quilt has been submitted.
  • The decisions of the Event Organisers is final.
  • Online entry is preferred however entries will also be accepted by mail to PO Box 370, Dickson, ACT 2602. You can enter your quilt by clicking here
  • The closing date for entry is Friday 14 November 2014. ALL Quilts and entry forms must be received no later than 4pm Friday 14 November 2014. Quilts will be accepted at the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild Meeting of 23 October 2014, or by mail to PO Box 370, Dickson, ACT 2602 by Friday 14 November.
  • Quilts must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed parcel bag for return. The Event Organisers will mail the quilt back to the entrant between 24 and 28 November 2014.
  • The entry fee is $10 and provides for entry of up to two quilts. No more than two quilts per entrant will be accepted.
  • The Event does not discriminate against entrants based on race, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or marital status.

For More Information

If you have any questions, please contact Julie McMahon at

Members spotlight: Coral part 2

Welcome to the second post to hear a bit more about Coral. Show us your sewing space! What’s the best thing you ever bought into it?

I’m lucky that I have my own room for my sewing space. The way I see it, if my husband gets a room for all his crap, I mean computer equipment, then I get a room too.

Without a doubt, my most important tool is my Janome MC6600P in a table so it’s flush with the top. Since getting this machine my quilting techniques have improved across the board. It was an investment in my continued growth as a quilter. I also love my Fiskars 60mm rotary cutter. I like it BIG if you know what I mean. 😉

11. My Sewing Room
My sewing area and my helper bulldog
12. My Stash
My stash
13. The other side
It’s what I like to call “organised messy”

Where do you find your inspiration? Who are your quilt idols? What is inspiring you right now? Please tell us five things that are inspiring you right now

I’m definitely inspired by all the amazing quilters out there, especially machine quilters. OG machine quilters Harriet Hargrave and Diane Gaudynski inspire me with their flawless traditional quilts. Heirloom Machine Quilting is my bible. I’m also inspired by more contemporary and modern quilters like Ann Fahl, Karen McTavish (she replied to me on Twitter once!), Angela Walters and Leah Day.

I’ve been pretty crafty all my life. I’m lucky to have been exposed to many talented and creative women over the years.

My Mom is an amazing seamstress. She made countless Halloween costumes and Barbie clothes for me and my sister Pearl (yes our names are ocean themed). Every year we would make a different homemade Christmas ornament to send to family members. When I was a senior in high school (year 12) I wanted a gold dress for prom. So she made me one out of gold lamé. She always encouraged my sister and I to do what we loved, regardless of what it was, and still does to this day.

14. Halloween
Halloween. I was Peter Pan NOT Robin Hood
15. Prom
Prom 2000. The suit and the date were rentals

My Grandma Mary Jean first exposed me to quilting, but also fostered a sense of curiosity and play in me, and all her other grandkids, from a young age. I remember making marble runs and Lincoln log houses with her. I was luck enough to live with her and my Grandpa during the summers during my undergraduate. Even though I was in my late teens/early 20s and was of course thinking only of myself, I treasured that time we had to get to know each other. For her 80th birthday in 2011 I made a memory quilt from all our family photos for her. It’s one of my favourite quilts that I’ve made. We recently collaborated on a wedding quilt for my sister and her husband. Grandma pieced the top and I quilted it.

16. Wedding Quilt 2
My brother in law, my sister, my Grandma Mary Jean and me presenting the wedding quilt

My Grandma Lois was super creative and dabbled in probably every craft known to man. You know that saying about “she who dies with the biggest stash wins”? Well, too late, because Grandma Lois won. When we were kids we used to spend several weeks each summer at her house. She always had amazing stuff for us to do. We got to dig in the garden, paint fences and bird houses, make those awful puffy paint t-shirts that were super popular at the time. Grandma Lois loved Victorian décor and pink, but she also loved to go to the hardware store and get her hands dirty. I inherited her Ginger scissors and pinking sheers. It means a lot to me to use tools that she used. Grandma Lois passed away in 2011. I made a quilt in her memory with her favourite pinks, roses and lace. Making it was very cathartic for me.

17. Grandma's Roses Quilt
Grandma’s Roses quilt at the Braidwood Exhibition

My Nan was born and raised in Manly in Sydney. She was a war bride and moved to the USA in 1945. Although she wasn’t related by blood, she was an old family friend who took care of my sister and I from the time we were six weeks old. She taught us how to knit cotton washcloths, do printed and (eek!) counted cross-stitch. More importantly she made us finish our homework before we could watch Days of Our Lives. Before I came to Australia she gave me the priceless advice of “Don’t let those Aussie boys lead you down the garden path.” I use scarves she knitted for me all winter long. Nan passed away earlier this year just shy of her 91st birthday. I plan to make a quilt named “I Still Call Australia Home” in her memory.

18. Nan
Nan and me on her 80th birthday in 2004

I’ve been lucky to have many, many more special and inspiring women in my life. And I think of them while I’m creating.

Thanks Coral for sharing this with us. Remember you can find Coral on Twitter and Threadbias and maybe soon making an appearance on Instagram. 

Sewing day on Sunday

Sunday 12 October is our next sewing day.

It’s at Addicted to Fabric in Phillip from 9am to 4pm.

Bring along your machines and projects. There’s a great design wall, lots of inspiration and a shop full of fabric!!

If you like, bring along something for morning or afternoon tea to share. There’s a small fee to cover tea and coffee and the use of the shop

Our September meeting was all about getting your quilts exhibition-ready!

Coral talked us through blocking a quilt. Who knew that you should soak your quilt in a bathtub! Seriously though, blocking is all about ensuring that your quilt is squared up, so it will hang flat. Very important if you’re exhibiting and want to show the judges that your quilt is professionally finished. Blocking is also a great way to rid your quilt of stray quilting or pin holes.

And then to continue the theme, Sylvia showed us her fantastic technique for sewing binding on the bias, and the perfect bias finish. Ever the professional, Sylvia brought along several mini quilt samples, some finished and some in progress, to help us better see the technique.

Challenge quilts

And just a reminder to get working on your blue and white challenge quilts for the Braidwood quilt show on Saturday and Sunday, 22 and 23 November. We’ll be posting full details soon, but for now the quilts are to be mainly blue and white, and with a maximum size of 24 inches square.

We also want to show off our modern quilts. Have a think about which one you want to exhibit. The modern quilt section will only have limited room.

Members spotlight – Coral part 1

Our next members spotlight is the talented and award winning Coral. Tell us a little bit about yourself! What got you interested in quilting? 

Hi, I’m Coral. I’m originally from Northern California, but have lived in Australia for nearly 10 years now and call it home.

Me with my quilt at the Under 35s Quilt Comp in Sydney earlier this year.
Me with my quilt at the Under 35s Quilt Comp in Sydney earlier this year.

I was first exposed to quilts by my Grandma, who took it up as a hobby after retiring. She made quilts for all her grandkids’ high school graduations. I made my first quilt in 2006 when I was living by myself in Las Vegas for a few months. I called my Grandma for help with the extreme basics, like what “WOF” stood for. It’s more than a bit crooked, but I still love it.

2. My First Quilt
A woven strip quilt from McCall’s QuickQuilts magazine.

After that I made a few small quilts and projects, but I really caught the bug in 2010, when I decided to make a wedding quilt for my best friend. I had found a simple nine patch pattern and went to my local quilt shop for a “your choice” class to get help. After that, I was hooked. I made a nearly king size quilt, and the process also helped me make it through some tough times at work. I knew then I was a quilter.

3. Promise of Spring
The Promise of Spring made in 2010

When did you first find modern quilting? And, do you do any other craft besides quilting?

I first found modern quilting when I started browsing some blogs. I LOVE quilt magazines, but in 2010, not many had caught the modern bug – especially in Australia. Through various blogs I found out about the Modern Quilt Guild. To be honest, the explanation of a modern quilt on the MQG site at the time turned me off – I like using regular blocks and I love prints. Nevertheless, I made my first “modern” style quilt in 2011 for a baby gift.

4. First Modern Style Quilt
The striped and flower fabrics were from my Grandma Mary Jean’s 80th birthday party

When I moved to Canberra and heard that a MQG was starting, I was more interested in checking out the group dynamic than adhering to a prescriptive style. I’ve found the group to be so welcoming. It adds a lot of joy to my quiltmaking to share it with people who understand and are passionate about the craft.

At the moment, I also do crochet (I love amigurumi), embroidery and cross-stitch. But quilting is definitely my creative passion and escape.

5. Amigurumi Elephant
Amigurumi Elephant I made this year for a co-worker’s new baby

How has your style changed over the years?

That’s a tough question. I’ve definitely evolved in the complexity of my piecing, as well as machine quilting. I suppose maybe my “taste” level has improved. I’m still pretty attracted to “twee” prints and themes. I’ve definitely started to be influenced by the more modern style of Canberra MQG members, but I think I will still remain a more “contemporary” style quilter.

My biggest accomplishment is my Star of India quilt. It’s a Jinny Beyer pattern I started at a class at Rosemont Patchwork in Tuggeranong. The star fabrics are almost all from my stash. It took me nine months to piece it and nine months to quilt it (with other projects in between of course). I felt like this was my “thesis” quilt to go from a beginning quilter to an intermediate. I’m very proud that it won 1st prize in Contemporary Quilts at the Royal Canberra Show and 2nd in Bed Quilts (Non-Professional) at the Canberra Quilters Exhibition. It will also be showing at the Australian Machine Quilters Association Show in Adelaide in October. It then goes on permanent display in my guest room, which is being designed around the quilt.

6. Star of India
Me with my quilt Star of India at the exhibition

What are you currently working on?

I just finished a quilt top with “hexagons” made up of 60 degree triangles. I was inspired by the bee fabric and I’m quite pleased by how it’s turned out, even though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting due to some maths errors. It’s off being quilted by Gone Aussie Quilting.

7. Bee's Knees Quilt
Bee’s Knees “hexagon” quilt

At the moment I’m working on a blue and white mini quilt for the Braidwood Quilt Event challenge. I was inspired by a buzzsaw block I found in a quilt magazine. I had a lovely 5” roll of various blues from PolkaDotTea fabrics on hand. I like using modern style fabrics on traditional blocks. I’m also keen to quilt some killer feathers. I love to quilt feathers!

8. Buzzsaw
Buzzsaw blocks

What is your favourite part about quilting? What is your least favourite?

My favorite is definitely the quilting. I’ve worked very hard over the last four years to become a strong machine quilter. I was so pleased to see this hard work rewarded with the award for Excellence in Machine Quilting (Domestic) for my Star of India quilt at the Canberra Quilters Exhibition.

9. Star of India Close Up
Close up of the feathered quilting on Star of India

My least favourite would have to be trimming the threads on the back of the quilt top before basting. It’s so tedious and you never can quite get them all. But it does prevent those nasty strays from showing through after quilting, so I always do it anyway.

Is there a technique on your list to learn this year? How do you like to learn new techniques?

I’m going to knuckle down and vanquish half square triangles. I can never get the darn points to match, but I’m going to figure it out. I have a UFO with Ocean Waves blocks. There are 32 HSTs in each block, so that should be good practice. I’ve also got my eye on some machine appliqué patterns and would like to work on my technique there.

10. Ocean Waves
Ocean Waves block

I’m a visual learner so I love tutorials and books with lots of images. Videos are great too. Nothing beats a class with a hands-on teacher though. I find I learn so much in classes – much more than merely the topic of the class.

Where can we find you?

I’m mainly on Twitter. I can be verbose (as exhibited here), so Twitter keeps me concise. I love the interactions on Twitter as well. I keep thinking I need to get on Instagram since it seems like EVERYONE is on it, but I haven’t made the jump just yet. I probably need to get it figured out before QuiltCon.

I also keep track of all my projects on Threadbias.

That’s the end of part one for Coral. Keep an eye out for the second part where we hear about Coral’s inspirations and see a fantastic halloween costume

Thursday is our September meeting

Our September meeting – Thursday 25 September – is just around the corner.

Coral is going to explain the steps for getting a quilt show-ready. And this is in preparation for all the quilts we’ll be entering for the Braidwood showing of the quilts – 22-23 November!

Come along and hear about our blue and white mini quilt challenge for Braidwood, and our plans to enter our modern quilts to the show.

For anyone new to our guild, we meet at Civic Library – see you there!!!

Members Spotlight: Amira Part 2

Welcome to the second part of the members spotlight on Amira. So Amira what are you currently working on?

Currently I have just finished two quilt tops which I am currently quilting on. One is the Modern Medallion, which the pattern is by Crystal, a member of this guild as well. I have enjoyed making this quilt with all the improve style patchwork. Although I did find a bit of struggle here and there, I love the process of learning. Secondly is the “Swoon” quilt, pattern by Camille Roskelley. I am having fun doing free motion quilting on this one so far!

What is your favourite part about quilting? What is your least favourite?

I love piecing / patchwork and the quilting itself. I invest a great amount of time into freemotion quilting as I enjoy this part so much. My least favourite would be basting. I don’t have a large area for basting but find this part is critical to get good results when I start to quilt, so I have to spend a lot of time and redo this part.

Making small projects but with lots of free motion quilting is my favourite of all because basically it eliminates the time spent on basting!

Red modern patchwork table runner

Quilted placemats

Is there a technique on your list to learn this year? How do you like to learn new techniques?

I would love to learn how to do more curve piecing. I need to improve my skill doing this. Another thing on the list is hand quilting. I really admire Sarah Fielke’s work, and I consider her being a modern quilter as well with all her strong choices of fabrics and the free mind of quit designs.

Here is a modern quilt I made with an inspiration from Sarah Fileke’s fabulous needle turn technique.
Feather Mini Quilt_Feather quilting_Modern Applique

Show us your sewing space! What’s the best thing you ever bought into it?

Here is my current sewing space. I love every bit of it. The best thing would be the Janome Horizon which I invested in last year. This machine has definitely helped me bring free-motion quilting to another level.

Sewing Space

Thanks for hanging around – come and say hello on my blog!

And don’t forget, here’s where else we can find Amira

I am also on Instagram :

And Flickr :

Our August meeting

Here’s some photos from our August meeting. The show and tell just kept coming and then we had a chance to look through the latest fabric range from Polkadottea.

Coral's award-winning quilt
A close-up of Coral’s free motion quilting. Stars and feathers anyone?!
Amira's rainbow version of the Modern Medallion!
Amira’s rainbow version of the Modern Medallion!
Clair used her own @beeandlotus fabric in the centre - bold and beautiful!
Clair used her own @beeandlotus fabric in the centre – bold and beautiful!
A close-up of Danielle's hand quilting. A Sarah Fielke pattern.
A close-up of Danielle’s hand quilting. A Sarah Fielke pattern.
Lots of acid green, purple and red in Tracey's quick finish - speedy gonzales!!
Lots of acid green, purple and red in Tracey’s quick finish – speedy gonzales!!
Just finished the day before the quilt meeting - a Sarah Fielke pattern. Hand appliquéd and quilted.
Just finished the day before the quilt meeting – a Sarah Fielke pattern. Hand appliquéd and quilted by Danielle.