CMQG Charity Quilt Off to QuiltCon 2018

After one of the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild’s members had seen so many great charity quilts at the previous years’ QuiltCon, she inspired the Guild to create our own version for 2018.

With the theme of “modern traditionalism”, we wanted to use a base block that we hadn’t often seen used in modern quilts. We also wanted a block that everyone in our guild could help with, whatever their experience level in modern quilting.
Guild member Carolyn Goonrey came up with a few designs using the rail fence block. This was refined to the final design, which used space and colour to explore what a fence and boundary means.

This theme and block resonated strongly with our Guild, as planning regulations in Canberra don’t allow front fences. Instead, people find other ways, such as fences made of shrubs, to put in barriers around their houses.

When talking about the theme of fences, we also reflected on the many conversations taking place in Australia around refugees, and the hardline stand that the Australian Government takes.

We called this quilt “Don’t Fence Me Out” to reflect how we want to be more open and inviting to our neighbours and refugees.

Once the design was finalised, Carolyn set up foundation paper piece patterns. This ensured that regardless of different skills, machines or seam allowances, the final blocks would all be consistent.

The first group of blocks were made at our annual Canberra Modern Quilt Guild show to demonstrate the work the Guild does. Blocks were also given to interested members to put together. Our September 2017 sewing day had Guild members working hard to finish the remaining blocks. After a final sewing bee weekend at a member’s home, the top was finished.

To keep with the theme, we wanted to quilt “welcome” in different languages that reflect the heritage of our members, as well as the Ngunnawal and Ngambi peoples – the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land where the city of Canberra was built.

These words were then quilted across the quilt, along with straight lines to reflect the borders and boundaries that are around us all. A floral motif was added to represent the Canberra bluebell, the floral emblem of the Australian Capital Territory.

It was great fun working with the guild to pull this together. After being displayed at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena California, the Guild will use the quilt to support a local charity benefiting refugees.

Members spotlight – Danielle part two

Welcome to the second part where we learn more about Danielle. Is there a technique on your list to learn this year? How do you like to learn new techniques?

I would love to do more foundation paper piecing. I have done a few blocks here and there (all bee blocks, I think!) but would love to do something of my choosing and for me. I like to learn by just jumping in, perhaps reading a tutorial or two and maybe having a friend to sew the same thing with so we can help each other and laugh at our mistakes instead of despairing alone. Another technique I’d like to try is top-down or open seam piecing. Sarah Fielke’s quilt In the Night Garden is made using this technique and it’s a stunner!

Where do you find your inspiration?

One of the things I really love about quilting is how there is inspiration everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a pattern on a floor, or a wall, in a building, even on packaging, and thought, that could make a quilt! I love going to friends’ houses who have older style bathrooms because very often there will be an amazing tessellated tile pattern on the floor or walls. I’d love to say that every time I see an object in this way that I rush home and whip up a quilt, or at least draw the pattern and save it for later, but sadly that’s not where my headspace is right now – I’m hoping that in years to come when life is not so crazy that I will have a lot more time to reflect on design and nature and turn my ideas into all the things!

Of course in the meantime there is inspiration non-stop if you choose to engage in social media – sometimes I think there is too much! I’m constantly astounded by how many people just like me there are all over the world, with the same motivation to make beautiful things. It has been wonderful to connect with people long distances away in an instant, and I’ve made some very close friendships with lovely people I’ve met online (and have been lucky enough to meet some of them in real life too, while on holidays in the UK and US).

Who are your quilt idols?
It is hard to narrow my quilt idols to one or two. I’ll start with fabric – my absolute favourite designer would have to be Anna Maria Horner. Her colour palette is my idea of perfection, pretty much anything she brings out I love. First and foremost it’s about the colour, or the combination of colours, but secondly it’s the drawings – Anna is an artist above anything else, and I love that she shares her work and her inspiration on her blog and on Instagram. I also love Denyse Schmidt – I love how she borrows from vintage fabrics and re-interprets them with a modern style and colour palette. And the simplicity and crispness of her quilts make them a stand out for me. Recently I’ve fallen in love with Carolyn Friedlander’s fabrics – Carolyn has a background in architecture and her fabric designs (and quilt designs) very much reflect this; they are very geometric and line-based, in soft but contrasting colours.

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Sarah Fielke, an Australian quilter and designer, has been a big influence on me. I love her use of colour, and am a big fan of appliqué and hand quilting, both of which Sarah employs by the bucketload. One of my favourite quilts I’ve ever made is her Millefiori pattern, all hand quilted and appliquéd.

Jen Kingwell, another Aussie, is a big favourite too. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m part-way through making her Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern, and have several other of her patterns lined up for next year (and beyond). Again I admire her use of colour and envy her ability to throw such eclectic mixes of fabrics together as if they always belonged that way.

What five things or people are inspiring you right now?

1. Antique quilts – People have been making quilts forever – I feel it connects us with the past and I see my quilts as part of my legacy. I love looking at antique quilts in books and online (there is a great catalogue on the Victoria and Albert Museum website), and one day I would like to tackle a reproduction of an epic antique quilt. I’m thinking I might start with the 1718 Coverlet, which is an English quilt, pieced and appliquéd, and recently reproduced and published with its own book.
2. Blue Elephant Stitches – I love Jolene’s quilts – they’re not fancy, they’re just simple, and beautiful.
3. Flossie Teacakes – Florence makes the most beautiful things, she always has some EPP on the go and invariably it involves Liberty. I also love the way she writes – I hope she’ll come out with a book one day! And she has a very cute puppy.
4. Make Something – I’ve followed Karen in Toronto since I rediscovered sewing a few years ago. She makes fabulous clothing (something I would love to do more!) as well as the occasional quilt.
5. Japanese modern quilters – they have a style that is all their own. I’ve recently discovered Patchwork Tsushin magazine, which is a treasure trove of incredible quilts (primarily what we would describe as modern). Unfortunately the magazine is only available in Japanese, but the photography is wonderful and the patterns have clear diagrams and measurements included. Japanese fabric designers are also worth seeking out for their modern fabrics – some of my favourites are Suzuko Koseki (who specialises in modernising retro motifs), Kumiko Fujita, Kei and Keiko Goke.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Where else can we find you?

Hanging out on Instagram (@petitselefants), or in the shop (polkadottea.com). My blog (mespetitselefants.blogspot.com) 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.

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. 

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!
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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! http://littlemushroomcap.blogspot.com/

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

I am also on Instagram : http://instagram.com/amira_littlemushroomcap/

And Flickr : https://www.flickr.com/photos/80151063@N06/

Members Spotlight: Amira

In the third members spotlight, we have the wonderful Amira. You can find Amira on her blog http://littlemushroomcap.blogspot.com/ or @amira_littlemushroomcap on instagram or on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/80151063@N06/So I’ll let Amira start for our first part of the spotlight on her.

Hi, I am Amira, Malaysian who is currently in Australia for the last 2.5 years. I am a postgraduate student doing Physics at the Australian National University here in Canberra, Australia.

What got you interested in quilting?

How did I get caught in this quilting world? I could say, I have always been sewing all my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I would hand sew a lot of Barbies clothes and would make small items such as coin purses. I owe the talent and interest to my mum who also has sewing as her main hobby. We aren’t exposed to quilting in Malaysia as the weather is 24/7 365 days very warm already. So there was no need to snuggle into quilts. When I came here to Australia a few years back, I knew the first thing I have to own is a sewing machine. So, I bought a sewing machine from the local quilt store. Browsing through the store there, I knew I wanted to learn how to do patchwork and quilts! With limited time for quilting classes during the day, I decide to learn through the net and magazines. And it never stops till now. I also mainly start patchwork and quilting because there are so many gorgeous fabrics out there these days!!

How has your style changed over the years?

Since I have not been quilting for long yet (~3 years), I am still in search for my own style that I love. In the meantime, I am enjoying learning all sorts of technique and style. I am also not limiting myself to modern style of quilting and rather open about the title modern quilter. I would love to learn more about modern quilting and hence I am here in the modern quilt guild!

When did you first find modern quilting and who are your quilt idols? 

Modern quilting came to me when I found Jacquie Gering’s blog http://tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com/ which I fall in love with in an instant. I bought the book “Quilting Modern” not long after that. I made a baby quilt and table mats with a bit of inspiration from the book. Of course, it is then I get to know Katie Pederson the co-author of the book. Not long after that, I also found Elizabeth Hartman. I also bought her book the Modern Patchwork. I love her style of patchwork and quilting. Although she uses repeated blocks, the end results maintain its simplicity and I would say remains modern. I love repeated blocks and believe I myself have made more quilts with repeated blocks.

Modern Placemat_a

I also love the modern quilting trends which I believe started with Angela Walter’s gorgeous freemotion work. I love to do freemotion myself with my domestic machine. I love that Angela lets herself free with freemotion and yet produces incredible jaw dropping quilting results.

CMQG Meeting May13__ Amira's S&T

Where do you find your inspiration and what is inspiring you right now? 

I find inspiration from everywhere. I see quilts wherever I go. Don’t we all? 😛

There are also bucket loads of talented quilters on Instagram, too many to list down. Every one of them is wonderful.

Here are five other things inspiring me: Spring. Buildings photos. Tiles designs. Textures in nature. Seeing other people’s quilt design – currently loving QDAD group in facebook.

 

Do you do any other craft besides quilting?

Other than quilting, I have also started to crochet and knit. Often crochet and knitting projects are going at a very slow rate due to more sewing time and very limited “free time”.

Sock knitting

Crochet Granny squares blanket _6

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of the members spotlight on Amira. Stay tuned for the second part where we’ll learn more about Amira including what she is working on now 

May Meeting and some news!

Danielle Plus

Another month gone by and it’s meeting time again! First up, the meeting details:

This month we are going to have a BYO project night.

We are expecting to have a large show and tell as there will quite a few quilts that were exhibited in Berry to get through (those who exhibited, please do bring your quilt along).

Also, we have received the Michael Miller Challenge fabrics to distribute so we’ll have those to cut and hand out.

With all that will be happening, we thought it would be good timing for a BYO sewing night – bring your own hand work project to work on. Anything you can work on by hand, for example some binding or hand piecing, quilting, or perhaps it could be a good opportunity to get those labels on your quilts!

Now, onto the exciting part, our news!!!

Addicted to Fabric in Phillip have very kindly offered to host our Guild for sewing days every two months on a Sunday beginning on June 8th EDIT: DUE TO UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE FIRST SEWING DAY WILL BE JUNE 22 FROM 9AM TO 4PM. We will then be there the second Sunday of August, October and December. We’re very grateful to A2F for allowing us to use their facilities and also really excited to be having regular sewing days. There will be more information at the meeting, looking forward to seeing you all there!