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2017 Fabric Garden's Sewing Circle Launched

Posted by Sue Miller on 1/9/2017 to Sewing Group
2017 Fabric Garden's Sewing Circle

I have been chatting to a number of people in the Neutral Bay / Mosman area about setting up a new sewing / quilting group. After several months of negotiations, a venue has been located and dates booked. I can finally announce the launch of Fabric Garden's Sewing Circle - a sit and sew group which will meet on the 3rd Saturday of every month at The Neutral Bay Club, with the first meeting on Saturday, 21st January 2017.

Venue: Neutral Bay Club
Address: 3 Westleigh St Neutral Bay NSW 2089
Times: 1pm - 5pm
Cost: $15 per meeting or $144 per annum ($12 x 12 meetings)

At the moment my thoughts are that it would simply be a meeting of people who want to sit and sew, although if you wanted to knit / crochet / embroider / quilt or simply chat - all are welcome. The club has a restaurant where you can buy lunch or afternoon tea - although more importantly decent coffee or a glass of wine!

I am also happy to organise some group events - perhaps an annual outing to visit quilt shops in the Blue Mountains and possibly a show (e.g. Springwood Quilt Show) or a workshop? Group members are encouraged to make suggestions. If you are interested - please email me or call on 0417 068 855 - I would love to hear from you.

2016 Modern Quilt Show Australia

Posted by Sue Miller on 11/12/2016 to Quilt Shows
Modern Quilt Show Australia

Record number of entries for the Modern Quilt Show Australia 2016!

Entries flooded in for the Modern Quilt Show Australia 2016, to be held from 25th to 27th November at the Glebe Town Hall. The selection of quilts juried to hang in the show is an outstanding reflection of the strength of the modern quilting movement in Australia today.

Workshops with renowned international quilt and fabric designers Carolyn Friedlander and Anna Maria Horner, presented in partnership with Material Obsession, have been immensely popular and are already sold out. However, there are limited tickets left for an evening lecture and trunk show with Anna Maria Horner on Saturday 26th November. 

A quilt made by members of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild will be raffled during the show. Proceeds from the raffle will go to a Sydney charity, which supports migrants newly arrived in Australia: Promoting Healthy Outcomes for Refugees (phor.org.au).

The show is supported by a wide range of generous sponsors, from small fabric retailers through to major Australian and international companies. They include retailers such as Cottage Quiltworks, Craft Depot, Fabric Garden, Frankenstein Fabrics, Kate Quilts, Material Girls Down Under, Material Obsession, My Sewing Supplies, Polka Dot Tea, The Remnant Warehouse and Quiltsmith; designers including Anna Maria Horner, Bill Volckening, Carolyn Friedlander, Lorena Uriarte, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, You Patch; equipment and accessories suppliers Annie’s Designs, Bernina Australia; wholesalers including Blessington, Busy Quilting, Leutenegger, Two Green Zebras, Millhouse Collections, Victorian Textiles and XLN; as well as the Australian Machine Quilters Association.

Entry to this not-for-profit show is $10 (discounted to $8 for pre-purchase online) and free for under-13s. 
Tickets are available now at try bo :
  • event name: Modern Quilt Show Australia – ENTRY TICKET
  • event name: MQSA 2016 Anna Maria Horner Presentation

Opening hours to the public: 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday

Media Contact for more information - Louisa Wright: 0417 939966

Modern Quilt Show Australia Sponsors

2016 Fabric Garden finalist in North Shore Local Business Awards

Posted by Sue Miller on 9/24/2016 to Awards
2016 Finalist North Shore Local Business Awards

I decided to enter the Local Business Awards, in the Antiques, Art, Crafts and Gifts category this year (2016). I must admit it was a last minute decision and I didn't do a huge amount to promote it. However, my fabulous Facebook friends, voted for me and I was thrilled to find out that I was chosen as a finalist in this category.

As a finalist, I get to display the award and to attend the award ceremony on the 9th November 2016. I am thoroughly looking forward to attending and meeting the other amazing entrants.

Thanks again to everyone who voted for me!

2016 Arcadia Avenue wins Judges Commendation

Posted by Sue Miller on 8/22/2016 to My Projects
Arcadia Avenue wins Judges Commendation

My quilt, Arcadia Avenue, won a Judges' Commendation at the 2016 Sydney Craft and Quilt Show. To say that I was stunned - was an understatement. 

I had selected the pattern (from Sassafras Lane Designs) as my 2015 Block of the Month. I made up a block every month together with everyone that had signed up for the program. At my first show in the year, I had one block complete and another at each show thereafter. It was a bit of a running joke with my customers as the quilt progressed and they saw me at the next show! 

In early 2016, I completed the quilt top and sent it off to Birgit at Black Sheep Quilting to work her magic on her longarm machine. I was really stoked when I got the quilt top back. It looked amazing. 

As I actually had a finished quilt - I decided to enter it into the Sydney show - just because I could I suppose. I had no expectations other than the fact that it was bright and modern and would add some colour to the display.

I sort of forgot about it. Then I was driving to a meeting of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild and got a phone call from The President of the QuiltNSW. Being rather obtuse, I said that I usually got the Publicity and Sponsorship person to hand out the prizes I myself donate. I really didn't get why Dale was strongly advising that I attend the presentation. It was only when I was at the SMQG meeting that the penny dropped, one of the other members had got the 'call'! I suddenly remembered I had entered a quilt in the show and perhaps it had won something. I quickly phoned Dale back and said I would attend, however, just in case I hadn't I didn't really tell anyone else.

I was thrilled to receive a Judges Commendation in the Commercially Quilted Large category. Quite an achievement for a first time entrant (and a first time paper piecer). 

Paper piecing has definitely improved the precision of my quilting.

The gorgeous Scarlett Lewis (7 years) won First Place in the Junior Member A category. This is Scarlett selecting her prize at my stall.

Scarlett accepting prize

To top it all off - got to meet Tula Pink in person and get her book signed!

Meeting Tula Pink

2016 Aussie Modern Quilt Guild Zipper Pouch Swap

Posted by Sue Miller on 4/11/2016 to My Projects
Kaffe Fassett Zipper Pouch

Earlier this year, I signed up for my first Instagram swap! Yes, I know - seems like I have been on IG for ever. I was scared that I couldn't manage my current commitments - let alone meeting strict deadlines. So, I watched from the sidelines. When the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild announced that they were going to run a Aussie Zipper Pouch Swap I decided to jump right in. They do say give a busy person something to do and it will get done, right?

So, I completed the questionnaire (badly I now know). Luckily, I am an open book - what with being on all things social media and writing a blog. So I think my style is quite easy to guess. My partner quickly put her mosaic up on IG, so I knew I had to act. I spent a number of hours scouring Pinterest to find some images to use in my own mosaic, I even created a quick board for the project! 

Then .... to find a pattern. Being me - I then searched all my pattern supplier's websites and ordered 4 patterns (I thought if I loved the pattern - surely my customers would too). I also found some fob hardware just in case I might need it and bought multiple sets as well. I was pretty sure I would either be making the Becca Bag from Lazy Girl Designs or the Rainy Day Sewing Pouch from Thimble Blossoms. I ended up selecting the Becca Bag.

My partner loved Cotton & Steel fabrics - which I don't currently stock, so I contacted my friend Kim Simpson and she selected 4 Fat Quarters for me. The patterns and the fabric arrived almost simultaneously and I spent a pleasant weekend reading through them and working out what zippers I needed to purchase! 

With a few days to spare, I made a sample pouch in case I stuffed it up and didn't have enough fabric to make a second pouch! True to form, I misread the instructions (maybe that last glass of wine ....) and the zipper didn't fit! The pattern called for a continuous piece of fabric and I cut it in two and joined it hence the pouch being smaller! After throwing my toys out the cot, I decided a good night's sleep would help me make the perfect pouch in the morning. Of course, being me, I had also decided on a cunning plan to incorporate a quilted section using the mini hex 'n more ruler + Jaybird Quilts Mini Lotus pattern. What could go wrong? Actually, it did all work out without TOO much drama. It was a little challenging to reattach the zip pull to the zip, once sewn into the pouch. Luckily, I was alone as ears might have burnt. I even faithfully made the extra mini pouch. That truly was a doddle. 

Becca Bag in Cotton and Steel

Then feeling rather pleased with myself, I decided to make another 2 as samples - well I am now an official reseller of zipper pouch patterns! 

Sample Mini Becca Bag

Of course, my partner was way more organised than me and I received my swap parcel earlier that week. To say I was delighted with it - is an understatement. I simple love Kaffe Fassett fabrics and COLOUR! I must confess that my partner must have guessed I am addicted to sweets - the M&M's didn't last a day.

2016 Jaybird Quilts Lotus Mini Quilt

Posted by Sue Miller on 3/27/2016 to Mini Club
Jaybird Lotus Mini Quilt

I am really pleased with how this mini quilt turned out! When it comes to choosing fabrics, I am spoilt for choice. I needed 8 x 2.5" strips of fabric across the width of the fabric (WOF), I decided to use Tula Pink's Moonshine range of fabrics for this quilt. My go to advice is, when in doubt use fabrics from a particular range and look for high contrast fabrics i.e. something light / dark. I love my mini hex n more ruler - it is just so easy to use. This time I used it to make the Jaybird Mini Lotus quilt. I like to lay the blocks out as I make them on the floor so I can see the overall effect.

Mini Lotus Block Layout

Once I had completed al the triangles, it was a simple matter of sewing them into strips and then sewing the strips together. Then a quick look through my personal stash for a fat quarter and wadding remnants to complete the mini. As I put the quilt together, I noticed 2 strong patterns emerging - triangles and hexagons. When quilting the mini, I decided to emphasis the triangles and making use of the width of my walking foot, exaggerated this.The triangles became diamonds. I often don't know what to do when quilting - so stick with something simple and geometric.

2016 Arcadia Avenue Quilt Foundation Piecing Tips and Tricks

Posted by Sue Miller on 1/15/2016 to My Projects
Arcadia Avenue Quilt Top

It's been a year but I am thrilled to say that I have finally completed my Arcadia Avenue quilt top! 

It is my first ever attempt at a technique called foundation piecing - where you use a paper foundation on which to sew your fabric. Once you have completed your block, you remove the paper. Foundation piecing can be frustrating to get your head around as everything is basically done in reverse.

Arcadia Avenue is a block of the month pattern from Sassafras Lane Designs which I chose as my shop program for 2015. As each month went by, I also made up a block. It was very amusing at all the craft shows I went to last year, as my customers could see where I was up to, as at each show I had another block up on the wall. This year I will be able to show everyone the finished quilt and hopefully motivate everyone to finish or to give it a try.

I managed to assemble the quilt top this week. I love my 60º Creative Grids ruler - it made the cutting so much easier. I wasn't game enough to trace and cut out templates onto freezer paper. When I get started I need to finish quickly. It is also a lot more accurate! I was thrilled that my blocks fit exactly. Always a bit of a worry when using a new technique. 

Arcadia Avenue Quilt Top

A couple of tricks I learnt along the way:
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help from your local quilt shop or quilt group

I have been sewing for years - but have no experience with foundation piecing. What I have learnt is that quilters love to help. If you are in the same position, give it a go, if you are still struggling go to your local quilt shop or ask your quilty friends for help. I couldn't have finished this quilt without help from some amazing quilters.

  • Verify that your printed copy is the same size as the original pattern
Make a single copy of your pattern and hold it up to the light against your original pattern. Each printer has a different printable area i.e. how close it can print to the edge of a page. Some domestic printers shrink the image to fit it onto the page. This means that when you make up your block it will be smaller than specified and the set in triangles will not fit. I recommend paying to print your foundation papers on a commercial printer.
  • Fold your paper
Fold your paper before you start. This way you can see if the fabric piece you are pinning to the back actually covers the entire area it is supposed to.
  • If you are new to foundation piecing - cut each piece slightly larger than specified in the pattern
I followed the pattern exactly and, as a novice, I struggled at times to 'cover' each piece with the fabric I had cut. I resorted to just cutting a piece big enough that it would definitely fit. Yes, I used more fabric - but at the end of the day my stress levels decreased.
  • Buy yourself some tweezers
One of the girls at the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild told me this trick. Use the tweezers to remove papers from those difficult to get to areas. It also means you don't put as much strain on your stitches! I got a pair from my local pharmacy - they thought I was a little crazy when I told them I why I wanted them.
  • Drinking (wine) and foundation piecing don't go together
At night I enjoy having a glass of wine and doing a little sewing. Well I quickly learnt that foundation piecing and drinking don't go together! I did however celebrate the completion of each block with a glass of wine!
  • Its addictive
I must admit, although at times I swore and cursed and my unpicker went into overdrive, I am addicted. I was thrilled with the result.

I have found the perfect backing, so my task this weekend is to put it together and then drop of with Birgit of Black Sheep Quilting to do her magic and quilt the top. I can't wait to see the result.

2015 Mini Northern Lights Quilt

Posted by Sue Miller on 12/21/2015 to Mini Club
2015 Mini Northern Lights Quilt
Finally - another finish in the Jaybird Quilts Mini Quilt series. This one is called Mini Northern Lights and uses the Mini Hex n More ruler.

2015 Mini Northern Lights Pattern

I was able to use up scraps from the latest quilt I am working on - all I needed was some 1 ½" strips across the width of the fabric and using the Mini Hex n More ruler to cut half hex pieces.  Then I strip pieced them together and had the entire quilt top complete in an evening.

Mini Northern Lights Pieced

Again from my personal stash, I found a complimentary Fat Quarter to use for the backing and a piece of left over wadding. When quilting, I did stitch in the ditch and followed the lightning strike shapes.

I am very happy with the way this one turned out as the colours are really strong and show the pattern off nicely.

2015 Lizzy House Downunder Meadow Tour

Posted by Sue Miller on 10/18/2015 to My Projects
2015 Lizzy House Downunder Meadow Tour

I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop of the Lizzy House Meadow Quilt Down Under tour. The Australian part of the tour was organised by the wonderful Bec of SkyBerries.

Lizzy House is a designer for Andover Fabrics. Within the modern quilting movement - Lizzy House attains almost cult status, all her fabrics are eagerly awaited.

When I saw the workshop advertised on various facebook pages, I quickly signed up and paid my deposit. The workshop was held at Hobbysew Top Ryde. I must confess I hate big shopping centres so this was the first time visiting this venue for me.

Lizzie House explaining the process Web.jpg

Lizzy started the day by handing out our pattern pieces and explaining all the Do's and Don'ts to working with curves and in particular making her Meadow Quilt block. Fabric choice was an important part of the workshop. The one thing that resonated most with me was the quilt plan, cutting a small amount of fabric and taping it to the block so that when it comes to assembling the quilt, it should all work out.

The 'eyes' were probably the most complex part of the block and Lizzy assured us that if we made 20 of them - we were guaranteed to finish the quilt as this was where we were most likely to abandon the project as it was tedious.

Lizzie House Demonstration Web.jpg

Well, I have managed to make my 20 eyes. So now to find the time to work on the blocks. Prep for the Craft Alive Wollongong show got in the way of further progress.

It was a welcome day out and a chance to make something that wasn't a shop sample (although I was using my new fabric ranges).

Like a real groupie, I got the obligatory Lizzy House photo and Lizzy signed my practice block!

With Lizzie House Web.jpg


2015 Thimble Blossoms Mini Club Launched

Posted by Sue Miller on 9/20/2015 to Mini Club
2015 Thimble Blossoms Mini Club Launched
I must confess that I got stuck into the first mini in my new Thimble Blossoms Mini Club, knowing that I hadn't completed my Jaybird Mini Club. 
Thimble Blossoms Spools

The guilt quickly disappeared as I scrounged through my scraps and decided on the lovely Lecien Melange in Beige for the tops of the reels. This was my only indulgence, as I diligently found white fabric for the background, wadding, binding and backing from my stash. I think I might have to make bigger quilts to truly make any sort of dent in my stash!

Thimble Blossoms Mini Spools

The top came together pretty quickly. When complete, I decided to stitch-in-the-ditch the outline of the spools. Then a quick binding. I had been invited to have a shop at the Berry Quilt Retreat as well as house sit in Beaumont at a B&B called Cedarview. I managed to complete the binding the night before the show.

Cedarview B&B
My hostess grows the most amazing orchids. The only one I ever had I managed to kill - I think I over watered it.

Orchids



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