Friday, 13 December 2013

Guessing Competition: How many quilts by Christmas Day?

We have started a friendly competition about how many fully finished quilts we will have by Christmas Day. There is no prize as such except the recognition that you won! Here are the guesses so far. If you would like to add your favourite number, leave it in the Comments box below.

Jan P
Margaret M
Robyn B
Margaret H

Thursday, 12 December 2013

12 days until Christmas, and what is our total?

This week we collected 55 quilts, and 2 crochet blankets. So our total number of quilts (knitted and crochet blankets not counted) is 354! That is an amazing number, and we have had some amazing quilts with amazing stories donated this week.

Today in class our focus was to get as many tops that were already matched with backing onto the pinning tables and get them pinned ready for quilting. And we also tried to get as many tops matched with appropriate backing as we could. My hat comes off to Irene, Chris, Mary, Margaret, Monika, Judith, Sue, Francois and Beverley for their tireless work today in those two roles. These ladies have done such a good job in getting quilts to the quilting stage, particularly Irene, Chris, Mary, Margaret, Monika and Judith who come to the Wednesday night class as well, that we have now used every decent pin we have. We had one donation of 2000 pins alone (thanks Maree!), so you can imagine how many pins we had altogether at one time. Now they are all holding quilts together in one or the other of the ladies houses while she gets it quilted over the Christmas break. What a fantastic bunch of people to work with!

In fact, it is such a great group, and we have so much fun, that my 10 year old is desperate to come each week. My girls have had to come to the Wednesday class a few times because Ryan is held up getting home from work, and it is always the highlight of my eldest's week. Last night Ryan wasn't going to make it home until very late, and she was thrilled. She was on a mission. She was here, there and everywhere, making cups of tea, unpacking things, sorting, washing up. She just loved being a part of it. She reminds me so much of my lovely Mum when she is all fired up like that. My little tiny Mum is like the Energizer Bunny, and Hannah is just the same. She keeps telling me how excited she is about the school holidays because she is going to make a quilt to give away. It's going to be a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it, but today I saw something she did that made my throat get a hard lump in it, and I think the quilt making will be even more special.

Today after class, some of the ladies went down to Penrith RSL for our Christmas break up lunch. We had left the hall in a bit of a mess because we were coming back later to clean it up. It turned out that we wouldn't have time to do it before the girls came out of school, so we went out and picked up the girls and then back up to Faulconbridge to pack away and load the quilts into my car. The last thing I put away was the whiteboard, and that is where I found she had written a message on the back on Wednesday night.

Early in the week I had the pleasure of meeting two quilters and their husbands who had travelled to Winmalee to drop off quilts. Anne Perry of The Avalon Quilters came with lots of goodies like fabric, patterns, quilts, quilt tops and backing, and the most fabulous bag of threads which drew a lots of ohhs and ahhs from my ladies. They donated some simply stunning quilts. Many are fully hand quilted. The hundreds of hours invested into each quilt is hard to imagine. If you have a look at the Photo Gallery you will see a couple of The Avalon Quilts quilts which I am sure have been in patchwork magazines before. The Avalon Quilters also sent a cheque for $100 to help us finish some of the tops that have been donated. The also brought a lovely card from the Caroline Bay Quilters with a cheque for $300! How very generous! It will be going towards backings and quilting. Now, Anne didn't really mention the financial donation as such and after they left I was walking down the hallway opening the cards and I stopped dead still with my mouth wide open (attractive, I know!) when I saw the amount. I wished I could have called her back and gave her a hug. Thank you!

And the other couple that came to my door win the prize for the most kilometres travelled to deliver quilts. They came from Toowoomba!! Yes, in QUEENSLAND!! Now there is a town that has had its own natural disaster in recent years, and now they are sending down quilts to us. I was very touched. They have made some beautiful quilts with beautiful quilting. I wish the Toowoomba ladies could have seen the look on my ladies faces when I told them that the quilts were personally delivered from 900km away. Priceless! I have since heard that there is a good patchwork shop in Toowoomba and there was some suggestions of a roadtrip!

Also this week I received a letter from Mrs Laverance, a lovely, Godly woman who, with her husband, were Commanding Officers at Springwood Salvation Army when I was a teenager. In fact, she enrolled me as a Senior Soldier. The group she belongs to is called "The Tuesday Ladies", and they have very generously raised $100 to go to our Quilt Appeal. This is also going to buy backing and to get some quilting done of some of the large quilt tops we have received. Thank you!

What a week we have had! Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for tomorrow's launch of the guessing competition!

Friday, 6 December 2013

We're teetering on the brink of 300 quilts today!

We're on the brink of 300 quilts!
Can you believe that last week I was wondering if it would be achievable to reach 300 quilts by Christmas, and as of yesterday, just one week later, we are only one quilt short of the goal. 299 quilts! What a massive achievement!

We have had some stunning quilts donated from all over the country, but this week most have come from our state. We have also had some lovely donations of money to buy backings, thread for sewing an quilting and a whole roll wadding! These go a long way towards finishing the many quilt tops we have been given.
At this stage, we have enough quilt tops to go on with for quite some time. If you were thinking of send us a top only, please know that it may not get finished in time for the appeal. We will try our very best, but there are a lot of tops to get through now. Preference will be given to tops that come with backing and binding, because they are quicker, and cost us less, to finish.

Don't forget to check out the updated Thank You page, and also the gallery. Here are a few of my favourites from this week:

Next week, I will be putting up another super simple pattern. I just have to quilt the 5 quilts I have here first, and cut out the tops ready for next weeks class, and piece the backing for a large top I have, and get my Hexagon Challenge finished (actually, that is started and finished). OK, so maybe I will put the post up anyway, because I think my chances of getting everything done are pretty minimal!

Yesterday on the Facebook page I asked for some estimates of the number of quilts by Christmas and we have 352, 400 and 500. I think I will go with 427. It's just a number I like. I don't know if it is realistic, but we will find out. Anyone else care to have a guess?

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Over 200 quilts and counting! Christmas has come early!

This week marks the 200th quilt received. Actually, we are now up to 227! We could say that Christmas has come early seeing as we have reached our Christmas deadline almost a month early. How exciting is that?!?!? It is a very exciting end to an emotionally charged week.

On Friday I volunteered at The Salvation Army's Relief Centre in Springwood, helping people get the items they need and having a friendly chat. It seemed to me that people were going through another stage of grieving as they were finally settling into rentals. Families with school-age children have been very focussed on getting accommodation close to the schools. For a lot of parents, the last few weeks have been all about getting “the rental”, of having a place where they can get back into a routine, have their own family space, and help the kids feel settled. But it seemed a common theme on Friday that once people were in their rental property, with the goal of finding it completed, the reality of what is happening to them starts to sink in and they’re asking themselves “what do I do now?” I simply cannot imagine how stressful that would be.

On Saturday a bunch of lovely volunteers and myself packed up the goods from the Relief Centre in the Baptist Church in Springwood and set it up in the barn at Springwood Salvation Army. It was a lot of physical work, on a hot day, but the rewards of seeing it set up made it worthwhile. It is set up on supermarket style shelves so people can walk down a few short aisles and see the toothpaste all set out, and shampoo, and conditioner, toilet paper, and linen, etc. The boys from Hadleigh Lodge have worked so hard at setting up the food and clothing sections. It really does look neat.

On Sunday I had the privilege of serving tea and coffee with The Salvation Army Emergency Services at the Community Meeting for fire affected residents at Winmalee High School. I caught up with friends I went to primary school and high school with, and friends I have made in the years since then, and friends I have made just since the bushfires. Some of the people I met for the first time at the Disaster Recovery Centre when they first came in to register, and then at the Relief Centre in the following days, and it was so good to see them again and find out how they are doing.

During the week I spent a lot of time on the phone with quilters who had quilts, fabric and donations to make towards the quilt appeal. It is so exciting to speak with quilters from all over the country! Have a look at our Thank You page at all the lovely generous quilters out there.

This week’s classes have seen us churning out quilts at a great rate of knots. Our group of ladies have become a well-oiled machine of quilting achievenators (as I like to call them). They just seem to know what skills that they are good at and everyone gets in and gets the job done. It is a lot like a factory line, but with excellent conditions, coffee and cake. It is a joy to see. This sense of a cause, and a deadline, is great for me because I am sure I could write a doctorate on stuffing around. If left to my own devices, I can fiddle with the colours and layout and quilting ideas FOREVER, instead of just getting it done. I love all the possibilities. This quilt appeal has put a stop to my chopping and changing and I’m getting things done and I love it. In fact, if you look at the first photo in the post about 100 quilts (one week ago) you will see a beautiful quilt top in blue being pinned. Well, it is in the Photo Gallery today!

I wonder what our new goal for Christmas should be. Is it too ambitious to say 300 by Christmas? We'll see.

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Our annual Quilt Show would have been on today

Today was the day on the calendar for our annual Quilt Show. It would have been our 10th Show and we were very excited about it. We never would have thought when we put on the first show that we would we putting on shows as big as they are now, with 200 quilts on display each year. What a blessing the last 10 years have been.

Our first quilt show: June 2003

The first show was a combined event with a bush dance. We used the quilts to decorate around the barn. We didn't have anywhere near as many as we do now. In my naivety, I thought I could get the whole thing up and running with all of the lovely helpers and still do a few bush dances. I was still working full time and would have been 38 weeks pregnant on the night. For those of you who have had children, you will laugh at how little a clue I had. I was joking that if I was over the pregnancy by then I would do a few Strip The Willows and Drongos to encourage the process along. Of course, the best laid plans sometimes don't turn out the way you want. My daughter was born in emergency conditions at 36 weeks and we got out of the hospital the day before the quilt show/bush dance. Just in time to attend.

And now, 10 years on, our best plans have changed again. This time it is due to the terrible losses our community has faced in the recent bushfires.

If there were no bushfires, you would have found me chatting to visitors at the quilt show instead of typing this in between quilting a Bushfire Appeal Quilt and getting ready to head up the the Relief Centre. Edna and Jan would be on the front table taking the money and handing out the free morning tea cards and the viewers choice forms and the info on the show and the group, Monika would be serving at the morning tea table with freshly brewed and locally roasted coffee and lots of homemade goodies to suit lots of dietary requirements, Margaret Mac would be at the cake stall taking early orders and putting things aside for people to collect later, Chris would be at the craft stall selling an amazing amount of craft items to people who probably already have an amazing amount of craft items at home, Margaret H would be talking to people about the crochet apron display and with Pat would be answering questions on the yarn craft display, our Salvation Army Emergency Services team would be cooking sausage sandwiches in the Emergency Services truck, the boys from Hadleigh Lodge would be sorting out the car parking, the quilt hangers would be sitting down with coffee and cake after an early start this morning, and the lovely ladies in our patchwork group would be serving, answering questions, giving directions, helping people with their food, helping the kids at the kids craft table, talking to people about what we do and encouraging patchworkers of any skill level to come and have a coffee with us one day. We would all have had our Wedgewood blue aprons on, sleeves rolled up and getting stuck into providing a fun day out for our visitors while raising money for The Salvation Army's work in the area.

As it is now, we have our sleeves rolled up and we are making Bushfire Appeal Quilts. All the energy that went into putting on the show is going into this project and it makes me so proud of my ladies that I get teary thinking about it. Well done ladies.

It is going to be a cracker of a quilt show next year, that's for sure!


Friday, 22 November 2013

Important dates for your calendar

Thursday 12th December

Christmas lunch at 12:30pm (after class) at Star Buffet in Penrith RSL: please let me know if you are coming so I can book a table.

Thursday 19th December

Christmas Craft Day: Usually in December we run a different Christmas craft project each week. Theses are small projects you can make in one class and use yourself or for gifts. Our first two weeks were already planned before the fires started. We will be making a beaded Christmas tree brooch with Edna (bring any beads or sequins you have) and I will be teaching you how to make star bauble embellished with Suffolk Puffs (bring a needle and thread). This is going to be a sit down and have fun day after all the busyness of the last few weeks. There will also be a chance for you to go through our supplies and stock up if you want to keep working on the Quilt Appeal quilts over the break. The cost will be $5.

Hexagon Challenge Reveal: We will be revealing our challenge quilts that we have been making all year for our Quilt Show which never happened. Details about the challenge can be found here:

Secret Santa: We won't be doing a Secret Santa this year. I think, with all the money we have spent on fabric and wadding to make the Quilt Appeal quilts, we might just leave the Secret Santa to next year.

Last Class: This will be our final class of the year.

Wednesday 8th January/Thursday 9th January

Classes will resume. Normally we start back when school goes back, but because we have a deadline to work to with the quilts we will be starting back early. Anyone who is around over the January period is welcome to come.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

We've past 100 quilts, actually we're almost at 200!

What a fantastic two days of sewing and quilt-making we have had. We had 11 lovely ladies come on Wednesday night and 3 of them were new to the group. And today we had 34 ladies and 2 men and a lot of them were new to the group!

A special mention goes to a few who travelled quite a distance to come to class. Ann Robinson of the Southern Highland Quilters left her house at 7:30am to be here! She brought 16 lovely quilts, an ironing board (much needed) and fabric from Berrima Patchwork. Betty Jacobs came with three other quilters (and two husbands) and brought 4 quilts from the Rainbow Connection Quilters and 17 quilts from the Kogarah Library Quilters.

We also had a wonderful box of 22 quilts from Coorparoo Quilters in Queensland, 14 quilts from the Quilting Mouse (aka Dianna Croft), and some amazing craft dilly bags with sewing supplies from the Golden Harvest Quilts in South Australia (I will be doing another post on those soon - they are fabulous!)

We've received quilts from:

  • Judith Chidgey and Pat Boot
  • Caroline Stanton
  • Barbara Evans
  • Bev Jeffrey donated 6 quilts and 1 pillowcase (one of which is possibly the biggest quilt I have ever seen!)
  • Glenda Jones from Winston Hills donated 4 quilts
  • Sue Reichardt donated 3 quilts
  • Pat Smith donated 2 quilts
We also got lots of donated tops sandwiched with the backing and wadding. We now just need to quilt them! And there was lots of cutting of blocks, binding strips and backings as well as sorting, photographing, documenting and coffee and cake consuming. Generally, a great couple of days! Well done everyone!

And here are a few action shots from the day:

And how many quilts did we finish or get donated today, I hear you ask? Well, we had a total of 98. Just today. That is amazing! So all up we have a total of 195 quilts!!!! I think we will definitely make it to our goal of 200 by Christmas. LOL!

Judith sorting the photographed quilts

Photos of all the quilts are over on the Gallery page. We have tried to match names and quilts. If I've made a mistake, please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Four weeks and how many quilts?

It is hard to believe that four weeks have gone by since the fires, and then the launch of the Quilt Appeal. Life here will never be the same as before the fires. That's not to say life is going to be worse or better, just that it will be different. It is a defining moment in our history.

It seems that I can't really pinpoint where the four weeks have gone. Its all been a blur for me, and I have not lost my house or been displaced during that time. I can't imagine what this past month would be like for those who have.

So, where does that leave us with our goal to provide a handmade, one-of-a-kind quilt for those who have lost everything? I am very pleased to announce that we have made and/or collected 97 quilts and 6 knitted blankets in 4 weeks! That is almost halfway to our goal of 200 quilts by Christmas.

The Photo Gallery has been updated with every quilt we have so far, and who made it as far as we know. It is definitely worth a cup of coffee and an extended browse.

If the enthusiasm and excitement of today's class is anything to go by, I am sure we will reach our goal. We are so excited by how it is going. Keep up to good work everyone!

Isn't this quilt amazing?!?!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Super Simple 10" Block Quilt: great for layer cakes!

Here is yet another simple quilt that only uses the width of the fabric for the backing. I am loving this size of quilt. It really is a versatile size, and so much easier to make and has less waste when you don't have to piece the back.

OK, for this quilt, all you need are 28 x 10.5" squares of fabric. How easy is that! The only thing you need to watch is that your seams all meet when sewing it together. Here are some examples:

Use big prints like these Kaffe Fassett fabrics

The checkered flag is good for motor sport fans

A simple rainbow effect

Now wait a minute, I hear you thinking, a layer cake is precut at 10". How is this going to work? Well, basically the same way, and your quilt will work out just a little smaller. Not enough to worry about though. You can add a little border if you like. And if you make your quilt only 6 rows long, you will almost get two quilt tops out of one layer cake. You will just need to add a few squares of a similar style or colour, or plain squares, from your stash.

There are some fabulous layer cakes available these days. I did some online browsing and found this fantastic "Get a Clue with Nancy Drew" fabric range by Moda. I love it!

The Layer Cake is 10" square, the Charm Pack is 5" square
Photo from


If you have any questions, please put them in the comments box below.

Thanks for stopping by!


Bold Stripes Easy Quilt Pattern

This is a super quick and easy pattern that can have a fantastic graphic effect if you choose the fabrics carefully. This would suit large print fabrics, batiks and hand dyes, or fabrics that have a more tonal look about them. It has been designed to use the width of the fabric for the backing (no piecing the backing!). Remember when you are picking fabrics that we are aiming for a lot of gender neutral quilts. Here are a few examples.

This green and gold quilt uses a graduation of colour from deep green through yellow-green into yellows. each stripe of colour is framed in white, and the binding is a dark blue-green, although you could use the deepest green stripe fabric.

This is the same quilt using only variations of red from deep to bright. The binding is the same fabric as the centre stripe.

This is the same again using shades of grey from deep on the outside to light in the centre. The binding is the same as the top and bottom stripe. Grey and white are not common themes in quilt making, but this would suit the current style of interior decor with lots of grey and cool brown tones at the moment.

And this is the same quilt as the grey one above, except the white fabric has been replaced with a warm grey-brown in a solid colour. Also good for a modern house. The binding is the grey-brown colour.

Fabric Requirements:


For each of the 7 stripes, cut a 6.5" strip (the width of most rotary cutting rulers) across the width of your fabric. Each strip is 6.5" = 16.5cm of fabric required. I would allow 20cm for each strip you are cutting if you are using different fabrics for each stripe, or 38cm if you are cutting two stripes from the one fabric.

  • Trim the strips to 36.5", making sure you cut the selvedge off both ends.

Sashing and Border:

For the sashing and border, cut eleven 2.5" strips across the width of your fabric. Total length of strips (11 x 2.5") is 27.5" = 70cm of fabric required. I would allow 80cm for straightening and adjusting.

From the 11 strips:
  • Cut down 6 strips to 36.5". These will go in between the wider strips.
  • Cut 1 in half. Sew each half to one end of two other strips, making sure to remove the selvedge. These will be used for the long borders on the left and right side of the quilt. It is OK to have a pieced border (I know some people might worry about that).
  • Keep the others aside for borders. Don't cut them to size just yet.


Allow 40cm of fabric to make 2.5" binding strips.


You will need 1.6m of backing fabric.


Lay out the pieces in the way you like. Starting with the top stripe, sew on a sashing strip, and then another stripe, and another sashing, and so on, making sure you are keep the whole thing straight and square, until you have something that looks like this:

Then measure the length from top to bottom, making sure you measure through the centre and not along the sides. Trim the two longest sashing strips (the ones you added the extra half a strip to earlier) to that measurement. If you have cut and sewn accurately it should be 54.5", but it is fine if its not quite right. Now it should look like this:

Then measure the width from left to right, making sure you measure through the centre. Trim the two remaining strips to that measurement and sew to the top and bottom. It should look like this:

Now you are ready to make a sandwich with the wadding and backing fabric and get quilting!

If you have any questions, please put them in the comments section below.

Thanks for stopping by!


Simple Rotating 10" Block Quilt

You would have seen the instructions for this quilt in the history section of the first post on this blog, but I thought I would also include some fabric yardages for you. The quilt is currently having the binding hand sewn down, so I should have a finished photo for you later in the week.

This is a illustration of how it would look with just two colours. The fabric requirements will be to make this quilt.

Here is the original post:

Just finished the quilting

This quilt is made up on 10" blocks, 7 rows x 4 columns. It also looks good with only 6 rows. It is a very simple block to make and every alternative block is rotated 90 degrees to create the effect.

To make the block you need:
  • 1 rectangle 6.5" x 10.5"
  • 2 rectangles 2.5" x 10.5"
Sew the two skinny rectangles onto either side of the large rectangle and you're done! Super simple. The block should now measure 10.5" x 10.5" (that will be 10" square when finished).

Fabric Requirements for the Quilt

Using this picture as a guide, we will call the 2.5" x 10.5" rectangles "navy", and the 6.5" x 10.5" rectangles "teal". We will also assume the fabric is 42" wide. It is always worth double checking the width before you buy.

For the Navy:

If the fabric is 42" wide (plus selvedges) you will just squeeze four 10.5" lengths across the width of the fabric. You will need 56 navy rectangles to make this quilt. Therefore, you will need 14 x 2.5" strips across the width of your fabric (56 rectangles divided by 4 in each strip  = 14 strips required). That means you will need 89cm of fabric exactly (14 strips @ 2.5" = 35", and 35" x 2.54 [conversion to cms] = 88.9cm) for those strips. I would buy extra for straightening, etc. You will need 1m of the navy.

This doesn't include fabric for the binding. If you want to make 2.5" binding out of the same fabric would you need to add another 40cm.

For the Teal:

As above, you should be able to squeeze four 10.5" lengths across the width of the fabric. You will need 28 teal rectangles. Therefore, you will need 7 x 6.5" strips across the width of your fabric (28 rectangles divided by 4 in each strip  = 7 strips required). That means you will need 116cm of fabric exactly (7 strips @ 6.5" = 45", and 45" x 2.54 [conversion to cms] = 115.6cm) for those strips. I would buy extra for straightening, etc. You will need 1.3m of the teal.


You will need 2m of fabric for the backing.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A broken sewing machine, a break away, and change of perspective

Last Thursdays class was fantastic! Talk about achieving!! My ladies were onto this quilt appeal thing like you wouldn't believe. We had 7 quilts tops put together (some were already done), backings cut, pressed, sandwiched with wadding and pin basted ready for quilting in 2 hours. What an effort! I decided to stay back with Mary and finish a top I was working on and wouldn't you know it, but my sewing machine died. Well, it didn't die as such, but the tension disc has blown a spring and I have no top tension whatsoever. AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!! A few days before that, my quilting foot (the hopping kind) totally dismantled while I was quilting. Thankfully, I have a spare quilting foot and sewing machine, but I'm sure you'll know what I mean when I say the Plan B sewing machine is not like the Plan A sewing machine. I haven't taken it to be fixed yet as I had to go home and pack.

On the weekend I had the privilege of going to a friend's beautiful wedding in Melbourne, and the break away from the smoke and blackened trees did me a world of good. We left at 4am on Saturday morning and we knew it was going to be a hot day here as it was already in the low 20's before dawn. We arrived at Tullamarine Airport at 8:30am and it was only 10 degrees, windy and sprinkling. Brrr!!

Our apartment hotel was in Chinatown and getting out of the Skybus I remember thinking how clear and fresh the air was. I think it was possibly one of the few days we hadn't been breathing in smoky air in weeks. I am fairly sure you will never again hear me say that inner city air seems fresher than Blue Mountains air.

We had a lovely time in Melbourne. The wedding was wonderful and fun and relaxed and it was just the kind of party we needed.

Yesterday we had the privilege of experiencing Remembrance Day at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and that always helps to put things in perspective for me. What a powerful place, especially on that day.

A Flanders Poppy in bloom

On the way back to our apartment we saw some of the crocheted poppies from the 5000 Poppies project installed in the memorial gardens.

Earlier in the day we had seen the installation of poppies at Federation Square and had a chat with Lynn about how the poppy project has taken off. I have a couple of bags full of poppies (see the post here) that I meant to send down but with the fires everything was put on hold. I'm still going to send them and they will be in next years display.

We got home late last night and there was light rain all the way. Pulling into our street you could smell the damp ash smell mixed with fresh rain and wet gum leaves. It is the smell of home, and I am glad to be back. This morning as I am typing there has been rolling thunder for an hour or so and very constant rain that sometimes comes down quite hard. I love the sound of it on our Colourbond roof. The trees have had the smoke and ash washed from them and they look even more green than before against the black ground underneath. The burned trees have bronze and copper coloured leaves and if I didn't know better I could think the eucalyptus trees had decided to turn brown for Autumn.

Now I am off to design and sew and return phone calls. We had had a nice response from the flyers that went our in the Sunday papers on the weekend. This week I will also be posting more easy quilt patterns with fabric yardage required, so stay tuned.

Thanks stopping by!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Bushfire Quilt Appeal has a blog of it's own!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think the Quilt Appeal would reach the audience it has. So many emails, going in all different directions (so very sorry for everyone whose emails didn't get a quick answer), and the obvious need for better updating, pattern sharing, photos and thank yous meant my personal blog wasn't coping. But now we have a solution to the problem...a blog of it's own.

For those of you who may be discovering this blog for the first time, I have included the history from where it started, but from now on all new updates, patterns, photos and stories will be here.

Thanks, for stopping by!


Friday 18th October 2013

My patchwork group at Springwood Salvation Army is coordinating a Quilt Appeal for the people in Springwood and Winmalee who have lost their houses in the recent bushfires. I grew up in Springwood, went to Winmalee High, and moved to Winmalee when we got married, and to see it all so devastated has been heart-wrenching. So many friends and acquaintances have lost their homes.

This appeal will be a long running appeal. Making a quilt takes a considerable amount of time, and there are a lot of quilts to make. It would be great if we had enough quilts so every school aged child could choose their own, and everyone else could choose one quilt per household. That's a lot of quilts!

The plans are a work in progress at this stage. Eventually, there will be some easy block patterns and quilt sizes to work with. This page will be updated with more information over the coming days as it all comes together, and depending on what the fire will do. At the moment, we ourselves are preparing for it to come across from St Columbus. The RFS started back-burning here overnight and I am so thankful for it. God bless them! A big shout out to Galston 1, Horsley Park, Wallacia, Regentville 1 Bravo, Orchard Hills, Brooklyn, Muogamarra, and Arcadia RFS Crews!

On my driveway

Galston 1 RFS

The girls cubby house tree

In the beginning it was fairly clear

After a short while it was very smoky

Ideally, I would like to hold an event, maybe in January (EDIT: It's now in March): new year, new quilt, where all of the quilts will be on display and people can come, have a cuppa and a chat (you know there is always food at The Salvation Army), and choose the one they love the most.

There will be an Information Meeting this coming Thursday for any quilters who would like to find out more. Please keep an eye on this page for confirmation of the venue as there is a fire near The Salvation Army and depending on the conditions between now and then, the venue may change.

Information Day:
Thursday 24th October Thursday 31st October
10am - 12 noon
Springwood Salvation Army
15-23 Francis Road, Faulconbridge

I will also be taking collections for anyone who wants to donate quilts. These can be dropped off to me (please email me using the Contact Me section for my address) or delivered to The Salvation Army hall in Faulconbridge. Please clearly label any items with my name. Do not take them to The Salvo Store in Springwood. They have so many donations coming in, it may get lost in it all. If you can't deliver it, I can arrange to have things picked up. Again, email me.

Donations required:
  • New, completed quilts (this is the best option)
  • Recently completed quilt tops
  • Good quality thread, especially machine quilting thread
  • Pre-made binding (cut 2.5", fold wrong sides together and pressed, bias or straight grain is fine)
  • Wadding (cotton, cotton/wool, wool, or wool/polyester preferred)
  • Fabric
  • Safety pins for basting
  • Donations to buy rolls of wadding
  • Volunteer quilters!!!!

Our regular class and postponed Quilt Show:
Our regular class meets on Thursdays at 10am - 12 noon. It is a $5 donation with morning tea included and there is no need to book. It is an open class that anyone can attend. These will still be running. Our annual quilt show was supposed to be held on Saturday 23rd November, but our barn is full of Emergency Services equipment and donations, and the fires are still burning, so it will be postponed until next year. All funds raised from our Quilt Show will go to The Salvation Army's work in our local area and this year it will be especially needed, however I feel the Quilt Appeal is the priority at the moment.

Warmest regards,

Friday 25th October

I know lots of us quilters have unfinished projects that could be used for this appeal (I have quite a few UFO's myself - that is UnFinished Objects), and I could pretty much guarantee that you all have enough fabric in your stash to start on a Bushfire Appeal Quilt, but in case you are stuck for what to make I thought I would give some suggestions.

I have been making some Aussie Hero Quilts (I was going to do a post on this when I had them finished, but now they will be Bushfire Appeal quilts) and I think they would be great as a base to start from if you don't know what to make. The backing is the width of the fabric (40") which means you don't need to piece the back. At first it may seem like they are long and skinny, but in actual fact they fit very nicely on a single bed as a topper, and they cover the whole length of you if you were laying back in the lounge, and they can wrap totally around you if you wanted to snuggle down in them. I think they would appeal to lots of people.

Just finished the quilting

This quilt is made up on 10" blocks, 7 rows x 4 columns. It also looks good with only 6 rows. It is a very simple block to make and every alternative block is rotated 90 degrees to create the effect.

To make the block you need:
  • 1 rectangle 6.5" x 10.5"
  • 2 rectangles 2.5" x 10.5"
Sew the two skinny rectangles onto either side of the large rectangle and you're done! Super simple. The block should now measure 10.5" x 10.5" (that will be 10" square when finished).

I have a set ready to sew into a top where I used any odd bits and I sewed both skinny rectangles onto one side. Will show you a photo of the top when its done.

I quilted it on my HQ Sweet Sixteen with pebbles in the navy sections (first time of trying pebbling) and eucalyptus leaves in the blocks. It was in my machine with a few leaves to go when the fires started last Thursday.

To get the right leave shape I had some next to me while I quilted

Now, you can use any fabric you like for this. A big print works well in the large rectangles. It is a great block to use up jelly roll strips. If you don't know where to start, I recommend making it all in a single colour theme, which would appeal to lots of age groups. I also recommend making some in more masculine colours and prints.

This basic pattern would work well with any repeated 10" block. Here are some examples.

This one is a simple rail fence block, just four strips 3" x 10" sewed together and rotated.

This one I haven't written out the pattern for just yet, but it follow the rotating theme. Not many seams to match!

And this one is a simple Half Square Triangle block quilt. Instructions are here for the basic block. It has 6 rows instead of 7. Great for using up scraps (you could make two tops at the same time).

Or if you had some really funky modern fabric like Amy Butler, you could just use plain 10.5" squares.

There are heaps of possibilities, and if you can come to our classes I will be able to help you get started. 

Keep checking back for more updates. Thanks for stopping by!


Friday 1st November

The Information Day went well, and I have had lots of phone and email enquiries. I believe there are some quilts coming from WA and Victoria, plus a number of groups around NSW. It is very exciting that so many quilters are helping out. Maybe as I am typing this there is a sewing machine out there working on a quilt for this community. I have to give a big shout out to Adam at Hadleigh Lodge (The Salvation Army's Rehabilitation Centre in the Blue Mountains) for making sausage rolls, chocolate muffins and a platter of biscuits for the ladies that came to the information day. They were delivered first thing in the morning and the kindness really touched my heart.

Wouldn't you know it, as I am typing this a fire truck has raced down out street and a helicopter has been hovering out the front. I went out to check and there are two National Parks and Wildlife fire crews heading down the bush to a spot fire that has popped up. Two weeks since it has gone through here and it is still popping up, and probably will be for a few more weeks unless we get a couple of days of drenching rain. [And now a water bomber has arrived].

Today's spot fire has popped up from this fire last Saturday:

Thanks for stopping by! Keep safe, and happy quilting!