January 2014 archive

I Quilt – how much do you want it?


i quilt blog button

Hello my lovely quilting friends and welcome to I Quilt linky party at Pretty Bobbins!  We had lots of new linkers last week and I apologise that I am still getting around to visiting everyone.  I will get there! :)  Please remember to add the linky button (found at top left) and/or a link to my blog and to visit 3 other linkers.  We all love comments!

I haven’t organised myself to feature a quilter this week, I will be back on board next week, I’m sorry!  This week what I have been doing is visiting local Canberra quilt stores and introducing myself.  Wow, that has been an adventure!  We are super lucky in Canberra to have a big quilting culture and I think the Canberra Quilters (the local quilt guild) is possibly the longest running quilt guild in Australia.  Don’t quote me on that ;) but they have a great reputation and have been around the traps since way back :)  They haven’t had a meeting since I arrived in Canberra but I am looking forward to going along next Thursday.

Of course taking a queen size quilt to handquilt at a guild meeting is the best idea in summer!

Of course taking a queen size quilt to handquilt at a guild meeting is the best idea in summer!

As part of being a professional longarm quilter I feel it is important to introduce myself to the local groups.  Last Thursday evening I attended the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild meeting and had a hoot!  They are such a lovely, enthusiastic, talented group of quilters.  I shared two quilts and I must say I really appreciated the positive feedback I received.  Thank you lovely ladies xxx  It was also rather hilarious to have to ask everyone what their blog or IG name is because I don’t necessarily know their real names!

pile of quilts

But back to this week.  What I can take away from this week is the belief that I want this dream bad!  I’m passionate, enthusiastic, committed, talented, kind, generous and possibly somewhat naive and sensitive.  Driving from one end of Canberra to the other, quilts in hand and business cards on offer I was somewhat taken aback at the reception that I received.  I was told that I would “never teach in this town without being accredited”, “we already have a longarmer, the owner isn’t in, but don’t come back because she won’t take your cards”, “you need to offer a discount to get any of our customers”, “wow! that’s a bit out there.”, “leave your cards over there” without even getting up to shake my hand.  It was soul destroying.  But after coming home and licking my wounds for an afternoon I realised that I want this, I want this dream, I am going to get there and I am going to do it with a smile on my face, in the knowledge that my quilting is awesome, my style is up there, my passion and enthusiasm is evident and contagious.  Building a business takes time, belief in yourself and a thick skin.  How much do I want it?  I want it with every fiber of my being!


The other big positive that I want to share with you is that I will be teaching later this year at a local quilt store!  I’m super excited to have the opportunity to teach others to machine quilt, to gain confidence and to get on board this fun, addictive hobby ;)  If you’re local keep an eye out for more information closer to May :)  The world needs more quilters! ;)

So, with all this waffle (which is completely quilting focused!), I ask you, what is it that drives you to quilt?  Are you committed to charity quilting?  Do you quilt for your kids or grandkids?  Is quilting your escape?  Why do you quilt and how do you overcome those mental hurdles when someone discourages you?

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Happy quilting, happy linking and thank you, thank you, thank you for being lovely and encouraging to each other!  We need more of that in our community both online and in real life :)


I Quilt – learning to love my longarm quilting machine


i quilt blog button

Welcome to I Quilt at Pretty Bobbins!  It’s been a while since the last link-up and I hope to see you all back linking up with me on a weekly basis.  Please remember that this linky party is about the quilting process.  Everything from sketching your quilting designs to lessons you learnt stitching it all together.  If you love quilting, this is the place to be ;)

All dressed up in handmade and ready for work!

All dressed up in handmade and ready for work!

Ironically, as I restart the I Quilt linky party I am also returning to my ‘day job’ for the first time in eight years!  This afternoon was my first day back and I was a nervous wreck on the way to the office.  I actually had a great time and am really looking forward to working in an interesting area with some really nice, friendly people.  Yay!  I will still be taking quilts, so please pop over to my longarm quilting website if you’re interested in that ;)

colour play flimsy

This week I thought I would talk about how I am finding quilting on my longarm :)  This week I have been working on a quilt for my bed – the only bed in our house that doesn’t have a quilt made by me on it!  I made the top (above) a few months ago and put it aside to quilt on my longarm.

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One difference between a domestic and longarm quilting machine is that you don’t need to baste your quilt.  I was looking forward to this as I don’t particularly love crawling around on my knees and poking myself with pins.  What I didn’t realise is that the tension is so much better whilst quilting on a longarm as the frame holds everything nice and firmly (in the above photo I am “floating my quilt top”, which means that the batting and top are hanging free and the back is “loaded”/wound onto the take-up rollers).  Seriously, I was pinching myself admiring the lovely texture of my SLQ (below), sure the work isn’t perfect as this was my first time using a ruler, but wow, look how smooth that quilt is! :)

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I used a variety of fabric in this quilt top, voile, linen blend and quilter’s cottons.  Whilst the voile definitely wasn’t as forgiving as the cotton if I needed to unpick… It really quilted up lovely :)  (the teal border below is a lovely voile.)

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I have to say that Angela Walters is a bit of a idol of mine.  I’ve read her a number of times saying that if a customer gives her freedom to do whatever quilt design she would like, she always goes with feathers.  I really wasn’t sure how to quilt the large outer borders of this quilt and I didn’t want to overpower the beautiful Anna-Maria Horner print (from her Loulouthi line).  Feathers in a lovely soft Aurifil thread (2000 in 50wt) have done the job quite nicely :)  I probably went a bit overboard, but I do love to quilt and I really did fall in love with my longarm whilst quilting this beast :)

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Now it’s your turn!  What have you been quilting this week?  Have you ever swapped machines and had a different quilting experience?  Do you have a fall-back design that you use to quilt busy prints?  Add your link below and please remember to visit at least 3 other linkers :)  We all love comments!

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Have you missed me?  Did you notice my absence?  Are you also melting in this crazy heatwave that Australia is currently enduring?  What a homecoming!

I often describe myself as overly optimistic.  I truly thought that I would continue blogging during our move.  Um…  that didn’t quite work out!  But I’m back and I’m itching to get back to designing, piecing and quilting.  The weekly I Quilt linky party will restart from next Thursday 23rd January, I hope you join me :)  But first up, let’s recap.

Last sunrise in Nouméa

Last sunrise in Nouméa

Leaving Nouméa was emotional.  Like any move it was chaotic, but those three years were more challenging and less enjoyable than many others that I’ve experienced and I really had to face it all as I left.  I do dearly miss my friends in Nouméa and oh how I mourn the blue of the lagoon!  I’ve swapped our tropical vista for the bush in Canberra (known as ‘Australia’s bush capital’ for a good reason!) and I am loving it.

Sunset from our house in Canberra <3

Sunset from our house in Canberra <3

I feel relaxed, happy, relieved.  All those things that don’t usually closely follow an international move.  Of course I am very lucky that both my husband and I are on leave and are able to spend the summer holidays with the children and setting up the house.  I LOVE our house.  Many times a day I gaze lovingly into my husband’s eyes and tell him how much I love this house ;)  It feels so right for us.  It features classic 1970s mission brown and bright white paint, cathedral ceilings and mostly original fixtures.  I am on a serious mid-century modern furniture bender at the moment (my budget being the only thing stopping me from refurnishing the entire house) and am eyeing off second hand sales and thrift stores.  Do other people furnish their homes this brightly? ;)


Excuse the shutters and blinds, we're in the middle of a heatwave...

Excuse the shutters and blinds, we’re in the middle of a heatwave…

Whilst I am eternally frustrated that the house isn’t perfectly organised right NOW!!  I am happy with the progress that we’re slowly making.  Our ‘dumping ground’ (ie. the rumpus room that we put all the stuff in that we didn’t initially know what to do with) has transformed into a guest room quilt show room.

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But I know what you’re really wondering about…  Yes, I have a longarm!!!!  I won’t bore you with the setup hiccups that we had but I will tell you that’s she’s beautiful, clever, sexy and powerful.  She also needs a name…  Any suggestions?

I’ve been having fun practicing and working on some charity quilts.

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I am open for business but the quilting website is still a work in progress.  If you are so inclined you can check it out here :)  Here I am in my studio with my lovely girl (and just for the record, I cannot bring myself to use the term ‘lady cave’, think about it people… ‘man cave’ works, ‘lady cave’ sounds a bit erm…  Well, let’s just say I enjoy my STUDIO) ;)

Gemma in studio

And yes, I make my own clothes so I can blend in with my stash LOL  Apparently it’s known as “quilter’s camo” ;)

Thank you for all the lovely messages and support during our move.  I have lots of quilts to share that I made just before we left Nouméa but blogging really had to take a backseat whilst we focussed on family.  Now that normality is starting to return, expect to see me back to blogging and quilting <3

Big love and happy new year to all you lovely, marvelous quilty folk.  Oh, and if you’re in Canberra, give me a hoi!  I’m looking forward to joining the modern and local quilt guilds :)  Keep an eye out for me, I’m much more shy in real life :)