posted by on Auntie Greens Garden, Aztec Rose Crea, Classes in The Netherlands and Norway, De Frottende Freule, Mosaics

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I left Nantes early Sunday morning to catch two flights to Amsterdam, arriving late afternoon.  Karen and her husband Henk were there to meet me.  Karen owns Aztec Rose Crea  and has been buying patterns from me for a long time.  First stop was dinner at a beautiful hotel – a smorgasbord ….with my favourite – smoked salmon.  I LOVE smoked salmon and  I found it everywhere I went!  This time I stayed with Karen and Henk – and for a change had my very own huge bedroom – wonderful after the tiny closet we had in Nantes!

Monday was Kings Day (or Koningsdag) and everything was closed!  It was my first day off since I started the trip.  There were celebrations throughout the Netherlands – with outdoor markets and concerts.  Despite the freezing (for me) weather we went out to a market and concert – very enjoyable, trying foods that I hadn’t eaten before.

 

Kings Day Markets

Kings Day Markets

Flags waving on Kings Day - and concert

Flags waving on Kings Day – and concert

 From there we went to the Kinderdijk – the famous windmills of Holland and then a drive around to area to see old houses – some from the 1800s.

Kinderkijks

The house on the right was originally built in the 1800s

Kinderdijks

Kinderdijks

With Karen

With Karen

Tuesday was the start of the two day Auntie Green workshop.  On the first day we had a class full of enthusiastic quilters, all looking forward to start this huge quilt, one having prepped a lot of the quilt the night before.  It was great to see all the different fabrics chosen – such a wide variety of colours.  On the second day three women joined us for Message in a Bottle – and again – there was a variety of fabrics.  I love seeing how others interpret my quilts and how different they all look.

I got to meet Tilly, the international member of The Applique Guild of Australia.

Tilly

Tilly

I apologise for not taking any photos here – all I managed was one photo on the last day.

aztec 1

Henk very kindly offered to drive me the three hours to my next stop.  So thank you Henk!

My next stop was at De Frottende Freule in the village of Schildwolde.  I stayed at a lovely farmhouse bed and breakfast that night – and woke up to this breakfast!

Breakjfast for one?  You've got to be kidding!!

Breakfast for one? You’ve got to be kidding!!

The village of Schildwolde

The village of Schildwolde

Danielle, who helps Inge at the shop picked me up.  Inger has her shop in the front section of her home – such a beautiful shop.

shop 2

shop 1

The classroom was held in her lounge room – and there were 20 women in that room.  We had a fun day learning needleturn applique and using the centre block of Mosaics.  The next time I come here I’m going to spend more time – Inger assured me that she had as many women on the waiting list!

students

students 1

With Inge and Danielle

With Inger and Danielle

Once the class was over I had to leave for Schiphol Airport for my flight to Trondheim in Norway.

I so enjoyed my time in Holland – and I am definitely going to visit again next year and perhaps spend more time sightseeing.

posted by on Nantes France, Pour l'Amour du fil, Quiltmania

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Packed and ready for action!

Packed and ready for action! The yellow and orange suitcase is full of quilts…

Sylvia and I left Melbourne on Monday 20 April for the long, long, long flight over, stopping off at Singapore and Dubai.  On the way I swore that I would NEVER do this flight again…I would NEVER go to Europe again (how long do you think that lasted?)  It definitely was a very tiring flight.  We arrived in Paris and had to wait for our train to Nantes…another long wait with two trains to catch – now why didn’t we get the direct fast train to Nantes?  We were really happy to see people we recognised come pick us up.  Finally arrived at our hotel at around 8pm – and I had to report to the exhibition at 9am in the morning – oh well….

The hotel was one of the smallest I’d ever seen but we both decided that we were going to enjoy ourselves and really, we were out for most of the day.

Next morning I left to catch my tram.  Of course, I hopped on the wrong tram and then spent about half an hour walking around trying to find the venue.

nantes show 6

 

Approaching the building and inside

Approaching the building and inside

As soon as I got there I met with Carol from Quiltmania who took me to my “home” for the next few days.  I have to confess I was very teary when I saw it – it was just stunning…..they couldn’t have done a better job.  And my book?  Lets say that a few more tears were shed when I saw that as well.

my quilts 3
my quilts 2

my quilts 1

I also ran two workshops teaching needleturn applique.  It was really great meeting quilters from France and the UK – knowing that quilters from Europe like my patterns enough to want to do classes with me!

With some of the lovely quilters who did my class

With some of the lovely quilters who did my class

And Salome, my fabulous interpreter

And Salome, my fabulous interpreter

At the show there were exhibits from other authors as well.

Cecile Franconia’s new book is an absolute treat – as was her booth.  I have long followed her blog – facilececile – and love what she does.  She says “I live in France, like crochet, knitting, embroidery and photography.  Patchwork and embroidery hobbies are my favourite”.  I particularly liked her iPad cover – with (I’m sure) quarter inch fussy cut hexagons.

Cecile Franconia's booth

Cecile Franconia’s booth – with projects from her book

Bill Volckening’s book on New York beauties was a “must-have” book compiled of quilts from his collection.

Bill Volckening
Kaye England also had a book released

Kaye
As did Willyne Hammerstein – whose book Millefiori Quilts 2 was just divine.  Her “room” was opposite mine so I got to drool over her beautiful quilts all day long.

wh
Tomie Nagano’s indigo quilts were out on display – you have to see them to believe how much work she puts into her quilts.  She is a Japanese quilter who uses old antique fabrics that she incorporates into her quilts.

tomie nagano
I kept on going back to this display of quilts from the Philippines – so vibrant and full of colour.

phillipines quilts
I enjoyed my walk every morning from the hotel to the tram stop, walking down cobblestone streets.

Walking around Nantes

Walking around Nantes

I went past this every day

I went past this every day

It was also fun to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  I was particularly pleased to catch up with my friend Randi (my roomie from Houston) and Sue Watters and to meet Ellen and “the other” Sue.  Just being able to unwind at night at dinner with them was well worth all the hard work I’d done during the day.  So thanks girls!!

So am I going back to Europe next year?  You bet I am.  I have been invited by a few shops in the UK to run workshops and I said “yes” in a heartbeat – forgetting all about the trip over – i suppose its like childbirth – you forget how painful it is!!!

I had never been to Europe before so this trip was something I had wanted to do for a while.  And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  Nantes was beautiful, though I didn’t get much of a chance to explore – this trip was all about working so next year I plan to spend more time looking around.

A big thank you to Sylvia for looking after me – bringing me my cuppa tea every morning – even if you scared the other guests in your pjs!!  You were fun to travel with and I felt calm and relaxed (most of the time) with you around!

From Nantes it was onward for the next leg of my journey – to Amsterdam.

posted by on Focus on Applique, Quiltmania

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I’ve been back since last week and my feet still haven’t touched the ground.  This is not going to be a long post.  I have a gazillion photographs to go through and right now I’m sorting through them all.  Once I’ve done that – and hopefully it will be soon – I’ll start doing posts on my travels – teaching in Nantes, Holland and Norway.  Of course, I had a fabulous time everywhere I went and I’m so grateful to the shops that hosted me – for all the hard work you all put  into getting quilters to come to the workshops.

Here is a picture of the front of my book.  Quiltmania did an awesome job with it – I couldn’t have asked for a better first book – does that mean that I intend doing another – never say never!

The cover of my book

The cover of my book

 

I’m hoping to get a supply of books by the end of June. Mary Kelly from Patch n Quilt in Gisborne has a book signing on Saturday 27 June – I’d love to see you there. In the meantime, for those of you who can’t make it to Gisborne, the book is available from Quiltmania and from a few shops here in Australia.

Irene

posted by on Classes at Grenfell, Classes at Material Obsession, Classes in The Netherlands and Norway, Pour l'Amour du fil, Quiltmania, Uncategorized

20 comments

Well…. that’s what I’m calling it.  I know I’ve been AWOL for quite a while now but life gets in the way.  I have also been super-busy chasing my tail for the last couple of months.  In case you don’t know – and you would have to be living on another planet if you haven’t heard because I’ve told EVERYONE about it  – I’ll be in Nantes next week for the release of my new book through Quiltmania.

The cover of my book

The cover of my book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there I have two workshops to run and I’ve been very busy preparing kits for the workshops.  I’ll be teaching a block from Miz Kelly.

Miz Kelly

Miz Kelly

From Nantes I’ll be flying to the Netherlands and teaching at two shops,  Aztec Rose Crea and De Frottende Freule and then on to Trondheim in Norway to Quiltegarden for my fourth workshop.  Check out my calendar for details.

Am I excited?  You bet I am!!!

I’ve also been doing workshops here – the last two being in New South Wales – yes I do get around!

I had a lovely time in Grenfell.  Keryl from Fabric Sauce invited me last year to teach a two day workshop.  She is soooo organised and had my airfare and accommodation booked almost 12 months ago!  I had never been there before so had no idea what to expect.  Grenfell is a very small community but the women (and man) I met were fantastic – and my accommodation was just fabulous.  The quilters had a choice of Auntie Green’s Garden, Message in a Bottle and Minerva.  Lunch was also provided including champagne! Excuse the poor photography!

Grenfell 2

Grenfell 1

grenfell 4

Grenfell 3

Last week I was in Sydney teaching at Material Obsession.  To be invited to teach there was a great opportunity.  Its a beautiful shop and again, I was looked after so well with Megan in charge – she’s a sweetie!!  We did Auntie Green and Message.  Its wonderful for me as a designer to see these quilts made in such a wide variety of fabric choices.

mob suzie kath

mob maria

MOB - lea ingrid

That's Megan's version of Message in a Bottle in the background - love it!

That’s Megan’s version of Message in a Bottle in the background – love it!

That's my version of Message - see how different they both are?

That’s my version of Message – see how different they both are?

So… I’m off to France on Monday.  I hope you will follow me on Instagram (focusonquilts) as I’ll probably do a lot of posting there and not to0 much on the blog.

See you when I get back…………..

posted by on Melon Lime and Bitters

5 comments

My random number generator:

My son Aaron

My son Aaron

came up with the following 5 winners:

Sue Pascoe – shpascoe@bigpond.com

Sheila – soaten@icloud.com

Kerrie Peacock – xu15000@bigpond.net.au

Kelly – kelley@sunporchquilts.com

Audrey Wilson – audreycw123@gmail.com

and a special prize goes to:

Barb Mellon – how could I not send you a pattern with that surname?

So please send me an email with your addresses ladies and I’ll pop that pattern in the post.

A 2015 giveaway

Jan
2015
10

posted by on Giveway, Melon Lime and Bitters

64 comments

I have decided to have a giveaway to celebrate 2015 being a fantastic year for me.

So…I will be giving away 5  Melon, Lime and Bitters patterns.  Please leave a comment for your chance to win.  Entries close on Saturday 17 January 2015.

Melon, Lime and Bitters

Melon, Lime and Bitters

Good luck…

posted by on Nantes France, Quiltmania

10 comments

I’ve just completed my calendar for 2015.  Of course its early days so there may be further workshops added – so please check from time to time.

If you’d like me to teach in your area – with a quilting group, a shop, your guild – please contact me.

There’s one workshop that I haven’t listed on my calendar and it is….. (drum roll)…. a workshop that I will be doing in France.  I was very fortunate to have Quiltmania offer to do a book with my quilts.  In case you haven’t seen the latest Quiltmania magazine No. 104 – there is a terrific article on my quilts as a teaser for the book.

Excuse the extremely poor quality of the pic - I can't find my magazine to get a decent one!

Excuse the extremely poor quality of the pic – I can’t find my magazine to get a decent one!

 

I have been invited to teach a quilt – and I’ve chosen is one block from Mz Kelly.  So check out their website for more information.

Nantes, France

Nantes, France

 

 

posted by on Mountain Creek Quilt Shop, Sweetwater, Thanksgiving, Visiting with friends in the USA

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I’m trying to squeeze in quite a lot here – so sit back with a cuppa – lots of photos…..

From Houston I headed off to Sebastapol in California to spend time with friends.  I got to spend a couple of nights in their bungalow.  They were busy with renovations so I didn’t get to see them during the day – but I wasn’t complaining – how could i?  the bungalow was beautiful, the weather was great and I could sit outside and sew….and sew…..and sew…..

My bungalow - front door and side view

My bungalow – front door and side view

A hummingbird feeder - the main house - part of the garden

A hummingbird feeder – the main house – part of the garden

My very comfortable bed - the garden and who could resist sitting out here sewing with the sun shining and the weather beautiful!

My very comfortable bed – and who could resist sitting out here sewing with the sun shining and the weather beautiful!

And I got to meet a new and interesting person!

And then on to Portland to visit with a special friend.  I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Fabric Depot in Portland and stood there stunned at the amount of fabric!!  It was very very hard to decide what to buy when you see every range you can think of in front of you.  It was HUGE – with fabric, accessories, notions etc – anything to do with sewing including clothes/wedding sewing/upholstery……  I spent about 2 hours in there and I still felt that I didn’t do it justice.  Of course, this means that I have to buy another suitcase to bring home with me.

I also got a tour of some of the beautiful sights of Portland.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

falls col

After that it was back to base – in Charlottesville – after a very long journey, missing flights because of delays.  I left the house in Portland at 6am and arrived back in Charlottesville in my apartment just after midnight!

I spent a few days catching up on “business” before getting ready for a weekend  at the Whistlestop Quilt Retreat Sweetwater, Tennessee.  Check out the website for lots more photos.  Now Google told me that the drive would be 5.5 hours when in fact it was over 7 hours.  But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!  Left early but after a series of mishaps I didn’t get out of Charlottesville until after 10am and arrived in Sweetwater at around 5:30pm.

Whistlestop Retreat, Sweetwater TN

Whistlestop Retreat, Sweetwater TN

My corner of the bedroom!

My corner of the bedroom!

The "quilt" on the barn and a gorgeous corner of the retreat

The “quilt” on the barn and – would you believe it – one of the bathrooms!

Spent a couple of days with a lovely bunch of women, some quilters and some just there for fun.  I’m sorry now that I didn’t remember to get a group photo – but it was sooooo cold that no one wanted to go out!  Way too cold for me with the temperature dropping to -5°C – something that I’m not used to at all.

Apple butter making was on the menu ……

Apple butter is made up in a huge copper kettle – apple puree and sugar stirred over an open fire, stirred continuously for many hours until it turns a deep golden colour and when its finally done cinnamon oil is poured into it.  Once its ready its poured into sterile jars (we were each given two) and we were able to scoop up the remaining hot apple butter with sweet rolls – yummy.

Apple butter making with Terry

Apple butter making with Terry and Jodi – its hard work………

I also visited the Mountain Creek Quilt Shop.  I had been told that it was a small country shop – I’m so glad I decided to go.  It is a small country quilt shop but I was blown away at Terri’s range of fabrics – something for everyone with the fabric very well placed.  I was very impressed.  And she knew about my quilts – yeah!!!  She also had patterns by Gail Pan, Jen Kingwell, Janelle Kent and Annie Downs – she obviously loves aussie designers.

Mountain creek shop - look at all that fabric

Mountain creek shop – look at all that fabric

And there's more....

And there’s more….

And there's Terri...

And there’s Terri…

It was a loooooooooong and very wet ride home – no fun at all.

Once again, back in Charlottesville to catch up on the day job.

I then flew to Detroit to spend time with Sue, who is part of my MSG sewing group now living here.  Before I left Charlottesville a friend told me about the Henry Ford Museum.  I wrote to them asking if they would allow us a “behind the scenes” viewing of quilts.  Of course they turned me down – the normal procedure is to give 2 weeks notice and a form to be filled ….. eventually after a few email between us they must have felt sorry for us and agreed to do a special viewing.

I arrived to an absolutely FREEZING Detroit!!  But it was all worth it just to view the quilts – the Susan McCord quilts – OMG they were absolutely stunning!!!  We were not allowed photos but I’m sure most of you would have heard of these quilts.

Sue and me - teaching here all about hexi's and getting her hooked!!

Sue and me – teaching her all about hexi’s and getting her hooked!!

And of course Thanksgiving.  This was my first ever Thanksgiving in the US and I was soooo happy when Fay invited me to spend it with her and her family and friends.

The largest turkey I've ever seen - carving the turkey

The largest turkey I’ve ever seen – carving the turkey

Food...glorious Thanksgiving food

Food…glorious Thanksgiving food

Fay and me - and me looking really full after all that gorgeous food

Fay and me – and me looking really full after all that gorgeous food

A couple more weeks to go…. a visit to the DAR Museum to see the Eye on Elegance – Early quilts of Maryland and Virginia exhibition, a visit to The Farm Retreat at Willow Creek, Culpeper for a post-Thanksgiving lunch and one more programme at The Monroe Institute – then its time to pack my bags and head back home!

posted by on Houston Quilt Festival

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Market moved very smoothly into Festival with the mood changing – market was quite “sedate” whereas festival was noisy with a buzz in the air and there was definitely a fabric frenzied feeling  with quilters arriving from around the world – sitting on the shuttle bus listening to all the different languages made me realise how huge this is.  And of course we had a whole new group of Aussies come into town.  And that’s when the partying started!

But what’s said/done in Houston stays in Houston – thanks Linda!

So day one….

Day one - Randi, best roomie I could ask for!!

Day one – Randi, best roomie I could ask for!!

One of the highlights of festival was attending a talk by the Three Aussies – Carolyn Konig, Di Ford-Hall and Michelle Yeo.  Well done by all three – they all gave a terrific talk with Michelle Yeo starting off with a brief history of Australian quilting.

The 3 tenors - whoops 3 Aussies

The 3 tenors – whoops 3 Aussies

I took photos of very few quilts - there were just too many

I took photos of very few quilts – there were just too many

I organised a dinner at the Grove one night and there were 12 Aussies, one Norwegian, one Brit and two Americans.

aussie dinner pc

Randi and I on a walk in the park

Flying high.........

Flying high………

Catching up with the stars!

Catching up with the stars!

Linda Collins of Quilts in the Barn organised another dinner at the Reef

The "American" dinner

The “American” dinner

Joe and Mary Koval with Mary’s new fabric collection and the absolutely stunning palampore.

joe mary koval pc

(photo joe and Mary koval)

And of course all good things must come to an end.  I was a tad sad to see everyone leave and go back home while I was still continuing on my US “sabbatical”.

bye bye houston pc

I was still on holiday from my day job so stay tuned for the next leg of this journey……….

posted by on Houston Quilt Market 2014

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What can I say about market in one word?  ABSOLUTELY AWESOME.  Okay – that’s two words but….that is the only way I can describe it.  From the time I landed in Houston and was impressed with the Hyatt Regency to the end of market – most of what I encountered was fabulous.

Before I start the photos I have to apologise for the poor quality –the camera on the phone that I had wasn’t what I expected it to be.

Hyatt Regency view from the lobby showing the lifts/elevators

Hyatt Regency view from the lobby showing the lifts/elevators

My entry into Market was working with Gail Pan on her booth.  I’m sure you all know Gail Pan – she was so fun to work with – and I’m so glad that we got on well together.  Working in her booth was like witnessing a line-up of so many famous designers, all of them Gail’s friends!  I was lucky to be there and got to meet many of them.

My entry badge and the calm before the storm

My entry badge and the calm before the storm

I had never been to any market/craft show as big as this so it was quite overwhelming at times.  I loved coming in early and walking around in an almost empty convention centre having a good look at booths and meeting lots of interesting people.

Look who turned up to meet Gail and me…

Siw from Quiltegården in Norway

Siw from Quiltegården in Norway

On one of my early morning walks through the convention centre I met up with Pepper Cory whom I had been reading for forever….I found her in the Presencia thread booth and (I think) I did the overawed admiring fan thing…..

Pepper Cory

Pepper Cory

Also finally got to meet the delightful Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie Quilt.  Check out her blog.  Look at that beautiful quilt behind us.

Carrie Nelson

Carrie Nelson

Also met Lee Chappell of May Chappell whom I follow on Instagram.

Lee Chappell

Lee Chappell

Lots of antique quilt booths around – and one that I particularly gravitated towards was The Quilt Complex and Julie Silber – she’s awesome!!

Julie Silber with some exquisite quilts behind us

Julie Silber with some exquisite quilts behind us

And of course you never know who you’ll come across – Carol Nicholls of Sewn and Quilted from Melbourne!!

Sue sewn and quilted

I also attended a few schoolhouse sessions to check out what’s new and what’s happening in the quilting scene.

Mary Koval introduced her new range of fabric and in particular the glorious palampore which is part of the range.  Oh….and I may just have bought an antique top from her!!

Mary Koval

Mary Koval

Maggie Bonanomi;   Lucy Kingwell's gorgeous new quilt.

Maggie Bonanomi; Lucy Kingwell’s gorgeous new quilt.

And some of the booths…

Jen Kingwell’s booth – she introduced her fabulous new range of fabric at schoolhouse

Jen Kingwell

Jen Kingwell

Tim Holtz‘s booth drew me in time and time again – I just couldn’t get enough….

Tim Holtz's booth

Tim Holtz’s booth

Some more of Tim Holtz's booth

Some more of Tim Holtz’s booth

And Dawn Heese was also there with her gorgeous designs.  Another booth had Yoko Soto’s quilts.

market booths col

market booths col 2

It wasn’t all work – Randi and I decided to do more than just shop for fabric – a visit to the Galleria….

Randi and I needed a rest after all that walking .....

Randi and I needed a rest after all that walking …..I know it looks like I only had one top – not true!!

And some antique quilts for sale - love that hexi quilt

And some antique quilts for sale – love that hexi quilt

And of course sample spree – it wasn’t as frenzied as I thought it would be – perhaps this year people were more restrained.  Recognise anyone here?

Can't wait for those doors to open

Can’t wait for those doors to open

Festival next….. very soon the hotel started filling up and there seemed to be a very festive feeling around the place – and many Aussie voices to be heard.

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