posted by on Houston Quilt market and festival

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Trying hard to come down to earth after Houston Quilt market and festival.  I’ve had about 10 days of it and I’m still a tad sad its come to an end.  I’ve had an absolute blast – making “important” connections for my quilting design career, catching up with old friends and making many new friends.  I shared a room with Randi (from Norway) who was the BEST roomie a girl could ask for.  There were so many aussies at the Hyatt Regency that it was party night most nights.

I’m still travelling so I don’t have an opportunity of doing a decent post this time with photos etc. but I promise that when I get back to “earth” I will post some photos.  In the meantime if you are on Instagram check out my posts – you can follow me at “focusonquilts”.  And if you are not on Instagram you must join.  Its fast and easy.

More later………………..








posted by on Christiansburg, Montgomery Museum


Saturday I went to Christiansburg to the Montgomery Museum.  This collection was all about “A Pieced History: Quilts of Montgomery County. Twenty locally made historical quilts”.

The Montgomer Museum, Christiansburg

The Montgomer Museum, Christiansburg

And here are the quilts:

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I leave for Houston on Wednesday – early morning flight which means I have to be up at 4am – yuk!!  I arrive in Houston at around 12 noon – and I think it will be time for a nap.  I am soo excited – I will be sharing a room with Randi, a friend of ours from Europe.  Its going to be so much fun – there are so many Aussies coming.  I hope to be helping Gail Pan set up her booth at market and then enjoy both market and festival.  After that I’m off to San Francisco and Portland to visit with friends.

So see you soon……………..

posted by on Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Antique quilts, Williamsburg


Jen sent me an email detailing a few quilt museums and their exhibits open this year.  There were 3 in Virginia.  I visited the one in Harrisonburg last weekend and which I blogged previously.

So this weekend the sun was out, the weather was beautiful and I was free so it was time to rent a car again.  This time it was a zippy little red car which I loved!!

Friday I did the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg and visited a few towns along the way.  Williamsburg is a beautiful city with a section that is reminiscent of colonial life.  This is how the collection was described “A Celebration of Quilts features dozens of quilts that represent the diversity of quilts made in American from the 18th through 20th centuries. Several of the quilts are new to the collection and have never before been seen by the public.”

Entrance to Museum

Entrance to Museum

And here are the quilts:

Wreath quit - made by Christuabb Rauch around 1849

Wreath quit – made by Christuabb Rauch around 1849

Tulip quilt made by Ann Margaret Rauch around 1849.  Look at the detail of the flowers in the middle of each block.

Tulip quilt made by Ann Margaret Rauch around 1849. Look at the detail of the flowers in the middle of each block.

Stars Quilt - made by Harriet Ann Richards - 1840.

Stars Quilt – made by Harriet Ann Richards – 1840.

Medallion and pieced delectable mountain quilt.  Made by Amelia Heiskel Lauck - 1822

Medallion and pieced delectable mountain quilt. Made by Amelia Heiskel Lauck – 1822

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Star of Bethlehem quilt made by Sarah Sands - 1845

Star of Bethlehem quilt made by Sarah Sands – 1845

Broderie Perse medallion with stars - look at how the centre points all meet in the middle in all the star blocks.

Broderie Perse medallion with stars – look at how the centre points all meet in the middle in all the star blocks.

But this is the quilt – or should I say coverlet – that took my  breath away.  The photo doesn’t do it justice.  The coverlet was placed behind glass with a light behind it.  All I could do was stand in front of it speechless.

Embroidered coverlet made by Sarah B Wisdom - 1818.

Embroidered coverlet made by Sarah B Wisdom – 1818.

Here was something else that fascinated me:

A colour chart from 1820.

A colour chart from 1820.

Part of the colonial village:

carriage and house

And I was fortunate to be there during a parade – my first in the US.


Day 2 in the next post…..

Day 2 shop hop


posted by on US Sabbatical, USA shop hop


Saturday was another rainy day but that wasn’t going to stop me.  I’m now actually enjoying driving.

My first stop today was Kelly Ann’s in Warrenton.  This wasn’t part of the shop hop.  I follow the shop in Instagram and liked their blog.  It seemed to be on my way – somewhat!  And I’m glad I went a bit out of my way – what a beautiful shop and what a quaint lovely little town.  My plastic card took some beating!

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From there on to the Quilting Adventures in Henrico.  Apparently they had just moved to this shop – another big bright shop with lots of quilting lovelies!

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The ladies at Quilting Adventures suggested that I take the back roads to get to the next stop so as to avoid the toll booths.  Well….I set my GPS to the next town and hoped that it would take me through the back roads – but of course it didn’t and I was on this huge freeway trying not to stress out – thank goodness for the lovely toll booth operators who were sooo helpful.  Arrived at another lovely quilt shop – Quilters Corner, Midlothian.  I’m running out of superlatives.  Friendly staff, beautiful fabric, bright and colourful shop.

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So I only had one shop to go on Sunday.  This was a long drive – over 2 hours on a wet and rainy Sunday.  Theads Run Thru It is located in a log cabin!  They had mostly batiks which is not something that I use – but I enjoyed the drive.

Threads Run Thru It - in a log cabin!

Threads Run Thru It – in a log cabin!

Batiks batiks and more batiks!!

Batiks batiks and more batiks!!

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I think I have enough fabric – and I haven’t yet got to Houston.  There will definitely be lots of parcels being posted back home.

PS – I got a phone call today to tell me that I’d won a prize!!!  Yeah………not sure what it is and will find out when I get a chance to visit one of the shops later in November.

My first US post


posted by on US Sabbatical


I know….I know….I promised to blog every week while I’m here on my 3 month “sabbatical”!  But you know how things go…..whereas I thought I would have lots of spare time – well… things just don’t work out that way.

I’m still doing my day job – I have to – there are so many things that I wanna buy and so much fabric to collect – someone has to pay for it.  I really only have the weekends free and that’s when I do my shopping and wandering around.

I’m going to start backwards!  I’ll remember better this way.

So what did I do yesterday and today? Shop for fabric, of course!

There’s a shop hop going on right now, fortunately for me, which started on Friday.  I decided to rent/hire a car for the weekend and do the shops myself.  So with some trepidation I rented the car – fingers crossed – and drove from 9am until I came home exhausted at 6pm.  And, you know? Once you drive on the wrong side of the road, its comes easy.  I hope I don’t forget my driving skills back home.

I had my schedule all worked out the night before but Greg (the driver who picked me up for my rent car) rearranged things for me because he thought that I could cover more territory going his way!  The only downside to this day was that it rained all day!

First stop was Culpeper. The Little Quilt Shop in Madison in Culpepper.  I had visited before but needed to get my card stamped and pick up some more fabric of course.  I was very restrained here.


PicMonkey Collage

Next stop Virginia Quilt Museum.  Unfortunately, and I was a tad upsegt about this, no photos were allowed.  There were a couple of exhibits – one of men’s quilts which was very good (!) and the other were quilts from the Civil War – very good indeed.  Nice lunch at a café nearby after that.


Quilt Museum

Quilt Museum

quilt museum

Next stop Staunton (pronounced Stanton) and Rachel’s Quilt Patch.  I had been here before and remembered it as a big shop, but I must have been mistaken.  It was a small but very nice shop.


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From there I drove to Dayton to Patchwork Plus.  I don’t know why I thought that this would be a small shop.  What a surprise.  It was a big and wonderful shop – I spent the most money there.  The women were lovely and warm and welcoming.

Don't you think those chairs are awesome for long suffering husbands?  I saw one with his eyes closed - and probably asleep!

Don’t you think those chairs are awesome for long suffering husbands? I saw one with his eyes closed – and probably asleep!

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I had a rather long drive to the next stop – The Quiltery in Fairfield.  Another lovely shop – very friendly women working there.  They’d even heard of Aussie designers (not me, sadly)

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And then a very very long drive home.  Stopped off at Red Lobster for a lobster, prawns, scallops dinner – yum.

And here’s what I bought!

And here's my fabric frenzy for today.

And here’s my fabric frenzy for today.

I’ll do the another post tomorrow for my quilt shop stops on Saturday and Sunday.

Till then….

posted by on Hexagons, Kaleidoscope quilt, Postage Stamp quilt


Yes…. my bags are packed and ready.  I leave on Wednesday 17th for Charlottesville – can’t wait.  I’m hoping to have lots of time  to blog.  I will continue working at my day job and hope to travel over the weekends.  I will also be in Houston – so if any of you are there please let me know and perhaps we can catch up.

In the meantime, for the last month I’ve been “in exile” at home – more because I had the care of my mother full time.  But that hasn’t been such a bad thing.  I share the care of my mother with my sister who lives in a unit at the back of my place.  She went away on holidays for a month, so…. I brought out the sewing machine onto the dining table/family room and left it there for the whole month – yeah!!!  I was able to watch TV and sew without having to clear up every night.  Bliss!

As you would have seen from my previous post, I’m resting my brain at the moment and doing lots of machine sewing.  Here are my latest finished projects.

postage stamp 1

I’ve always wanted to do a postage stamp quilt. I used a variety of charm squares – Wishes by Sweetwater, Social Club by Comstocks, Happy-go-Lucky and April Showers by Bonnie and camille and Bee my Honey by mary Jane.  The quilt is basted – thanks Mary – and ready for hand sewing….. soon…..

postage pillow 2 pic

So what does one do with the left overs? Sew a pillow of course.

I loved the brightness of the fabric and decided to do something quick – combined with my love for hexis – and here it is.

hexa pillow pic

hexa pillow 2 pic


Here is my hexi pillow again with my basket of sewing.  I LOVE making zipped bags for my projects – they look so pretty………..

My next project was a Kaleidoscope quilt.  I did one many years ago using Civil War fabrics.  This time I wanted to go bright – so I raided my stash and spent a whole week choosing fabric, playing with colours and cutting.  Of course I can’t go past a good script fabric.  I thought I’d used them all up for Message in a Bottle but I hadn’t!  And there are so many new wonderful prints coming out that I just can’t resist them.  My fabric stash is growing and growing and growing…..

I did this quilt using foundation papers – and loved every minute of it!

kaleidoscope start pic

The start of something new and wonderful!

kaleidoscope close up pic

A close-up of part of the completed quilt.

Kaleidoscope quilt pic


My kaleidoscope quilt – I LOVE IT!!  I intend hand quilting it some day….

And again, here is my Liberty bag.  I left it with Mary at Patch n Quilt and there have been many requests for patterns.  Yes, I know Mary….. I’ll get onto it soon – I promise.

liberty bag pic

My next post will be from Charlottesville – yeah!!!

Till then….enjoy your sewing… and see you in Houston.

posted by on Flowering Snowball, Hand Quilting with perle cotton


This is a photo-heavy post – lots of photos of my newest quilt.  Well….I’m taking a break from designing.   I had to complete a LOT of quilts for a new project and my brain hurts… I’ve decided the only way to relax my brain was to do some machine piecing.  And you know what?  I’m LOVING it. Here is the stack of quilts that had to be completed for a big project.

My stack of quilts going on a journey!

My stack of quilts going on a journey!

Here is my first machine pieced project – I can’t remember when was the last time I did a machine pieced quilt.  I follow a blog – Molly Flanders Makerie – and she’s in charge of a sew-along group making Flowering Snowball.  I really loved the look of her quilt as well as the way she’s hand quilted it. So I decided to do my own.

I had visited Treehouse Textiles for their grand opening in Mornington recently and bought packs of 5 inch squares.  I’m upset with myself for not taking a photo of them but Emma kindly sent me a pack.
flowering snowball packs


The original pattern was for a 12 inch block.  I wanted the coloured bits to fit on the 5 inch square so I drafted my own pattern and got the bits to fit on the 5 inch square – just!  My blocks ended up measuring 9 inches.  I used the Treehouse Textile fabrics because they are so different to my own stash and I wanted to just step out of my own comfort zone – and I’m so glad I did.  I LOVE the look of the quilt.

My Flowering Snowball - excuse the photo

My Flowering Snowball – excuse the photo

Of course it wouldn’t be the same if I machine quilted it – so I quilted it myself using perle cotton and again, I am so happy with the finished quilt. Here are a few close-ups of my quilting.

My hand quilting using perle cotton

My hand quilting using perle cotton

flowering snowball quilting 2flowering snowball quilting 1

I pieced my backing as I usually do, using up fabric that I don’t want to cut up.  I always thinks that a pieced backing is so much nicer than just one fabric – and it frees up my cupboard for more new fabric!

My pieced backing using up lots of lovely fabric.

My pieced backing using up lots of lovely fabric.

I used a black and white stripe for the backing and I think it goes really well with the rest of the quilt.

Black and white stripe binding

Black and white stripe binding

It is now my favourite quilt and I sit with it on my lap every evening when I watch TV and sew.

My next quilt in the machine is made up of 2 inch squares using charm packs.  I’ve almost finished it.  I’m not sure whether I’ll hand quilt this one – let’s see.  I’m also looking at doing a kaleidoscope next.

I haven’t neglected my own designs.  I’ve prepped some quilts and will take them with me when I’m away in the US.

Thanks for stopping by.


posted by on Treehouse Textiles


I drove all the way to Mornington today to attend Treehouse Textiles open day – and I’m so glad I did – wouldn’t have missed it!!  2 friends were supposed to come with me but they both were unable to but that didn’t stop me from going.

The shop is just gorgeous – as is to be expected.  I think the photos speak for themselves.

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So if you get a chance, pop in and say hi to Emma and Sarah. Its at 2B Empire Street, Mornington.  They will still be running some larger workshops in Merricks North as well as some classes here at the shop.

posted by on Quilt Retreat, Zelda


I’ve just been back from my annual retreat with my quilting buds.  Its ALWAYS fun to catch up with friends and of course there’s nothing better than spending a whole weekend sitting, sewing, eating, talking, laughing, eating some more, sorting out quilting problems, each others problems and world problems…….

My room - as the organiser I get there first and grab the BEST room!

My room – as the organiser I get there first and grab the BEST room!


Our sewing room

One corner of the room - i love that cushion and foot stool

One corner of the room – i love that cushion and foot stool

There is a huge design wall - these are works in progress

There is a huge design wall – these are works in progress

For the first time ever on retreat I took my sewing machine as I was on a mission and managed to complete the quilt that’s on the right side of the design wall.  And…. who knew that you had to clean your machine every time after you finish sewing?  I could have made a felt pin cushion with the fluff collected!!!

The well appointed kitchen

The well appointed kitchen


The dining area

The dining area

We all took food so there was definitely no shortage of food.  We LOVE this place – Craft Retreat at Hepburn Springs.  It was FREEZING but we were nice and cosy inside.  We did go out to Daylesford on Saturday morning but couldn’t wait to get back.

While there I also completed my Liberty hexagon bag.

Liberty Bag

Liberty Bag

My "other" hexagon bag

My “other” hexagon bag

This bag is my original hexagon bag and I thought it might also look lovely in Liberty fabrics.

So it’s back home and back to the day job with sewing in between.  So what’s on my design wall?

design wall

These blocks were the practice blocks for my next quilt – it took me FIVE trials to find the right size. I should have given up but I was determined to get it right. I don’t particularly like machine piecing but I wasn’t going to let this itty bitty block defeat me – and I’m happy to say I succeeded and was very happy with the final product. The drawn vine on the left is what will be added on but it still needs some modifications. I can see it clearly in my head and hope that it translates well to fabric.

So…..what have you been working on on these beautiful cold dark wet days – perfect for sewing!

Launch Day


posted by on Liberty Hexagon bag, Melon Lime and Bitters, Miz Kelly, Uncategorized, Zelda


Two new quilt patterns were launched on Saturday 7 June 2014 at Patch n Quilt in Gisborne.

Melon Lime & Bitters

Melon Lime & Bitters

Miz Kelly - names after the (in)famous Mary Kelly

Miz Kelly – names after the (in)famous Mary Kelly

Mary Kelly went all out and set out a gorgeous display of my two new quilts as well as some of my other quilts – so it was a sort-of Irene mini exhibition. That and  the yummy nibbles and we had a fabulous day.  Sandwiches, zucchini slices,  savoury and sweet tarts, a variety of choc truffles and of course the AMAZING meringues.  I’m just sorry I didn’t get any photos of all the yummy food.  Here are a few photos of the quilts displayed.  And thanks too to James from Gisborne Flower Shoppe for his beautiful display of flowers as well as accessories.

pnq 6 pnq 5 pnq 4 pnq 3 pnq 2 pnq 1

It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and to make new ones!  So thank you to everyone who supported me.

As always working with Mary is a treat…….

So thank you Mary! And Brendan!

A couple of pieces I’m working on:

The first is a tester goose track block.  It took me a while to find the name for this block.  I then asked my friend Ruth to work it out for me on EQ7 which she did so beautifully. The story goes that I did do a lesson on EQ7 with Ruth a couple of months ago but because I came home and didn’t do any homework I promptly forgot how to use it!!  That’s what happens as you grow older – and no one told me about that!! I wanted to name the quilt as a thank you to Ruth and we decided on ZELDA (the wonder dog) – Ruth’s beautiful dog. Prototype No. 1 was machine pieced but that didn’t work out because the pieces are too small and fiddly.  So I decided to hand piece it.  The next prototype was a dismal failure as the block didn’t measure out to the correct dimensions – obviously I cut the pieces too small.  Prototype No. 3 was successful – yeah.  So that’s the way I’ll be piecing them.

Testing out a goose tracks as part of my next quilt - Zelda

Testing out a goose tracks as part of my next quilt – Zelda

Liberty hexagons for hexa bag

Liberty hexagons for hexa bag

Next weekend is The Applique Guild of Australia weekend at Mirambeena Community Centre, 19 Martha Mews, Lavington. For more details check out the calendar here.

Talk soon………

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