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………

posted by on Blackwork Embroidery


Veronica came into Patch n Quilt when i was teaching there on Saturday to show Mary her blackwork embroidery.  So glad that Mary brought it into the classroom to show us.  The photos that I took did not do it justice.

It is her own design that she has been working on for two years.  She wanted to replicate a drunkard’s path patchwork quilt.  So, each  half of a square has its partner elsewhere in the piece.  And she changed the direction of each block so it wouldn’t be too uniform.  The stitching is incredible – there is so much to see, from the tiny circles to the filled in stitches.  If you can enlarge the photo please do so and see the magnificent work.

Veronica with her blackwork embroidery

Veronica with her blackwork embroidery

A close-up of the blackwork.

A close-up of the blackwork.

New Pattern Release


posted by on Melon Lime and Bitters, Miz Kelly, New Patterns


I’ve just completed two new patterns:

Melon, Lime and Bitters – This quilt is a really simple quilt with just one template – in two sizes.  But it looks oh….so…..sweet!

Miz Kelly – Named after the famed “Mary Kelly”!  Another vase and flowers quilt – because I love them so much.  I chose a different background here to my normal cream backgrounds – and I love the effect!  I used four different shades of grey – not 50 .

To see these two quilts, Mary Kelly (from Patch n Quilt) and I will be holding a special day to launch the quilts:

When:             Saturday 7th June 2014 – between 10 and 4

Where:            Patch n Quilt, 14 Prince Street, Gisborne

Some of my other quilts will also be on display with patterns for sale.

So come see us …………..

posted by on Clamshells, Patchwork Passion, Phillip Island

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My next quilt class was at Treehouse Textiles.  Now that is one beautiful shop.  I was a bit nervous driving there as my GPS kept on crashing so I was thankful that I’d left so early.  Once I got there though I was enchanted – it is set in a beautiful location with beautiful surroundings.  I have a whole lot of photos here to share.  The class was a lot of fun, Emma and Sarah were my gracious hosts, yummy lunch was served and lots of fabric came home with me.

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Progress at the end of the day

Progress at the end of the day

I love how different everyone's looks.....

I love how different everyone’s looks…..


tt 3 may lunch col 22

Lunch menu - and delicious lunch served in our own individual boxes!! Yum!

Lunch menu – and delicious lunch served in our own individual boxes!! Yum!

Jay photobombing my lunch photos!!

Jay photobombing my lunch photos!!

Photos of the shop:

Quilts in the shop;  what quilters bring to class

Quilts in the shop; what quilters bring to class

tt 3 may shop col 55 tt 3 may shop col 44 tt 3 may shop col 33 tt 3 may shop col 22 tt 3 may shop col 11

As I was teaching at Patchwork Passion the following day I stayed in Cranbourne with my very

gracious host, Lorraine.  Again, my Sunday class was a whole lot of fun.  Teaching two different quilts can be challenging sometimes, but then life would be boring if we did the same thing all the time, wouldn’t it?

pp 4 may students 11

Patchwork Passion - hexagons and beginner needleturn

Patchwork Passion – hexagons and beginner needleturn

pp 4 may work 11

Once more gig after that – Phillip Island.  I was very honoured to be invited last year to submit a couple of quilts for Phillip Island.  As I said when I was introduced, it was such an honour to be asked because I know how difficult it is to get into this retreat – you have to wait for someone to “drop off the perch” to get a spot!! J This was a full-on class – teaching clamshells, but, again, it went smoothly with lots of laughter and I was sad to finish on the Sunday.  Clamshells is such an easy class for me – the method is so simple I usually say I can teach the class within half an hour and then leave.  The rest of the time we just “muck around”.

Again, I was very honoured to be asked to stay back on the Sunday night to do this class again with the other members of the Phillip Island Quilters who couldn’t make it to the retreat.  I stayed with Joan and Bill in their fabulous home on Phillip Island and had my own lovely room.  Again, this was a great class.

One of my star

One of my star pupils…………

PI 10 may class 44

I have another class this week at Patch n Quilt and something special in Ballarat on Sunday 25 May which I will talk about in my next post.

On reading through my posts I realise that I always describe my classes as “a lot of fun”.  And this is so true.  If you can’t have fun and a LOT of laughs then for me its not worth teaching.  Quilting should be fun, relaxing with a whole load of laughs!

posted by on Message in a bottle, SA Quilters


Well…… we all have these lapses don’t we?  Where we are so sure that we will make regular blog posts and then life gets in the way.  I had a great excuse there for a while – my website was down for a couple of weeks.

Anyway its been fixed but there are still a few glitches that we are trying to work out – particularly my list of stockists which grows from week to week – which of course is fantastic for me.  I now have shops in the US, Europe, England and of course Australia.  I also have customers all over the world – which makes me very very happy!

I’ve also started Instagram and am having so much fun with it – its very addictive – thanks Mary!!  A few girls on Instagram have started doing Auntie Green’s Garden and it is so much fun seeing how each of them are progressing and the very different backgrounds they are using.  It has also kept me up to date on quilt market in Pittsburg, in touch with the latest trends in fabric and all the latest designs from some fabulous designers, with the Australians being way up there – yeah!!!  It makes me very itchy to get something going – so perhaps next year…… I’ll be at Houston this year just to see how things work and who knows what the future holds for me.

So where have I been?

In early April I was very fortunate to be asked to teach for the Quilting Guild of South Australia.

What can I say about my SA adventure?  Lots, of course.

As it was a two day class teaching Message in a Bottle, they asked if I’d come a day earlier and do my trunk show at their monthly meeting on a Thursday night.  Despite the 3 hour flight delay from Melbourne, once I arrived in Adelaide I was well looked after, which more than made up for the inconvenience of the delay.  Of course, everything had to be “sped up” in order to get me to the meeting on Thursday night.

When I was asked to give the trunk show to the Guild I expected between 30 to 50 women – as is the case most everywhere else I’ve been.  When I got there I was asked if I get nervous before a talk and reassured them that I was fine as I had become used to giving talks.  Little did I realise how many would turn up.  So I’m sitting there quietly minding my own business, and soon see the room filling up, and filling up and filling up – and my heart is starting to pound ever so slightly, then a bit more …..  Well, there were around 206 quilters attending that night!!!  My biggest ever audience.  To say I was a tad nervous would be an understatement.  However, once I got talking, I quickly relaxed – and of course its great when you know that your quilts will speak for themselves!  It is such an honour to be asked to share my quilts and I am always amazed that quilters actually love my patterns enough to want to do them.  I was mighty impressed by the turn-out that night and how much the quilting community in South Australia support their Guild.

I then spent the next two days doing the Message in a Bottle workshop.  And I have to say – I had the BEST time that I’ve had in a looooooooong time!

I met up with new quilters and caught up with old friends.   From the “Claires” (I’ve encompassed both spellings in this) who were our hostesses with the mostest to the girls doing my class – everyone was warm and welcoming.  The hostesses made sure that we were fed and watered at appropriate times, though sometimes they had to be stern with us (and you know which Claire (?) you are).  Everyone brought a plate that was shared and there certainly was some yummy food.  We covered a lot in the class including techniques that did not relate to the class – but the girls wanted to learn other techniques and I was happy to comply.

Apart from learning and spending a happy two days with friends, we had a LOT of fun as well.  Those are the workshops that for me end all too quickly.  I left feeling a little sad at having to say goodbye, but I know that I’ll be back soon – even if its just for a visit.  I have made many friends there that I’d like to see again.

My fabulous Message in a Bottle class in South Australia

My fabulous Message in a Bottle class in South Australia

Show and Tell brought in from previous workshops

Show and Tell brought in from previous workshops

Working hard? I wonder..........

Working hard? I wonder……….

What women bring to classes - its always a delight to see all their "bits and pieces"

What women bring to classes – its always a delight to see all their “bits and pieces”

So thank you to Shirley A for organising me, for her and Gay for driving me back and forth, to the “Claires” for being such fabulous hostesses and for everyone else for making me feel so warm and welcoming.

posted by on Classes @ Treehouse Textiles


I’m very excited to be running a workshop at Treehouse Textiles on Saturday 3 May.  We will be focusing on one block from MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE – a block that I had so much fun making. image message in a bottle quilt

Message in a Bottle

Here is a description from their website:

“Irene is a Quilt Designer and passionate about Needle Turn Applique, and VERY good at it too!! Her quilt “Minerva” (named after her cat) is soon to be featured in “Quilters Companion.”

So it is with the utmost delight and fantastic good fortune that Irene has agreed to run one of her wonderful workshops at Treehouse Textiles.

Her quilt “Message in a Bottle” is made using lots of script/ newsprint fabric for backgrounds, as well as bottles, flowers and other pieced appliqués .

Some of the background blocks have been pieced…a little different! The blocks are joined together with fillers.
Irene uses NO PINS in her appliqué and encourages quilters to prepare a complete block so that it is portable and can be completed anywhere, anytime.

Irene is also known for her wonderful choice of fabrics and gorgeous colour palette “Message in a Bottle” is a perfect example.

A little birdy has also mentioned that Irene instills confidence in workshop participants in the use and choice of colour…We can’t wait!!

At the Treehouse Textiles workshop you will be making Block 18 ‘Flowers in a Bottle.’

Yummy lunch, espresso coffee, specialty teas & treat included on full day workshops.

I have been following Treehouse Textiles from the time of their inception so I was very happy to be able to teach there.

So come along, bring your friends, and let’s have a fun day sewing.

You can contact Emma or Sarah on or 0427 570 950

posted by on AQC Melbourne 2014, Greenacres, Timeless


I will be helping Lenora of Elm Grove at AQC on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – I hope my legs hold out!!  We are launching two of my new quilts – Greenacres and Timeless.



so come visit and say hi – Stall No. 45

posted by on Bribbaree, Confetti, Eva Grace, Workshops

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Warning: This is a photo-filled post so grab a cuppa!!

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of teaching in the tiny country town of Bribbaree in New South Wales.  You may remember that I went there earlier this year and while i was there I heard Anne West mention a quilt exhibition of Life is Beautiful (a Hugs and Kisses pattern) that some of her quilt group had made.  As I had such a fun time in February I thought it would be great if I could return for the exhibition.  Well…… knowing Anne as I do, one thing led to another and pretty soon she had my flights booked and a workshop organised.

Bribbaree, for those that don’t know, is really the “hub of the universe” as Bill West likes to call it.

I arrived in Wagga on Friday and spent a quilty day with Anne and Mandy, visiting quilt shops and stocking up on much needed fabric (as if!).  First stop was Nimble Thimble in Wagga owned by the lovely Maria and it was great to catch up with her again.  Unfortunately she missed out on this year’s workshop – but not to worry as we have big plans for next year.

Nimble Thimble - (Main photo) Maria and Anne; Janice came to visit as well; and Mandy

We also visited another shop in Wagga, Simply Stitches, had a lovely lunch and then went on to Temora to Patches of Heaven where I found the most divine hinged tin!!

I stayed at Bill and Anne West’s home “Balmoral”.  It is such a beautiful home.  Here are some pics:

Bill and Anne West, my most gracious hosts!

A view from the front of the house

Out the back.........

A few delightful corners in the house

What started out with a handful of women, ended up with 32 in my workshop– woo hoo!!!  My biggest quilting workshop ever!!  The two quilts offered at the workshop were Confetti and Eva Grace.  Anne had everyone organised with patterns, fabric etc. and all I really had to do was come along and have FUN.

Confetti and Eva Grace

What was so amazing about this workshop is that the women came from far and wide and I was so impressed that some of them drove such long distances to attend the workshop.  But then, what could be better than spending a whole Saturday sewing with quilting friends, yummy food, fabric shopping and lots of laughter.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday to set up the hall  – or least part of the hall as Anne and Bill had done a lot of work earlier on in the week – and to get the workshop ready.  Quilters started arriving by 9:15 and pretty soon everyone was there raring to go.  For those quilters who felt that they needed more fabric, Keryl, with her shop Fabric Sauce, was in attendance as well.  Morning and afternoon teas as well as a delicious champagne lunch was provided.  It was great to catch up with old friends and meet many new ones. 

Keryl and Madison at Fabric Sauce

Quilt Show (I apologise I didn't manage to photograph all the quilts)

But that’s not all.  As we were leaving, there were a few of us outside chatting when Lindel drove past on her way home and realised that she had a flat tyre.  Well, as far as I was concerned, you just call  RACV or NRMA don’t you?  Not these ladies.  Four of them got together and with a lot of hard work and sweat they changed the tyre.  Needless to say, they are my heros!!!  I was very impressed.

My heros!!!

Me, Anne, Mandy, Cynthia - tired but happy!

On the way home from the hall we came across this modern day cowboy – I couldn’t resist taking a photo:

A cowboy on his mobile!

Satuday night dinner was at the bowling club with a bunch of quilters and their husbands – and again…… lots of laughs.

Sunday was much  quieter.  On the way to the airport at Wagga we stopped at the Schillers farm.  I had never seen a “live” sheep shearing – so Geoff (who was kindly volunteered by Michael) offered to do a live shearing for me.  To say I was impressed is putting it mildly.  I took lots of photos of course. 

Mandy Schiller - thank you so much for all your help!

The Junior Schiller's (Nicholas and Josephine) Farm

My first live shearing demonstration with shearer-extraordinaire, Geoff

All in all, a wonderful fun weekend.  Many thanks to Anne West for her fantastic organisational skills.  She is a remarkable woman who gives freely of her time organising the quilters in her area with sit and sews as well as sewing pillowcases for oncology kids.  Again thanks to Mandy for picking me up at the airport, driving me around, selling my patterns at the workshop and generally helping Anne to make sure the workshop ran smoothly.  Thanks too to all my friends in Bribbaree for making me feel like I’m “home” and for making me feel so very special.  Of course, I’m looking forward to seeing you all next year for bigger and better things.

And of course a special thanks to Bill and Anne, for being such fabulous hosts and making me feel like I’m truly living in my own home.

This weekend I’ve been invited as guest speaker for the Embroiderer’s Guild in Melbourne.  I’ll keep you posted………



posted by on Tins


I LOVE tins – all sorts of tins……… small ones………large ones……..square….round……. but the tins that score the most points for me are the HINGED tins.

I wait for the sales after Christmas where you can snag the BEST biscuits tins.  Of course the biscuits are usually stale but who cares – I’m not buying them for biscuits. 

I used to look for the most attractive tins until I discovered that I could actually cover them myself.  So of course, I’ve gone a bit crazy – slightly – and started out with these two.  I buy scrapbooking paper, cut it to size and glue it down with any tacky glue.  I use Elmer’s clear glue which seems to work the best for me.

The large one (which was a Dilmah tea tin) is going to be my new hexagon tin and the little one (formerly a chocolate tin) is the one I’ll use when I travel to hold my sewing needs.


My new hexagon tin

My travelling sewing tin

I know there are a lot of you out there just like me – and you know who you are!

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