26 November 2011

Free magazine SUBS

The next issue of both of these titles will be available online FREE very soon - click on whichever one you are interested in, or both, and sign up now so you don't miss out!

25 November 2011

Red Lantern Markets

From what I can understand this is an annual event. I can also gather that the organisers have had trouble raising sponsorship. BUT, it sounds really good, and deserves support.

It includes a large cultural program with music, performance, an operational rickshaw and a partnership with Livesites who will create a program of Dancing in the Street. Renew Newcastle projects will participate and open their doors to partake in the festival.

Additionally, and this is the bit that sounds the b.e.s.t to me - visitors have the opportunity of viewing and purchasing unique handmade and fair-trade goods direct from the artisan/maker and experiencing exotic food from Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Spain, Africa, Greece and Turkey.

Sounds good eh, so if you are local, or close enough to make the trip, do so!

I am visiting my aunt and uncle's on Saturday night, and they live in upper Hunter valley, The red Lantern markets sound like a good idea for a evening out!

Check out more here ...

23 November 2011

Then there were three

three cushions, that is.

Here is the up-cycled sweater, three cushions. I had intended to make two rectangular cushions, because I thought that shape would accommodate the best area of the knitted pieces.
Then, because I was on a roll, (or so I thought), I decided to patch together some of the smaller pieces with fabrics. That my friend was where things got a bit tricky. I didn't realise just how accustomed to sewing on stable cotton fabric I had become. Boy oh boy those knits and stretch fabrics were going all over the place.
However, all's well that ends well, and if Jake likes them, that is all ok. I will be giving them to him tonite, so I will soon know.
x dls

16 November 2011

Up-cycling my son's knitted sweater

Once Aponce A Time, more than 16 years ago, my mother knitted this divine Aran-style sweater for my son Jake (who is now 26).

Sadly, he wasn't too fussed with it, and the few times he did wear it it was under sufferance. I held on to that sweater no matter what, simply because of the time and love that had gone into it. This year I tried to get my now-11-year-old son, Mason, to wear it, nope, he isn't keen either.

I have unpicked the seams, which were so beautifully stitched mummy, I could barely see them! I have cut the ribbing off. I am planning to make some cushions. Jake has recently moved into a new flat with his girlfriend, so I thought these cushions would be useful, plus satisfy my desires that the hand-work is still cherished.

I hope to complete them soon, I will post a photo when they are done.

x dls

Or, I could make a bag like this vintage bag I found online just now - here - take a look, they are selling the pattern. What a fab idea!

11 November 2011

Annemieke's Book!

OOOPs, deadline slipped straight past me, that's what happens when I am working simultaneously on content for two different magazines - Down Under Quilts and Creative Expressions Down Under. Anyway, enough of the excuses ...

and, the winner is ......

Christine.. (and not just because she said how much she liked my quilt on the front cover of #150 tehe), so Christine, email me you address details and I will send this glorious book to you and you and your grand-daughter can enjoy it together.

To Upcycle, or not to Upcycle?

HOW could it be upcycled? and if not, HOW do you throw it away?

I couldn't just put it in the bin, I couldnt take it to the tip, maybe I should put it in a Good Will bin and let them deal with it, heartlessly, but out of my sight?

Mum made this quilt for me around 15-20 years ago, it has been my favourite for many reasons. I love the colours, it is very warm and snuggly and the perfect size for keeping warm on the lounge. As you can see I have loved it to death! Look at those tears and frays, and every corner has damage, and the binding is wearing thin ...

oh, what to do?

03 November 2011

2011 Quilt Festival Winners

As far as I can see two Australian quiltmakers have won awards at this year's major quilt competition. Check out all the winners yourself here.

Congratulations go to Ming Hsu of SA for her quilt, Conversations with Diane, which won First Place in the Merit Quilting, Machine category sponsored by Bernina® of America.

Southern Delight, by Mariya Waters of Melbourne, was awarded an honourable mention in the Art-Pictorial category sponsored by AccuQuilt

Both Mariya’s and Ming’s quilts have previously been published in Down Under Quilts for awards they won in Australia.

And, the top prize - The Handi Quilter® Best of Show Award, ($10,000*) went to Sue McCarty of Utah for her quilt, Harmony Within.

Well done, one and all.

31 October 2011

DUQ Facebook reaches 500 - let's celebrate!

To celebrate this exciting milestone we are giving away this gloriously gorgeous book by Australian textile artist Annamieke Mein.

Leave a comment here and tell me why you would like to win this book. The winner will be chosen randomly on Friday 4th November. You must 'like' Down Under Quilts FB to be eligible to win, so pop over there and LIKE us now!

28 October 2011

Upcycle, Re-invent, Inspire

On my way to Gosford Train Station recently I noticed these exciting, enticing words ... Up-cycle, Re-invent, Inspire, on a shop window. There wasn't enough time to take a good look and see what type of shop it was. But today, on my way back from dropping my son at the station I parked and visited!

What a treasure trove! The store is called The Bower Bird Project and it has a similar feel to a sewing cafe. They offer workshops and lessons on various sewing and craft techniques. Plus they have an adorable collection of bits and pieces.

OMG - bangles made from KNITTING NEEDLES - I must have one! they wouldn't fit over my fist, but not from lack of trying! More are coming in soon, hopefully in bigger sizes

Many things are handmade by locals, there is fabric and oodles of buttons, vintage clothes, vintage chairs, and other gorgeous stuff too.

It is run by Leanne, and I hope to get back there often to visit, maybe even join a sewing group.

Meanwhile you can visit their website or their Facebook page - happy hunting.

26 October 2011

Textile Art anyone?

This is Issue #5 of one of our sister publications - Down Under Textiles, and as the name implies, it is focused on all manner of textile techniques. The projects are by Australians, using products available in Australia. The instructions are clear and informative - check out the Facebook page for more information.

This magazine is available through specialist suppliers only, or directly from the publisher. Just like DUQ, it is also available online FREE.

The next issue will be available in about 3-4 weeks, and it is marvellous. If you like Shibori, the Aussie way, then you will LOVE this issue!

x dls

Japanese Motifs Book Giveaway

I have the review copy to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do is tell me what you like best about Japanese quiltmaking and the motifs they use. Leave me a comment here ...

I will announce the winner on November 18th.
cheers dls

12 October 2011

If you are in the region of Bright (Victoria) on the weekend of 22/23 October for the Bright Spring Festival, and Quilt Expo you might want to sign up for a workshop with Dijanne Cevaal.
Contact Angela at Sew Bright Alpine Quilting to find out more. 03 5755 5118.


04 October 2011

Liberty Feature in DUQ #151

Liberty Prints seem to be all the rage right now, well they are for me, and seem to be for many other textile and quilt lovers too.

Liberty Art Prints, both classic and new, are gorgeous, and the funky collaborative prints are striking and inspirational.

I had a dress made from Liberty Tana Lawn (5 metres in the skirt alone!) more than 20 years ago, but these days my passion for these iconic prints is for quiltmaking.

We have decided to bring even more Liberty lusciousness into the lives of Australia's and International Down Under Quilts' readers in the December-January issue.

We are on the lookout for quilts that have been made with Liberty prints, cushions, bags, whatever ... if you have any of these handmade items, or know someone who does, please let me know. I will be starting on the story soon and am hoping to share many Australian Liberty influences as possible in issue #151 to share with the world.


dls loves Hello Kitty

I was excited to see that Liberty have recently released a range of classy Hello Kitty fabrics -

Liberty says, "We've joined forces with every girl's best feline-featured friend Hello Kitty, who has invaded our iconic Liberty floral prints as part of this exciting collaboration. The result is five gorgeous fabric prints in eight colour ways."

The Hello Kitty Liberty Art Fabrics is exclusive to Liberty.

and, I was surprised to find these too, how cute are they?
x dls

28 September 2011

New Book Releases

I received this amazing pile of books from the Australian distributor - Capricorn Link - last week. A number of them will be featured in future copies of Down Under Quilts, Down Under Textiles and Creative Expressions, along with a review.

It is one of joys of the job of editor that we get to see so many books in advance, some I keep in my own library, I love books! And the other are given to various groups and guilds for their libraries, and then every now and then we do a giveaway too. Stand by for that ...

And, the shoes DID NOT fit :-(, they are half a size too small, boo hoo.

14 September 2011


Woo hoo, I just bought these from Liberty of London, online for 70 pounds plus shipping. How cool are they!

They are from the Liberty Nike Autumn Collection, just released yesterday. Thanks to Erica for 'liking' them on FB, it was the first thing I saw this morning.

These Nike shoes feature Helena's Party print, which originates from a lace flower design created in 1937. This print was part of a collaboration with Lauren Child, creator of the Charlie & Lola stories.

x dls

31 July 2011

Binding Finished

You cant see much because it is to be a project in a future issue, so it's still under wraps.

But I can tell you a little about it ...

The pattern is a very old traditional one
The colours were inspired by a cover on a notebook I purchased at V&A in 1999
It includes many of the red/blue prints from the Suzani range by Michelle Marvig
I chose (most) of the fabrics, and purchased them
Lorraine (mummy) hand stitched the top
Kim Bradley machine quilted it
I sewed the binding on
It is called Thel's Garden, named after my grandmother (Lorraine's mum)

it's a bit eclectic isnt it?

The pattern, and a full size photograph will appear in the first Down Under Quilts issue of 2012.


30 July 2011

Visiting patchwork shops

In the last seven days I have visited 5 patchwork shops. What joy!

Four were in the ACT, when Erica and I went to Canberra to see the Rajah Quilt, and today I went to Wyong to Blueberries Patchwork to buy myself another tip for the Simplicity Bias Maker.

While I was there I met Ally Nicholl, one of our wonderfully talented designers, Hi Ally! If you would like to see Ally's latest quilt in DUQ, pop over the free digital version ... it is called Fiesta, and it sure is bright and festive.


27 July 2011

Making Binding

Yesterday a quilted top came back from Kim Bradley (of Kim Bradley Creations) and it is gorgeous! I cant show it to you, as it will be a project in a future issue.

The quilt is 200cm x 220cm, which meant that I needed to cut, sew and iron almost 9 metres of binding. It was a bit of a challenge to say the least!

I start way more quilts than I finish, so I had forgotten what a wrangle it can be to prepare the binding. I don't mind machine sewing it on, and I quite enjoy hand stitching it in place, but preparing it? urghh. and this was straight binding!

Imagine my fear at the thought of cutting and preparing around 8 metres of BIAS binding, which I need to do for the other quilt that has just returned from professional machine quilter - Heather Shanks of Heasha Quilting, Gold Coast. It has large scallops around the edges... (thanks Heather I LOVE the quilting)

Always the one to make use of handy tools where possible, I quickly searched for, and ordered a Simplicity Bias Tape Maker (click on the VIDEO button to see how easy it is to use!)

The machine arrives tomorrow, and I have to have the binding completed by Sunday evening, as the quilt will be photographed for the magazine next Monday. Plenty of time! (yeah right)

I'll be sure to let you know how easy it made the job of metres of bias binding for my Purple Puzzles quilt, appearing as a project in issue 150!


10 July 2011

In my sewing room

After one week in Queensland, on the warm sunny Gold Coast, we are back home in the cold windy weather with the fire blazing. But I am not sitting in front of the fire, I am up in my sewing room fondling fabrics.

I have prepared a backing for the quilt that is to be urgently quilted this week ready to appear in issue #150 of Down Under Quilts ...

I have auditioned a binding for a quilt top that mum made and gave me ....

And, I have cut 2 1/2in strips to make a series of four patches to make up the 'strips' between a luscious toile-like fabric with ornate columns ...

Bliss ...

04 July 2011

Visiting Gold Coast patchwork shops

When certain things collide other things occur. This week's collision involved ... first week of school holidays in NSW and my brother-in-law and cute nephew flying into Queensland from China for a week. Hubby declared we should pack up the kids into the car and drive to the Gold Coast to see Rob and Taj and visit my mum who lives on GC.

And here we are.

Mum and I decided to have a girly/quilty/fabric day today and luckily the Gold Coast quilters opened their biennial quilt show a few days ago, so off we set. First stop was Lilyana's absolutely delightful shop in Mudgeeraba, Patchwork Dreaming, then down to the Gold Coast Council Chambers to see the quilt show, and finally a trip down the motorway to Fantazia Fabric Land, Tweed Heads, where they sell fabric by the metre at very good prices! Considering I was looking for backings for at least three quilts this was certainly the place for me today!

Now, I have talked to my machine quilter Kim Bradley and arranged for one to be sent to her tomorrow,

What a good, good day!

01 July 2011

Crochet is like riding a bike

After many, many years of not one crochet stitch I purchased a kit of silk threads to make a crocheted scarf. It didn't cross my mind that maybe I couldn't still do it, but at first I had a little trouble with my trebles! But, it is like riding a bike, once you know how you can always do it. This is the start, it already looks so luscious!

And, just in case I need my training wheels back on, I found this fab book in the review pile (the books I am sent to review in the mags) and it is full of great info!

happy stitching x dls

17 June 2011

great designers = great projects in Down Under Quilts

I have had a great time commissioning quilt and bag projects for the next few issues of Down Under Quilts. Many are new to DUQ, and we have a few of our fav designers too.

Here is an up-close peek of some of the projects that will appear in the next three issues - June, August and October, just to tease you ...

Sarah Fielke has designed an exclusive embroidered cushion for you

Stephanie Newman has shared some incredible quilts with us over the past few
years, this beauty is a shimmering scrap quilt

New designer, Janelle Fischer shares the instructions to make a funky bag

Another new designer, Siobhan Rogers shares two projects in the next few issues
- this is a detail of her Liberty Prints quilt ...

Mary Rothe is also a new designer and she shares a quilt called Kaffe in Kaos, using the
colour wheel to place the fabrics it resembles a colour-wash of sorts ...

and there's more, but I will keep those tempting images until after the Craft & Quilt Fair (22-27 June) at Darling Harbour. If you are visiting the fair come and visit us too, we are on stand K33.


24 May 2011

Jinny Beyer and me

I first met Jinny in 1988 and after not seeing her for more than 25 years, recently I have been experiencing a few Jinny Beyer encounters.

My mother owned a quilt and craft shop on the Gold Coast in the mid 80s to 90s. We invited various international tutors to teach there. Among them Mary Ellen Hopkins, Roberta Horton, Harriet Hargrave and Jinny Beyer. Much water is under the bridge since then, and people have drifted on.

Last month I was researching an article on medallion-style quilts (to appear in the June issue of DUQ). There can be no medallion story without Jinny Beyer's Ray of Light quilt, a medallion quilt that won first prize out of 10,000 entries in 1978.

I was trying to contact Jinny and get information and images, but was running out of time ... and getting a little frantic because I really did not want to go to print without Jinny's part in the history of medallion style quilting.

Nevertheless I had to leave the office for a few days, and the unfinished story, to go to Melbourne for AQC. There, across the aisle from me, sat Jinny Beyer! OMG. I just had to laugh, how amazing this quilting world is, when here I am trying to contact someone on the other side of the world about something that occurred more than 30 years earlier, and there she sits, signing books, not 10 metres away.

I re-introduced myself, of course she was gracious, but of all the quilters she would have met over the years I am not sure she did recall me, fully. We managed to sort out the info and the images, thankfully, and the story went to print in all it's past and present glory.

Then, another JB encounter, two in as many months!

Over a few casual discussions recently it has been noted that drafting your own blocks is a skill that not all quilters have, and we wondered whether they should. Since the age of the rotary cutter the need to draft has not been so necessary, many of us can, and have, gotten by without this skill.

Those discussions led to me to wonder where my copy of Jinny's book, The Quilter's Album of Blocks & Borders, was. This was (and is) such a wonderful resource for someone starting out in the world of drafting their own blocks. It shows more than 750 geometric designs for easy identification and drafting. I used it often way back in the late 80s.

Search though I might, I could not find that book. Until today!

Packing up books and mags ready to move the office (again!) there it was! There was the usual excitement at finding something lost as well as the happy trip down memory lane I had when I opened its (yellowing) pages, and there in the front is a hand-written message to me from Jinny! To Debi, Happy Quilting, Jinny Beyer, Gold Coast 1988.

1988! Wow, that is a long time ago. No wonder the pages are yellowing, and Jinny barely remembers me!

These recent encounters have heightened for me the wonders of the quilting world and the friendships and contact you can make all around the world, even back in the late 80s-early 90s with minimal, if any, internet!

Books and resources - the good ones - can last forever. Jinny's impact, with her view of the quilting world, has been unique and has proven to be immemorial to not only those of us who discovered her way-back-then but also to the new quilters, the new breed, who maybe don't get so much of the 'background', naturally, it being so far behind many of us now.

Time moves on, and sometimes we may feel like we drift away from people and things, but maybe we are all drifting in the same direction? That is evidenced by how easily one can bump into another person (or book) from the past, and enjoy the experience all over again.

It does amaze me how much simple joy I get from these experiences, and that just makes me all the more grateful to be a quilter.

PS. If you want, you can check out Jinny's Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/JinnyBeyerStudio

and you can check out Down Under Quilts Facebook page at:

19 May 2011

Name that quilt block!

At the recent Eastwood Patchworkers exhibition the quilt that won Best of Show was made by Lois Cook, this is it, called For Nathan.

The design was inspired by a quilt called Friendship made c1871 by Elizabeth Mathews Baxter. That quilt was part of the Quilts of Tennessee Exhibition and its details are included on the comprehensive website - The Quilt Index.

Does anyone know the name of the block?

12 April 2011

Off to AQC ...

Everything is packed and ready to go, tomorrow morning I leave home to travel to Melbourne for the Australasian Quilt Convention. I cant recall how many there has been, but this is my second time of exhibiting.

We will be at stand 182, conveniently located close to the Quilt Displays, yeah! Please stop by and say hello. There are a few great reasons why you should stop by, and not just because we'll have a chat ...

1. Down Under Quilts #147 will be there HOT off the plane, I air-freighted in three boxes only, the rest are all sailing serenely towards our shores as we speak. So, if you want to be one of the first 120 people (that's all I've got!) to own a copy, come and see me.

2. On the front cover of said issue 147, there is a gorgeous quilt - Sarah Fielke's Ups and Downs. We will have this quilt live at the show to motivate you.

3. The fourth, fabulous issue of Down Under Textiles will be there, hot off the press.

4. While on the subject of Sarah, last week she launched a brand-new book - Quilting From Little Things. This is Sarah's first solo book, and it is truly magnificent! We will have limited stock - only 32 - of these also ... don't miss your copy!

5 thru to 1000+ there are many things to see and do at the 2011 AQC.


05 April 2011

Down Under Textiles #4 out soon - pass it on

Down Under Textiles issue #4 is running just a little late, but the good news is that it is only a few days away! I will be driving to Sydney (4hours round trip!) to collect boxes on Thursday, when they’ve cleared customs.

Here is a little about this issue – if you are tempted, then give us a call and order your copy NOW, or if you prefer to receive your magazine online, visit our website.

Threads, ribbons, fibres and glittery bits, products such as Tyvek, Lutradur and Textiva, along with some foiling, yarn bombing and free-motion stitching and viola – you have the forth fabulous issue of Down Under Textiles (even if I do say so myself!).

We show work from talented artists – the talented trio Zigzag, weaver Liz Williamson and explore the Indian influences on Fiona Wright’s personal life and art. There is a review of the annual ATASDA exhibition and we share some of the work from the Textile Tantrums exhibition – all of which will introduce some exciting and tactile pieces to tempt and influence.

Plus, there is the opportunity to put some of the ideas into projects – Samantha Pope shows you how to make pretty embellished brooches and Lynda Worthington shows you how to make a glamorous evening bag.

I hope that in the plethora of loveliness, brightness and intrigue you can find some good ideas to add to your experiments of the textile kind! Have fun, and as Neroli Henderson says ... never dismiss a medium that will add to your design concept just because it doesn't fit with anyone’s idea of what you 'should' use.

Call us now to order your copy or print subscription – 02 4365 2995

Visit the website to order a DIGITAL subscription!

29 March 2011

Decorated Cake Boxes

At our new, little country school (only 180 students) they have a very clever way of ensuring that parents send in cakes for the cake stall ...

they give the kids a blank, fold-up cardboard cake box and they are challenged to decorate it, a prize is awarded for the best one.

The catch is, it must come back to school not only decorated, but filled with a cake! You can imagine that the kids do not allow that baking to go unfinished, 'cause that would mean they couldn't return their gorgeously decorated box!

Groan, I find it hard to find the time to do these things, working basically full time as I do! And now I have to help them decorate a box AND make a cake?

Guess what, I cheated! I helped them decorate the box ... how cute is it! and then I popped up to Bakers Delight and purchased an Apple and Walnut Log to put in it!

Ta da! dls x

23 March 2011

A bed turning?

After all these years I have discovered a new quilting term today - "Bed Turning'. It seems to be used in America, but I haven't heard it used here, have you?

It is a way of showing a collection of antique quilts. I suppose it can be used to show a modern collection too.

Pop over to Bonnie K Hunter's blog and take a look at one she went to a week or so back when she was teaching at the 17th Annual, A Mountain Quiltfest, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA.

Do you think we should adopt this idea here in Australia?

11 March 2011

From this ...

to ????

Go along and find out for yourself - you wont be sorry!

Eastwood Patchwork & Quilters are displaying more than 140 quilts in the 2011 Biennial Quilt Exhibition from today to Sunday at Brush Farm House, Lawson Street, Eastwood.

I was one of the judges of this year's show, and can tell you, without a moment's hesitation, that the quilts on display are just marvellous!

While you are out and about, the Craft Expo is close by, at Rosehill Racecourse, maybe drop in there too!

have a lovely crafty weekend!

Paducah AQS Quilt Show & Contest - Semi Finalists Announced

The 27th Annual AQS Quilt Show & Contest will be held in Paducah from April 27-30, 2011 at the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center.

The List of Quilt Contest Semi-finalists is here.

Congratulations to all, especially the girls from down under - at a quick glance I see Steph Newman, Ester Aliu, Jenny Bacon, Linda Steele and Pam Hill - if you find more, let me know.


09 March 2011

Their loss is my gain ...

It is not nice to be smug about gaining from someone else's loss, however ...

As many know, Borders and Angus & Robertson, who are owned by the company Red Group, went into receivership recently. At the moment not all A&R stores are closing, but the one at Erina Fair - which is closest to me - is. All stock is 50% off!

I picked up these two books, both of which I have been coveting for some time.

I am a fan of Royal Historical Books, and I have anxiously awaited the release of the second in Philippa Gregory's War of the Roses Trilogy (the royals immediately prior to the Tudors), The Red Queen.

Blossoms and Shadows by Lian Hearn, has captured my attention the last few times I've been into book shops, but as a book-buyer-aholic I have to curb myself. She is an Australian writer, and has a very nice website - www.lianhearn.com,

Blossoms and Shadows is the story of the birth of modern Japan, told by Tsuru, a young woman who breaks every stereotype of the Japanese lady. We meet her on the day of her sister's wedding, and soon realise that she will not accept the same domestic role that her sister is about to take on. Instead, Tsuru is ready to embrace the new world, defend her beliefs, look for love, and follow her career as a doctor working alongside her husband on the battlefields.

In the mid 1860s Japan was in the grip of a revolution almost as tumultuous as the French Revolution 100 years earlier, yet we in the West know very little about it. This book lets readers feel they are there among the revolutionaries, guided by the engaging character of Tsuru. By the end of the first chapter readers will feel they know her, and want to fight with her as she battles against the conventions of the day and falls into a forbidden love.

so, if one near you is closing, and you love books as much as I do, pop in and bag a bargain!

Farewell to a quilt pioneer - Jean Ray Laury

Last week, one of the world's most talented and influential quilters, Jean Ray Laury, passed away at age 82.

Not only was she instrumental in reviving quilting in the 70 & 80s, she uplifted women's souls and expectations with her kindness, support and encouragement.

Jean made her first quilt in 1956 and went on to write more than 20 books about quilts and quilt making and taught classes throughout the world, including Australia.

Among her many accolades, are ...

Her quilt, Barefoot and Pregnant, was considered one of the twentieth century's best American Quilts, and is listed here, as #52.
In 1999 these quilts were included in a Houston installation titled ‘America's 100 Best Quilts of the 20th Century’

Her name appears in the book 88 Leaders in the Quilt World Today .

In 1982 she was elected into the
Quilter's Hall of Fame

and in 2002 she
was one of ‘30 Distinguished Quilters’ selected for inclusion in the International Great Quilt Festival in Tokyo.

One of her books,
No Dragons on My Quilt, is one of our family favourites ...

Rest in Peace ....