Continuous Lines

Newsletter for AMQA Inc members

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Newsletter No. 10

March 2010 part 2


We do hope you have all found the time to read our last newsletter. The silence has not been totally deafening, and I thank all members who responded for that! We are thrilled to have had Sharon volunteer to write a few articles for upcoming issues of Continuous Lines and will welcome any & all that can find a small amount of time to offer their opinions on anything to do with AMQA Inc, their quilting business, book/DVD reviews or anything?

You may have already read on the member yahoogroup, that Raylee has also stepped up to provide some wonderful interviews for upcoming issues of Continuous Lines! I can’t wait to learn about fellow members & their businesses. Especially would love photos of their work & studios?

We are also immensely pleased to be able to also participate in coordinating another machine quilting show in conjunction with the NEW Australian Machine Quilting Festival . Please visit their website to view Quilt Categories & Terms & conditions of entry for the Quilt Show. They will also be detailed on AMQA’s website as organisers of the Quilt Show when I get a moment to update the website.

The website is now live for you to peruse and sign up for their newsletter to keep abreast of opportunities that will arise leading up to when registrations will open in late July.


by Sharon French

I decided to start my article off by finding out what an association is so that we are all clear on that. My dictionary says an association is a group of people organised for a joint purpose; a connection or cooperative link between people or organisations.

Therefore I guess it is fair to say that the Australian Machine Quilters Association should not be a committee who does everything for us but should be us working as a group contributing to the association for the betterment of not only our profession but for our personal wellbeing also.

I would think most of you have received an email from Tracey Browning asking us what we want from our association and how we can help out. It was a bit of a kick in the pants for me. To be honest I didn’t give it too much thought to start with but then I needed something adjusted on the website and asked could I take on a job.

Not everyone has the skills or time to be a committee member, but I’m sure that we could all be contributing more to the day-to-day success of our association. This would, in fact, reduce the workload of the members of the committee and free them up to do more of their own quilting (remember all the members of the committee have machine quilting businesses like us) or spending time with their families (yes, they do have families too).

Tracey requested we tell her what we want from our association. My reply to her was:

The AMQA Show in Queensland was great. We were able to send our quilts from all over the country and have them on display for the public to see and (as a bonus) maybe win prizes!! Shows don’t happen overnight and require months of organisation. This was a huge job for all involved (mainly Queensland quilters) and probably went relatively unnoticed by the rest of us.

The Mentoring Programme should be great. (I’m a mentor and have only ever been asked one question). We are all good at different things and could all be involved in mentoring (and being mentored).

The Website is a fantastic resource for us to use and also to refer our customers. It has lots of useful information on machine quilting and I know that if anyone wanted to submit new articles or some information for the website it would be greatly appreciated. The website is also a source for a prospective client to find a quilter in their area. I know I have picked up clients due to my link from the AMQA website to my website.

We have all had the benefit of articles in various quilting magazines, giving quilters information about machine quilting and how to find a machine quilter. No AMQA - no articles on machine quilting.

Maybe as business people we all need to be more confident in talking about what we do and how we do it, instead of keeping all our information to ourselves in fear that someone else might steal our great ideas. Using our business ideas won’t make some else’s quilting the same as ours.

We are all talented and busy people. Many of us are women, who might also be running their husband’s business, have children and running a home (full time jobs on their own). But we all have a few minutes that we could spare to make a contribution to Our AMQA. At the moment, I’ve just taken a custom quilt off the machine and I’m having a cup of coffee before a booking appointment. So I’m writing this (I could be sitting on the verandah watching the pelicans but that doesn’t help get information into Continuous Lines).

Maybe we could all make a contribution to Continuous Lines. We are all good at many things and we all have information that we can share. You might think, “but everyone knows what I know”, but sometimes just being reminded by reading an article can propel us to try something that we have already been thinking about or that has been on the backburner. We all work differently and run our businesses differently and maybe we could all benefit from sharing some of our ‘business’ ideas.

We have a valuable yahoo group that hardly has any ‘chat’. I very recently posted a list of all my pantos, templates, and rulers that I hadn’t used since upgrading to an Intelliquilter last May. They were sitting around gathering dust (literally). Nearly everything was sold and really quickly – so that was a bonus for me. I don’t know how I could have sold them otherwise. We can use this Yahoo group so much more – again don’t be afraid of sharing or appearing like a dummy.

Maybe we are all happy with AMQA the way it is, but it could be so much more with just a little contribution from all of us.

What can we add to AMQA that would make it better?

Some ideas I have are to initially make a bigger member contribution to the website and Continuous Lines in the form of articles, tips, upcoming shows in your areas, book/video reviews, quilt show reviews, reviews of new products; etc, etc. The list is endless and just requires a little bit of thought and a small commitment.

If you have any criticisms of our Association, please feel free to voice these also. Everyone needs to be able to accept criticism but also remember, don’t just complain about what others are doing without being willing to make a contribution.

Well I’m going to get off my soapbox and hope I see your name under an article in Continuous Lines in the near future.

Sharon French, Morning Star Quilting


Until last year I had never entered a quilt in a quilt show, despite having local shows and being a member of the NSW Guild for years.

I would go to the Sydney Quilt Show every year, admire the quilts but never thought I should enter!! Why not – I don’t know.

In May 2008, I attended the Machine Quilters Symposium at Rose Hill as part of the Trade Show. I attended three lecture/demo sessions with Kim Bradley, Belinda Betts and Nic Bridges. One of these very prominent quilters and teachers (I can’t remember which one) asked if we enter shows. We were all long arm machine quilters running businesses, except for one participant, and many of us shrugged our shoulders and said no. The response was – Why not – it is a platform for you to show off your work.

This was something I thought about long and hard, and I decided it was time to enter.

Fortunately for me, 2008-2009 must have been my year. The AMQA had their first competition and the NSW Guild had their 2010 Calendar competition where I enter quilts. The AMQA had its inaugural exhibition where I entered a quilt of my own and a client’s quilts. I also entered my client’s quilt in the Australian Machine Quilters Exhibition in Melbourne and two quilts of my own in the Sydney Quilt Show.

I was busy and it was a bit stressful. The application for my Sydney Quilt Show quilt went in as a drawing and I was rung to ask would it definitely be completed. They don’t like no-shows!! I finished the binding and label the night before it went to the pick-up lady. I’ve learnt my lesson and now plan better.

We are all professional quilters and in my opinion, every quilt that leaves our studios, whether they are our own or client’s quilts, should be quilted to show quality. I realize that all piecing is not to show standard, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do the best job possible on the quilt.

So for your own quilts – enter shows!! Local shows will get your name in front of local quilters. As we know there are many benefits to having your quilts machine quilted by a professional – so a local show is basically free advertising.

But how do you get your clients to enter their quilts. I feel this is harder than entering your own.

Most of my clients go to the Sydney Quilt Show. Do any of them enter a quilt? NO!! And that is a resounding NO!! I encourage them, but they feel intimidated. They feel their work isn’t good enough. It is really, and after all, shows aren’t about winning (but that is nice). Shows are about having quilts for the people who attend to view. We are all at different standards and there are different standards of quilts at all shows.

My suggestion is to encourage your clients to start entering into a local show. This isn’t as intimidating as a big State show. Many may still say, their quilt isn’t good enough, but we need to tell them that we wouldn’t suggest they entered if their quilt wasn’t up to standard.

When I saw my quilts at the Sydney Quilt Show I was so excited. It was a real thrill to see my quilts out in public and not just in my own quilting studio where my clients admire them.

I was fortunate to win a couple of ribbons for my client’s quilt. It was a very beautiful quilt. She only allowed me to enter the quilt because I was so enthusiastic. My client was in Melbourne and at the AMQE show on the day of the announcement of the prizes. She collected the ribbon and pinned it to the quilt. It was quite a thrill for her as well.

We quilt for clients who make quilts for themselves and their families. Many quilts are truly amazing and I feel we are blessed to be asked to quilt these for our clients. Many people feel their quilts are just ordinary when, in reality, they are truly amazing.

Quilt shows show us how amazing our quilts and quilting really is!!

So ENTER as often as you can.

A few things to remember when entering a quilt show:

1. Read all the Conditions of Entry carefully for every show. The conditions are different from show to show and for the same show year to year.

2 Choose the category for your quilt carefully. Choose the category that best suits your quilt.

3. Avoid disappointment by having your Entry Form and photo of your quilt submitted by the due date.

4. Remember that all quilts to be displayed in shows require hanging and each show has its own requirements for hanging sleeves.

5. If you are encouraging your client to enter a show, help them complete the entry form, if they ask for help.

6. Don’t leave the completion of your quilt until the last minutes – this is very stressful.

Sharon French, Morning Star Quilting

Upcoming events:

April 29 - May 02, 2010
Australasian Quilt Convention
Royal Exhibition Building
Carlton, Victoria

Central Coast 4th Annual Charity Quilt Show

8 and 9 May 2010 9.30 am to 4.00 pm daily

Wyong Race Club, 75 Howarth Street, WYONG NSW

Quilt show entries close on 29 April 2010. Please contact Janette Jones, Show Co-ordinator, for an entry form if you or your clients are interested in entering a quilt(s) in the show. Janette is contactable by email on

Workshops are also being conducted at the show by Kim Bradley, Judy Hooworth, Carol Roberts and Susan Carr. Contact Blueberries on 43554400 for more information on the workshops.

The show is raising funds for Central Coast Cancer Services Fund.

19 - 23 May 2010
Perth Craft & Quilt Fair
Perth Convention Centre,
Western Australia

Thank you to our supporters…


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