It is a cold dreary day as I am compiling this newsletter. I have a small black poodle on my lap keeping me warm, but my fingers are still cold. It is perfect weather for hot chocolate and snuggling under a quilt. This brings me to think about how many quilts I have made and who they are keeping warm. I am sad that one of my clients has passed away this year and sad for another who made a warm flannel quilt last year for a mother in law who passed away last week. We are very lucky that the quilting we do has the ability to touch the lives of others and that we share a small part in their family heritage by quilting their quilts.
That is the personal side of quilting that it is easy to lose focus on sometimes, especially when thinking about deadlines, advertising, websites and schedules. It is easy to get carried away worrying about things like that, even though they are important. I urge you to take a moment to reflect on all of the good things you have done this year and how you have positively impacted people as a result of your quilting. You may feel a little warmer on the inside.
AMQA Quilt Challenge 2011
A total of ten quilts were received for the AMQA Quilt Challenge, As an organiser, I was disappointed with the low participation rate. I understand that everyone is busy, however a lot of work has gone into organising the challenge and if the participation rate remains low, the AMQA may decide to place this energy and funding elsewhere. This would be a shame, as the Challenge is a wonderful opportunity to push yourself with a quality piece of work which will be displayed at a national event and published in a national magazine. Not to mention some great prize money.
The quilts we received were all very good, and it was still difficult to judge some of the places. Well done, ladies! Here are the award winning quilts.
Wholecloth Hand Guided
1st Place - Pam Hill with ‘Peppermint Twist’
2nd Place - Raylee Bielenberg with ‘Linda in Pink’
1st Place - Heather Shanks with ‘Behind the Picket Fence’
2nd Place - Sharon French with ‘So Much Fuchsia’
Pieced Hand Guided
1st Place - Karen Terrens with ‘Purple Haze’
2nd Place - Carolynne Diesler with ‘My Dilemma’
1st Place - Heather Shanks with ‘Royal High Tea’
These quilts are so lovely. Aren't they an inspiration?
Design Inspiration Guessing Competition
There were a few interesting guesses for the design inspiration for the AMQA Challenge Pieced Pattern, however nobody was correct.
Drumroll please.....The correct answer was.....the square window from Playschool on ABC.
Feature Article - Finding Time to Piece
by Michele Turner
Are you mostly a piecer, or mostly a quilter? Maybe a bit of both? For myself, I make quilts with the intention to quilt them in a certain style or method. I make the quilts for the quilting, not for the fabrics or because I love patchwork. I just want something to quilt.
Having said that, I still enjoy sitting at my sewing machine passing fabric under the needle. It is relaxing. I have never been good with colour and fabric choices, so I trust my local quilt store owner to choose them for me (she has great taste and knows what I like). I obviously have great plans to make lots of quilts - the evidence is sitting in my fabric cupboard and in boxes around the place. But who has time to piece?
As professional quilters, I am sure many of us put our own quilts aside to make way for our clients. Who doesn’t like getting paid? Who doesn’t like helping out other people? We are human after all. But our quilts never get quilted. Our quilts never even get pieced! But what stops us? Time? Inclination? Incentive? Time??
In the last month, I have finished off one quilt top and 80% pieced another. For me, this is pretty impressive, especially as I have been rather unwell lately. The quilt top I finished off was all cut out and partially constructed, and the other was cut out from scratch. I tried to analyse why I was so productive this last month and not quite so productive in the months prior.
The standout thing that I did was to have my sewing machine permanently set up in one place. Sounds simple, yes? Well, I will admit that I did get a second machine to keep at home, as the machine I like to piece on is the one I take to patchwork class (yes, I go to class one day a week, which has lots of benefits for me and my business - maybe I will discuss this another day) each week, and I was constantly dragging it out of the case to set up and then packing it back away again. I am not at all suggesting that anyone gets a new machine, but this was a big problem for me. The difference was having one set up and available to use on a whim. I was able to grab even five minute intervals to sew and they all added up.
Keeping my sewing area clutter free is another thing that added to my productivity. I only had one project out at a time (imagine that!) Not having to clear things off my sewing space meant I could just pick up my pieces from the current project and sew. It sounds very simple, but I have found that I am a messy worker and unintentionally put things down in random places when I am done with them. This has two effects - it takes away from the things I plan to do because I see the mess and try to avoid going to it. Secondly, I ‘lose’ my cutter/scissors/pins and waste time looking for them. Both these things mean that I lose sewing time, which means nothing gets done. It is an effort to put things back in their place, but one small effort I can see the benefit in doing. I just hope I can sustain my ‘new’ habit.
Lastly, I prioritised having sewing time for myself. I am also an avid knitter - an activity I prefer to do in my down time while watching TV. Maybe it helped that TV has not been very interesting to me lately, but I decided to watch what I truly wanted to watch, and sew for some of the other times that I would just have sat there mindlessly. I tend not to quilt in the evenings, so to me, this is personal time. Time for me to engage in my hobbies. I get to decide what I do and I decided to sew. It was that simple.
These three things combined made my piecing time more accessible, efficient and enjoyable. I did reap the rewards by doing more patchwork than I had in the months prior. Now I just have to find time to quilt my things.....
Achievements in Longarm Quilting
Craft & Quilt Fair/Quilt West
At this years Craft & Quilt Fair/Quilt West in Perth we had a very talented AMQA Member - Jo Northcott. Jo has taken out the following categories with her entries.
> Best Longarm Quilting
> 1st Place Applique
> Runner up Best of Show
Jo Northcott wrote about her quilt...Funny story about this quilt. It was a UFO. I sewed the borders on last Sunday night, started quilting it on Monday. Quilts had to be in by 8.30pm Wednesday - delivered at 8.00pm Wednesday night. I worked until 2 in the morning Monday and very late again on Tuesday. I know, I'm crazy and very tired!
Congratulations Jo, well done!
Behind the Scenes
Committee Meeting Report April/May 2011
The April meeting started well with the announcement of three new members joining AMQA, one of whom has kindly volunteered to become our new Secretary. Tonia Brooks from Malanda has stepped into this position, replacing Susanne Hughes, who will still remain on the committee. Thank you Susanne for all the work you have done for AMQA. Tonia owns Malanda Quilting & Sewing Supplies and has recently taken on Longarm Quilting with the purchase of an A1 quilting machine. We hope you will enjoy your time on the committee.
There was also much discussion on the upcoming AMQA Challenge to be held at the Quilt & Craft Expo at RoseHill Gardens, Sydney in mid-June. There is a Pieced & Wholecloth section for both manual and computerised quilting with prize money being allocated for all sections. It is hoped there will be some stunning work on show for everyone to admire. Just think girls, free advertising!!
Are you going to attend Sharon Schambers’ classes at Kadina, SA in August this year? This is Sharon’s second visit & although I myself will not be going, I did attend during her last visit 2 years ago & thoroughly enjoyed myself. She is a very talented lady & I thought it was well worth the time to attend her classes. Once again there will be a $30:00 rebate offered to those members who attend Sharon’s classes and can be claimed off your yearly subscription to AMQA. There are new membership forms being designed so it will be easier to claim this rebate. Make sure you check this out when you renew your membership later in the year.
Are you terribly busy at the moment? Silly question for some of you, I know!! If you happen to have some time on your hands and willing to do some charity quilting, please go to the Charity Quilts page on the AMQA website and chose one of the organisations listed to help them out. You will need to contact them yourselves, I’m sure your assistance will be most appreciated. They are also in need of orphan blocks to make some quilt tops, every little block will help I’m sure.
There are some committee members who have designated jobs to attend to for the benefit of AMQA members. These all take time as we are so often busy with our quilting businesses and family life. Such tasks include monitoring and tidying up the AMQA website, organising a mentor program, keeping track of and listing new members and of course, taking care of the books, plus the organising of special events , exhibitions and compiling this newsletter too! If you are waiting on someone to respond to any requests, whatever they may be, please be considerate of the precious time that these people have available. All of the committee volunteer their time and effort, so please be patient with us as we are all human and often have other life emergencies to attend to. The best way to contact any of us is through the AMQA Website via email or through the Yahoo members’ list, so please utilise them should you wish to get in touch with us.
Minute Secretary, AMQA Committee
NSW Quilters’ Guild Show - Darling Harbour - Sydney
Exhibition Centre Darling Harbour
June 22-26 2011
For more information, please visit http://www.quiltersguildnsw.com/
We would love to hear of any local quilt shows or events near you! Please email your details to Raylee and we will include it in the newsletter and on the AMQA website.
Webdiva - we need a new Webdiva, so please contact Tracey Browning email@example.com to discuss how you may help.
Coming Up Next Time…
Quilting on the Internet - we all seem to spend a lot of time online (well, I do, anyway). Do you have a web presence? Do you blog? Please let me know what you have found effective in terms of customer contact, marketing etc. I will also talk about how to set up a simple website for your business...I would love some input for this article from you all, and I will include links to your websites (or not) as you wish.
We NEED more pictures - please share your triumphs and quilts that you are extra proud of - don't be shy. Email them to me please! firstname.lastname@example.org
Submission Deadline is June 30, 2011, so do it NOW!
Your 2010-11 Committee and Contact Details
President: Terry Elverd, WA email@example.com
Vice President: Raylee Bielenberg, ACT firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: Susanne Hughes, Qld email@example.com
Treasurer: Gayle Dayman, SA firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Secretary: Gayle Dayman, SA email@example.com
Editor: Michele Turner, NSW firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Nixon, SA email@example.com
AMQA Corporate Members
Our Corporate Members are:-
Lorien Quilting - Australian publisher of machine quilting patterns by local and international designers.
We carry block designs and motifs, pattern sets and a huge range of pantographs for all sizes of quilting machine. Our pattern clubs are a must for adding variety to your pattern stash while saving big bucks!
Visit our website for discounts www.lorienquilting.com
We would like to give a special thank you to Hermione of Lorien Quilting for allowing AMQA to use her design "Fantasia" on the background of the new AMQA website.
Widebacks Australia is an Australian owned company which specialises in top quality 108" (275cm) wide backing fabrics including well known names such as Moda, Benartex, RJR, P&B, South Sea Imports and Marcus Fabrics. Widebacks Australia only sells top quality fabric and Brenda, the proprietor, feels confident that you will be delighted with the look and feel of them. They will certainly enhance your quilts and add value too.
Many colours are available from White on White to Jet Black, with every colour in between, including a selection of Batiks. The fabrics are all 100% cotton. Also available is a range of 108" wide Flannel in solid colours, Reproduction Civil War & 30's prints too.
Visit Widebacks online at www.widebacks.com.au