After months and months of anticipation, it’s finally here.
After months and months of anticipation, it’s finally here.
Social media is a mixed blessing.
Pinterest. It’s a great source of inspiration – quilts of every sort imaginable, stitchy-stuff of every kind imaginable, recipes, DIY of every sort imaginable, new crafts to try, clothing “looks” to consider, home decor, and the list goes on forever. Which also makes Pinterest a bit of a black hole when it comes to time… it’s very easy to lose track of it.
But social media is also a terrific way to get an instant “fix”. Inspiration… shopping… ideas… shopping… whatever makes you happy, the various social media outlets of Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and “everything I can’t think of right now” make it possible to see all sorts of things you never knew you always wanted to see.
My favorite “guilty pleasure” – quilty pleasure? – is Instagram. IG for short. I follow all sorts of people – photographers, restaurants, chefs, foodies – lots of those, a couple dog-related folks and a whole slew of stitchers. (If you’re on IG and you don’t follow @thedogist… I’m not sure we can be friends.) So it’s been a lot of fun that posting pictures on Instagram is actually part of my job – I think it means I can play around on IG and call it “work-related research”.
These pictures are from the Instragram feed of Lisa Calle – @vintagemodernquilts. Lisa is the curator/director/moderator of the Moda Bake Shop, a mom and a wonderful quilter with a glorious color-sense – and not an Aussie. But it’s still eye-candy, right?
So to finish up this Aussie Week, I wanted to share some of my favorite Instagram feeds from Down Under. Just so you know, this isn’t a thorough or complete list. These are names and feeds that came to mind when I tried to think of those people who always inspire – of those people who you might not have run across yet.
By the way, you don’t need to be on Instagram to get a sneak-peek. Just click the link and it will take you directly to each amazing quilter’s IG feed. If you’re interested, most also have terrific blogs. Their blog links are often in their Instagram profiles.
One more thing – if you’re at all hungry, wait until later to peruse the Instagram accounts of many of these ladies. It’s probably coincidental but one of my favorite things about these Aussie ladies – most of whom I’ve never met – is that they’re foodies! Oh, and they like fussy-cutting for quilting.
Jeanette Bruce – @goneaussiequilting. This is Jeanette’s Red Letter Day quilt – she took Camille Roskelley’s class in Australia last year and made this gorgeous quilt.
This is another one of Jeanette’s quilts that I really love. It’s a “happy quilt”.
Lorena Uriarte – @lorena_in_syd. Lorena is the President of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild, and an accomplished, award-winning quilter skilled in applique and piecing. I love her use of color and the way she mixes pattern.
Peta Peace – @shequiltsalot. Really. Peta quilts A LOT. And she stitches, makes bags, embroiders, quilts and many other things – if it can be made with a needle and thread, Peta does it beautifully.
Gemma Jackson – @prettybobbins. Gemma is an accomplished longarm quilter and just a really neat person. I haven’t met her but I think I could be described as an anonymous-to-her stalker-fan-like-wannabe friend. How can you not like someone who has taught her kids to quilt? She also wrote a blog post several months ago that I really liked about “assuming others have good intent”.
Rachel Daisy – @bluemountaindaisy. You might remember this magazine from a few weeks ago – the quilt on the cover is Rachel’s. I love this close-up picture that shows some of the fussy-cutting and embellishment.
Amira Ameruddin – @amira_littlemushroomcap. Simple Abundance by Bonnie & Camille. Fussy-cutting. Hexies. Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts‘ book A Handful of Scraps. What’s not to love about Amira? She does really beautiful work.
Catherine Demack – @hellofromcat. Catherine – Cat – is part of Cat and Vee, two friends from Brisbane who create gorgeous, fun artwork. They’re the Aussie ladies behind the “I touched a quilt and I liked it” slogan. Cat has a vibrant, colorful style that’s just fun and invigorating.
Fiona Ransley – @fionafeeransley. Applique. Embroidery. English Paper Piecing. And it’s all beautiful.
Corinna Burrows – @corinna_maycreations. Corinna is a prolific quilter with a good heart. In addition to making lots of yummy little blocks for an amazing sampler quilt with Bonnie & Camille fabrics, she’s recently done a lot of sewing of little sewing needfuls for charity purposes.
I. Love. These. I love them so much I bought the pattern and… well, I have good intentions. I’ve read the pattern and I will make some of these apples – and the pears – eventually. Retro-Mama – Kim Kruzich.
Jennifer Reynolds – @jennyofelefantz. Gorgeous embroidery. But you knew that, right?
Samantha Dorn – @aqua_paisley. Samantha is another very prolific quilter who stitches a little bit of everything – quilts, minis, bags, and a little bit of everything else. Like many of the others I’ve named, she’s also a terrific photographer who just has a pretty Instagram feed.
As I wrote before, this list isn’t complete or comprehensive. There are others that I’m sure I’ll remember tomorrow or this weekend. There are many very well-known quilters whose work I love who I haven’t named because we’ve already mentioned them this week – Jane Davidson (@quiltjane) and Jen Kingwell (@jenkingwell) – to name two. And there are a few who I simply forgot about when making my list. Let it suffice to say that there are a lot of talented, inspirationally awesome – and awesomely inspirational – quilters in Australia and the ladies mentioned here are just the tip of the Apostles or Ayers Rock.
Please feel free to include the IG names of anyone you think I – we – should be following.
Happy Friday – have a wonderful weekend!
We’ve been talking about the wonders of Australia on the blog this week, and it’s time to focus on designer Jen Kingwell. Jen’s ability to combine color and pattern is truly unique (and that’s a word my journalism professors told me not to use unless something was truly one-of-a-kind—in this case it is.) The fabrics Jen’s designed for Moda convey that talent perfectly. There will be more to come from Jen, so keep your eyes peeled, but for now let’s catch up with her. You may remember that she spent the past couple of years living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She moved back to Australia in February, and thanks to a second move is still unpacking.
Thanks for stepping away from the boxes, Jen, and sharing some time with Cutting Table readers!
• How has life changed since you’ve returned to Australia? Are there things you miss about the UAE?
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This is about inspiration from Down-Under. Ever since I first started reading Australian quilt magazines, learning about Australian quilters, and then acquiring books written by them, I’ve been in love with the work produced in Australia. It inspires me in the sense that it expands my field-of-view in much the same way that traveling the world broadens our horizons. It reminds us that there are options – other ways of thinking and doing.
(This is also a long post and if you like quilt books… it’s not my fault.)
If you’ve been quilting for any amount of time, you’ve seen the published work of Australian quilters. You may not even have realized where it came from… though with “Australian” in the title of the magazine, that probably helps. I think the first time I saw Australian Patchwork & Quilting was around 1995.
This wasn’t the issue – this is the latest. I stumbled upon an issue of Australian Patchwork & Quilting at a Ben Franklin store… before it became Craftsmart… before it become something else… before it went away. What will remain memorable about the place for me is that it opened up a whole new quilting world for me… okay, and there were those Lang boxes that I still love and use.
In trying to find as many back issues as I could, I went to every quilt store in Phoenix – this was before the boom of “pj shopping” – and along the way, I found Australian Quilter’s Companion…
… and Homespun.
It’s hard for me to explain what was different about these magazines. It wasn’t that they were better, they were just a different experience. The quilts used the same blocks that I knew from traditional quilting, and sometimes they were using the same fabrics I’d seen in my local quilt shop… that I might have in the bins and baskets in my workroom. But the feel of the quilts was different from most of what I was seeing in books, quilt shops and magazines at the time.
The only way I can describe it is like this – swimming is swimming. You’re in a body of water, moving your arms and legs, trying to stay afloat and move from one place to another. But swimming in a swimming pool is definitely a different experience than swimming in a lake or pond, or in the ocean. There might be similarities but the view and challenges are not the same. It’s a different experience.
Through the magazines, I learned the names of quilters whose work I loved. When books by Australian quilters started showing up in quilt shops, and when Australian quilters started coming to Quilt Market regularly, I was all in. It might sound shallow and very superficial but if a book was authored by an Aussie quilter, I was probably going to get it.
I may or may not have bought most of these books without looking inside, just because of the name on the spine.
I know that I’ll never make every project in each book, or even at least one project in each book… but the books still inspire me to think outside boxes, to consider a different approach to mixing color, pattern and style of fabric. They inspire me in the same way that Freddy Moran’s books do, that Gwen Marston’s books do. In an odd way, these quilters and quilts remind me that what matters most is individuality.
Just so you know, I’m not the only one energized by the work of Aussie quilters. This is on a co-worker’s “inspiration board” – Jamie.
I was going to pick just a few but I couldn’t bring myself to leave someone out, and if I was going to include one of their books, I wanted to include them all. Choose a favorite? As if! With all the things I gave away while moving to Texas, there wasn’t any chance these books weren’t going to make the trip with me. At least two in this stack were published after the move – but I still bought my very own copy. (Drooling on “office” books is sort of frowned on.)
Books and patterns. Mountmellick and Lollypop Trees are patterns. Mountmellick is by Di Ford and Lollypop Trees is by Kim McLean. Bring Me Flowers is by Jen Kingwell and Desert to Sea is a compilation book put together by Jane Davidson – QuiltJane from yesterday’s post. All are examples of the kind of extraordinary workmanship that the best Australian quilters do. Apparently “fast and easy” doesn’t translate well in the Aussie dialect. Gidday?
Kim McLean is an extraordinary quilter who is known mostly her needle-turn applique quilts – and patterns. If you’ve ever seen one of her quilts, her style is immediately recognizable for its use of color and pattern, and for the elaborate, intricate applique. As it is with so many Aussie quilters, Kim’s quilts are embraced by both traditional and modern quilters as an example of the best kind of work they do.
Desert to Sea is a self-published book by Jane Davidson – QuiltJane. The book is a compilation of ten quilts from eight Australian designers giving it a wonderful variety. (If you read Linzee’s post chatting with Jane, you know that there are some terrific patterns coming soon from Want It Need It Quilt, Jane’s pattern company.)
It’s still a favorite. The use of color and pattern still takes my breath away after all these years. Okay, it’s not that long ago, MO was published in 2009. Material Obsession Two came a year or so later.
Kathy Doughty owns the Material Obsession shop in Australia and has published a couple more books that continue to expand on her ideas of color, pattern and the vibrant mix of both. (The shop and a class are on my “bucket list”.)
Sarah Fielke’s first book was Material Obsession and it was the first of five published books, soon to be six. Old Quilts, New Life is based on quilts from the American Folk Art Museum and it will be published in October of this year. (In about six weeks.)
Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched. The first time I saw any of Anni’s work, it was in an advertisement in one of the Aussie magazines, it was for her shop. I loved her line drawings and the quirky style she had mixing applique, embroidery and piecing. She also makes everything! Dolls and quilts, pincushions and little sewing needfuls, if you can make it with a needle and thread, Anni’s made it. Her colors and fabrics were very different from the bright, bold fabrics used by some of the quilters I’ve already named, but it was still very original. (She’s also very nice – and very cool. I met Anni and her husband at a Quilt Market in Portland a few years back when we were back-to-back booth neighbors.)
Irene Blanck – this is one of the books I bought earlier this year, I’d been waiting for it. I met Irene at Quilt Market last year and she’s the sweetest woman. She was a little surprised that I knew who she was and could name many of her quilts and patterns. She was a little worried when I told her that I’d seen a picture of one of her early quilt patterns, Floral Beauty, and that it had taken me quite some time to track it down at a shop in Australia. Floral Beauty is included in Focus on Applique.
Michelle Yeo! I met Michelle last Fall in Gretna, Nebraska at the Quilted Moose. If you’ve seen her book, Of Needle, Thimble and Thread, I was fortunate to see most of these quilts in person and yes, they’re even more spectacular in person. Michelle’s specialty is elaborately pieced – hand and/or machine – reproduction-style quilts, often made with templates and/or paper-piecing.
Di Ford’s quilts are also Reproduction-style combining traditional blocks and motifs in a way that is still distinctive. Like many Aussie quilters, she’s a fan of fussy-cutting pieces to create secondary patterns, and for broderie perse.
This book wasn’t included in the other stack because I couldn’t find it before I left for work. I had to take and include this picture later – at home. But I found the book! Brigitte Giblin – also a Reproduction-style – or vintage-inspired – quilter who combines applique, English paper-piecing, traditional piecing, embroidery, fussy-cutting and a host of other techniques to make spectacularly original quilts.
Will you ever look at your fabric the same way?
And finally, these books were all published in the last year or so.
Jen Kingwell. Quilt Lovely. ‘Nuf said. I wasn’t at Jen’s first Quilt Market but like so many other quilters, I remember the first time I saw Steam Punk and Midnight at the Oasis. They’re both on my “quilt bucket list”. Someday, right? Of course, every time Jen publishes a new pattern or book, that list gets longer.
Gail Pan! What is it about Aussie women and embroidery? Or hand-stitching? They incorporate it into their work – small projects, quilts, everything. And it’s always beautiful. Gail is another one of the lovely women whose name I kept seeing before I had the pleasure of meeting her.
The last book is by the late Kathreen Ricketson. I found Kathreen’s work through her blog, Whip Up and what I liked was that sense of a shared passion for making stuff. I liked her “voice”.
That’s probably the common thread through all of these books – the authors – quilters – have something to say with their work.
Looking at these books, one thing is very clear. Those Aussies are a talkative bunch.
You likely know QuiltJane: you may read her blog, follow her on Instagram, or know her patterns. QuiltJane really gets around (after attending Spring 2015 Market in Minneapolis she taught in Iowa and would love to do more international teaching), but she’s rooted firmly in Australia. It’s there that QuiltJane—aka Jane Davidson—runs her long-arm quilting and online businesses (Need It Want It Quilt), and recently self-published Desert to Sea, 10 designs from Australian Quilters, a collection of ten colorful quilts from bloggers and quilting friends. You’ll be able to enjoy QuiltJane’s designs stateside, soon. She’s started Quilt Jane Patterns, and they’ll be printed and distributed by United Notions.
Jane is a big fan of Moda fabrics (she claims to have a “Moda shrine” in her house) and Moda’s a fan of Jane—some of her designs will be featured in the September pre-market catalog. We asked Jane a bit about herself and the way her quilting reflects her Aussie roots. Read on!
• Your mum taught you to sew, but how did you learn to quilt?
My friend Rosie and I booked into a beginners quilting class at our local quilt shop in 1984. One self-designed, complex block (13 templates), hand-pieced, hand-quilted project later I had made my first official quilt. I was hooked. What keeps me interested is that quilting is a dynamic art, continually changing, moving in a forward direction to reflect the contemporary ideas and styles of community. I never liked the phrase, ‘there is nothing new in quilting’. There is always something new to design, re-invent, create.
• You started your business in 2010. What did you do previously? Does that work influence your designs?
I was working very long hours at jobs in bioscience and IT and wanted to be around my small children. My core training as a scientist has had a great impact on how I design. I like the challenge, the outcomes, and the mathematics behind quilt assembly. While it does affect my ability to overthink certain aspects of design, it has never stunted my ability to mix colours and patterns together. I never overthink what fabrics I am going to use in a quilt. Nature is a chaotic mixture of colour, texture, and design elements, and thrown altogether it looks aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
• How do you think living in Australia affects your designs and color choices?
Living in Australia, I want to make a design as bright as the coral in the Great Barrier Reef or as neutral as the red sands of the Simpson desert.
• Tell us a big about your home life. What do you do when you’re not quilting?