Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Look out Melbourne, here we come!!

Firstly, let me introduce myself: I am Naomi, the newest writer here. I am Gai & Elwin's daughter-in-law called in to help out with some blogging while they are super busy traipsing around the country from one quilt show to another. I will keep you up to date with where they are, what they are doing, and what gorgeous new fabrics, patterns etc they have in stock!

So back to the business of Melbourne! ACQ - The Australasian Quilt Convention & Expo is our next stop. ACQ runs from April 29-May 2 in the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. Gai & Elwin are finishing their drive to Melbourne as I type, and will get ready to set up for another massive show. You can find them at stand 148! Gai is also running a couple of seminars:

1) Seminar Rm 2 @ 1pm: Jelly Rolls and Bali Pops Revealed! Use Jelly Rolls and Bali Pops to the best advantage. Books, Templates and patterns shown.

2) Seminar Rm 2 @ 2:30pm: Raw edge Applique! Learn tricks about raw edge applique. McKenna Ryan and Bigfork Cotton Company Patterns will be shown.

ACQ continues to get bigger and bigger every year. There will be wonderful local and international tutors to source knowledge and inspiration from, there are 'make & take' sessions where you can learn new techniques while you 'make' and then 'take' your creation for just a small fee for materials, you could go to the Sewing Room to make a small project while road testing the latest machine and so much more!

Treat yourself to an amazing outing, and be sure to stop by and say hello to Gai & Elwin!

Naomi x

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Matthew quilt 1, originally uploaded by alisoninlondon.

I really despise basting, and know I'm not alone in my hatred of it. But baby quilts, well they're a dream! It's over quickly, and there's no need to move furniture. Heck, I can even use off cuts of cotton batting from other projects - no joins even...

This quilt was so fun to do. I've shown pictures of it finished to friends, in fact pregnant friends, and they all kind of go - meh. They like it, but they don't *love* it. I do. But I look at each of the fabrics and remember where I bought them from, and it's a trip back into time.

There's bits there from almost every quilt show I've ever attended, and I have attended quite a few. I love the spots, and the stripes and the plains, but the real beauty is in getting to use pieces of my treasured Heather Ross and other novelty prints in the smaller squares where I think they look the best.

And the textures. Well, there's regular cotton, the lovely soft cotton poplin, double gauze, linen, linen/cotton mix, and even some of Prints Charming's charming hand screen prints in there. There's Amy and Kaffe, Heather, Dick, Jane and a few bits of generic old gingham thrown in for good measure. Robots, buses, boats and firetrucks... oh I hope little Matthew gets as much enjoyment over the years from it as I did making it, but it's doubtful :-)

And the back? Well, I used the back of one of Prints Charming's Free Spirit prints. I liked the muted-ness of the back of the fabric. Another thing I love - this quilt has both the FS printed version of that fabric in the squares ^and^ the hand screen printed version of same thrown in there. It makes me happy indeed.

Monday, July 06, 2009


I was just scanning through the blog, and gee, it can be quite the walk down memory lane. There's definitely an advantage to actually spending some time writing the blog.

And I think I have some inspiration for the next project. Oh, hey, Federer has just won. Wow, there's some cheering!

OK, back to the quilting. I really regret giving this one away. While I do genuinely, genuinely like the couple I gave this one to, I really wish I'd kept it for myself. Just thinking of the soft cream minkee backing is making me sad. I wonder if it would be rude to ask for it back? After all, they've had it for three and a half years, so surely it's my turn.

As they live in a different country to me I can't even check if they actually use it, or whether (god forbid) it's been repurposed as a dog blanket, or just stored away in a cupboard never to be seen. And that's the real problem with giving quilts away. If you knew the recipient would love it as much as you do, there'd be no problem...... I'll just have to make another one!

Boat Race 2008

Boat Race 2008, originally uploaded by alisoninlondon.

While I'm listening to this epic Wimbledon battle, I thought I'd blog about this little quilt. It actually is a rectangle, despite the skew-wiffiness of the photo.

The 2007 Boat Race was the first one I'd seen - although I grew up sitting on riverbanks at other rowing regattas. And when I lived in Boston I went along to the Head of the River contest.

But in 2008 the weather was absolutely shocking in London, and they were seriously talking about the boats sinking. I adore the BBC's coverage of this classic Oxford v Cambridge race and am so sad that 2009 was the last year they'll be televising it.

But... the aerial shots really struck me. And I sat and sketched, and sketched some more. Then I started cutting and many, many fabrics were auditioned. In the end, all of the applique was from one of Amy Butler's striped Forest fabrics, and some Kaffe Shot Cotton (for the heads). The black thread tails were left unclipped (my flatmate tells me that's her favourite part) and the dark navy background left unquilted - the natural ripples are so like water it would be impossible to improve on it.

I am so attached to this quilt - it almost looks like an aboriginal design, so with the combo of rowing, and hints of Aus, it was the work of one day, but I guess I had been thinking about the design for years.....

Sunday, July 05, 2009


, originally uploaded by alisoninlondon.

If the colours and reflections of Venice in flood doesn't make you want to paint, sew, draw, or be creative in some other way, then you have no soul...............

Saturday, July 04, 2009


I bought some amazing duck feather cushion inserts from John Lewis a few weeks ago. And the Kaffe Fassett jelly roll quilt I was making was producing a lot of lovely selvedge off-cuts, all conveniently 2.5" wide. Add in a looming management diploma assignment deadline, and of course all I wanted to do was make cushions.....
With piping, using the piping foot and everything.
But my cushion making did not stop there. Oh no. The second cushion I made, in the name of procrastination, was this one. A bit of Amy Butler home dec print and plain bought from Liberty recently = my favourite cushion ever. Trust me, I love this one. The colours look so incredible in the sun.

I still have a couple of other duck feather pillow forms - including a circular one! My next assignment is due on 9 August, so watch this space around that time...........

Monday, June 29, 2009

Proof positive

A long, long time ago I was watching a formula 1 grand prix and was inspired by David Coulthard's helmet design to make a simple blue and white wool felt quilt.

After I moved to England it languished. Top and back pieced, quilt basted, and a few very rough rows of large stitch handquilting done.

Years later I tried to fit it into my suitcase on a visit back to Oz. It didn't fit. But Mum and Dad took pity on me (it?) and posted the quilt to me to finish. And guess what - it is!!

I worked on this one on Grand Prix Sundays, ironically while watching DC as one of the new BBC commentators. Many metres of blue sashiko thread, plus a couple of odd rows of white and orange perle cotton, and I have a cuddly woollen quilt just waiting for those winter nights to come back again. Oh, it's satisfying to get one of those WIP's out of the way.

And as I seem to take photos at the oddest times, there are no detailed shots of this one. One day I'll remember, when the light is OK, and will post them up then. But really - the quilting is homey, but nothing to boast about....

Organising my stash

When I made a wedding quilt for some German friends last year, Mum said she was surprised I had enough different fabrics over here to make those pieced stripes - each with dozens of my favourite bits and pieces included. Well, up until last weekend, my fabric collection was hiding in a series of plastic boxes in the cupboards under the eves, and I really had no idea how much I had built up in the last year and a half.
No more! Friends of mine moved, and this gorgeous cabinet oddly did not suit their new house. I'd often coveted it at their old apartment, so gladly offered to take it off their hands.
And now my fabric is happily waiting, easily seen, to be used in a new project. And Mum, you see - I have no shortage of fabric over here! That doesn't mean I don't like to receive care packages of the latest ranges though....... I also popped into Liberty the other day and added to the collection. Oh, and the Far, Far Away from America. Oh well, you can never have too much, right?

On it's way to Australia

Someone has a present on their way for a July birthday.

As there's nothing homemade in the actual package I had to get creative with the packaging. I may never buy gift wrap again - cartridge paper and Dr Martin's inks combined to produce some gift-related packaging. A bit of spray mount and some extras mean that this is post-ready!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Osh, originally uploaded by alisoninlondon.

While the colours aren't what you'd call true to life in this photo, you get the idea. I bought 4.5 metres (1.5m of each of three fabrics) in Birmingham - all ikat fabrics from Kaffe Fasset. I loved them, but had no idea what to do with them. So I cut 6.5" strips, and started sewing. 5 blocks down and this was going to be a 60"x60" quilt. 8 blocks in and this was going to be a queen size quilt sashed in white, with a slightly larger, mitred white border. Then I thought about a biscuit coloured linen for sashing.

10 blocks in and I am reconsidering. These are all 18" square, and I kind of like them separate. So now I'm thinking I make a couple more, sandwich them and do some machine quilting, some hand quilting and I'll have a delicious stack of ikat goodness to fill up a wall (as shown), go around a doorway in an inverted U shape, or march down a hallway in single file. It's a twist on the doll quilt wall I guess. But it's all mine.

And by that last statement I don't mean to suggest that I invented the concept - just that I claimed ownership of these blocks over the more traditional options!