12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day 4 – Solid Quilts don’t have to be Solid

9 12 2015

When you spend a lot of time out at big Quilt and Craft events or even in a patchwork shop, you need lots of samples on the walls to attract people, demonstrate your products and sell.  Having samples can be a really mixed blessing though because although they draw people in once there is a sample on the wall, everyone wants to make it EXACTLY the same.  This can be very difficult for the patchwork shop owner as all fabrics have a use by date and in most cases in Australia, you get it once and have no chance of getting it again.

Think about it from the perspective of the patchwork shop.  Reps show a range of fabric and the shop owner orders it.  There are standard bolt sizes and a fairly common one is 13.7 metres (15 yards).  Amongst great excitement the fabric arrives and a pattern is conceived to demonstrate it.  The patchwork shop owner whips up a fabulous quilt using the new fabric taking, lets say for the purposes of this story, half a metre off each bolt.  Immediately the shop is down about 4% of the fabric; 4% of the potential profit, gone to what is effectively a marketing budget.  He or She will spend 6, 10, 20 hours making the quilt, all of which has an opportunity cost if not a direct cost and if the top is made into a quilt, there is the cost of backing, batting and thread.  Assuming again that the fabric can not be replaced and the quilt top evenly used half a metre off each bolt and no one bought any as meterage or fat quarters, the shop owner has the capacity to make a maximum of 26 kits for said quilt.  That is a lot of expense in time and money for 20 to 30 saleable items.  Madness really.

If the quilt is great and original the shop owner may develop their pattern and sell it seperately.  Creating patterns is far more economical as you can make one sample and sell thousands of patterns.  Often, a shop owner will design a pattern or buy in commercial ones and order fabric to support the pattern.  In any of these scenarios the shop owner is dependant on getting fabric that is identical to or close enough to those used in a pattern unless consumers can imagine the quilt in different fabrics.  Speaking for myself and all my colleagues in the industry I can say with absolute certainty, it does our head in.

So the purpose of that very long introductory tale was to show you some examples of achieving an effect without using an identical fabric.  For the purposes of this demonstration, I am using Jaybird Quilts’ Northern Lights pattern.

Originally constructed in Kona Solids, this quilt is a play on colour transition and can be done in so many different ways effectively.  This is the original pattern with the original sample.


Jaybird Quilts patterns usually have instructions for up to five different sizes. This is the second smallest, the lap quilt size, and as such uses 8 different colours. The baby quilt size uses just 6 and the King size will use 16.  Obviously if you move into the bigger sizes you are going to have to use some imagination to work out what fabrics to use because only 8 are demonstrated in the sample.  And there really is not one answer to that.  It comes down to what you like.

So, using completely different fabrics, ones that read as solids, but are not solid I made this example:

northern lights final       northern lights 9 (same quilt,a bit more detail)

Now, I could have started with any one of these colours and built a run from there.  For example, the two greens could have sat next to the blues on the right.  I could equally have started with the red on the outer left and run through the rainbow in that more traditional order of the rainbow or I could have done a hundred other things with it.

So, working on a rainbow, starting with a baby quilt size and adding colours to the King, your fabrics could look like this:  Baby quilt – 6 fabrics; Lap quilt – 8 fabrics; Twin (single) – 10 fabrics; Queen – 14 fabrics; and King – 16 fabrics.

Baby - 6 fabrics   Lap - 8 fabrics    fabric 10 rainbow

fabric 14 rainbow   fabric 16 rainbow

Or, alternatively do this in something more muted like Neutrals.  Here are three examples one of 6 fabrics and 2 of 8.

fabric 6 neutrals     fabric 8a neutrals     fabric 8 neutrals

Imagine doing something like this in a monochromatic scheme, from light through to dark.

Hopefully this helps you reimagine patterns a bit more broadly.  Support your local patchwork shop.  They are the experts and will help you make something spectacular, tailored to your preferences.

For todays special.  I have kits of all these colourways shown if you would like to make the quilt.  The kits are priced at around $13 to $14 per metre for the fabric and include the pattern.

 Head here to purchase:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9096759/12-days-of-christmas-2015—day-4—jaybird-quilts-northern-lights-kits.html



Silk Velvet giveaway

13 09 2011

I am giving this velvet away on Facebook.  In order to be in the running, all you need to do is “like” the Unique Stitching page and either leave a comment or share the post with others.  The address for my Facebook page is www.facebook.com/UniqueStitching

Don’t miss out – see you there.

Easter – five days of creativity and cleaning.

22 04 2011

Happy Easter to all.  I am hoping to spend most of it doing fun things with fibre, fabric, paint and discharge paste however had to catch up with the basics.  Four loads of washing later, lawns mowed, website updated and we are ready to play.  Or I am.

I bought these Japanese fabrics at AQC from a couple of the Japanese fabric stands.  I wonder what I will do with them.  I have an idea, but I am off to cut them up and see how they go.

I also have some tops to finish using silks and velvets.  Does anyone else have three of four projects on the go at the same time.  I am not talking about UFOs.  I have heaps of those too, but multiple projects that you are working on concurrently.  I seem to always have.

AQC is around the corner. I love AQC

30 03 2011

This year is the seventh (I think) Australasian Quilt Convention.  I love this show.  I love the excitment of the events, the fabulous national and international tutors I get to meet and the pure joy of the participants who come to the only Quilting only craft show in Australia.  And the amazing quilts – wow the quilts!

Since inception, I have tried to throw myself into every aspect of it.  I think I am the only exhibitor who can say I have attended every AQC social event.  The welcome cocktail party is always a blast and the formal dinner is ‘THE’ quilting event of the year in my mind.  This year will be no different.  I have my tickets and am choosing a new ‘frock’ for the big dinner.  I love the awards, particularly the Shining Light award for an extraordinary quilter under 18 years and the Lut-Da award which is for a quilter who makes a major contribution to their community.

Each year, the delegates – those who have registered for one or more days of the classes – get a gift bag with goodies donated by the exhibitors who are trading.  Again, each year I contribute to this and try to make it a bit sensational.  This is in fact, my biggest marketing spend each year, and I love trying to come up with something bigger and better than last year.  I have never seen what others contribute and nor do I care, but I am always happy with what I provide.  This year I have put in hand dyed fat quarters of cotton sateen.  These are a new product for me and over the next few weeks/months, I will be dyeing up a full range of this fabulous fabric.  It is 100% cotton, but lustruous and soft like a silk satin.  Gorgeous.  Here are some photos of it in process.

70 metres dyed in 12 colourways - glorious

70 metres cut into 280 fat quarters, oh my aching back!

packed and ready to go. Phew!

If you want more information on AQC, go to www.aqc.com.au.  If you want to get one of my gorgeous fabrics, you need to register as a delegate.  There are still some great classes available and you can go for a day or four days.  Check out Jane Davila’s surface design classes on the weekend (two are sold out but there are a couple of places left in the other two).  She is a funny lady and you will have fun if you join her.

Books, Silk kits and more Flood Relief Fabric – what a day

16 01 2011

Today I did absolutely none of the things I had planned.  You know those days.  I got up to a heap of orders for the fund raising fabric which was both pleasantly surprising and unexpected.  So the first order of the day was to dye more.  Two bolts of fabric later, I have filled all of the orders with a little more to go before I have to dye more.  Wow.  Thanks to everyone who has become involved so far. 

I have to tell you up front, I have not ironed any of the fabric we packed today, so if you have ordered some, give it an iron and the lustre will come up beautifully.

Whilst I was processing orders I got the strangest email I have had for a while.  I thought it was spam and nearly deleted it.  A neighbour, ten houses down the street had returned from holidays to discover a package on her door step.  When she had a look at it she discovered it was for me, so did a quick google search to work out who I was and emailed me.  Off I toddled to collect it .  Well I went in the car because we were going to the Fruit and Veg market and it was very hot – we will just forget that I mentioned it was only ten houses down – very hot remember .  I had been waiting for this package and was just about to start getting worried.

It had some beautiful silk quilt kits:

these gorgeous fabrics


will make this quilt

the photo does it no justice. 
Also in the box where a pile of Surface Design books:  Art Cloth and Complex Cloth by Jane Dunnewold; The Painted Quilt by Linda and Laura Kemsell; Mixed Media Explorations by Beryl Taylor and Uniquely Felt by Christine White.  These are now all on the website.
These are all seminal books which are absolutely packed with ideas, techniques and projects.  I am gradually increasing my book range.  I decided to start with new releases and add the depth of the classics and essentials as I go.  It was important to me that I can get these at a price that remains competitive with overseas sellers, which is a feat in itself.   If there are any books you would like me to carry, let me know and I will see if I can source them for a good price.

 Now that the roast lamb is in the oven, I am going to go and sort some fabric to make blocks for two seperate collection points.  Firstly for Nikki Tervo’s call for quilted 12.5 inch squares and the Sunbury Stitches and Quilters.  They are after 10 inch square blocks.  10.5 inch is hard for me.  All of my usual quick and easy blocks are a nine patch variation so I am going to have to be a bit more creative.  If you want to join in either of these, Nikki’s details are in an earlier post and the Sunbury Groups details are below.

10.5 inch blocks to be sent to:

Sunbury Stitches & Quilters’ Inc.
     c/o Lynette Peucker (President),
     37 Jeffrey Crt,
     Gisborne South,
     Vic. 3437
This group is supporting a call from Qld Quilters, through the Victorian Quilters.  They will also welcome donations of wadding, fabric or any sewing goods.  If you want more information, get in touch with me and I will forward the full email to you.

Hand painted fabric to raise funds for the QLD Flood Relief

15 01 2011

Hi everyone.

Like everyone, I have been horrified to watch the unfolding tragedy of the Qld Floods.  Again, like many, I have been worried, reduced to tears and then warmed by the generosity of the human spirit in times of despair and loss.  Many people are making contributions in their own way, but I wanted to mark this event with something positive, hopeful and forward looking.  So rather than auction something I have already made, I wanted to make something fresh and share it widely. So I have spent the afternoon hand painting fabric to use as a fund raiser.  I hope that you will buy the fabric and make something to commemorate the event, but in a positive way.

The fabric is lovely with light, soft, floaty purples, greens and blues.

The fabric is very high quality 100% cotton fabric.  Great for patchwork, it is soft and supple enough for needle turn applique, yet perfect for backgrounds and piecing.  It will also make beautiful blouses or shirts because the drape is so gorgeous. I hope you can be tempted and help me raise funds to help the rebuild of this tragedy.  The fabric is now on the website:  www.uniquestitching.com.au

The thread count is 150 by 80 per inch – so a fabulous fabric, better than most PFDs available.  The finish is smooth and appears like silk. 

This is a one off, not to be repeated fabric.  The more you buy, the more we raise for the flood relief

Cost is $24 per metre.  I will cover the postage.