Finished Adam’s and Sara’s quilt

Adam and Sara's quilt

Blossoms in the Benches Quilt

Finishing the quilt for Adam and Sara was quite satisfying, as I added some ‘blossoms’ to it so that it complemented the floor rug which sits under the table and chairs in their dining area. The reason I made the quilt in the first place was so that Adam would like the retro dining suite which Sara’s grandmother gave them, and is so ‘now’ in decor.

The colours are to match the suite, the timber cupboards and the beige tiled floors. The strata on the quilt reminded me of mining benches in open-cut mines and quarries, and as where they live and work is a coal mining area, that decided the name.

Here’s a detail of the designer rug:

Sara's carpet
Detail — Sara’s carpet

 The quilt

While the stitching appears to be big saddle stitches, it is actually machine quilted with a King Tut thread called Rosetta Stone. (Variegated blacks and greys.)

Blossoms in the Benches

The label

Blossoms in the Benches — label on the back


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Inspired by quilt fabric or by a pattern?

Ursula's fabric inspiration

Which is it?

I am often inspired by a fabric, although I don’t buy fabric because I like it. I have to have a project on the go first. (The ikey Scot in me, I guess!)

Occasionally I am inspired by an idea, and need to go straight into the studio to try it. If I like what I do, then I search for the fabric to make the quilt. If I want to make a quilt for a friend, and have no real idea what it will look like, then an exciting fabric is where I will start.

At other times, I need to put together some quilts for an exhibition, and the inspiration comes from the theme of the exhibition.

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Sampler Quilt with Sixty Degree Triangles

Sampler with a difference

Remember when patchwork quilts were often sampler quilts?

A sampler quilt is where each block is different, so that the quiltmaker can try new techniques. When I was teaching patchworkers in the late 1980s, I taught several sampler quilt classes. Students could increase their quiltmaking skills speedily without making many quilts.

Samplers seem to have gone out of fashion, but sometimes they are exactly what is needed when you want to learn new techniques.

While searching out all my sixty degree trangle pieces for writing an online class, I found this top which I made by putting together all my teaching samples from the travelling Sixty Dgree Triangle worshops over several years.

I hung the quilt top on the design wall and was surprised how much I liked it. It was assembled to make carting the samples around easier, but it now needs to be quilted, as it is really attractive, don’t you think?

Sixty Degree Sampler Quilt

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Sixty Degree Triangles and Quilts

Detail - Pass Me A Spanner

Recently on Southern Cross Quilters, a member said she had bought an equilateral triangle ruler and didn’t know how to use it. One of my students left a lovely book for me to read, and inside it were several quilts based around these triangles. And on Saturday in a rerun of Simply Quilts, Alex was talking to Sara Nephew about her 60 degree triangle quilts. Serendipity?

Sixty Degree Triangle quilts were my first real obsession with patchwork.

A big pile of sixty degree triangle quilts

I went to my local patchwork shop in Brisbane in 1988 asking if there was anything that was a bit unusual that I could get my teeth into.

Quilts From a Different Angle was shown to me, I bought it and went home intrigued. Wow!

Of course I hadn’t got the ruler, so went back, bought the 6″ size triangle – the only one available at that time – and produced my first of many of these quilts.

The designs don’t work like most patchwork (made from squares and rectangles) because the triangle is one sixth of a hexagon, and is based on a circle grid, not a square. This leads to rethinking your maths for quilts, but by her second book, Sara had great explanations for calculating how to cut the different sized triangles and part hexagons.

I was hooked!

Designs of my own

Butterfly blockI designed the butterfly in The Best Things in Life are Free using these triangles in 1989, and the Reach for the Sky quilt a bit later.

I designed a couple of 3D isometric perspective quilts before Sara released her third book, called Building Block Quilts, featuring many 3D designs.

The quilts were getting blue ribbons at shows, and people wanted to know how they worked. I began to teach Sixty Degree Triangle classes all over Queensland. Some of these early design from students are quite good. None of us were very experienced in design and colour back then as patchwork was fairly newly revived in the late 1980s.

From stars to flowers to 3D, I never tire of playing with these triangle designs.

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Teagan’s Coming of Age quilt

Kathryn's gift - finished top

The quilting’s progressing

Kathryn (a student of mine) asked me to quilt the coming of age quilt she is giving to a family friend, Teagan.

This is the quilt before quilting:

Kathryn's gift - finished top
Kathryn's gift — finished top

I have done quite a bit of the quilting, but my lovely new machine has gone to hospital, so I can’t finish it at present.

Below is a detail of part of the back, showing some of the vines (signifying the growing of Teagan) I have quilted between the photographs.

Detail of the back of Teagan's quilt
Detail — back of Teagan's quilt showing quilting

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The car quilt is finished

Bound and ready to go on holiday tomorrow, the car quilt is finished. I decided to call it Clayton’s Winnebago, because our Hyundai is the Winnebago we had when we didn’t have a Winnebago!

The end result is quite an elegant quilt for our double bed in the car.

Clayton's Winnebago quilt
Clayton’s Winnebago quilt in the iLoad (also a Clayton’s Winnebago!)


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I’ve been sewing in my studio!

Batman quilt

Playing in my studio

Yesterday I put two sides of binding on the big quilt for our car.

We have a full-size double bed in our Hyundai van, because we both have terrible backs and needed an excellent bed for travelling. I used blacks, whites and greys in one of Judy Turner’s tatami mat style designs, and had great fun quilting each rectangle in different quilting designs on my mid-arm quilting frame.
Quilt in our Hyundai iLoad van

Photos on quilts

Remember way back when I wrote A moment in Time – about printing on fabric for quilts?

A Moment In Time book cover
A Moment In Time book cover

Here’s one of the little scrapbook quilts:

Batman quilt
Batman quilt

I have been experimenting with some new information seen on a video at The Quilt Show recently, and will write some more about my experiments soon.

It’s nice to be quilting and designing for a change from web design work!

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Quilt for the bed in our car is ready to be bound

Clayton's Winnebago quilt

Finished the quilting!

Took it off the Inspira quilting frame and it’s ready for the binding.


We have a full sized double bed in the back of our Hyundai iLoad, and this is the quilt that Bob helped to design, cut and put together.

Claytons Winnebago car quilt

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Background chosen for Adam’s quilt

Background decided for Adam's quilt

Auditioned several fabrics:

Decided on black

I found a great blotchy black and grey patchwork fabric that is perfect for Adam’s quilt.

The town they live in is near many coal mines and he is looking to work in a mine soon. Sara’s father has been managing coal mines in the district for many years, so a ‘mining’ theme is so appropriate.

Not sure on the name for the quilt yet.

The quilt layout

Background decided

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New quilt for Adam and Sara

Start of the design

Started a new wall quilt today

My stepson and his wife were given a fabulous second-hand smoke glass table, round with very heavy smoke steel central leg, and four chairs upholstered in fawn suede.

He hates it! I don’t think he knows what a treasure it is.

I have started a wall quilt today in modern style to incorporate the colours in their (rented) home.

They both love black, and Sara has just purchased 20 metres of black suede-look fabric to recover the sofa and chairs we gave them. So I am using blacks, tans and fawns for the quilt.

The design

The quilt will have nine small strip-pieced blocks arranged in three columns. The bottom two rows will be closer to each other, while the top row will be separated from these two.

I will quilt the piece using horizontal slightly wavy lines with no particular spacing, just as the mood takes me.

I need a different, less flowery black for the background, but I can get that after I complete the blocks.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Getting started on the strip piecing

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My latest quilt

I’m working on the rosella quilt again, after a lengthy detour into car quilts and beginner’s quilts for patchwork school courses, among other things.

I’ve completed the design and the free machine embroidery, and the layout is now decided upon.

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Quilts as works of art?

Solo Exhibitions

I asked the question in my last post, what is an art quilt?

Is a quilt ‘art’ because it is outside the traditional patchwork style of quilt? Is it art simply because it has been hung on a wall instead of used as a bed covering?

These days many people hang quilts on the walls of their offices, or their homes, as decorative pieces, whether these quilts are so-called art quilts or are traditional style quilts used as artwork.

If it is hung as art, is it art?

Perhaps not, but if the owner of a quilt hangs it as art, then to that person it is an art quilt.

I consider some of my quilts to be art quilts, even although they are based on traditional blocks, they have been designed as art pieces, and meant to be hung as such.

This quilt, Come To The Water, is an interpretative quilt using a traditional patchwork block called Double Windmill as the background, and another old favourite quilt block, Grandmother’s Fan, as the windmill head. It was made to decorate my late husband’s newly refurbished office.

Come To The Water


You can see more of my quilts in the exhibition gallery