True Blue Birdies

The beauty of the quilts at the Australian Quilt Convention brought us a lot of joy and inspiration especially a couple of the quilts in the True Blue Challenge featuring favourite Aussie birds with blue plumage.

Now we’re birders and spend a lot of our free time looking at birds with binoculars and telescopes. We’ve also done volunteer work on bird banding projects. So when we look at birds on quilts we’re interested not only in the visual impact but the detail and authenticity of the way the birds are presented.

Sometimes the birds have a static look that suggests they’ve been modelled on field guide illustrations. But others really capture the jizz (a term used by birders to describe the vibe, the overall impression of a bird) and that’s so true of two quilts that really made an impression on us. Yes even Alistair spent quite a bit of time looking at these.

The first is the runner-up in the Challenge called Really True Blue by Jan Clark. It showcases five of the fairy wren family.

Really True Blue by Jan Clark

We’ve seen all these tiny birds in their natural habitat and Jan has really captured the essence of the way they stand and move and hold their tails.

But this quilt has so much more – a painterly effect and the swirling blues radiate energy & motion. We loved the composition and use of colours and textures.

Since I wrote this post I’ve had a couple of emails asking if I had any close-ups. So here are the wrens in more detail..

Detail 1 of Really True Blue by Jan Clark


Detail 2 of Really True Blue by Jan Clark


And here’s a detail from the second quilt called True Blue Raider of My Stash by Naomi Hynes. You can see the full quilt here.

This photo is a bit washed out as this piece was right under a blast of light from the Exhibition Centre’s Atrium.

Detail 1 from True Blue Raider of My Stash BY Naomi Hynes

We were blown away by how Naomi has used fabric to create the complex plumage patterning of the female Satin Bowerbird. She’s also nailed the luminous lapis lazuli colour of the eyes.

Soooo much talent in these two quilts!


For Dog Lovers Everywhere

Whew ….it’s been a busy week with family but I’ve finally found a minute to start sharing more of what I saw in Melbourne.

I had great fun looking at the quilts from the 2015 Challenge True Blue at the Australian Quilt Convention. If we were playing one of those word association games and you said ‘true blue’ then I would quickly say ‘blue heeler’ – the beloved Aussie cattle dog.

Three quilters explored this challenge by creating portraits of blue heelers and other too cute dogs.

We’re going to start with this amazing quilt called Best Mates by Kathy Adams:

Best Mates Quilt by Kathy Adams


The block that really caught my eye was this one – the stitching is incredibly intricate and I could’ve taken him home he seemed so real!

Detail 1 of Best Mates by Kathy Adams


Then there was this awesome bundle of puppy cuteness in a quilt called Beginning True by Sue de Vanny from Victoria which received an Honourable Mention from the judges:

Beginning True by Sue de Vanny


Here’s a closer look

Detail 1 of Beginning True by Sue de Vanny


Detail 2 of Beginning True by Sue de Vanny

Detail 3 of Beginning True by Sue de Vanny

Just fantastic!

And then there was this super fellow called Harry Dog by Sandy Price

Harry Dog by Sandy Price


Hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I did!

Stumpwork Gem

It’s a glorious warm Autumn day here. I sat in the sun stitching this morning and hoping to soak up some Vitamin D.

Here’s another lovely piece by Jen. This time a stumpwork that sits on a box lid.

Stumpwork Grasshopper sticthed by Jennifer Zanetti

Autumn Hare

It’s late Autumn in Canberra and the early mornings are very chilly. Some mornings the hares come down from the reserve and just sit on the road soaking up the sun.

One was there this morning and reminded me of a gentle piece embroidered by my sister-in-law Jennifer.

Hare stitched by Jennifer Zanetti

It’s framed in a quilter’s hoop so it’s quite large. Jen stitched it a while ago and thinks it was kit but has lost the details.

The design and flow of the stitching look like pen strokes.

Detail 1 of Hare stitched by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 2 of Hare stitched by Jennifer Zanetti

More thread drawing than thread painting.

The choice of colours gives a sense of a nature study and I especially loved the mix of green shades

Detail 4 of Hare stitched by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 5 of Hare stitched by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 6 of Hare stitched by Jennifer Zanetti

Hope you’re having a great morning wherever you are!

Starting with Some Stunning Gallipoli Quilts

Today is one of mixed emotions.

On the one hand it’s Woo Hoo that I’ve finally found the time to start this blog and a whole new adventure! For the last 18 months I’ve been writing the blog for the ACT Embroiderers’ Guild but it’s now time to hand it over to someone else and focus on my own stitchy and other adventures. There’s so much to share!

On the other there’s the poignancy of the Anzac Day commemorations of Gallipoli and WW1. I spent some time this morning looking through photos of all the Italian members of the family who fought with the Allies in WW1 on the eastern front. It’s very moving to look at those oh so young faces and to think of what they went through.

Last weekend we were in Melbourne to catch up with family and we lucked out as the Australian Quilt Convention (AQC) was on as well as some awesome textile exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Gallipoli Quilts at AQC

The guest artist at the AQC was Lucy Carroll and her Gallipoli quilts. They were just stunning and based on original photographs and paintings.

Lucy has a fresh and very striking technique. She paints or dyes the fabric then cuts it up and collages it back together before quilting it. The way she cuts and layers the fabric creates a painterly and fluid effect so that the surfaces of the quilts seem dynamic rather than static. Really cool and intriguing.

This is The Gallipoli Quilt that featured as the centrepiece of her show:

The Gallipoli Quilt by Lucy Carroll

It’s a large, imposing work with a powerful visual impact. The range and depth of experience reflected in the soldier’s face is moving and thought provoking. If you’d like a closer look at this or any other image just click on it to enlarge.

Here are some of the other Gallipoli quilts…

Gallipoli Quilt 4 by Lucy Carroll

This one celebrates Simpson and his donkey who under continuous enemy fire transported wounded soldiers away from the battle field – one of the iconic stories of the Anzacs. In an unexpected twist Lucy displayed a photo from a contemporary conflict with each quilt. In this case a military helicopter which is used today to medivac the wounded to safety. Paradoxically these very modern images echo those from a 100 years ago and connect you to the courage and skill of the men and women serving in war zones today.

This next quilt captures life in the trenches…

Gallipoli Quilt 3 by Lucy Carroll

This one the peninsula itself and a moment of stillness in the tumult of war

Gallipoli Quilt 2 by Lucy Carroll


Gallipoli Quilt 6 by Lucy Carroll

and the exquisite touch of green life and hope in the bleakness of mud and death….

Detail of Gallipoli Quilt 6 by Lucy Carroll

with the use of painting, dyeing and quilting to create this effect.

Then the joy and elation of making it home to loved ones……

Gallipoli Quilt 5 by Lucy Carroll

Detail of Gallipoli Quilt 5 by Lucy Carroll

True Blue

Lucy also had a piece in the general competition which was to create a quilt that reflected the Aussie spirit of True Blue.

JM Quilt by Lucy Carroll

She created a wonderful portrait called JM which honours and celebrates Jan-Maree Bell the founder of Aussie Hero Quilts. This is a great organisation that makes quilts and laundry bags for Australian military personnel. If you’d like to contribute you can find out more at their Facebook page here and blog here.

Lucy’s portrait just brims with colour, energy and joie de vivre!

I was left in awe of her talent and energy. She lives in Cairns, has small children and her partner is serving in the Australian Navy and is away from home for long periods of time and she still manages to not only produce this amazing body of work but to revel in it all. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

You can see more of Lucy’s work in progress at her Facebook page here and her blog here.

Back soon!