Friday, August 31, 2012

Up close and personal with the Chester County Criswell Quilt.

You know, you so look forward to a day, then before you know it,
 its come and gone. That's how it is tonight. Elated, and deflated.
Is it possible to be both at the same time?
Several months ago, Bev and l made plans to meet with Sharon
(seen here in the middle)
to get up close and personal with her Quilt,
The Chester County Criswell Quilt.

We invited a bunch of other ladies,
made arrangements for sustenance,
and sat back and watched the fun begin.
Of course, you can''t get this many ladies together without there being lots of noise!!
( sorry! No sound vision, just pictures)

We introduced Sharon the waiting crowd. She gave us a
wonderful talk about the quilt, and shared some of its history.

You can see them all listening intently to what she had to say!
( click on pictures to enlarge))

And then we were  allowed to look closely and take photos.
It seems pointing was the order of the day,

 and not just with a camera!!
A great many discussions on how this block was made.

Every angle of the quilt was photographed.

Stories shared,

and pointing in all directions!!

Others brought quilts to share.
This one belongs to Sandra.

This one is Janet's.

Irene had 2 nine  patch quilt tops that she had bought on her recent USA trip.

Not sure who''s quilt this is??
Its sweet and charming.
( Its Jan's)

Sharon brought along her Schoolhouse block she made after l
 sent her the correct cutting directions!!
( so pleased THEY worked)

Here's Margaret and Jen searching my drawers for Smithsonian fabric!!
Happy to say  they found some.

Margaret had some antique silk fabric from when her father was a tie maker.

 Cheryl brought along her current lace-making project.

And some finished pieces,

 Also some sewing kits from her collection.

After lunch, we set up the stand, so we could photograph the Quilt from front on.
Oh my!! Is it impressive when you stand back and look at this amazing quilt.
This beautiful quilt has lived a life. If only she could talk!!
Sharon is reproducing this quilt, and is making the patterns available to everyone.
The first block is free. And she is also
 sharing history on the signatures to be found on the quilt.

And its not till you see Sharon standing beside it, that you realize just how big it is.

Yes, she is standing, not kneeling!!
And whats this you ask?
Its the girls making sure they put the date for our next get
together in their phones, so they don't miss out!!

A HUGE thank you to Sharon for bringing her quilt to share with us.
Its been an honor!!
If only the makers knew how 160 years after they made this quilt,
there would be this much interest in it!!
 l hope you have enjoyed sharing this day with us.
Now off to bed, to dream about all things quilty!!
Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 30, 2012



( click on picture for a closer look at details) 

Come one, Come all.
In 5 weeks we will open the doors on another exciting exhibition.
And we can''t wait!!
Well, l do need the time to get bindings on 7 large quilts,
and about 10 smaller quilts, so maybe its good that l still have 5 weeks.
And l have patterns to write!!
Oh, dear!! Can we make it 7 weeks?? LOL
If l have spoken to you in the past year about having your
 red and white quilt for our exhibition, can you please contact me.
 l have a label to send you, which you will need to pin to your quilt.
If you are a quilt shop in Australia, and would like flyers,
 or raffle ticket books,  contact me and l will post them.
Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Castlemaine Applique Group.

l would like to say a huge THANK YOU for all the support l have received
this past week regarding the misprint of my Schoolhouse pattern.
Its been truly amazing!
If you have not heard back from me with the correct cutting requirements,
its possible that you are a nonreply-commentor.
Please go check the comment you left, as l have made a mention under if this is so.

This past Saturday was our bi-monthly meeting.
An early start, we headed off, stopping for
 coffee and fruit toast in Woodend, as is our usual.
We always look forward to the day for more than one reason.
Catching up with country friends, sitting, chatting, stitching,
and of course, the shopping. But the highlight of the day is always
 show and tell. And this meeting did not disappoint.
Finally finished.
 Our Raffle Quilt for this years Quilts In The Barn made its debut!!
many thanks to Meghan Leslie who designed the quilt.
 The Secret Sewing Sisterhood who stitched the top,
and Helen Hayes who did the magnificent quilting.

Wendy has this delightful Antique Wedding Sampler( designed by Di Hall)
that she had put the last stitch in at 4.30pm the day before.

Ann Andrew showed the progress she has made on her
red and white "Tribute to Mrs Williams".
And we are all hoping its finished in time for our exhibition.

Sandra Boyle shared her delightful Scrappy Whirligig Quilt top.

Trish brought along this delightful applique top. Love that green background.

Fiona Lindsay shared this stunning applique and pieced
quilt top of her own design. Fiona also hand quilts, so this is going
 to be simply stunning when finished.

Judy Robin made this lovely star quilt in Greys and creams.

Not sure who made this, but we just wanted to reach out and pat those swans.

Alison Gardner brought along her award winning hexagon quilt.
 Those hexi's are 1/4" Oh my!!

Megan Carrol shared her latest quilt.
Letters from Belton Grange.
Run as a BOM, the pattern can be found here.

We had some new faces at this meeting, and we were lucky enough to
have Chris ( in the middle ) sitting with us at our table. We introduced
her to many of our wonderful designers who attend our meetings,
and her reaction was delightful!! So we had to have a group photo taken.
Welcome to our group Chris. l am sure we are going to be good Friends!!
L-R Me, Irene Blanc, Chris, Margaret Mew, Michelle Yeo.

On our way home we had a detour into Kynton to visit some shops.
We came across this wonderful mile of daffodils. You know spring is on
its way when these beauties show their faces.

Well, hope you enjoyed show and tell as much as l did.
Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lessons learnt!!

Every Quilter who buys a pattern, a magazine or a book to make a quilt
NEEDS to read the story below. Please bear with me.
Its a long story with an important lesson.

Its all about faith, trust and hope!

l received this email yesterday. 

Hi Linda,

My name is Janni, I have been taken with your gorgeous adaptation of
your antique schoolhouse quilting the latest edition of patchwork and quilting.
I cut 20 blocks according to the instructions, but am having no end of
difficulty putting the blocks together.
It seems there are some discrepancies in the measurements and I am
finding the pieces will not fit.

Working from the given measurements I find that the door/ window wall
section seems to be shorter than the roof section, and the gable seems to be
 far too narrow. Then the white strip between  the door/ window walls does
 not match up with the roof section.

Comparing the photo of the schoolhouse quilt and the diagram to follow
in the magazine, there is a discrepancy between the two.

The photo shows the white wall section as being narrower than the
comparable roof section, as does the cutting instructions. The diagram
however shows the two sections as being the same width. Also the white wall
piece is cut 10 1/4" which is much longer than the space.

None of this section seems to sit comfortably, I have tried cutting
wider windows, wider and shorter white wall piece, but it will not
match up with the roof, particularly the gable and the wall above the door.

Rather than risk wasting all my lovely fabrics, I was wondering if you
had found some mistakes in the printing,or have heard from other quilters
who are tearing their hair out trying to work it out? I am looking forward to
finishing this quilt as I love its charm and character,
but am getting to the point where I am questioning my own skills.

Please could you help me salvage this quilt!

Yours in all sincerity


 Janni placed her faith in me to make this right. For that l am grateful.  This was my reply.
Hi Janni,
Firstly, many thanks for bringing this to my attention. While every effort is made to ensure patterns are correct, its out of my control what the quilt magazine does with the information l send them.
 Having enjoyed a wonderful day today visiting numerous quilt shops to deliver flyers for our upcoming exhibition, the last thing l expected to find when l came home was your email.
But l also know l had to try and work out what went wrong. l know l would not have slept otherwise. This is the first time in all the years l have worked with this magazine that they have got it wrong with any of my patterns.
l am sending you 4 pages attached. The first 2 are the original pattern l sent the magazine. The second page shows the mistakes ( circled ) in the printed pattern.
 The second 2 pages are the proofs the magazine send me to check for mistakes. As you will see, my original and magazine proofs are the same. However, when the figures l have circled on the 2nd and 4th page are compared to the printed cutting instructions in the magazine, there was definitely something lost in translation.
 While this does not help your cut fabric make the block correctly, we have at least found ( or hope l have found ) all the offending mistakes. And to my deep dismay, there is more than 1. ( read here 7. Yes that's 7 )
 My suggestion is to make contact with the editor of the magazine, l have added her email below, and explain, as you did in your email to me ( in fact, l would just cut and paste). This is their responsibility to correct. And l would be suggesting full reimbursement for fabric wasted, as my written works and also those sent to me to verify are correct. l will also be writing to the editor with my disappointment. l am sure they will put a correction in a future magazine, but that does not help you or any others who will cut their fabric to make this quilt in the meantime.
 l know the pattern l wrote is correct, as l used the workings to make the samples used in the picture diagrams.
My deepest apologies to you. Please don't hesitate to contact
 me again if writing to the magazine does not result in satisfaction.
 l would also like to make a suggestion for the future. When you decide to make a pattern from a magazine or a purchased pattern that requires you to make many blocks the same, cut just for one sample block. l know this can make a little more work, but at the same time also save much heartache in finding many pieces of cut fabric that are incorrect.
 Many thanks again for bringing this to my attention. l hope you are able to make the corrections and your quilt become the treasure you planned.
 Best wishes,
Linda Collins.

As a quilt designer and pattern writer, this experience has damaged
  my faith in this quilt magazine. When l write my directions,
l check them, double check them, then triple check them. Then l
 use my own cutting directions and make a test block. Then l cut several more sets
 of pieces and make part blocks and components. Those test blocks
and components are used as pictures in the magazine.
 So l know they work.

When you buy a pattern, a magazine or a quilt book, you trust they have
 the directions right. In fact, you put a lot of faith in it.
Yes, sometimes things go wrong. This magazine can put in a correction notice
It won't help those who only bought the magazine for this particular pattern.
It won't help those who decide in a few years time to make this quilt.
 It won't help those, who, over the following years, buy this magazine second
 hand and decide to make this quilt.

Who knows how many years l will get emails about this particular
pattern. That's the risk we take as designers.
But it's difficult when l am not to blame.

l have sent Janni a copy of my own written directions, and a copy of the directions
the magazine sent me for approval. These 2 were the same.
The problem occurred when the  directions were typed ready
for printing. This does not help Janni or any others that have
bought the magazine, fallen in love with the project, bought their fabric
and placed trust in the directions being correct and started cutting.

Yes, l did loose sleep last night worrying about it. l take what l do seriously.
Because when all is said and done, l don't do this for the money.
 Believe me. l won't make my fortune writing quilt patterns.
 l do it because l love and want to share my passion for
quilting and the antique quilts l own. l want others to be able to make
 their own version of an antique quilt l love.
 l want to share my knowledge with  this wonderful community of quilters.
That's part of who l am!!

Something similar happened to me about 6 years ago. A new quilt shop
opened and my sewing buddy and l fell in love with one of the
quilts being offered as a class. We bought our fabric, turned up at the
class and proceeded to cut the requirements. Over the next few
classes we all make advances with our blocks. Then came the day
 to attach our setting triangles.
As we stitched, l discovered the setting triangle measurements
 was wrong. The triangles were too small. l brought this to the attention of
our teacher, the designer of the quilt. Naturally she was horrified.
 She offered to replace all fabric that had been cut the wrong size, with
  most in the class taking up the offer. l couldn't. l felt bad enough bringing
the matter to her attention. l had plenty of fabric, l said, l will reuse
 those triangles in another project. But our trust was a little damaged.
 Maybe this experience has led me into writing my own patterns.
Then l only have myself to blame.

One thing l do know when making multiple blocks the same for a quilt. l always cut
 and test a block first. Yes, this does take time. But this way, if there is a problem,
it can be sorted quickly,  without wasting too much fabric.
Janni's was a tough lesson to learn.

This morning, l took the instructions in the magazine, cut out 1 block
 and stitched it together. This is what Janni has been dealing with.
No wonder she was pulling her hair out!!

This is what it should look like.

There has been a flurry of emails this morning. Its all being blamed
on a computer software incompatibility. These things do happen.

So if you have managed to stick with me this far, l'm going to ask you
 to place your TRUST in me. If you leave a comment on this post,
l  will email you a copy of my original Schoolhouse pattern, written
 and tested by me. l can't promise you its perfect!! But we can HOPE!!

Many thanks for reading to the end.
 l feel a whole lot better now.

Thanks for visiting.

P.S. Please feel free to share a link to this post. l feel it's important to
 warn as many people as possible about the lessons that can be learnt here.

P.S.S. For those who asked, its Vol 21 No 9.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our weekend retreat!!

Every weekend should start like this!!
Good friends, good food and good champagne!!

Deb spent most of the weekend working on these blocks,

And by Sunday was able to take home an almost finished quilt top.
Can't wait to see this one quilted.
 "c'est magnifique"

Bev spent a lot of time doing this.

She also stitched together these blocks she's appliqued.
 Its looking stunning!!

There was a grownup version of Mac and Cheese!!

Jenn did a little work on fixing this quilt top.
Another striking quilt to hang in our exhibition.

Mostly Margaret and Jenn were working on secret sewing business,
so can't show what they were doing.
Instead  Margaret brought along her Maltaville Album Quilt for a closer inspection.
Hmmm!! This would look great in red and white!!

l did get this top together,
but not with out some unpicking, as 2 blocks
 decided to play a little trick on me and swapped places!!

There were a couple other what went wrongs!!
Like Margaret thinking you can make toffee with sugar, water and cream!!
New batch in progress in back saucepan.

 And lets not mention the morning hair styles!!

 Or the inadvertent stitching of another part of the quilt.

Can you see what's wrong here?????
We sure gave those 2 quick unpicks a workout over the weekend!!

Bev brought plenty of show and tell for us.
That Myer bag is stuffed full.

And there was more over on the couch.

Margaret made cherry clafoutis for desert, after carefully reading the recipe.

l showed some antique quilt blocks l had recently bought.

And remember l mentioned wanting to play with color???

Did l go too far??

This PHD has been sitting around untouched for too long, so out it came.
It's close to finished. Just needs an afternoon sewing.

And of course the compulsory chocolate.
Accompanied here by red wine and cook books.

Thanks girls for a wonderful weekend!!
So many laughs, so many great memories made.
Y'all come back, ya here!!

Thanks for visiting,