Monday, August 26, 2013

Quality Quilting

Lots of fun was had over the summer with kids and young adults, family and friends. Clearly though there was also fun happening at the sewing machine as much quilting has been done and the results show just how much fun and interest we all have with our sewing.

Birthday blocks

Marianne has put together her birthday blocks and they look great. She has had some issues with spray adhesive so is patiently unpicking but it will look great when she has finished.

Sandra's gift

Sandra has been working on a quilt for a friend and it turned out to be quite large indeed. Only a few colours but very effective and beautifully pieced. Sadly for all, Sandra is returning to Australia shortly but we are sure she will have many happy memories and funny stories from her time here in Singapore. We wish her and Cyrus a wonderful retirement and more quilting projects. Maybe baby quilts????

Amazing diamonds

The story that goes with this quilt top is very interesting. Jess cut and pieced and chose wonderful colours. She struggled a bit with dimensions and finally through her hands up in the air and asked if any one wanted them. Rhonda came to the reuse and offered to "square them up" which is ironic seeing as they are triangles, but even so took them away and some weeks later returned with this amazingly near perfect top. Much admiration and oohing and aahing went on and all were impressed. Now it is almost at completion stage, we ask for suggestions as to which charity/cause we will donate this too and how we should go about that. Maybe a local disadvantaged school, hospice, deserving person, local charity??? Get your thinking caps on as Jess has offered to quilt this if others can find a home for it. Well done Jess and Rhonda, an outstanding effort from you both.

Kath's baby quilt

Kath's dessert

Kath is a fun member of our group who loves to listen to our inane talk and laughs at our silly jokes. She does very fine handwork but recently whipped this baby quilt up in a day for a friend. Great choice of beige fabrics and then the added splash of green and brown. Kath has a good appetite which is much appreciated by the staff. She is whip thin so can happily munch on dessert, this time banana fritters from the Hollandse Club kitchens. Others enjoy the wonderful dutch pea and ham soup (one person has it EVERY single week), the Nasi Goring or as her children call it, nasty goring, there are great salads and fruit platters so none of us starve during our quilting Tuesdays. We are most appreciative of the space and the company each week and are very aware that the organisation has been most generous to us in allowing us to meet there each week rent free.

Kathy I's racy jelly roll quilt

Some of the group had a speedathon to see who could finish a jelly roll quilt in the fastest time. Not sure who won but here is Kathy's fine effort. Wonderful colour scheme and even though it is completely random piecing, it looks perfectly colour proportioned. Kathy does wonderful work with art quilting and is very creative. More of that in a later blog. Not all quilts take years but I think some or most of us have some that are unfinished from the 90's! Speed quilting might be the way to go.

Freaky Batiky

Quilters here in Singapore have been known to take a day trip across to Bali just to buy fabric. A reasonable 2 1/2 hours away, the fabric is about S$3 per yard and so this makes the trip viable. Carole recently went with some fellow quilters and friends on such a trip and the result is this colourful blend. So much fun buying and then playing with colours. This top needs some quality quilting and will be ready for cheering up a winter household back in Australia. The pattern is available if anyone wants to try.

There are tentative plans afoot to take some of our group back to Bali for some fabric buying as well as pampering and fun time. Hopefully in the new year there will be enough people to go Bali Batik hunting and indulge in some R&R. More details to come. Who is up for it?

So Singapore is gearing up for the wet season. It is humid and occasionally oppressive and if mango madness doesn't get us we should be stuck inside producing more quilts for sharing. Oh, what a shame! For those who want to venture out, a visit to the Pottery Jungle in Jurong is worth a few hours of your time. It has a dragon kiln, a long stretch of bricks which fires up every so often. Most of the pottery is from China and some is OTT but you never know what little gem might be waiting for you. Might just be the perfect match for some of those quilts.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mia and Toby

Mia's quilt
As a group we have been touched by the plight of a little 4 year old named Mia who has a terminal condition that will see her only able to enjoy the love and happiness of her surroundings for another couple of years.

Time was of the essence and we had an amazingly small window to create a quilt which would not only wrap her in love but be a beautiful reminder of her time both here in Singapore and during her palliative care back in Australia.

As a group of women there was a powerhouse of energy on a regular Tuesday outing at the Hollandse Club. They came with machines, cutting boards, irons and energy and within a day we had all the pieces sewn, the colours were perfect and the satisfaction immense. The pattern was a disappearing 4 patch.

The best part though was the teamwork, the sense of purpose and the fun that we all had. Fabric was donated, machine quilting beautifully done, binding hand sewn perfectly, piecing done fast but expertly and squaring up done in an almost meditative state.

sewing sweat shop

cutting and squaring up

piecing the jigsaw

perfect work

The top finished in a day

The best part of all though was knowing that Mia would be wrapped in warmth and would have just a small piece of comfort from women who could all feel her family's pain and had no other way to express our immense sadness at their situation, so we sewed. Doing what we do best.

Quiet by chance Mia's mother was in the club, was able to view our sewing frenzy and was overwhelmed by our generosity. To us, it was a humbling moment and we were just happy to offer some love. The finishing touches were expertly done and with much devotion by everyone, all made an amazing contribution. We were all equally committed to making this a special surprise for a dear little girl and her family.

Mia has a younger brother, Toby and as the younger brother he is also acutely affected by his older sister's illness as are all those who care for this family. So after a brief hiatus, we are off and running again and have decided that Toby should also have his own special quilt to cuddle up to his sister with.

He is probably too young to fully understand but again we have no other way of expressing our acute sadness and just want to offer comfort. The colouring and pattern for Toby's quilt is very different from his sisters and we are having some fun playing with brights. This has only just started for us but already some have been diligent in their homework and have produced exciting colour combinations. We are putting together an uneven 9 patch and star pattern for him.

a starting point

popping colours

great piecing

So we are off and running and hoping to just add a bit of sunshine to a family in turmoil.
We love to make quilts but as most quilters are even more delighted to gift our offerings and bring just a small amount of pleasure to a recipient, whether that be for a birthday, an ageing parent, a charity or just for love.

Go well Mia, Toby and family. Your journey will be a hard one but know that our thoughts and love and stitches will be with you for a long time to come.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer in Singapore

Our group is light on members this month as school holiday see families returning to their own countries or are dealing with children and/or work. Nevertheless, those who have been attending have been busy as usual.
The gathering group also bid farewell to some long time members who are returning to Australia to take up new challenges. As is our routine, the group make memory blocks to commemorate their time with us and these have been presented in a loving and caring way to Elizabeth and Marg to wish them well.

Marg's memory blocks

Marg chose this pattern and it always seems to look amazing in whatever colours are used. The group wishes her well on her return to Melbourne.


Elizabeth has been an innovative contributor to the group for 3+ years and has shown generosity in sharing ideas and providing quilts for charities over that time. Most recently she has developed and supervised a BOM folk art quilt which she will continue to share with us from her new Perth home. She selected a modified trip around the world block as her parting selection.
Trip around the World
So our times here in Singapore are often touched with bittersweet moments. Fast friendships are made and we are all well aware that they can be gone just as quickly. However, some of them remain true and memorable and continue on between the countries and across the miles and we are all the richer for those people touching our lives. These two women and many who have gone before them will be missed but remain in our quilting hearts.

As usual there has been busyness and we have a new member who is so enthusiastic and delightful. Ya Hui has been working hard at her new passion and has produced some delightful pieces. She is an inspiration and helps those of us who have become a bit complacent to get motivated again.

Not bad for a beginner!
Alison is an excellent quilter and so often our quiet achiever. She is very experienced and apart from collecting fabrics that sometime need hiding from her significant other (!!!), she produces beautiful work and is a driving force in our group. Here she has produced a delightful collection using the same pattern to achieve very different results.


Kath has also been quietly achieving and her hand work is a credit to her. She loves coming to group as she says some of us make her laugh!

Perfect piecing

Sandra has been taking lessons and has been producing crazy quilt blocks, the likes of which not many of us have seen before. She has toiled and sweated over these for many months, in fact nearly a year and has produced items that are truly ready for wall display. Here is a glimpse. The full quilt will be revealed another day.

Beautiful hand work
So life here in Singapore chugs along just like most other places. Our group provides friendship and fun, sometimes tears and tantrums but is never dull. We value each others company, make some life long friendships and love and learn from each other. We all need each other as family and we enjoy our Tuesday gatherings. Go well all those who are moving on and continue your delightful quilting work. Stay motivated all those left behind and embrace new members as soul sisters and show them what a great place Singapore has been to all of us. Having said that, there are some things about Singapore that will never be understood. Comments on the following photo would be appreciated. Found in a much loved local department store. WTF?


Can we have all hands on deck for Tuesday 18 June 2013? We are trying to pull off the quickest made little girls quilt in record time. It is to be cut and sewn on Tuesday and some will be bringing machines and rotating cutting boards to make a disappearing four patch block. Contact Alison or Jessie for details. This is for a gravely ill little three year old who has a terminal illness and needs to return to Australia from Singapore as health insurance will not cover her palliative care costs. It is small comfort but provides some brightness to her bleak outlook. Lets rally together and produce something beautiful.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

We've been busy!

I thought I'd get in a quick update while Carole has been away enjoying what the region has to offer.   Easier said than done.  I now have too many cameras, phones and other media storage devices which are not behaving as best friends should, so hence the delay.

This photo reminded me of the "olden" days when everyone used to gather at a quilting bee and all work on the same quilt.'s only two in this pic, but everyone was very studious.
Wendy is busy appliqueing blocks from a Piece O' Cake design book....looking very good.
Jessie whipped up the following quilt - her own design - using jelly rolls and a clever angled ruler.  The narrow strips of sashing between the zig zags really set it off well.
And how about this which is the back  of Jessie's quilt.  Looks like a bit of Jelly Roll racing has been going on....
We gave Melissa her memory blocks as she is leaving us to head back to a less humid, frizzy and stressful environment.  More pics of these to follow.
We all have days like engrossed in what we are stitching...we manage to sew ourselves together!
and we had two special visitors today....Becky and Tom!  (Not related)
Rhonda returned from a visit to India bearing lovely gifts of small embroidered paisleys, motifs and laces.  Sandra has already used some of them in her work...lovely.
and finally some shots from out and about in Singapore....courtesy of the bathroom floor and billiard room floor in Raffles Hotel.
Over and out....and back to you Carole!





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Show and Tell Showdown

With great enthusiasm our members have been creating, finishing, sorting and enjoying not only our Tuesday gatherings at the Hollandse Club but also every other day of the week by the look of the production output.
Although we have some newer members, everyone seems most at ease and friendly and we are all very happy in each others company.

Missing was our good friend Kathy who is in hospital with dengue fever, a mosquito born illness that is very debilitating and not uncommon here in the tropics. We are hopeful of a speedy recovery and a return to her happy, ebullient self soon. Thanks daughter Rebecca for keeping us in the loop.

It was show and tell Tuesday and the work was bountiful. Here is a snapshot:

Wendy's Wonderful Work
Wendy is creating a quilt with a flower theme and is doing some exciting applique. She also brought along a knitting bag done in very small hexagons, in great maroon colours and all hand stitched. Lots of admirers on that one.

Sandra's Silk

Beautiful Balls
Sandra has been working for many months on a crazy quilt and has been toiling away with beads, thread and embellishments to come up with a work of art. Finished product should be available for viewing soon. She also creates fabric balls which are somehow 3D, perfectly symmetrical and fun. Much admire and fondled.

Happy Hex's

And if she hasn't been busy enough...Sandra has also produced this delightful ball quilt for a beautiful baby. A great addition to a nursery.

Jess's Jigsaw
Jess is a very prolific quilter and seems to bring along a new and exciting finished product each week. This week she came along with something unfinished, liked it but was over it and has therefore donated it to the group to do with as they please. A few suggestions were to finish it and draw straws for who would get to keep it, donate it to a charity who are happy to finish it off or throw the problem open for any other suggestions. Jess has been very kind to donate all of the fabric and so it would be good if all of us could put our heads together and come up with an appropriate use for this. It looked perfect to have a play with. Thinking caps on girls!

Vicki's Variety

 Vicki has been quietly coming to quilting for many months, toiling away at her hand stitching and being coy about what she was producing. Finally, the reveal. We were all delighted to see her completed blocks for a reading quilt for her grandchildren. A generous and loving gift to delight any young child and a delicious palette of colours and designs. Lots of oohs and ahhs over this one.

Rhonda's Raptuous Relics

Rhonda is a very experienced traveller to India and regularly conducts textile tours. She recently came back with some wonderful embellishments and so generously offered us all pieces of mirrored ribbon, sparkly trinkets, buttons, paisleys and all sorts of shiny objects that we have been able to incorporate into projects. Here are just two that Carole has used in a simple scrappy quilt just to ramp it up a bit. More photos will appear in future blogs as the pieces appear in who knows what! A thoughtful and fun gift Rhonda.

Ya Hui's welcome
Our new quilter Ya Hui has been toiling away on the sewing machine and is finally ready to piece her blocks together. She has chosen this fabric for a young girls quilt and has lots of encouragement from us all, especially Marianne.

To all those who attend either every week or only sporadically, we love your company, are amazed at your skills and welcome your input. It is a great day in the week and provides friendship and comfort to those who are often away from other friends and loved ones for far too long. Keep on keeping on.

A gentle reminder to those whose ANZA membership is not current. It can easily be forgotten if you have missed emails or have been out of the country. Membership is due on the anniversary of joining so if you have not been receiving ANZA updates then this might be the reason. A worthwhile and necessary obligation if you are to be part of our group. Of course those exempt are the treasured friends who are leaving us very soon, Melissa, Marg, Elizabeth and others who may know but are not telling. Que sera sera!