Tuesday, 6 April 2021

(Almost) like old times!

I started this update on newsfromjude last night, but after getting the photos I wanted from my phone to the computer, I ran out of 'oomph' and sat in the lounge with my feet up and then went to bed. As I need to get back to Max today and get a quilt done this week, I thought I would finish this post first, or it might not happen for a few days. As it's already 8am and I am still in my dressing gown, I hope that there will be no early callers at my door this morning.

We have had a great Easter break here and it has been almost like old times. Last year we were "shut down" and in isolation and stayers were rare. While there has not been a full house, I have had 2 friends staying and others calling in and spending time. Oh, how I missed this. It is lovely to hear the chatter and laughter and sharing of friends in the house again. 

Val came to stay for the weekend and was happy to be the pattern tester for one of the Mystery kits that have not been done before..................


I think I mentioned that I was expecting a visitor, and Raylene has been here for more than a week already, and hopefully not going home for awhile yet. Of course we would expect her to dress for the occasion and she found her hat from a couple of years ago.

Pat joined us on Friday for a day of sewing, and now it was really getting to feel like the days of old.


Later in the afternoon, another couple of friends called by, so the house was filling up.

                       Val got busy and started putting the quilt together...............



                          Now the centre of the top is made and ready for more borders................


And here is the Ta Daa moment and it's done. Thankfully my calculations were all correct, so I can make up another kit.


What can I do next, asked Val, so I found the string blocks that I had made in my last sewing session, that needed to be sashed and off she went.



Then string borders needed to be constructed to make it a bit larger...........


.........and the borders are now ready to be attached, when Val or I need another sewing fix. Thankyou Val for a great weekend's work.

Pat started her day by putting the borders on this quilt that had been assembled awhile ago. This is our group's raffle quilt for our exhibition later in the year. Many members made a Wonky Log cabin block and now it's waiting for the quilter!


Pat's next job was to assemble these blocks that are now waiting for a border, and then it was time for her to head home.


Raylene has been here for a week and is cutting, sorting, stacking and packing scrap fabrics ready for packs for a market day we are working towards.


We had to move things from the tables, to make room for a couple of sewers, so floor space came in handy!




I did some cutting too, and just love the Go Cutter for half square triangles! So quick and easy.


I decided I would take the time over Easter and do some sewing for me. Every so often I need to fill up the tank and sew. Not long ago I saw this pattern online and I am sorry I can't tell you where, but thought it was a good idea to use up those tiny scraps. (If you recognise this let me know, so I can acknowledge the original designer). 


Often there are little pieces left on the sides after cutting squares by placing them at right angles on the strip dies. I had quite a collection of little bits. I find it's hard to throw these little pieces away, so decided to try out the pattern.


One block made, and I even threw in some little triangle bits.


I used up a few plain background fabrics that were sitting around, and decided that 12 blocks were enough. I changed the layout and rotated alternate blocks so that the strips were not all going the same way. A friend called in while I was making these blocks and she said I needed to have some black in there somewhere. (You might guess that she makes quite a few quilts that have black in them)? I said I was NOT putting black in my quilt!!


Then I wondered whether to sash the blocks or not? And what could I use for sashing? Raylene searched the fabric shelves and came back with some black and white spot options?? Hmmm, perhaps we could put black in somewhere?? What do you think?


So the spot fabric went in for sashings. Now to decide on a border, yes or no, and if so what? It's always interesting to have lots of opinions, and there were plenty of these all weekend! How about this for a border??


Or should it have a little something first? Yes, that's better, and more black! Val said that it looks African, with that Zebra border!?


Ta Daa, the finish, and I think we were all happy with the result. Especially Jean who was the one to say it needed black. It was not the direction I was intending, but am pleased with my sewing session. But I will add that it was not a quick process sewing all those little strips together, but it was something a bit different for me. A little bit of therapy and a sewing fix. And another top waiting for my quilter!!


We had another friend who was spending some of her Easter time at her machine, although she was at her own house. But there were many messages going back and forth showing progress photos and asking for opinions re border options. Of course we all had lots of advice opinions and were quite forthcoming with them. These blocks had been made with a kit that she had been given that had varying layout options. It did not take long for her to get the blocks sewn together..........


..........and then we were asked for our opinions re the different border fabric options she had in her stash.  I won't show you all the choices she had, and most were limited in fabric quantities, but this was the final result, and I hope she was happy with our opinions. 


There were a lot of 4 patch blocks left from the above kit, so she thought of another idea to use them up and make 16 patch blocks. But she needed more half square triangle units, so picked out a background and a couple of blues and came around to cut them out with the Go cutter and went home to start sewing. They are being laid out like this, which looks really great, doesn't it?


There were also a few photos and messages going back and forth to other friends over the weekend, which illustrates how modern technology has enabled us to have contact with each other and share what we are doing, even though we are not in the same place. All in all, it was a special time with friends, both in person and from a distance. A weekend of sewing in combination with the celebration of the meaning of Easter with fellow believers was very special. As the title says, "Almost like old times".  

I received this lovely parcel in the mail on Thursday,..............


....................and this gift from Raylene is gorgeous. It is about 3" high and 2" wide and so cute.


All of the above has been more special because I have been confined to home for the last few weeks while my face has been "doing it's thing". I won't show you all the photos, but have cropped out a bit for this pic, that shows just one section as it's starting to heal. This is what the whole face has been like. Thankfully there is not long to go now!


While I was in isolation, Raylene and Pauline went to an event here in town on Thursday afternoon. The local garden centre held a Bazaar with lots of stalls selling their homemade goodies, and many food and drink vans. I was fortunate that they brought me back a treat of home made donuts. And they were good.


Over the weekend we were treated to a lovely show of honeyeaters who enjoyed a 
splash in the birdbath in the front garden. Photo taken through the glass, so not as clear as it could be.

You have probably heard enough from me for this post, and I think I really need to head to the shower and start Max. I have a deadline for the next quilt, so you won't hear from me until that is done.

Enjoy your week,

Blessings, From Jude

Sunday, 4 April 2021

He is Risen!!

 Just home from the Easter Sunrise service at our local lake this morning. And much more special because this time last year we were all in lock down and unable to meet. It's a lovely gathering with the sun rising over the lake, the birds all waking up and all those gathered singing songs of praise.


" I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me"
John 14:6

Blessings, From Jude


Happy Birthday

 My apologies to Mister now 10 year old as this post should have been done yesterday. It was my good intentions to do in the afternoon when I searched for photos, but then we had one visitor, and then another, and another, until I got to bed and realised what I should have done. Sorry, but better late than never.

From this little cutie, the day he was born, (and a day I remember clearly, because I tripped over in the main street while holding his 2 year old brother!!)........


.................growing into this little blonde haired cutie.........


.......and 10 years later, still with that lovely smile and those long blonde locks! Hope your day was lots of fun with your cousins, and good to chat with you.


                     Looks like a lovely catchup with 8 of my 10 grandies all together for lunch.

                                                     Will be back soon with another post.

Blessings, From Jude

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Another birthday

 March has been a busy month for family birthdays, and yesterday my baby boy turned 33 years old. It hardly seems any time at all since he was born!

 I am posting on my phone, as my feet are up in the reclining position and I want to get this published while it is still March. So photos from my phone will have to suffice.

This was taken last weekend when they travelled to Kangaroo Island for his cousin's wedding. A beautiful, scenic spot for a few days away.


This is DD1, DS and DD2, taken where the wedding was held.


And here is the birthday boy with his cake.


Hope your day was special.
Love from Mum

Blessings from Jude


Sunday, 28 March 2021

That other visit..............

 In the recent newsfromjude post on March 10th, (CATCHING UP, AGAIN)...... I made the following comment at the end of the post...............There was another visit that I can't talk about yet, but it has been very special to have people staying again, and made me realise  how much I have missed this for the past year.

It is now possible to talk about that visit as it is "public" knowledge at last. By public, I mean that all has been revealed on the Quilters Guild of SA facebook page! In recent months, a couple of ladies in the Guild have been travelling around to various quilting groups and also quilters homes, with their video and having a bit of a chat and checking out what they are doing. Sometime ago I received a phone call enquiring whether they could head out into the country and visit Bordertown. In April our group will be celebrating the 25th year since we started so it seemed timely that they visit. The former Guild magazine (Patches) has been replaced with an online monthly edition, called IPatch, which is emailed to members.

Now that you have that background info I will tell you about the Bordertown visit. The "2 roving reporters", Cindy and Jane, and QGSA President, Chris O'Brien made the 3 1/2 hour journey to visit. They arrived in time for lunch on Sunday and enjoyed an overnight stay and some stitching time at Number 8.


Sunday evening about 20 members of our group enjoyed getting to know our city guests with a delicious meal at the heritage Mundulla Hotel, which is about 10 minutes drive from Bordertown.




The QGSA conducted some online Mystery projects during isolation in 2020 and a few our members made some of these. We had a show and tell of the quilts we had made, which totalled about 15, but sorry I don't have more photos.


 A few of the quilter's husbands enjoyed a meal while we gathered. Cindy is the "interviewer" of the duo and decided to do an "impromptu" interview with the husbands.


After a morning of  stitching and chatting, we headed to the CWA Hall where our group meets twice a month. It was a hive of activity and the city visitors sat down for more stitching and chatter and some of their own show and tell.






Cindy wandered around the room and chatted to each member, while Jane filmed. This will be posted on the QGSA Youtube channel with a link in the IPatch magazine. (I guess I need to tell you that they also chatted and filmed me in my sewing room.)


There will also be news articles in the IPatch, one featuring our Angels group, another giving a summary of the Gum Tree Quilters 25 history and another of My Journey. As we are now "up there" on the YouTube channel, perhaps we can claim to be famous?? Although I hardly think I will be fronting up to another video anytime soon. It's not a lot of fun being filmed and unfortunately this is very obvious in my video

All too soon it was time for their departure, after just over 24 hours of fun, chatter and stitching. We appreciated the effort they made travelling so far to visit us. I hope they enjoyed their country trip. I certainly enjoyed having visitors again, and thank them very much for the lovely gifts they brought, yummy chocolates, a fuschia and 4 cyclamen plants.


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I have included the articles below that have been printed in I-Patch  magazine for you to read, as well as a record for my blog.....................

25 Years of GUM TREE QUILTERS

Who would have thought that a decision made 25 years ago to form a patchwork group would have led to Gum Tree Quilters becoming a hub of creativity and community.

In April 1996, quilter Sue Nitschke placed an advert in the local newspaper, putting out a call for interested quilters to form a group.  12 ladies responded to this “call out” and the decision was made to form a group called “Gum Tree Quilters” and by the end of that year, membership was 17.

In February 2004 a meeting was held with the group deciding to become a constituted group. The inaugural President of the Gum Tree Quilters was Lois King, who remains an active member today and is one of the current 43 members, which includes 2 Honorary members – Mignon Turnbull and Pat Matthews.

The purpose of the group has changed little since its beginning, an enthusiasm for patchwork and quilting is still GTQ’s main focus. The personality of the group is a happy one.  All have very busy lives but friendships have been nurtured and supported in a caring environment, especially for women from rural areas which can sometimes experience tough economic and seasonal conditions.

On Australia Day in 2006, The Gum Tree Quilters were awarded the “Event of the Year” in the Tatiara. President Mignon Turnbull gracefully accepted the Award on the Group’s behalf for the recognition given to the group’s 2005 Quilt Exhibition. This was a very proud moment for all members.

In 2007 the Bordertown Hospital asked GTQ to design a wall hanging for the Aged Care residential wing.  The two tactile wall hangings ‘Four Seasons’ and ‘Naive Farm Scene’ still hang in the Hospital corridors.


Until 2018, the group met at the Anglican Church Hall before relocating to the CWA Hall. The group meetings are held on the 1st Monday and the 3rd Thursday of each month and this move has meant quilters can now enjoy their craft and conversation in air-conditioned comfort!

Our very first retreat was held at Robe in 2004 for a fun Beach Babes and Calendar Girls weekend.  The photo below shows that they are not afraid of a bit of fun as they perform the Calendar Girls sequence, just wrapped in quilts! 


  Since then weekend retreats at a farm stay camp have been held and tutors attended, or one of our members conducted a special project workshop and sometimes the weekend is a sewing catch up to finish items for the exhibition.  The talented tutors who have visited GTQ’s include Faye Packham, Julie Haddrick, Gina Burgess,  Michele Hill, Lessa Siegele, Heather Ridley, Gloria Loughman, Pam Holland, and Kerryn Brand. An over the border exchange with Kaniva Windmill Stitches and Gum Tree Quilters has also been a pleasant enjoyable events.

The ‘Green Triangle’ day is a yearly gathering of quilters from the South East of South Australia and Western Victoria and was always a well attended day with lots of “show and tell” and local shops to tempt us with their wares. Gum Tree Quilters hosted this event in 2000 and 2010.

The age of members ranges from 40 to 90. Consequently ‘O’ Birthdays are a very special celebration, as is the Christmas Party to end the year. The group banner was designed and made by members.  It’s proudly on show at all our functions.

Gum Tree Quilters held their first exhibition in 1997 in what was known as the Walkway Gallery.  Since then exhibitions have been held every two years in the Mundulla and Bordertown Town Halls and the Bordertown Basketball Stadium. 2021 will be the 13th exhibition and the first in a pandemic! In an exhibition year, the President issues a challenge to members to sew a block in a particular pattern, size and colour for a raffle quilt.  The money raised goes to a chosen charity. Gum Tree Quilters have been generous in its support of charities and the beneficiaries have been many. The group has also participated in many Biggest Afternoon Teas held in conjunction with the Biggest Quilting Bee and raised funds for the Cancer Council. Since 2005 the group has donated approximately $25,000 to the Cancer Council and local charities.

During 2020, the year of COVID, the monthly email newsletter was up graded to fortnightly, to enable members to keep in touch and be informed on what everyone was doing.  Photos of member’s happy sewing spaces, projects, birthdays, news and sometimes a favourite recipe featured. Recently a new segment was included: “A Few Moments with a Member” telling of their quilting journey.

18th April 2021, exactly 25 years after that first meeting, Gum Tree Quilters will gather in the CWA Hall for the first of a year of celebrations.  We are looking forward to a year filled with Covid Safe events that enables our members to come together and enjoy each other’s company as this group has done for a quarter of a century!

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GUM NUT ANGELS 

In November 2007 at a meeting of the Gum Tree quilters, Lois King and Judy Simcock presented the idea of a forming a charity arm of the group to make quilts and donate them to groups and individuals in need of the comfort of a lovingly made quilt.  It was decided to name the group the Gum Nut Angels, and a Gum nut logo was designed by one of the members and is included on the label of each quilt.

The Gum Nut Angels meet every third Thursday of the month at Judy’s who has provided storage for the donated materials and a place to cut sew and quilt.  Members arrive to sort the fabrics and partly made tops, plan, then cut and piece together. Using donated fabrics, means that all the quilts are scrappy, and it is sometimes a challenge when the member who started a top the month before is not present the next time, and has left no notes about their plan?? The finished tops are then quilted by members and binding added.

The Angels support and enable local organisations to raffle quilts and raise funds for their causes. Quilts have been donated to the aged care wing at our local hospital. Others have been donated to Bush fire victims or national disaster appeals.

Many quilts have been gifted to local individuals and families suffering illness or unfortunate circumstance. While we don’t gift the quilts expecting “thankyou’s”, we have received many notes from grateful recipients who express that they were overwhelmed by the thoughtful generosity of the group. Frequently the recipients comment that the quilts compliment their home décor.

The group collaborated in 2018-19 with hospital staff and elderly residents to construct two quilts which are now used as “covering quilts” when the deceased are moved from their hospital room.

The numbers of members attending each month’s sewing day varies, depending what is happening in their other lives. Some days the sharing and caring takes precedence over the stitching, but there is always a quilt available for someone in need. Over the past 15 years the Bordertown Gum Nut Angels have made more than 150 quilts.

 This collaboration of quilters proves a wonderful creative outlet for many of the Angels who have made enough quilts of their own to satisfy themselves and their families.

Our photo shows the Gum Nut Angels finishing bindings on quilts.   


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MY JOURNEY

 The eldest of 5 children, I went to school in Murray Bridge and lived on a farm at Brinkley.  My childhood was happy. I enjoyed school, played sport on Saturdays, church on Sundays and enjoyed many family caravan holidays. Because I had 3 younger brothers, I never had to do any farm work. My time was spent indoors.  I learnt to cook and sew. From an early age I was using Mum’s treadle machine to make outfits for my dolls and later myself. (see the dress in photo below)

After school I worked for 3 years in the local newspaper office. In 1973 I married the love of my life and we moved from the district, first to Crystal Brook, then to Brinkworth where our first 2 children were born. We then moved to Bordertown and share-farmed a dairy while developing our own farm at Mundulla. I thought I was busy being a “townie” with 2 children, but it was a walk in the park in comparison. Dairy life meant milking over 100 cows twice a day and every day of the year. This “farm girl” suddenly found out how little she really knew about farming!! …….Our next move was to purchase our own dairy at Jervois, and then later to a larger dairy at The Point. After another 10 years, and now with 4 children, we moved out of dairying to a mixed farm near Bordertown.

All of this time I had been sewing - Clothes for myself, the children and household furnishings.  It wasn’t until daughter number 2 was married in 1996, that I had a dedicated sewing room!! It was then I made my first quilt, using remnants from those years of sewing. (Of course I had thrown nothing away!)  I used a piece of paper as a pattern and scissors to cut squares. Nothing lined up very well. It was a hotchpotch of different fabrics. You can imagine the result. I used thick poly wadding from that era, backed it and added a binding, with no thought to quilting it! I still have it. It is a reminder of where I started.

Soon after I discovered rotary cutters and cutting mats and my quilting journey began. Looking back now and knowing I am definitely not a hand sewer and much prefer machine work, I realise if I had started my quilting journey with templates, scissors and hand piecing I probably wouldn’t have kept going.

I guess we all have thoughts and plans for our life.  At the age of 19, having come from a happy family life, I expected to head into the “happily ever after” of fairy tales.  I soon learned that life isn’t really like that and my life journey took me to places I had never imagined. There is that saying – “when life gives you scraps, make quilts”, and that is what I did. Quilting, my faith and family, kept me on track when life was not easy.

Life moved along, and I made many quilts for friends and family and quilted them on my domestic machine. The quilting was mainly SID and outline quilting.  Nothing too elaborate, but a Queen size quilt was not an easy task on my domestic. In 1996 I joined Gumtree Quilters, learned a lot more and had, and still do have, a lot of fun. In 2000 we left the farm and moved into Bordertown. My stash was growing, and the moving guys had a lot to say about the large number of boxes that were labelled sewing room!

I had always dreamed of having a longarm quilting machine like I had seen advertised in patchwork magazines, but they take up a lot of space that I didn’t have.  One day, driving into my carport, the lightbulb came on and I knew I had the perfect space!! It was time for action - building plans, painting, finance arranged and an order was placed for my Gammill machine. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time, as now I was making these decisions on my own and totally responsible for the debt!

 In 2002, my business, Cornerstone Creations Machine Quilting commenced. I felt I was being led on a journey and was at peace. In the Bible, Jesus is referred to as the Cornerstone, and I wanted Him to be the Cornerstone of my life and business also.

It was quite a learning experience to develop my skills, with much PPP (Practice, Patience and Perseverance).  Sometime later 2 good friends thought I was “good enough” and gave me their quilts to do. I am very thankful for all who have trusted me with their creations over the last 19 years and I have quilted about 3,000 quilts for customers. With the great variety of styles, colours and patterns that come through my door, it is like going to a quilt show every day. It is the best feeling to finish a quilt and see how it has come to life. I pin the quilts up behind my machine (who I call Max), and wait for them to “talk” to me about how they should be quilted.

I have been fortunate to win awards in SA, Victorian and local shows, as well as travelling to other states for classes and training conferences. In 2006 I was humbled to win the QGSA Best of Show award. Many customers have entered their quilts into shows and won ribbons, although the real prize is seeing your quilt hanging in a state show. (Photo below with my wholecloth quilt, Woven Inspiration, and quilted on my Gammill Premier, with no computer.)  

My journey continued and in 2007 I purchased another Gammill, an Optimum with the Statler computerised software. As I had done my “apprenticeship”, I now had the best of both worlds by combining the computer with my freehand skills.

After having my Best of Show quilt valued I became interested in learning how to do this and joined the Valuation Panel (now Appraisal). Later I joined the Judging Panel and enjoyed extending my knowledge and venturing to the city. My first Quilt Encounter was when it was at Roseworthy and then Immanuel and these camps were such a lot of fun with fantastic classes with great teachers.

Sometime in those years I taught basic patchwork and Embellished quilt classes at my house and quilters came from other areas to join in. In 2010 the house across the road came up for auction, and another lightbulb moment came. I decided this would be the perfect place to renovate and hold quilting retreats. (And I went into debt again!) This house was named “The Sanctuary”. The perfect place for quilters to come for “time out”, leaving the distractions of home behind, to sit, sew and share life.

In 2011 I commenced writing a blog to showcase my quilting and the retreats at The Sanctuary. Since those early days I have added more of my life and each year I get a book printed. 

For the 5 years I owned that house, we had some great times, with visiting teachers (including Faye Packham, Heather Ridley and Michele Hill), UFO, Mystery quilt and Christmas in July retreats. Probably the highlight each year was the Pink retreat held in September. Back in 2008 I had journeyed through breast cancer. These weekends were a fundraiser in appreciation for the help I received. More than $10,000 has been raised for BCNA from the Pink weekends. The retreats have continued in my own house since 2015 until Covid came along. We have had so much fun and many lasting friendships have been formed.

In 2015 I acquired some surplus shop stock and added another avenue to my business. I have fabric for sale and also cut “Ready, Set, Sew” kits for Mystery retreats or groups to purchase for their own programmes. These weekends have been very popular and a lot of fun.  Girls seem to appreciate that the decisions re colour and style are already made, the fabrics are cut and all that is needed is sit and sew! I love to take a collection of fabric, scan them, sit down with EQ8 and design a quilt using them and cut it all up ready for a kit.

A highlight of my quilting journey was in 2018 when I joined Heather Ford and the Aussie Quilters for an amazing trip to the US. We spent time at Paducah, visited Jenny Doan at Missouri Star, Amish country and many quilt shops. Of course I added to my stash!

2020 was the year of change for many people and for me too. While I still quilt for others, I am doing less. The retreats are on hold for now. I still have a LOT of fabric and will continue to cut packs and kits for sale. It was the year I learnt about Zoom, a new way to hold a sewing day with friends when travel is restricted. There are many ideas in my head about the direction going forward. Maybe I might finish some of my many WIP’s?

And so the journey continues………..you never know where life will take you, but I can testify that negatives can be turned into positives and trust that God will continue to lead me.

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If you have read through all of this I thank you. My visitor went to church without me this morning, as the face is not a pretty sight so I am staying indoors. Now it's lunch time, so better head to the kitchen and see what I can rustle up. Will be back in due course with further updates of newsfromjude.

Blessings, From Jude