The quilts on display covered a wide range - always lots of inspiration, from the local quilts and the Japanese quilts.
Among the stands and stalls, I'm always curious to see what's happening with fabrics and designs. There were a number of visible themes among stands, including country, shabby chic, modern print, Japanese, hand-dyes. I'd say the shabby chic probably outnumbered the country this year.
Among those playing with more modern fabric and design styles, it's notable to see that if you pick the right fabrics, they'll work harder than your piecing needs to: ie. great fabric, whether handdye or modern prints, can make the simplest designs sing and intrigue the eye - you don't need tricky piecing or fiddly applique. Good examples at
- Material Obsession ( their blog)
- Just Patchwork (their blog)
- Prints Charming
- Dyed and Gone to Heaven
- Patchwork on Central Park (Melbourne).
Average fat quarter price is around $AU5, with some places having show specials on individual FQs or bundles. Rose Patchwork Cottage has a superior range at $AU3 per FQ, Quilter's Cabin, Quiltsmith, Post Office Patchwork, Purple Patch and Totally Patchwork also had nice ones at special prices for the show.
Likewise, although some stands seemed to be repeating the fabrics of the one before, others had ranges you didn't see everywhere and I enjoyed browsing those and making some non-show-special purchases - Patchwork Apple was one such. If you want reproduction fabrics of any era, for example, Quiltsmith is hard to beat.
I usually can't resist buying something from Lisa Walton at Dyed and Gone to Heaven, and why not? Her $25 scrap bags (over a metre of fabric) are deeelicious colours. Another hand-dye stand is Stitches and Spice, with hand-dyed counted-thread fabrics for stitching, such as linens and aidas - I've got plans for my purchase from there.
Plenty of gorgeous Japanese fabrics (indigos and more brightly-coloured prints), from Sanshi, Wabi-Sabi, Abundia and places with strong ranges like repro Yuwas at Quilter's Barn, and print FQs at KillaraVillage Quilts. Material Obsession has a spiffing kit quilt of brightly coloured Japanese prints, called Tokyo Rose. The Patchwork Heart has some great subtle Japanese prints too (and they're good for bagmaking supplies like magnets).
The Thread Studio has a large stand, with lots of stuff to set your mind racing. I got a couple of packets of roving, hand-dyed wool from which I plan to try making some felt to embellish - always good to try something new. They sell needle-felting kits, as do some other stands. There are lots of places with embellishment items. Near the Thread Studio stand is a wall of Artist's Trading Cards, part of a swap organised by the Thread Studio - if you've been wondering what they are or how they might be made, it's an excellent opportunity to inspect a large number using a variety of techniques.
The central area this year is not Dolls and Bears, but instead a Bead Fair, with natural stone, resin, plastic, glass, all sorts. A jewel box of possibilities. Very dangerous to the credit card.
I noticed that Bernina have a clever class for $10, where you get to play with a new Bernina and the patch you freemotion becomes part of a strong yellow bag you take away - quite a few of those wandering the aisles.
One of the nice things is the way you can collate materials for a project sourced from a number of stands, with a much greater choice than in any other venue. This went with that. And that. And that.... This show does seem to have the best range of quilting suppliers of any of the Sydney shows.
What was my favourite purchase, though? A mad and wonderful book, called Stupid Sock Creatures by John Murphy (Lark Books ISBN1579906109). Go look it up on Amazon and see why it's imaginative and bizarre and wonderfully nutty. I got it from Book and Pattern Services, (it was $19.50 - published by Lark, distributed in Australia by Capricorn Link, who distribute a number of craft imprints & publishers). It's hilarious - and I do have some spare and lonely socks that could be played with. Fun to do with kids, too. (Let them make mad creatures from old socks, I mean, not make mad creatures from kids that may be lying around your house....!!) The author has a website at Stupid Creatures. Make yourself a cup of coffee, then avoid drinking it while you're looking at the gallery, because you could splutter or spill it and injure yourself unnecessarily!!
If you happen to know a website for any of the Australian businesses I've mentioned above and for which I haven't provided a link, please use the comment section to advise, so I can add the info.