Greater Western Sydney Modern Quilt Guild

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Member Spotlight – Caroline Gunn

Welcome Caroline Gunn to our Member Spotlight Series.  If you’ve been coming to our Monday meetings you might have already met Caroline who also blogs at  (Read to the bottom to find out how you can be part of this fun series.)

1. How long would you say you’ve been quilting for and what was it that got you interested in quilting?

I would say officially I have been quilting since December 2010, but unofficially I did do a patchwork TAFE course back in the early 90’s and started a sampler quilt of sorts… No rotary cutters, just rulers, pencils and scissors.  I have always sewn for as long as I can remember, my Nan used to piece clothes at home.  She used to get paid by the seam and gave us bits and pieces to play with.  During the devestating floods in QLD I was blog hopping and found lots of blogs auctioning off goodies, whoever had the highest bid donated the money to the Red Cross Flood Appeal and you would receive the goods you won.  I won an Auction on Natalie Lymer’s blog, it was a full set of patterns and fabrics to make her “Tail Feathers” quilt.  If you’re not familiar with her work it has lots of sticheries in it.  Once I received the pack and started reading the pattern I thought…. MMMM I better find someone to show me what to do.  This is when I found Michelle Marvig’s shop in Penrith “Patchwork Heart” (Now Closed), with her help and encouragement the quilt was completed. And it was there, at her shop, that I can officially say….. I WAS HOOKED ON QUILTING!!

2. What was your first quilt and how do you think you’ve evolved as a quilter from that quilt?

With the anwser the first question in mind, my first unofficial quilt was a lovely lilac and pale orange number that sat in my Mum’s wardrobe unfinished until earlier this year.  Once Mum found out I was quilting again she kept nagging me to get it finished, so I snuck it out of the house and got it quilted and completed for Mother’s Day.  It has pride of place on Mum’s bed, but is so far from anything that I would do now.

The official first “Tail Feathers” quilt is also a style that my taste has changed from now.   I love it, and I’m glad I did it, but I don’t find myself drawn to this type of quilting with lots of sticheries as much.

There are so many blogs that I love to read and all the eye candy is Modern colours, fabrics and designs and these excite me and make me want to make it all. I am now drawn to more modern fabrics and patterns, although every now and then I will still find something traditional that I love too. Needless to say – everything is different now! My machine is better, my technique is better, the fabrics I’m using are better.

3. What are you working on right now?

I think the question should be what aren’t I working on right now! I am making a wall hanging with Anna Maria Horner’s feather pattern, bought some lovely fabrics and the “weekender bag” Amy Butler pattern, I’m up to block 4 on the 2012 Designer Mystery Block of the Month from the Fat Quarter shop, plus lots of other UFO’s around the place.

Probably the most important things that I also work on are quilts and laundry bags for “Aussie Hero Quilts”.  This is a wonderful project started by a lovely new friend Jan-Maree Ball.  She had a great idea to help a friend of her’s husband who is a soldier serving in Afghanistan serving during the winter months earlier in the year.  So at first Jan-Maree and her quilt group sent over 25 quilt & 15 laundry bags for this soldier and his mates. Thats when  was created.  Word has spread throughout the soldiers and Australia (there are ladies involved from every state and territory) and to date 547 quilts and 578 laundry bags have been sent to Aussie Hero’s who are serving all over the Middle East.  Our target is 1000 by the end of the year.  If you get a chance, have a look at the blog it is very inspiring.  There are lots of pictures of soldiers with their quilts and lots and lots of thank you’s.

4. Tell us about your sewing machine(s)?

I have two machines.  One is a Janome memorycraft 10,000 – she is my back up, I have had her for about 10 years and is a beautiful machine.  Lots of machine embroidery has been done with her in the past, but I haven’t done too much of that for a while.  Last year I bought a Bernina 440QE and this is the one that I use to do most of my quilting, perfect stitching, easy to use.  The only thing I wish for is a bigger throat space for FMQ.  I am just learning and I find it a little frustrating rolling the quilt and getting a nice area to quilt.

5. Do you prefer hand quilting, machine quilting or sending it out?

I haven’t tried hand quilting yet, this is on my list of things to try.  I am learning to FMQ on my machine with books and on-line classes at the moment.  I haven’t done too much on my own quilts (beside Aussie Hero Qults), but eventually I envisage doing the quilting myself.  There just isn’t enough time in the day to practice practice practice.  The two large quilts that I have completed Wind Spirit (Michelle Marvig’s foundation pieced pattern that I showed at the 1st meeting) and Oh My Stars Quilt a Long were both quilted by a long arm quilter.  Wind Spirit was custom quilted and Oh My Stars was done with an all over panto design.  I have a lovely friend Carolynne from Honey Do Quilting who does my long arm quilting and she is base in Cranebrook near Penrith.  If anyone wants any details let me know and I will pass them on.

6. Do you sew on the dining table or do you have a dedicated space?

I am lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing room, although if you walk into my house you wouldn’t think I did.  There are fabrics and bits and pieces spread onto every surface sometimes.  My design wall is a removable one that hangs on a curtain rod opposite my kitchen bench so I can look at what I’m working on.  I have my Bernina in a drop in table and then tables all around so that when I quilt, so the quilt doens’t pull and lays flat.  The whole room is in desperate need of a make-over, but who has time to do that… only time for sewing.

7. Name three of your favourite fabric designers.

Wow only three is hard, my favourites change daily, as soon as I see something new “oooh that’s my favourito too.” I love Anna Maria Horner, all her ranges are lovely but I am loving Field Study.  I have a thing for Oranges and Teals so I picked out all of those to use in my feathers project.  I love the big prints because it can almost look like different fabrics once you cut and piece them.  I love Bonnie & Camille’s ranges, Vintage Modern is my particular favourite at the moment. I’ve made a lap quilt from this and my current Block of the Month is made from this range. At the moment I also really love “Birds and the Bees” by Tula Pink. I have purchased a full set of fat quarters. I couldn’t decide on one colour way so I got all three. I added to that the Amy Butler “weekender bag” pattern and that is the next project I am going to tackle. I have heard lots of stories about how hard this pattern can be… but I want to give it a try…. Stay tuned… Or listen for my screams. If you haven’t seen it already Elizabeth Hartman from “Oh Fransson” has done a lovely quilted version, here’s hoping mine will turn out just a nice. Here is the link for a look

8. Is there a fabric range out of the new season ranges that you’re drooling over?

I am really eager to see the release of Tula Pink’s new range “Salt Water”, since I love all of her ranges and I’m sure this is one that won’t disappoint.  I am building a nice little stash of her fabrics untill I can find a really interesting quilt pattern (or design one myself …ha ha) that will showcase some of her beautiful colour ranges and prints. I love the quirkyness of her prints.  Next on my purchase list is a copy of her new book “Quilts from the House of Tula Pink”.

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Every fortnight we will be posting up an interview with one of our members, if you’d be interested in contributing please send us an email to

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Sunday Sewalong Dates!

We’ve booked the Board Room at Dooley’s for the Sunday Sewalongs for the rest of the year!

Put these dates in your diary!

Sunday, 14 October

Sunday, 11 November

Sunday, 9 December

I can’t wait! I got so much done at our first Sunday Sewalong!

The Details

Sunday 10:00am to 4:00pm
The Board Room at Waterview Dooley’s
Silverwater at the  cnr Clyde Street and Silverwater Road, Silverwater
Dinner, snacks and drinks are available at Dooley’s


We invite you to join our Facebook group and please RSVP at the relevant Facebook event page.

We have a limit on the number of people legally allowed in the room. You must RSVP for these events, and I urge you to only RSVP if you are absolutely sure you are coming along. If you need to pull out before the day, please un-RSVP on Facebook or send us an email immediately, so that we can offer somebody else your place. If you don’t Facebook, then please send us an email at to RSVP.

About Dooley’s

Waterview Dooley’s is a social club adjacent to parklands on the Parramatta River. Access is free for those who live outside a 5km radius of the venue. If you are within the 5km range, then membership is required but is a low $5.50/year. With membership, you are entitled to a 20% discount on food and a 15% discount at  the bar. We plan to meet there regularly, so it may be worthwhile to join, if you plan on attending more than one meeting.   Dooley’s serves a wide range of club food. You’re welcome to sit down and enjoy a dinner out with us while we meet.

Getting There

Waterview Dooley’s is located in Silverwater at the cnr of Clyde St and Silverwater Road.  We know many of you are coming from various parts of the city. We invite you to use the Facebook Group as a way of arranging carpools and ride shares.

We look forward to seeing you!


Monday night meetup reminder and a giveaway!

Just a quick remind to RSVP for September’s Monday Meetup which will be held at Dooley’s Waterview. You can find all of the details on our Facebook Events page. Monday Meetups are held in alcove by the Board Room at Dooleys and are a casual, social meetup where we plan guild business and talk about what’s new in Modern Quilting.

This month’s theme is my favourite thread. Be sure to bring along an interesting spool or skein, and tell us all about it.  Speaking of thread, we are very lucky to have Aurifil as a sponsor for Monday’s event.  They’ve generously donated one of their Simply Color skein sets.  This set has 12 gorgeous colors of Aurifil’s 50wt cotton thread in colours that match Moda’s Simply Color modern fabric.

Simply Color. Simply Awesome.

GWSMQG Giveaway!

It’s been tempting to steal it! I feel quite lucky to have it as eye candy in the house this week. You may have to pry it out of my hands. Come along on Monday to win!

If that wasn’t enough, Kate of Kate Quilts upped the ante for us and has donated a Simply Color charm pack to go along with it!  Kate’s a member of our guild;  and she is always happy to answer questions about upcoming fabric ranges, thread and more. We’re lucky to have her!

Without pulling out the calculator, I can assure you that’s a whopping wonderful prize pack!  Those of you who were there last week know that Kate surprised us with a charm pack of Chicopee which we gave away at our Sunday Sewalong along with more Aurifil!  Thank you, Kate and Alex!

We know that not everyone can make it to each meeting, and we didn’t want anyone to be left out so we have five Aurifil thread packs which members can win by right here on the blog!

If you aren’t familiar with Aurifil threads, they have several varieties. Whether you like to hand piece, machine piece, hand quilt or applique; they have a thread type and weight to work with. These five spool packs are a great taster for you to try out the cotton in 12, 28, 40 and 50wt. There’s also some 12wt Lana Wool to play with. Colour in the packs vary, but all include at least one Aurifil variegate. (Apologies for any drool that I’ve left on the spools. I’ve tried to mop it up.)

Spool heaven!

We’ll have some on hand on Monday for you to have a squiz at. We’ll also have Aurifil cards with us on Monday night, so you can see the full range of colours!

On to winning!  It’s as easy as leaving a blog comment. You are welcome to leave a comment here letting us know of a fun theme for the guild meetups or you can leave a comment on Jenna’s member spotlight .   Make sure we have a way of getting a hold of you to let you know that you’ve won!

(One entry per person. Entries will be combined from both posts. Winners drawn at random. Winners will be selected on Friday Sept 21th, noon Sydney time. Please note that prizes will be available for pick up during any future guild meeting. We love your smiling face, so you must come in person to a guild meeting to pick up your prize.)

Thank you to Aurifil and KateQuilts for supporting Greater Western Sydney’s Modern Quilt Guild.


Member Spotlight – Jenna Appleton

This week I’m delighted to introduce you to Jenna who is another Flickr/coffee pal who I met a few months ago.  Jenna is extremely motivated and loves to hunt out fabric bargains, clicking up the KMs on her car to search through forgotten bolts of Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks and other out of print fabrics.  Jenna can be found online through Flickr here.  (Read to the bottom to find out how you can be part of this fun series.)


1. How long would you say you’ve been quilting for and what was it that got you interested in quilting?

Properly – since January – but I’ve been around quilters before. My mum even worked in a quilt store for a little while when I was about 13. I wasn’t a fan of the fabrics available back then… Mum’s idea of modern quilting was a lot of zodiac fabric with metallic gold details. (Love you Mum)

Late last year I started buying fabric for clothes for my two little boys and noticed that the quilt fabrics available now are strides ahead of where they used to be… and I want them in my home! I made some pillows and things but quilts started to become a more attractive proposition. I’m fairly well hooked now.

2. What was your first quilt and how do you think you’ve evolved as a quilter from that quilt?

My first quilt was a grid of rectangles made from cheap, loosely woven poly/cotton/wool fabric remnants with polyester batting… in 1996, when I was 15 and had no fabric budget wink It was stitched in the ditch and needed 1/2″ seams to stop it fraying… I cut the rectangles so that it would fold down evenly to a pillow size and made a matching pillowcase to hold it. It was for a 20-hour bus trip to the snow, we could take a pillow or a blanket but not both so I got my craft on.

Needless to say – everything is different now! My machine is better, my technique is better, the fabrics I’m using are better.

3. What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on quilted pillows. I’ve also got a couple of tops completed that need quilting, and a few more I’ve started. Many of these are simple grids or tumblers etc but I’ve got a mod mosaic and a few other slightly more challenging things started.

4. Tell us about your sewing machine(s)?

I have my mum’s Elna SU, newly serviced, but I mostly do clothes on that. I was using a Brother NS30 until very recently but it doesn’t sew straight over bulky seams, which was a complete nuisance! Three weeks ago I shelled out for the Bernina B530 (“Bernice”) and everything is suddenly 200% easier. Except needle threading, I actually like the threader on the Brother a bit more!

5. Do you prefer hand quilting, machine quilting or sending it out?

I’ve never sent a quilt out for quilting so I can’t comment on that, and I am currently too impatient for hand-quilting. Many of my projects have been uber-basic in piecing so they don’t warrant that kind of time. When I get some of my more complex projects done though I probably will hand-quilt or send them out to have them done.

When machine quilting I have the digital radio on, probably a little too loud wink Usually 702 Sydney or NewsRadio. I’m an ABC kind of girl.

6. Do you sew on the dining table or do you have a dedicated space?

Currently our badly-set-out terrace house isn’t used downstairs for much other than storage due to the almost-dangerous staircase, small kids, and the kitchen is upstairs. I’ve let my sewing overflow to half of the ground level… it’ll need a significant cleanup and reorganisation when our renovation is done and I’m confined to a real room again.

7. Name three of your favourite fabric designers.

So many designers do stuff that I absolutely adore, but right now…

Anna Maria Horner – I adore Good Folks (I really went on a bender or two when Craft Depot were putting out all those rolls in June/July) and Field Study is really growing on me. Little Folks voiles are so beautiful as well, I have a little stash of Pastry Line yardage destined for backings (picked up at ~$7/yard, so it was too hard to say no!) Her colour sense is off the charts and nearly every range works together. Fabulous.

Melody Miller – fussy cutting all those retro motifs is great fun right now and suits the pillows I’m doing right down to the ground.

and American Jane (Sandy Klop) – I’ve gotten right in on her particular twist on 30’s and retro styling. Can’t wait for my parcel of Recess to arrive smile

8. Is there a fabric range out of the new season ranges that you’re drooling over?

I’ve fallen for three or four prints from Field Study (AMH), a couple from Bella (Lotta Jansdotter), and I’m itching to see some of Madrona Road (Violet Craft) and some of the new Koseki stripes up close. I’m mostly about basics and blenders this season though, so we’re talking the feathers from Field Study, the sketchy and pebbly prints from Bella and the sprouts from Madrona Road

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Every fortnight we will be posting up an interview with one of our members, if you’d be interested in contributing please send us an email to