Archive for October, 2010

Pattern Princess

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Well, my loyal subjects, have I got a treat for you! This week we’re featuring three fabulous patterns from the Lazy Girl Designs range, by renowned American designer Joan Hawley.

Lazy Girl specialises in purses, handbags and tote bags, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. These patterns are simple and easy to follow, so if you’ve ever been intimidated by the thought of sewing a bag before, or working with zippers, now’s the time to put those fears to rest. All of these patterns are available at Blueberries.


Yep, as the name suggests, these cute little numbers are designed for hanging off door knobs.

They are basically storage pockets, perfect for things like keys, remotes, odds and ends, and anything that easily gets mislaid. Also great for holding dried flower arrangements. They also make great Christmas presents.

The sample pictured was made with Makower Christmas fabric, we made two large and two small Christmas A-Door-Ables using two different fabrics – 25cm of each.

Click here to order the A-Door-Ables pattern.


Purse Nickities

Ideal for storing all your bits and pieces from classes. And don’t be afraid of the zippers – they’re easy to install.

The ones in the photo have been made using fabrics from the Hunky Dory range, we made these two purses (pictured below) using two different fabrics – 50cm of each.

Click here to order the Purse Nickities patterns.

Click here to order the Hunky Dory fabrics.


Perfect Pouches

Another great storage idea similar to the Nickities, and especially great to throw in your handbag or luggage.

Also good for taking to the beach. These pouches are lined for that extra durability (and for keeping the sand out).

Again, don’t be put off by the zipper – it’s sew easy! (sorry ’bout that, couldn’t resist!)

The pouches in the photo were made with fabrics from the Playdate range using three different fabrics – 50cm of each.

Click here to order the Perfect Pouches pattern.

Click here to order from the Playdate fabric range


Designer Diaries

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Journeying into Creative Hearts and Minds

Name: Kate Conklin

What do you design and why?
I mainly design quilts. I became interested in them a couple of years ago. I was doing baby quilts and raggy quilts with cut up flannel. Then I went to a quilt show in Sydney and just fell in love with the quilts and fabrics and designs.

How long have you been designing and what particular techniques do you use?

I’ve only been designing for about two years. Before that I’d never thought of myself as creative. I was always very mathematical and scientific, all very left-brain. But then I started on quilts. I’ve never followed a pattern. Even the first proper quilt, which I made for my husband, I basically just designed myself. I remember going into Blueberries for the first time with a quilt top and they said if I wrote up the pattern they’d sell it for me.

As far as techniques go, I particularly like “stack and slash” because you don’t need a template and no fabric is wasted. I love the way it all fits back together perfectly and each quilt is unique. I made a baby’s quilt that way in a single evening.

What gives you inspiration?

The fabrics. So many of them now are absolutely gorgeous. They’re so vibrant, with really modern colours. Five years ago I don’t think I could have designed what I do now.

What’s the story behind your logo?
I was at Taronga Zoo one day with a friend when I saw a bird trying to crack open a large egg using a stone. It struck me as the perfect symbol of ingenuity, persistence, creativity and thinking big. Of course, the bird in my logo is using a needle instead of a stone.

What’s your favourite design or project that you’ve worked on?

I really enjoyed doing ‘There’s a Square in There’, which is another stack and slash. I also enjoyed doing ‘Sea Views’ which is a stack and slash using curved pieces.

What’s your current project?

It’s called ‘Skittles’ and it’s a pattern that’s baby and throw size using Saffron Craig’s fabrics. Again it’s a stack and slash with all these wonky pieces on a white background.

Do you have a personal philosophy you work from as a designer?

Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. You don’t have to stick to the rules. And have fun with it.

To purchase Kate’s patterns click here.

Visit Kate’s site at



Kate’s logo


Material Girl

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Jackie’s tips, hints, info and advice on products and fabrics

‘The Adelaide Collection’ – reproductions of William Morris designs by Adelaide designer Michele Hill

Best for:

Mostly used for quilts, with the tone-on-tone fabrics perfect for applique

Jackie says:

This beautiful collection features many olde worlde prints and classic William Morris designs, all displaying his signature antique look. Michele Hill is a bit of an authority on William Morris and has already reproduced many of his designs. Her book, William Morris in Applique, which was published in 2009, is available at Blueberries. Michele will be releasing a follow-up volume – More William Morris in Applique – available within a few weeks. Pre order now as copies will go fast.

Click here to order from The Adelaide Collection.

Click here to order William Morris in Applique

Click here to order More William Morris in Applique

1ac1An example of William Morris inspired fabric in The Adelaide Collection by Michele Hill

It Was a Fair to Remember

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

The Who, What, When, Where and Why of the Blueberries Spring Fair

Well, some classic Australian spring weather was certainly on show at last week’s great Spring Fair – gentle drops of rain, alternating with a bit of humidity, some brief slices of sunshine and, of course, those gale force winds.

Not that any of that really mattered. The 300+ eager beavers who attended the Fair over Friday and Saturday were too busy and absorbed by the products and demonstrations to really care about the weather. And a steady supply of superior coffee, gourmet burgers and home cooked cakes and pastries kept everyone happily buzzing along for hours on end. All in all, a great vibe.

“We’d like to thank everyone for braving the unpredictable spring elements and coming along to the Blueberries Fair,” says Jackie. “We’d also like to thank all of our staff and tutors for helping to make the Fair the success that it was. A lot of information and inspiration was exchanged over the course of the two days, and many people took home valuable new skills.”













Class Report

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Where the Pupil writes the Report for the Class and Tutor

Pupil: Judith Stringer
Tutor: Chris Timmins
Class: Bargello

What did you do in the class?

We made a queen sized bargello quilt called ‘Lightning Strikes’, which is one of Chris Timmins’ patterns. We had to bring nine sets of twenty strips ready made. During the class Chris talked us through how to cut it and she showed us how to piece from the graft. The idea was for us to leave there on Sunday with the confidence to finish our quilts on our own. I got 14 rows down during the class and I was thrilled with that.

How was the tutor?
Chris was wonderful. She’s very patient and always so easy to understand. She has the ability to inspire confidence in beginners while also being able to work with more experienced people. It was the most relaxing and fun time I’ve had in a class.

What was the best part of the day?

My newfound confidence and love of bargellos. It was great coming away knowing that I could go home and finish the quilt on my own.

Did the class meet your expectations?

Yes, it more than met them. The confidence I gained from the class is invaluable.

Would you encourage others to do the class?

Yes, because I think everyone has a general fear of bargellos. Chris can put that fear to rest in a minute.


Mr Megaphone

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

First with the big news

What? The Blueberries Spring Fair 2010

When? Friday 15 and Saturday 16 October

Where? Blueberries, Amy Close, Wyong

Mr Megaphone says:

This is one event you don’t want to miss. It’s got everything – demonstrations, new techniques, displays, new blocks of the month and, of course, lots of specials!

Some of the biggest names in quilting and patchwork will be there sharing their knowledge with demonstrations and displays. Jeanette Osborn from Simplicity, Dianne from Brindabella, Sally from Zigzag Sewing, Monica Poole of Moonshine Designs, Susan Carr of Little Red Jug, and Blueberries’ own Rachael Porter (Go-Go Gadget Girl).

And don’t forget the gourmet BBQ. Expect chipolatas with caramelised onions, expect Dijon mustard beef burgers and zucchini vegie burgers, expect scones, jam and cream, home made cupcakes and caramel slice with tea, coffee and soft drink to wash it all down with. What more could anyone want?

See you at the Fair!


Designer Diaries

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Journeying into creative hearts and minds

Name: Natalie Ross

What do you design and why?

I design a variety of things – quilts, bags, sewing accessories like needle cases and pincushions. I was taught to sew at a very young age. I started out as a dollmaker about 10 years ago, but dolls aren’t too popular any more, people mostly going for what we call in the industry “softies”, which are soft toy animals. I like to put a lot of critters into my work. I’ve always loved animals and have had a very animated, vivid imagination. I used to draw my own cartoons with animals in them. When movies like Gremlins and ET came out, I’d always had to race out and buy the dolls. My friends must have thought I was crazy!

How long have you been designing and what techniques do you use?

I’ve been designing for nearly 10 years now. When I was doing dolls my business name was Whimsical Folke. That was back when fabrics were very much in the country style. Then the industry took a bit of a turn and made the transition into the “shabby chic” look. This was soft, pretty florals, but not very bright. I dabbled in a bit of that but it was becoming difficult to make a living so I took a break and tried some other projects that still involved designing and teaching. I took my classes back into my home studio. Then I started pattern designing, this time under the name Natalie Ross in Stitches. By then, bright colours were coming back into vogue, there was a lot of retro and “modern funky”, happier colours, which was my look.

As far as techniques go, I like to incorporate my designs in stitchery form. I also use needleturn appliqué and blanketstitch appliqué a lot. I love all three. It really depends on the design.

What gives you inspiration?

Lots of things. I would have to say animals, wildlife, a lot of nature. And especially ladybirds. I always but a ladybird in my designs. I’ve become known for them. I’ve had this special, personal connection with ladybirds since I was a small child.

Is there a recent project you’ve worked on that you’d like to share with us?

Yes, my book, Get Red Red Ready for Christmas, which was published in June of this year. It’s a kind of organiser with 12 sewing projects, two for each month of the year from July to December. It took me about six weeks to put together. I designed all the patterns in it, took the photos and wrote the little poems that go with each projects. The book is available at Blueberries.

Is there a personal philosophy or key word that you work from as a designer?


What advice would you give our readers?

Never be afraid to give feedback to someone. As a designer, it’s always nice to know that my work is bringing sunshine into someone else’s life. Actually getting that feedback is so special.

Visit Natalie’s site at


Go-Go Gadget Girl

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

gadget-girlWith Rachael Porter

She loves her quilting toys


Dome-threaded needle case

How much?


Best feature?

It’s so easy to use!

Rachael says:
This is a funny looking thing. It’s great if you like doing hand sewing using multiple threaded needles.

Instead of having a whole pile of threaded needles stuck in a pin cushion, this gadget allows you to neatly store your needles without having to remove the threads. It also tells you what sized needles it stores (up to a length of two inches).

I think it’s a great gadget, I won’t have to keep threading and unthreading needles and the threads won’t get all tangled up.


To order the Dome Threaded Needle Case click here.

Blueberries Spring Fair 15 and 16 October

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010


Get Ready for the Fair

A springtime bacchanalia of all things sewing-related

The jasmine is out, the days and nights are losing their winter chill and it looks like spring has finally sprung.

For the Blueberries community, this can mean only one thing – the great 2010 Spring Fair is just around the corner. The only thing you need to do in advance for this gala event is mark Friday 15 and Saturday 16 October in your calendar now. You’d hate to miss out on all the action and fun.

“The emphasis will be on demonstrating all the current notions and techniques that are popular right now,” explains Jackie. “Last year’s Demo Day in July was a great success, so this year we decided to build on that momentum and also incorporate the event with the warmth and freshness of spring.”

A sewing-related event and two gorgeous spring days sounds like a winning combination, so what can people expect from the Fair? “The latest in Pfaff sewing machines, design boards, basting guns, quilting frames, paper piecing templates, really just about everything that’s hot right now,” says Jackie. “Plus loads of hands-on demonstrations.”

Of course, the other big question on everyone’s lips is: will there be catering?

“Yes, but we can’t go public with the details just yet because the menu’s still being finalised,” says Jackie mysteriously. It seems that this is a sensitive, even controversial subject, but Jackie remains tight-lipped about it. However, she does go as far as to admit that the word “gourmet” has come up in the planning meetings.

“But that’s all you’re getting out of me on the subject,” she adds quickly. “Best to come along on 15 and 16 October for the real juicy stuff.

So lock in 15 and 16 October into your diary now…stick a note on the fridge!!!

lastyeardemodaySome photos from last year’s Demo Day in July.

The great 2010 Blueberries Sewathon

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

It was sew great to be part of it

The great Blueberries Sewathon of 2010 was a great success. The modified schedule from midday to midnight saw 26 of the original 30 punters still awake and going strong when the bewitching hour rolled around on Saturday 25 September. Everyone agreed that this was a much more civilized time bracket than last year’s 6pm to 6am.

Here are some photos from the successful event that was held on Saturday 25 September from midday to midnight. There’s nothing to get the creative juices going like 12 solid hours of sewing! Enjoy.












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