my life in the land down under


Postage Stamp Quilt Swap 2013: #1

In my last post I talked about building up my stash of quilting fabrics, so I could participate in the Postage Stamp Quilt Swap taking place this month.

I’m going to be using 2 1/2″ squares, and had just begun cutting when I thought I should re-check the instructions for the swap, just to make sure I was doing everything right. I came across this info on pre-washing… oh no, just as well I had only cut a few squares so far. I would really hate for someone on the other side of the world to sew my squares into their PSQ, and have them shrink or the colour run and ruin their quilt!! 😦

So I started again and hand-washed all the fabric I’d acquired recently, in several batches, around my work hours and other commitments. Its autumn here but we’re still having summer temps – mid-twenties C – so the fabric dried quickly. Then it was off to the ironing board, trim off the frayed bits and back to the cutting table – currently set up on the dining table to be more sociable – here’s hoping we don’t decide to invite people over for a meal this week. (Yes, we did – sorry Bryce!)


Pre-washed fabric drying




On the cutting table


Some of the resulting 2 1/2″ squares

Have to go now, I have lots more squares to cut! 🙂



Stash Building

Mid-February, this announcement of an upcoming Postage Stamp Quilt Swap made me think seriously about acquiring some more fabric so I could participate. You can only do the newbie thing once and that was me in October last year; this time around I wanted to do a proper swap – but to do that I needed to have some ‘stash’ to share.

In late February we spent a few days in Napier, where I gained some inspiration from John’s sister Joan who is a quilter, and browsed two quilt shops she recommended: JJ’s Crafts in Greenmeadows and Patch & Quilt at Riverside Winery, Puketapu. Patch & Quilt was first on our list, and when we got there John decided to set up a folding chair under some shady trees in the parking area and work on his i-Pad, telling me to take my time and buy / spend whatever I liked – dangerous talk! Rachel at Patch & Quilt was amused when I told her, and tried to sell me a new sewing machine, but I resisted the temptation and only bought fabric. When I reappeared outside after more than an hour, John’s response was ‘You spent what?!’ Tongue-in-cheek of course, as I’d been quite restrained! Well I thought so anyway. 😉


Fat eighths and tenths (?) from Patch and Quilt


Tenths in blue


Pretty patterns


Eighths in red and brown


Multicoloured eighths


Eighths in green


Eighths in brown


Last but not least – eighths in pink, yellow, green & blue

Then we headed to JJ’s and I found more to my liking, picking up several colourful fat quarters.


Fat quarters from JJ’s

After we got home from Napier I visited the local Spotlight store, looking for novelty fabrics for another project (more to come on this later).


Novelty prints from Spotlight

Joan had already started my collection of novelties by donating these bits from her stash.


Novelty prints from Joan

When I’m free on Tuesday mornings, I’ve been going along to a ladies patchwork group that a friend from camera club invited me to. Last week they had arranged an outing to visit some quilt shops in our area. We started at Village Fabrics, Te Puna, where I did my beginner’s quilting class last year, then moved on to Patches & Cream in Paeroa and had lunch at the Courtyard Cafe. Then we headed back by way of Cushlas Village Fabrics in Waihi and Katipatch in Katikati, finishing at Te Puna and then home. I was still keeping my eyes open for novelty fabrics as I wanted around 60-80 different ones, but also had the PSQ swap in mind. Every shop had different goodies on display so it wasn’t difficult to spend some money in each!


Fat quarters from Patches and Cream


Fat quarters from Cushlas Village Fabrics


Fabrics from Katipatch (0.3m each)


Novelty fabrics and probable border from Village Fabrics

This was more than enough to be going on with. John’s comment when I showed off my purchases – ‘You’re really good at picking colours. I wish you were as good at sewing!’ 😉

Watch this space…

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Last of the Treasures

The last of three ‘newbie gifts’ from last year’s Postage Stamp Quilt swap arrived in the post a couple of days ago. These were from Irene, in the States; unfortunately the first ones she sent didn’t show up, so she kindly posted a second batch. I wondered if the others had been somehow caught up in the Christmas mail; I kept hoping they would arrive, but there’s been no sign of them yet!

Charm Squares Package

Charm squares package

Charm Squares #4

Charm squares #4

Thanks Irene for this colourful mix!

Now to decide where to go from here. A reasonable-sized quilt will need anywhere from 1000-4000 x 2.5″ squares – see here for approximate figures. So far I have about 200…

Older treasures:

Treasures in the Post

Treasures from Around the World

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Treasures from Around the World

More ‘charm squares’ for a future postage stamp quilt (PSQ) project have arrived in the post this month (see Treasures in the Post). These are the first two of the three newbie gifts I have the pleasure of receiving. 🙂

Firstly from Nina in Sweden:

Charm squares & stamps

Charm squares #2

I have collected stamps in the past, and my Mum still does, so I was excited to see these on the package. Thanks Nina!

Then from Astrid in Mauritius:

Charm squares #3

This one surprised me by arriving much more quickly than expected.

There are a great variety of colours & patterns, and both packages came with friendly notes enclosed. Thanks ladies for your generosity!



Treasures in the Post

The first ‘charm squares’ aka ‘treasures’ arrived in the post yesterday…

Although I’d signed up for newbie gifts in the Postage Stamp Quilt Swap on The Curious Quilter last month, this package came from Marsha of Streaming Thoughts as a special prize for being observant. 🙂

Charm squares #1

Thanks heaps Marsha! There was a lovely combination of colours and patterns in this package. 🙂

Now it’s a case of waiting patiently for the others to arrive. I was surprised to receive emails from not one, but three other quilters who will be sending me 2 1/2″ squares of fabric. One is from the USA, one from Sweden and the third from Mauritius. I’ve been warned that one at least could take a few weeks to get here.

For those who, like me, had never heard of Postage Stamp Quilts before, an internet search will show up plenty of links.

I’m not sure yet what I will make (although am leaning towards a larger quilt). When I have completed my Made with Love quilt I’ll cut up some squares from the leftovers to add to the collection.  I’m hoping to have enough of a ‘stash’ to be promoted from ‘newbie’ to ‘swapper’ next year.