Saturday, April 6, 2013

Super Duper Donations!

Wendy has had plenty of visits from the mailman recently, delivering lots of wonderful goodies from generous sponsors for our Retreat.

Just a few for you to drool over....

Please remember to support the business who support us.

Creative Abundance - distributor of patterns

Patterns from Maggie Robertson Designs -

Paper Pieces USA -

Templates from Victorian Textiles -

Vouchers for Retreat Venue -

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Signature Squares Swap

There will be a signature square swap at the Bendigo Retreat, as there has been at previous retreats.

The swap is made up of sets of two x 6 ½” squares of fabric; the first is a feature fabric which fits the theme of the retreat and the second is a “signature” square. These two squares are pinned or stitched together in one corner and you make one set for every person in the swap. At the retreat you will be given a list of all the swappers and then you have to try and find them all! (don’t worry – they’ll be looking for you too!) You then take them home and make a quilt out of them – eventually.

This year the theme is "Christmas in July”, but we have decided NOT to use Christmas fabrics. Instead we are going with “Winter” and tying it in with the Retreat colour theme and logo…


SO the first fabric can be any BLUE fabric! It must be blue only or read blue from arms-length – no blue & something

The “signature” square should be WHITE (we are talking snow-white or ice-white here, not off-white or nearly-white) quilter’s homespun or possibly a White-on-white print; decorated in whatever manner you would like, and MUST have the following on it:

  • Your name
  • The name of the town and state you come from. You can add further information if you wish - if you live outside Australia you should include the country.
  • The words “Bendigo Retreat 2013”
  • DON’T put your email address, they change too often, and won’t be relevant years from now anyway!
You can decorate this signature square any way you like, but do keep in mind that they will be included in someone else’s quilt, so steer clear of treatments that can’t be washed or ironed and remember that three-dimensional embellishments may have to be removed for quilting . In the past people have used screen printing, stamping, embroidery, appliqué, ink-jet printed photos etc. The decoration should stay well inside the 6” finished size, so that it doesn’t get lost into the seam allowance when the blocks are sewn together.

To register for this swap, you will need to email me – the swap diva - directly (email address is on Retreat Yahoo Groups page) by Sunday 7th July 2013. Please put “Retreat Sig. Swap” in the subject line. Please note: ticking the box on the Retreat registration form does not automatically enter you into this swap!

Good luck!

Bronwyn van’t Hof (Sig Swap Diva)


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Wonderful Tutors

Maryia Waters

Mariya Waters is an international and Australian award winning quilt maker and teacher. She currently specialises in hand appliqué and machine quilting but has also won international awards for contemporary art and innovative quilts.  Mariya began quilting in New Zealand in 1990 and her first quilt was selected for a juried quilt show and then published in a book.      In 1994 while living in England her third quilt won the prestigious Ascot Trophy at the national championships. 
Since then Mariya has specialised in making quilts for exhibition with most taking a year or more to complete. Many quilts completed since 1994 have won Australian and international awards. In April 2012 Mariya's miniature quilt "Mini Magic" was awarded Best Miniature at the AQS Paducah Kentucky USA Quilt Show.

Margaret McDonald

Margaret quilts because she just has to, like sleep, food and exercise; stitching has always been a part of her life. Her driving interest in quilting is in using fabrics to explore patterns and illusions, frequently using complex and precise piecing. She uses a wide range of colours in unexpected ways. No colour is banned from her collection and in fact the more the better.
Margaret’s work and designs are grounded in her traditional experiences in garment construction, traditional quilting and other textile pursuits, beginning her career as a textiles teacher. She will always hold an enthusiasm for quilting, ready to explore any aspect of colour and design. She has a never-ending passion for textiles and fabric (of any sort) and absolutely enjoys the teaching aspect of her quilting career.
The students in her classes are inspired from a commitment to establish what they as an individual want to learn. She has a growing number of patterns in publication and enjoys the challenge of entering quilt shows. She has a collection of national and international awards for her work. Her quilts are held in collections in Australia, China, and the USA. Her latest award was in 2012 in USA.
Deb Layt
Deb Layt is a Textile Artist living and creating in Watsonia, Victoria. Deb teaches classes to all levels of students in the art of machine patchwork and quilting. She is a regular exhibitor and spends many enjoyable hours working away at a variety of projects in her studio. Many of her quilts have won awards in both Australia and America. Deb won an award at the Victorian Quilters Annual Showcase in Melbourne in July 2012.

Deb was the owner of The Patchwork Gallery Store located in Watsonia, Victoria for 10 
years. She chose to close in 2008 to focus on teaching and designing. 
She spends a lot of time designing original quilts while also using blocks that are in  the public domain to create designs for all skill levels. 
She is always on the lookout for different techniques to adapt to her way of working.
The Patchwork Gallery has developed into a place to go for knowledge and a high  standard of patchwork and quilting classes.
Deb actively participates in quilt exhibitions and enthusiastically encourages Australian content and a development of our own quilting identity.
Bev Frank
Bev discovered quilting through a friend about 14 years ago, and she could not comprehend the appeal of cutting fabric up into pieces and sewing it back together again!  Needless to say she was hooked and has been making quilts ever since!  She has also done lots of appliqué and stitchery quilts too. 
She loves brightly coloured fabrics, bold prints and uses a lot of squares and rectangles in her quilts.  She loved using the ‘quilt as you go’ technique as she was able to finish a quilt herself without the difficulty of quilting with a regular sewing machine or by hand.
In 2012 she bought a Gammill long arm machine and started Hopscotch Quilting and has really enjoyed quilting for others. She doesn’t make any ‘quilt as you go’ projects any more, but still enjoys teaching the technique.
Nicky Tepper
 Nicky has been a Crazy patchworker for the past 20 years.  She discovered patchwork when her son was born and she became a stay at home mum. Becoming addicted, she eventually opened a store that has given her the perfect excuse to stitch her little heart out.
She has a devoted husband Peter, who works in the shop with her and is the leadlight half of the dynamic duo, but who is also pretty good with the fabric selection too. They have two children, Joshua 21 and Holly 18.  Both are currently at university in Melbourne, so they will be working for a while yet! 
Nicky will set her hand to any project or technique and loves trying something new and sharing it with whoever wants to listen.  She has no formal qualifications, just lots of life experience.
Leesa Chandler
Leesa was introduced to quilting over 25 years ago and has enjoyed running her patchwork business, Chandler's Cottage, for the last ten years, which has both a studio shop in Beaumaris, Victoria and a website.
She has also published over 100 quilt and handbag patterns which are now available worldwide and also designs fabrics for Robert Kaufman including her Under the Australian Sun collection.
Leesa loves to travel and teach quilters far and wide, and is especially looking forward to coming back to the Scquilters Retreat at Bendigo!

Emma Baumann
Emma Baumann has been an avid sewer and embroiderer for more than 25 years.  She loves to quilt and embroider, and has a passion for smocking and for sharing her talents with other like minded people. 
Emma specialises in rotary cutting, machine piecing, machine appliqué and hand embroidery. She enjoys nothing more than to sit with hand embroidery, whether in front of the TV, at a friendship group, or travelling in the car; never is a moment wasted. 
She can be found working and teaching at Chandler’s Cottage in Beaumaris.  Emma and Leesa’s quilt “One in Every Crowd” - featuring machine piecing, hand appliqué and 3D smocking work - won a Blue Ribbon at VQ in 2007.

Bronwyn Van't Hof
Bronwyn has been interested in sewing and crafts, learning to sew on a Singer Featherweight at the age of six, and starting her first (never completed) patchwork quilt at the age of seventeen.
In 1994, she moved to Melbourne and, in order to meet people, she joined the craft group at her daughters’ school. It was here she met the friends who soon re-introduced her to patchwork. By 1996 she was 'hooked' and gradually all of the other crafts took a backseat to her new obsession!
In 2003 she took an opportunity that arose to work part-time at her local patchwork shop (The Stitching Post in Beaumaris) and began teaching. She has taught everything from beginner’s machine and hand piecing to machine quilting and machine appliqué.
In 2005 several of her quilts were entered into the Victorian Quilters Annual Showcase and won 2nd and 3rd place in the ‘2 Person Traditional’ category, and in 2007 her  Double Wedding Ring quilt ‘Love Amongst the Briars’ was juried into the American Quilters Society Annual Quilt Show at Paducah.
In 2005 she opened a small home-based patchwork business, making quilts for others and since 2008 she has concentrated predominantly on turning it into a patchwork-piecing service.
Bev Stayner
Bev has been embroidering for almost all her life. She started off learning on her Nana’s and Mum’s knee as have a lot of embroiderers.  When her children came along it was a time out necessity that was much valued.
She appreciates her stitching time to this day, really enjoying learning new techniques and using the most wonderful threads that we have available here in Australia.  She has been teaching and learning with friends and students for many years now and finds it very rewarding to be able to share the abundance of  information she has gathered and the joy of stitching and creating with others. …. And then there’s patchwork!
Lee Vause
Holding qualifications in nursing and quality and business management, and after many years working as a Health Administrator / Registered Nurse, Lee has retired from full time work. This has enabled her to re-focus her endeavours, tap into her creative side and move into the exciting world of art and craft.
With a clear goal of establishing a business that was creative, characteristic and of a contemporary nature, 'Threads and Tangles' was formed in November 2011. The business is now underpinned by Lee's art quilting and teaching activities.
To strengthen this aspect, Lee sought and gained qualifications as a Certified Zentangle@Teacher, a Jenny Haskins Accredited Tutor and a Victorian Quilters Accredited Teacher.
Areas Lee loves to teach includes Zentangle in its paper form and in thread, along with machine embroidery and free motion quilting. Lee embraces a contemporary art design focus and mixes thread painting, fabric painting with inks, crayons and pencils along with free motion quilting to create innovative art quilts.



Friday, February 22, 2013

Secret Santa Swap

The Angel/Mortal swaps held at each retreat are great fun – anyone who has been involved will tell you this! However, as this is a special “Christmas in July” retreat, it will be even more exciting – a SECRET SANTA Swap. If, like me, you really love all things Christmas, you will get a special kick out of this – but, if you are not a particular fan of Christmas – don’t worry – you will have a chance to state this on your Secret Santa form and still enjoy all the fun and games usually involved in these swaps.
For those of you new to retreats and the swaps, I urge you to have a good think about getting involved. This is how is works:
Once the registration packs have been returned to the Committee, and you have indicated that you would like to join this swap, I will post a message to the Yahoo Retreat List inviting you to fill out a questionaire – this will give you the opportunity to list your likes and dislikes and write a little bit about yourself. Having completed the questionaire, you forward it to me You do NOT HIT REPLY, thereby sending it to the whole list and enabling them to guess who their future Secret Santa might be!!!!! Did I mention that you do NOT HIT REPLY???
As soon as possible after that, I will match the Secret Santas with their partners. Everyone in the swap is a Secret Santa to someone who they send gifts and has another Secret Santa who will send gifts to them. This must be done in SECRET. I can tell you that MI5/ 6 combined with ASIO and the CIA have nothing on some of the lengths our particpants will go to, to confuse their swap recipients.

Now, this is extremely important –it makes my job much easier if you create aNEW SECRET E-MAIL address for sending messages to your Secret Santa recipient. Please do not re-use an old e-mail address as you can be found out through this and –are you paying attention????????? – do NOT use a YAHOO secret address as you can be tracked through this. Create a HOTMAIL or GMAIL (Ipod) address and DO NOT use your own name ANYWHERE in this e-mail set-up. For example if you want to call yourself (for some inexplicable reason) “Hotstuff #32”, use the name Hotstuff in your personal details – NOT Hotstuff Helen Evans. Even after all this, I suggest that you test your Secret Santa e-mail by e-mailing me at: I am happy to act as a go- between for Secret Santas and their partners through the above e-mail address, however it is much more fun if you do it yourselves – both for me and you!!!
The plan is that you have a total of six gifts for your mortal. One each for the months of April, May and June, and three (with your swap recipient’s NAME on them and NUMBERED 1 to 3) to be distributed in that order at the retreat. The final one, #3, will be the one in which you reveal yourself to your swapee – as your swapper will do to you! Home made gifts are nicest, but purchased gifts costing around $15 - $20 are fine too! It is also usual at retreats for you to bring a special “Thank you” gift for your Secret Santa.

If, for any reason, you are unavoidably delayed in sending your gift, please notfy your swap recipient that you will be sending your gift a little late – otherwise, she will be very concerned that she is on the naughty list and will feel most despondent! Please try not to be unavoidably delayed at any time though – it makes it so much more difficult for everyone involved and rather spoils the whole point of this terrific swap.
As you might imagine, we are aiming for a Christmas theme for this swap, so it will be a little different and involve more fun and frivolity than the usual retreat swaps entail – and I can assure you, that is a heck of a lot of fun and frivolity!

Helen Evans

Secret Santa CEO

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Knit & Crochet for Charity

There are others out there in the community who need our help keeping warm during the winter months.

  • Beanies/Hats
  • Knitted or Crocheted squares
  • Balls of wool or acrylic
Donations of these items will be much appreciated.

These items will be passed on to Jan Mac at the Retreat, for distribution.  If you are unable to attend our Retreat but would like to help out, the items can be sent to Jan at:

Jan MacFadyen
35 Trevaskis Road
Kialla East, Vic 3631

Crocheted Squares
Using 8 ply yarn and size 4.5 crochet hook, make 10 rounds of treble and single chain between them.

Knitted Squares
Using 8 ply yarn and size 4mm needles, cast on 50 stitches and knit garter stitch for 104 rows.

Adult Beanie
Using 8 ply yarn and size 4mm needles, cast on 120 stitches. 
Knit 14 rows of rib.
Knit 26 rows of stocking stitch.
Next row - to shape the head - *Knit 10 stitches, K2 together*,
repeat to end of the row.
Next row - Purl
Next row - Knit 9 stitches, K2 together, repeat to end of row.
Keep decreasing in this manner until all stitches are K2 together across the row;  draw a yarn through the remaining stitches using a darning needle and finish off.
Sew up to finish.

Thank you for your help and generosity.


Challenge 1 - Handmade Toy  

Join us in making a toy that will be passed on to a Charity Organisation to brighten up a child's Christmas

Your toy can be made of fabric, felt, knitted or crocheted.

Please remember that if any embellishments are attached to the toy, they must be secure.
Your name is to be in a sealed envelope and pinned to your toy.

Judging will be by Viewer Choice
Prizes will be awarded

Challenge 2 - A3 Sized Christmas Quilt

For those who would like to participate in this challenge, you will receive a Christmas Card in your registration pack.  The challenge is to Interpret any part of the card.

  • Finished size :  A3 or 16.5 inches x 11.5 inches
  • 3 Layers :  top, any form of wadding/pelon etc and backing
  • Portrait or Landscape
  • Does not need a rod pocket (personal choice), as your finished piece will be returned to you at the end of the Retreat
  • Your challenge can be patchwork, applique, textile based etc
  • Please place a label on the back and cover your name
  • Original Christmas Card must be submitted with your challenge for display
Use your Imagination and Think Outside the Square!

Judging will be by Viewer Choice
Prizes will be awarded

Note:  Images are all free patterns from Robert Kaufman website

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Classes

A tantalizing preview of the wonderful classes that will be offered at Bendigo in 2013.

Further details, tutor information, photos of the projects and requirements will be on the retreat website later for you to make a decision.

I wish I was able to do all of the classes!

Machine Applique Three Ways - One Day Class - Mariya Waters

A full day of machine applique techniques learning the basics of satin stitch, raw edge and turned applique by machine.

Whirrakee - Maze Centre of an Award Winning Quilt - One Day Class - Margaret McDonald

A full day class where Margaret shares the techniques to complete the maze centre, a pieced lattice design, of this contemporary quilt.  This quilt reflects the colours of the acacia plant that is indigenous to the country around Bendigo in Central Victoria.  The quilt is made by machine.  You can do the applique border after the retreat.

Analysis Series - One Day Class - Deb Layt

A full day class based on Deb's Analysis three-part series and her award-winning piece "Connected."  The project will be a contemporary A4 sized example of use of colour, shape and raw-edged applique.  This piece will also explore different machine quilting patterns and how thread colour affects fabric colour.

Quilt As You Go Technique, Throw Sized Quilt - One Day Class - Bev Frank

Learn how to quilt your blocks and join them together to make a complete quilt – 57” X 57”
This is a great technique to make an achievable quilt, finished or nearly finished, in one day. A kit will be available to purchase.

Contemporary Christmas Tree - Half Day Class - Nicky Tepper

This fun and funky Christmas tree celebrates the season with a contemporary style and design.  The class method is applique, using fusible webbing, which is then hand appliqued using blanket stitch.  Alternative methods of construction using the machine will be discussed.  The finished wallhanging measures 30" x 48".  Alternative colours could include white on a red or green background, or green on white background.  Kits can be altered to suit.  Email the tutor privately.

*UPDATED Dresden Plate Fussy-Cut Paper Piecing - Half Day Class - Nicky Tepper

English paper-piecing is a technique that can be used for many designs, apart from hexagons. We will show you how to make both the pointed and rounded Dresden Plate block, as well as fitting the circle to the centre and appliqueing to a background.  You will also be given some great tips for fabric selection and fussy-cutting to make your blocks look spectacular and all creatively different.  The sample blocks have been set on-point and made into a table runner, so you will be given the pattern to complete this project, or supplied with the skills to make your own design for a quilt set "on-point".

Waratah Evening Bag - Half Day Class - Leesa Chandler

The entire bag is one large Waratah Flower featuring ruching and 3D petal work.  It has a metal frame and a shoulder length chain.  Kits will be offered.

Russian Jewels - Half Day Class - Leesa Chandler

Large kaleidoscope block - suitable as a wallhanging, or use as a cushion cover or centre of a quilt.  Combination of bias work, pre-shaped reversed applique and 3D work.  Students will complete one quarter in class, which represents the other three sections of the block.  Kits will be available.

Crazy Ornie - Half Day Class - Emma Baumann

This is a crazy patch embroidery over "whole cloth" ornament of a heart or star.  Kits are available for purchase.

Itsy Bitsy - Half Day Class - Bronwyn van't Hof

Don't throw away your scraps of material - even the smallest fabric scraps can be utilized!  Bronwyn will teach a wonderful technique for you to use up even the smallest fabric scraps.  Start collecting all your scraps!

Painted Silk Scarf - Half Day Class - Bronwyn van't Hof

Be creative!  A great, simple method of making a silk pashmina to match the colours of your favourite clothes.  A kit will be available for purchase.  If you are trying to match a garment, it would be a good idea to bring it along.

Hand Embroidered Christmas Gift to Keep or Give Away - Half Day Class Bev Stayner

This project is a fun Christmas stocking embellished with and stitching and cute 3D applique penguins skating on ice, made from soft minkie fabric.  These will be pre machine-stitched for you, ready to turn through and create.  It will be fun to make for yourself or for a friend, big or small.  We will commence the embellished stocking-front in class.  Assembly of the Christmas stocking will be completed at home.  Extensive instructions will be provided for the embellishment, the applique and assembly of the stocking, as well as the pattern for both.

Basic Zentangles and Beyong - Half Day Class - Lee Vause

Come along and learn all about Zentangle, a new intuitive and creative artform.  Zentangle is easy to learn and relaxing.  There is no need to bring anything along - just lots of enthusiasm in readiness for a bit of fun.  A kit will be available for purchase.  Come on, why not give it a go.  Step out of your comfort zone and join me to learn about Zentangle - this addictive, repetitive artform that focusses on fun and relaxation, while drawing to create pleasing images using repetitive patterns. In this three-hour class, come and learn six tangle patterns, while drawing on a Zentangle tile to develop a new skill that will enhance your self-confidence and provide a positive sense of wellbeing.