The Sampler from Down Under


Oooops! A real quilt!

The block patterns were published in the first six issues of the first Australian quilt magazine, Down Under Quilts, and the quilt was completed in 1988.

The real quilt is looking rather faded and worn, and the binding has to be replaced after twenty years on our bed.

I never did get a great photo of the quilt before it faded!

When I started this blog I really wondered how long I could keep up with a quilt a day, even in the virtual world. I was also unsure how much I would enjoy the blogging and how hard the actual process would be, but made up my mind to at least give it a go.

At the moment I have over 100 of the EQ Nines which I will introduc tomorrow, about the same in the EQ Dozen project file, and another hundred plus in My 8 Blocks file. Add a few random quilt designs and I have 2009 under control, and I haven’t mentioned the Log Cabin variations yet! And I want to try using all applique blocks too! Then a mix of my pieced and applique blocks in my own dozen, EQ Four Patch Blocks, my nine patches ……………

How did I get to this point?

Right from my first sampler quilt in 1982 I tried to make the overall quilt balanced by placing similar blocks opposite each other, or separating pieced blocks into a grid with applique blocks. I also liked using the same background in every block in a sampler to make the quilt unified and to show off the shapes in the blocks.

In the Sampler from Down Under, completed in 1988, I set out to use blocks with similar shapes deliberately so that they would fit into a designated spot in the quilt. I had a picture in my head of a piece of calligraphy with Japanese or Chinese characters, and I was really happy with the way the quilt turned out.

This was the first time I used all original design blocks in a quilt. Up to this point I had been using block designs I liked by other designers or traditional blocks which had been around for hundreds of years. This was also the first time I used sashing to match the background colour of the blocks so the shapes in the block designs floated on the quilt top.

I was born lazy, and have spent a great deal of time working out the easiest ways to do what I need to do, and leave time for what I want to do. And even if I want to do it, why should I do it the hard way? As a consequence, most of the quilts I design are basically simple, with simple blocks arranged in a balanced design. I try to arrange the blocks in a way that the block works as part of the overall design rather than  individually.

I love old fashioned, traditional, scrappy quilts, and my designs don’t go too far away from the trraditional style, even with all original pieced and applique block designs.  However, even within the tradtional style there is just so much scope for new ideas that I could live another hundred years and not have to invent a new style to keep finding new designs.

The other main influences on my designs are Calligraphy and Japanese design. I like using flowers, toys, collectables, and like flowing designs, and I like using borders to frame and finish the design, sometimes elaborate, more often simple. Things which don’t appeal to me and so don’t use a great deal are stars and lots of points.  I also get bored piecing sixty four identical blocks to make a quilt, no matter how simple they are!

I have about twenty scrap books and boxes of scrappy paper full of ideas for block designs and quilts too. All those designs are now being drafted in EQ, and for the first time I am replacing very rough shading to show light medium and dark in the scribbles with colour. I can quickly modify, change, flip and flop, recolour, until the design is something I like. Sometimes they look a bit like the picture in my head, sometimes the picture in my head was all wrong, but something else emerges that looks great anyway.

Electric Quilt is the tool I have always wanted so that I can show what is going on in my head. Well, the bits I use for designing quilts anyway! When it comes to art in any form, I have no idea what makes good or bad design, but I do know what I like. I have learned to design without formal training, just by following my instinct to create something I like, sometimes successfully, sometimes ….. well, let’s not bring those out of the closet! 

If any of you like my designs, that means that I must be getting something right sometimes, or we both have bad taste! I am having fun, and hope you are having fun looking, and maybe thinking ‘I could do better than that.’ If you think you can, you probably can, and you can design your own stuff too.

After this break in transmission you will be returned to your regular program tomorrow with another virtual quilt from the extensive, and growing, project files in my Electric Quilt.

About Virtual Quilter

I am a quilter who designs many more quilts than I will ever make, and I am sharing one quilt design every day in Virtual Quilter. I also share my completed projects in Stuff-Ups, and Christmas decorations in Christmas Everyday of the Year.
This entry was posted in Quilt, Real Life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Sampler from Down Under

  1. tattingchic says:

    WOW! You are a quilt designing machine, LOL! 🙂


  2. virtualquilter says:


    I don’t think machines enjoy their purpose in life as much as I enjoy playing with design.

    Judy B


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