Continuous Lines

Newsletter for AMQA Inc members

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Newsletter No. 13





12 August 2010 – 11 am EST


In the comfort of your own home… come dressed in PJs or get all dolled up………… anything goes! Organize your coffee or tea (anything stronger is not normally required!) and a biccie or two!


All you need to do, is to sign onto Skype (free – then let us know your skype address). We will call you.


The ever popular and eagerly awaited AMQA AGM.


Because the organization is here for you; not as an exclusive club for those that were brave enough to (or not quick enough to escape) election to the committee. All positions will be declared vacant and being the friendly bunch that we are, we would love to have more committee members, more ideas, more input and more help in making this organization relevant and pertinent to all its members.

Watch your Email Inbox and your Letterbox for more information in the coming weeks.


AMQAS 2010 is being held in conjunction with the Australian Machine Quilting Festival 1-4th October 2010, Mawson Lakes, SA. Check either or for details on entering your quilts to this show! Start planning now…quilt entries are due 31st July 2010.


Presidents Report

First of all, I wish to apologize to everyone for the delay in sending out this newsletter. Managed to catch a rather nasty flu/chest infection that has laid me up for a couple of weeks. To any of our Members that may be suffering from any forms of the winter flu/blues, I wish you well.

We have had a large number of Quilt Shows around the Country of late and I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate all that entered. These shows wouldn’t be the huge success that they are without your support and entries. Also special congratulations to all the winners in your chosen categories. If you have information relating to Shows in your Area/State, we would love to hear from you. So, please feel free to post on the yahoo group or send details to the web diva for publication.

AMQF is fast approaching and organizers are working very hard to make this a wonderful experience for all machine quilters. As you know the Quilt Show is being run by AMQA and we are looking forward to seeing your wonderful entries. Entry forms available from the web site.

Memberships are due soon so please ensure that you are fully paid up in time for the AGM. Your vote and support is very important for this Association to continue. We are all very busy running our own businesses, however, if you are able to spare a little time. Then please contact one of the Committee with your ideas. Also if you have a bit of a flare for writing and have a little time. Then you maybe the person we are looking for. We require the services of someone to be our Newsletter Editor for Continuous Lines. If you think that you are that person, we would dearly love to hear from you.

Till next time, Happy Stitching



AMQA Display at Rose Hill Trade Expo

As you all know, the Australian Machine Quilting Association was fortunate to be given space for a display at the recent Trade Expo at Rose Hill. This was an excellent opportunity for members to display their quilts and machine quilting skills, and to promote machine quilting to our industry.


Members were invited to submit quilts for display, and I would like to thank Clare Fairless (Never Ending Quilting), Kathy Adams (Koolkat Quilting), Val Towill (Blue Gum Quilting), Julie Nixon (The Patchy Affair) and Tracey Browning (Constantine Quilts) for sending quilts for the display. I also exhibited quilts.

We had eleven quilts in total, including edge-to-edge, custom and an art quilt. The quilts showed a variety of quilting designs and styles. The quilts all looked very different and it was a vibrant display of a variety of quilting skills.


We had a lovely position at the Expo, outside the workshop area and near the café so many people had to walk past the display or had to look at it while having coffee.

The exhibition was well received. While Peter (very helpful husband) and I were setting up, people were stopping to look at the quilts.

I attended the Expo on Sunday and received comments from several vendors about the quilts and quilting on display. Again, lots of people were looking at the quilts.




Article by Sharon French, Morning Star Quilting


An Interview by our roving reporter – Raylee Bielenberg with

Sharon French

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for volunteering. 

I am reasonably new to machine quilting having bought my machine only 8  months ago so I have a few questions that are a bit different from the more obvious and follow some ideas I have thought of or had to resolve as I offer my service to others. 

The intermittent issue of tension – your thoughts please

I'm really fortunate - I don't have too many issues with tension.  I have a Prodigy Machine and she is a dream most of the time.  When I do have tension issues it is usually because the thread has jumped out of one of the thread guides or come of the tensioner. 

The other issue that has caused me tension issues is fluff caught in the bobbin race.  I blow the fluff from the bobbin race and oil it after every bobbin change.  Once I have had a large bit of fluff caught under the needle plate which causes major tension problems on the back of the quilt and major unpicking which was not fun.  If my tension isn't quite right, I always check my thread guides first and usually this is the problem.

Types of thread for each quilting job or project? I am still building my range, are there threads that you would recommend and why?

I generally use Signature thread for my Edge to Edge work as it comes in 3000m spools and lasts forever.  I sometimes use Aurifil 40wt if I need a colour that is not available in the Signature range. I have also used Aurifil 30wt on a flannel quilt as I needed a specific colour.  I like to use Aurifil 40wt for a lot of my custom work.  Aurifil is particularly good when there is a lot of overstitching.  It is a beautiful finer thread with a nice finish to it. 

I have also used the King Tut Variegated.  This again is a beautiful thread with 1" variations in the colour.

I like to use monofilament for most of my ditch stitching and outlining.  I find that many client don't take the time to stitch all seams flat or to press seams properly.  The seams are not pressed flat and/or are flipped where the seams met.  The clients then come to us (machine quilters) and expect a top quilting job.  The monofilament allows me to invisibly ditch stitch these poorly pressed/stitched seams.

I would like to try some metallics in my machine but just haven't had time.  I'll be interested to see how others have handled these specialty threads.

Types of fabric – are there any that you would like to try or have tried to quilt on and loved/hated? Egg satin, shot silk etc

Most of my clients use 100% cotton quilting fabric for their quilts so I don't have issues with usual fabrics.  I have also quilted pure silk for a customer who hand dyes her own fabric.  It quilted beautifully.  

I quilted a cotton sateen quilt wholecloth E2E recently.  The cotton sateen quilted beautifully, but was very difficult to square up as it is so slippery and moves so much.  I used the channel locks on the machine and get straight edges and then sewed my binding against the straight edges prior to trimming.  This worked really well and the top was the exact size and was square when I finished.

I was once asked to quilt a quilt panel that was made of poly - it has been bought on the internet sight unseen.  The machine did not like it at all.  It skipped stitches and was a nightmare.  As it was a love job for my mother, I basted it and she quilted it on her domestic machine. 

I have quilted my own art quilts which use a variety of fabrics including silk, furnishing fabrics, sateen, etc. These all quilt up fine.

Really the only problem I have had was with the poly panel.

Any helpful stories of how you treated those quilts with issues (wavy borders, too tight borders, unevenness in general)

I have only had one quilt that I returned to the clients because the boarders were so wavy - there was approximately8 inches excess in the top border.  I recommended the client re-sewed the borders.  She wasn't interested in hearing about it.  She said she had made many quilts before she had never had a problem with her borders.  I feel that part of our jobs as professional quilters is to help/educate our clients, many of whom haven't attended classes, on the best techniques to get the best finished quilt.  Most of my clients are really keen to learn better techniques, but unfortunately, there are some  who don't want to take advice.

I have had one medallion quilt that I had to unpick while one the machine and take an inch out a border to keep it square. It required the bottom and some of the sides to be unpicked and re-stitched by hand.  This was quite time consuming, but not noticeable when the quilt was finished.  Again this is a measuring problem, when quilt makers do not measure correctly for their borders prior to attaching them.

Many quilts come in that are not square, have wavy borders or excess in particular sections of a quilt.Fortunately, our machines have channel locks and we can use these to keep our quilts square.  I also use a long arm measuring tape that has moveable markers.  I like to use the markers to keep vertical seams on a quilt straight. 

If a quilt has a lot of excess I will tack the section down with 1" (sometimes less) vertically and horizontally. This holds down the top and stops it moving and pleating.  It is important when tacking to keep the fullness even.  I also use a steam iron to steam out small amounts of fullness.  This tends to 'shrink' the fabrics and allows you to quilt it before it 'springs' back.. 

I'm interested to hear what others deal with fullness and get a few more tips.

Did you refer any quilting jobs to a more experienced quilter when you first started?  If so, do you think this affected your business in any way? I.e. was that customer ‘lost’ to the other quilter?

I didn't refer any quilting jobs to others when I first started. A lot of my work was E2E and the custom jobs I kept simple - things that I could deal with at the time.  I had my machine installed at the beginning of September 06 and quilted a couple of customer quilt in November/December.  I had done approximately 3 months practice before I started quilting customers quilts so I felt comfortable with the designs I chose to quilt. 

You can contact Sharon French at

thanks to Raylee for this interview!!

Raylee Bielenberg, Sunflower Quilting, 02 6259 6045


AMQAS 2010 is being held in conjunction with the Australian Machine Quilting Festival 1-4th October 2010, Mawson Lakes, SA. Check either or for details on entering your quilts to this show! Start planning now…quilt entries are due 31st July 2010.


Congratulations to all the following members who have recently won ribbons at shows in Australia!! Well done to everyone that entered as well.

Also a belated congratulations to Sharon McGill & her customer, WA for winning a first place in Two Person Quilt Open Section in the recent QuiltWest show!!!

We would love to feature your quilt photos on our AMQA website as well, so if you have photos that you can provide the webdiva then please send them.

Tasmanian Quilt Show 2010

Excellence  in  Longarm Quilting  to Tracey Browning for her customer’s quilt  “Baskets” and a 3rd  place  ribbon  for “Japanese  Garden” (same  customer)

Sydney Quilt Show 2010

In June each year the Quilters’ Guild of NSW holds its annual Sydney Quilt Show. This year’s show, as usual, was an awe-inspiring display of a wide variety of quilts, skills and styles.

I love attending the show (I love attending any quilt show) and get lots of ideas for quilting and quilts. I go home excited and encouraged, wanting to make lots more quilts.

To all the members of AMQA who had either their own quilts or client’s quilt exhibited, congratulations. It is a big job to get a quilt ready for a show.

Several AMQA members received recognition for their quilts and quilting at the Sydney Quilt Show.

The quilt that won the Commercially Machine Quilted section was quilted by Barb Cowan of The Quilt Connection in Brisbane. The quilt owner is Lorna Haigh. The quilt, titled Australian Wildflowers, is a true inspiration. Barb has done an amazing job quilting this quilt. Congratulations Barb.

Second prize in the Commerically Machine Quilted section went to Clare Fairless-Lewis, of Never Ending Quilting at Medowie. The quilt, titled Pickled Wedding Ring, was pieced Carol Honeyman.. Well done Clare.

AMQA members also took out first and second in the Small or Wall Quilt sections. Pam Hill won first prize for her beautiful quilt, Celebration, another true inspiration.


Verna Horwood won second prize for her quilt, Springtime. Congratulations to both these quilters.

We can all be very proud of these very talented quilters.

Article by Sharon French, Morning Star Quilting


Upcoming Events


What:Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair
When:Thursday, July 22, 2010 10:00 PM to Sunday, July 25, 2010 11:00 PM
Where:Melbourne Exhibition Centre
Melbourne, Vic

What:WA Craft, Quilt & Stitch Show
When:Friday, July 30, 2010 (all day)
Where:Claremont Show Grounds
Perth, WA

What:Canberra Craft & Quilt Fair
When:Thursday, August 5, 2010 10:00 PM to Sunday, August 8, 2010 11:00 PM
Where:Exhibition Park
Canberra, ACT


Thank you to our supporters…