This morning I went over to Patchwork on Central Park with Amelia, my Mum and my Grandma. I have yet more projects on the boil and I needed a metre or two of some reddy, florally stuff. My Grandma doesn’t sew any more but she was a passionate patchworker when I was a little girl. I can clearly remember Grandpa and her laying out huge quilts on the floor piece by piece working out the pattern before she would sew it all together. Our house is still full of her amazing creations. Each of us has at least one quilt and there are cushions and table mats, dressing gowns, toys and even a patchwork chair. I would love sorting through her scrap boxes and drawers (I still do! What’s left of them), all beautifully arranged according to colour. Mostly I would just feel the soft silky ones between my fingers and marvel at the colours but sometimes with the aid of a rubber band I would wrap them around a doll as some kind of fancy evening gown. She went on to create the most exquisite pieces of embroidery but Patchwork seemed to be her first craft love. Am I right Grandma?

Patchwork on Central Park is my new favourite place in the world. I just want to bottle it up and drink it. As we walked in the door I went a little weak in the knees with pure sensory overload – I am without a doubt a fabric geek. The polished floorboards, the beautiful finished quilts draped on display, the baskets busting with fatt quarters (what a great term) and the shelves full of beautiful bolts of fabric all colour arranged like a big tin of new Derwent pencils. Mmmm.

Grandma sat like patchwork royalty in a chair in one room offering her opinions to a gentleman who was choosing his backing fabric for a huge purple quilt. Amelia squealed and shouted “Mum-oh! Mum-oh!” as I pulled out bits and pieces and eventually settled on something perfect for the secret project. I also managed to find some small and cheap swatches of a couple of the 1930s fabrics which will do very nicely for clothing for upcoming dolls.

Not only did I get to ooh and aww at the delicious Kaffe Fassett and Liberty stuff they had, but they also had Amy Butler’s fabrics and joy of joys I also discovered that they stock the really cute 1930s reproduction fabrics from the likes of Judie Rothermel and RJR Fabrics… If they only stocked the munki munki range I would be in full heaven and I could stick my tongue out at Reprodepot Fabrics and the fact that they don’t deliver internationally anymore.

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21 Responses

  1. I can’t get enough of fabric either – – whenever I see a print (usually a repro print), I just have to buy it. Yards and yards of it! Usually a year or so later, I will find a project for it.I know this must sound weird, but I love the smell of new fabric — so new and full of such potential!

  2. My nanna used to have an old wooden cheese box full of knitting needles and I used to sort them into the different sizes to “help” her. She taught me to knit and to crochet and, is it french knitting, where you wind the thread around needles on the top of a cotton reel and a tube of knitting comes out the bottom?

  3. What a beautiful illustration!

  4. I agree with Rosa — I found the illustration to be gorgeous and very touching. It reminded me of times with my Nana. She was amazing with her sewing machine and she taught me how to cook. Treasured moments. Thank you for capturing that feeling.

  5. i didn’t know my grandmothers well as i grew up in a different country to them. both women were into crafts, my maternal grandmother sewed and knitted, more out of necessity when she and her family were younger, but later on in life i suspect she did it to be of use. my paternal grandmother was (she is still alive but her eyesight has failed her) was more into tapestries and making doilies of sorts (i don’t know what they are called in english). even though i never spent time with them while they were doing their thing, i do knit, sew, quilt, do cross stitch etc and family from both sides say i picked it up from each of my grandmothers. i’d like to think that it is true, that i have something of my grandmothers in me, women who suffered and endured so much to raise beautiful families and make a mark in the world, in their own unique way. the short, fussy memories i have of them will be passed down to my niece by me and my sister. i think of them both every day. your daughter is very fortunate to have her great grandmother around, as you are to still be gathering memories of her.
    thanks for your site, i enjoy it immensely.

  6. I just posted about a bag I made out of Amy Butler fabric. It is nice fabric. I think hers and Fassett can be combined and pieced into garments like Oilily. I have to force myself to stay away from my local quilt shop…sensory overload!

  7. says:

    Speaking of Amy Butler…maybe Amelia would want one of these skirts?! They seem to be made from her fabrics and are hand made. So cute!

  8. Thank you for posting about Amy’s fabrics. I just started sewing this week and I was dying to find some really cute fabrics. THANK YOU! I adore your new illustration!

  9. Oh I am a fabric junkie too! ( Even though I can’t sew…much) I love Amy Butler’s fabrics and patterns. I love the Aunt Grace Repro’s on the 30’s prints. They are so sweet! Thanks for the inspiration…Again.Oh….I wanted to mention that I saw a darling patchwork quilt at a craft sale that was an “I spy” type quilt that came with a little handmade booklet as to what there was on the quilt to spy for. So clever.

  10. psst–from one fabric junkie to another–I live near ReproDepot…if there is something you need, perhaps I could arrange to ship it to you?

  11. says:

    I love your picture too. It looks a lot like my Nannie, long gone to God now, but she taught me to knit and cook and it is only now that I am coming to really appreciate the time she took with me. I love Patchwork. Made a bed quilt for my eldest little girl. All in reds. She sat up with me on the couch with it over her as I handquilted hearts on to it. I told her every heart was to show her how much Mummy loved her. If you are ever passing through Yarragon on the Princes Hwy in Gippsland (just past Warragul) there is a great patchwork shop with some really beautiful repro type fabrics and my fave is a little shop tucked away in Nth Ringwood called Michelles Sewing Basket (also on the web). Not half as big as Patchwork on Central, but what she does stock is beautiful and Michelle is so helpful and lovely and she has a basket of kids toys in the shop. big brownie points.

  12. Hi my name is Amy and I’m a fabric-aholic. That said, I think it’s a hereditary thing…my Mom’s motto is “she who dies with the most fabric wins”…at the rate we’re going I’m a shoo-in!
    Your illustration is delightful and brings back warm and fuzzy memories for me. THANKS!

  13. Thanks for the offer Maggi! I might have to take you up on that sometime :). DOes reprodepot actually have a shop front aswell as just it’s online store? Thanks for the tips Jo, I will definitely make the trip out to Michelle’s sometime and next time we head to the prom I will encourage a slight detour. I love the “I spy” idea Jane, so much so that I might have to ‘borrow’ it for my secret project. It was kind of heading int that direction anyway and the booklet will be perfect.

  14. No problem! Reprodepot used to have an actual store but I am under the impression that they’re closed now–website only. BUT I figured since I’m seattle, having it shipped to my house would be cheap-o, and then I could forward it on to you! I’ve had my eye on a couple of things over there lately (if I don’t make something out of this soon, I’ll perish!) so it wouldn’t be a big deal to add your stuff to my order. Email me if you want!

  15. says:

    Michelle’s web site is The shop in Yarragon is called Candleberry Country and is down a little laneway in the middle of the shops. And a site for Australian fabrics which are quite sweet is They have a cherry print. I am into cherries and have decorated Beth’s room with them, hence the red quilt. I love your site and am so pleased that there is someone else in Australia who loves fabric, sewing knitting and quilting and is under the age of 65.

  16. how in the WORLD have i missed amy butler??? talk about inspirational fabrics! thanks for posting about her and all the others. there are some mighty fine textile designers around and its always fun to discover a new one.i too love the illustration, and in particular the way you constructed the quilt. plus, isn’t the pattern you chose for the quilt called grandmothers something-or-other?

  17. I have to join in with everyone else in saying that your illustration is simply wonderful! My own grandmother crochets, and when I was little, I would sit with her and play with the yarn, or with the crocheted circles and squares she had made that would later be sewn together to create a blanket. Your picture really moved me and brought those childhood memories rushing back to me. Thank you for that, and for your lovely site!

  18. I love fabrics…especially the vintage, and the ones from Japan. Thanks for the links!
    Awhile ago I contacted you about my new website. Hope one day you’d have time to do websites then I’d ask you again for help. For now, my little jewelry shop’s up now! at

  19. My wife is starting to get in knitting, although crochet is more her thing right now. She’s already made a collection of rather fetching cushion covers for our house, and now she’s halfway through a baby blanket for our expectant friend.

  20. You know ALL the good places, Claire! I’ve been wanting to learn to patchwork for a while now. What exactly, I’m not sure. When I learned to sew, my husband asked me to sew him a suit. When I learned to knit, he asked that I knit him a suit. I’ve turned down his first two requests, but perhaps I could patchwork him one!

    It is truly unfair that so many good places online won’t ship to Australia.

  21. says:

    I think that is my favorite illustration of yours. What a special memory. I can see you starting to design your own quilts. Have you seen the EQ5 software?