Amanda Daly

Amanda Daly
I've been passionately working with fabric for more than 25 years . . . relax with me as you read about my life and my quilts

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


My Friday morning class - A wonderful group of women who have been sewing with me for years, more socialising than sewing, they refer to themselves as the "Special" class.

The challenge this Christmas was to make a pin cushion for a swap.
I made the little cicada in the centre, actually I had to make three until I came up with one that looked remotely like a cicada. I'm a quilter and not used to making fiddly little things unless they are quilts.
I received the lovely pink and green pin cushion with the button in the middle.

My husband often laughingly asks me "when are you going to get a real job". I am very for fortunate to be able to turn my passion for quilting into my work. Thank you to all of the ladies (and Josh) who make this possible. I love every minute.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Do all good things have to come to an end?

John and I have decided that our last gig playing in our Bush band was to be our last.
It's more John's decision than mine, though I'm not unhappy about it. It has been wonderful but the time is right to stop now.
After more than 15 years we have got to the stage where there is no magic left and we are also getting a bit too old to be up playing 'till after midnight then doing the roadie thing, packing up and trying to stay awake on the often long drive home.

I fondly remember leading bush walking groups up hill and down dale all through the nineties and early noughties, the troops and I used to joke about how we'd ever manage to climb Mt. Solitary on our walking frames when we all grew too old to make it up there without them.
The walks came to an abrupt end when the leisure learning centre I worked for closed its doors. Initially I missed the walks, but there is always something waiting to fill the void. It was at this stage in my life that I decided to teach more quilting classes and enjoy having more time for my own quilting enjoyment.

This got me to thinking about quilting...will I ever find the time is right to put down my needle. Not a chance in the world!. Working with fabric is at the heart of my very existence, it's what I do, it's part of me.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Fibonacci number sequence

This is one of the quilts I designed using the Fibonacci Number Sequence and the Golden Rectangle.

I've just finished teaching my Fibonacci workshop to a very nice and enthusiastic group of ladies at Logans.

We were so engrosed in what we were doing I forgot to take photos. Some of the ladies elected to make a small version of this quilt and others designed their own - they are all going to be great quilts.

Did you know that if you add Fibonacci to your patchwork tool box, this simple number sequence - 1 2 3 5 8 13 etc can make a big difference to your ability to plan quilts that have good proportion and balance. It's not the be all and end of quilt design but it's another great tool to put into your patchwork tool box.

Let me know if you'd like to join or organise a workshop for next year.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Baby Quilt in Down Under

The pattern for my baby quilt made from 30's style fabrics is in issue 144 of Down Under Quilts - due out very soon.

Did you know you can request a free digital subscription for DUQ by visiting their website and signing up? See the link for Creative Living Media at the very bottom of my blog page.

Other projects in this issue include a bright quilt by Cinzia White, a Japanese-inspired quilt by Nerida Richmond Benson, a bright and funky quilt by Robyn Gosby and the cover quilt designed by Vicki Hines.
The next issue is also jam-packed with prize-winning quilts from six exhibitions around the world and Australia.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Organically Grown

I arrived back from my Qld. holiday yesterday and after reading dozens of e.mails and phone messages and a pile of snail mail, I turned my attention to finding out who had won the Quilters' Guild of NSW annual challenge, as I wasn't able to make it to the AGM. I had an entry in and so had a couple of my students.

I haven't heard anything official yet, but the guild's blog tells me I took first prize! Great! Wow! How good is that?

Do you know that flat feeling of arriving home from holiday after having a great time, reality hits hard and you know that you really should do something useful, but can't get motivated. This was the lift I needed while I decided whether or not to unpack my suitcase and tackle the mountain of washing.

I'm looking forward to seeing the other quilts in the challenge and congratulations Josh for your judges commendation with "Shake your Tail Feathers", you are off to a flying start.

Sunday, 26 September 2010



Jo and I worked together through two different community service organisations for years and years. When I left to pursue my full time quilting / teaching pathway, Jo gave me this beautiful Waratah. The gift was just perfect as we had worked for the past 6 years at Telopea which is the other name for Waratah. My fingers are not at all green so I worried about the fate of this wonderful plant.

Nearly two years later I am the proud owner of this most magnificent bloom. My life is also blooming and I have plenty of teaching work, many wonderful friendships have developed along the way and if I ignore household chores and other time wasters I also have time for my own quilting pleasure and for smelling the Roses...and the Waratahs.

Thanks Jo for the wonderful years and thanks John for watering it so lovingly all this time.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Down Under

I used to be a really regular contributor to Down Under Quilts magazine but due to family issues I had very little time last year and didn't get around to submitting any of the my quilt patterns for publication.

I've just received my e.mail copy of the August issue and my project "Midnight Jewels" is on page 44. It's a wall hanging and of course it's a bit 3 dimensional.

The October issue will contain another of my projects - a cot quilt. I made this quilt long before our next grandbaby was even concieved (in anticipation of the long awaited addition to our family). The whole family now eagerly awaiting our newest grandson's birth in December. This is the first time we have know the sex before the birth, at first it felt a bit like opening Christmas presents before Christmas and I wasn't at all sure that I really wanted to know, but now it feels right.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


I spent the weekend running a mostly 3D workshop for the Queanbeyan Quilters.

It was a bit fresh and breezy outside but wonderfully warm in the hall.

Many thanks to all the ladies for a great weekend.

All of the quilts look spectacular. Everyone worked energetically and enthusiastically, most even did some homework on Saturday evening which is way above and beyond the call of duty and no one complained (too much) about the hand basting, (the chocolate probably helped).

I love to get away and visit quilt groups and this weekend was no exception, good country hospitality - thanks especially to Helen for making me so welcome in her home.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Managed to tick off a few items from my to do list over the past few weeks.

Finished a landscape for a class I'm teaching - tick.

Finished writing a couple of patterns that I started months ago, they are proof read and ready to go - tick.

Caught up with paperwork (a bit), now I only have to tackle my tax ugh!

Helped my frail 90 year old mum move into a nursing home, and sorted out the huge amount of paper work and organisation that this entailed, now she will get the care she needs and I will have more peace of mind... it's all good - tick

Gave myself a few days off to enable me to get over my bout of lurgy, feeling much better for it - tick

Cleaned out the wardrobe and threw heaps of stuff out. Oh yes that felt good! - tick

Made a rhubarb upside down cake... need to do things like this more often - tick

So now that I've ticked a few jobs off. I only have 36 U.F.O's and a page or two of miscellaneous items and the list looks managable, but then there are a few things I need to add to it!

My new grandbaby, due at Christmas is a boy, that's really novel in our family, so a blue baby quilt is the number one addition to the list.

I've acknlowledged that my gym membership has lately just become gym tax as I haven't had the time or inclination to go, so next week......

I'll dust off the brand new, but as yet unused overlocker I bought on the spur of the moment a few months ago and learn how to use it creatively

I loved making the bags for the Down Under Quilt challenge so much I've designed some other bags for my classes and bought the silk to make them with (started already - see photo).

then there's ..........................

Got to go now, if I tick a few more off before the weekend I might even have time for a sleep in on Sunday.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Textile Art Fun

I'm Recovering today from my one day whirlwind trip to Brisbane for the Textile Art Festival. I had a really great time and will certainly go again next year. We all agreed that it had been well worth the trip, but I can honestly say I've never felt more tired and pleased to arrive home at the end of what was a really long day.

I was up at 3am after only managing about 2 hours of actual sleep time, (I must have been too worried about sleeping through the alarm to actually sleep), picked up a couple of friends on the way to airport for our 6.30am flight and didn't arrive home until 11pm after dropping everyone off following the long train, plane, bus, car trip home.

Reality really hit for all of us at around 4.30pm when the show closed, at this stage it would have been great to be home without the trouble of getting there. I got through it with a bit of a cat nap at the airport and again on the plane. I was too tired to even look at my wonderful purchases last night, so after a quick look tonight and a bit of planning it's off to bed for an early night.

The photos are of the bags I made for the Down Under Quilts Embellish a Bag Challenge. The challenge was to make a bag to certain specifications using the handles supplied. The bags were on display at the festival and looked great.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

What a great show

I was proud to have been awarded a judges commendation for both of my entries in the Quilters' Guild of NSW annual show at Darling Harbour last week.

Dragonfly Dance has now been added to my workshop list and is one of a series of quilts featuring dragonflys, butterflies and lizards. I've been experimenting with positive negative designs for a year or two now and love them.

The Lizard of Oz is a further exploration of my fascination for reptiles and the colours of Australia. It was designed with the Fibonacci Number Sequence as a design aid and it will also soon be on my workshop list as one of the quilts offered when Fibonacci is requested as the main workshop topic.

I had a wonderful time at the show, buying heaps of felted wool for a future project and a pile of other miscellaneous goodies.

I had to hold back just a little so that I can buy more stuff next Sunday at the Textile Art Festival in Brisbane.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Multi tasking at its best

Hey, I'm a woman so of course I can multi task, but managing to combine mundane daily tasks is not really multi tasking at its best.

This is multi tasking to be proud of.

I play keyboard in our Aussie dance band "The Currawong Bush Band" Last night we played for one of the regular Bush Dances organised by the Bush Music Club, an organisation we've been a significant part of for years. I love playing, but always take something quilt related with me. Last night I had a copy of one of my favourite magazines "Quilting Arts" sitting on my music stand alongside my music. There are always a few minutes here and there inbetween pumping out the music. No one can see the magazine sitting there and if anyone was really looking I'm sure they would just assume I was studying music in the breaks between dances (not as obvious as sitting there piecing blocks).

I also had a copy of the new Aussie magazine "Embellish" with me and by the way eagerly awaiting the second issue of the other new Aussie magazine "Down Under Textiles". I love them both, have you seen them yet?

Never let a chance go by!

Monday, 31 May 2010

Accreditation finally

I've been an active member of The Quilters' Guild of NSW for years and teaching patchwork and quilting and in particular my own designs and my passion for Fibonacci for around 15 years. I've even been the coordinator for the teacher accreditation program for 3 years but only just got around to becoming an accredited teacher myself.

So now it's official. Accredited Teacher - Special Techniques

Do you belong to the NSW Quilters' Guild? If not, now is a good time to join, membership fees are $55 are are due at the end of June. Why not join at the quilt show at Darling Harbour 16th - 20th June. Held at the Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour. You are going aren't you? I spend at least 3 days there, any less and I wouldn't get through it all.

There are many benefits to being a member of the guild. Meet some lovely people, borrow from a large library, attend workshops, regular meetings and weekends away, have your quilts valued, enter challenges, help with community quilts, receive a quarterly magazine "The Template" full of interesting stuff and you'll be eligible to enter a quilt or two in next years show... I'm sure there are even more benefits. Find out for yourself.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Typical behaviour

I quite often buy things on impulse, my husband is the same. We are not unhappy about this tendancy, but sometime a bit of planning would go a long way.

A while ago we were out shopping for a coffee table for the family room. We couldn't find one we liked, so on impulse we bought a very beautiful and very large octagonal table for our patio instead

It seemed like a good thing to do at the time. It fits beautifully into our patio and looks stunning. We love how it comfortably seats 8 and we can squeeze even more in if we need to, but it's really far too big for four and it's so wide we often have to rely heavily on the lazy susan my son in law built for us just to be able to share the nibblies. The seating plan is always an issue, as sitting four of us equally spaced around it (my husbands preference) makes us all feel too far apart and sitting on one side (my preference) does seem a bit unbalanced. If we had given it even a bit of thought we would probably have chosen something more versatile.
Of course it's not really a problem and it's easy to fix - just invite more people.

I bought an embellisher machine at the Quilt Show last June, it was about 4.30pm on the last day and I hadn't even looked at one before, let alone actually tried it out. I just walked past the stall and bought it. No pre-planning, no thought - just impulse.

It sat in it's box until last December, then it actually made it out of the box and onto the bench in my studio. I finally got around to plugging it in and trying it out a couple of weeks ago after spending a fortune on supplies while at AQC.

It's a bit like the patio table, maybe a bit more thought was needed. I'll try it again but I must say I'm not hooked yet - Must try some other raw materials and see if that makes a difference.

I like the spontaneous and impulsive side of me, it makes life more interesting and I need to come up with creative solutions more often.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

AQC in a day !

Once Upon a Time. My entry in the AQC Remember challenge

The fruits of my shopping spree at AQC

I had an amazingly full and rewarding day at AQC in Melbourne. I flew down to Melbourne on the 7.15am flight and back on the 7.15pm.

I know it probably makes more sense to go for the weekend but it always seems just so much more adventurous when we do it in a day.

Joined by 5 friends, we got out of bed at around 4am and arrived home very tired indeed at around 10.30pm. We did battle with the Melbourne trams, saw some really great quilt exhibitions, shopped until we dropped, ever mindful of the 7kg cabin baggage limit and the need to avoid sharp objects, we bumped into people we knew and chatted with some we met over lunch, we even road tested the newly available HQ16, and yes I really do want one of these!

My entry in the AQC Remember challenge was there. I remember bedtime stories and had great fun arranging scenes from Little Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland and other childhood favourites in my entry titled "Once Upon a Time". I loved the winning entry and the other 31 quilts in the exhibition.

A good day was had by all, though I slept fo 12 hours straight on Saturday night.

I have just a few short weeks to rebuild my strength for my one day wonder trip to the Textile Art Festival in Brisbane!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Simple Pleasures

I've been doing a bit of shopping therapy at Edo Arts again. I just love buying antique Japanese textiles and planning new projects to make use of my purchases.

They were a bit musty so I gave them the Shannon Lush treatment and misted them with a spray bottled filled with a few drops of oil of cloves mixed with water. Watching them swinging on the line in the gentle April sun made me feel very content with life. I even felt motivated to give some of my quilt stash a bit on an airing as well.

Don't you just love this time of the year? No more oppressive hot weather.

I feel so thankful for the simple pleasures in life -
Beautiful fabrics
My family and wonderful bushland home
Time to spend quilting
Lazy lunches in the autumn sun
Friends who love to share my passion - Fabric

Sunday, 11 April 2010


We were are at a friends 60th birthday party last night and I thought the time was just right to update my photo. That's me without the beard!

Hubby also looks pretty dashing.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Amanda I don't make bags Daly

I've had a couple of weeks to settle into learning to say no, so now it's time to start a new challenge or two.
I love challenges and enter many of them each year. One of next challenges off the starting block for me will be a real challenge. Those who know me will know that "I don't make bags" is my middle name.
I now own a set of bag handles for the Down Under Quilts, Embellish a Bag challenge and as it's not due until mid May there is still plenty of time. Having plenty of time fits in nicely with my new lifestyle which is all about not trying to stuff 26 hours of living into every 24 hour day.
I'll be embellishing the bag by hand while I'm in Canberra enjoying the National Folk Festival and eagerly awaiting my visit from the Easter Bunny.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Learning to say no

I've given myself another little pep talk. It's long overdue really.

As usual I've taken on too much and I'm wondering why I feel so overwhelmed and perhaps why I feel a bit used and unappreciated.

As usual I leave most things until the last possible minute and pass this off by saying that I work better under pressure. I volunteer to help even when I know I really don't have nearly enough to time. I try to do it all and every now and then I have to stop, give myself a stern talking to and do a stock take of my life and my pressures and responsibilities and what's really important in life. If I'm not careful I'll forget what roses look like, let alone having time to smell them.

O.K. so enough is enough. I've wiped a couple of major items off my "To Do" list and I'm feeling better already. Yes I do have "To Do" list(s) and I even have a list to keep track of my lists. I definately fall into the Enneargram type one personaility box.

Someone told me recently that we can't do everything at once, but we can do something thing at once. At the moment I'm writing this blog entry, then I'll choose something else to do and stop trying to do it all at once. That something will probably be to sit down with pencil and paper (and diary) and make a new "To Do" list, a realistic one this time and promise myself that I'll try to stop acting like a kid in a lolly shop.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Australasian Quilt Convention

I've booked my flight to Melbourne for Saturday 1st May to visit the Australian Quilt Convention. A small group of energetic and enthusiastic souls will be joining me for this one day wonder. I've always really enjoyed this annual event and I always eventually recover from getting up at 4am and arriving back home completely exhausted around 10pm with a large bag full of purchases and a digital camera full of inspiring quilt images that I'll be able to enjoy again one quiet day in the future. I suppose I should arrange to go for a couple of days and take more time to enjoy the experience but somehow it seems more adventurous to make it a day trip.

I've entered a quilt in the challenge with the theme "Remember" and I've just received confirmation that my quilt has been accepted as a finalist, so fingers crossed that it will be displayed with many others this year.

I'm also making plans to visit the Textile Art Festival in Brisbane again this year. Another day trip sure to leave me inspired.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

My determination to increase my health and fitness continues.

I've always been an all or nothing kind of gal, so amongst other things I have decided to investigate organic fruit and vegetables suppliers, free range meat / chicken suppliers and stop buying processed foods.

I've been reading Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie's book "Slow Death by Rubber Duck" It makes interesting if rather scary reading. My kitchen is now also a non-stick cookware free zone. I've always been worried about plastics in the microwave and have used glass for cooking / reheating / defrosting etc., but now I've also decided to store all food in glass instead of plastic.

I haven't decided how I'll make the change to less toxic hair and skin care products but I'm working on it.

I've always washed my patchwork fabrics before using, mostly to get rid of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process and secondly of course to take care of shrinkage and colour runs. I'm a bit asthmatic and have a sensitive skin, so I don't want to inhale any chemicals when I'm pressing fabric or absorb them through my skin while sewing. Reading the rubber duck book has only served to strengthened my resolve to wash before use.

Is all of this over the top? My attitude is that any changes I make to my lifestyle won't do any harm and might do a lot of good. I'll try to not become obsessed and just make a few easy to manage changes. I feel better already.

My advice - Read the book.

Monday, 1 February 2010

That certain age

I had what my mother would call "a funny turn" on New Years Eve, I thought I was having a heart attack. I didn't get much sympathy from hubby or friends. I just got a glass of cold water and a chair out on the balcony, while I was convinced I was breathing my last and needed an ambulance. When I recovered the general gist of the comments from those present amounted to "well that was a good way to get attention!"

To cut a long story short, Robyn, my doctor was more concerned and supportive and I saw a Cardiologist today and had a stress test. The good news is that my heart is in pretty good shape, so the "Funny Turn" remains a mystery.

All of this has had an effect on me. I had started to feel old and worried that I wouldn't live long enough to use up my stash, or to explore all of the creative ideas in my head, so in the past month I've really cleaned up my act. I now go to the gym for an aquafit class every day and walk every evening. I've cleaned up my diet and have started to lose the extra weight I've been in denial about.

I've had every ultrasound and blood test know to man in the last few weeks and have even brought myself up to date with visits to the Dentist, Skin Cancer Clinic, Breast Screen, and Optometrist. I've felt a bit like a car going over the pits for a thorough mechanical check up. The result is that I'm now reassured I haven't been too absorbed in my creative pursuits at the expense of my health and that my goal of living a healthy, active and creative life to 100 years plus, is back on track and I'll be able to use up my fabric/thread stash after all.

Now enough of all of this, it's time to go back to messing around with fabric and if I work hard I'll make the deadline for the Australian Quilt Convention annual challenge. It's still very much a work in progress as you can plainly see and I've only got 9 days, but I always did work better under pressure.

Something occured to me today - I've reached that certain age. Yes, I'm on the down hill run to 60 and it's certainly time to get serious about my health, but it's more than that. It's the age when Doctors start to look like kids, I'll swear the cardio man I saw today hasn't yet had his 21st birthday! I guess he must have been late 20's or early 30's to be practising as a cardiologist, but he did look so young. It's definately a sign of my reaching "that certain age". Bless him for being so nice and reassuring to such an old lady.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Norfolk Island

After a quick visit to the gym this morning for my aquafit class, I'm now busy ignoring a suitcase that needs to be unpacked and eagerly sorting through the 400 or more photos I've taken over the past week and going over the wonderful memories in my mind. Norfolk Island was sunny, breezy, relaxing and a real change from the hot Sydney weather and hectic life I live.

There were trees with brilliant orange flowers (orange has always been my favourite colour), water birds, rich history with plenty of ruins of the old penal settlement, beautiful scenery, giant Norfolk Island Pine trees and not a single Gum Tree anywhere.

The food was great, though I think my bathroom scales are malfunctioning, I simply can't have gained that much weight in a week, not with all the walking we did. In many ways it is like stepping back in time to a simpler slower way of life.

The most fascinating experience was watching the fortnightly supply ship being unloaded, there is no harbour so the ship anchors quite a way out and small boats are towed out to collect the supplies, this whole process takes a couple of days and much skill from the workers. The islanders rely on the supply ship for just about everything and supplies can be quite low just before each shipment. The supplies we witnessed were all quite nondescript, however there are photos all over the island of cars, trucks and buses being unloaded in the same way onto two small boats lashed together!!! The close up photo of the boat near the penal settlement is very similar to the ones used today.
The only vegetables allowed to be brought in are Potatoes, Garlic and Ginger, everything else is grown on the island and I've been spoilt, the taste was just fantastic, (mental note - learn how to grow organic fruit and vegies).

Animals have right of way on the Island, the cows, ducks, chooks etc all seem to know this and wander everywhere. The Islanders have their own language and all this adds to the amazing charm of this wonderful friendly place. We got so used to waving to every car we passed (a Norfolk custom) that we found ourselves doing it over here. No one has waved back yet!

I even managed to purchase some fabric from a textile artist. Photos to follow in the next few days.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


John and I went to the Aquarium in Darling Harbour a couple of days ago. It was probably an insane thing to do during the holiday period. It was very, very crowded but we had a great day. I took heaps of photos with mixed success and hopefully there is something useful in there for my intended ocean quilt. We showed great interest in all of the fish, but the one in the top photo is the only one who showed the least bit of interest in us.

I love the Water Dragon, those of you who know me well will know that I have a bit of a fascination for reptiles, that is as long as they stay outside.
My daughter phoned just before Christmas to say that she had arrived home from work to the news that there had been a Green Tree snake in the kitchen, it was last seen darting under the dishwasher !!! Apparently the children's nanny was extremely spooked and the kids wouldn't sleep in their beds for a day or two, but there have been no more sightings, so presumably it went out the way it came in. I'm led to believe her husband has been detailed to search out the entry point and destroy it.
John and I have a Diamond Python who lives in our roof, but that's on the outside of the house - a completely different kettle of fish.

Friday, 1 January 2010


I love the idea of a new year, a new beginning, a chance to make a list of my priorities for the new year which I see as an empty page waiting to be filled. I have many items on my list, too many to mention, however the top 3 are -

Walk EVERY day not just when I get around to it.

Do something creative everyday. If time is short, then just planning something creative or making sketches in one of my many journals and sketch pads will suffice.

Do lunch - regularly.

When I'm not messing around with fabric, I manage to make time for my other hobby. I play keyboard in our traditional Aussie dance band.
My husband John along with Don, Sam and Bob share this passion with me, together we make up the CURRAWONG BUSH BAND.
For New Year's eve this year we again played for the Monaro Folk Society at the Yarralumla Woolshed in Canberra. The woolshed has an interesting and distinguished history and is just magnificent, the photos could never do it justice, it's huge and yes, it still smells of sheep. There is a resident possum in the ladies loo, though it was a bit camera shy this year and by the time I'd found my camera he had disappeared.