Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Attention Wellington quilters

It's a big weekend for quilters in Wellington, New Zealand.  There's two quilt shows on this weekend - yes, two!!

 Firstly, there's this crazy bunch of ladies I know through Capital Quilters.  I don't know what possessed them to strip for this photo, but here they are.

These TOWRAGS produce amazing quilts, and they've made enough to fill historic Old St Paul's in Mulgrave Street.  Their show is on this Saturday and Sunday and I really encourage you to pop in for a look.  They tell me they will be wearing clothes, so you're safe.  Admission is only $6 - it's cheap!! Here's a link to find out more. 

They will be raffling off this gorgeous quilt, with proceeds going to Wellington Free Ambulance.

Secondly, it's the Stonestead Outdoor Quilt Festival on Sunday up at Te Marua, Upper Hutt.  I really  hope it doesn't rain, because I really want to see the quilts flapping in a gentle breeze and partake in a delicious Devonshire Tea.  I've got two quilts in the festival and want to see what else is on display.  Here's mine from two years ago.  I vowed to go bigger next time, and I have this year.

I've entered my two biggest quilts so I hope they have high enough ropes and they don't drag on the ground.  I'll report back next week with photos.

Friday, 10 February 2017

My embroidery priorities for 2017

I've just chosen my embroidery classes for 2017, so I can now write my list of things I'd like to make this year. Once again, I'm going to keep it simple and list my top priorities only.  I'm tired of listing the same things year after year and never doing them! Maybe one year I'll suprise everyone and just quietly make one of them when no one is looking.

1. Holey Moley

photo from Nancy's Stitch Studio
This will be six classes at Nancy's Stitch Studio spread out over the year. I haven't done this type of Jacobean embroidery so it will be very interesting.

2. Textured Floral Extravaganza

Photo from Nancy's Stitch Studio
This will be another set of six classes spread out over the year, with homework in between the lessons! Once again, I see new techniques that I haven't tried previously.

3. A Treasured Time

I started this Dimensions Gold kit in October 2016 and would really like to have it finished and framed before Christmas. I love this scene, especially as we have Christmas in summer in New Zealand.

Here's where I'm up to:

4. Peacock at Sunset

I'm more than 50 % done on the Ehrman tapestry, so I plan to finish it in 2017.

5. Twelve Days Ornaments

This is a gorgeous range of wool felt Christmas ornaments designed by Larissa Holland.

I stumbled across them on Instagram (@mmmcrafts) but you can also see them on Larissa's blog here. I've already made a tiny start, just to try out the method and test my Sulky Solvi.  Now I need to decide what colour felt I'm going to use. I can see this taking up a lot of time as I keep adding extra touches.

So that's it! Five main things to work on this year.  Plus my quilts of course (which you can see here).

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Tussie Mussie

I couldn't resist any longer - I started the Tussie Mussie quilt from Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in Italy.  I've collected a lot of beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics over the past two years, and I had enough purples and greens in my stash to make this lovely pattern.

I remembered the things Kaffe and Brandon had told us at the class I attended a year ago, and just used whatever fabrics I had on hand.  I didn't try to match my fabrics to those in the pattern. If I really like a fabric, I cut more of it.  Those I wasn't so fussed about, I used less of.

I have a Bloc Loc HST ruler for 6" finished blocks, so I made my blocks slightly smaller than the pattern. My quilt will be 60" x 60" rather than 80" x 80" (unless I decide to add more blocks).

In my mind this was going to be a green quilt, with purples in the background, so I laid out the blocks by pairing up the green fabrics (see below) . I knew it wasn't looking as good as I hoped, but I couldn't think why after a long day making 100 HST blocks.

I sat down to relax and immediately realised that I should have paired up the purple fabrics because they were stronger colours. The next morning I tried again and was far happier with the layout (see below).  It looks much cleaner now that the focus is on the purples.  The greens still glow in natural light, but the purple diamonds work far better this way.

I've now started joining the rows, but once again I've had to pack it all up because this is my kitchen floor and we need to eat! It's bringing back memories of when I made my Tropical Hexagons quilt and had the same problem.  Must be a thing with Kaffe Fasset quilts.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Soy Amado Quilts - Giving back

I've been friends with Alison from Little Island Quilting for some time now.  We've never met in person, but we have a long distance friendship on Instagram, and laugh at the same things.

Three years ago Alison started collecting 12.5" quilted blocks and turning them into quilts for children in orphanages. You can read all about her initiative here on her blog - it's called Soy Amado Quilts. Alison has now donated more than 100 quilts to children in orphanages in Mexico and South Africa.  You can see photos of the delighted children with their quilts her blog.

Although I live on the other side of the world from Alison (she lives in Guernsey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom), I felt I should contribute some blocks to her initiative.

As soon as I said I was starting, another online friend, Carla from Granny Maud's Girl in Perth, Australia, said that she would make blocks to match mine and maybe we could make the whole 20 blocks required between us! I have lots of blue fabrics, and suspected that Alison might receive more girl blocks than boy blocks, so we decided to make blocks for a boy quilt.

Carla got all fancy and started designing foundation paper pieced yachts and planes! You can read about her blocks here and here on her blog.

I kept mine simple and used up lots of fabrics I'd had lying around for some time.

I decided to include some sashing before I sealed up my parcel.  These blocks aren't sewn together - I was just testing out the sashing.

I'll be sure to show you are finished quilt once Alison has put it all together. If you'd like to contribute some blocks to Soy Amado quilts, please get in touch with Alison via her blog here.  She'd love to hear from you and always welcomes donations.

Monday, 16 January 2017

My quilting priorities for 2017

I love to start the new year with some goals, so here's what I've got planned for 2017.

1.  Symposium quilt 1.  I don't generally like to talk about Secret Sewing, but I have to mention this one because it's where most of my time is going at the moment.  I'm making a quilt to enter into our national quilt symposium. It has to be an original design, so I want to keep it under wraps until the entry deadline of June 2017.  I promise to reveal all in due course.

New Zealand has a big quilt symposium every second year.  Hundreds (or thousands) of quilters all gather for five days of exhibitions and classes. I'm currently planning which classes to attend and I'm aiming for Jen Kingwell and Chris Jurd.  There will be many international tutors there from UK, USA and Australia, as well as New Zealand tutors.  You can read more about it here.

2. Symposium quilt 2. I've also started a second quilt for symposium which may or may not get finished before the mid June deadline. If it's not ready for this symposium, the next one is in 2019 - plenty of time (ha, ha).

3. Symposium quilt 3.  Possum Magic.

There's a special category at symposium for quilts made by more than one person.  I thought it would be fun to enter my Possum Magic quilt which was made by 8 of us during a round robin.  You can see all the quilts from our round robin in the Possum Magic tab at the top of my blog.  I still need to finish hand quilting my quilt, but if I can get it done by the mid June deadline I will definitely be entering it.

4. Kaffe Fassett Tussie Mussie. Once I've finished my symposium quilts I think I will have earned a little rest, so I'd like to make this sweet design from Kaffe's latest book, Quilts in Italy. I'm sure I can make this entirely from my Kaffe stash (although mine won't be in these colours).

5. Sue Spargo Block of the Month. I've been taking part in this free online block of month and making each block as it was released.  I'm  little bit behind now, but I think I've made 9 of the 11 released to date.  I'm looking forward to joining it all up and seeing the finished quilts.

6. Wendy Williams Tea Party BOM. I resisted enrolling in this BOM, but when someone on Instagram was selling the entire set I felt I just had to help her out and buy the set. I do love Wendy's wool felt applique designs so I will enjoy stitching this.

7. Tropical Hexagons. This will be a hand quilting project for 2017.  I'll keep it simple, but I do love the texture hand quilting gives, so I intend to quilt it myself.

I'm going to stop my list here.  In previous years I've listed more than 10 quilts, but this year I want to keep it simple and just list my very top priorities.  I know I will be taking classes at symposium in October and starting at least 3 more quilts there, so I have to leave room for new things.

What's on your list for 2017? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

I'm back!

After what feels like a very long summer holiday, I'm finally back home and ready to start 2017. We spent Christmas in Auckland with my mum and dad, came home for a week, and then went to Queenstown for five nights.

This was the view of The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu from our apartment.

My husband and younger son rode the Shotover Jet

We watched the bungy jump but didn't do it.

We went up in the gondolas.

Central Otago is a beautiful part of New Zealand and we enjoyed our time there.  Some days were very hot (26C = 80F) and other days were cooler.

Queenstown Gardens

the Arrow River

Queenstown lake front at 7.30pm at night.

I'm off to finalise my quilting and embroidery to do lists for 2017.  I promise to reveal all before the end of this week.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are now are now looking forward to New Year's Day. I'm staying with my mum and dad in Auckland at the moment.  It was lovely to surprise mum with the latest issue of New Zealand Quilter magazine.  

Both of our la passacaglia quilts are shown and there's a little article about the quilts.  Mum was very surprised to see her quilt there when she turned the page.  It seemed a lovely way to end 2016 for us both.  We're both very pleased we made our quilts, but they were a lot of work and required dedication to get them finished.  Now we can both move onto other exciting things.

A few days before Christmas I saw some beautiful knitted Christmas Balls on Instagram.  I discovered the patterns were by Arne & Carlos - Norwegian guys who design fun knitting patterns.  Naturally I had to give it a go, so I rushed out and got their book from the library and a set of 5 knitting needles.  I've never kitted socks, so this was always going to be an adventure for me.

I used scrap wool for my first attempt while I struggled to keep the knitting on the 4 needles.  It turned out a bit too big for mum's little tree.

I've never been one to give up easily, so I found their pattern for mini Christmas balls online. This one is smaller but still a bit chunky because I bought 4mm needles and had to use 8 ply wool. At least I've mastered the technique and could make more for next Christmas with 3mm needles.

I gave mum this Stars Upon Stars pattern by Laundry Basket Quilts for Christmas.  We've been making a test block out of these fabrics, and learning as we go.  I'm not sure which fabrics mum will use in her blocks yet. 

On Thursday I went shopping with some friends and came home with this lovely selection of fabrics. I'm naturally drawn to the blues and greens. I purposely chose fabrics that I hadn't seen in my local Wellington shops.

Finally, as it's summer here in New Zealand, here are some photos from my mum's garden.  Happy New Year everyone and best wishes for 2017.  

Lilium Regale - known as New Zealand Christmas lily.

Dahlia - Tsuki Yori No Sisha - Messengers from the Moon