Thursday, 15 February 2018

Ballet with Kaffe Fassett progress

I pulled out my Ballet with Kaffe quilt again on 8 January 2018.  I'd neglected it for a few months due to Symposium and Christmas, but I still had all the fabrics set aside in their own box.  I cut and glue basted some pieces to take on our holiday to Australia, and I've continued working on it since we got home.  It's quite addictive once you get going again.

I really do think that this quilt is more challenging than la passacaglia! It seems harder to work out how the stars and rosettes all fit together.  I also miss having an overall diagram showing how it all works.

Anyway, I'm making progress and I like where it's going.  The photo below shows how I chose fabrics.  My inspiration fabric is at the bottom of the photo, and I just try fabrics where they will sit until I'm happy with the combinations.

There's still a long way to go with this quilt.  I might even "cheat" and make my quilt smaller than the one in the book - Millefiori Quilts 2.  That depends on how I feel about it once I get the top half joined up.

You can read more about this quilt, and see my previous posts, on the Ballet with Kaffe tab at the top of the page.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Kaffe Fassett class in Wellington - January 2018

Last Sunday I attended my second design class with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  (The first was two years ago which you can read about here.)

Kaffe talking about my quilt

This time we were making Green Diamonds from the Quilts in Ireland book.  I wanted to push my own boundaries and try something new, so I chose a rich, tamatoey red as my base colour!
I found a snazzy colour wheel online at which tells you what other colours work with any colour you chose.

So, I set about pulling all my red and green Kaffe fabrics that matched these strong colours.  Here's what I took to class (plus more of course).

Kaffe and Brandon don't mind if you bring along non Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics, but I thought it was a good opportunity to go all out crazy and put lots of Kaffe's fabrics together.

Mine is on the left

We were encouraged to work quickly and get a few of our first diamonds cut and up on the wall.  Then we could stand well back and see if the fabrics were working together.  Seeing them cut to size is quite different to looking at them on a table.

From there it grew and grew as we got the idea of how the colours could transition from one to the other.  Those green and blue spots you see on the bolt above are for the top and bottom half rows.  I thought the red and orange spots would be better, but as Kaffe says, you never know until you put it up against your fabrics.

We didn't do any sewing in the class - it was all about designing the quilt.  At the end of the day we rolled up the design wall fabric from the bottom up, and the diamonds were preserved in the correct order.  Any bets on how long it is until I unwrap this sausage?  I can't at the moment because it's too hot and all the doors and windows are open and the pieces would blow away. (excuses, excuses)

At the end of the day Kaffe walked around and talked about every single quilt.  We had 28 people in the class and we all heard his thoughts on each of the quilts.  Here are some of quilts:

So you can see that we had a wide variety of colour schemes.  The room looked very colourful by the end of the day.

It was a great class, and even though I've been before, I'd still go again if they came back to New Zealand.  It really was a privilege to learn from one of the great masters of colour and design. 

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Mediterranean Hexagons become Tropical Hexagons

Yes, I finished my Mediterranean Hexagons quilt on Friday, just two days before the 2018 class with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably!

This is the quilt I started in the previous class with Kaffe and Brandon, exactly two years ago.
You can read all about that class in this blog post here.

I'm really happy with the bright colours I chose for this quilt.  I was planning to use black with purple spots in the triangles, but Brandon suggested going lighter and I'm so pleased I did.  The black and white prints allow the hexagons to be the star of the show.

I used wool batting in this quilt, and have hand quilted it all myself.  It did seem to take forever because I quilted three hexagons inside each of the 99 hexagons in the quilt.  Gulp!

I quilted it during the US Open AND the Australian Open. 

For the inner hexagon outlines I used acrylic hexagon templates and my hera marker to mark the lines to quilt along (which you can just see in the photo below). On the outside of the hexagon I just eyeballed it, and the same with the grey triangles.  Life is too short to mark every line (or so I try to tell myself).

I used Aurifil 12wt thread in a range of complementary colours.  I worked out how much thread I needed to quilt each sized hexagon and wrote it down in a book.  This saved me a lot of thread because I hate ending up with short ends which are too good to throw away, but not long enough for a complete round.

I made my quilt the size in the book (Quilts in Morocco).  The hexagons are 3.75' each side, and we all used acrylic templates in the class to fussy cut the fabrics.  You can fin them here on this page at

I used a tone on tone wide back for the backing, and a black and white stripe for the binding.

I took it along to the class yesterday, and both Kaffe and Brandon admired it.

The pattern is Mediterranean Hexagons from Quilts in Morocco by Kaffe Fassett, but I've renamed my quilt to Tropical Hexagons.  Rather than being the cooling blue colours of the Mediterranean, my quilt is hot colours which remind me of the tropics - think Fiji and Hawaii, and the beautiful flowers of frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea.

My finished quilt is 80' x 84'.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Amitie Textiles - Jen Kingwell's shop in Australia

Last week we went to Australia for my son's cricket tournament.  This year it was held at The Geelong College, just 1 hour's drive from Melbourne.  Even better, the college is just a 30 minute drive from Jen Kingwell's shop, Amitie Textiles, in Torquay. Win, win!!


I was fortunate enough to visit Amitie twice during our stay.  On the first day I was a bit rushed because my husband was waiting outside in the car, but on the second visit I was by myself and could look at everything!

If you're a fabric lover it really does take more than an hour to look at everything in the shop.  There are so many bolts of fabric, all sorted nicely by colour.  Then there are all the patterns and templates to peruse.  Amitie make their own acrylic templates, so there was a huge variety of templates to look at.

Some of Jen's quilts are hung up high to admire, but others are left on long tables for customers to pick up and study closely.  I particularly enjoyed looking at the hand quilting, and the subtle background fabrics Jen uses to bring out the other fabrics in her quilts.

On Thursday morning a group of ladies were settling in to enjoy a few hours of quiet hand sewing.  The on site cafe was churning out coffees as most people picked one up one on the way past.

My purchases from my first visit

I enjoyed a coffee as one of the very helpful shop ladies cut some fat 16ths of the very latest Liberty for me.

My purchases from the second day

I couldn't stay and sew because the temperature was expected to climb to 41C that day (106F).  And it did.  I have never been so hot!!!  Fortunately our apartment had air conditioning.

And a lovely view from the balcony.

Here's some photos of The Geelong College where the cricket tournament was held.  It was founded in 1861 and has amazing grounds and buildings.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Holiday Sewing Part 3 - Mirage

Yes, there's still more from my Christmas holiday sewing with my mum.

You probably know by now that I can't resist a bright pop of colour, so sometime ago I bought two sections of a Mirage panel by Northcott. 

While mum was here I suddenly had an urge to turn one of them into a wall hanging for my home office.  I decided to practice on the spare piece first, so I machine quilted it along the lines with my walking foot and verigated thread.

As usual, it took longer than I expected, but it was the holidays, so it didn't matter.

Mum kindly sewed down the binding, put on the label, and added the hanging sleeve (all those finishing jobs which take time).  She's taken the practice one home to hang in the spare room at her house, and one day I'll turn the other piece into a wall hanging for my home office. 

Here's the selvage in case you want to track it down.

If you didn't know it was a panel, you'd think it was pieced because the quilting makes the triangles pop.