Friday, 17 November 2017

Peacock at Sunset cushion

My Peacock at Sunset cushion (pillow) is finished! It was a wool tapestry kit from Ehrman. They make many beautiful kits which are often stocked by local embroidery shops.

I know some of you think I whip things up overnight, but here's the facts:
December 2014 - I received this tapestry for Christmas (self selected gifts are always the best).
2015 - I didn't touch it at all
March 2016 - I started it on a work weekend away in Rotorua
Feb 2017 - I had about half of it done
August 2017 - I finished the stitching
November 2017 - it's finished!!

The kit includes a pre-printed canvas and all the wool you need.  There's also a diagram provided, but it's better to just follow the design on the canvas if possible. Every single space gets covered and the texture is nice and thick.

I started off with it on a frame, but then decided it would be easier without a frame.  It did get a bit warped, but it was stretched and corrected during the finished process.

the back with a hidden zip

I have made some cushions myself, but the people at Nancy's Stitch Studio do such a beautiful job so I send my very best pieces to them.  See how they applied the cord perfectly? And matched the stripes on the Kaffe Fassett fabric I provided? I would rather pay them to do it than fiddle about myself at home.  There's a zip so I can remove the insert if necessary.

Finished size - 14" x 13"

I'm tempted to make another cushion like this one day.  I thought that tapestry would be easy and quick compared to embroidery, but I was wrong.  It took quite a few months of quietly plugging away, but I'm very pleased with the outcome.  I'm still browse the beautiful designs on the Ehrman site, but I have so many other things I want to make too.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Patchwork Doodle with Sherri Lynn Wood

Yes, another class!!

A few weeks ago I attended a class with Sherri Lynn Wood.  You might have heard of her - she's written a book called:
The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters (shown on the flyer on my cutting mat below).

Sherri was in New Zealand for Symposium, but had agreed to stay on and teach a few classes for one of the local guilds.

The class I attended was called Patchwork Doodle.  Sherri explained lots of techniques for using up scraps, and then left us to each work out what we could do with the fabrics we had bought along.  The big challenge for me was that there were no rulers allowed!!

All the cutting was done freehand, which was a bit scary at first, but I soon got into it.

Sherri was clearly more used to working in solids, and was probably horrified at us putting pattern with pattern, but hey, if we're going to go improv we may as well go all out.

I tested my piece against some different fabrics when I got home, but I don't see this getting finished anytime soon.  I've tried, but I don't really think freehand improv is my thing.

There are just so many other things that I enjoy doing more at the moment.

I chose to attend this class because it was close to my house, and Sherri may never come back to New Zealand to teach again.  My motto is - seize the opportunity while you can.  You don't know what you might learn until you take part.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Auckland Festival of Quilts - Aotearoa Quilters Orange Challenge

Like previous years, the Aotearoa Quilters 12 x 12 colour challenge quilts were on display at the Auckland Festival of Quilts.  This year the colour was orange.

I didn't enter a quilt because I had entered three mini quilts in our Capital Quilters guild 12 x 12 challenge this year.  You can see my entries in that challenge by clicking here.

I did have an orange 12 x 12 quilt in the Capital Quilters challenge, but I couldn't enter it into Aotearoa Quilters challenge because I'd already published photos of it on my blog and Instagram. That policy is currently under review and if you're a member of Aotearoa Quilters I'd encourage you to answer the survey they sent out at the weekend. and let your views be known.

My favourite this year was "3 Baobab Trees" by Theresa Vaughan.

The overall winner was "Is Orange really the New Black" by Liz McKenzie.

You can read about and see photos on my blog from the previous Aotearoa Quilters challenges here:
Green challenge - 2015
Yellow challenge - 2016

Next year it's PINK.  What can I possibly do for that?  Suggestions welcome.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Auckland Festival of Quilts - 2017

On Friday I went to the Auckland Festival of Quilts with my mum, Joy, and my friend from Wellington, Anne.  We had a good time and were very impressed with all the beautiful quilts on display.

Here are some of my favourites:

Firstly my mum, standing next to her la passacaglia.  It was entered as "Exhibition Only" because it was finished in 2016, so not eligible for prizes.  Mum couldn't enter it last year because it was away in Houston as part of the Quiltmania la passacaglia exhibition. Lots of people said it looked lovely, so that was very nice for mum. It's all English paper pieced and hand quilted.

Next was mum's other quilt in the show, her Summer Garden, made from Karen Tripp's Mischief pattern.  Again, it's all English paper pieced and hand quilted.

Some other quilts that I liked:

These dragonflies were my favourite quilt in the show.  They just shimmered in the light.

I met plenty of quitly friends while I was at the show.  Some of them have blogged about the show too so you can see photos of the quilts they liked here:
Sue Flego - Susanna Quilts and a second post here
Julie - Julie Lou

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Lectures at Symposium

As though five days of classes from 9am until 4.30pm wasn't enough to fill in your days, Symposium also offered lectures during lunch times and in the evenings.  I attended three lectures and they were all great.

First up was Luke Haynes from USA. He explained how he's made 50 black, white and red log cabin quilts from recycled textiles / clothing! Each one is different, and they form part of a study he's put together. Luke loves using recycled textiles for his quilts.

This is Luke's quilt in the Tutors' Exhibition.

Although Luke didn't bring his Bernie Sanders quilt along, it is probably my favourite quilt of his.  I love the blue background and how it moves before my eyes.  It's interesting to now know that the background is made from recycled fabrics. (I've started saving my husband's old shirts for future quilts.)

Luke's technique of putting images of people on quilts is very clever.  Sometimes he plays with vanishing points and the images of people seem to rise up as you walk in front of the quilt.

I also went to hear my lovely friend Michele Hill speak about how she came to design quilts and write a book about Beatrix Potter. Michele is so humble, and so grateful for all the good things that have come her way in life.  It's such a pity she has to give up teaching for health reasons.

Finally I went to Jacquie Gering's lecture.  I was quite surprised to hear that Jacquie has only been quilting for 10 years.  Although she's been a "maker" all her life, she only started quilting relatively recently.

These photos aren't very good, but they give you an idea of the types of quilts that Jacquie makes.  I did note that she uses black alot - like me!

Jacquie is best know as a modern quilter, and chair of the Modern Quilt Guild.  She has recently written a great book called "Walk - Master machine quilting with your walking foot".

 After seeing the samples my friends made in Jacquie's classes at symposium, and listening to her lecture, I came home and got out Jacquie's book again for another read.  It means so much more once you've met the author and heard them talk about their quilting.

So, three great lectures from inspirational quilters. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

My Haunted House

Last night was Halloween.  I only have three Halloween decorations at my house, but I got all of them out a few weeks ago.  

First up is my Haunted House that I made from a pattern by Victoria Sampler.  You can read all about it in this blog post, and more about the other buildings in my Gingerbread Village on the tab at the top of the page.  

 I loved stitching this 3D building.  The ornaments that came with the accessory pack are just so cute!

 My second Halloween decoration is this small table mat I made for the Haunted House to sit on.

And the third decoration is a table runner I English Paper Pieced with Cotton + Steel Halloween fabrics.  I used some of the patterns from The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek.

I hope you've enjoyed Halloween if it's something you celebrate.  It's becoming more popular in New Zealand, but my kids are too old for it now. 

Monday, 30 October 2017

A Mystery Quilt.....Through the Garden Gate

Hello, and welcome to my blog, especially if you're a Mystery Quilter.  

If you're not a Mystery Quilter, but wish that you were, then you need to visit: in the USA or in New Zealand.

How does the Mystery work?

  • We offer a choice of colourways (8 different options!) and sizes.
  • Each month for ten months you receive a pack of perfectly cut shapes and instructions for sewing them together.
  • You can follow the clues as people post them on facebook in our friendly group.
  • In the tenth pack you get instructions for putting the quilt top together.
  • Mysteries start in February (New Zealand and USA) and July (USA only).

Some months ago my friend Sheila Christensen from Quilters' Lane in Masterton, New Zealand, asked if I would like to join in the blog hop for her latest mystery quilt - Through the Garden Gate.  


So of course I said "Yes".

 The clue comes with the fabric perfectly precut and beautifully presented in its packaging.

It was quite easy to put the pieces together.

When I'd finished sewing the blocks together I couldn't resist trying some different layouts - even though I know these blocks probably won't sit next to each other in the finished quilt.  

The sewing did not take long at all. Less than an hour after I began, all the pieces were sewn together!

The idea is that a range of bloggers from all over the world each make one month's clues from the mystery quilt, and then send them back to Kim at Cotton Cuts in USA where they all get joined together. Cotton Cuts will sew the puzzle pieces together and then hold an auction for the finished quilt, with all money going toward the sheltered workshop for disabled people that they use for their fulfillment, Valley Industries. You can read more details about the fulfillment process and facility in Sheila’s recap from the July clue.

I intend to give my blocks to Sheila at our next Capital Quilters guild meeting, and she will pass them onto Kim from Cotton Cuts when they meet up at the International Quilt Market in Houston.  I wish I could take them myself, but sadly I'm not going to be there - maybe one day!

Kim supplied me with an pen so that I could sign one of the blocks for inclusion in the charity quilt. You can have a chance to win the entire quilt by entering the raffle (link below). Each of the bloggers will sign their blocks, so this really will be a one of a kind quilt!
Each blogger will make up one of the clues and send it to Kim who will complete the quilt. Here is the list of blogs where you will be able to follow the quilt being made:
I look forward to following along and seeing the other pieces that are sewn each month, and I’ll be sure to share final details on how the quilt comes together next year.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Glitter class with Jen Kingwell at Symposium

On the last day of Symposium I had another class with Jen Kingwell.  This time it was for her Glitter quilt, which is a pattern I've admired for some time.

We had the option of machine piecing or hand piecing our blocks, but I decided to practice the hand piecing that I'd learnt in Jen's earlier Green Tea and Sweet Beans class.

I'm so glad I chose hand piecing because it was so relaxing.  I was at a table with three other friends from Capital Quilters guild, and we just chatted as we each slowly made some blocks.  Two of them were using the sewing machines, but hearing their occasional frustrations made me please I'd decided to hand piece.

Here's our table's collective effort for the day:

I only made two blocks during the class, but there was no pressure to go faster.  I'll need 152 blocks if I want a big quilt, so the difference between making 2 or 3 in class is negligible.

I've made a quite a few more blocks since I got home.  I unpacked my bags, and stood back from the table trying to decide which of my new projects I'd pick up first.  It was like trying to decide which of your children to hug first - I loved them all, but could only pick one.  I chose Glitter, partly because I really enjoyed the class, and wanted to continue that calmness that comes with hand piecing. 

Here's what I'm aiming for, but mine will be all grey and green to complement the new wall paper in our bedroom:

Jen's Glitter Quilt
Here are some close up photos I took of Jen Kingwell's Glitter quilt.  It's hand quilted very simply with straight lines down and across in Aurifil 12wt.  Jen said she still intends to add more quilting, but this is enough to hold it all together.  She uses Quilters' Dream Cotton Select batting so can leave up to 8" unquilted.  Jen tends to use very light backings like voile.