Thursday, 20 July 2017

EPP classes in Wellington - Octagons and Squares

Many of you know I'm addicted to English Paper Piecing. I just love all the great patterns that can be created with shapes and colours.  Would you think these two pieces below are made from the same two shapes?

Well, they are.  They are both made from just ocatgons and squares. If you live in Wellington you can come to my class at Nancy's Stitch Studio and have fun experimenting with shapes and colours.

Yes, I'm teaching English Paper Piecing classes at Nancy's on Wednesday 9 and 30 August in the mornings and evenings. Click here for more information. Come along and learn all my tricks and tips for making great English Paper Pieced quilts and table runners. We'll be using glue basting and precut paper pieces, so there won't be any fiddling about with paper and scissors and wonky lines.

I hope to see some of you there.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Good news from Quilt Symposium

I received some good news this week.  One of my quilts was accepted for our national Quilt Symposium in October.  It's the one I made with Symposium in mind, so I'm really pleased it was accepted.  There were 340 entries and only 170 quilts accepted, so my 50% acceptance rate feels just right.

Some people had more than one quilt accepted, but others had none, so I'm grateful that one of mine will be hanging in the exhibition.  The judging was conducted by three experienced judges, and they had no idea who made the quilts, so it was all fair and quilts got in on their merits.

I'm looking forward to Symposium because it should be warm by October.  We're currently experiencing a very cold spell with wind, rain and snow affecting all of the country.

I'll be taking classes with Jen Kingwell - Green Tea and Sweet Tea (hand applique) for two days, and Glitter (hand piecing) for one day.

I'm also taking Pickle Dish with Chris Jurd. And some free motion quilting with Deborah Louie.

So that's five days of classes!! Plus a few lectures, dinners, and drinks parties to attend.  I'm feeling tired already!

I don't know if I'll get out of the classroom much, but Christchurch is a lovely city and I always like to visit the Botanic Gardens when I'm there.  Here's a photo I took of punting on the Avon River some years ago.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

30 June check in

Every six months I set goals for my quilting and embroidery.  I find this helps me to keep on task, and get things finished.

It's 30 June so it's time to check progress.  The list I wrote for 2017 is here if you would like to check back, but I promise to work through it without omitting anything.

1. Symposium quilt 1.  This one is finished, photographed, and submitted.  I'm just waiting to hear if it got accepted or not.

2. Symposium quilt 2.  This one didn't get finished in time, so will be held over until a future show.  I've continued to work on it, but I just knew I couldn't finish everything.

3. Symposium quilt 3 - Possum Magic.  I finished this one, photographed it and submitted it to Symposium.  Again, I'm waiting to find out if it was accepted or not. (I'll post full photos in another post soon.)

4. Tussie Mussie.  I made the top entirely from my stash and I love it.  The pattern calls for nice big half square triangles and enjoyed mixing up my favourite Kaffe Fassett prints.  This pattern is from Kaffe's book, Quilts in Italy.  I've decided to get this one quilted at Busy Bee, Wellington, because I just haven't got time to quilt everything myself and I really want to start using it.

5.  Sue Spargo Instastitch - I finished the blocks and joined them all up, but haven't thought about how it quilt it yet.  There's stabiliser behind most of the blocks so it will be too thick for hand quilting.

6. Wendy Williams Tea Party BOM.  I'm going to start this at our retreat, this weekend. Now that my Symposium quilts are finished I intend to dive right in and enjoy making this.

7. Tropical Hexagons - another Kaffe Fassett pattern.  Now that I know that Kaffe and Brandon are coming back to New Zealand in January, I really need to get this one quilted so I can take it along for show and tell.  I have started the hand quilting, and will try to do a few hexagons each week.  There are 99 in the quilt!  This pattern is Mediterranean Hexagons from Quilts in Morocco.

So that was all the things I listed at the start of the year.   I've finished two of them, and made progress on four.  The Wendy Williams Tea Party BOM is the only one that I haven't worked on yet.

Of course I've started some extras along the way too:

8. Ballet with Kaffe Fassett - I'm loving how this is looking and I'm enjoying English Paper Piecing again.

9.  12 x 12 quilts.  I've made three 12 x 12 quilts for our guilds exhibition.  I can't show you them yet, but I will once the exhibition opens on 1 August.

10. BOM HST  - I've joined up some of the Half Square Triangles (HSTs) that I won at our guild Block of the Month (BOM) earlier in the year. I need to add more yet, but I like where this is going.

11. Cob Web quilt.  I started this in a class with Chris Kenna at Nancy's Stitch Studio.  We only made a couple of blocks at the class but I love how they are turning out.  They are foundation paper pieced so are quite slow to make, and making the blocks into circles taxes my brain - which I like. That's not my quilt hanging up - that's Chris' sample for classes.

So that's ample to keep me busy until the end of the year.  But added to that I will starting three new quilts at Symposium in October! Help!!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

How to enter a quilt show - finding the right quilt show for you

Thank you for all your lovely comments and kind thoughts on my last post. I'm still getting used to the idea of being a winner, but I picked up my new Bernina 215 yesterday and can't wait to open it at the weekend.  Bernina was so generous to provide three sewing machines as prizes at the show.

This week a quilter on Instagram asked me to write about how to enter a quilt show, so here are my thoughts.

1.  Do your research.  Be sure your quilts are good enough to hang in a quilt show. You can really only do this by attending some shows in person.  Photos do not show quilts accurately enough.  You need to look at the quilts from a colour and design aspect, and you also need to get up close and study the technical aspects - look at how the seams meet, how the binding sits, how the quilt hangs etc.  Then think about your own quilts.  How do they compare? Are you ready to enter a show yet, or do you need to keep working on your quilt making skills for another year or two?

2.  Investigate local shows.  Attend a few local shows and find out who is entitled to enter those shows.  Maybe you have to join a guild to enter.  There's a lot of work that goes into organising a show, so it's fair enough that the guild restricts entries to guild members. The good thing about guild shows is that they often guarantee that each member can enter at least one quilt into the show.  This is a good way to enter your very first quilt show. I would recommend starting small and joining a local guild if at all possible. People in guilds can be very helpful and are often willing to share their knowledge about quilting techniques and shows.

3.  Investigate shows that are further away.  You can find out about other shows and their entry requirements online.  In New Zealand we are having our Quilt Symposium soon.  It's a national event that happens every two years and you don't have to belong to guild to enter a quilt. However, you do have to pay registration fees and entry fees, and your quilt might not even be accepted! If your quilt is accepted you will have to pay courier fees to and from the location of the show. If you want to see your quilt in the show you will have travel expenses too.

4.  Read the rules of shows very carefully. Each show makes their own rules and they can vary widely.

- Is there a maximum size for quilts?

- What category would your quilt fit into?

- Does your quilt have to be an original design or can it be made from a pattern?

- Does it have to be all your own work?

- Does your long arm quilter need to belong to this guild too?

- Are you a professional or an amateur for this show? (each show defines these terms differently)

- Is there a date after which the quilt must have been finished?

- Can you sell your quilt at this show?

- Do you have to sell your quilt at this show? eg.  This extract is from a 12x12 mini quilt competition Entries must be for sale at $125. The Entrant will receive $100 and Aotearoa Quilters will retain $25 if the quilt is sold.

- Look for rules on photography and social media.  Some shows will not accept a quilt if any part of it has been shared online!  Another extract from the 12x12 mini quilt competition No photographic images of entries or part of the entry are to be made available for public viewing prior to the opening of Quilt Symposium Christchurch 2017. 

5. Be aware of all the deadlines around quilt shows.  I had to photograph my quilts and enter the QuiltNSW show online in February, even though the show wasn't until June.  The guilds receive hundreds of entries, so they need time to conduct pre-selection, and devise hanging plans for the show.  Once you receive notification that your quilt has been accepted, you might only have one week to post it.  I recommend attaching a hanging sleeve before you finish the binding.  That way your quilt will be ready to post off as soon as you receive notification of acceptance.  You can always take the hanging sleeve off at your leisure if your quilt doesn't get accepted.

6.  Be prepared to volunteer at the show if your quilt does get accepted.  Each participant in the QuiltNSW show was asked to do two duties over the four days.  I did white glove duty on Thursday for 1.5 hours, and sold raffle tickets on Friday for 1.5 hours.  I saw photos of people hanging the quilts up on Wednesday and they worked extremely hard all day.  Other committee members were at the show from 9am til 5pm for four days in a row.  Without volunteers there would be no show!

7.  Be prepared for rejection. You might think your quilt is good enough for a particular show, and other people might have told you that too, but the judges decision is final and they might not select your quilt for their show this year.  There could be too many red quilts this year, too many hexagon quilts, or maybe you just haven't reached their required standard yet. Rejection is hard, but learn from it and try again next year, or try a different show.  Don't let one rejection put you off quilting or exhibiting your work.

Disclaimer: I have no idea about how to get a quilt accepted for QuiltCon - The Modern Quilt Guild's annual show in USA.  I see lots of quilters desperate to get their quilts into QuiltCon each year, and they are devastated when their quilts aren't accepted.  I look at photos of the quilts on display each year and really can't work out why some were accepted and others weren't.  It's a mystery to me, so because I don't understand what they are looking for, I won't ever make it a goal to get a quilt accepted into QuiltCon.

I hope these pointers help you if you're thinking about entering a show.  It's a long drawn out process, so start doing your research now, and maybe make 2018 the year you enter your first show.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

QuiltNSW - Sydney Quilt Show - I'm a winner!

Wow!! What a crazy few days that was!

Many of you know that I entered my la passacaglia into the QuiltNSW Sydney Quilt Show in Australia.  I was there for the prize giving on Thursday and was totally stunned when I won the top amateur prize!!

Yes, I won the Bernina Amateur Encouragement Award and the prize is a Bernina 215, very kindly donated by Bernina Australia.

Bernina Australia are lovely and they are sending a machine to Nancy's Stitch Studio in Wellington for me to collect.  I didn't want to have to try and bring it home on the plane yesterday.

I also won a Judges Commendation in my category - Pieced Quilt and Hand Quilted (Amateur). That's the blue ribbon pinned on my quilt.

So it was an amazing day which seemed to just fly by after the prize giving.  The congratulations kept flying in on Instagram and Facebook.  If I haven't replied to you personally, please accept my thanks now.

I met so many people who follow my blog, facebook or Instagram at the show! Thank you all for coming up and saying hello.  My friends were laughing that every 10 minutes or so someone would say, "Are you Wendy? You don't know me, but I follow your blog."

The first kind lady approached me on the first morning at 8.55am before the doors even opened to go in, and it continued until I was walking to the exit at 4.30pm closing on my last day.  You're all so kind and it was lovely to meet you all.  Thank you for reading my blog and being interested in what I make. I don't do selfies, but if I did I could post at least 30 selfies here with blog followers I met at the show.

So now my quilt is showing on the QuiltNSW page of winners.  What an honour.  You can click here to see more winning quilts from the show, and I'll post some of my favourites in a separate blog post soon.

If you'd like to know more about how I made my la passacaglia quilt, you kind find all my previous blog post on the tab at the top of the page, or by clicking here.

Final advice:

This success is a story in not giving up. Many of you have told me my quilt is beautiful and it has inspired you to start making your own la passacaglia.  I've also been told many times that I must enter it into a show and let other people see it in real life.

My own guild (Capital Quilters) hasn't had a show since I joined because the hall we would use has been demolished and is being rebuilt due to earthquake risks.

Our national show - Quilt Symposium - is only held every two years, but they require all quilts to be original designs, so I couldn't enter la passacaglia in that show because it's from a pattern by Willyne Hammerstein.

Last year I applied to have my quilt included in the Quiltmania exhibition of 20 la passacaglia quilts at the Houston quilt show in 2016.  My quilt wasn't selected and I was naturally quite sad about that. I would have loved to have had my quilt at Houston, even though it would have been for exhibition only, and not judged.

So then I emailed the Auckland Quilt Guild to see if I could display it at the Auckland Festival of Quilts in November 2016, even though I'm not a member of that guild.  I said it could be for display only, and not judged.  But they came back and said they only allow entries from people who live north of Taupo - and unfortunately I don't.  That's fair enough, it's their guild and they make the rules.

Undeterred by two rejections, I joined QuiltNSW because they allow international memberships, and allow each member to enter two quilts into their show each year.  I'd seen photos from their show in previous years and knew their quilts were beautiful.  I just wanted my quilt to hang in a show and let other people see it in real life. So I joined QuiltNSW a year ago, and entered my first quilt show.  And look at the result!! I won the top amateur award.

So the moral of this story is, don't let a rejection put you off.  If you think your quilt should be in a show, keep trying until you find the right show for you.

Thank you to QuiltNSW and Bernina Australia.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Millefiori Quilts

This week I started something new.  It's Ballet avec Kaffe Fassett from Millefiori Quilts 2 by Willyne Hammerstein.  Yes, it's another epic English Paper Pieced quilt with a gazillion pieces to glue and stitch together.  Madness, I know.  But it's going to look fantastic (I hope).

When I found out that Willyne Hammerstein is releasing a third Millefiori Quilts book in September, I thought I needed to get a move on and use the paper pieces and acrylics I had bought for Ballet with Kaffe last year.  I tend to put these silly restrictions on myself about not starting something new until I've finished what I've already got.  I know most quilters don't abide by those rules, but somehow I feel compelled to keep my stash under control and finish what I've already purchased.

I've started a whole new tab to keep link all my posts about this quilt.  I know it's going to take months, or maybe even a whole year, to complete, and people who embark on this pattern in the future like to see how other people have approached it.

my inspiration fabric by Cotton + Steel

 You can see more photos about my approach for Ballet avec Kaffe Fassett here on the new tab.

I know many people have read my page about my la passacaglia quilt and found the information useful.  It's here if you're looking for information about la passacaglia.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Tussie Mussie - a finished quilt top

Last weekend was our Queen's Birthday holiday weekend.  It wasn't the Queen's real birthday, but in New Zealand we always celebrate her birthday on the first Monday in June.  Unfortunately the weather was wet and cold, but that was a good excuse to stay inside and quilt!

I joined up the last few rows of my Kaffe Fassett Tussie Mussie quilt and now I have a finished quilt top. (I'd started this quilt back in February - you can see my first post about it here.)

I was going to use a big piece of Kaffe wide backing I bought for another quilt and didn't use, but when I realised this top was only 60" x 60" and the backing was much bigger than that, it seemed like a waste.  So instead I pieced a back out of some of my bigger remaining purple and green Kaffe pieces.  I'll show you the backing when the quilt is finished.

This pattern is from Kaffe's book Quilts in Italy.  I modified the size of the blocks because I had a 6" Bloc Loc HST ruler.  The Bloc Loc rulers are great for trimming HSTs neatly. You can read more about them here.  Lots of local quilt shops stock them.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Finishing takes so long....

Do you find that? You start new quilts with great gusto, and think they won't take long to make, but somehow when you get to the finishing stages you get distracted by new ideas, and the pile of unfinished quilts gets bigger and bigger.

I've accepted that April and May just have to be my finishing months this year.  This year I've entered three different shows!! Yes, from never having entered a show to entering three in one year.  It's just the way it's worked out.

1. Capital Quilters 12 x 12 Exhibiton

We're having a 12 x 12 exhibition at Capital Quilters from 2-12 August this year, and I handed in my three entries on Saturday.  I can't show you them yet because the quilts are being judged and I have to keep my entries secret until then.

If you live in Wellington, or even further afield like Levin or Palmerston North, do come for a look.  It's fee entry and from the few I saw on Saturday there's going to be some great minis on display.  We already had over 30 entries on Saturday and the main hand in day isn't for another month yet.

2. Sydney Quilt Show - Quilt NSW

I'm a member of Quilt NSW in Australia (New South Wales).  It's a huge guild that welcomes overseas members too.  Their annual show will be held at the Sydney Convention Centre from June 22-25 and two of my quilts will be in the show! My la passacaglia and Oh! Christmas Tree will both on display.

I'm very excited because I'm going over to Sydney for the show and it will be the biggest quilt show I've ever been to.  I've made lots of online friends who live in Sydney, and it will be nice to meet them face to face.  I hear the stalls at the show are great too, so I better put my credit card on hold until then. I'll be there on Thursday and Friday if you're looking for me.

3.  Quilt Symposium Christchurch

Our national symposium is in October and entries close on 13 June.  I've been working furiously on two quilts for most of this year.  One is a secret and I won't post any photos until the exhibition in October, but the other is my Possum Magic quilt which everyone has seen throughout it's three year life.  There's one category for quilts totally made by one person (which I'm entering) and then another category for quilts made by more than one person.  Possum Magic will be in the second category because it's a group effort.  You can read more about the round robin I was in here.

My centre block that I made

I'm still hand quilting the final sections of the quilt, but I really hope to have it ready for photographing this coming weekend.  I'm using Aurifil 12wt and 28wt on this quilt.  I use the 12wt for all the visible decorative quilting, and 28wt for when I'm quilting in the ditch. The red spools are 12wt and the grey ones are 28wt.

I'm not aiming for prizes, but just having my quilts hanging in the show would be great.  It's a juried show, so not every quilt gets accepted.

I always use a hoop when I'm hand quilting.

So that's what I've been up to lately.  I'm really looking forward to starting something new once all these deadlines have passed.

Friday, 19 May 2017

A trip to Auckland

Last week I had to go to Auckland for work.  It's a one hour flight from Wellington, so it's a nice getaway.  My parents live in Auckland, and my older son is also up there, studying at university.

Mum and I share our love of sewing and quilting, so we visited a few quilt shops while I was there.  We both want to make the Sue Spargo needle case on the cover of the latest Inspirations magazine, so we each bought wool felt and ribbons.  Mum's pile is on the left, and mine is on the right (incase you couldn't guess).

I found the perfect backing fabric for my Peacock at Sunset tapestry so I was happy about that.  It just happens to be Kaffe Fassett of course. I'm going to take it to Nancy's Stitch Studio to be stretched and turned into a cushion/pillow.  They do a great job and it will be much better than I could do myself.

Mum showed me her latest EPP creation.  It's one of the variations of the Mischief Quilt designed by Karen Tripp.  You can find the pattern, templates and paper pieces on Karen's website DIY Addict website here.

Mum is also working on the butterfly quilt by Elizabeth Hartman.  It's called Lepidoptera and mum finds that amusing because she used to work in the zoology department of Otago University and knew the Greek/Latin names of many animals and creatures. I've supplied a lot of the bright fabrics for the butterflies because mum's stash is mainly florals.

Now I'm home and back to hand quilting my Possum Magic quilt.  This quilt was made by a group of friends in a round robin.  You can read more about it here.

I want to enter it into our national symposium which is in October, but entries close on 13 June so I need to work on it every day.

The class placements for Symposium were announced this week and I got into all of my first choices so I'm very happy about that.  I'll be taking classes with Jen Kingwell, Chris Jurd and Deborah Louie.
There's so many other things I want to finish before then though!