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!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Capital Quilters 12 x 12 Exhibition

I'm currently working on three mini quilts for our guild's upcoming 12 x 12 exhibition. It's not until 31 July - 13 August, but we need to hand our quilts in by 24 June.  I can't show you my quilts yet, but I certainly will post photos from the exhibition on my blog.

I've only previously made one 12 x 12 quilt, and that was for Aotearoa Quilters Yellow challenge.

When I look at it now I think it was very basic, but I guess we all have to start somewhere.

Here's two others that were in the same exhibition and they are fantastic:

I'm trying to be more adventurous with these new minis, and pack a lot into each one.  I was really inspired by these minis in the Aotearoa Quilters Green challenge in 2015:

Here are some of my favourites from this challenge (I don't have the maker's names sorry):

Our organising committee have come up with 12 different categories we can enter for the Capital Quilters 12 x 12 exhibition.  They are:

1. Pink
2. Flora & Fauna
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
4. Round the World
5. Kiwiana
6. Through the Lens
7. Celebrations
8. Buildings
9. Friendship

Those categories give lots of scope for everyone to come up with something.  Some of us are just dreaming up an idea and then trying to find which category it fits in to. I can't wait to see all the different interpretations of the categories.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Jo Dixey's embroidery

Jo Dixey is New Zealand's only professional embroiderer and she came to speak to our guild today.  Jo trained at the Royal School of Needlework in the UK and these are some of the beautiful pieces she bought along to show us.

You can find Jo on Instagram as @dixeysoul and her blog is here.

The details were just amazing and her stitching is beautiful.

Jo is now a quilter too, but embroidery is still her first love and passion.  Everyone enjoyed getting a close up look at her work.

And to cap off a very successful meeting, I won block of the month!!  Fortunately I was wearing just the right top to match the blocks on the wall.

I can't wait to sew these together and make my first ever truly scrappy quilt

Friday, 21 April 2017

Hand quilting designs

Welcome back. This is the third post in this little series about hand quilting. The first was here, where I gave my thoughts on keeping hand quilting alive in the 21st century.  The second was here, where I explained the threads, needles and thimbles I use,

Today is the third post and it's about the designs I choose to hand quilt on my quilts.

1.  This is one of the very first quilts I hand quilted.  I used masking tape to mark diagonal lines across the squares and hand quilted in black cotton.  It was a good place to start.

2. I then moved onto quilting 1/4" from the seam. I still used masking tape but found my needle kept getting sticky from the tape (because I stitched too close to the tape). This is when I started using DMC Perle 8.

3. I used a similar technique on Bordered Peacocks, but I used wider masking tape because I wanted to quilt 1" from the edge because the area to fill was larger.

4. On this Radiant Poppies quilt I wanted to break away from 1/4" from the edge, so I drew straight lines across the quilt with a washable blue marker.   I marked the lines in groups of 3.

5.  Then I decided I wanted to try free hand quilting with no marked lines!  I used Dazzle thread from Wonderfil here (it has built in sparkle). I quilted my first wavy line down the middle of the tree, and then worked out to the edges on either side of it.

6. I intended to hand quilt this wall hanging in pink Razzle from Wonderfil, but it was too hard to get the thick thread through the Batiks so I just did some accent hand quilting and then reverted to machine quilting for the rest of it. There's a time and place for everything. 

7.  Last year I made this wall hanging and decided to quilt circles on it! I used a chalk pencil and traced around some plates from my kitchen. This is where I started using Aurifil 12wt.  It's thinner than perle 8 and is lovely and soft.

8.  I made my own cloud templates for My Small World.  I don't think they really show up on the finished quilt, but they certainly add texture to the sky area. I didn't want to quilt straight lines in the sky.

9. On Oh! Christmas Tree I decided to emphasise the stars on the background fabric. I didn't have to mark any lines, I just quilted over the designs in the fabric. I'm really pleased with how this one turned out.

I echo quilted around the wool felt applique to make the birds and flowers stand out.

10.  I don't normally do cross hatching, but decided a small taste of it would work well on my Possum Magic quilt (this isn't finished yet). 

11.  I decided to quilt quite densely on this English Paper Pieced quilt.  I marked the lines with a hera marker and that's now my preferred method of marking. I didn't want to quilt in the ditch because the seam allowances can be bulky on English Paper Piecing. 

12.  Last photo - another English Paper Pieced quilt I quilted last year stiching 1/4" from the edge.  this is still my default option if I can't think of any other designs. Now I use Hera markers to mark the quilting lines. I much prefer them to masking tape now.

So, the possibilities are endless - just as they are for machine quilting.  I keep trying to stitch without marking lines, but if I want a straight line it's quicker for me to just mark it.  Otherwise I keep unpicking my stitches because they're not straight enough.

I hope these photos help some of you wondering what to quilt onto your quilts.

Remember: If you're itching to give it a go, and don't know where to start, I highly recommend this video by Sarah Fielke - it's how I learnt.  I watched it again and again until I was happy with my own technique.