Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A trip to Tauranga

Last weekend I went to Tauranga for a work social weekend and it was great! The weather was warm, and the sun shone for all three days.

We stayed at Trinity Wharf hotel.  The infinity pool looked beautiful, but it wasn't heated, so was very cold (so I was told).

The view from the hotel.  The bridge going to Mt Maunganui.

Another view of the pool.

On Saturday morning we walked around the base of Mt Maunganui.  That took about 45 minutes.

Then we went to a cafe right opposite the gorgeous surf beach.

On Sunday morning we went to Mills Reef winery for some wine tasting.  The grass was so green, and the sky was so blue - another perfect day.

We had an interesting discussion at the wine tasting about Geographical Indications (GIs).  I work for the NZ Institute of Patent Attorneys and New Zealand is about to introduce 27 GIs for wines and spirits.  The regime will provide name protection for wine growing regions such as Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay where this award winning syrah (shiraz to some) comes from.
Today I have to survey our members and find out where we want to go next year!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Embroidery progress

My first embroidery class of 2017 started at Nancy's Stitch Studio two weeks ago.  (I'm a student, not the teacher.)

It's called Textured Floral Extravaganza and we are going to cover a lot of different techniques.

Just part of the class sample designed and stitched by our tutor, Ann Marie Moorehead

I chose my feature thread first (the hand dyed Stef Francis verigated thread) and then dyed my fabric green to match it.  Although the class sample is beautiful and subtle, I couldn't imagine stitching beige on beige myself.

In the first lesson we started to stitch the stem of the flowers with raised stem stitch.

We also learned how to basket weave some leaves with coton a broder. This leaf will be finished off with whipped chain stitch around the outside.

same fabric - different lighing

When I left my class I saw some wild lilies growing on a bank, and was pleased to find my colour scheme replicated in nature - always a good sign that colours work together.

I've also been plugging away on my peacock tapestry cushion. It's very nearly finished.  I'm going to take it away next weekend when we go to Tauranga for a work social weekend.  I remember working on it in Rotorua at last year's social weekend, so it would be fitting to finish it at the 2017 social weekend.

And I'm also trying to do a bit each month on A Treasured Time by Dimensions Gold.  I would really like to have it framed for Christmas 2017.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

#instastitchwithsue - Sue Spargo mystery quilt

For the past 12 months Sue Spargo has been running a free mystery quilt along on Instagram. She called it #instastitchwithsue and released a pattern each month.  Here's my version:

I love Sue Spargo's designs - I have her calendar on my office wall and gaze at it often when I should be doing work.

I couldn't pass up the idea of a mystery quilt along with hand stitching thrown in!  So I started watching for the patterns each month and tried to keep up through out the year.  Here's a link to ALL 12 blocks. Just click on the photos to download the patterns.

I thought I'd use different fabrics from my usual selections, so I went with orange and purple!! Quite radical, but I found a few fabrics that contained both colours, and built up a collection from there.

Here's how some of my blocks turned out.  I didn't do quite as much decorative stitching as Sue did, but some of my fabrics were very patterned and I knew the stitching wouldn't show up which ever colour thread I used.  The variegated threads are Sue Spargo's Eleganza perle 8 threads for Wonderfil thread.  The colour variations are beautiful!!

And all together before I started to join them:

 I decided to make a pieced backing from some of my purple fabrics so I did a bit of quilt maths,

and here it is.

I'm not sure how I'm going to quilt this yet.  I need some time to think about that.  I might even machine quilt it myself because I'm, feeling inspired after reading Jacquie Gering's new book - Walk.  

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The TOWRAGS quilt show

Well, I only got to go to one quilt show after all.  The Stonestead Outdoor Quilt Festival on Sunday had to be cancelled again due to poor weather.  I hope they have better luck next year.

Fortunately the TOWRAGS quilt show at Old St Paul's was wonderful.  Who would have thought that 7 busy women could have made enough quilts to fill a church!!  These ladies have jobs and families, but just squeeze in quilting at every available moment.

Here's some photos I took of the quilts draped over the pews.

please note: This old Anglican church is no longer used as a church - that's why we call it "Old St Paul's", There's a new Anglican cathedral just round the corner with a lively congregation.  Old St Paul's is still be used for weddings and funerals, but it's a historic place now, rather than a sacred church.

The church was built from native timber by English settlers in 1865. The stained glass windows are just wonderful.

Here's some of my favourite quilts from the exhibition:

Some of you enquired about the raffle quilt I showed in my last post.  The pattern is by Kathy Doughty if you want to search it out.

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.