Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Yazzii bags

Have you heard of Yazzii bags? They are really useful for storing sewing supplies. I bought this bright pink one and decided to personalise it.

The beauty of Yazzii bags is that they have fabric exteriors so it's easy to sew coverings onto them.

I chose a pattern from a Sue Spargo's Magnolia book and I added some ribbons and Tula Pink fabric too.

I know these bags aren't cheap - I was fortunate to buy this one from a friend in Canada who had never used it.

It has so many pockets and compartments and will be great to take to Symposium in Christchurch.  I'm doing five days of classes at Symposium, so will need lots of different threads, needles etc.

So now I have two Yazzi bags - a small green one, and a BIG pink one.

Here's a link to my blog post about my first Yazzi bag which I embellished with a pattern from Wendy Williams.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Capital Quilters 12 x 12 Exhibition - Open NOW

We had the official opening of our 12 x 12 exhibition last night and it was great to see such a variety of mini quilts on display.

There were 12 categories and members could enter as many quilts as they liked.  I entered three quilts and here they are:

1.  Bedazzle

I made a modern interpretation on a whole cloth quilt by hand quilting and embellishing one piece of Kaffe Fassett fabric.  I used some of my embroidery threads and some beads to add bling because the theme was Bedazzle.

I won a Highly Commended ribbon for this quilt and I was thrilled.  There was one winner and one highly commended in each category, so I was very happy.

Here's a better photo taken at home:

2. Flora and Fauna

I used my favourite wool felt applique technique to make a bouquet of flowers.

3. Round the World

I bought some special Frida Kahlo fabric at Bolt of Cloth in Auckland and decided to use it in this mini quilt.  I fussy cut some images of Frida and then worked around them to build it out to 12" square.  This quilt includes machine and hand quilting.

Most of us had been keeping our quilts secret, so it was lovely to see them all revealed and be able to match the quilt with the maker.

The Best of Show award went to Lyn White for her amazing mini called "Light Show at the Museum". Congratulations Lyn.

Here's all the details of the exhibition.  Best news is it's FREE, so if you live in Wellington I recommend you make plans to visit either this weekend or next.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

My Tussie Mussie

Tussie Mussie is finished and I'm using it on my knees on these cold winter's nights in New Zealand. The pattern is from Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in Italy book. I took the quilt to Auckland a few weeks ago and photographed it in mum's garden.

I love seeing all those gorgeous Kaffe Fassett fabrics together in one place.

Although I do love hand quilting, some time there just isn't enough hours in the day to do everything, so I got this quilt quilted by Sue Burnett of Busy Bee Quilt Shop in Lyall Bay, New Zealand.  I chose an overall swirly design which I felt suited the fabrics well.  It certainly looks great on the back with the Kaffe Fassett wide back fabric.

I asked Sue to use Aurifil 40wt on the top, and 50wt on the back.  I chose one of my favourite colours - Aurifil 1243 - Dusty Lavender.


You can see earlier WIP photos here if you wish.

My quilt is 60" x 60" because my half square triangle blocks are smaller than the ones in the pattern.  It makes for a perfect lap quilt because I chose wool batting.

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.