Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 - My embroidery year in review

I don't have as much to report for my embroidery as I do for my quilting.  My evenings now seem to be taken up with English Paper Piecing, hand piecing and wool felt applique.

I do still enjoy embroidery, but I guess I'm enjoying quilting more at this point in my life.  Anyway, I still managed a couple of finishes this year.

My embroidery priorities for the year were: (you can see the list here)

1. Holey Moley
This was a series of lessons at Nancy's Stitch Studio in Wellington.  Anne-Marie Moorehead was the tutor and I enjoyed learning new pulled thread stitches.  I've learnt all the techniques now, and just have to finish the piece in my own time.

The teacher's sample

2. Textured Floral Extravangza
This was another series of lessons with Anne-Marie Moorehead at Nancy's Stitch Studio.  Unfortunately I never really got into this piece.  I don't know if my colour selections weren't so wise after all, or if I never felt my stitches were good enough to start on the real fabric.  Anyway, I've already accepted that this piece may never get any further - which a very unusual admission for me!

How far I've got

What the finished piece should look like!!!

3. A Treasured Time
Finished and framed and hanging on the wall.  Success! I really enjoyed stitching this design, but won't be rushing to do another Dimensions kit soon.  It's a different technique stitching half cross stitches on Aida fabric.  You can read more about this piece here.

4. Peacock at Sunset
Another finish! I finished this Ehrman tapestry and got it made into a cushion at Nancy's.  You can read more about it here. 

5. Twelve Days Ornaments
I finally made a start on these ornaments in December (when I should have been writing Christmas cards).  The patterns are by Larissa Holland of mmmcrafts and you can download and print them at home. I have now made two ornaments for each of the first three days of Christmas, so six in total, except day one has a partridge and a pear, so there are actually eight ornaments in my box now.

So, that was 2017.  I finished two items on my list, and started on a third item.  I guess that's a 50% success rate and I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

There are so many lovely things I'd like to stitch, but unfortunately I just have to admire a lot of them and admit that there isn't time to do everything I like.  I'll start compiling my 2018 priorities list soon - one for quilting and one for embroidery.  I do think it's a good way to keep on track and avoid too many new temptations.

Have you got anything special on your 2018 crafting wishlist?

Happy New Year everyone.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

2017 - My quilting year in review

I like to review my progress against my goals at the end of each year. Way back in January I blogged about my quilting priorities for 2017 (you can read that list here).  Although I reviewed my progress back in July, I still like to do an annual review and remind myself of what I have finished during the year.

I like to use my blog as a personal record, as well as a way of sharing my quilting with others, so I totally understand if you just scroll through this list and look at the pretty pictures.

First I'll work through what was on my list in January:

1.  Symposium Quilt 1 - Vibrant Curiosities. I'm pleased to say that I finished it before the dealine, and it was accepted into Symposium.  It was all English Paper Pieced and hand quilted within six months, so that's pretty good I think.  You can read more about it here.

2.  Symposium Quilt 2 - this idea never got off the ground, but I still have all the fabrics put aside for it, and I hope to make it for our next Symposium in 2019.

3. Possum Magic - I spent weeks hand quilting this quilt, and finished it in April.  I entered it into Symposium, but it didn't get accepted.  I'm fine with that because only half of the quilts entered were accepted.

4. Kaffe Fassett Tussie Mussie I had admired the photo of Tussie Mussie in "Quilts in Italy" for some months before I decided to dive into my Kaffe stash and make this pattern.  I had this quilt quilted by a local long armer because I have too many tops waiting for hand quilting.  You can read all about it here.

5.  Instastitch with Sue Spargo.  I finished the quilt top, and have started machine quilting it myself.  It's still a work in progress.

6. Wendy Williams Tea Party BOM - I made a tiny start on this at our retreat back in July, but I haven't done any more since then.

7. Tropical Hexagons.  I've passed half way with the hand quilting, and really would like to have this finished before Kaffe and Brandon make a return visit to New Zealand in late January 2018. The problem is that it's already hot here, and hand quilting a quilt with woollen batting isn't all that appealing right now.

So that was the 7 quilts on my list for 2017.  I finished 3 of them, but started quite a few other things during the year too.

8. Holiday Homies - When I saw these cute Christmas fabrics by Tula Pink I just knew I need to make something with them.  Of course it's summer time when it's Christmas in New Zealand, so we don't need big Christmas quilts.  I just made a cute wall hanging or table mat.  You can read how I made this quilt here.  

9. Holiday Patchwork Forest.  I initially thought I'd use this pattern for my Holiday Homies fabrics above, so I made a few test blocks to see how it might work.  It turned out that the animal heads were too big to fit within the trees, but I kept my test blocks anyway.  Then a few weeks ago I got an urge to finish these blocks and I made a fun, scrappy quilt with them.

10.  Flocks by Night.  I bought this Wendy Williams pattern from Material Obsession in June.  I'd admired it for quite some time and thought it would be fun to make.  I just finished it on 21 December and am very pleased with it.

11. Cobwebs.  I started this quilt in a class back in March.  I've made quite a few of the cobweb blocks, but haven't made the background sections yet.  I'm still deciding how I want the background sections to look.

12. Glitter.  I started this in a class with Jen Kingwell at Symposium in October.  There's no rush on this because it's hand pieced and I know it's going to take time.  I've got so many green and grey fabrics set aside I simply have to continue!

13.  Ballet with Kaffe.  I started another Millefiori quilt from Willyne Hammerstein's second book.  But then she released a third book and I'm still deciding if I'll continue with this design, or morph it into one of the ones in her third book.

14. Block of the Month Half Square Triangles (BOM-HST).  I won all these half square triangles in our guild's block of the month.  I've put them together and now the top is ready for hand quilting when the cooler days arrive next autumn.

15.  Southern Stars.  QuiltNSW are running a challenge for 2018 and the theme is Southern Stars.  I've started a quilt, but won't be showing any photos until it's hanging in the exhibition.

Wow! I'm tired after writing all of that, but also feeling energised to finish some of these quilts.  I think I've had a productive year.  How about you? Did you get much quilting done in 2017? Feel free to tell me what you've achieved this year in the comments below, and even put a link to a blog post if you've done a summary like this.

In early January I'll post my quilting and embroidery lists for 2018, but I can tell you now that it's going to start with finishing all the extra things I started in 2017.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

A Treasured Time is finished and framed!

Yes, I'm delighted to say that my Christmas embroidery is back from the framers and hanging on the wall.

I'm thrilled with how it turned out.  I love the ornate frame, which is actually made from combining two frames (don't ask about the cost!).

It's very hard to take a photo of a square object! So please forgive any wonkiness in these photos.  The frame is perfectly straight.

It's a lovely feeling to have this framed and on the wall for Christmas.  Although I love the style of this design, I'm not going to start anything else like this for at least another year. (You can remind me of that!!)

You can read more about this kit, and how I stitched quarter each quarter of the year, in my earlier blog post here. The pattern is "A Treasured Time" by Dimensions Gold, and the threads and fabric were included in the kit.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Flocks by Night

2017 must be the year of the Christmas Quilt for me.  This is my third Christmas quilt finish this year! My Christmas quilts are all quite small because it's summer time here, and we don't need quilts on our beds at Christmas.

Flocks by Night

I bought this pattern in June when I visited Material Obsession in Sydney.  I'd admired it for some time, so it's nice to have made my own version of this Wendy Williams pattern.

Once again, the binding was the only fabric I needed to purchase.  I have so much wool felt in my stash, and lots of bright colours for the stars.

I enjoyed adding some simple hand quilting. I used Dazzle from Wonderfil to add some sparkle to the background.  It doesn't really show up in photos, but there is sparkle in the black night sky.

My mum and dad are here for Christmas and she kindly sewed the hanging sleeve and label on for me today. 

The finished quilt is 25" x 53" so it will fit nicely above the spare bed.

Friday, 15 December 2017

My Gingerbread Village

Well, it's only 10 days until Christmas, and you'll see that I've changed my blog header photo to reflect that.  I love to bring out my cross stitched Gingerbread Village each year.

I haven't made any new buildings this year, but I'm going to get out the Gingerbread Needlework Shop tonight and check where I'm up to.

I've built this village up over the last five years.  I started with the Gingerbread House in 2012, and then the church.  I don't have a favourite, because each one is unique and I've learnt more about the construction with each one.

You can read all about the linen I use and where to buy the patterns on this tab on my blog and see close up photos of each of the buildings.  The patterns are beautifully designed by Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler in Canada.  If you're interested in these designs I recommend you sign up to Thea's newsletters because sometimes she offers Christmas specials.  

Bringing my village out each year and become a tradition and certainly gets me into the Christmas spirit. 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Christmas Finish - Holiday Patchwork Forest

I finished my Holiday Patchwork Forest quilt just in time for Christmas.

It's a bit crazy with all those busy fabrics thrown together, but the blocks started out as test blocks for another idea I had. 

It's made from a pattern designed by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter.  I paid $2 and got a pdf pattern here, but she also explains how to make a smaller version of the block for free here

I'm proud to say that the binding is the only fabric I purchased for this quilt.  The rest is all from my stash, including the red Kaffe Fassett for the border, which looks very Christmassy when it's next to that green Roman Glass by Kaffe Fassett.

It's summer time in New Zealand now and we don't need quilts on our beds, so it will be a wall hanging to brighten my house for Christmas. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

WIPs and some flowers

Well, it's December again and I'm trying to finish a couple of small Christmas quilts so I can have them out on display before the 25th.

First up is my "Flocks by Night" by Wendy Williams.  I really enjoyed doing the wool felt applique on this quilt.

But I wasn't happy with one of the wonky stars, so I finally took it out last night and changed it.  Then I basted it, so now I can hand quilt it.

My Holiday Patchwork Forest is almost finished too.  I made it from a pattern designed by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter.  I paid $2 and got a pdf pattern here, but she also explains how to make a smaller version of the block for free here

I'm proud to say that the binding is the only fabric I purchased for this quilt.  The rest is all from my stash, including the red Kaffe Fassett for the border, which looks very Christmassy when it's next to that green Roman Glass by Kaffe Fassett.  I need to get a full photo of it this weekend.

At least my Tula Pink Holiday Homies quilt is finished and is draped over the box in the hallway.  You can read how I made it here.

Of course it's summer time here in the Southern Hemisphere.  It's been unusually hot and dry in much of New Zealand and we're on water restrictions now.  Here's some photos of the plants in my garden which are still surviving well, despite the heat.


Hebe - a New Zealand natvie bush

Lavendar - don't ask which variety
And some amazing hydrangeas spotted on my morning walk: