Friday, 29 May 2020

Zip It Up bags

A couple of weeks ago I watched Tula Pink's video launching her new black and white fabric line - Linework (It won't be available for months yet, so don't panic).  Towards the end of the video Tula showed two Zip It Up! bags she had made.  I thought they looked amazing so I dashed off and ordered the pattern from the Ribbon Rose in Auckland.

Here's a link to Tula's video.  The bags appear at about 22 minutes in.

Of course we can't get Linework yet, so I ordered some half yards of Tula's Homemade range for my bag.

I hadn't seen Homemade in real life, but I was very happy with it when it arrived.  I love how green the "Cut Once" fabric is, and I was very impressed that the squares really are 1", just like on my ruler.

I machine quilted the exterior with a pretty pink Aurifil, using a design from Jacqui Gering's Walk book.

A secret pocket on the back

The pattern has a pocket on the front of the outside, and then two pockets on the inside - one mesh and one vinyl.  I didn't like the idea of sewing vinyl on my sewing machine, so I made two mesh pockets, and I changed the exterior pocket from the front to the back.

And then I decided to make a smaller second Zip It Up! bag while I was at it.

The secret pocket on the back

I used a different design from Jacqui Gering's Walk book to quilt the Pokemon fabric. I enjoyed experimenting with different quilting designs.

The selvages on this Pokemon fabric are great, so I decided to incorporate them too.  (The fabric was purchased in Japan some years ago.)

Yes, it's a Gameboy Advance! A Zelda special edition.

So that's my latest experimentation with a Pattern by Annie.  Annie has so many great patterns.  Maybe I'll do a wrap up of all the bags I've made from her patterns in my next post.

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Friday, 22 May 2020

Endless Lockdown

Look at this! It's a finished quilt!

This is the Endless Summer pattern by Anna Maria Horner. But I've decided to call my version Endless Lockdown to reflect the fact that I made it during the COVID-19 lockdown of March/April/May 2020.

I first saw this quilt when Anna Maria came to New Zealand in November last year.  It was one of the quilts Anna Maria showed during her trunk show.  I just loved the quirky images and the way that they were used in the quilt, so I bought the kit as a Christmas present to myself.

At Easter I decided that I needed something substantial to get my teeth into, so I cracked open the kit and started to make this quilt.  I worked on it every day for the next three weeks and loved every minute of it.

The quilt is 64" x 64" so I thought I might have something that would work for the backing.  I found a big piece of Libs Elliott skulls fabric in purple that was almost big enough.  I fussy cut some of the leftover fabrics and made a strip to make the backing big enough.


The back looks almost as good as the front

I've got a backlog of quilts to be hand quilted, so I decided to get this quilt quilted by a local long arm quilter, Rayna Clinton of Tui Song Quilting at Wainuiomata.  I know Rayna through our guild, and I've been impressed with her quilting on other people's quilts.

As soon as we were free to leave our homes, I went to see Rayna and we discussed patterns and thread colours for my quilt.  A week later my quilt was finished and ready to pick up.  I asked Rayna to  baste a couple of other quilts at the same time, so my hand quilting pile now has grown even bigger!

So my quilt is finished - quilted, bound, washed and ready to keep my knees warm on winter nights. I'm really happy with how it's turned out.

I've included a link at the top to Anna Maria Horner's website, but a word of warning - be very careful ordering any quilting supplies from outside your home country at the moment.  I know people in Australia, New Zealand and Europe who are all waiting for items to ship from USA at the moment. I'm sure there are problems with freight going the other way too, so just try to order locally if at all possible to avoid disappointment.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  Feel free to link up a recent blog post and let us know what you've been working on.

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Friday, 15 May 2020

Perfect Circles

So many people commented on my circle blocks in last week's post.

Everyone wanted to know how I got them looking so good!  Well, I followed Jen Kingwell's video on YouTube.  I've put a link to it here so you can watch it too.

Jen uses Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles and Bigger Perfect Circles.  I already had these circles in my cupboard because I use them for wool felt applique.  They last for ever and ever (as long as you don't distort them with a super hot iron).  Most quilt shops stock Perfect Circles.

Jen puts a gathering thread around the edge of her circle before pulling it tight around the Perfect Circle.  Then she sprays it with Flatter before pressing it.

Once you have a crisp edge you can pop the template out and pin your circle onto the background fabric.  Jen recommends Aurifil 80wt for applique, and I do too.  It's very fine and almost disappears into the fabric.

In the video Jen shows exactly how she angles her needle when she appliques.  It's well worth watching because it will help you to keep your stitches invisible when you applique.

I had this quilt basted by a local long arm quilter - Rayna Clinton from Tui Song Quilting.  I'm really pleased with how it's looking and I can't wait to start hand quilting it.

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Friday, 8 May 2020

My quickest quilt top ever

As I played around with my Marshal Mystery Quilt blocks last week, I came to the realisation that I would be better off making two quilts, rather than trying to combine all the blocks into one quilt.

I liked the idea of combining the small square blocks into rows or columns, so I looked in my stash for something that I could use as a background fabric.  Spurred on by people who say tell me that I'm so bold with my fabric choices, I used this Michael Millar fabric that's been in my stash for more than five years.  It's very bright, but maybe a young person will love it one day.

I sewed my 4" blocks into rows and bordered them with some black Grunge fabric that I also had in my stash.

I then fussy cut the hexie fabric so that there were two full hexagons width in each column.

It's off getting basted now because I'm going to hand quilt it.

So, I made a quilt top in four days!!! That's incredible for me.  I know the blocks were already made, and the background is just long strips, but it's still very good going for me because I normally spend weeks or months on each quilt that I make.

The other Marshal blocks are back in a box with the Lollies fabric.  I feel good that I've used half of the Marshal blocks, so will just let the remainder rest for a while.

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Friday, 1 May 2020

Marshal Mystery Quilt revisited

Today I decided to revisit my Marshal Mystery Quilt.  The Marshal quilt was designed by Jen Kingwell and released in Quiltmania magazine throughout 2019.


I made most of the blocks during 2019, but when the final quilt was revealed at Houston in November, I lost motivation to continue.  I didn't like the final design, so I've spent some months thinking about how I could use all the blocks I spent hours making.

The full reveal of the Marshal mystery quilt

I decided to buy yardage of Jen Kingwell's Lollies fabric and planned to applique the feature blocks onto it like my good friend Racheldaisy did in a quilt that she designed.

My plan this morning

However, I still had the issue of how to use all the 4" square blocks.  So I started playing with them this afternoon.

Now I've decided that it's either going to be the hand pieced blocks OR the 4" square blocks.  I don't think I can incorporate them both into the same quilt.

So it's back to the drawing board as I consider how to make the most of what I've got in front of me.

Thanks for all the comments in support of shopping local.  I've added a new tab with a list of NZ quilt shops.  I haven't quite worked through all my emails yet, but I promise to do that tomorrow morning and will add any more mentioned in those emails.  I'll also add more details about where each shop is.  

How's your quilting going? Are you getting lots done?  Feel free to link up a recent blog post below.

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Friday, 24 April 2020

Supporting our local quilt shops

Many of you kindly complement me on the fabrics that I use and tell me that you never see fabrics like the ones that I have - well, thank you!

The secret to my stash is that I love buying fabrics in person at local quilt shops and at quilt shows.  I enjoy poking around in quilt shops and pulling unexpected combinations off the shelves.  All of the photos in this post are of fabrics that I've purchased in local quilt shops over the past year.

from All Things Bernina in Auckland

 from Quilting Shed at Auckland Symposium

The road ahead for many people and businesses is going to be very tough.  Some of our favourite independent cafes, clothing boutiques, garden centres and QUILT SHOPS will struggle to survive during the tough economic times ahead.

I'm writing this post to ask you to please support your local quilt shops if you can. I've added a new page to my blog with links to New Zealand quilting businesses - click here to view it.

from Nancy's Stitch Studio in Wellington

from Busy Bee Quilt Shop in Wellington

When our Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, announced New Zealand was going into lock down, she stressed "Be Kind".  At the time I thought that was a ridiculous message and that we needed strong leadership, not warm fuzzies.  But, I've been proved wrong, and the "Be Kind" message has helped us all to get through this stressful time.

So I'm asking you to be kind to your local quilt shops if you can.

 from Quilters' Lane in Masterton

from The Ribbon Rose in Auckland

Local quilt shops provide:
1. Inspiration.
I love visiting quilt shops and seeing what's new on the shelves.  I like to see the fabrics in person before I buy.  I get inspiration from the samples on display.  I chat with the owners and staff and learn about new things.

2. Knowledge
I like to ask the staff in my local quilt shop for advice when I'm stuck (or just indecisive).

3. Community
The owners and staff at our local quilt shops are our friends and neighbours.

4.  Selection
Our local quilt shops stock a wide range of products.  You may never have had the time to have a good look around, but I bet there's a lot more things in your local quilt shops than you even knew about.

Purchased at Tote and Gloat in Palmerston North

I love exploring the vendors' stands when I go to quilt shows.  Imagine if we had no local vendors in the future! There would be no shopping at quilt shows.  Wouldn't that be sad?

Purchased from a range of vendors at the Sydney Quilt Show in 2019

Here's how you can support your local quilt shops:

Change your buying pattern
Instead of ordering that whole fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's latest release from an overseas shop, how about waiting for it to get to your local quilt shop and buying half yards of the prints you really love and will use.  Have you ever used all of those fat quarters you received in that last bundle you bought on line? Is it really a saving if you don't use all the fabric?

Give them feedback
If your local quilt shop doesn't stock the type of fabrics you like, be honest - tell the owner nicely what it is that you're into.  Tell them how much of that product you might buy in a year.  Tell them about local friends who think the same way as you do.  If enough people say the same thing, I'm sure the owner will start listening and might just order in some of what it is that you like.  Business owners will be putting customer satisfaction at the top of their list now.

Show them what you're working on
Take your current quilting project into the shop.  It doesn't matter if you bought the materials from another shop.  You're here now, and this quilt represents who you are.  Show them what you like and help them to understand what you might buy in the future.

Mention them on social media
Give credit where it's due.  Tell people where you bought your supplies so others can enquire or visit that shop too.

Purchased from Material Obsession in Sydney

Please don't tell me how you've tried all these things over the years and your local quilt shop owners  just don't listen.  Give them another chance now.  The world has changed, and everyone deserves a second chance.  As our Prime Minister has said throughout this pandemic - "Be Kind".

Purchased from AQC show in Melbourne in 2018

I hope you don't feel that this post has been a lecture.  I only wrote it because I know a lot of New Zealanders read my blog, and I think it's important that we support our local businesses at this time.  I don't get paid or receive discounts for supporting local businesses - I genuinely feel it's important.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below if you agree or disagree.

So, now it's time for the Peacock Party.  Everyone has been so productive over the past few weeks.  I'm looking forward to seeing all your new posts over the weekend.

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