Wednesday 31 December 2014

2014 - A Year in Review

As the year draws to a close it's always nice to reflect on what's been achieved during the previous year. Although I'm pleased with the things I made in 2014, I'm even more happy about the people I've met online during the year.  Sometimes New Zealand can feel like a very remote place to live, but I've had online conversations with people from many different parts of the world. We actually have the perfect time zone for that. If you're one of those people - thank you. I've discovered so many different styles of quilting and feel so inspired to make many more beautiful things in the years ahead.

I finished 4 quilts in 2014. I'm not a very prolific quilter, but I did hand quilt 3 of these quilts so that took time.

2014 finished quilts

Top left is Blue Garden made from a Kaffe Fassett jelly roll

Top right is Trellis Crossroads made from batiks (it's the machine quilted one)

Bottom right is Bordered Peacocks using the Kaffe Fassett Bordered Diamonds pattern

Bottom left is my Pantone Challenge Radiant Orchid quilt which I called Radiant Poppies.

I also made my first bag in 2014:

 And I did some needlework:

2014 finished embroidery
You can read more about the Gingerbread Village here, and about the Christmas decorations here.

Roll on 2015 - I've got plans.

Monday 29 December 2014

I'm making a second list for quilting

Well Christmas has been and gone, and New Year is just around the corner. We're going to Auckland for a holiday on Tuesday. I've got a couple of blog posts lined up for while I'm away and I'll still be posting on Instagram (@wendysquiltsandmore).  Before I go though, I thought I should share my quilting list for 2015.

I was in two minds about sharing my list of embroidery projects for 2015 on my blog, but I'm glad I did because it's already helping me to keep on track. It's here in case you missed my 13+ embroidery projects for 2015.

I have written lists like that before, but I've never made them public. Surprisingly, I feel a lot better now I've made the list public. I now have a priority list, and when work has to halt on one project for some reason, I know what's next in line, and I don't waste time dithering about what to do next. I know you people will keep me on track if I stray!

So, in the interests of full disclosure, I need to make a quilting list too. In some ways this is a warm up for the Finish along with Adrienne, which Adrienne of On The Windy Side is hosting in 2015.  I'd like to take part in the Finish Along, so I'll need to commit to finishing certain things each quarter.

Here's a list of the quilts I plan to work on in 2015:

1. Your Place or Mine? BOM. Yes, it's still top of the list.

I've sewn on three corners and the only thing holding me up now is the hand applique on the final panel. I've located the striped strips for a skinny border (which I thought I might have lost or used in another quilt), and have the final border and backing fabric. There's no excuse not to get the quilt top finished by 31 January. I'm still not sure how it's going to be quilted - by hand by me, or long arm by someone else.

2.  Halloween mini.  This is near the top of the list because it missed Halloween 2014, but will be ready in tonnes of time for Halloween 2015. I'm going to hand quilt this one.

3. Kaffe Christmas tree. This will not be ready for Christmas 2014 but I don't mind. I couldn't get the fabric I wanted to use on the back locally. However, I have found some in Auckland, so I will collect that while we are up there on holiday and this table runner will be ready well before Christmas 2015.

I think I'll do a mix of machine and hand quilting on this one. I want to use some of this lovely Perle 8 which matches so perfectly.

4. Mini Medallion. I decided on the backing for this yesterday, and just need to get more batting now. I'm not sure how I'm going to quilt this yet, but I want to add a hanging sleeve so I can hang it in the hallway. It's about the same size as the Trellis Crossroads I made earlier in the year, so they can take turns hanging in the hall.

5. La Passacaglia. Once I finish those four quilts in the first quarter of 2015, I think I deserve to work on something new. I've got the book, templates and paper pieces for La Passacaglia and I've seen some beautiful examples that other people have made, so I'm eager to try my own version. This will be my major project of 2015 because I want to take my time with it and make it the best it can be. I'm not going to rush my fabric selections. If I have to remake a cog because it doesn't work, so be it.

6.  Below is a quilt top that's been waiting to be hand quilting for over a year now. You may recognise the fabrics. I got so carried away with finding the perfect fabrics for my Bordered Peacocks quilt that I had a few left overs. Yes, enough left overs to make another quilt!  I turned the scraps into 2.5" strips and made this Jelly Roll pattern called Stacks of Colour.

I love the dark rich colours in this quilt, and it really deserves to be finished in 2015.

Here's Bordered Peacocks again in case you missed it back in August:

7. Possum Magic. I'm still really enjoying this round robin, and especially the friendships I've made through it. I still have 3 more quilts to work on, and then I'll get my own back in about July. You can see the progress on each of the quilts in my Possum Magic tab just under my blog header.

Carla's quilt that I've just finished working on

8. Women of the Bible. These patterns will continue to be released at the rate of 2 blocks per fortnight. I'm using mainly Denyse Schmidt fabrics from Spotlight for this, but will mix in other blues and pinks where necessary.  I like the fact that the blocks aren't all the same size. I wa going to make the Moda Modern Building Blocks, but I'm doing this instead. When everyone else was spending up big on Cyber Monday, I cancelled my order for the Modern Building Blocks because I decided that I didn't need it after all.

9. At last, I get to add some new ideas for 2015. First up is this great design by my favourite designer, Wendy Williams of Material Obsession. If I start this early enough in 2015 it should be ready for Christmas. I've got tonnes of felt here already, so just need some background fabric really. I think I'll use Kaffe Fassett fabrics for the stars because they brighten up anything. (I've got a bit of that here too.)

10. I'd like to try a folded star in 2015. I've had an image on my iPad for two years now and I've got a pattern. I just need to choose some fabrics and make it happen. I guess my holdup is that I don't have many solids, and the one I saw looked so effective because the centre was solids. I love the hand quilting around the edge too.

I can't attribute this image because I can't remember where I got it from sorry, but it is stunning and very me!

Not mine - but something I would like to make.

So I'm going into 2015 with a number of exciting projects to work on, but also some space to add new and interesting things that pop up along the way. I can't wait for another year of quilting. I hope you've got some exciting plans too. If you do, please feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what you'll be working on in 2015. If you've already written a list you can provide a link to your blog and we'll all come and have a look. 

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas

It's Tuesday here now so there's only two more sleeps until Christmas. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

We will be having a quiet family Christmas at home. Our planned visitors had to cancel, so I haven't felt the need to get busy in the kitchen at all. The men folk in my life don't really like cakes and biscuits, so I've been getting quite a bit of sewing done instead. I've got more time now that work, school and sports have finished for the year.

My Beaded Angels ornament that I made some years ago.

Here's a quick run down on what I've been making lately:

Yesterday I made my first ever open wide zippered pouch using the Noodlehead pattern. It was quite straight forward and I will definitely use this pattern again. I already had these fabrics in my stash so I only needed to buy the pink zip. I'll give it to my 6 year old niece for Christmas.

Open wide zippered pouch

I finished all 3 of  my Mill Hill beaded ornaments at the weekend. I love these - so sparkly and they were fun and quite quick to make (but hard to photograph due to the reflections).

I managed to catch up on my Women of the Bible blocks at the weekend. I made 4 new blocks and now they look like this:

I probably need to tone down the pink in the next ones!

Yesterday I started some more wool felt applique. It's the cover for a sewing kit that I got for my birthday back in October. I figured I better try and finish my birthday gift before new Christmas sewing projects land in my lap on Christmas day.

Yes, it's lime green with pink and purple! I hope it's going to be fantastic.

Merry Christmas to you where ever you are. I hope you have a lovely day with family and friends.

Thursday 18 December 2014

A new cushion for Christmas

I know I should be busy in the kitchen at this time of year, but instead I've been busy with wool felt applique.

I saw this idea on Instagram and just had to have a go myself. Three Owls had seen some cushions for sale at Crate and Barrel in USA, and thought she could make some herself. When she posted photos of what she'd made, I thought I could make one myself too. The top cushion is made by Three Owls, and the bottom one is from Crate and Barrel.

I do have a bit of a stash of wool felt. And I have two gorgeous cards purchased purely because of the decorations.

I didn't want to make my cushion an exact copy, so I changed it up a bit by adding Gingerbread men and lights on one of the trees.

I've still got to turn this into a cushion yet, but I'm hoping my mum will help with that during the holidays. She'd be disappointed if I didn't arrive with my hand luggage full of half finished projects just needing her magic touch.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

It's Possum Magic time again

I've had Carla's (Granny Maud's Girl) Possum Magic quilt sitting here for a few weeks now, and I decided to work on it on Sunday.

The next deadline isn't until January 19, but that's prime summer holiday time in New Zealand, so thought I better work on it now.

This is what I did with it:

The photo below shows what it looked like when I received it from Alice (Blossom Quilts). Alice had added a lovely meandering vine around Rebecca's flowers.

I knew before I even received it what I was going to do for my border. I'd seen an idea in Gwen Marston's Liberated Medallion Quilts book that I wanted to try, and I had the perfect fabric on hand.

My plan was to fussy cut the flowers in the beautiful floral fabric, and frame them with the bright fabrics you can see in the photo above. The feature fabric is from the Art Gallery Dreaming in French collection - Light Femme Fatale.

I started early on Sunday morning, but quickly decided that I needed to add some blue to my border to pick up on the blue that Rebecca (One Wee Bird) had used in her border. Can you believe she paper pieced all those flowers and ladybirds?

Fortunately I had some teal on hand that worked in well. I didn't want Carla to think that I had used too much pink and mauve, so I toned it down with the teal. I think it worked well.

Following Gwen Marston's lead, I didn't fuss too much about the corners. I didn't make four corner blocks, but instead cut down two of the normal blocks to finish the rows nicely. You can see one in the front left hand corner in the photo below. the other is in the top right corner. They blend in well and are hardly noticeable at all.

Carla's quilt now measures 60" x 60"

It was all finished before 5pm on Sunday afternoon and I'm happy with how it turned out. My border still has a fair bit of green in it, and continues the garden theme with the flowers. It's pleasing to know that I can turn something I pictured in my mind into reality (well quilt wise anyway).

Carla's quilt is now 58" x 58" square.

You can see all of our Possum Magic quilts on the tab just under my blog header.  We are a group of 8 bloggers from New Zealand and Australia who met online in June 2014. We organised our own local round robin and each made a centre block. Those blocks are all travelling around in a circle, and we will each get our own back in mid 2015 with 7 borders added to it. Besides getting a quilt back at the end, we've made some great quilting friends.

Saturday 13 December 2014

And the winners are..

Just sneaking this in first. I finished my Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Christmas Celebration Sampler last night.

It's been lovely hearing from so many of you over the past week. I didn't expect to receive so many entries. What a wide range of foods people eat at this time of the year. Some of the more interesting favourites were:
fried pumpkin

Then there were all those who liked:
sugar cookies (many variations here)
chocolate coated cherries and strawberries

I didn't do any analysis on the answers, but I'm pretty sure sweet foods out numbered savoury and vegetables.

I was surprised at the number of people who are No Reply Bloggers. Some of you know you are No Reply Bloggers and kindly provided your email addresses, but a lot of people didn't. I suggest you follow the instructions on this post by Adrienne of On The Windy Side if you're not sure. Often it's due to Google+ and that's a trap I fell into myself until some kind person pointed it out to me.

Anyway, before I announce the winners, I want to tell you that I won something myself some weeks ago in the Online Bloggers Quilt Festival. I won a random prize of 4 large spools of Aurifil thread, and they arrived last week.

They are quite neutral colours so I expect to start using them soon.

I've never used Aurifil because it's not easily obtainable in New Zealand, but those who have rave about it and tell me I'll never go back to normal cotton, so I'm looking forward to trying it. Thank you to Amy Smart for running the festival, and Aurifil for providing the prize.

Now, onto the important bit. The winner of the red fabrics was:
Deb who said:
Definitely love the REDS. I like to eat coconut cake at mom always made fresh coconut cake every Christmas, and my dad would hammer nails in the coconut for the milk to flow out. I'll always remember that. 

And the winner of the green fabrics was:

Mindy who said: 
Hello from Canada! I would be happy winning either set! The reds are beautiful (that quilt is amazing) but maybe I'll lean more towards the colorful bunch because I have a little girl who would love them. And at Christmas I love everything pumpkin! 

Congratulations to Deb and Mindy. I'll be in touch shortly and your packages will be in the post asap.  Thank you to everyone who entered. As I said, it was lovely to hear from so many people and to have so many new followers now.

I'll post a proper post about quilting this upcoming week, but I know everyone is getting busy and the time we all have to read blogs is at an annual low. I'll keep it simple and full of pictures so you can just whiz through and not have to read lots of words.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

It's Giveaway time again

This giveaway has now closed.

Sew mama Sew are kindly running their give away link up again this week.

Hello, and welcome if it's your first visit to my blog. I'm Wendy and I live in Wellington, New Zealand. I love quilting and embroidery and have been blogging for a year now. You can see some of my finished quilts and embroidery by clicking on the tabs above (just underneath the photo of my Gingerbread Village).  I'm also on Instagram at @wendysquiltsandmore if you'd like to see more of the things that I'm working on.

There are lots of prizes up for grabs at different blogs, and I'm giving away the fabrics in this photo.

The top fabrics are from my Redwork Christmas quilt. They look great together and there's enough here for you to make something small like a mini quilt.

My Redwork Christmas quilt.

The brighter fabrics in the lower part of the photo are a collection of Christmas brights that I just don't think I'll ever get round to using. Maybe you can make something from them.

I was fortunate enough to win a bundle of fabrics in the last Sew Mama Sew give away and I made this mini medallion quilt. It's not finished yet, but I've had a lot of fun with those fabrics.

To enter, simply tell me two things in your comment:

1. Tell me what your favourite Christmas food is. You don't have to describe a whole meal, just tell me one thing you enjoy eating at Christmas. My favourite thing to eat at this time of the year is fresh cherries. They grow well in the southern parts of New Zealand, and every supermarket stocks them in December and January.

2. Tell me which fabric bundle you would like to win - the reds or the greens. I'll draw one winner for each bundle, so there will be two winners.

Followers old and new can get a second entry by leaving a second comment telling me how you follow. It could be bloglovin, feedly, GFC, instagram etc.

This giveaway is open to everyone (including international participants). If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in the comment.

The giveaway will stay open until 5pm Friday Dec 12 2014 (PST Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick two winners then. Good luck everyone!

By the way, I usually respond to all comments, but giveaways can generate a lot of comments, so I may not be able to respond to you all. Rest assured, I will read them all though.

Check out Sew mama Sew to see a full list of participating blogs. Good luck! 

Sunday 7 December 2014

I'm making a list

As this year starts to draw to a close, I'm starting to think about my hand sewing goals for 2015. I've had a list forming in my head for a few days, so thought if I wrote in on my blog I would be publicly accountable for achieving at least some of it in 2015.

Before I start though, the good news is that I have made great progress on Your Place or Mine? since I last showed it here in mid October. I now have 3 of the 4 corners sewn on, and just have the 4th corner and two simple borders to attach. The 4th corner still needs to be hand appliqued, so it may take a few weeks yet.

So here's my hand sewing and embroidery list for 2015 in order of priority:

1. The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, Finish the Christmas Celebration Sampler. I estimate that this will take between 1 week and 10 days to finish the border (provided I have enough thread). this has been a mystery pattern, released over the past 4 weeks. I've enjoyed stitching along with others on Instagram.

2. Mill Hill beaded ornaments. Finish the one on the left that I've already started, so it can go on the tree with the one I've already finished in the centre. It should only take about 4 days. The one on the right can wait until next Christmas.

3. Your Place or Mine? final panel. Work on that until it's done. I can't take my extensive Perle 8 collection on holiday, so it must be done at home.

4. Northern Expressions Needlework. I knew when I started the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery that this wouldn't be finished for Christmas 2015, but I can take it on holiday and finish sewing the beads on. It should be finished by mid January and I can then get it framed.

The colours don't look good in this picture, but it's a very cloudy day today

5. The Victoria Sampler Gingerbread Etui. This is another holiday sewing project. I love working on Christmas sewing at Christmas time so I'll take this away with me too. I'll make a start on it, but may swap to the Haunted House by February because Halloween will roll around before Christmas in 2015.

6. Elizabethean Sweet Bag. This only needs about 1 week of stitching to be finished. It's quite a different style of embroidery to what I usually do, so I need to get into the right frame of mind.

7. The Victoria Sampler Haunted House. This looks like so much fun. The ornaments are delighful. I've got everything here to get stated and expect to be working on it by February.


8. The Victoria Sampler Needlework Shop. This will be waiting for me under the Christmas Tree this year. The parcel arrived and I haven't even opened the exterior packaging yet. You can see a photo here. 

9. Wool felt applique bag from Flying Fish Kits. This will be fun and bright and should take less than one month.

10. Needlelace - green. This only saw minimal action in 2014 and deserves better in 2015.

11. Needlelace - purple. I need to work on this again while I still remember what to do.

12. Heirloom Christmas Tree decoration. I've had the book, silk and decorations for 2 years but am still putting off starting. I guess I'm worried about mine not being good enough, but I do have plenty of silk, and the decorations could be recycled if I needed to start again. If this was a class I would have had it finished by now. I think I'm just a bit worried about doing it by myself - silly I know.

13. Sundry other projects lurking around which include 2 more biscornus, and some Christmas Decorations from the Just Cross Stitch Special Christmas issues. I've met a lot of stitchers on Instagram and seen some beautifully finished ornaments. I'm inspired to make more ornaments before next Christmas. I've also got 2 beautiful Christmas pieces from The Victoria Sampler which I'd love to do one day.

Wow, what a list. I love everything on it and would start them all tomorrow if I could. And it doesn't even include hand quilting because I tend to do that in the day time at the table. The list above is what I do in the evenings in front of TV. Here's hoping for a very productive 2015. I intend to check back against this list at this time next year - scary thought!