Wednesday 27 August 2014

Trellis Crossroads

Firstly, thank you for all the kind comments about my Bordered Diamonds / Bordered Peacocks quilt. I'm a member of two facebook groups and both Celebrate Hand Quilting and Kaffe Fassett Collective members have been heaping on the 'likes' too. I nice to know that other people like it too.

Trellis Crossroads in Batiks

Lately I decided to try something different. I've seen lots of swoon blocks on the internet, but I don't really have any great desire to make a swoon block. (see the picture below)

However, I did see another modern block that I liked and it was Trellis Crossroads.

Most people were making it in soft pastel colours, but I started to think about some bright batik charm squares I bought about a year ago. I was originally thinking I'd make them into something simple like columns of flying geese on dark navy, but then I thought I could make some of them into a Trellis Crossroads block to just tryout the pattern.

a single block looked lonely
Well of course once I got going I had to make more. I thought I'd do 4 blocks, but I kept going until I'd used up all the bright batiks (and I even purchased a couple more fat quarters to balance up the colour distribution).

It's ended up being 9 blocks and almost 40" square and I'm stopping now. I"m going to machine quilt it with my new walking foot (thank you Judith) and turn it into a wall hanging. 

I liked this pattern because it left ample fabric for squaring up the blocks. However, if you are going to make one yourself, just remember to centre the square before you do your trimming.

Here's the photo from the book with the pattern, Modern Bee by Lindsay Connor.

Trellis Crossroads from Modern Bee by Lindsay Connor
I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced

Sunday 24 August 2014

Bordered Diamonds becomes Bordered Peacocks

I"m thrilled to say that my Bordered Diamonds quilt is finished and we're using it on our bed. I've decided to call it Bordered Peacocks because there are some bordered peacocks within it.

My Bordered Peacocks

I loved making this quilt. I took my time and enjoyed every step of the way, from fabric selection to planning the layout, to hand quilting it. Now that it's finished I'm delighted with it and I admire it each time I walk into our room!

One of the Bordered Peacocks

I started this quilt back in January 2012 when I first saw the Timeless Treasures Plume range in my local quilt shop. I just loved the colours in the Peacock fabric, and knew I'd like to make a quilt with it. I spent 24 hours going through the saved images on my iPad, trying to find of a pattern which would frame the peacocks and flowers. I'd always admired the Kaffe Fassett Bordered Diamonds pattern (from his Simple Shapes and Spectacular Quilts book), so I decided to use that.

Bordered Peacocks close up

I went back to the shop and bought some of the Peacock fabric plus a couple of other fabrics in the range. I then spent most of 2012 collecting complementary fabrics. I picked up more of the Plume range from other shops, plus some from the Timeless Treasures Shimmer range, and other fabrics that I knew would tie in well.

I love these blue flowers in the Peacock fabric

It wasn't until January 2013 (a whole year later) that I started to cut into the fabrics. By then I had far more fabric than I needed, but the left overs have ended up as a whole other quilt and a bag you can read about here.
My matching bag made from scraps by my mum

I machine pieced the top during the early part of 2013. Then I started to think about the backing fabric and decided on Eden in black by Chong-a Hwang. It's part of the Tree of Life range by Timeless Treasures, so tied in beautifully.

Backing fabric is Tree of Life by Timeless Treasures

By mid 2013 I had a quilt sandwich, but it was the biggest quilt I've ever made. I knew it was going to take time to hand quilt, but I never considered getting it machine quilted. I love the soft texture that hand quilting gives, so I always knew I would be hand quitling it.

Hand quilting inside each diamond

I quilted in the ditch around each of the 108 diamonds with black quilting thread, and quilted inside each of the diamonds with Perle 8 in either blue or gold. By the time I was about half way through the quilting, it was Spring in New Zealand so I put it aside to work on other things.

Last month (July 2014 - winter in NZ) I decided that it was time to finish it and start using it on our bed. There were less than 40 diamonds left to do, so I knuckled down and quilted them in less than three weeks.

Bordered Diamonds becomes Bordered Peacocks

I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. I love the deep blue colours and the gold metallic accents that give it added life.

I did find this quilt particularly hard to photograph -probably due to the gold metallic accents. Please forgive the photography!!

The facts:
The pattern is Bordered Diamonds by Kaffe Fassett from his Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts book
The finished quilt measures 84" x 96"
Most of the fabrics are by Timeless Treasures

I"m linking up with Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts, Kelly at My Quilt InfatuationEsther's blog.Confessions of a fabric addict and Crazy Mom Quilts

Sunday 17 August 2014

My Gingerbread Village

I was really thrilled to finish the Candy Cane Cottage and the Gingerbread Bakery today. That means I have four buildings in my Gingerbread Village, and will probably need a bigger table to display them all at Christmas time!

It was a beautiful calm day today, so I took them all outside for some photographs.
My Gingerbread Village
The buildings range in height from the smallest Candy Cane Cottage at 3.5" tall, to the church which is 10" tall.

The Gingerbread Stitching House was the first building I made back in 2012.

Gingerbread Stitching House

Then I made the Gingerbread Church, also in 2012.

Gingerbread House and Gingerbread Church

In 2013 I stitched the Candy Cane Cottage, but I didn't assemble it until now.

Candy Cane Cottage

And finally there's the Bakery which I received for Christmas 2013 and stitched in 2014.

Gingerbread Bakery

I made up a little design to put on the bottom of the earlier pieces, so people would know in years to come who made them.

However, my eyes were really sore by the time I was putting a base on the latest two finishes, so I didn't repeat the design this time. (It's very fine - one thread over one strand.)

The pattern didn't include bases for these two buildings, but I feel they keep the edges straighter, so I made up my own bases. They will also prevent the fabric coming loose if the sellotape gives out over time.

I've also made a couple of accessories along the way. The pin cushion is known as a biscornu. These are also from patterns by The Victoria Sampler. I just had to include the yummy beads which look like lollies.

Biscornu and scissor keep
These patterns are all by the very clever and talented Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler in Canada.
I used the recommended antique almond cashel linen which I ordered online from USA. I purchased the accessories packs because they included the lovely silk threads and unique beads. I used DMC B5200 because it's a brighter white than blanc.

Thea has announced that she's working on a Gingerbread Needlework Shop and will release the pattern in December. So I might just be ordering that one to go in my stocking this year
I hope you've enjoyed reading about this delightful village and looking at the photos.

Friday 15 August 2014

My ever growing Gingerbread Village

Lately I've been trying to finish a few projects which have been sitting around for far too long. One of those projects is my Gingerbread Village from The Victoria Sampler.

Gingerbread Bakery by The Victoria Sampler

I finished the stitching some months ago, and initially planned to have them all sewn up by the end of June. However, now it's looking more likely it will be August.

Mounting the pieces onto padded cardboard is actually quite difficult and that's why I've been putting it off. I use lots of pins to get the edges lined up nicely with the cardboard. Yes, I get the occasional pin prick which isn't nice, but it's the best way to get the edges straight.

I then use double sided sellotape to stick the edges down. Previously I've used glue, but it was very messy so I'm trying tape this time.

I've got two buildings to assemble this year - the Bakery and the Candy Cane Cottage.

Candy Cane Cottage by The Victoria Sampler
The Candy Cane Cottage has many, many tiny beads on it. Here's a closeup view of the back.

Once these buildings are finished they will join my Gingerbread House and Gingerbread Church.

The roof of the house lifts off and you can store things inside because it's lined. The Bakery and the Candy Cane Cottage aren't lined, so they won't take quite as long to finish.

The inside of the Gingerbread House

 If you'd like to read more about the House and the Church and see more photos, you can read my earlier post here.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Mini Medallion Quiltalong - part 3

The second border pattern for the Mini Medallion Quiltalong from Clover and Violet came out on Thursday and I've finished mine already. I spent half a day testing out fabrics, but knew that I wanted to used the navy dots again, and when I saw it was flying geese, I thought the yellow would continue the star burst look.

I'm really happy with it, although I have decided that I don't want to do flying geese on a large scale. They are so fiddly. It took about 4 attempts to get the final border correct.

It really interesting seeing everyone else's quilts coming together. They are all so different and the fabric placements mean that different parts of the pattern stand out differently on each quilt. If you are on Instagram you can look at #minimedallionqal, but if you're not, here's a screen shot of the variety:

Thank you everyone who commented on my mum's winning tea cosy. She went into the shop and collected her prize which was a lovely big basket with 13 balls of wool in it, plus some patterns and some needles. The competition was sponsored by a wool company, hence the very generous prize. Here's a photo of the basket. Yes, we have a brand of wool called 'Wendy' in NZ, probably to go with the patterns in the basket called 'Peter Pan'.

 Finally, for those wondering about the Bordered Diamonds quilt, it is finished and we're using it on our bed now. However, it's really hard to get a decent photo in the depths of winter. It's either too sunny and bright, or just dull and overcast. When the sun is out, it's very low in the sky, so I might have to wait a few more weeks yet.

I"m linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Winning Tea Cosies

How about this for a tea cosy?

My mum's winning tea cosy

No, I didn't knit it myself - my mum did. However, I did make her add the garden gnomes. She used a pattern for the tea cosy itself, but the flowers and other finishing touches are all her own. Mum bought the flower buttons when she was last in Wellington, and I happened to see the gnomes and made her add a few of them too.

Don't get me wrong here - we are not 'gnome people', and mum's always said that if we ever bought her one she would kick it each time she went past it, but you've got to have gnomes on a novelty tea cosy right?

It must have appealed to the judges, because mum just won the best novelty tea cosy at her local craft shop - The Ribbon Rose - a great embroidery, quilting and knitting shop in Auckland, New Zealand. They're on Facebook too. Mum's going in to get her photo taken and collect her prize tomorrow. We don't know what the prize is yet, but the competition was sponsored by a knitting wool company.

Here are the other entries:

Strangely enough there was a tea cosy competition going on in Sydney too. This one was run by The Tea Salon, a tiny little Tea Shop in one of the central city arcades. They served all types of tea in beautiful fine bone china. I didn't stop for a cuppa because I'm a coffee drinker, but I did snap a few pictures of their tea cosies. Sorry the pictures aren't great - they were all in glass cabinets.

The winners.
The winner was a pineapple, second a very fluffy white cat, and third was a bunch of daffodils.

In this group I like the cockatoos (Australian native bird) on the top shelf, and the plate of cakes on the right in the middle shelf.

This was my favourite. It includes a lacy doily, a club sandwich, and five different cakes. Fantastic!

The last one in grey features a lot of tea bags.

There are so many tea cosy patterns available now. It's a good thing tea drinking is coming back into fashion.

Friday 1 August 2014

Wool felt applique cushions

While I was in Sydney I went to the Material Obsession shop, and was fortunate enough to meet up with Wendy Williams again. I'd first met Wendy when she taught a class at Handmade in Wellington in June 2013. I was really inspired by her designs, and have used quite a few of her patterns since then.

I took my cushion covers along to show her. These are made by cutting circles or flowers out of fabric, and then appliqueing them onto felt. If you're going to try this at home, don't cut the felt until you've sewn the fabric on - it's too hard to made the fabric fit a precut circle. Once you have a pile of flowers on felt, you can plan the layout and hand stitch them onto the background using Perle 8.

my first wool felt applique cushion

and the second one
I purchased these patterns from Wendy at the Handmade workshop, but they are available on her website: Flying Fish kits if you're interested. They're also included in her book called Wild Bloom and Colorful Creatures, along with may other templates for birds and other creatures. The book is better value because it contains lots of patterns, but the book wasn't published at the time I bought the patterns.

Wendy William's book

As you can see, I changed the patterns up to suit my colour scheme - pinks, blues and the odd bit of purple.

Those with eagle eyes will note some of the fabrics from my Bordered Diamonds quilt have made it into these cushions. I've been making good progress on quilting those last diamonds and now only have 3 more to go (plus the 10 I'm going to redo). I'm hoping to get them all finished this weekend, but I don't think I'll be able to get a photo because the forecast is terrible.

While I was at Material Obsession I saw this great cushion on a chair, which had clearly been made by Wendy:

I think that I might just have to make myself a 'W' cushion too, but not until I've finished some of the other projects I have on the go.