Thursday 30 October 2014

Blue, blue and more blue

Lately I've been very busy with my day job (paid work), but I've still managed to do a bit of stitching along the way. Strangely enough, most of it was blue!

First up, my Celtic Snow embroidery by Northern Expressions Needlework. I'm turning the final corner now and just need to check both sides are going to meet up correctly. Then I'll finish some more crosses and add all the yummy beads. It might even get finished before Christmas.

Celtic Snow

I've also had another lesson on the Needlelace I started five weeks ago. There's hardly anything to see, but this is the start of a chrysanthemum flower. It's really hard to get these petals even but I'm persevering. It's stitched on the same hand dyed linen as the Celtic Snow above.

Needlelace in progress
I haven't made much progress on the first motif because I was out of action for a few weeks with a problem in my elbow. It's a lot better now thank goodness. The photo below shows what it will look like eventually.

the model answer

The third blue thing was a star block I made for the Capital Quilters block of the month. These stars looked so good when they were up on the wall. Bridget was the lucky winner, so have fun with them Bridget.

The final blue thing was this lovely surprise that I found in the letterbox. It's a pincushion, custom made for me, by Carla of Granny Maud's Girl.  It was a great surprise, because it wasn't part of a swap or anything - it was just a random act of kindness. We've got to know each other through Possum Magic, and for some strange reason, Carla just thought those fabrics were meant for me! Carla has written a blog post about it, in which she calls me Mrs Peacock. You can read it here.
I love it Carla, and as you can see, it fits right in to my home. Thank you.

pin cushion by Granny Maud's Girl

Friday 24 October 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Trellis Crossroads

Hello and welcome. I'm Wendy and this is my second entry in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. This is my Trellis Crossroads quilt that I finished a few weeks ago. I'm entering it into the Home Machine Quilted category. 

Trellis Crossroads

I love bright colours, and I've used plenty of them my Trellis Crossroads quilt.  I started this quilt to try out the Trellis Crossroads pattern, but I loved how the bright batiks looked against the navy, so I kept going until I had used up all my batik charm squares.

I used hot pink for the quilting because I knew it would stand out against the navy background. I used my walking foot to quilt diamonds with straight line machine quilting. Once I reached the edges of the quilt I changed to straight lines radiating out to the four corners.

I added a little bit of hand quilting in the centre with a thicker thread as an accent.

This quilt is quite small - just 38" x 38". It's now hanging on the wall in the hall way of our home, and looks very welcoming when visitors come to the door.

You can read more about this quilt in my earlier post here. And you can see my other entry in the Bloggers Quilt Festival here - my Redwork Christmas.

Thank you for visiting.

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - my Redwork Christmas quilt

Hello, and welcome, especially if you're visiting for the first time.

I'm Wendy, an accountant living in Wellington, New Zealand, with my family. I like to describe myself as a modern hand quilter, because I make bright modern quilts, and I hand quilt them with Perle 8 thread.

Some people might think hand quilting is a dying art, but more and more people are wanting to learn hand quilting. I'm a member of the Celebrate Hand Quilting facebook group which is a very supportive online forum for hand quilters. It's a private group, but anyone can ask to join. There are almost 9,000 members of the group now, so hand quilting is alive and well.

It's a Redwork Christmas

This is my entry for the hand quilted section of the Bloggers's Quilt Festival. You can't vote just yet, but you can click on the links as the quilts are added, and then return to vote next week when the voting opens on 1 November USA time.

I made this Redwork Christmas quilt through a block of the month programme. The pattern was designed by Rosalie Quinlan of Australia and the designs really appealed to me. I had never done redwork before, but I loved stitching each panel. Here are some of my favourite blocks in the quilt:

Each month I received a transfer in the post, and I ironed it onto a piece of calico. I then hand stitched each panel with red DMC stranded cotton using backstitch. I used an embroidery hoop because I wanted to keep the tension even. It took quite a while to stitch each block, but I was always finished before the next block. That's because I enjoyed doing it so much.

Once all nine panels were completed it was time to add the sashing. I decided to use a range of complementary fabrics for the sashing. I then hand quilted as much as I could without impacting on the panels. I used red and cream Perle 8 for the quilting.

I bring this quilt out each Christmas and drape it over the sofa.

The facts:
size 52" x 42"
pattern is "It's a Redwork Christmas" by Rosalie Quinlan

You can find this pattern here.

Thursday 23 October 2014

2015 Plans

As 2014 starts to draw to a close, I've been thinking about what I might like to make in 2015.  Yes, of course I'll finish 'Your Place or Mine?' first, but then what will I do?  Someone suggested I might get more done if I wrote a list, so here goes:

1. Most of you will know that I like complex challenges that test my brain, so yesterday I ordered this book from Paper Pieces.

I've always loved Kaffe Fassett's Millefiore fabric in blue (below), and the patterns in the book reminded me of this gorgeous fabric.  

Kaffe Fassett Millefiore Blue

I've met quite a few people on Instagram who are working on the la passacaglia pattern from this book. If you're not on Instagram, just google la passacaglia and look at the images. 

It's all paper pieced and hand sewn. Would you believe there are 2,400 pieces in it? A lot of people are fussy cutting their fabrics, so I've ordered acrylic templates too. 

Watch this space.

2. On a more modern note, I've also ordered the Moda Modern Building Blocks kit. The Fat Quarter Shop are currently sold out, but I'm still hoping to get it before Christmas. It comes in a lovely box and my husband can wrap boxes, so hopefully it will be sitting under the tree on Christmas morning. Is it OK to sew on Christmas Day?

I've ordered the fabrics too, but I intend to mix in my own fabrics as well. Again, lots of people are already making these and I've seen a wonderful variety of quilts. I don't even know if I'll do the biggest blocks as they are, I might try and resize them down and fit in a few more smaller blocks. Who knows at this stage.

3. I've just started receiving the free patterns for a Women of the Bible quilt and it will run into next year too.  I'm not at all religious, but I liked the idea of trying out lots of different blocks. It's run by www.littlequilts,com, although I think signups might have closed now.

Women of the Bible

Yesterday I made the first two blocks:

Eve - she deserves pink for being the first woman


They are quite big - 15" x 15" each. I decided to use my Denyse Schmidt fabrics that I bought at Spotlight recently. The blue block looks a bit busy, but I refuse to unpick or remake at this very early stage. I'll reassess when I've made more of them. 

4. Possum Magic - of course I'll continue working on the Possum Magic quilts too. That will run until about June. 

5. Then there's all the embroidery projects I want to do. I think I'll do another post about them another day.

The Bloggers' online Quilt Festival starts this weekend. I'm entering two quilts this time - my Trellis Crossroads and a Redwork Christmas that I haven't put on my blog yet. Here's a sneak peak: 

 I hope you're having fun wherever you are.

Sunday 19 October 2014

A flashaback

Were you into sewing when you were 16? Had you already started quilting and stitching while you were still at school?

Although I took piano lessons, played the clarinet and oboe in an orchestra, played tennis at the weekends, and was a young leader at Girls Brigade (like Guides), I somehow found time to embroider this cross stitch when I was just 16 years old.

DMC Pako embroidered by me when I was 16

I certainly wasn't into quilting when I was 16 because I wasn't really aware of it then. I could use a sewing machine, and I had made some clothes and bags during compulsory sewing lessons at school. Back when I went to school, all the girls in New Zealand did cooking and sewing in Years 7 and 8, and all the boys did woodwork and metalwork. We swapped over for one quarter of each year so we could get a taste of what the others did, but these lessons were firmly segregated along gender lines at my Intermediate school. (Dunedin North Intermediate in Dunedin, New Zealand)

However, my mum always did a lot of knitting and embroidery in the evenings and she taught me how to do cross stitch when I was quite young.

You might wonder how I had the patience - well we didn't have the internet as a distraction back then. I saw this kit in a lovely embroidery shop in Auckland's High Street back in the early 1980's. I can't remember the name of the shop, but it was a basement level shop and it stocked beautiful Permin, Lenarte, and Eva Rosenstand designs. I loved poking around in that shop. The fact that it was underground added to the intrigue and mystery of it all.

I must have been given this kit for Christmas when I was 16 and I just plugged away at it, a little bit each night. I loved doing it, and I still love it now. It doesn't hang on the wall in my house at the moment, but it might again one day.

Here's another large cross stitch sampler that I stitched when I was in my 20's. I like it too, but it's also taking a break in a back room at the moment.  This design is Permin Flower ABC. Sorry that the photo isn't clearer, but there is glass in the frame.

Permin Flower ABC

 I'd be interested to know if you what your hobbies were when you were 16, and if they involved much sewing.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Your Place or Mine? - month 9

On Friday I pulled out my Your Place or Mine? quilt. I've decided to make it my goal to get the quilt top finished before the end of the year. I've looked back and the last time I posted about this was in June. Of course, I've done many other things since then, but it's now risen to the top of the pile again. I laid it out on the kitchen floor to see where I'm up to.

Your Place or Mine as at 12 October 2014

Over the weekend I managed to finish month 9's panel and I love it.

Month 9

There were 10 months in this BOM, so I'm now working on the final month - month 10.

Month 10 in progress

Besides finishing the hand stitching on the applique panel, I also have to run up 3 more corner blocks yet. They are cut out and sewn into strips, I just need a day to put them all together.

Then I need to sew the corners on and the borders (Kaffe Fassett fabric) and the top will be done. I haven't really thought about how I'm going to quilt it yet. I'd quite like to hand quilt it because then it will all be my own work, but I'm also considering sending it to a local long arm quilter.

And in my spare time (cough, cough) I've been working on this embroidery by Northern Expressions Needlework. It's called Celtic Snow and I love it too. No wonder I'm usually only getting in to bed at midnight these days.

Celtic Snow by Norther Expressions Needlework

I'm linking up with Lee from Freshly Pieced. Gemma at Pretty BobbinsSarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday 9 October 2014

Possum Magic - Jane's Block

At the risk of being called an over achiever by my fellow Possum Magic team members, I'm pleased to reveal Jane's block with the third border added.

Jane's quilt with the third border added

I only received this block from Alice two weeks ago, but I'd seen photos of it and I already knew what I wanted to do with it. I called into Spotlight on the way home from coffee with Alice and picked up the mauve shot cotton (note that I didn't call it purple because some members of this group have an aversion to purple).

My thinking was that Jane started this quilt off with flying geese that were a type of arrows. Rebecca added to that with more obvious arrows. The quilt was starting to remind me a little game we have called 'Rush Hour' which consists of a whole lot of cars jammed up on a playing board. The traffic theme was coming through loud and clear so I thought I could add in some Stop signs in the form of snowball octagons.

Jane and Rebecca had both used different coloured shot cottons, so I carried on that theme too and chose another shot cotton. I added the lime green strips to both separate the snowballs from Alice's striped border, and to close off and neaten up the outside edge of what I had done.

As Rebecca noted last month, shot cottons do shed a lot of threads and leave a huge mess on carpet. The external green border tidied them up a bit before I ship this off to Sharon.

Here's an update on the rest of the Possum Magic quilts. I'm so glad I joined this group because not only have I made some great online friends, I've also been pushed out of my comfort zone and forced to try new things. You can read more about the quilts and find links to the owners on my Possum Magic page - there's a link at the top of my blog.

Aren't they all looking great! There's such a variety here.

Tuesday 7 October 2014


We have a wonderful show going on in Wellington at the moment called The World of Wearable Art (WOW). It's an event that draws amazing entries from all around the world. Fashion designers and artists spend months and months coming up with the most amazing designs.

2013 Supreme Runner Up - "Chica under glass" by Peter Wakeman of New Zealand.
 Made of fibreglass and plywood

The shortlisted entries are showcased in a two hour extravaganza of music, lighting, dancing and colour. This year there were 166 entries in the show. Many women from through out New Zealand come to see the show which runs for three weeks. The shoe shops in Wellington do amazing business during this time, because what's a few nights away with a new pair of shoes to show for it?

2009 Supreme winner by David Walker of USA - "Lady of the Wood" made from plywood

I've been fortunate enough to go to WOW twice before - I'd like to go every year but tickets aren't cheap. Some of the designs from previous years are now on display in Wellington. Here's a few that caught my eye.

This is all made from zips!

"E.T. Buddha" by Tushar Koche of India

imagine sewing all those zips together

The patterns on the leggings and flip flops are made from the tags on the ends of zips

This is all carved wood in William Morris style

Gothic Habit was Supreme Award Runner Up this year. 

Here's a link to a short video that shows some of the previous years entries.

If you're ever thinking of attend the show, sign up for emails so you will be notified when tickets go on sale. It sells out quite quickly. And let me know you are coming - I could always go again.