Sunday 30 November 2014

WIP and a winner

I drew the prize today and the lucky winner is number 11, Cathy from Cathy's Sewing Room in Adelaide, Australia. Congratulations Cathy and I hope you can make something nice with the fabrics. I'll be in touch to arrange shipping soon.

It was lovely to hear from so many people about the new things they have tried this year. Thank you all for taking the time to leave a comment.

I've still been really busy with work this week, so I haven't got a lot of sewing done. I have managed to add another very narrow striped border to the mini medallion quilt along.

Today I've been working on the final border for this quilt. The colours are quite different to what I usually use, but I do like them. I've really enjoyed making this.

I've also been selecting the fabrics for my next Women of the Bible blocks. We have Rebekah and Ruth to work on next. I'm trying to do one blue and and one pink each time the patterns are released, to keep the quilt balanced.

That's all for today. I'm hoping for quite a few finishes in December, but probably being unrealistic. It would be nice to start the new year with a clean sheet, but that's probably not going to happen (unless I stay awake sewing until 3am each night).

Thursday 27 November 2014

It's almost been a year, so that means Giveaway time

The prize - 4 half metre cuts of  In The Navy prints by Camelot Fabrics

Wow, it's almost been a whole year since I started this blog. Why did I do it? There were 3 main reasons:

1. I'd been reading quilting blogs for a few years and drew lots of inspiration from what others were making. I thought some people might be interested in seeing what I was making.

2. I've always include a few photos of my quilting and embroidery finishes in my annual Christmas letter to family and friends. Many of those people tell me look forward to my letter so they can see what I've been up to in the past 12 months. Some years it was hard to choose which photos to include with so many projects on the go. So I knew I had plenty of material to share.

3. Would you believe I'd actually started a word document I called 'Craft Log' and was building up a document filled with photos and descriptions of what I'd made, year by year. So I knew I wanted a permanent reference of what I'd made, but up until that point I wasn't ready to go public with a blog. I worked in IT for many years solving software issues, and quite frankly, I didn't want to spend any more time on a computer than I had to.

After I sent out our 2013 Christmas letter I decided to investigate blogging, and I posted my first post on 16 December 2013.

I can still remember some of the very first people I became on line friends with back then. I won't name names for fear of offending anyone I miss out, but I've made some great friends during the past 12 months. You've all been very supportive of my efforts, and I've enjoying getting to know people from all over the world.

I've tried many new things since I started my blog:
- I joined my local quilt guild (called Capital Quilters) and met some new friends there
- I joined Instagram and met many embroidery people through that
- I participated in a quilt a long via Instagram
- I joined the Possum Magic round robin and met some fun loving people through that
- I revived my crochet interest and am planning on making a blanket next year

I could go on and on!  Anyway, to the point of this post. I running a give away to thank you all for your loyal support over the past 12 months.

The prize - 4 half metre cuts of these In The Navy prints from Camelot Fabrics

To enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me something that you tried for the first time in 2014. It could be quilting or sewing related, or sports, or travel. Whatever was significant to you.
2. If you follow my blog, leave a comment telling me how you follow - bloglovin, feedly etc
3. If you follow via Instagram leave a comment with your user name. I'm @wendysquiltsandmore
So some people can leave 3 comments.

I will ship anywhere in the world, but I must be able to email you, so if you are a no reply blogger, please leave your email address.

Entries close at 11am Sunday 30 Nov New Zealand daylight savings time. That gives you 3 days to enter. Good luck, and thank you.

Sunday 23 November 2014

A virtual garden tour - the type where you don't leave your chair

I'm just back from another trip to Auckland for work. I stayed with my mum and dad and enjoyed seeing them again. Some of you asked to see more of mum's needle work and her garden, so here goes.

Mum's canvas work cushions

more of mum's cushions

Mum's canvas work Laura J Perin's Christmas Wreath

We went to pick up the framed wreath, but were really unhappy with the framing. It was such a pity after so much hard work. They agreed to take the frame off and try again, but I still think it will be too close to the stitching. Anyway, it's a beautiful piece of work. The ribbon at the top is done in a very velvet thread from Rainbow Gallery and is just gorgeous. I have all the threads and sparkly canvas here to do it for myself, but it hasn't risen to the top of the list yet. The Christmas spirit usually hits me about a week out from Christmas, so I might even start it before the end of this year.

Now for some spring time garden photos taken yesterday. Yes, orchids can grow outside in Auckland, provided they are kept in a sheltered place.

Orchids on the right hand side of this photo

more orchids and hydrangeas about to flower soon

That's a NZ native cabbage tree growing in the neighbour's garden. It doesn't produce cabbages.

So, you've had virtual garden tour of my mum and dad's home in Auckland, New Zealand. I hope you've enjoyed it.

My Biscornus

Over the years I've made a few biscornus.  The word 'biscornu' apparently comes from a French adjective, and means skewed, quirky or irregular. Wikipedia defines 'biscornu' as a small eight sided stuffed pin cushion, decorated with embroidery on the top and bottom.

Wikipedia clearly haven't seen my 15 and 6 sided biscornus. I made both of these using a pattern from The Victoria Sampler. 

15 sided and 6 sided biscornus from The Victoria Sampler

For the 15 sided biscornu each of the 15 panels are stitched separately and then sewn together.

In the 6 sided biscornu there are larger square pieces on the top and bottom, and then 4 hardanger panels on the sides.  The hardanger on the sides is lovely, and of course the tiny beads always add a special touch.

I made these biscornus using beautiful variegated threads and ribbons from ColourStreams - the colours were Mardi Gras, Jacaranda and Carnivale.  The ribbons were used to make spider web roses.

I've also made some some lovely biscornus from kits by The Sweetheart Tree. These biscornus are made by stitching two square pieces and then rotating one of them 45 degrees before sewing them together.

Biscornus from The Sweetheart Tree
Left = Lavender Blossoms biscornu
I think the other two were actually Teenies from The Sweetheart Tree which I've converted into biscornus.

I love the beads along the seams in these biscornus. Take a look at this page (click here). There are so many kits available. I have to admit that I've still got 2 more kits waiting to be stitched. They are Cherry Blossoms and Rhodes Butterfly.

I also made this lovely design from Chatelaine Designs  I love how the greens and gold look on black, but it wasn't easy to stitch on black. I now always put a white tea towel on my knees when I'm stitching on black linen. That way the light shines through the linen and I can see the holes more clearly.

Chatelaine Designs biscornu

To complete my collection I have my gingerbread biscornu which includes hardanger too.

Gingerbread biscornu from The Victoria Sampler

Have you ever made a biscornu? Are you tempted to try?

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Possum Magic update

I haven't been doing much quilting lately, as you'll probably know if you're a regular follower.

There are three reasons for that:

1. I promised I'd finish my "Your Place or Mine?" wool felt applique top before the end of the year. I haven't made much progress on it, but I have avoided starting anything else quilt related. So I think I get a half tick for that.

2. I've been seriously distracted by all the yummy things I see on Instagram. I made the crochet mandalas and now I'm doing my first Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery project. It's a four week mystery stitch along which I'm really enjoying.

The down side to this project is that it's taking me forever because I chose to do mine on green lugana ,rather than the sparkly gingerbread linen that they suggested. I already had the green lugana, and thought it would look Christmassy, but now I have to make some thread substitutions because of the green background.  I'm getting there though, and after tonight there will be no more unpicking.

3. Work!!  Yes, I have a part time job, and for the last three weeks it's been really busy. Our annual conference and awards dinner will be held in Auckland this Friday. I've organised everything from the registrations, to the hotel, to the dinner for 100 people.  I'm looking forward to next week when life will be more back to normal.

When I do get free time, one of my first projects will be Carla's Possum Magic quilt. I can't wait to get started on this. I have an idea and I have the fabrics - I just need some free time. I love all the lime green in this quilt. It looks so fresh and summery.

Carla's Possum Magic quilt

The lovely Art Gallery fabrics I'm going to use

the ladybirds Rebecca paper pieced

There are updated photos on the Possum Magic tab at the top of my blog. Check out what the others have done lately. Here's a sneak peek:

Alice's quilt

Sharon's quilt

my quilt
Mine really isn't quite that vibrant - it must just be the way the light has caught it.

Sunday 16 November 2014

My first quilt

Today I thought I'd show you my first quilt. It's not the first quilt I ever made, but it is the first quilt ever made for me!

My Amish inspired quilt

My mum discovered patchwork and quilting in the 1980s. After making her first few quilts, she asked me if I would like one. Of course we didn't have the internet then, so I trawled through some books from the library I discovered I was attracted to the Amish quilts with clear lines and bright colours.

I found a pattern that I liked, but the funny thing was that this quilt was made from brown and pink florals in the book. I knew that I wasn't going to have a brown and pink quilt, so when we got to the shop I started pulling out the brightest fabrics I could lay my hands on.

I distinctly remember my mum being a bit embarrassed at my bright fabric choices, but fortunately she went with my choices and we can home with a very colourful bundle of fabrics.

This quilt was made before we had rotary cutters and mats. It was all hand quilted by my mum.  Sadly it's faded quite a bit, despite never being left in direct sunlight.

a matching cushion

 My local quilt shop has been running classes to make a modern quilt very similar to this, which I find quite amusing. I like to tell myself that I was ahead of my time choosing solids like this.

Friday 14 November 2014

"What's a Hussif?" you ask

A hussif is a personal sewing kit. 
Records show that hussifs were used in Great Britain as far back as 1750. People made hussifs to suit their own sewing needs. They contain lots of pockets, and can be rolled up for easy storage. Sailors and soldiers carried small hussifs so they could undertake emergency uniform repairs while they were away. 

I made my hussif in a class at Nancy's Embroidery in Wellington over a number of months (and then took another couple of years to totally finish it).

We were encouraged to design our own layout based on the things we like to have in our sewing kits. We drew patterns for each of the pockets we required. Every pocket is fully lined and hand sewn together. It's then attached to the quilted background with Palestrina stitch (again, all done by hand).

There's an open pocket on the right hand end for note books and other bulky items.

Each member of the class did some form of hand embroidery on their pocket flaps. I chose to use satin stitch to highlight one of the birds in the fabric.

I added some decorative butterflies and dragonflies to match those on the beautiful fabric on the outside.

There are pockets for almost everything.

I love my little frog tape measure in his custom made pocket. That's a mini pin cushion above the tape measure holder.

The tips of the scissor pockets are lined with chamois so the scissors don't pierce a hole in the fabric. I just cut a bit off the chamois my husband uses to clean the car (he'll never notice).

I don't keep pens in these pockets in case they leak, but the red one in the centre is a chalk pencil for quilting.

You can read more about the history of the hussif on the Regency Redingote blog here. It's a very interesting read.  Of course you can also google 'hussif' and see lots more examples of modern day hussifs.

(apologies for all the random font changes in this post - I have tried to fix them but clearly failed.)

Thursday 13 November 2014

Crochet revisited

It's many years since I last crocheted, but last week I dug out my crochet hooks and set about making some mandalas to support a very good cause. I didn't really know about mandalas until a few weeks ago, but now I'm seeing them everywhere in Instagram. Who knew there were so many crochet addicts out there!

my first purple mandala - just 18cm diameter

Jane (also known as @queen_babs on Instagram and put out a public appeal for crocheted purple mandalas. She's going to join them together and use them to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia Syndrome at a yarn bombing event in Sydney, Australia.

I started with a pattern but then went free style to make it bigger -  40cm diameter

I thought that was a very good cause, so I set about making some for her. I really haven't crocheted for many years, so I had to remember how the stitches went. It's so confusing now - of course UK and US mean different things by the same words. A double crochet in one country is a treble crochet in the other. You have to check which country the pattern is from and adapt to their codes, or your mandala gets overly full and won't sit flat.

the Carnivale Cushion pattern from - 28cm diameter

My mandalas were all made from free patterns available on the internet.

You can see all the purple mandalas on Instagram #FMShopemandala

all three together

If you'd like to join in, your mandala needs to be made from cotton or acrylic yarn, mainly purple (with possible white or black), and between 14cm and 50cm diameter.  Jane needs them all in Sydney by 2 April 2015. You can contact her through Instagram or facebook.

Next time I'll show you some of my earlier crochet efforts - here's a sneak peek.

Add caption
Yes, I made that crochet mat while I was still in my teens!