Sunday 31 May 2015

Possum Magic - Riddle and Whimsy's quilt

Last month I had the pleasure of working on Jo's quilt. She blogs at Riddle and Whimsy.

I think Jo made the most adventurous centre block out of all of us.  She just made an arrow, and the really brave thing was, that it wasn't set in a square, it was a rectangle!

I've just realised that no one has added a traditional 4 sided border to Jo's quilt. Everyone has just added to either one or two sides of her quilt.  When I received it from Alice it looked like this:

Alice had just added the teepees and triangles down the left hand side of the quilt.  When we met for the quilt handover, Alice suggested that I might want to add something down the right hand side. That would turn it more into a square, and centre the arrows and the target more.

I thought that was a good idea, but as you can see from the above photo, Jo's quilt had got a bit wonky as it traveled around the group.  Carla, another member of Possum Magic, wrote a blog post about wonky round robin quilts just a few weeks ago.  You can read it here.  In Carla's case she had Rebecca's quilt and it had a bubble in the middle, that Carla described as a bra B cup.  When I looked at Jo's quilt above I thought it looked like a corset - wider at the top and bottom and nipped in at the waist (maybe I've been watching too much Poldark).  Anyway, we both likened the quilts to ladies underwear.

The fact that the quilt has got out of kilter is no one person's fault.  All these diagonal cuts mean that the fabrics can stretch quite a bit.  Often the deadlines are looming when people have been attaching their borders, so they've just quickly sewn on the borders and posted it off.  Fortunately I had the quilt early and had some time available to work on it.  I knew my own border was going to be quite simple, so I thought I should try to straighten it up.

I thought of all the work that Carla and Serena had put into fixing Rebecca's quilt, and thought I couldn't just sew my border on and expect Carla and Serena to fix Jo's quilt too.  So I was very brave and unpicked three of the borders, removed some of the excess fabric, and sewed it all back together.  Once it was sitting flat and was all squared up, I sewed my own border on.

I deliberately left quite wide margins around the diamonds - nothing worse then cutting the points off. It will be easy for Jo to take my long border off and move the diamonds closer to the centre if she wishes.

I used some of Jo's favourite Anna Maria Horner and Tula Pink fabrics in my borders.  Once again I purchased the low volume background because you know I don't have any in my house.

Here's how it looks now.  This quilt is going straight back to Perth. Carla, Serena and Jo will collectively finish it off for Jo.  It's almost square which means that they could continue the small half square triangles right around if they wish. I think that would look good.

I've got one final Possum Magic quilt left to work on and it's Sharon's.  It's amazing - so colourful and so much detail. I'll show it to you soon.

Last thing - To Bella Quilts - I'd love to email you back but you show up as a 'no reply blogger'.  I've tried to track you down but really can't find how to contact you.  Can you email me directly at wendysquiltsandmore at gmail dot com please? I'd love to be able to reply to your kind comments. Thank you.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Scrappy Bear Paw Quilt

I've really got to think of a better name for this quilt.  At the moment I'm just calling it what it is, a scrappy bear paw quilt.  I really didn't want to be tempted by new patterns this year, but this quilt has special significance.

I belong to Capital Quilters in Wellington, New Zealand, and the bear paw block is part of our logo.  Our guild will be 30 years old this year, and the committee came up with the idea of making bear paw quilts as a way of celebrating the anniversary.  Of course, members are free to make the quilts in whatever fabrics they like. Some people are using French General, others are using Tula Pink etc etc.

As I'm not quite 50 yet, I'm thinking that I might still be around when the guild turns 50 in 20 years time, and I can pull out my historic scrappy bear paw quilt and show all the "young ones" what we made back in 2015 when the guild turned 30.

When my friend Anne (@ihaveafabricproblem on Instagram) showed her single coloured scrappy blocks on low volume backgrounds, I was hooked.  I immediately thought of all my beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics and how I could use those in a quilt like this.  Most of you know that I've resisted low volume prints for a long time, so I had to buy fabrics for the background, but I made all the coloured sections entirely from my stash.

Here are each of the 9 blocks up close so you can see all the great prints.

this one is made entirely from Kaffe Fassett prints

I remade this block because I wasn't happy with the original version. The yellows weren't strong enough compared to the other blocks.

I found some great sashing fabric and joined the blocks up yesterday.

The quilt isn't finished yet, but I'm happy to have a finished top.  I need a bit of help with the next two steps if you'd like to help out please:

1. What sort of backing should I use?  I keep thinking that the Ikea text print would work here, but we don't have Ikea in New Zealand, and I hear it's being discontinued anyway.

2.  Should I add a narrow border in the same fabric as the sashing, or just skip the border and go straight to the binding?

Many people have asked for instructions on how to make a quilt like this.  I can't really post the pattern exactly as it was given to me, but there are a lot of patterns and instructions for bear paws blocks on the internet.  Just so you know, here's what I did. If you're an experienced quilter you'll understand these notes:

cut 17 x 3.5" squares from bright fabrics
cut 8 x 4" squares from bright fabrics

cut 8 x 4" squares from background fabrics
cut 4 x 3.5" squares from background fabrics
cut 4 X 3.5" x 9.5" rectangles from background fabrics

I turned the 4" squares into HSTs by ruling a diagonal line and sewing along both sides of the line. I cut down the line and trimmed the HSTs to 3.5" squares.

Keep a picture of the block in front of you at all times, and double, triple check that your HSTs are pointing the correct way. Everyone I know has made a mistake at some stage.

I made each of the 4 sections of the block by forming rows of 3 and then joining them to make each section of the block (9 pieces). I then joined the top half together, sewed on the middle section, and then joined the bottom half to the top.  The block measures 21.5" square unfinished.

I cut my sashing at 2.5" wide and added cornerstones at the intersections.

I hope you can understand that.  Writing instructions is harder than I thought.  I think I'll stick to sewing.

Friday 22 May 2015

La passacaglia update

I've just realised that it's about 20 weeks since I started my la passacaglia, and I've made 20 centres. I think that's quite good going.  Here's how it's looking now:

The photo below gives and idea of how one corner of the quilt will look once I add the stars and join the pieces - a big centre surrounded by 10 smaller rosettes - not necessarily these rosettes.

Here's is a close up of my other large rosette with a bit of forward planning.

I've still got two more large rosettes to make, and I've just decided that it will be the two rosettes below that I enlarge to become focal points. I love all the pattern going on in these rosettes.  I haven't done a huge amount of fussy cutting, but rather I'm working on making the colours give the desired effects.

The pattern for la passacaglia is in this Millefiori Quilts, published by QuiltMania, but also available through Paper Pieces in USA.

The first book has become so popular that Willyne Hammerstein has written a second book with even more beautiful patterns. I'd really like to make the quilt on the cover - Ballet Avec Kaffe Fasset, one day.  You can have a sneaky look inside the book here. My own personal copy arrived at the weekend.

Sometimes it's interesting to look back to the start of a project.  These were my original fabrics that I set aside for this quilt.

I've used most of the blues and the pinky reds, but I haven't really used the dusky pinks. I think I'll leave them out now because the quilt has enough colour without them.  I'll use them in another project - maybe Smitten, another paper piecing pattern I just bought recently. I don't like all my quilts to be in the same colour ranges, so I might just save them for that.

It's easy to lose momentum on a big project like this, but my friends in the Millefiori/ la passacaglia English Paper Piecing facebook group are keeping me motivated. They're a great group and welcome anyone with an interest in quilting and paper piecing.

Sunday 17 May 2015

Kapiti Quilters' Exhibition

Today I went to an exhibition put on by Kapiti Quilters.  The Kapiti Coast is a beautiful seaside area, about 30 minutes drive north of where I live in Wellington.  The exhibition was at Southwards Car Museum, so my husband and son inspected the cars, while I inspected the quilts.

This beautiful mini quilt by Sandra Killin really does reflect what the country side is like at Kapiti.  Those plants at the front are toitoi, a New Zealand native pronounced toitoi.

Oh, it's the same area as I went to at Easter when my parents were staying with us, and we went to the beach that day too.  You can see those beach photos here. This was my view at lunch today - that's Kapiti Island, a nature reserve.  Ignore the skatepark in the foreground.

I was really taken by the mini art quilts on display today.  I think that's what I want to focus on once I get my current WIP pile under control.  I haven't previously been drawn to art quilts, but maybe my tastes are changing, because I really liked a lot of what I saw today.  Here's some of my favourites. None of these were more than 40" high, and the square ones were about 20" x 20".

Bamboo by Robyn Burch - I love the lime green

by Judith MacDonald - 150 tiny blocks all foundation paper pieced

by Sheryl Meech

by Beryl Stevenson

Green Fire by Judy Boyle

by Bobby Duncan

by Robyn Burch

Colour Play by Paulette Meldrum

These quilts have so much detail packed into very small spaces.  They were just beautiful.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Flower Garden wool felt applique

Hello and welcome.  This is my second entry in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  It's my wool felt applique Flower Garden table runner.

This quilt is made from a pattern by my favourite quilt designer, Wendy Williams of Flying Fish Kits.  The pattern is in her book called "Wild Blooms and Colorful Creatures". In the book it's called "Clamshell Garden Runner".

I went to a class to learn how to make this quilt. Each year in Wellington we have a big event at Queen's Birthday weekend (first weekend in June), called Hand Made. There are many classes on offer and subjects include sewing, knitting, jewelry making, cheese making, etc.  Back in 2013 Wendy Williams was one for the guest tutors and she taught a class on how to make this table runner. I was already aware of her work and loved her style, so I attended the course.

I had a great time at the class, studying all of the other beautiful quilts and objects Wendy had bought with her, and buying up lots more patterns and brightly coloured felt.

These flowers are fussy cut from fabrics, and then hand appliqued onto the wool felt. The felt shapes are them attached to the background panel with coloured Perle 8.

This quilt was one of those very rare things that when I came home from the course I just continued sewing until it was finished. I loved every step of it, The clam shells weren't easy to get straight, but I do love the lime greens.

I especially love the Kaffe border too.  I hand quilted it with blue Perle 8. There's minimal hand quilting within the panel itself. The flowers already stand out and I wanted them to be the feature.

I wanted to put Kaffe on the back too, so I chose a bright and cheery print, with plenty of purple and lime green to match the front.

This quilt hangs above the bed in the spare room and really brightens up that room.

Finished size: 21" x 50"
Design: Flying Fish Kits

I do love this quilt, and I've enjoyed sharing it with you.  My other quilt in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival is my Mini Medallion and you can read about it here.

Voting isn't open yet, but I really encourage you to go and check out all the other quilts in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. More and more will be added to the linkup until entries close on 21 May. Then voting will be open from 22 May until 29 May. Winners will be announced on 30 May.  It really is a great way to see a huge range of quilts from the comfort of your own home.

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Mini Medallion

It's time for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival again, and once again I'm entering two quilts.

The first is my Mini Medallion, which I finished earlier this year.  I'm entering this quilt in the Hand Quilted section because I hand quilted it all with beautiful Perle 8 threads.

The hand quilting category was almost dropped from the Bloggers' Quilt Festival last year, but Amy listened to her audience and retained it.  I'm a member of the Celebrate Hand Quilting facebook group, and more and more people are turning to hand quilting to give their quilts a unique look. Celebrate Hand Quilting is a private facebook group, but anyone can ask to join, and the members are very supportive. There are more than 10,000 members in the group now, so hand quilting is alive and well.

This quilt is made from a free pattern which you can download from here.  I did it as a mystery quilt along, so I didn't know what it was going to look like until the final month.

I love bright colours so I used bright Perle 8s for the decorative quilting, and regular quilting cotton for quilting in the ditch.

Fortunately I had the perfect backing fabric in my stash.

Finished size: 36" x 36"

You can read more about this quilt in my earlier post here.  My other entry in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival is my Flower Garden table runner, and you can read all about that quilt here.

Voting isn't open yet, but I really encourage you to go and check out all the other quilts in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. More and more will be added to the linkup until entries close on 21 May. Then voting will be open from 22 May until 29 May. Winners will be announced on 30 May.  It really is a great way to see a huge range of quilts from the comfort of your own home.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Possum Magic round up

Nearly 12 months ago I met some lovely Australian and New Zealand bloggers through a new bloggers group, hosted by Beth at Plum and June blog.  Over 100 bloggers from all over the world joined that new bloggers group, and we all benefited from advice about how to make our blogs better.  There was a lot of talk about round robins in the group, and a fair bit of resistance from those in North America to post to those of us "down under".  So, some of us in Australia and New Zealand got together online, and formed our very own round robin group called Possum Magic.  A few months later a USA / Canada group started up called Round Trip Quilts, and their round robin is progressing too.

One of our members, Jo from Riddle and Whimsy, had been in a round robin before, so she put forward some guidelines and we modified them to meet our needs.   We each made a centre block using whatever design we liked. We then sent that block off to the next person on the list on the agreed date.  The quilts are now travelling round in a circle and we will each receive our own quilt back at the end in July 2015.

You can see more photos and read the back stories of each step on the Possum Magic tab, just under my header, but here's some recent photos of each of the quilts:

Alice's quilt - Blossom quilts

Carla's quilt - Granny Maud's Girl

Jane's quilt - Where Jane Creates

Jo's quilt - Riddle and Whimsy

Rebecca's quilt - One Wee Bird

Serena's quilt - Sew Giving

My quilt - Wendy's Quilts and More

Sharon's quilt - Motherdragon's Musings

Aren't they all fabulous?  There's still one or two more borders to be added to most of these so they aren't finished yet.  I'll keep you posted on progress.

It's funny as I scroll through these photos. I can see my input into each of them, except this very last one which I'm due to receive next week.  They bring back great memories, and make me think of the friendships that have developed during the course of this round robin.