Friday 26 June 2015

Home and Away is finished

My "Home and Away" quilt is finished!!!  And after two years work it it totally deserves all those exclamation marks.

I love this quilt - it's bright and whimsical - just what I like, and it's full of beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics too.

I loved making this quilt. I enjoyed choosing and cutting the beautiful wool felt, and appliqueing it onto the background with my bright Perle 8 threads.

I even enjoyed making all those Half Square Triangles, although I wish I'd had a Bloc Loc ruler to help me.

This pattern was designed by the very talented Wendy Williams of Flying Fish Kits, Australia (click here for her website). Wendy works at Material Obsession in Sydney, with Kathy Doughty.  Material Obsession offered this quilt as a Block of the Month back in 2013.  I enrolled in the program after seeing the original quilt when Wendy came to NZ to teach at Handmade. The program ran for 10 months and I loved opening my parcel each month.

Updated Aug 2016:  This pattern can now be purchased directly from Wendy William's website here .  Wendy also has a number of similar patterns on her website and in her book.

Wendy Williams, the designer, called her quilt "Your Place or Mine?", but I've chosen to call my version "Home and Away".  Some of you will know there's an Australian TV series called Home and Away, so it seemed an appropriate name, given that the quilt has Australian origins..  I've never watched Home and Away myself, so it's not because I'm a fan.  I chose the name because the quilt shows cities, farms and beaches, so it really does show both home and away.

It's ended up a big quilt at 88" x 88". Here it is on our queen sized spare bed.

I chose to use the border fabric on the back too. It's a Kaffe Fassett print called Paisley Jungle.

I asked Sue Burnett at Busy Bee Quilt Shop in Wellington to quilt this for me on her long arm machine. She did a fantastic job of stippling all around the felt, and the flowers and animals stands out even more now. I'm so pleased with what how Sue quilted it. She did a great job.

I chose a lighter blue Kaffe print for the binding, which you can just see in this photo.

I don't have a wall space large enough to hang this quilt, and I don't have little children to enjoy it right now, so it will be used with care, and maybe one day I'll have grandchildren who will enjoy it too. Until then I'll use it on our bed, and I'm sure I'll have sweet dreams under it.

This quilt was the third item on my Q2 Finish Along list.

Saturday 20 June 2015

My Small World - Part 1

If you're on Instagram you will probably notice a lot of people are making this beautiful quilt / wall hanging, designed by Jen Kingwell of Amitie Textiles in Melbourne, Australia.

As soon as I saw this picture I knew that I'd like to make this quilt, but I've had to wait months for the Spring Edition of QuiltMania to get to New Zealand.

A few weeks ago I met my friend Anne and our local quilt bookshop, Minerva, and we both purchased our copies of this magazine.

During the time that we had been waiting for the magazine to arrive, we'd already started to see lots of people making the quilt, and even some bog posts with helpful tips and suggestions.  Kerry, from Very Kerry Berry, is running a Quilt a long which is really helpful.  It's always nice to see close up photos of a quilt like this before you embark on it.

I've finished Part 1 now, but it wasn't easy or straight forward.  This isn't a quilt for beginners. There are quite a few places where it helps to have a bit of experience under your belt. A number of us have resorted to foundation paper piecing to keep the triangles in shape.  And as for those tiny pinwheels - they really are tiny. They involve four 1.5" half square triangles!

My Part 1

It's not just the quilting techniques that are challenging, it's also the fabric choices and placements. I made 4 different versions of one block before I had one that I was happy with.  My 3 spare blocks are on the left in the photo below.  They will be incorporated somewhere else in the quilt.  I've resolved not to make any more fabric choices in the evening when it's dark.  It's too hard to see the colours properly and I end up changing my mind in the morning.

The 3 blocks on the left have all been superseded by the green one.

When I finally finished Part 1 I went straight onto to starting Part 2. I haven't finished Part 2 yet, but I had some fabric ideas that I just needed to try out asap.  It looks a bit crazy this close up, but is better when you stand back further.  I decided to start using up a Joel Dewberry jelly roll that I bought last year. I'm also using charm squares where I can.

The start of Part 2 on the left hand side of the photo.

Everyone is commenting on what a mess they are getting into with this quilt. The idea is that you can just use scraps, but of course we all pull out lots of other options just to be sure. I've resorted to using these plastic plates and mini baskets to keep pieces together.

The magazine has both metric and imperial measurements so is a bit confusing.

I'm having lots of fun with this quilt, and it's nice to see everyone else's growing too. People are being very generous with their tips and tricks.

Saturday 13 June 2015

Crochet Hexagons - Q2 Finish a long

Is it a rug? or is it a blanket? My friends in the UK tell me they only use the word "rug" to refer to something on the floor. We do call mats on the floor rugs, but we also call small blankets rugs.  So I would call this a rug.

Anyway, it's finished.  On my Q2 Finish along list here, I said that I wanted to make a smaller crochet rug for my knees at night. At that stage I thought I might do the Cosy Ripple pattern from Attic 24, but then I started to see some hexie rugs and thought why not?  English Paper Piecing in the form of la passacaglia is taking over my life at the moment, so why not make a rug in a similar geometric pattern.

I tried to use Attic 24's pattern for hexagons, but they just wouldn't sit flat for me, so I swapped to another pattern that I found on Ravelry.  It was by LavenderWildRose and you can find it here on her blog.  It's a very simple pattern, and I could churn out 10 hexagons a night sometimes.

The bit that I really liked about Attic 24's pattern was that you could join the hexagons as you go, so you don't end up with 100 hexagons and have to spend weeks joining them up.  So I combined the two patterns and used these instructions from Attic 24 to join as I went a long. The joining stitches felt very awkward at first, but if you're going to do it, persevere because it become easier and it's so much quicker.  As you crochet the outside ring of each hexagon you join it up to the previous ones.

I didn't fill in the edges of my blanket, but I did add a border, both to make it look finished, and to stabilize it a bit.

Now I have two new crochet blankets to keep me warm this winter. Below is my other one, also finished in Q2.  Both were made with California 100% wool from Australian Spinners. It was a pleasure to work with, and I love the variegated colours which have produced great results in the hexagon blanket.

Monday 8 June 2015

Capital Quilters

We had our 30th birthday party at Capital Quilters on Saturday.  We were each given one of these very useful cloth bags to celebrate our 30 years as a guild.  I thought it was a really good idea.

I've already written my name in mine so no one else can run off with it.

On behalf of my Canadian readers, I put up my hand and asked about the origins of the bear paw logo, and why we, a guild in New Zealand (which I don't think has any life threatening animals) chose a bear paw as our logo.  There were at least 4 people in the room who were present when the guild started. They said that a vote was held, and people chose the bear paw because of it's meaning - Hand of Friendship, not anything to do with bears sorry.

I've started hand quilting my scrappy bear paw quilt. I'll use Perle 8 and big stitch hand quilting. Of course I'll colour co-ordinate, and use a matching Perle 8 for each block.  I don't even think that I'll have to buy any more colours of thread. I've got so many in my box.

The President of the guild stood down at the AGM on Saturday, and we had been secretly asked to make her a Retail Therapy block in her favourite colours of pink, purple and aqua blue.  I couldn't fit them all in one photo, but they looked great on the wall and she was delighted.

Aren't they great. Here's a closeup of my contribution:

I had to use zig zag because I couldn't get the blanket stitch to work on my old machine!  The beautiful Bernina in the photo at the top of this page is my brand new machine, which I'm just learning how to use.  I have a lesson on Thursday and things will be better after that.  I told my family that it's like moving from my 1979 Ford Escort (my first car) to my current Subaru Outback - everything is different! Electric windows, keyless entry and ignition, automatic transmission, dashboard handbrake, etc etc. My previous machine was a Bernina 910 that I purchased in 1987, my first year of working after university. It's done really well, but I want to do more machine quilting in future, amongst other things.  The new machine is so smooth and quiet. I love it already.

The new Bernina 550QE is both my 25th Wedding Anniversary present (June 2) and my upcoming 50th birthday present (October).  Here we were 25 years ago. Look at all that blow waved hair!  Yes, Serena and Carla, my bridesmaids wore purple!!!  Somethings never change.

I'm linking up to Blossom Hearts Quilts. It's her blog's 3rd anniversary and there are lots of prizes up for grabs.

Monday 1 June 2015

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who voted for my Flower Garden table runner in the Online Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  There were many amazing quilts entered, and I'm humbled that mine would be voted the winner in the Applique category.

Thank you to Amy's Creative Side for running this festival twice a year.  It must be a big job to organise everything, including sponsors.

I was quite surprised at how many winners come from outside of USA.  There are quite a few from Poland this year, including the winner of the Viewers' Choice award, Gosia. You can see her quilt here. And you can visit all the winning entries from this page.

You don't have to be an amazing quilter to enter this competition.  You just need to take some photos of your quilts, write a blog post, and link up. The next festival will be in November/December, so I encourage you to start thinking now about which of your two quilts you will enter. They don't need to be new, they could be something you finished 2 years ago. They just need to be new to the competition.

Thanks again, Wendy