Monday 31 August 2015

Millefiore Quilts presentation to Capital Quilters

Shirley Mooney, of Don't Wait to Create blog, and I gave our Millefiori Quilts presentation to Capital Quilters, Wellington, NZ on Saturday.  There were about 100 people there, and they were very interested in the Millefiori Quilts books, and the la passacaglia pattern that we are both making. Many people came and had a close look at our rosettes during the afternoon tea break.

That's me, talking about my quilts

We had a prepared a Powerpoint presentation showing how we select our fabrics, the gadgets we use while making our quilts, and some examples of finished quilts.  We also showed our quilts as they are at the moment.

That's Shirley and her rosettes

Shirley and I have adopted completely different styles for our quilts, so it gave people an insight into how these quilts can be personalised.

I gave a strong plug for the Millefiori/ la passacaglia Facebook group and encouraged anyone considering making these quilts to join up.

The bottom left hand quarter of my quilt

Knowing that the presentation was looming, I suddenly got a wriggle on and started joining up some of my rosettes. I thought it would be good if people could see what the finished quilt might look like. So over the past two weeks I've glued pieces in the day and stitched at night.  Here's how mine looks now, although not all of these rosettes are joined up yet.

Shirley knows a lot of quilty people in New Zealand, and has asked me to join her in giving the presentation to another quilt guild in November.  That will be an incentive to join even more rosettes before then.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Women of the Bible quilt

Towards the end of last year I thought about making the Modern Building Blocks quilt. I don't really use a lot of solids, so I thought it would extend me.  I liked the idea of a modern sampler quilt, but in the end I decided it wasn't for me.

While I was waiting for the Modern Building Blocks to be sent the Women of the Bible quilt came to my attention.I cancelled my order for the Modern Building Blocks and started receiving these patterns for free. The patterns were sent out by email every second week, from Little Quilts in USA.

The programme has finished now, and I have received all the patterns. I made a big effort a week ago to finish all 40 of the blocks and here they are:

I used Denyse Schmidt fabrics from Spotlight New Zealand.  Her range came in blues and pinks, so I decided to use a bit of both in my quilt.  I think most other people have chosen quieter fabrics, but these appealed to me.  I didn't make it for religious reasons, I made it because I like the patterns.

It felt like a major achievement to get all 40 blocks finished, but then I realised that the pattern included lots of 5" blocks as fillers.  I tried to lay the quilt out without the fillers, but it would end up 60" x 90" if I just sewed it together as it is. I did play around on a piece of paper trying to think of layouts that could incorporate as many blocks as possible.  There are 12 very large 15" blocks and the smaller blocks are 10".

Here's a picture of someone else's finished quilt top, with all the filler blocks. It's more square than mine.

Yvette has made all the filler blocks and it does look good. I think I will have to do them, but they might not be flying geese and half square triangles. I think my fabrics are patterned enough that I could just cut 5" square in some cases.

Sorry about the poor lighting - it's winter here and it just keeps on raining at the moment.  If you would like the patterns for these blocks you can buy them on a DVD from Little Quilts for USD 10.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Talking about la passacaglia

Some weeks ago Shirley Mooney asked me to join her in giving a talk to Capital Quilters Guild in Lower Hutt, New Zealand on Willyne Hammerstein's La Passacaglia quilt. 

Planning my next move

The addiction to this quilt is massive and world wide. Many of you will know that there is a Facebook Group for this quilt and I'm one of the administrators of that group. At the start of the year there about 40 members, and we now have 2,500 members with about 20 more joining every day. Just search Millefiore/la passacaglia English Paper Piecing and ask to join if you're interested.

I test out my plans before I cut, baste and sew them together

The same questions are asked by people wanting to make this quilt I.e. Fabrics, templates, papers etc. so we have decided to help.

Shirley and I are not experts, but by sharing what we have learnt along the way (including gadgets and techniques) we hope to either help and encourage those starting and to maybe introduce newbies to this wonderful English Paper Pieced quilt.

Just making double sure that I'm still happy wit this one

Venue is Waterloo School, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.  Saturday 29th August commencing 1.30pm. Visitors are very welcome.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Our NZ Flag

Take a look at these two flags below.  One belongs to New Zealand, and the other belongs to Australia.  Do you know which is which?

Flag of Australia.svg          NZ flag

Probably not, unless you live in New Zealand or Australia. Even those of us in New Zealand get confused when we see one of these flags flying at global sporting events.  That's one of the reasons why New Zealand is considering changing the flag. It's a very bold move, but people have talked about it for a long time.

Often at sporting events you'll see this silver fern flag representing New Zealand:

It's what all our sporting representatives wear on their uniforms, and is widely known as a symbol for New Zealand.

An artists rendition of how the strip may look (Photosport)
Richie McCaw and Dan Carter from the All Blacks
The silver Fern is beautiful a native plant that grows in forests here. The back of the leaves look like this:

However, that silver fern flag is not our official flag, but it's being used more and more to represent New Zealand.

Those in power decided we couldn't vote on changing the flag unless we knew what the alternative design was first. About 10,000 designs were submitted to the Flag Consideration Panel. Yesterday they released a long list of 40 designs which you can see in greater detail here.

The long list

You might notice that none of these 40 designs have the Union Jack. We are still a member of the Commonwealth, but we trade with many countries now, and don't view our relationship with UK in the same way as we did back in 1904 when our current flag was developed.

The silver fern flag is there on the top right, but it's unlikely to win because it too closely resembles the flag used by a terrorist group in the Middle East - better not type their name here. Many people are saying black is not a good colour for a national flag.

By mid September this list will be reduced to 4 designs. Then we will have a referendum where all voters get to vote for their top choice. In March 2016 we will have another referendum to choose between that single new design and the current flag.  

Yes, this is all costing a lot of money, but it's something that's been talked about for ages, and finally it seems we're having a real debate about it and are going to have the chance to vote on it.  Personally I quite like this one - it has a bit of the old and a bit of the new:

Silver Fern (Red,White & Blue) by Kyle Lockwood from Wellington, tagged with: Blue, Red, White, Fern, Southern Cross, Growth, Independence, Kiwiana, Māori culture, Multiculturalism, History.

It also gives you a clue as to which is which at the top of the page. NZ has four stars, and Australia has six.

I'd be interested to know what you think.

Sunday 9 August 2015

Colouring for Adults

Have you heard of this new craze? People are designing colouring books for adults!  I spent many hours colouring Doodle Art pictures when I was young, so I had to try these books out. One of the most popular is Secret Garden by Johanna Basford. This is my first page from the Secret Garden book.

Johanna's book was totally sold out in New Zealand in July, so I bought a Bollywood one instead (on the left below). I started a couple of pictures in it, but soon found that colouring was eating into stitching time.

another picture from the Bollywood book

Last week new supplies of Secret Garden arrived on the shelves, and as soon as I looked inside I knew I had to buy it.  The drawings are amazing - there's so much detail in them.

with my la passacaglia rosettes
It took me four days to colour this picture. I used felt pens on this one. I used to do card making and I had some old Tombow brush pens which were great for this.  I think I'll try coloured pencils on my next page though, just to see the different effects.

In other news: This is a Trip Around the World block I made for our Capital Quilters Block of the Month.

Here's how they looked together:

I would have loved to win them all, but they went to someone else, so I might just have to make my own version one day. Another quilt to add to the list.

Finally, I've just finished this book and I enjoyed it. It's the true story of a New Zealand gardener working in Wellington, Scotland, Los Angeles and Mexico City. He's not the greatest writer ever, and I did skip bits, but most of it was very interesting. I got mine on my kindle from Amazon.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Haunted House is finished!

I'm very excited to show you my finished Haunted House. I've been stitching this house on and off since Christmas, and have spent a lot of time over this past week assembling it.

It would be dwarfed by pumpkins, so here's an orange and mandarin for scale. I'm just posting a few photos of the finished house today. I'll write more details about the finishing in a future post (you can read that post here).

It's such a momentous day that I'll even include a photo of me with the haunted house! Sorry about the crazy hair - that's what you get in Wellington on a windy winters day.

I hope that this house will be treasured for many years to come, so I've put my name and the date on the bottom. That way people will remember who made it long after I'm gone. Clearly I've been watching too much of "Who do you think you are?" on the BBC Knowledge Channel.

You'll see that I had already made a mini quilt for the house to sit on when Halloween arrives. I bought those fabrics at Spotlight in October last year so the quilt was finished long before the house.

This is the back view.  Those candy corns look good enough to eat. Unfortunately we don't get candy corn in New Zealand, but I have tasted it, and I know it's delicious.

Last photo - just to show how the turret is attached on the front.

I love this house and I'm really pleased with my finishing this time.  I'm off to put my feet up and admire it now.

This was one of four things on my Finish A Long list for Q3 2015.

Some new close up photos added October 2016: