Tuesday 29 September 2015

Spinning Stripes is finished

The final item on my Q3 Finish A Long list was my Spinning Stripes mini quilt. I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  You can see my original post about this quilt here, but suffice to say, I made this lovely quilt:

 from this single piece of fabric.

Siren Song by Michael Miller fabrics

I'd been wanting to make a quilt like this ever since I saw this striking orange mini quilt at our national Symposium in January 2015.

by Shirley Mooney

It was made by Shirley Mooney, a very talented local quilter and tutor. Fortunately Shirley was running classes to learn to make this quilt, so I went along in June.  You can read about the class in this earlier blog post, and you can see more of Shirley's work here on her blog.

It's taken a few months to finish my quilt, mainly due to all the machine quilting required. Here's the back view:

I used three different colours of thread to quilt this, sometimes matching the fabric and sometimes contrasting. It's hard to show in a photo, but it is there, as the back proves.

So another mini quilt is finished, and once again, I really like it.  I still have another version of this quilt pinned to a sheet, waiting to be assembled.  That's what happens when you buy too much fabric - you just make another version.

Finished size is 22" high.

Monday 28 September 2015

Mini Tree Quilt

The end of the quarter is fast approaching, so it's time to finish the projects on my Q3 to do list and get ready to link them up with Adrianne from On The Windy Side next week.

One of the things on my Q3 to do list was this mini tree quilt.

I finished it a few weeks ago and it's hanging in my family room now (which is also my sewing room).

I bought the pattern and shot cottons from Jenny Hunter of Plume Art when she came to speak at our guild a few months ago.  Jenny bought her original version along to show us, amongst many other beautiful quilts she has made.

Jenny Hunter's mini tree quilt

It was the first time I'd made anything like this, and I really enjoyed the process.  There's both applique and reverse applique in this quilt.

 I machine quilted it with green Aurifil thread.

The finished quilt is 30" x 15".  I'm quite happy with how it's turned out, especially as it was my first attempt at an art quilt.

I'll be posting another finish tomorrow - that means all four things on my Q3 list got finished.  Time to start thinking about Q4 now.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Quilt Retreat

I went to my first ever quilt retreat at the weekend. It was a bit like a cross between a school camp and a work conference, but there was no flying fox and no boring lectures.  It was just a weekend of sewing with friends.  Fortunately the retreat was still in town, so it was quite easy to get real coffee each morning.

I arrived at the retreat at 6pm on Friday night and some people were already sewing up a storm.  A number of my friends had taken 3, 4 or even 5 projects to retreat with them.  The supportive environment, and lack of family and pet distractions, resulted in some long overdue projects being finished at retreat. Here's a small selection of our weekend work from Instagram.

I only took 2 projects. I chose to work on my la passacaglia and a new wool felt applique Christmas quilt.

I'm going use this great low volume background with a tiny bit of silver sparkle in it, and add a bit of red with gold sparkle.  It won't be all traditional Christmas fabrics, but I do want to incorporate these three above.  

I cut out all the leaves and birds, and started preparing some of the flowers.

I chose not to take my sewing machine, and instead did hand sewing all weekend.  I really enjoyed getting to know some of the guild members better, and look forward to going again next year.

Here's how my la passacaglia is looking now that I've joined some of the rosettes up:

And another section I've just started on:

 It feels good to be joining up the rosettes, but I'm still a long way from finished.  I'm quite slow at choosing the fabrics because I really don't want to have to unpick any rosettes.  Therefore I'm taking my time and choosing carefully, trying to balance the colours and patterns.

This is how my kitchen floor looks some days:

Monday 14 September 2015

Scrappy Bear Paw is finished!

Yes, my scrappy bear paw quilt is finished and I'm very pleased with it.  It's bright and cheerful, and a very useful size too.  A number of people from our guild are making the same pattern, and we hope to have a big show and tell at our November meeting.  I'll post a photo when the hall is filled with lovely scrappy bear paw quilts.

I enjoyed hand quilting each block in a different colour of Perle 8 - my preferred method of hand quilting.

I started this quilt earlier this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Capital Quilters Guild in Wellington, New Zealand.

You can read the background to it in this post from March, and see close ups of all my individual blocks in this post from May.

As some people pointed out on those earlier posts, we don't have bears in New Zealand, but the block was chosen by the founding members of the guild because of it's meaning as the hand of friendship. They wanted the guild to be a friendly place for quilters to meet, and they certainly achieved that.

The amount of low volume fabrics in this quilt is quite a departure from my usual style, but making this quilt forced me buy some low volume fabrics and start experimenting with them.  I've discovered that I like black and white, and grey and white low volumes, but I won't be crossing over into cream and white, they're just not for me.

Of course you'll see that I compensated for all that low volume by using plenty of bright Kaffe Fassett fabrics in this quilt.  When the idea was floated of making each block a different colour my first thought was my Kaffe Fassett stash.

I used a bright Art Gallery fabric for the back.  You'll see that I had to add a strip to make it wide enough.  That's what happens when you buy the end of the bolt, and then decide to add sashing to quilt top and it becomes too wide for the backing.  I don't mind though - it adds interest and colour.

I haven't made a label yet, but I will do a label to remind me why I made this quilt. I hope to still have it in 20 years time when our guild turns 50.  I wonder what people will think of it then!

Vital stats:
Block size:  20.5" square finished
Quilt size: 68" x 68.5"

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

Saturday 5 September 2015

My Possum Magic quilt returns home

On Thursday I received my own Possum Magic quilt back. More than a year after sending away my little green star block, I received a beautiful quilt back from my fellow Possum, Alice.

Here's the centre block I send off back in June 2014:

And here's what I received back this week:

Isn't that fantastic?  Seven lovely ladies, who I didn't even know a year ago, have each added a border that perfectly captures my tastes and colours.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out - the colours, the patterns, the individual fabrics - it's all wonderful.

Lime green is particularly hard to photograph, so here's a close up of some of the vibrancy in this quilt (and the highly accurate precise piecing fellow Possums have done):

I really do hope that the other members of the group are equally pleased with their quilts when they get them back.  I think it became easier to think up borders as we got to know the group members better, but some people think it got harder once they knew more about the person and their likes and dislikes.

My quilt is 84" square, so it fits perfectly on a queen sized bed.

I've started thinking about the quilting and backing already.  The predictable choice would be to use Kaffe Fassett Paperweight in purple, but I've already used that another quilt, so may just be radical and use a green version of Paperweight instead. I have a tiny piece of it in Algae and it looks good against the quilt top.  I intend to hand quilt this quilt with a variety of my usual Perle 8s, but I may also use some of my Dazzle threads from Wonderfil which have a sparkle in them.  I want to bring out the stars and triangles in the borders.

Here's some photos of how my quilt developed.  Each person just did whatever they thought was best for the quilt at that time.  We could give general preferences, but mainly they took inspiration from what other people had done before them.

First border by Sharon of Mother Dragon's Musings

Our Possum Magic round robin started after we found each other through the New Bloggers group back in 2014.  Over 100 people from all over the world joined that online group, but we got ourselves organised and setup a round robin for those of us in Australia and New Zealand.

Second border by Jo of Riddle and Whimsey

 Jo had been in a round robin before, so she drafted some rules, and we all set to work making our own centre blocks.

Third border by Serena of Sew Giving

We had about six weeks to add our borders to each quilt before it was time to send them on to the next person on the list.  The dates were all agreed at the start.

Fourth border by Carla of Granny Maud's Girl

The quilts traveled around in a circle, and the idea was that we would blog about the borders as we completed them.  Unfortunately times have changed, and we all spend more time on Instagram than we do blogging now, but we still got to see updates of how our quilts were progressing.

Fifth border by Jane of Where Jane Creates

We have developed close connections with our fellow Possums while working on these quilts.  Carla, Serena and Jo are in in Perth so they have met up to exchange quilts and brain storm ideas for borders.

Sixth border by Rebecca of One Wee Bird

Rebecca, Alice and I are all in New Zealand. I've become friends with Alice because she lives in Wellington. I haven't met Rebecca yet, but she has a great Kiwi sense of humor, and I'd really like to meet her one day.

Alice's final border

 I'm so pleased I took a risk and joined this round robin. I really didn't know what I was in for, but I've met some great people, and stretched my sewing boundaries.  Plus, I've now got a beautiful quilt top in all my favourite colours. Thank you team!!

You can see the other Possum Magic quilts on the tab at the top of this page.

Thursday 3 September 2015

Possum Magic - Sharon's quilt

Our Possum Magic round robin is coming to an end and the quilts are being returned to their original owners. You can see progress photos of them all on the Possum Magic tab at the top of this page.

Sharon's quilt on my spare bed

The final quilt that I worked on was Sharon's. Each of the quilts was different to the others, but some how this one seemed even more different.  For a start there was a lot of white in it, which is very different to what I'm used to. It was also filled with many tiny pieces of fabric. I'm not one for taking the easy way out, but I've also never used that many tiny pieces in a quilt.

Tiny hexagons added by Jane 

Alice and I decided to share the last border because the quilt was getting quite large.  Sharon had made her original centre back in June 2014, and then 5 other people had already added their borders before the quilt got to us. We just had to put on a final border.  This is what it looked like when we received it from Rebecca (One Wee Bird).

We added a crazy mosaic type border which complemented the rest of the quilt nicely.  There was plenty of white in our border, but some colour too.

The quilt is now back in northern Queensland, Australia with Sharon, and she's thinking about hand quilting it one day when the temperatures get cooler - she could be waiting some time!

I'll be writing more Possum Magic posts over the next few days.