Wednesday 30 December 2015

Gingerbred Christmas Tree Etui

Last Christmas (Dec 2014) I received the beautiful Christmas Tree Etui pattern to stitch.  I finished the first panel in January 2014, but then put it aside to work on other things.  I'm pleased to say that I finally got it all finished 5 days before Christmas 2015.

Although the word "Etui" means a decorative storage box, I chose to sew mine shut because I knew it would be quicker to complete, and I'd be unlikely to use it as a storage box anyway.

The beading and fine stitches on this design are just gorgeous.  I'm really pleased I made the decision to stitch this tree, because it adds some height to my village and looks so good on the shelf.

You can read more about my village on the separate tab at the top of the page.  I received the Gingerbread Quilt Shop for Christmas 2015 last week, and I hope to start stitching it very soon.

This Etui was on my Q4 finish along list, so I'm able to say that I got one thing on that list finished!

Saturday 19 December 2015

la passacaglia - what to do with the edges?

It's now 50 weeks since I started my la passacaglia on New Year's Eve 2014.  I always expected it to take at least a year, so I'm not concerned that the first anniversary is fast approaching. The good news is that the end is in sight, and it's not languishing in a cupboard.  

la passacaglia

I pulled my quilt out again about a week ago, and I've been tackling all those difficult edge pieces.  Suddenly making nice round rosettes seems easy.  This current stage involves a fair bit of crawling around on the floor, checking back to the pattern, and realigning tape measures.

Some people haven't wanted to cut a straight line on the edges, so they have appliqued their rosettes onto a wide border and retained all the star points. Other people have attached a row of the biggest pentagons (all in the same colour) all the way around the quilt, and then appliqued it to a wide border. 

I'm going to use the method Willyne used when she designed the quilt.  I'm going to be brave and cut the edges.  Then I'll attach a skinny border in a bright vibrant colour (I know, what a surprise), and then a wider border in a special fabric I've already bought. I'll actually attach the skinny border before I cut the quilt because I don't want the pieces to start unraveling on me.

So for the last 3 days I've been crawling around the floor trying to ensure that I have a straight edge where I can cut, and putting together weird filler pieces like this one above.

I'm going to Auckland on Christmas Eve, so I'm packing lots of pieces to take with me. I always take this quilt in my hand luggage on planes - I would be devastated if it was in a suitcase that got lost.

I'm looking forward to seeing my mum's la passacaglia because she's almost finished too.  I'll post a photo of them both together. Here's what hers looked like about 6 weeks ago:

 Of course I haven't mentioned the quilting yet.  That's a whole other story that can be tackled once I've got the top finished.

This will be my last blog post before Christmas, so Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas with friends and family. Thank you all for your kind comments and encouragement during the year. I have got to know some wonderful people from all over the world through this blog.  Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  love from Wendy.

Thursday 17 December 2015

December WIPs

Hello, and welcome to all my new followers. Thank you for entering my giveaway.  I did read all the entries, and I now know that your favourite TV programmes are:

Dr Who
Downton Abbey

I've never watched NCIS myself, although it is on TV here. I was a big CSI fan (all 3 variations) until it ended.  I've never watched Dr Who - the music alone scares me.  I love Downton Abbey and will watch the first 2 seasons again with my mum during the Christmas holidays.  It will be fun to see how the characters have changed over time.

The winner of the give away was Judith of Slow Thread who just happens to live in Victoria, Canada, home of Victoria Sampler, the designer of my gingerbread village. Congratulations Judith.

This week I've been trying to finish up a few of my WIPs before Christmas.

I've now finished hand quilting my Stacks of Colour quilt.  I've got the binding cut, and may even get it sewn on this weekend. I'd be very happy to finish this before the end of 2015, because the label is already on it, and it says 2014.

I've been working on my Gingerbread Tree Etui every night, but it's still not finished.  I think it only needs another 2 or 3 nights though, so I hope to assemble it at the weekend.

I've been looking at my la passacaglia again, because I need to pack some stitching to take away at Christmas. I can't take my whole fabric stash, so I have to make some decisions about which fabrics I'll use in the remaining rosettes.  I'm very slow at decision making when it comes to this quilt.

I know I should be writing cards and buying Christmas presents now, but I'd rather be sewing! I have posted about 20 Christmas cards, and bought a few presents, but I'm just not feeling it yet this year. Maybe the Christmas spirit will descend on me at the weekend. Here's hoping!

Thursday 10 December 2015

Give away day December 2015

Welcome to the second Giveaway Day of 2015.  Sew Mama Sew are kindly running their Giveaway Day again this week. Lots of bloggers join in and run give aways at the same time. After you've entered my giveaway by leaving a comment below on my blog, head on over to the Sew Mama Sew blog to view all the other great giveaways on offer. 

If it's your first time here, hi, I'm Wendy.  I live in Wellington, New Zealand with my husband and two sons.  I love to use bright colours in my quilting. Here's a few of the things I'm currently working on:

a bit of dressmaking

my la passacaglia

This is half of my la passacaglia quilt.  It's all English Paper Pieced, so it's taken all year to get this far.  I'm one of the administrators of the the Millefiori / la passacaglia facebook group.  If you're thinking about making one of these quilts it's a great group to join for help and advice.

my vintage caravan sewing machine cover

My favourite finish of 2015 - Home and Away - wool felt applique done by hand

You can see more of my finished quilts by clicking on the tab above. I also do embroidery, and I stitched the gingerbread village at the top of my blog over the past 4 years.

You can also follow me on Instagram at @wendysquiltsandmore.  I know you're really here for the giveaway, so I won't take up anymore of your time.  Here's what I'm giving away:

6 red / cream fat quarters - perfect for Christmas sewing

To enter, just tell me what your favourite TV series or movie has been this year

Homeland is my favourite TV series, closely followed by Downton Abby and Stella (from UK)

Followers old and new can get a second entry by leaving a second comment telling me how you follow. It could be bloglovin, feedly, GFC, instagram etc.

This giveaway is open to everyone (including international participants). If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in the comment.  The giveaway will stay open until 5pm Sunday 13 Dec 2015 (PST Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick a winner then. Good luck everyone!

I usually respond to all comments, but giveaways can generate a lot of comments, so I may not be able to respond to you all. Rest assured, I will read them all though.

Check out Sew Mama Sew to see a full list of participating blogs. Good luck! 

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Review of my 2015 embroidery achievements

Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post about my quilting achievements in 2015.  Back in December 2014 I also made a list of all the embroidery projects I wanted to complete in 2015.  It's nearly the end of the year, so it's time to see how I got on with my embroidery.  

1. The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Christmas Celebration Sampler. Finished and framed.

2. Mill Hill beaded ornaments. Finished what I had planned plus a few more.

3. Your Place or Mine? Finished - this is a quilt, but there was a lot of hand applique required so it appeared in both my quilting and embroidery lists.

4. Northern Expressions Needlework Celtic Snow. Finished and framed.  I think this is my major embroidery achievement of 2015.  There were soooo many tiny beads to sew onto this piece. It was my first time using hand dyed linen and I loved the colours in this fabric.

5. The Victoria Sampler Gingerbread Etui. I'm working on it frantically now, and still hope to have it ready for Christmas this year.  Three sides and the base are finished - just one more side to go now, plus assembly of course.

Etui with only two sides attached - who would know?

6. Elizabethean Sweet Bag. No progress. I think I should officially give up on this. I know it's 90% done, but it's just so hard to get motivated outside of the classroom.

7. The Victoria Sampler Haunted House. Finished in time for Halloween and very happy with it.

8. The Victoria Sampler Needlework Shop. Not even started - it will go on 2016 list.

not my photo - from the Victoria Sampler website

9. Wool felt applique bag from Flying Fish Kits. Finished.

10. Needlelace - green. This only saw minimal action in 2014 and deserves better in 2015.

11. Needlelace - purple. I need to work on this again while I still remember what to do.

12. Heirloom Christmas Tree decoration. I've had the book, silk and decorations for 2 years but am still putting off starting. I guess I'm worried about mine not being good enough, but I do have plenty of silk, and the decorations could be recycled if I needed to start again. If this was a class I would have had it finished by now. I think I'm just a bit worried about doing it by myself - silly I know.

13. Sundry other projects:

I did finish one this from this pile - the Blackberry Heart:

And I also finished the Fandango Sky canvas work which had been in the cupboard for two years:

And I made a small start on a needlelace stitch along with a group of Russian ladies I met online.  They've gone AWOL at the moment, but assure me they will return in 2016, so I'll just wait for them to start translating the instructions from Italian into Russian, and then into English for me (thank you Google translate).

So overall it's been a successful year for embroidery too. I've finished some lovely projects, and I've still got plenty to be going on with in 2016.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Review of my 2015 quilting achievements

A year ago a wrote a list of quilting I'd like to achieve in 2015.  Before I write my list for 2016, it's now time to check back on that list and see if I managed to stay on task.

The list was as follows:

1.  Your Place or Mine? - wool felt applique  FINISHED

2.  Halloween Mini  FINISHED

3.  Kaffe Christmas Tree  FINISHED

4.  Mini Medallion  FINISHED

5.  la passacaglia  - still working on it, but I didn't expect to finish it in 2015

Half done in October 2015

6.  Stacks of Colour - still a WIP, but the hand quilting is almost finished. Then it just needs the binding which is already cut and set aside.

7.  Possum Magic.  I finished working on everyone else's quilts, and have my original quilt back now.  I'm looking forward to hand quilting it in 2016. You can see the other quilts from this round robin on the Possum Magic tab under the header photo at the top of the page.

8.  Women of the Bible.  I joined all the blocks up at the end of November.  Next I'm going to make a pieced back from all the scraps.  I think I might get this one quilted because I've got no great desire to hand quilt it myself. I am happy with how it's turned out. It's currently 90" x 70".

9.  Oh! Christmas Tree.  I've made a small start, but it won't be finished before Christmas this year.

10.  Folded Star. I still haven't tried this technique, but maybe I will in 2016.

So that was my 2015 list.  I think I've done pretty well.  In addition to all of that, I've also made my scrappy bear paw quilt to celebrate our guild's 30th anniversary.

my Halloween hexie table runner

my mini tree quilt

and my Spinning Stripes mini quilt.

and done a lot of embroidery.  I'll write a separate post about that.

Overall, 2015 was a very pleasing year for quilting for me.  I finished a lot of things on my list, and made 4 extra unexpected quilts.  I know I'm fortunate to have the time to do all this.  I hope I can continue to maintain this kind of work / life balance in 2016. I'm also grateful for all the kind comments you, my readers, have left during the year, and the friendships that I've made through my blog. I hope you all find time to quilt in 2016 too.