Saturday 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are now are now looking forward to New Year's Day. I'm staying with my mum and dad in Auckland at the moment.  It was lovely to surprise mum with the latest issue of New Zealand Quilter magazine.  

Both of our la passacaglia quilts are shown and there's a little article about the quilts.  Mum was very surprised to see her quilt there when she turned the page.  It seemed a lovely way to end 2016 for us both.  We're both very pleased we made our quilts, but they were a lot of work and required dedication to get them finished.  Now we can both move onto other exciting things.

A few days before Christmas I saw some beautiful knitted Christmas Balls on Instagram.  I discovered the patterns were by Arne & Carlos - Norwegian guys who design fun knitting patterns.  Naturally I had to give it a go, so I rushed out and got their book from the library and a set of 5 knitting needles.  I've never kitted socks, so this was always going to be an adventure for me.

I used scrap wool for my first attempt while I struggled to keep the knitting on the 4 needles.  It turned out a bit too big for mum's little tree.

I've never been one to give up easily, so I found their pattern for mini Christmas balls online. This one is smaller but still a bit chunky because I bought 4mm needles and had to use 8 ply wool. At least I've mastered the technique and could make more for next Christmas with 3mm needles.

I gave mum this Stars Upon Stars pattern by Laundry Basket Quilts for Christmas.  We've been making a test block out of these fabrics, and learning as we go.  I'm not sure which fabrics mum will use in her blocks yet. 

On Thursday I went shopping with some friends and came home with this lovely selection of fabrics. I'm naturally drawn to the blues and greens. I purposely chose fabrics that I hadn't seen in my local Wellington shops.

Finally, as it's summer here in New Zealand, here are some photos from my mum's garden.  Happy New Year everyone and best wishes for 2017.  

Lilium Regale - known as New Zealand Christmas lily.

Dahlia - Tsuki Yori No Sisha - Messengers from the Moon

Thursday 22 December 2016

2016 - My embroidery year in review

Well, there's not going to be as much to report here as there was on my quilting review. Unfortunately my embroidery seems to have taken a back seat because I've spent a lot of evenings English Paper Piecing.

It's still worth checking back against the goals I set for myself at the start of the year, so here goes:

1.  Gingerbread Quilt Shop  - Finished! you can read all about it here.

2.  Gingerbread Needlework Shop by Victoria Sampler. I've made a small start, but I put it aside when other exciting things came along.

3. Gingerbread Stitchers' Hideaway - the pattern still hasn't been released yet, so I can't start this one.

4.  Peacock tapestry cushion by Erhman.  I received this cushion for Christmas in 2014, and made a start in March 2016.  Progress was slow while I struggled with a needle that was the wrong size.  I'm using a better needle now, and I think I'm more than 50% done now. I will pick this up again in winter when it's nicer to work with wool.

5. Needle rolls by Victoria Sampler  I still haven't started any of these.

6. Christmas panels by Victoria Sampler.  I've had these for some time too.  I've been distracted by the Gingerbread Village, but I really want to stitch these too. This year I bought special white floss for them, and would really like to start them in 2017.

7. Heirloom Christmas Tree.  No action on this one yet.

8. Canvas work Christmas wreath by Laura J Perin.  No action here either.  This is my mum's version and it's lovely.  I have the canvas and the threads, I just need to start it!

9.  Something new.  Well, I achieved that! I made a Sardinian knot work piece in a class at Nancy's Stitch Studio. The pattern is by Yvette Stanton and is in her book Sardinian Knotted Embroidery. You can read more about my piece here. The stitches all sit on the top of the linen.  You can hardly see anything at all on the back of the piece.

10.  Needlelace - 1, 2 and 3.  Yes I have 3 needlelace WIPs. I made progress on the white one when a different Russian lady (Mila) took over the stitch along, but it's still not finished.

New start: My in-laws gave me money for my birthday in October, so I decided to buy one of the Dimensions Gold kits that I see the Russian ladies working on.  It's a different style of stitching to what I'm used to, but I'm enjoying watching the picture emerge.  I haven't used Aida in a very long time, and wasn't sure how I'd like it, but it suits this piece perfectly.  Because many of the stitches are only half cross stitches, the fabric behind shows through and linen would leave too many holes.  There's lots of blended threads in this piece, and very close shadings to make the finished result look like a painting.  I will add the backstitching and knots at the very end.  This one is called A Treasured Time and it's a beautiful Christmas scene.

So I only finished 2 embroidery projects in 2016 - The Gingerbread Quilt Shop and the Sardinian Knotted Embroidery.  I guess that means I'll go into 2017 with lots of things already on my embroidery to do list.  I better not dream up any more ideas over the Christmas break.

Saturday 17 December 2016

2016 - My quilting year in review

I like to review my progress against my goals at the end of each year. Way back in January I blogged about my quilting priorities for 2016 (you can read that list here).  Although I reviewed my progress back in July, I still like to do an annual review and remind myself of what I have finished during the year.

This is going to be quite a long blog post, so you might need to grab a coffee if you intend to look at every photo and read every word.  I like to use my blog as a personal record, and well as a way of sharing my quilting with others, so I totally understand if you just scroll through and look at the pretty pictures.

First I'll work through what was on my list in January:

1.  Mediterranean Hexagons / Tropical Hexagons. I attended a Kaffe Fassett class at the end of January 2016 and started to make Mediterranean Hexagons from the Quilts in Morocco book.  I've completed the top, and intend to hand quilt it in 2017.

2.  la passacaglia I finished it!!!! I consider this my major achievement of 2016.  It's all English Paper Pieced and hand quilted.  You can find all the details here on this tab.

3.  My Small World.  I made this quilt in January when I could spread out all my scraps and see everything at once.  I hand quilted this one too.

4.  Possum Magic quilt.  I started hand quilting this, but stopped to quilt la passacaglia.  I hope to get back to it soon. This was a round robin quilt made with quilters in Australia and New Zealand.

5.  Women of the Bible quilt. I've pieced a back for this quilt, but haven't had it quilted yet. These were free patterns from a quilt shop which has now closed down.

6.  Spinning Stripes v2.  I made my second Spinning Stripes mini quilt. I learnt to do this in a class with Shirley Mooney.

7. Oh! Christmas Tree.  Another finished quilt.  This pattern is by Wendy Williams and you can find it here.  I loved making this quilt, probably due to the bright colours I used and the hand stitching and hand quilting. It's wool felt applique.

8.  Smitten.  I haven't even started this yet.  Probably because I think it looks best in soft colours, but I'm not sure that's really my style.  I'm still thinking about it.

9.  Trip around the World from Kaffe Fassett Heritage Quilts book.  I bought a carry bag with this design on the outside.  Does that count as progress?

10.  Glitter.  This is a pattern by Jen Kingwell.  Again, I haven't started this pattern.  I think I need to improve my hand piecing techniques first. I now see that Jen will be teaching Glitter at our national symposium in October, so maybe I should enrol in that class and start with the expert.

11.  Ballet avec Kaffe Fassett.  This is from Willyne Hammerstein's second book.  I now own the book, and the paper pieces and templates.  I have some ideas of the colours and fabrics I will use.  Maybe I'll start this in 2017.

Photo from Millefiori Quilts 2 by Willyne Hammerstein

12.  Stacks of Colour  Finished - but not very exciting, hence no photo..

13.  Felt quilt. I still get this book out and look at the photos.  I do intend to do something along these lines one day. I follow Gillian Travis blog, so continue to be inspired by her designs.

So that was the 13 quilts on my list for 2016.  I finished 5 of them, and have 3 ready for quilting.  Four are on the back burner (Smitten, Glitter, Trip around the World and Felt quilt), and one, Ballet avec Kaffe Fassett, is going onto my 2017 list. So that was quite a successful year.

In addition to those quilts, these are all extras that I completed in 2016:

2.1 Honeycomb Spin. I made this in a class with Anna Hicks in Wellington, New Zealand.

2.2 Modern Hexie Rainbow. I used the online tutorial by Modern Handcraft. 

2.3 La passacaglia mini quilt. This was a left over rosette that I turned into a mini quilt.

2.4 Jen Kingwell pillows. These are from Jen's book, Quilt Lovely.

2.5 Zebra mini quilt.  This 20" pattern is by Tartan Kiwi.

2.6 Inner City quilt.  I made this as a class sample for my English Paper Piecing classes at Wellington Sewing Centre.  I'll be teaching this class again in 2017 if you're interested.

2.7 Tumbling Blocks. Another class sample for my class at Wellington Sewing Centre. I hand quilted both of these quilts.

2.8. Sew Together bags.  I finally made myself some Sew Together bags.  They really are useful, and I should have made one years ago.

2.9 Batik Bliss. I won the Block of the Month at our guild, and I decided to try something different so I trimmed the blocks to different sizes and then joined them up.  This still needs to be quilted.

Wow - that seems like a lot now that I write it all down. I think I've had a productive year.  How about you? Did you get much quilting done in 2016? Feel free to tell me what you've achieved this year in the comments below, and even put a link to a blog post if you've done a summary like this.

My next post will be a review of my embroidery list - it won't be very long because I haven't done a lot of embroidery in 2016.

In early January I'll post my quilting and embroidery lists for 2017.