Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Work, work, work

This past month I've been extremely busy with work, and there's been hardly any time for sewing (or anything else for that matter). I know many of you have full time jobs and feel this way every week, but most of the year I just work a few hours each day, and I usually find time to fit in some sewing.

Last week we had our annual work conference and dinner.  I had to arrange everything for 135 guests and it was stressful! My boss was very appreciative of my efforts, and presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the dinner.

Of course being a quilter I found inspiration in the hotel carpet:

The day after our conference we had our annual Christmas party at Capital Quilters.  I got to hang my Oh! Christmas Tree quilt on the line.

The weather is starting to improve as we head towards summer in the southern hemisphere.  My flowering cherry trees are looking good.

In October 2017 we are having our national Quilt Symposium in Christchurch.  I'm looking forward to attending classes with overseas tutors - Jen Kingwell, Luke Haynes, Jacquie Gering etc.

I'm also working on two quilts that I hope will be accepted for the exhibition.  These quilts have to be original designs, and that's a challenge for me.  I prefer to use existing patterns with my own fabrics, but I'm trying something new here.  I won't be sharing any work in progress photos of these quilts, but they are my main focus at the moment.  They have to be finished by June 2017, so I will share photos later in the year. Until then you will just have to guess what they might look like!

My last piece of news is that my Mum's quilt has been chosen by QuiltMania to hang in their la passacaglia exhibition at Nantes in France, in April 2017.  It's wonderful news for her and I'm really thrilled for her.  If you're going to Pour l'amour du Fil be sure to keep an eye out for it.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Oh Christmas Tree

I'm very happy to say that I've finished one of my 2016 goals - the "Oh Christmas Tree" quilt designed by Wendy Williams. I've spent the last two months hand quilting it and I just love the soft texture it has, due the hand quilting and wool batting.

I do love Wendy's designs, and I really enjoyed using the wool felt again in this quilt. I decided to make my quilt bright and summery, because Christmas is in summer time in New Zealand.

Here's some close ups of the flowers on the tree.

When it came to the wonky star border I knew I wanted to go bright, so I chose a selection of bright prints from my stash.

Here's some close ups of the hand quilting.  I used Aurifil 12wt for the stars on the background fabric because I love how soft and silky it is. I always use a hoop when I'm hand quilting.

If you're looking for this pattern you can buy it from Material Obsession in Sydney, Australia here, or you can find it in QuiltMania's Simply Moderne magazine, issue 3.  However, if you're going to to use QuiltMania's pattern, please be aware that there's a mistake with their triangle template.  It says the seam allowances are included in the template, but they are not. You can read more about the impact of that error here on Elizabeth's blog.

In fact I strongly recommend you read through all the relevant posts on Elizabeth's blog, because she ran a quilt a long for this quilt during 2016, and provided a huge amount of background information.

The finished size of this quilt is 55" x 62", and I will use it as a wall hanging at Christmas time.

Garden photos from Auckland

I couldn't help noticing how green everything was in Auckland last weekend.  They do have a lot of rain each year, and that combined with the warmth and humidity makes the Auckland climate sub tropical.

Cabbage tree on the left - Cordyline australis

I took a few photos of the plants in mum's garden to share with you.  But first I just had to get out the green quilt we made together and take another photo of it against the green backdrop of the park.

You can read more about this quilt here.

Now onto the plants.  This is just some of the interesting things that grow well in Auckland.  I don't know the names to everything, but will add labels where I can.

Orchids - which grow outdoors in a pot, in a sheltered area.

The view over the fence to the reserve next door.

It won't be that green when we go back for Christmas, but it certainly looked nice at the start of November.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Earthquakes in New Zealand

You might have heard that New Zealand experienced a very large 7.5M earthquake this morning (14 November).  We certainly felt it here in Wellington, but we are all fine, and our house is fine too.  Many people have already contacted me on Instagram and Facebook, and I'm grateful to have such kind friends from all over the world.

The big earthquake occurred at 12.02am (two minutes past midnight) so we were all asleep when it started, but were soon woken by the rolling motion of the earthquake.  It was bad enough that we leapt out of bed and sheltered in the doorways.  Nothing fell down in our house, but there was a lot of noise and it was hard to stay standing.

We immediately turned on the radio for information, and were told that it was centered about 300kms from our house - so we knew it was big and other people would have suffered damage to their homes.

Now we know that at least 2 people have died, and there has been a lot of damage to roads and railways in the top half of the South Island.

It was very hard to go back to sleep because we were shaken, and we kept feeling aftershocks throughout the night.  School and work have been cancelled because building need to be inspected for safety.  So I'm at home with my husband and son, and we are safe, but still feeling the occassional aftershock.

You can look at these websites if you'd like more information:

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Auckland Festival of Quilts - Aotearoa Quilters' Yellow challenge

Aotearoa Quilters' Yellow Challenge mini quilts were also on show at the Auckland Festival of Quilts.  "Aotearoa" is the Maori word for New Zealand.  It means land of the long white cloud.

Some of you may remember that I was so impressed by the Green Challenge last year, I vowed to enter a mini quilt this year, regardless of what the colour was. Well, I was true to my word, and made a yellow mini quilt.

my mini is top right in this photo

I decided to modify a la passacaglia rosette to make the sun against a blue sky. I hand quilted radiating lines out from the sun.

It's nice to think I had a mini in the exhibition.  The skill and artistry that went into some of them was amazing.  Here's some of my favourites - I don't know the makers sorry:

by Anne Lunn of Kerikeri

by Mathea Daunheimer

And here's another look at mine.

 I wonder what next year's colour will be!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Auckland Festival of Quilts 2016 - the quilts

Yesterday I showed you my shopping from the quilt festival, and today I'm going to show some of the quilts that caught my eye.  At the end of this post I'll include a link to my friend Julie's blog because she took different photos from me.

This was my favourite large quilt. It's called "Good Vibrations' and was made by Ansa Breytenbach. she was inspired by the Beach boy's song - Good Vibrations.

My favourite small quilt was "Chirpy" by Rosemary Rush. She was inspired by Jane Sassaman and I love Jane's designs.

I love Sue Spargo's designs too, so naturally loved "Jungle Walk" by Annie White, based on Sue Spargo's Folktales pattern. The hand stitching on Annie's quilt is just perfect.

Cheryl Houston from All things Patchwork shop made this very effective geometric design. I love the simplicity of just using blue and white.

I liked this quilt by Anu Hills.  The blocks were made for a fat quarter challenge back in 2009.  The quilt contains many memories.

I loved this "Plus size" quilt by Robyn Croft. It's her own design, and she quilted it on her domestic machine.

There were many other quilts that I liked too, but I encourage you to pop over to Julie's blog and look at the quilts she loved at this show.

Here's how Auckland looked at 7am today.  It's about 20C today = 68F.  A lovely day.

That's a Cabbage Tree on the left - cordyline australis

Auckland Festival of Quilts 2016 - the shopping.

Today I went to a the Auckland Festival of Quilts with my good friend Anne, and my mum.  We had a great time looking at the quilts, meeting people and shopping!

This post is just about the shopping.  I'll write more about the quilts later when I've chosen some favourites to show you.

The shopping.  Firstly I stopped at All Things Patchwork because Cheryl always has a huge range of Kaffe Fassett, Anna Maria Horner and Tula Pink.  The best news was that Cheryl had bought some 5" square charm packs of Tula Pink's Tabby Road back from Houston where it was launched last week, so Anne and I each bought a pack of those. I also bought a few fat quarters of Kaffe Fassett spots because they are always useful (two tone fabrics lying down).

Then I went to the Ribbon Rose stand because I knew they would have Sue Spargo eleganza perle 8, so I bought 3 spools of that.

I had visited Cottage Flair when I was in Rotorua back in March, and knew they loved Wendy Williams and Jen Kingwell's designs.  I bought some little scrap packs there which are full of fun snippets that I can incorporate into scrappy quilts.They are standing at the back of the photo and include the multi-coloured spots of unknown origin.

I also bought Bigger Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley because I use my regular perfect circles a lot.

So that was my shopping at the Auckland Festival of Quilts.   I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles for his Sunday Stash #200. Party time!