Monday 29 January 2018

Mediterranean Hexagons become Tropical Hexagons

Yes, I finished my Mediterranean Hexagons quilt on Friday, just two days before the 2018 class with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably!

This is the quilt I started in the previous class with Kaffe and Brandon, exactly two years ago.
You can read all about that class in this blog post here.

I'm really happy with the bright colours I chose for this quilt.  I was planning to use black with purple spots in the triangles, but Brandon suggested going lighter and I'm so pleased I did.  The black and white prints allow the hexagons to be the star of the show.

I used wool batting in this quilt, and have hand quilted it all myself.  It did seem to take forever because I quilted three hexagons inside each of the 99 hexagons in the quilt.  Gulp!

I quilted it during the US Open AND the Australian Open. 

For the inner hexagon outlines I used acrylic hexagon templates and my hera marker to mark the lines to quilt along (which you can just see in the photo below). On the outside of the hexagon I just eyeballed it, and the same with the grey triangles.  Life is too short to mark every line (or so I try to tell myself).

I used Aurifil 12wt thread in a range of complementary colours.  I worked out how much thread I needed to quilt each sized hexagon and wrote it down in a book.  This saved me a lot of thread because I hate ending up with short ends which are too good to throw away, but not long enough for a complete round.

I made my quilt the size in the book (Quilts in Morocco).  The hexagons are 3.75' each side, and we all used acrylic templates in the class to fussy cut the fabrics.  You can fin them here on this page at

I used a tone on tone wide back for the backing, and a black and white stripe for the binding.

I took it along to the class yesterday, and both Kaffe and Brandon admired it.

The pattern is Mediterranean Hexagons from Quilts in Morocco by Kaffe Fassett, but I've renamed my quilt to Tropical Hexagons.  Rather than being the cooling blue colours of the Mediterranean, my quilt is hot colours which remind me of the tropics - think Fiji and Hawaii, and the beautiful flowers of frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea.

My finished quilt is 80' x 84'.

Thursday 25 January 2018

Amitie Textiles - Jen Kingwell's shop in Australia

Last week we went to Australia for my son's cricket tournament.  This year it was held at The Geelong College, just 1 hour's drive from Melbourne.  Even better, the college is just a 30 minute drive from Jen Kingwell's shop, Amitie Textiles, in Torquay. Win, win!!


I was fortunate enough to visit Amitie twice during our stay.  On the first day I was a bit rushed because my husband was waiting outside in the car, but on the second visit I was by myself and could look at everything!

If you're a fabric lover it really does take more than an hour to look at everything in the shop.  There are so many bolts of fabric, all sorted nicely by colour.  Then there are all the patterns and templates to peruse.  Amitie make their own acrylic templates, so there was a huge variety of templates to look at.

Some of Jen's quilts are hung up high to admire, but others are left on long tables for customers to pick up and study closely.  I particularly enjoyed looking at the hand quilting, and the subtle background fabrics Jen uses to bring out the other fabrics in her quilts.

On Thursday morning a group of ladies were settling in to enjoy a few hours of quiet hand sewing.  The on site cafe was churning out coffees as most people picked one up one on the way past.

My purchases from my first visit

I enjoyed a coffee as one of the very helpful shop ladies cut some fat 16ths of the very latest Liberty for me.

My purchases from the second day

I couldn't stay and sew because the temperature was expected to climb to 41C that day (106F).  And it did.  I have never been so hot!!!  Fortunately our apartment had air conditioning.

And a lovely view from the balcony.

Here's some photos of The Geelong College where the cricket tournament was held.  It was founded in 1861 and has amazing grounds and buildings.

Monday 22 January 2018

Holiday Sewing Part 3 - Mirage

Yes, there's still more from my Christmas holiday sewing with my mum.

You probably know by now that I can't resist a bright pop of colour, so sometime ago I bought two sections of a Mirage panel by Northcott. 

While mum was here I suddenly had an urge to turn one of them into a wall hanging for my home office.  I decided to practice on the spare piece first, so I machine quilted it along the lines with my walking foot and verigated thread.

As usual, it took longer than I expected, but it was the holidays, so it didn't matter.

Mum kindly sewed down the binding, put on the label, and added the hanging sleeve (all those finishing jobs which take time).  She's taken the practice one home to hang in the spare room at her house, and one day I'll turn the other piece into a wall hanging for my home office. 

Here's the selvage in case you want to track it down.

If you didn't know it was a panel, you'd think it was pieced because the quilting makes the triangles pop.

Friday 12 January 2018

My quilting priorities for 2018

I'm the type of person who likes lists.  When I write a "to do" list it keeps me focused, partly because I love ticking things off when they're done!

Here's some of what I hope to achieve with my quilting in 2018:

1. Kaffe Fasset Tropical Hexagons

Yes, top of my list is my Kaffe Fassett quilt from Kaffe's class in Wellington in January 2016.  I'm almost finished the hand quilting, and would love to have the binding on before Kaffe and Brandon return to Wellington on 28 January.

2.  Southern Stars Challenge for QuiltNSW

(No photo of my quilt because it's a secret!)

I've pieced two thirds of the top, so I just need to finish the piecing and then hand quilt it.  This is a small quilt because the challenge has a size limit.  Entries close on 12 March 2018.

3.  Capital Quilters Exhibition

Our guild is having an exhibition on 10 August 2018.  I would like to enter something new so I've started piecing something on the quiet.  Again, no photo because it's a secret.

4.  Sue Spargo Instastitch

I've started machine quilting this quilt myself.  I just need to decide when enough is enough, and add the binding.

5. Half Square Triangles

Not the best photo, but it shows that I've added more rows since last time

These are the blocks I won in our guild's Block of the Month.  This quilt is basted now and I want to hand quilt it with red thread.

6. Ballet with Kaffe

I picked this up again last week.  It's months since I worked on it, but I'm determined to make progress on it this year.  I've got lots of fabrics set aside for it and I want to reintegrate those fabrics back into my stash if I'm not going to need them for this quilt.

I actually think this quilt is more complex than la passacaglia! Just as well I did the "easy" one first.

7. Glitter

I love the colours in my Glitter quilt, and can't wait until it's on my bed.  Unfortunately progress is slow because I'm hand piecing it.

8.  Cobwebs

Chris Kenna's quilt hanging in the background

I love this quilt too, but again it's labour intensive because it's Foundation Paper Pieced.  I have to decide on my approach for the background stars.  It's all set aside and ready to tackle when the mood strikes.

9.  School Prizegiving quilt

Back in December I was sitting through my son's school prizegiving and I had a good idea for a quilt.  I've made a small start on it, but it will be a long term project so it's tucked away now.

10 - 12.  Kaffe quilts x 3

Yes, there are three Kaffe quilts I'd like to make if I get time (ha ha!).  Green Diamonds will be started at the class on 28 January.  I think most of the cutting out will be done at the class, so I'll just need to sew it up.

I've also been admiring another quilt from Quilts in Ireland, and one from Quilt Grandeur.  I have a huge Kaffe stash now after I bought a lot of pieces off my friend, Anne.  So I certainly have the supplies to make these quilts - I just need the time.

So - that's 2018 planned out.  I wonder how many I can achieve from this list.  I'm certainly hoping for six.  That would make me very happy.

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Holiday Sewing Part 2 - Liberty Hexies pillow

You didn't pick me as a Liberty person? You'd be right.  I'm not really, but I saw some precut Liberty hexies at the Strawberry Thief stall at the Sydney Quilt Show, and thought I'd give Liberty a try.  I knew I already had 1" hexagon paper pieces at home.

There were 80 hexies in the packet, so I mixed them up with a bit of metallic Cotton + Steel and made a little pillow.  I hand quilted the front piece with a simple line down the centre of each row.  I used Aurifil 28wt because of the fine nature of the prints.  I thought 12wt might be too thick on this occassion.

The top has been finished for weeks, but I just need mum beside me help me turn it into a pillow.  Turns out it wasn't that hard after all, but mums tend to have these short cuts which you usually find out after the event.  This time I could ask first!

I'm very pleased with the result. Here's one last photo to show the scale.

The photo below was my haul from the 2017 Sydney Quilt Show.  I'm trying to use everything so if I'm really good I might be allowed to go back again this year.  I think I'm doing pretty well so far.  I've used at least five of those quilt labels, and I've made Flocks by Night.  I've used the Bloc Locs buried at the back right, and I cut into those Aboriginal prints this week.  Now I've used the Liberty hexies too.  I'm on a roll.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Holiday Sewing Part 1 - Daytripper 2.0 bag

The last two weeks have been very enjoyable.  I've had my mum and dad staying, and together mum and I have been busy sewing many things.

First up was this gorgeous Daytripper 2.0 bag.

Mum gave me the kit for Christmas.  It was a total surprise - she clearly knows me well and knew I'd love the new Kaffe Fassett Artisan fabric.

The pattern is byAnnie, but mum bought the whole kit in New Zealand from The Ribbon Rose. It even included the Soft and Stable, zips, buckles and webbing for the strap.

I made the bag "with parental supervision".  It was great to have mum in the house providing expert advice as required.  There were a few tricky bits, and I don't think I could have done it without my walking foot because there are very bulky sections.

It will be a great travel bag.  I like to have a crossbody bag like this when I go away because it leaves both hands free for getting on and off buses and trains.

I'll be able to try it out when I go on holiday next week.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone.  I know it's snowing in North America, and even parts of the UK, so I thought I'd share a few photos of our Christmas in Wellington, New Zealand, where it's the middle of summer.

Oriental Bay, Wellington 30 December 2017

We had Christmas at home this year for a change. My mum and dad came to our house and we had a quiet Christmas together.  I took these photos when we went for a walk around Oriental Bay.  In some parts of Wellington the houses are built on very steep hillsides., but they have great views. 

Oriental Bay, Wellington

I know some people who read my blog have been to Wellington on cruise ships.  You will remember the lovely harbour.

We also went to Ruth Pretty's kitchen shop at Te Horo for a cup of coffee and piece of her amazing Christmas cake. The garden room is an old hot house converted into a sitting area.

I loved these flowers.  Are they Artichoke Thistles? I'm not sure, but they were very tall.

Happy New Year everyone.