Friday 27 April 2018

Christmas Village Cross Stitch

It's been a long time since I've shown any embroidery on my blog.  That's because I've been busy English Paper Piecing and hand piecing.

However, we all know that if you don't start Christmas embroidery early in the year, it just won't be finished in time for Christmas.

So I made an early start, and on Boxing Day 2017 I started on my Christmas Village pattern from Victoria Sampler. I've had this pattern in my stash for five years! But I always knew I'd do it one day.

Part of the delay was deciding whether to use DMC stranded cotton for the lacy white sections, or break out and order Krienik Mori silk thread.  I use DMC for the white sections on my Gingerbread Village, but because these lacy sections are so beautiful, and this piece will get framed one day, I decided that I needed to get the Krienik Mori.

So I'm underway now, and really hope to get this finished before Christmas 2018.

And here's why:

In a moment of weakness I purchased the next pattern for the Gingerbread Village! It's the Gingerbread Retreat Cottage and it looks lovely.

I know that the Flower Shop has been released now too, but it's only available as a Student Kit.  I don't want to buy it that way because (a) it's expensive, and (b) it includes the linen, but I want to keep working with the linen I already have to maintain a consistent colouring.

my collection stitched over five years
If you would like to know more about these delightful decorations from the Victoria Sampler, just look at the Gingerbread Village tab on my blog.  It includes information about where to buy the patterns and the linen.

Thursday 19 April 2018

Have your say on Hand Quilting

This week the American Quilters' Society (AQS) is running a survey about hand quilting.  I've taken the survey, and I encourage you to do it too before Sunday 22 April.  It only takes 1-2 minutes, and our answers will let this influential body know that hand quilting is still an integral part of quilting today. 

The AQS Hand Quilting survey is here.

This photo above is from when I hand quilted my Bears Paw quilt with Perle 8 cotton.

You can find previous posts I've written about Hand Quilting on the tab at the top of my blog. 

It includes what threads I use, and what patterns I choose to quilt.

Please do remember to take the survey - especially if you're a hand quilter.

Friday 13 April 2018

AQC - Jolly Jumpers with Gillian Travis

I chose to go to AQC because there were two tutors I wanted to take classes with.

The first was Willyne Hammerstein and I talked about her quilts here and here.

The second tutor I wanted to learn from was Gillian Travis from the United Kingdom (UK).

I first saw photos of Gillian's work from the UK Festival of Quilts a couple of years ago.  I just loved her Jolly Jumpers quilt and even purchased her Nordic Journeys in Stitch book via her website.  Needless to say, I never got around to making my own jolly jumper blocks, so when I saw that Gillian was coming to AQC, I decided to take her class. 

Gillian had many samples in the class room for us to study her various techniques.

Rather than embarking on a large wall hanging that we might never finish, we worked on little kits that Gillian had prepared in advance.  We made blocks that we can turn into needlecases and pin cushions when we get home.

We did some screen printing (not very successfully in my case), and then used either hand stitching or machine embroidery to embellish our jumpers.  Here's my first jumper:

We didn't know which colour pack we would get, so couldn't take our own threads.  We just had to use what was there.

The good news is that there were spare packs available for purchase, so I have more pieces to start again with all my own threads.

Gillian also had a number of quilts in the exhibition.  My favourite was this one which is part of her "Israel and Jordan Markets" series. I loved the colours in the background, but also the message it sends about the women.

You can see more of Gillian's work on her website

Gillian is very well travelled, and gets inspiration from her travels. I'm very interested to see what she will make after visiting Australia. 

On my final day in Melbourne I saw this in a shop and had to smile.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

AQC - Moncarapacho by Willyne Hammerstein

Following on from my previous post (on Willyne's Ballet with Kaffe Fassett quilt), I'd like to show you Willyne's Moncarapacho quilt which was also in the AQC exhibition in Melbourne. This quilt is on the cover of Millefiori Quilts 3.

Those with eager eyes will see that this quilt has the same starting rosette as Ballet with Kaffe Fassett.  However, there are many, many 10 pointed stars in this quilt.  People who have started Ballet with Kaffe know that 10 pointed stars are quite difficult to get perfect.

Like all of Willyne's quilts, this one is hand pieced and hand quilted.

Some of my readers have asked about the advantages of hand piecing over English Paper Piecing (EPP).  Willyne spoke about the extra time and expense involved in English Paper Piecing. Her points were:

1.  With hand piecing you just draw the sewing line on the back of the fabric, and then you stitch two pieces together with a simple running stitch.  This method uses less thread than what many people using for English Paper Piecing.

2.  English Paper Piecing requires paper pieces which most people prefer to purchase (for accuracy).  Even if you make your own paper pieces, it's time and money.

3. Paper pieces have to be basted - either by thread or glue.  That's more expense and more time spent basting.

So, although English Paper Piecing has some disadvantages compared to hand piecing, many people are more comfortable hand sewing with EPP.  I don't regret making my la passacaglia with EPP.  I wasn't confident to do hand piecing, so I went with the method I was familiar with.

People in The Netherlands start hand piecing from a young age and that's the only method they know for hand sewing.  Whereas we often start with sewing a few English Paper Pieced  hexagons together, and so we start down a different track.

I'm slowly transitioning to hand piecing now, but that's only after taking a lesson with Jen Kingwell and seeing her method of hand piecing and finished quilts.

Although I attended the Ballet with Kaffe Fassett class with Willyne and studied her hand piecing method too, I will still finish my Ballet with Kaffe Fassett quilt with English Paper Piecing because that's the way that I started it. 

Monday 9 April 2018

AQC - Ballet with Kaffe Fassett class with Willyne Hammerstein

I'm back from my class with Willyne Hammerstein at AQC in Melbourne.  I feel very lucky to have met Willyne, and to have seen two of her quilts in real life. I took lots of photos and putting them here on my blog where I can refer to them in the future.

Sharon Burgess (Lilabelle Lane Creations), Willyne Hammerstein, Wendy Welsh - AQC Melbourne, April 2018

Willyne told us a bit about herself, and how she came to be a published author. The editor of QuiltMania (Carol) had heard about Willyne's quilts, and asked if she could come and meet her.  Carol liked what she saw, so she asked if QuiltMania could write a book about Willyne's quilts.  Willyne agreed, and let them photograph her quilts, but she had no involvement in the pattern writing or proof reading.  She only saw the books once they were published.

Willyne's Ballet with Kaffe quilt, published in Millefiori Quilts 2

The first book is just called "Millefiori Quilts" because QuiltMania never expected there would be a second book.  But la passacaglia became very popular, and the first book sold well, so QuiltMania asked for more quilts for a second book.  And now there is a third, and Willyne is currently making quilts for Millefiori Quilts 4.  Yes! There's going to be a fourth book one day.

Willyne is Dutch, and the Dutch people hand piece.  They don't English Paper Piece at all.  Wrapping the fabric around papers is just an unnecessary step in the process to them.  When she is preparing the fabric for hand piecing, Willyne just draws the sewing line and eyeballs the seam allowance when cutting out the pieces. (I don't recommend that for those new to hand piecing!)

Each of Willyne's quilts is hand quilted.  I asked if she uses a hoop and she said, "Yes - always". However, she enjoys the piecing stage much more than the quilting stage.

Most people in the class tried hand piecing.  I didn't try it because my Ballet with Kaffe quilt is already half made with English Paper Piecing.  But I watched and learnt, and I will definitely use hand piecing for my next Millefiori Quilt.

I met lots of members of the Millefiori Quilts Facebook group at the show, including Beryl Cross from Tasmania, Sue Griffiths from New South Wales, Zarina Samsudin from Malaysia, and Sharon Burgess from Victoria.

I hope you've enjoyed these photos. You can see my other posts about my Ballet with Kaffe quilt on the tab at the top of the page.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

AQC - Australasian Quilt Convention

Tomorrow I fly to Melbourne for the Australasian Quilt Convention.

I've enrolled in two classes:

Friday - Ballet with Kaffe Fassett by Willyne Hammerstein.   Yes, I already know how to make this quilt, but I really want to meet Willyne and see her quilts in person.  I also want to study her hand piecing technique so I can eventually move away from English Paper Piecing.

Saturday - Jolly Jumpers with Gillian Travis.  I've admired Gillian's work since I saw photos of her Jolly Jumpers quilt at the UK Festival of Quilts a few years ago.  I even own a copy of her Nordic Journeys in Stitch book, but it's always easier to start something new with a teacher on hand.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the quilts on display, including the Best of QuiltCon. There might even be time for some shopping at the show too.

I'll be at the gala dinner on Saturday night, so if you're there, and see me looking lost, please say "Hello".