Thursday, 5 December 2019

Smoyg (and the Peacock Party)

I've been busy preparing a couple of bumper recap blog posts about all the different things I've worked on this year.  I stumbled across some photos of my smoyg embroidery and thought I should give you an update.

I started this piece back in March 2019 - you can read all the background in that first post here.

I made a fair amount of progress and I took it show the designer, Yvette Stanton, at the QuiltNSW Sydney Quilt Show in June 2019.

Unfortunately I haven't done any more on it since then and I now know why.  I studied Yvette's beautiful example on her stand at the quilt show, and saw that her version of the block I was currently stitching is quite different to mine.  Yvette had used the laying tool and separated each of the strands in the silk thread to get a very different result.

There was no way I was going to unpick all I'd done on that block, so I told myself I was fine with my version.  But perhaps I wasn't! That's probably why I stopped working on it.

Anyway, time has passed, and I've accepted that Yvette is the designer, author and teacher, so her work has to be perfect.  I'm just a mere student and if I'm happy with my version, it will be fine.

When people dump music books on it on top of the piano, will they care if I separated the silk strands on one particular block? Probably not.

So, I'm going to be a rebel and start a new block tonight.  Using new colours is always exciting, and getting back to the wool threads will avoid thinking about the silk threads. I do love this Norwegian pattern darning type of stitching, but you do have to be 100% accurate because errors show up really easily.

I know that people in other parts of Europe have different names for this technique, but I'm calling it Smoyg because I trust Yvette's research and I'm working from her book.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party. What have you been up to this week? Are you on an end of year finishing binge like I am? Feel free to link up a recent blog post below.

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Thursday, 28 November 2019

Anna Maria Horner (and the Peacock Party)

This week was so special.  I got to attend a lecture AND a class with Anna Maria Horner.

New Zealand really is a very long way away from all the quilting action in America, so when a quilting celebrity chooses to visit our country we all rejoice.

Anna Maria Horner with the quilt I made on her behalf

On Monday night I went to the lecture and heard about how Anna Maria journeyed from Art School to designing quilt fabrics.  Unlike many people who would give their right arm to be signed by Free Spirit Fabrics, Anna Maria didn't have to ask them to sign her - they invited her to design for them.

We heard about her design process, for both fabrics and quilts, and then we got to touch all the quilts and study them up close.

On Tuesday we had the class and had the option of making Anna Maria's Cross Country quilt in any of the three ways shown above.

They are all beautiful, but I chose the third option.

My initial layout as discussed with Anna Maria

My plan for the centre

Anna Maria talked about how she does applique and she gave some demos of her machine basting method.

It was a wonderful class, and I really hope that Anna Maria comes back to New Zealand again soon.  Thank you Busy Bee Quilt Shop for hosting the class.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  What have you been up to? Anything as exciting as a quilt class?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Neptune and the Mermaid (and the Peacock Party)

Last month I showed you the blocks that I started in my hand piecing class at Symposium.  Well,  here they all are, finished.  I used some really fun fabrics called Neptune and the Mermaid, designed by Tokyo Milk for Free Spirit Fabrics.  I've added in some Tula Pink fabrics because they work so well with the Tokyo Milk fabrics.

That's nine big 18" blocks finished.  I can hardly believe that I hand pieced a quilt this quickly! I've really enjoyed making these blocks. I'm quickly becoming a real hand piecing convert and actually prefer it to machine piecing now.  When I started out I wanted to get good enough so I could move away from English Paper Piecing.  I think I've achieved that goal now.

When I enrolled in the class at Symposium I really didn't expect to make the whole quilt.   However, I really enjoyed playing with these fabrics and hand piecing these blocks, so I just kept going.

I've played around with the layout endlessly.  The blocks have lain on the lounge floor for more than a week, and each time I walked past I moved them around a bit.  It takes time to get the colour balance just right, and working with only nine blocks makes it harder than when there's 99 blocks.  I didn't want to sew them together until I was 100% happy.

I am going to add borders, but I'm still deciding what to do in the corners.  Should I mitre the corners? Or is that old fashioned? Should I add cornerstones? I'm not sure yet.

The patterns for these traditional blocks were designed by Wendy Whellum for her Pieces of the Past quilt.  Wendy is gradually adding them to her etsy store here

Here's Wendy Whellum's quilt below. This photo I saw in the Symposium catalogue.  It just shows how different things can be when you put your own spin on them.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  What have you been up to lately?  Feel free to link up a recent blog post below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Marshal Mystery Quilt (and the Peacock Party)

It's a long time since I've talked about the Marshal Mystery Quilt, designed by Jen Kingwell.  The final layout has just been revealed at Houston (as shown below) and in Quiltmania magazine, so it's a good time to revisit my blocks and think about how I will proceed.

At this stage I think I'm going to come up with a different layout.  I can't say that I'm in love with the final layout, and I haven't come this far to join my blocks in a way that I don't love.   I very much doubt that Jen Kingwell has time to read blogs, but if you are reading Jen - I'm sorry! This one just doesn't grab me in the way that some of your other designs do. 

I like the giant X effect, but I don't like how it dissects the semicircle blocks.  I can't see how I can have both features in the same quilt, so something is going to have to give. 

I stalled on part 4 because by the time I had cut all the pieces out, something else exciting had come along - I can't even remember what that was now! I also struggled to hand piece that centre semicircle and wanted to ask for advice from my hand piecing tutor at Symposium.  Wendy Whellum said that she would just applique the semicircle on, so that's what I'm going to do for the next 7 blocks.

Also, shortly after I received the instruction for part 4, part 5 was released in Europe and I started seeing photos of how part 5 looked.  I didn't like how the fabrics in the external arcs in part 5 alternated, so I decided to wait and see the full quilt layout before I stitched parts 4 and 5.

Gosh I'm sounding picky, but this is the downside of doing a mystery quilt.  It's easy to get swept up in the initial stages and join in making blocks, but when you see the final quilt it might be quite different to what you were expecting. 

Sadly seeing the final result hasn't spurred me in to action - it's left me with a load of small blocks, yards of Jen's Lollies fabric, and no clear plan of what I'm going to do with it all.

A number of people in the Facebook group have said that they are going to devise a different layout too, so I'm interested to see what they come up with.

I'm not going to abandon this because I do like the centre block and I spent hours and hours making it and the blocks for parts 2 and 3.  I think I'll still made parts 4 and 5, and by the time I've done that maybe other people will have presented some different layouts.

Let me know if you've got any suggestions please.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  Feel free to link up a recent blog post and let us know what you've been up to.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Giraffes cushion - and the Peacock Party

Firstly, thank you for all the kind comments on my Tongariro Crossing quilt.

This week I'm pleased to say that I've finished my Giraffes cushion - designed by Kim McLean from Australia - best known for her Glorious Applique designs with Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

I finished the tapestry months ago, and then I took it in to Nancy's Stitch Studio to be stretched and turned into a cushion.  After that it lay on my sewing table for a few weeks as I psyched myself up to make the tassels.

Tassels are one of those things (like pom poms) that appear easy, and basic craft, but when you've got high standards, they can end up taking 3 days!!!

Yes, I fluffed around with tassels this week.  I wanted each one to be the same as the others, and I wanted them evenly spaced around the cushion.

They're on now, and they look great.  I'm going to record what I did here, in case a tassel ever falls off and I need to make a replacement! Mind you, this cushion isn't for sitting on - it's just for looking at!!!

I used the same DMC tapestry wool shades as used in the cushion. There is 8m in each skein.
- I cut one 2m length into 8 equal pieces - 25cm each
- I cut the remaining 6m into 4 equal pieces of 1.5m each
- I wrapped the long pieces around the four fingers on my left hand.
- I used one short piece to secure the top with a knot. I left those ends long, and later used them to attach the tassel to the cushion.  I darned them through the tapestry in opposite directions and tied another knot.  I then threaded those ends into the tassel.
- I used another short piece to bind the tassel. I tied a knot when done, and then used a crochet hook to pull those ends through the tassel.
- I trimmed the ends nicely.

I used Kaffe Fassett on the back - of course!

Kim has designed 5 cushions, and can purchase them through the Crewel Gobelin in Sydney, Australia. They are the only shop authorised to sell them.

I used tent stitch as recommended, and although it takes longer, the coverage is beautiful and it all looks so even.  It looks good sitting beside my Peacock at Sunset tapestry cushion here.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  Feel free to link up a recent blog post and show us all what you've been up to lately.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter