Friday, 31 May 2019

Portraits Quilt for Anna Maria Horner - Part 1

You may remember that I was so excited when Anna Maria Horner asked if I'd like to make her Portraits Quilt to help showcase the fabrics in Chapter 2 of Conservatory Fabrics.   You can read more about that in my earlier blog post here.

Here are some progress photos, and some tips and tricks if you'd like to make this quilt. Patterns and kits are available from shops that stock Anna Maria Horner's fabrics.

1. The central Dresden Plate block.  

I love it! This is going to make a very dramatic central block in the quilt.

I taped the template onto my ruler

I made a plastic template for the wedges and was very careful with how I cut the Dresden Lace fabric.  The teal pieces look great when they are fussy cut.

I chose to hand applique my Dresden Plate onto the background fabrics, but you could use any method of applique. I ran a tacking thread around the centre to hold the fins in place before I machine appliqued the central motif on.

The fussy cut central circle.  

2. The large outer blocks.

2.1  Cutting large blocks on point.  

The pattern requires 4 large blocks from the "Beautiful Mushrooms" print.  

I thought I had it all under control, but then I accidentally picked up my 12.5" ruler and cut the block too small!

Fortunately I could pattern match two pieces and recover from that mistake, but it made me quite nervous about cutting the "On My Way" fabric into 12 large blocks.  So, I did lots of planning on paper first.  I also used the blocks I'd already cut from the "Beautiful Mushrooms" to help with planning.

I even tested out my cutting on pieces of paper!

Once I had cut the diagonal strips, I could decide where to make the opposite cuts to get a good mix of motifs in my blocks, and centre flowers, birds, people where possible.

I do like a challenge, but I must admit that I breathed a sigh of relief when I had all 12 blocks cut out.

2.2 Making and applying the crescents

When I first saw the Portraits quilt pattern I thought that the large blocks would require curved piecing.  However, when I read the instructions I realised the crescents are appliqued on.  I haven't done a lot of raw edge machine applique, but I upskilled quickly.  It's quite easy if you use Vlisofix and keep your machine speed very slow.

I made a plastic template for the crescents and traced around it onto the Vlisofix.  Because I chose to use raw edge applique, I removed the seam allowance on the curved side, but retained it on the straight side.  I cut out each Vlisofix crescent and laid them on the bias of the fabric - as per the pattern.

After I'd ironed the Vlisofix crescents onto the fabric, I sliced the pieces apart with my rotary cutter, and then cut around the curved edges with scissors.

Before I applied any crescents to the "On My Way" blocks, I was very careful to get the direction of the prints on the blocks correct. I laid out all 12 blocks on my bench, ensuring I had a good spread of the motifs in the fabric. 

I then fused the "Bokeh" crescents on to the correct edge of all 12 pieces on "On My Way" before I fused on any of the "Tokyo Dreams" crescents. That saved me from getting any blocks up the wrong way.

Bokeh - iron one of these pieces to each of the 12 blocks FIRST

Then add 3 crescents of Bokeh to each of the 12 blocks

I then machine appliqued the crescents on to the blocks using blanket stitch 1329 on my Bernina. I used the open toe foot. I set the stitch width to 3 and the stitch length to 3. I positioned the need to the far right, and lowered the pressure to 25.  I also set the stop needle position to the right. 

3. The inner blocks

Aren't these so pretty! I love how these fabrics work so well together.  

The corners on these blocks are a little bit tricky.  I thought I could get away without making the plastic templates, but life became easier when I gave in and made the templates.  I'll talk more about these blocks in a future post.

4.  The side setting triangles

I'll also talk more about the side setting triangles in a future post, but suffice to say that I fussy cut the Propagate fabric and it looks great.

So, that's where I'm up to with the Portraits quilt.  If you have any questions feel free to email me.

Here's a list of where Anna Maria Horner will be teaching in NZ.Hosted by Fabco, Anna Maria will be teaching and lecturing around New Zealand for the first time. Contact the following shops to book your time with her! The shops are starting to release details of the lectures and classes now.

November 19-20 - All Things Patchwork, Auckland
November 21- Cottage Flair, Rotorua
November 22-23- Donna’s Quilt Studio, Hamilton
November 25-26- Busy Bee, Wellington
November 27-28- Quilter’s Lane, Masterton
November 29-30- Quilting Shed, Oamaru

Marshal Mystery quilt - and the Peacock Party

This weekend my husband and I are off to Auckland because my eldest son is graduating on Tuesday. He is has completed a Bachelor of Software Engineering, majoring in Game Programming.  He has a job already and is putting all his skills to work as an Interactive Developer.

Our younger son is also studying for a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Software Engineering, but he is studying at a different university.

My kids don't like me talking about them on my blog, but we are very proud of both of them.

Graduation in New Zealand tends to start with a parade down the main street of the major cities, and then the graduates and their families file into the Town Hall for the ceremony. This is repeated three or four times over a week, until all of the faculties have held their ceremonies. Not everyone can fit into the town halls at once.

I've been working on Month 2 of Jen Kingwell's Marshal Mystery quilt from QuiltMania magazine.  This week I've been appliquing circles and donuts onto background fabrics.  I've still got a long way to go, but I'm doing a few each night.  Some are turning out more symmetrical than others.  The one on the yellow background below has some issues and may need to be redone.  One side is thicker than the other.

I've just realised that I never shared Month 1 of the Marshal Mystery quilt, so here's my centre block.  I'll write a full blog post when I've finished all of the Month 2 blocks.  I chose to hand piece this, and I probably sewed every seam about 4 times, but hey, it's finished and it lies reasonably flat.

It's time for another Peacock Party.  I'm always interested to see what other people are working on.  I hope you enjoy finding new quilters through the Peacock Party.

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

Friday, 24 May 2019

My project bag - and the Peacock Party

Aurifil and Free Spirit Fabrics sent me three beautiful Anna Maria Horner Passionflower fat quarters, and a spool of Aurifil thread to play with.

I decided to make a project bag to store my hand pieced Dear Jen blocks in.  The Dear Jen programme runs for a whole year, and I certainly don't want to lose any blocks along the way, so now they are safely stowed away in my new project bag.

I used a free pattern from byAnnie for the project bag - it's in her Fall 2018 catalogue (still available to download for free from her website).  I used Annie's Soft and Stable in the middle of the sandwich, because it gives the bag good structure.

I quilted the back panel with Aurifil 4660 - a variegated pink.  Unfortunately the colour changes don't show up all that well because the stitching sinks into the Soft and Stable, but I know it's there, and you can see it if you look closely.  I would have loved to use a fancy zip, but I didn't have any that were long enough.

 I fussy cut the print on the front and the back of the bag so the flowers were in the centre.

Fortunately my local shop, Stitchbird, had Annie's mesh in hot pink.  There's a lot in a packet of mesh so I could make quite a few more of these bags yet.

I used some of my third Anna Maria Horner fat quarter for the binding.  Annie recommends cutting the binding on the bias and it really does help when there are tight corners to turn.  I chose to hand sew the binding down because it's so much neater for me.

Now my blocks will be nice and safe and I'll be able to find them easily in my brightly coloured project bag.

Thank you to Aurifil and Free Spirit Fabrics.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party. Thank you to everyone who has joined up.  Just a tip for linking up - don't just link up the url for your blog eg
but rather click on the title of the post you want to link up, and go into that page so you can copy the url for that post eg

I noticed a couple of people had just linked to their blog, rather than to the post they wanted us to visit.  No worries if it was you - we're all still learning.

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

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Aotearoa Pink challenge

Aotearoa Quilters have been running 12' x 12' colour challenges for a number of years now.  The latest colour was PINK.

The winning quilt by Sonya Prchal

The quilts were on display at Tote and Gloat in Palmerston North, so I got to have a good look at them all.  It's just amazing the ideas that people come up with! Each quilt was different and unique, and there were so many styles of quilting on show.

Here are a few of my favourites:

by Dianne Dowd

by Merrilyn George

by Sandy Briggs

by Wendy O'Neill

by Gloria Scanlen

by Shirley Sparks

by Mary Metcalf

You can see the complete PINK collection on the Aotearoa Quilters website by clicking here.

The next challenge is Silver because it's Aotearoa Quilters' 25th anniversary year.  I've got some silver fabrics set aside, but I need to get a wriggle on and make an entry.  I've only entered once so far, and that was Yellow. The quilts travel around the country and guilds can display them as part of their own exhibitions.  They look so good when they are all hung together.

I've previously blogged about the Green quilts from 2015 here

by Mary Transom

and I've blogged about the Yellow quilts from 2016 here

my little entry is top right in this photo - the English Paper Pieced sun

by Liz McKenzie

and I blogged about the Orange quilts from 2017 here

by  Theresa Vaughan

So, it's time to get ready for Silver in 2019.  And they've changed the shape to a hexagon!!! Gasp!