Friday 26 July 2019

Dear Jen and the Peacock Party

I've finally made a few more blocks for my Dear Jen quilt.  This is a mystery quilt being run by Jen Kingwell from Amitie Textiles.


Very wonky, I know.  

A total of 18 blocks have been released so far.  I made the first 6 quite quickly, but fell behind on month 2.  However, I decided that I'm probably not going to make every block anyway, so I picked my favourites from months 2 and 3 and made these blocks.

I'm hand piecing my blocks.  Some people are machine piecing, some are English Paper Piecing, but I'm using Jen's method of hand piecing.  I really want to improve my hand piecing, so this is good practice. However, that final one above looks pretty bad, so I may yet try it again with English Paper Piecing. 

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  Feel free to link up a recent blog post below:

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Wednesday 24 July 2019

Hand quilting my Cartwheel quilt

It's winter here in New Zealand and that means that it rains a lot.  Our country doesn't get to be so green without a lot of rain.  I need something bright and cheery to work on during winter, so I decided to start hand quilting my Kaffe Fassett cartwheel quilt.

I'm following the advice in the pattern and quilting along the black lines in the background Parasols fabric.  I'm using Aurifil 12wt in black to quilt down the centre of these lines.  I don't have to mark any quilting lines - I'm just following the lines on the fabric.  I love how it's resulting in puffy areas in the quilt - partly due to the wool batting in the quilt.  See below.

I love the Aurifil 12wt threads for hand quilting because they are soft and cottony, and sit nicely on the fabrics.

I wasn't sure how I would quilt the cartwheels themselves.  Sometimes you just have to try out some options before the answer becomes clear.

The colours I considered using

I tried marking some circles and quilting them with the thinner 28wt thread by Aurifil.  But, I wasn't happy with how the quilted circles looked.  The numerous radiating seams were interfering with my stitch length and I couldn't get the stitches looking even.  The quilted circles were making the cartwheels look very busy, even with 28wt thread.

Usually I like to see the quilting on my quilts, but in this case I decided that it would probably be better to just quilt in the ditch and let the fabrics do the talking.  So I'm using multiple different colours of Aurifil 28wt to hand quilt in the ditch on the cartwheels.  Here's my first cartwheel quilted in the ditch.  I like how it looks - clean and uncluttered. I did consider quilting down the centre of each segment of the cartwheel, but that was going to make it look too busy again.

It's very hard to photograph - I promise you it looks better in real life.

Only after I settle on a method do I go back and unpick my earlier attempts.  I like to have both options in the quilt so I can compare them side by side and make my final decision.

This pattern is in Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Grandeur book, although I'll warn you that it's quite hard to get hold of the Parasols background fabric now.  The pattern uses Parasols in black, but I have used the blue colourway.  I couldn't get enough fabric to make the quilt full sized, so I have made a smaller square quilt.

It's sunny here today so I plan to go out for a walk - it's definitely too wet for any gardening. 

Friday 19 July 2019

A Quilting Retreat and the Peacock Party

What a great response to last week's post about Sashiko.  So many of you have been in touch to say you either have a panel in your cupboard, or you've always wanted to try it.  Give it a go!! It's lots of fun and quite quick too.

my iPhone for scale

a 6" block

I'm at a quilting retreat this weekend.  Our guild runs 3 retreats each year.  Two are at the Silverstream Retreat in Upper Hutt, and one is at the Island Bay, Home of Compassion.  This will be the fifth year in a row that I've attended the Island Bay retreat.

We have a lot of fun at retreat, and get so much sewing done without having to stop to cook meals etc.  Each person has their own bedroom and bathroom, and the staff at the venue do all the cooking for us.  We sew in a lovely big meeting which gets lots of natural light.  It's also nice and warm because it's winter here, and we definitely need good heating.

We are all guilty of taking too many quilts to work on, but it's better to have too many than to run out of things to do.  I'm going to take my Dear Jen blocks along.  This is a mystery hand piecing programme being run by Jen Kingwell from Amitie Textiles.

I've only made the first 6 blocks so far, so I could spend the weekend catching up on blocks 7-18, although I don't think I'll get them all made in one weekend.

I'll also take some hand quilting, because it's easy to hand quilt while talking to friends.  I might start hand quilting my Cartwheel quilt by Kaffe Fassett.  It's all basted and ready to go.  Don't ask how I'm going to quilt it yet, because I'll figure that out once I've got the needle in my hand!

Or I could do a bit more hand quilting on my Shuttles quilt.  I do love that yellow Aurifil 12wt I've chosen for the quilting. 

So many options - and only 3 days of retreat.  Perhaps I need a week long retreat!

If you want to see what everyone else is up to at retreat, you can follow Capital Quilters on Instagram and Facebook, or look for the #homeofcompassionretreat hashtag on social media.  That's our logo above.

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

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Friday 12 July 2019

Sashiko update and the Peacock Party

I'm delighted to say that I've finished the stitching on my Sashiko panel.  Now I just need to turn it into a table runner.

I enjoyed stitching this panel.  It was fun and quite easy because the stitching lines were already marked on the fabric. 

I used gold and pink threads so that my panel would match my dining room chairs.  I also swapped the white for cream, because the white was going to be too bright.

This panel is from Indigo Niche in Australia, but there are many companies making these types of panels. 

What's everyone else been up to? I've had a busy week watching Wimbledon tennis and the Cricket World Cup.  Our team is through to the final of the Cricket World Cup and that's very exciting.

Feel free to link up a recent blog post below:

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Saturday 6 July 2019

30 June 2019 check in

(If you're looking for the Peacock Party it's here.)

Well, the first half of the year has been and gone, and it's time to check progress against the priorities I set at the start of the year.

I've decided to mix it up this time and first talk about the four new quilts that weren't even on my list at the start of this year.  Then I'll whip through the 10 quilts I said I would work on this year, and perhaps offer some excuses as to why many of them haven't seen any action to date.

Here's what I've been working on in 2019:

1.  Shuttles by Kaffe Fassett
I dived right into my Kaffe box and made this pattern from Quilts in Morocco.  I love it so much that I'm hand quilting it already.

2.  Marshal by Jen Kingwell
This is the mystery quilt being run through QuiltMania.  I always buy QuiltMania magazines because they really are the best quilting magazines available, so it was easy to join the trend and start the Marshal quilt with fabrics from my stash.

3. Dear Jen by Jen Kingwell
This is another mystery quilt being run through Amitie Textiles - Jen Kingwell's shop.  I signed up to receive 6 block patterns per month by pdf.  They are all hand pieced which I enjoy.  I've made the first month's blocks, but need to catch up on month 2 and now month 3 has just been released.

They are all the same size - I just played with a photo editor

4.  Portraits Quilt by Anna Maria Horner
Well, how could I say no to this opportunity.  Completely out of the blue Anna Maria Horner asked if I'd like to make her Portraits Quilt to help promote her tour to New Zealand.  I'm not finished it yet, but I intend to do more on it in July and August.

What I'm aiming for

So, now for the more mundane stuff - the things I said I would work on in 2019 when I wrote down my good intentions on 1 January 2019.

 1.  Chic Country by Sew Kind of Wonderful
Not even started yet, but I do know what fabrics I want to use for this.
photo from Sew Kind of Wonderful

2.  Stars Upon Stars by Laundry Basket Quilts
Again, not even started, but I do have a fabric bundle set aside - and it's not these colours that I used for a trial.  I've got the fabric stamps now and I'm going to hand piece this.

3.  Good Fortune by Bonnie Hunter
This is the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt that I started in November 2018. It's basted and ready for hand quilting now.

4. Cartwheels by Kaffe Fassett
Again, it's basted and ready for hand quilting.

5. Glitter
A Jen Kingwell pattern.  I've joined about half of the 152 blocks.  I want to hand quilt this one too.

6. Cobwebs by Chris Kenna
Finished!!! And now called Carnival. The weeks spent hand quilting this justify slow progress on everything else.

7. Ballet with Kaffe by Willyne Hammerstein
I've made progress, but it's still not finished.

8. Green Diamonds by Kaffe Fasset
I got brave with this one and totally changed my plan.  It's no longer Green Diamonds - it's something totally different that I'll share at a later date, but here's a progress shot.

9. School Prize Giving Quilt
I thinking about abandoning this.  I'm not happy with my hand piecing, and I'm not sure where it's going.  It seemed a good idea at the time, but it's gone nowhere in 2 years.  Time to drop it.

10.  Wendy Williams Tea Party BOM
Still no action on this one. But I still love it.

So that's it.  Ten quilts that I wanted to work on in 2019.  I've finished one and got two others to the hand quilting stage.  But I've started four new quilts, so I'm not going to beat myself up over this.  I'm still having fun and that's what counts. 

What about everyone else? Do you write lists like this?  How are you getting on with your goals? Feel free to leave a comment below, or even link up to the Peacock Party - the one that's open now, or next week's.

Thanks for reading.

Friday 5 July 2019

Marshal Mystery quilt plus the Peacock Party

I've been working on the Marshal mystery quilt this week.  Suddenly I'm overwhelmed with WIPs, so my solution is to pick one and work on it exclusively for a week. 

This is the Marshal mystery quilt by Jen Kingwell, published in QuiltMania magazine.  I picked up the latest issue of the QuiltMania magazine when I was in Sydney, so now I'm making the court house steps blocks. 

I've chosen to foundation paper piece my court house steps blocks to ensure they are accurate.  I designed my own paper piecing template on the computer.

There are a lot of blocks to make, but hopefully I'll be able to finish them next week.

I hope you've all time for a bit of sewing this past week.  Feel free to link up a recent blog post below.  Thank you for continuing to join in the Peacock Party.

PS - tomorrow I'm going to do a blog post about my six monthly check in against my 2019 quilting priorities.  Stay tuned to see how distracted I have become!

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