Friday 27 September 2019

Portraits Quilts (and the Peacock Party)

Here it is, in all its beauty - the Portraits quilt that I made for Anna Maria Horner. 

Donna Ward from Hamilton did the amazing quilting. Thank you Donna! 

In case you've forgotten, back in April Anna Maria Horner asked if I would like to make this quilt to help promote her upcoming tour of New Zealand. 

I jumped at the chance, and I've really enjoyed working with the gorgeous fabrics that make up the Conservatory Chapter 2 range. 

You can read my earlier posts about making this quilt here:
unwrapping the fabrics
fussy cutting the fabrics
piecing the blocks

I used another Anna Maria Horner print on the back

When it was finished I decided that I really did need to block it to ensure it was square.  I washed it in cold water, and then pinned it out on these play mats that I keep especially for this purpose. 

When it dried it was perfectly square. 

Finished size: 66" x 85"

I love the finished quilt, and I am so thrilled that Anna Maria Horner invited me to make it and share my experiences on my blog.

If you haven't got a ticket for Anna Maria's lecture or classes yet, you better move quickly.   I really encourage you to attend a class or lecture if at all possible.  It's sure to be inspirational.  Here are the dates and venues:

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 have all released 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

Now it's time for you to share what you've been working on this week.  Feel free to link up a recent blog post below.

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Tuesday 24 September 2019

My Glitter quilt top is finished - plus my Symposium plans.

Quilters all around New Zealand are getting excited about our national Quilt Symposium.  It starts next Tuesday, 1 October, in Auckland. There will be classes, exhibitions, shopping, and socialising. 

I am going to Symposium, but before I get too excited about it, I just had to finish my Glitter top that I started at the last Symposium in Christchurch in 2017.  This afternoon I sewed the final stitches in the quilt top, and tomorrow I will get it basted.  I chose to hand piece my blocks, and hand piece them together too - so this top is entirely hand pieced. 

I really enjoyed the Glitter class that I took with Jen Kingwell.  It was so relaxing to sit and hand sew with a group of ladies.  You can read more about it here.  I made two Glitter blocks during the class, but I promised Jen that I would finish my quilt before the next Symposium in two years time.  Well, I haven't finished the whole quilt, but I have finished the top and I'm really pleased with it. 

I used my favourite Aurifil 2605 in 50wt to hand piece the whole top.  Don't worry, this spool wasn't full when I started.  After Symposium I'm going to hand quilt it in simple lines with Aurifil 12wt number 2615.

It feels so good to have this top finished.  I really do work best when I have a deadline to meet. 

Auckland Quilt Symposium

This year I'm taking a two day Dodecagon class with Margaret Sampson George on 2-3 October.  I already know how to English Paper Piece, but I'm taking this class for entertainment value. 

Then on 4-5 October I'm taking a hand piecing class with Wendy Whellum.  I know how to hand piece too, but I want to improve my techniques.  I still consider myself a beginner, despite having made two hand pieced quilts now. 

I've booked for lunchtime lectures with Angela Walters and Kathy Doughty. 

I'll also be at the opening night awards ceremony, the gala dinner, and the Aotearoa Quilters' breakfast. 

Are you tired yet?

I've got two quilts in the exhibition - one in the open category, and one in the Aotearoa Quilters' Silver hexagon challenge.  I'm not going to say what they are yet, but I'll blog about them after Symposium. 

So, that's my five days at Symposium.  What a whirlwind.  My mum will be with me on Tuesday - Thursday.  I've convinced her to take the Dodecagon class with me.  Her name is Joy, so say "Hi" if you see her. 

I'm looking forward to meeting lots of NZ and Australian quilters there. 

Friday 20 September 2019

Free Motion Quilting (and the Peacock Party)

Thank you for all your feed back on my last post about how long it takes to hand quilt a quilt.  It's always interesting to hear other people's thoughts. I have replied to everyone that I could.  If you didn't get an email from me, it's because you're a no reply blogger.  Here's a link to Bonnie Hunter's guide to fixing this issue.  I highly recommend reading it and changing your settings, because then we can communicate!

Anyway, I did promise to show you the two quilts I'd had free motion quilted (FMQ) by a long armer.

First up is my Home and Away quilt.

This quilt was designed by Wendy Williams from Material Obsession in Sydney.  I made it in a block of the month program back in 2014.

I loved stitching all the wool felt applique by hand, but once it was finished I just couldn't figure out how I would hand quilt it myself.  So I asked Sue Burnett from Busy Bee in Wellington to do stippling around all the felt applique, and do some basic designs in the pieced blocks. I didn't want the quilting going over the wool felt.

I love how it looks, and was very pleased that I chose to get it quilted by a professional.

The second quilt that I had free motion quilted by a long armer was my recently finished Portraits quilt.  I was under a bit of time pressure with this one. Anna Maria Horner had asked me to make it to promote her tour to New Zealand, and I knew it would take me months to hand quilt it.

Sorry that I haven't got a better photo yet.  I'm working on it.

So, I asked Donna Ward from Hamilton if she would machine quilt it for me.   Donna did a fantastic job on it and I'm really pleased with the finished quilt. She quilted different designs to suit different blocks in the quilt.

I love all the swirls that Donna quilted.  The finished quilt is beautiful and I really am going to take some better photos as soon as possible. 

So, there is a place for machine quilting, but my primary quilting method is hand quilting, and that's what I enjoy doing the most.

How it's time for the Peacock Party.  What have you been working on this week?  Feel free to link up a recent blog post below.

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

Friday 13 September 2019

"How long did it take you to hand quilt that?"

Yes, I frequently get asked, "How long did it take you to hand quilt that?".

Well, this week. as I put the final stitches into my Shuttles quilt, I tried to quantify how long it had taken me to hand quilt it.


But before I came up with a number, I started to wonder if there is some magic number that people are looking for!

If I say two months, will that scare people off even trying hand quilting?

If I say two weeks will they still think that's too long when they could just send it out to a long armer who could quilt a pantograph (edge to edge design) all over it and return it to the maker within a week?

What number would be acceptable I wondered.

I hand quilt because I enjoy doing it, and I love the unique finish it gives to my quilts.  My hand quilted quilts are personal - they are a part of me.  I can remember what was going on in my life at the time I hand quilted most of my quilts.   Some have stretched over six months or more, but I can usually pinpoint something significant that happened during the course of the quilting. I also think it's important to keep traditional arts and crafts alive, even if my style is a modern interpretation of hand quilting. 

Of course there's a place for long arm quilting too.  I've had pantographs quilted onto two of my quilts.

quilted on a long arm with a pantograph

I chose to have a pantograph on Tussie Mussie because I bought the fancy Kaffe Fassett wide back before I realised it would be too thick to hand quilt through.  I didn't know it was sateen before I bought it, but I do love the design and really wanted it on the back of this quilt.

The second time I chose to have a pantograph is when I got Spotty quilted.  I don't especially love this quilt, and I will probably give it away soon, so I didn't want to spend hours hand quilting it.

I've also had long armers do free motion quilting on two of my quilts. I'll talk about those ones next time, but again, there were special reasons.

So back to the initial question - how long did it take me to hand quilt my Shuttles quilt?

I started in late June 2019 with a few blocks to get a feel for the plan I had in my head.
I did a bit at our retreat in July.
I did some more during August.
Most of the quilting occurred during the two weeks of the US Open tennis championship, and the following week.
So all up I think I would have spent about 75 hours on this quilt, spread over 3 months.

Of course that doesn't mean that my next quilt will be done that quickly.  This quilt isn't huge, and the quilting is quite straight forward.  I've only used one colour throughout which also makes it a bit quicker.

The fact is that I enjoyed hand quilting this quilt, and I'm happy with how it looks. I just love that yellow Aurifil 12wt that I chose to use, and the big stitches. 

Is 75 hours acceptable? Would you hand quilt something if you knew it might take 75 hours?

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  What have you been up to this week?  Feel free to link up below.

PS - I'm going to stop mentioning the Peacock Party in the title of my Friday posts, however you can be sure that there will be a Peacock Party every Friday, even when I'm away from home.  I know how disappointing it is when you've got something special to share, but your favourite link party host is on holiday.  I won't do that to you!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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Friday 6 September 2019

Two guest speaker gigs (and the Peacock Party)

What a busy week that was!  I was invited to speak at two guilds within a week. 

First up was Capital Quilters at Lower Hutt last Saturday.  The stitching group that I belong to, The Stitching Cartel, were asked to show some of our quilts.  We have 9 members in our group, but due to work and family commitments, we don't all make it to every one of our monthly dinners.

We had six members at the show and tell, and here's some of what we showed:

A quilt we all made for Adrianne's wedding

A baby quilt for Vic's baby boy

A baby quilt for Adrianne's baby girl.

We have developed a pattern and we use it to make quilts for group members when they have a significant birthday ending in zero - 30, 40, 50 etc.  No one has reached 60 yet.  The birthday girl provides some of her all time favourite fabric, and we make blocks to work with that fabric.  goodness know what I'll choose when it's my turn.  Fortunately I have a lot of years to think about that. 

Here are the four quilts we have made to date:

for Lyndy

for Adrianne

For Helen

For Vicky

We have two more birthday quilts in progress for significant birthdays happening next year.

Two of us have made My Small World, and another person in the audience just happened to have her version with her for show and tell.  So we had 3 My Small World's on display. 

Makers left to right: Marrilyn, Anne, Wendy

After the show and tell the poor piano looked like this:

Then last night I was the guest speaker at Kapiti Quilters at Waikanae.  I took some of my quilts from the Capital Quilters show and tell, but I added more too.  Here are my quilts hanging on the display frames. 

It was lovely to meet more local quilters.  We are fortunate to have so many quilting guilds in Wellington -
Capital Quilters in Lower Hutt
Wellington Quilters in Wellington central
Coastal Quilters in Plimmerton
Pinestream Quilters in Upper Hutt
Kapiti Quilters in Waikanae. 

If you don't belong to a guild, I suggest visiting some and seeing if there's one that's right for you. 

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.  What's everyone else been up to?  Feel free to link up below. 

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