Friday 27 December 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

2019 is almost over.  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with family and friends.  We certainly did here.

I cleared my sewing table in the family room and we put the presents on the table, rather than under the tree this year.

I got 3 new Mill Hill Santas to join the one I've already made.  I love making these little decorations and they look so good on the tree.  Here are some other Mill Hill kits I've made in previous years.

I gave mum some of the new Land Art fabric by Odile Bailloeul to make a Catch All Caddy by Patterns by Annie.  Later today we will find some soft and stable in my stash and mum will be ready to start when she gets back to her house in Auckland.

I received the wonderful Endless Summer quilt kit by Anna Maria Horner.  I just loved this quilt when I saw it in real life during Anna Maria Horner's trunk show in Wellington.  When I saw The Patchwork Pear in Australia advertising the kit, I ordered it for myself for Christmas.

I love those framed images that Monika Forsberg has created in this fabric.

I hope you all received lovely gifts too.  Feel free to link up to the Peacock Party and share how your Christmas Day went.

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Friday 20 December 2019

2019 - My quilting year in review (and the Peacock Party)

At the end of each year I like to check back against the quilting priorities I set at the start of that year.

The 5 quilts I finished in 2019

I've just had a quick glance down that list, and I've only finished one of the 10 quilts I said I'd work on in 2019!  I haven't been idle, so that can only mean one thing - there were lots of new starts and temptations during 2019.

Let's start the recap with all the new starts that drew me in during 2019:

1.  Shuttles quilt by Kaffe Fassett.
This quilt is a unique thing in my house - I started and finished this quilt within the same calendar year. And it's hand quilted too!

2. Marshal by Jen Kingwell

This is Jen Kingwell's mystery quilt published in QuiltMania.  I've been thinking about this quilt since I last wrote about it in November.  I have more of a plan now so I will continue with it, and you'll hopefully see a finished quilt top in 2020.

3. Dear Jen by Jen Kingwell
I started out with a hiss and a roar, but this hand pieced mystery quilt has fallen by the wayside.  There are multiple layout options for this quilt, but if I choose to place the blocks on point, I want the applique to be on point too.  So I don't want to go any further until I decide on my layout.  I hate to say it, but this may be one of those quilts that never gets finished.

4. Portraits by Anna Maria Horner
Well, this one certainly did get finished, and Anna Maria even held it up and talked about it in her lecture in Wellington. I love this quilt and it's extra special because Anna Maria Horner asked me to make it to promote her tour to New Zealand.

5. Neptune and the Mermaid
I never imagined that I would start a hand pieced quilt at Symposium in October and have the top finished in November of the same year! That's unheard of!
But I really enjoyed piecing this top, so I just kept going.  I don't often use prints with large images on them, so it was fun to fussy cut these ladies and gentlemen.

As for all the things I put on my list in January 2019 - here's a quick recap:

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

2.  Stars Upon Stars by Laundry Basket Quilts
Again, not even started, but I do have a fabric bundle set aside.  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. I've started hand quilting it, and would like to finish it soon. 

4. Cartwheels by Kaffe Fassett
Again, I've started hand quilting it.

5. Glitter
A third quilt that I've started hand quilting.  I think I need to stay at home for three weeks and hand quilt. 

6. Cobwebs by Chris Kenna
Finished!!! And now called Carnival. This quilt won Best Traditional Quilt by an Amateur at the QuiltNSW Sydney Quilt Show 2019.  I was thrilled. 

7. Ballet with Kaffe by Willyne Hammerstein
I've made significant progress over the last 10 days that I've been working on this.  I hope to finish the top in January 2020.

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 was thinking about abandoning this quilt, but I'm glad that I didn't because I had some bright ideas about how to progress it to the next stage.  I'm going to incorporate the dodecagons I made at Symposium.  The lesson here is that I am very slow at original design quilts, but I know that the only way to improve is to persevere. 

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 three 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. 

I did manage to finish two quilts that have been lurking around for a long time:

Tongariro Crossing
I made this quilt during a quilt a long with Sue Spargo in 2016.

I made this quilt during a mystery quilt a long in 2015.  I finally decided to get it machine quilted and then I donated it to charity. It's pretty, but I don't have anyone who would love it, so hopefully someone else will.

So, in summary, I finished 5 quilts in 2019.

Two were started and finished within 2019 - Shuttles and Portraits.
Two of them were made years ago and just needed machine quilting and binding - Tongariro Crossing and Spotty.
One was started in 2017 and finished in 2019 and it won a prize - Best Traditional Quilt (Amateur) at the QuiltNSW Sydney Quilt Show.

So five finishes is fine by me, but maybe I'll aim for one or two more in 2020.

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.

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Tuesday 17 December 2019

Oh! Christmas Tree

I haven't made any Christmas quilts this year, but I'd like to show you my Oh! Christmas Tree quilt that I made back in 2016.  This quilt is a great example of how you can take your quilting lead from the design in the fabric.  See all those snowflakes in the backgroud? I hand quilted over them with Aurifil 12wt and now they stand out beautifully.

This is a wool felt applique pattern designed by Wendy Williams of Flying Fish Kits.

I loved making this quilt because I got to play with all the brightly coloured felt.

My background fabric contained snowflakes, so I just hand quilted the snowflakes with my favourite Aurifil 12 wt in a soft grey colour.  It was so easy! The snowflakes really stand out because of the hand quilting and the wool batting.  I wanted the texture to be focal point, not the stitches.  However, I did use red Aurifil for the hand quilting around the edges.

If you'd like to know more about how I hand quilt, you can click on the tab at the top of the page, or click here. 

For the wonky stars around the edges I echo quilted each one in the 12 wt grey, and then echo quilted again around the inside of the square with a matching Aurifil 28wt thread.

If you're keen to make this quilt, I recommend that you pop over to Elizabeth Eastman's blog OP Quilt and follow the steps in her quilt along.  Quiltmania did publish the pattern in Simply Moderne, but there were some errors that Elizabeth corrects in her posts.
I provided some of the information and photos in Elizabeth's posts, so I can guarantee the instructions she has provided are correct.

You can read my previous posts on this quilt here.

My quilt is bright and colourful to represent Christmas down under.  I live in New Zealand and it's Summer here and all the plants are flowering.  This is what Christmas looks like in New Zealand and Australia:

Don't you wish you could celebrate Christmas in summer? Or would that just feel wrong?

Merry Christmas.

Sunday 15 December 2019

My list of distractions for 2019

When I look back at 2019 and think about the number of quilts I finished, it's very low.  You could count them on one hand. 

But then I think about all the other things I made in 2019, and I feel happy with the variety of things I worked on in 2019. If I spent the equivalent of a month on each one of these 9 things, then I would only have had 3 months available for quilting!

Here are some of the non quilty things I made in 2019, with links to my blog posts about them where applicable:

Bowl Me Over bag from Patterns by Annie

Giraffes tapestry cushion by Kim McLean

Kaffe Fassett scarf by Rowan

Woolly hat - pattern from Big Wool Knits by Rowan

Gingerbread retreat cottage

Sashiko table runner


Whole cloth cushion

When I think about all the hours spent making these things, I realise why I didn't finish many quilts!

But I enjoyed making these things, and that's what counts. Do you have a favourite from this mix?

Friday 13 December 2019

Ballet with Kaffe revisited (and the Peacock Party)

My poor Ballet with Kaffe quilt has been neglected for months.  So many other tempting things have come along this year, so I put this one away and haven't done anything on it since February.

However, Quiltmania have just started advertising Willyne Hammerstein's fourth book, Millefiori Quilts 4 and that has spurred me into action.

Of course I want the new book, and I probably want to make quilts from it, so I really need to finish my Ballet with Kaffe from book 2. I've worked on it every night this week with no distractions.  That's pretty good for me!

You can read more about this quilt on the Ballet with Kaffe - Millefiori Quilts 2 tab at the top of the page or by clicking here.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party.
What have you been up to this week? Have you had any time for quilting or stitching? Or are you busy preparing for Christmas?

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