Friday, 27 March 2020

Hanging Sleeve video

I've received such a lot of positive feedback about my hand piecing videos - thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of support.

Many of you asked for more videos on a range of topics, but I decided to cover hanging sleeves first.

Hanging sleeves aren't just for exhibition quilts - they allow you to hang quilts in your home too.

My Holiday Homies quilt hanging above the spare bed

I belong to Capital Quilters guild, and we have our exhibition coming up in August 2020.  I was going to give a little talk about hanging sleeves at our next guild meeting, but New Zealand is now in a 4 week lock down for Corona Virus, so that isn't going to happen.

So I made a video instead, and here it is:


I use Jacqui Geering's method for making 4" deep hanging sleeves, and that's the method I demonstrate in my video.   You can find the written instructions on Jaqui's blog here.

Some of the important things I cover in the video are:
- when and how to leave room for a hook in the centre of your quilt
- where to position the hanging sleeve on the back of the quilt
- how wide to cut the fabric for the sleeve (it's 8 1/2")

So I hope you find it useful.  My regular cameraman was away, so I had to train another one.  This video won't win any prizes, but apparently my audience prefer the rustic homemade style anyway!



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Friday, 20 March 2020

Another quilt backing

This week I've been working on another quilt backing - although now I look at it, it could equally be another quilt top!


These blocks are cut 10.5" x 6.5", and I'll use 6.5" x 6.5" pieces to complete the rows.

My aim is to use up my least favourite pieces of fabric, and free up space in my storage containers for yummy new fabrics when the time is right.

It all looks a bit yellow and red above, but I still need four more rows and I intend to use a lot of green and blue in those rows.  I'll intersperse the new rows amongst the rows shown above.



Here's how my kitchen bench has looked this week as I've worked on this backing.



Our main library in Wellington has been closed for a year now due to earthquake risk.  However a brand new library has opened at Johnsonville, and they had some quite new craft books when I visited this week.


These will keep me busy.

(I know COVID-19 is affecting everyone, and it's reached New Zealand too, but I'm not going to talk about it on my blog if I can help it.  I want to keep this as a happy place where you can indulge in your hobby and get inspiration for whatever craft it is that you enjoy.)



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


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Friday, 13 March 2020

Kantha quilting

Have you heard of Kantha quilting?


 My online friend Shruti Dandekar says:

Kantha is one of the traditional styles of handwork popular in Eastern India - especially the state of West Bengal - and Bangladesh. It is used to either add embroidery to fabric or to quilt.

You can read more about it here in Wikipedia.


This month Aurifil have asked some of the Aurifil Artisans to experiment with Kantha quilting and Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

I've decided to use my variegated 12wt Aurifil threads on this fat quarter of Kaffe's fabric called Busy Lizzy.  I'm quilting the whole fat quarter with Kantha quilting, and then I'm going to turn it into a pouch - or maybe even two.


Kantha quilting is very relaxing.  You don't need to follow straight lines.  I use a hoop because that's how I quilt and I struggle to do it without a hoop.  It was just easier for me to pop it in a hoop.

I even decided to add a squiggle to mine, so I used a hera marker to mark the squiggle, but will then just stitch along side it with more free form lines.  You can see my marked squiggle very faintly in the photo below.


If you're wondering which needles I use (John James Chenille size 24), which thimble I use (Clover Open Sided), or anything else, you can find details of all my favourite hand quilting accessories at the bottom of this post here. 



I'm still undecided about which zip to use on my pouch.  You're probably thinking that I've got too many options, but I do love zips with round pullers.  They remind me of a ski jacket my mum made for me in about 1978.  I loved that ski jacket with it's white zip with chunky teeth and a round puller.  The pockets even had white zips with round pullers too!


So that's what I'm up to this week.  Oh, and trying to catch the sunrise because we're having some beauties at the moment.



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Thursday, 5 March 2020

Quilt backings (NOT the boring type)

It seems like I'm never at home at the moment.  I was in Dunedin on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and by the time you read this, I will be in New Plymouth for a few days. 
While I was in Dunedin I caught up with my good friend Sue Lucas.  Sue took me home to her house and I got to see some of her amazing embroidery (plus quite a few unfinished quilts). I've got quite a few photos to share, but I'll save them for a future blog post.   

The view from Sue's house. 

Just one of the many embroidery WIPs at Sue's house

In between travelling I've managed to make a few quilt backs and progress three quilts to the next stage.

The fabric is by Tokyo Milk for Free Spirit Fabrics

First up is the backing for my Neptune and the Mermaid quilt shown here:


This quilt is off being basted at Busy Bee Quilt Shop at the moment.  I intend to hand quilt it myself, but I like to get it basted on a long arm machine so I can be sure that the top is centred on the backing.

Next up is the backing for my Ballet with Kaffe quilt by Willyne Hammerstein.  I was quite nervous about cutting this precious Cotton + Steel fabric.


I want to use some of the backing fabric on the borders too, so I had to be very careful with the cutting.  Here's a reminder of what my Ballet with Kaffe quilt looks like.



Then the third backing is for my Kaffe Fassett Green Diamonds quilt.



I'm making a pieced backing for this quilt because I bought a lot of red Kaffe Fassett fabrics for the Green Diamonds class, and I didn't use them all.  The class was two years ago, but I couldn't get enthused about finishing my top, so I've re purposed the diamonds into something else and I'll reveal that soon. Here's what I was aiming for:


And here's how much I sewed together:




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Thursday, 27 February 2020

Entering Quilt Shows

Today I entered two quilts in to the Sydney Quilt Show.

Although I live in New Zealand, I am a member of the QuiltNSW guild in Australia.  I joined that guild when I realised that I couldn't enter my la passacaglia quilt into any exhibitions in New Zealand.  Our national show (Symposium) says that all quilts have to be original design, although they appeared to be relenting on that at the Auckland Symposium.



Although I've know for weeks which quilts I'm going to enter, neither of them are finished yet, and neither of them had names yet! 

QuiltNSW are very generous and let people enter quilts that aren't finished yet.  The guild can do that because it's not a juried show - every member has the right to enter at least one quilt.  If there are too many quilts, they run a ballot and some people's second choices are declined entry.



Last year I ended up in a rush and was still hand quilting my Carnival quilt in May, and I vowed I wouldn't do that again this year.  But entries close in the first week of March, and it's too hot to hand quilt in February.  The good news is that this year's entries are much further along that last year's, and I could finish them both within the next two weeks if I had to. 


You can read more about Carnival here

As for the names - well that was difficult.  I like to give my quilts personalised names, rather than just calling them the name of the pattern.  That's not always easy - especially when I called last year's quilt Carnival and it would have been perfect for this year's quilt. 

But the good news is that I've settled on names for both of my entries and completed them now. 

This will be my fourth year entering the QuiltNSW show.  I love meeting all my online friends, and shopping at all the stalls at the show.  Making an annual pilgrimage to Kathy Doughty's shop, Material Obsession, is also a must.



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Thursday, 20 February 2020

Millefiori Quilts 4

I'm so excited! I now have a copy of Millefiori Quilts 4 by Willyne Hammerstein.



Millefiori Quilts 4 is Willyne's latest book for Quiltmania and it contains another 19 amazing quilt patterns.  

My Ballet with Kaffe quilt waiting to be hand quilted

As I've been good and finished the English Paper Piecing on my Ballet with Kaffe quilt from Book 2 (photo above), I rushed out and ordered some templates for two of the quilts in Book 4.  

I chose "Send Flowers to Your Loved Ones" and ordered the hand piecing acrylic templates for it.  Because as I've said before, I really want to move to hand piecing for my next Millefiori quilt.  by the way, I've added a new tab at the top of my blog so you can easily find the links to my YouTube videos on hand piecing.  Or you can click here to get to that page.  

It's great to see that www.paperpieces.com are now making hand piecing templates too.  Here's a link to all the templates and papers they have for Willyne Hammerstein's designs - https://www.paperpieces.com/designers/willyne-hammerstein



My mum (Joy) got hooked on English Paper Piecing shortly after I started my la Passacaglia.  Mum was staying at my house for a few days and couldn't resist making "just one" rosette to see how it all worked.  Well, that quickly grew into an obsession, and mum made a full la Passacaglia quilt too.

My mum, Joy Hill, and her la Passacaglia quilt

my la Passacaglia quilt

Both of our quilts in the New Zealand Quilter magazine in 2016

So, while I was ordering my templates for "Send Flowers to Your Loved Ones" for me, I ordered some paper pieces and acrylic templates for mum too.  I chose "Raindrops are Falling on my Head" for mum - after a bit of consultation via Facetime on our phones. Mum lives 750kms away in Auckland, and she doesn't have a copy of the book yet, but I'm confident that she will like this pattern.



The templates have backing paper on them when they are shipped.  We will peel the backing off before we use them.  They are actually see through so we can fussy cut if we want to.

So, that's something to keep us both busy during the year ahead.

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Thursday, 13 February 2020

Cartwheel progress

I'm very nearly finished my Cartwheel quilt from Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Grandeur book, and I love it. I haven't put the binding on yet, but I wanted to get a photo after I finished the hand quilting.



The last stitches going in.

 I started this quilt on a rainy day in August 2018.  I remember it well, because I wasn't going to start anything new, but winter was getting me down, and the bright colours in this quilt looked so appealing. 



Foundation paper piecing the spokes in the cartwheels took a few months, but by November 2018 I was ready to start assembling the blocks. 

Rainbow ricrac is from Spotlight in New Zealand



By March 2019 I had the top together, but I didn't start hand quilting it until July 2019, and then I only did a few blocks before putting it away and moving on to other things.  I didn't like my original idea for the hand quilting, so I left it while I came up with a new plan. 



I quilted in the ditch on the spokes


I pulled this quilt out again a few weeks ago in mid January, and decided it was time to finish it now.  I stuck with it and now it's all quilted, and I just have to put the binding on. 

This quilt will be a lovely soft lap quilt for cold winter evenings because it's got wool batting - my favourite type of batting for hand quilting and warmth in winter. 



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Friday, 7 February 2020

Hand Piecing 103 video - 8 pointed stars

Many people have asked me how I got the centre tight on the 8 pointed stars in my first video.  So, I've made a third video explaining how I did it. This video also includes more demonstrations of me stitching, and the tailors' knot.



I learnt this trick for the centres from Willyne Hammerstein when I attended her class at the Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) in Melbourne in 2018. 


This is Willyne Hammerstein's Moncarapacho quilt that was on display at AQC.  Willyne hand pieced it all and hand quilted it too.  This is hand piecing at its finest!





Even if you've studied my videos really closely, I'd still encourage you to attend a class with a hand piecing tutor if you can.  I've attended 3 hand piecing classes, and I've learnt new tips from each of the tutors. There's nothing like sitting with an expert for a few hours or days.

The Lady Wigram quilt I hand pieced from the Bella Ruby pattern by Treehouse Textiles

There's one remaining area of hand piecing that I might cover yet - curved hand piecing.  Most of us loathe curved piecing on the sewing machine, so I will show you how easy it can be when it's done by hand.

If you missed my earlier links to my hand piecing videos, here they are:

Hand Piecing 101 shows quilters how to hand piece.  It also explains why we hand piece, the options for transferring the stitching lines onto fabric, and the needles, pins and threads required.

Hand Piecing 102 shows how to make hand piecing templates from template plastic.  It explains how to get straight edges on templates, which pens and scissors to use, and how to use the Simple Seam Wheel.

It's so encouraging to hear that many of you are giving hand piecing a go after watching my videos.  Thank you!