Friday, 18 June 2021

It's Winter

Yes, it's winter here, and the raindrops certainly are falling on my head.  



A lot of people marvel at how green New Zealand is.  That's because it rains a lot here. So it seems appropriate that I'm back working on my "Raindrops are Falling on my Head" quilt by Willyne Hammerstein.  

Strangely enough though, my quilt is full of hot colours, so I might have to think of a new name for it before I finish it.  


I'm hand piecing this quilt.  I used to do a lot of English Paper Piecing, but I found it hard on my hands, so I set myself a goal of learning hand piecing.  You can read my previous post about Raindrops are Falling on my Head here.


I've made quite a few hand pieced quilts now and I really enjoy the technique.  Here's a couple of them:

Lady Wigram using Bella Ruby pattern by Treehouse Textiles


Glitter in Green using Glitter pattern by Jen Kingwell


Lots of people asked me how I do my hand piecing, so I made some YouTube videos and put a tab for them at the top of my page (or you can click here).  I've received a number of messages with people telling me that they have found them useful, so that's very nice.  



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, 11 June 2021

Topsy Quilt

The Topsy quilt top is finished and I dropped it off to my long arm quilter this morning.  We looked at a lot of quilting designs, and I chose a custom pattern that I'm quite excited about.  I hope you'll think I made a good choice.  


I'm really pleased with how this quilt has turned out.  I loved going through my blue stash and finding all the fabrics that would work.  




My son will turn 21 in July, and this quilt is for him.  As you can see below, it matches the feature wall in his bedroom.  I'm not sure what will happen to it when he finishes university and leaves home.  Will it stay in this room? Or will he take it with him? I don't mind if he wants to take it with him, provided he looks after it and brings it back home if it needs washing. 


My previous post about this quilt is here and it has lots of details about the Topsy pattern designed by Sheila Christensen.  


I enjoyed making this pattern and may well make it again in the future in a totally different colour way. 

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


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Friday, 4 June 2021

Trans-Tasman Bubbles

Here's my latest finish, Trans-Tasman Bubbles.  


This quilt is all hand pieced and hand quilted by me.  The pattern is by Willyne Hammerstein from her book Millefiori Quilts 4.  In the book it's called "Dancing Cheek to Cheek", but I called my quilt trans-Tasman Bubbles, because the circles keep disappearing and re-emerging as you look at it.  

The trans-Tasman bubble is an agreement between the New Zealand and Australian governments that lets citizens of those countries travel between the two countries without having to stay 14 days in managed isolation/hotel quarantine on arrival.  

However, as soon as there are community cases in either Australia or New Zealand, the trans-Tasman bubble is suspended and people can no longer leave that city and go back to their home.  

That's why I won't be going to the Quilt NSW Sydney Quilt Show this year.  I'd love to go, but I don't want to risk being stuck in Sydney for extra days or weeks.  


But back to the quilt - I started this quilt for three reasons:

1. I'd always wanted to make a Winding Ways type quilt with optical illusions

2. I wanted to try out more of the patterns in Millefiori Quilts 4 because they fascinate me. 

3. Quilt NSW were going to have a special blue and white challenge at the 2021 Sydney Quilt Show and I wanted to enter (it's now deferred until 2022, but I'm ready!).  


I've experimented with the Quick Curve Ruler and sewing curves on my sewing machine, but I decided that it might just be easier for me to hand piece a version of the Winding Ways quilt.

So I bought the hand piecing templates from Paper Pieces in USA.  I always opt for the 1/4" seam allowance because I think 3/8" is too bulky. 

I won't say it was easy to hand piece curves, because it wasn't, but I did get quicker as I went along. My main piece of advice is to mark extra registration points on your templates, and copy them onto the back of the fabric.  I know some of you would like me to make a video of how I hand piece curves, so I'll try and do that soon. 


I entered this quilt into the Great New Zealand Quilt Show in Rotorua in May 2021. It didn't win any prizes, but a number of people told me they loved it, so that was nice.  I love it, and that's what's most important.  And I learnt a new skill making it.  

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



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Friday, 28 May 2021

Flosstube

Have you heard of Flosstube? Do you know any Flosstubers? 



After my weekend away at the New Zealand Cross Stitch Christchurch Retreat, I can now say that I know some Flosstubers.  

Flosstubers are people who make YouTube videos about cross stitch! I guess it's the modern version of blogging and I'm still operating in the dark ages.  

But after watching a few Flosstube videos, I think I still prefer blogs for two reasons.  

Firstly, because I use my blog as a permanent record of what I've made.  I can send people links to certain pages or posts when they ask me how I did something.  

And secondly, because when I read blogs I can scan down the screen and use the photos to determine whether I should read the words or not.  It's very hard to fast forward through a YouTube video as current WIPs and new purchases flash across the screen.  

However, many people tell me they find it relaxing to watch and listen to Flosstube videos while they are cross stitching themselves.  If you've never watched one, here's a link to one with a review of the retreat I attended.


Me and my good friend Sue Lucas from Stitch Witches in Dunedin


75 people at the Burnside Bowling Club for the retreat

I had a great weekend at the retreat.  I saw many different styles of cross stitch - historical samplers, Mirabilia, Chatelaine, fantasy... the list goes on.  Quite a few people were using the pattern keeper app which is something I haven't tried yet.  A lot of people were using Q snap frames, and some had fancy Lowery stands too (PS My friend Sue from Stitch Witches is the only NZ agent for Lowery and can get them in in any of the 12 colours.)





I hardly got any stitching done, but I did give a little talk about how to assemble the Gingerbread Village by The Victoria Sampler.  That was on Sunday - the day after Thea announced that she is retiring and closing her business.  That was very sad news.  I've got a whole page on my blog dedicated to the Gingerbread Village - you can read all about it here.  I intend to do another blog post recapping all of the Victoria Sampler patterns that I have made over the years, but here's my biscornu that I love.



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

  








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Friday, 21 May 2021

Aotearoa Quilters Lime Challenge

I loved seeing all the lime challenge quilts at the Great New Zealand Quilt Show in Rotorua. I was really pleased that I had two entries in the mix. 


The winning quilt was made by Camilla Watson and it was amazing.


There were three or four Merit prizes, and I liked this one by Fyvie Murray.


Here's some of my other favourites:

by Brenda Gael Smith

by Lynne Rowe

by Helen Beaven

by Anne Adams 

by Shirley Sparks


by me - Wendy Welsh

(You can read more about my entries in my previous post here.)

So you can see that there are many different ways to interpret a theme.  

These 12" x 16" minis quilts will travel around New Zealand for a year now.  If they come to a town near you, do try and see them.  I expect that they will be in Auckland at the Auckland Quilt Guild Festival of Quilts on 5 - 7 November 2021.  

I'll tell you more about the Great New Zealand Quilt Show in my next post, but right now I'm off to Christchurch for a cross stitch retreat.  

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



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Friday, 14 May 2021

Not Your Grandmother's Garden

The Great New Zealand Quilt Show opened today in Rotorua, and I can finally show you my entries in the Aotearoa Quilters Lime Challenge.  

First up is "Not Your Grandmother's Garden".  

12" wide x 16" high


At first glance you might think these are hexagons, but they're not! Hence the name, and the fact I'd just bought some new jeans from Not Your Daughter's Jeans. 

I love experimenting with geometric shapes, and I wanted to try the Fiesta Gitana pattern in Millefiori Quilts 4 by Willyne Hammerstein. 


I hand pieced this mini quilt, and then I machine quilted it because the joins are quite bulky, even with 1/4" seam allowances.  And of course, time was running out!

I love lime, and I'm happy with my mini quilt.  I did learn that it's hard to draw the stitching lines for pieces with long, sharp points like the stars at the centre of these blocks.  My pencil wouldn't go right to the tip, so I fudged it a bit when I did the hand piecing.  


My second Lime quilt is "The Tea is Delicious". 



This quilt was an after thought because I'd bought this quirky Japanese fabric for the Lime challenge, and I didn't end up using it in my first entry above.  


So, I just cut a piece to the required size, and added a combination of hand and machine quilting.  The name was already there in the fabric - The tea is delicious. 



So that's my two entries in the Lime challenge.  I always love seeing all the colour challenge quilts together, and this time I can say that I've got two in the display.  I'll take lots of photos and report back soon.  




I've also got 3 quilts in the main display, and I'll talk about them in future blog posts.  

I'm looking forward to seeing lots of friends at the Great New Zealand Quilt Show in Rotorua. If you see me around, do say hello.  It is lovely to meet quilters who read my blog and like my posts on Facebook or Instagram.  I'm off to pack some warm clothes!


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



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Friday, 7 May 2021

Pandemic Sampler

My Pandemic Sampler by Long Dog Samplers is coming along nicely. 


This is a BIG sampler.  The pattern is 20 pages! Back when I started in August I was stitching one page a fortnight (two weeks), but I'm now happy with just one page a month.  That allows me to stitch or knit other things too, and gives my hands a break from cross stitching.  


I'm really happy with my fabric and thread choices. So many people in the Facebook group question their choices, and opt to start again with different threads or fabric.  I love the simplicity of plain black on a neutral linen. 

In two weeks time I'm going to a Cross Stitch Retreat in Christchurch.  I'm sure I'll see lots of tempting new designs there.  I don't plan to do anymore large samplers, but I am strangely fascinated by the Hawk Run Hollow designs by Carriage House Samplings (especially Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow), and Harbor Haven by By The Bay Needleart.   I can't really explain my fascination with these designs, but I like the art work and the colours, even though they have no connection to my life in New Zealand. 



But, before Christchurch, I'm going to Rotorua for the Great New Zealand Quilt Show next weekend 14-16 May.  I'll finally be able to show you a full photo of my finished Fireworks quilt - made from Willyne Hammerstein's pattern Ballet with Kaffe Fassett, in Millefiori Quilts Book 2.  

Plus another surprise quilt that I haven't told anyone about. 

Plus my Glitter in Green, and two entries in the Aotearoa Quilters Lime challenge.  

Yes, I will have 5 quilts on display in Rotorua.  So my husband is flying up with me for a long weekend doing touristy things in Rotorua.  I'm looking forward to the gondolas, the boiling mud pools, a bush walk in the Redwoods Forest, etc, etc.  Plus lots of time at the quilt show.  



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




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Friday, 30 April 2021

Topsy Quilt by Sheila Christensen

I told you I got inspired at the Kapiti Quilt Show last week.  I saw Sheila Christensen's Topsy quilt on her stall, and I remembered that I had bought the pattern back in October at our own guild's exhibition. 

I had promised that I would make new quilts for the bedrooms when we had them painted four years ago, so I decided "this is it".  And I started cutting all my blue fabrics to make a quilt for the room with a blue feature wall.  


I'm making the Queen sized version of Sheila's Topsy pattern, and I can get the 12 triangles out of a fat quarter - provided there's no fussy cutting required for pattern direction.  

Here's my progress to date:




I've made all of these blocks from fabrics I already had on hand! Don't worry, blue is the biggest colour in my stash. But I weakened today and went shopping for a few more blues. 




Here's some links to Sheila's Topsy pattern if you're interested in making Topsy too:

Etsy for the physical pattern

PDF for downloads.

The pattern recommends the two triangle rulers above and I'm very glad I've got them.  I already had the one on the left, but I bought the one on the right and it makes cutting the segments so much easier. It's CGRT30 - Half Sixty by Creative Grids.   

There's usually a complication with my quilts, and this time I've decided to make the quilt bigger - more like a King size, but with the Queen sized blocks.  The advantage of this is that I can keep using up unloved fat quarters from my stash, but I do have to make a lot more blocks to keep the pattern nice at the edges and the top and bottom.  


So I'm plugging away here, churning out blocks and covering the lounge floor with them.  Soon it will be time to lay them out and start planning the assembly.  

I do love how quickly this quilt is coming together.  It's a big change from my usual style of quilting, but I'm enjoying it.  And to get this quilt ready for use this winter, I'm going to get it machine quilted.  I've got a backlog of quilts waiting for hand quilting, so I'll take the easier road with this one.

Now it's time for the Peacock Party - note I'm using my peacock colours above! What have you been up to this week? Feel free to link up a recent blog post below. 






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