Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mentioned in Dispatches

I haven't made any progress on the modern mystery quilt that I last blogged about but I have been working on other stuff. I have have just returned from our biennial Quilt Symposium, which this time was held in Taupo, and I am thrilled I made the honours list with a merit award for this quilt called "Up the Garden Path"

The next Symposium will be held in Palmerston North in January 2015. You can check out the details here

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I haven't got very far - yet!

Well, I thought I was going to keep up with the six part Modern Mystery quilt but fate intervened. I have done step 2. Here it is:
Half circles inserted into the white background fabric. They weren't as scary to stitch as I thought they would be. I made a small clip in the halfway point and the quarter and three-quarter points and this helped to ease the seams together. They are still waiting to be pressed which is why the top one looks like it has a flattened part to the curve seam! It is nice the summer holidays are coming up. I might actually get something finished :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This looks like fun

American Quilters Society are hosting an on-line Modern Mystery Quilt designed by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. I love their work and I have plenty of solid scraps to use up so I though I would join in. It runs for 6 weeks with one part each week so it will be 'short and sweet', so I thought. It really does pay to read the instructions, ha ha!

We had to make 10 rectangular blocks starting with a variety of coloured fabrics cut in sizes ranging from 1" by 4" to 2" by 8" for the centres of the blocks. So far so good. Lots of scraps which fit that criteria live at my house. Then we had to surround these centres with a another coloured fabric (eack block a different colour) so that each strip added is  different width. Yep, I get that. The rectangles finish at between 2 1/2" and 5" high. Cool, I've got lots of long strips to do that.

What I didn't read clearly was that the blocks had to finish between 14" and 17" long. I made mine too short. So this morning I added more pieces to the ends. So instead of adding a single piece to each end mine have several pieces to make them long enough. More seams than is necessary and a couple of them are slightly too short and I have no more scraps in those colours. Since I have no idea where these odd shaped blocks will fit in the grand scheme of things I am going with what I have done :-)

You camn find the instructions and what is is supposed to look at here:

And this is what my blocks look like!

That green one is pretty wonky and has 2 different fabrics for the green 'cos I had no more of the first green.I might end up re-making that one but for now it stays.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sew the Scraps

A long while ago I was given some scrap fabric. Included in it were lots of pre-cut squares of various sizes. It took me ages to sort through all the scraps and I collected together all the squares of the same size. I started with the 1 1/2" cut squares and made this scrappy star quilt. The top sat around for ages and I finally got it quilted. No, it didn't use up all the squares and yes, I still have all the 2", the  2 1/2", the 3" the 3 1/2", the 4" and the 4 1/2" squares to go. I could be sewing for a while :-)
This quilt will be a donation quilt the next time our club does community quilts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We went Retreating

I didn't get around to posting about our annual retreat at Parklee earlier this year. We go for the last weekend in September and this year it was during the rugby world cup. On Saturday evening the sewing room was mostly deserted for the duration of the game. Let it be known that I am not a rugby fan and I was not going to waste valuable sewing time for sitting in front of the TV. Carey, Donna, Frances and I stayed true to the quilting calling and listened to the radio commentary while we stitched.Well it proved to be a very entertaining experience after a fab roast dinner washed down with a glass of wine or two, especially when the commentators were talking about heads being stuck between other players thighs!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Yesterday we had our last club meeting for the year. It was a great day with everyone chatting away, and having a great time. There was lots of show and tell and we finished the afternoon with a very yummy afternoon tea, strawberries, meringues and whipped cream and lots of other goodies that everyone brought to share.

Joy presented me with a bag of threads and asked if I could use them. She was having a clear out. They are mostly rayons and mostly are multi-coloured. That suit me just fine as I will use them on my crumb quilts. I love how they are reflected in the table top. Could be a quilt idea there :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Trio of Baby Quilts

At the beginning of this year my very good friend Claire and her husband Terry volunteered to paint the cladding on my house - wow, a fantastic offer which, of course, I accepted with alacrity. They refused to take any recompense for their efforts so when Claire told me they were expecting their very first grandchild I offered to make them a baby quilt. Claire's late Mum was a quilter and had made a quilt for each of her existing grandchildren so I knew the offer would be appreciated.

Claire told me they expectant parents were hoping for a boy so I started making a quilt using some of the patterns from the book "A Boy's Story" by Anni Downs. While that quilt was in progress Claire announced that another grandchild was in production (not twins, one daughter and one daughter in law). So I started on a girl's quilt using some printed fabric I have had for ages, on the assumption that it is more likely one might be a boy and the other a girl. Then Claire announce she thought they were both having girls - no scans mind you, just the gut feeling of the parents involved. Thus a third quilt was started, another for a girl adapted from a pattern publish in American Patchwork and Quilting's magazine Quilts and More.

I had plenty of time to make these quilts as the babies were not due until December and January and I finished both the girl's quilts. Then Claire told me the first grandchild had been born early and was a boy! Back to finishing the boy's quilt, which is why I have made a trio of baby quilts.Let's hope the January baby is a girl. Claire says she is fairly sure it is. I will let her choose which of the girl's quilts she wants. The first is called "A Bit of a Boy's Story", the second is "Little People" and the third is "Woven Marshmallow"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanks, Leah

The following post was supposed to appear last week, but blogger had a hissy fit and wouldn't let me load the picture. So here it is, finally!

I had a busy weekend and didn't get round to clearing my emaill until today. The following was in my inbox:

Congratulations!  I'm so excited to announce that you are a winner of the 9 by 12
Transformation Challenge!

Make sure to check out the Free Motion Quilting Project tomorrow (Sept 30th) to see your

quilt and description posted online, as well as news about a special package you can expect
in the mail in the next 2-3 weeks.

I hope you've enjoyed participating in this contest and I'm so happy to now include your quilt

in the Transformation Show Quilt that I will construct this fall and winter.  You really have
helped to make this contest a wonderful success and I sincerely thank you for entering and

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wow! Thanks, Leah :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crumbs, It's a Quilt!

I've been thinking about how to reduce my vast collection of scrap fabrics so I have been working on some scrap quilts. This is the first I have finished. It is made from crumb blocks and I have made so many of these I have another top pieced in exactly the same way ready to add borders to, and enough blocks for a third top. As you may guess, the stack of scraps doesn't look any smaller.

I had a terrible time quilting this. I used some cheaper thread on my Pffaf and it didn't like it at all. I got very cross at all the shredding that was going on. I stopped and re-threaded so many times I lost count. I tried everything, new needle, re-threading, change tension, clean the machine. It just didn't like it. The same thread worked fine on my Elna, which is okay but the Elna has a small throat space and that's why I bought the Pffaf. The good news is that the cause is probably a burr in the hook. The bad news is the cost of freight to get it fixed. The good news is that I quilted another quilt after this one with some Madeira Polyneon thread  using the Pffaf and I didn't have one breakage. So I guess it is quality thread for the quality machine!

The quilt is actually a bit darker than the photo suggests. The flash has washed it out a bit. I'm calling it "Broken Glass" I guess the others will be called Broken Glass II and III. Do you think this what they mean by 'working in a series'?

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Ribbon

After hearing of my prize win I decided I needed to travel to Hamilton to collect it in person and, of course, view the other quilts on show. They were of a very high standard and I am pleased to be in good company. Congratulations to all the other prize winners and to all those who had quilts selected. Heart-felt thanks also go to the AQNANZ (Aotearoa Quilters National Association of New Zealand) committee who all worked very hard to mount a great looking exhibition despite noen of them being resident in Hamilton.Thank you also to Anne Scott of New Zealand Quilter for the very generous prize book voucher to use in the Minerva bookshop. I am planning a trip to Wellington soon! My quilt looks great on a black background, don't you think?

Quilts Aotearoa was part of the Hamilton Craft and Quilt Show run by Expertise Events. We arrived about 15 minutes after the opening time on Saturday morning and there was only a small, fast moving, queue for tickets. I headed straight for the quilts (of course!) and there was hardly anybody looking at them at that time. It made it easy to really study the quilts and get photos. The crowds did grow later in the day but I am sure the $14 entry fee was a bit of a discouragement for some people.

Along with the quilt exhibition there was a fantastic Creative Fibre exhibition. This shawl made me want to get out my long unused knitting sticks. It was made by Pamela Strode of Te Awamutu and she spun the wool and knitted the shawl. It won Most Outstanding entry using more than 70 % merino. If it hadn't already sold I would have been very tempted to buy it myself. I guess I'll have to hunt out those sticks :-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Exciting News

I've just had a call to tell me my quilt "Urban Stripe" has won Best Use of Colour at Quilts Aotearoa in Hamilton. Yippee!. This quilt was made for my son, Jacob, who has generously allowed me to 'keep' it for a while. It was exhibited at Symposium in Queenstown and was recently published as a pattern in the NZ Quilter magazine. I have a big smile on my face :-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Well, this is a nice surprise :-)

Earlier in the year, spurred on by my friend Jo, I made this little quilt to enter The 9 by 12 Transformation Challenge on Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project blog. I was thrilled today to find I am one of the finalists of the competition and my little quilt (more pictures of the construction here) will be winging its way all the way to NC in USA.
I noticed that there are at least 2 other finalists from New Zealand (unfortunately, not all the links on The Transformation page are working) Congratulations to Rona Keith (from Auckland, I think) and Erilyn from the Manawatu and to all the other finalists, where ever you are.

Update: Congratulations also go to Catherine Parkinson from Auckland. Wow, Catherine has an awesome blog.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Treasures From Afar

I have a new homestay student, recently arrived from Germany. His mother sent me a wonderful gift parcel and look what is in it:
10 sweet pieces of fabric sourced in Germany, a retractable measuring tape key ring, a very dinky pincushion with attached scissors (I love it - the point of the scissors slides into the flap on the pincushion) and a card with a photo of some beautiful windows - great quilt inspiration. I also got a lovely book with photos of Hamburg. The fabrics are tied with the cutest ribbons. Thank you, Amke.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

That Was Quick!

The Sunday before last I had a baby shower to attend. As usual I left it very late to start a quilt but on the Thursday evening I started this quilt and I finished sewing the binding on in the early hours of Sunday morning. I think that is a record for me (well it was a fairly simple construction, inspired by this quilt). The parents to be were thrilled to bits. I used some lovely flannel fabrics I had stashed away.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The 9 by 12 Transformation Challenge

My friend Jo encouraged me to join in on this on-line challenge being run by Leah Day of 365 Days of Free-motion Quilting blog. I think the blog has now been re-named as The Free Motion Quilting Project. The challenge is to make a small quilt (9" by 12") using a minimum of 5 of Leah's designs from the project, using the theme "Transformation".

I chose to use Radio Static, Chain of Pearls, Matrix Flow, Bed of Roses and Bubble Wand. Let me tell you I found it quite a challenge to get that many different designs into such a small space and still have them look recognizable.

I decided to combine the quilting I wanted to use with the Darned Quilts technique I learned in Dena Crain's class at Wellington Symposium.
These are the fabrics I chose:
I curvy strip pieced them:
Then I quilted the whole piece:
This is what the back looks like so you can see clearly the quilting designs I used:
Closeups of the back:
In the first from the bottom up I have used  Bubble Wand, a square meander, Matrix Flow, a mini Greek key and Radio Static
This next one shows, from bottom up, Bed of Roses, Chain of Pearls and some straight lines:
Continuing from the bottom up I then used a flower motif that was printed on the fabric, a leaf design I made up myself and I finished with Matrix at the top:

Here are some closeups of the front:
This section has Chain of Pearls, Bed of Roses and Radio Static
This has Matrix and the leaf I designed myself
 These ones are not Leah's designs. The flowers were just outlining the print of the fabric and on the stripe fabric I chose to do straight lines in the opposite direction
And what does the finished quilt look like?

It is called "Changes"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Local Exhibition

We had our local exhibition last weekend. I am feeling a bit 'pooped' and would love a sleep in. Roll on Saturday! For me it was a very successful weekend. I sold 3 quilts, two of them bed-sized:

The first one is called "A Mellow Tone". I won 12 fat quarters in the club raffle last year and, although they weren't really my colours, decided to make a quilt with them. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the finished quilt. Here is is layered ready for quilting:
 The second bed quilt I sold is called 'Whizzbang 2'. This was adapted from a pattern by Deanna Harris. I made it using my own hand dyed fabrics, the only fabric dying I have ever done. I quilted it all over with a greek key pattern which varied greatly in size as I progressed!
The third quilt I sold was the wall hanging I started in my last Symposium class with Dena Crain. I called it 'A Passionate Space'. This is the second quilt I have sold that was made using Dena's "darned quilts' technique.
 The nicest thing that happened was winning Judge's Choice for 'Poetry in Motion'. I made this quilt for Wellington Symposium. It didn't win any ribbons there but was hung beautifully. It was also accepted for the NANZQ show at the Hamilton Craft Fair in 2009. Here it is hanging in our club exhibition with its ribbon

Monday, February 28, 2011


I got home from work today to find 3 envelopes from the Queenstown Symposium committee. All 3 were acceptances for the quilts I entered for exhibition. Yippee! These are the 3 quilts I have entered. I have posted about the first before, but the other 2 have been hiding!

Leftover Tabasco Sauce

Urban Stripe

A Remarkable Impression

Monday, January 24, 2011

Remember this?

This quilt top had been hanging around for a long time. I had tried quilting it 3 times only to end up with puckering. We had a Chris Kenna workshop at our club last year and I was talking with her about the problem I was having. She suggested grid-basting it with soluble thread. So I did and it worked a treat. I was able to free-motion the whole thing with no puckering at all. It is weird, though how it looks so rippled when only parts of it are quilted. It is not until the quilting is finished that it lies flat. It is now called Left Over Tabasco Sauce

Here is a a close-up of the quilting:

Friday, January 21, 2011

I haven't been totally Idle . . .

I haven't really been totally idle over the 6 months since I last blogged. Really!

I had a lovely quilting time at my friend, Lorraine's place last weekend. I sewed a few crumb blocks together into this top and spent the rest of the time making more!

I love to sew crumb blocks when my brain won't cope with anything more demanding. I don't worry about matching or exact 1/4" seams or which way seams get pressed. I just sew. I find it really soothing and it usually warms me up to go onto something more demanding. This top, when it has had an accent border and a final border on it, is destined to become a community quilt. Pretty busy quilt top, eh?

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Memory of NZ

During the holidays one of my home stay boys returned home to Germany. He had been with me for six months and had been a real joy to have. Very outgoing and good company. He wanted something quilted to take home so, while he was on a 3 day holiday in Auckland before he left NZ, I made him this:

Needless to say he was visiting the sky tower on the day I made the quilt. It is from Gail Lawther's book "Glimpses of New Zealand". I bought this book when it first came out but this is the first time I have made anything from it. I started at 4 am (sleepless night in the middle of the holidays!!) drawing the pattern to full size. Then I went back to bed for a bit more shut-eye. I got up at about 8.30am, selected fabrics and started sewing it. It was finished and the binding was on, ready for hand stitching down, by 10pm that night! That is a pretty quick quilt - but I admit I had 3 days to myself so there was boiled eggs and toast soldiers for dinner that night.Altogether a perfect quilting day.

I highly recommend Gail's book. Apart from the subject matter, of which I am undoubtedly biased, the book is a sampler of many different quilting techniques in a manageable format. It would make a great series of tutorials for a group of newish quilters looking to learn non traditional techniques.