Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Christmas Greetings from my corner of the world.

Pohutukawa - New Zealand's Christmas tree

Saturday, December 20, 2014


My daughter has a sports singlet/tank that she enjoys wearing and has been asking for another one.  As she is quite slim it has been tricky finding singlets that fit her.  

So one day I had an a-ha moment and thought it would be quite easy to make her one.  I could use the one she has and sort of cut the pattern from that.

None of the local fabric shops stock the knit material that the bought ones use.  One day when I happened to be in The Warehouse I found a woman's XL t-shirt in just the right colour and type of fabric, a bargain at $12!  I'm definitely not an XL, I figured that the largest size I could get would increase the cutting options.

So carefully cutting around the existing singlet (who needs paper patterns!) I easily got a front and back from the larger top.  The bias strips for the arm holes and neck were abit trickier to get.

The singlet fits her and she wears it!  I didn't quite get the neckband right, when it is on it fits a bit better.
remains of orginal t-shirt

Monday, December 15, 2014

Finished at last

One of the largest quilts I've ever made is finished and at its new home.  (For progress see here, here, here, here, here and here.)

I enjoyed following a pattern with the right amount of fabric.  The quilting was a bit of a challenge - I'm pleased with how it looks.  So is the new owner!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Off they go

My entries for Quilt Symposium Manawatu 2015 are all done, posted and been received.  After checking the tracking details it looks like NZ Post delivered them at 6.30am!! and they were signed for - wonder how happy they were?

It seems to take ages to sew on the hanging sleeve, the velcro, the label and the bag.  

I have finally learnt to sew the velcro onto a slightly wider piece of fabric by machine and then hand stitch that on to the back of the quilt.  Certainly saves the fingers!

Now to wait until mid January to (hopefully) see them hanging in Palmerston North at the Symposium exhibition.  So no pictures until then.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Secret Santa

Every Christmas my stitching group make a secret santa present for one of the other members.  Each year I try and do something different and a bit me.  I have a great collection of handmade Christmas decorations. 

what I made with a tin of Whittakers chocs
what I received - checkout the beading!


This year my first effort was a disaster!  The more I kept going the worse it got.  So a couple of days before the Secret Santa handover I abandoned it and started something new. It had to be something achievable in a rather limited timeframe!   

I mostly followed the instructions for nesting bins here (the smallest one), adding a bit of decoration - making it a bit obvious as to who the maker was!  

One very good tip was to iron the Pellon batting to the lining and not to the front fabric.  The front is a linen mix so I wasn't confident that I'd be able get the Pellon to adhere evenly.  So if the Pellon doesn't adhere evenly or comes away, it doesn't matter as it won't really show.


stencil, paint and PearlEx pigments
For the pattern I used some of the elements of the lining fabric to create a freezer paper stencil.  

The paint is Pebeo Setacolor Shimmer Gold mixed with PearlEx pigments and the stitching is Madeira gold holographic thread - that just sparkles.
painted and stitched

Monday, December 1, 2014

More of a glimpse

An update from a few days ago (here).  The main part of the quilt is quilted and most of the threads threaded in.  

I've free motion quilted the borders - certainly saved on turning the quilt around! and good practice for straight(ish) lines.  One more border, the four corners and the quilting will be done!  Then the binding and the label.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

How to Spend a Saturday ...

...  quilting with friends, of course.

Today my daughter and I spent the day, across the harbour, taking a quilting class learning how to sew skinny lines and circles.  What was so special about the class was the company - my Wednesday stitching group and our tutor Fyvie.  

Fyvie's method for the circles was super easy and worked every time.  Everyone produced great results.

view from the end of the driveway
Being at a friend's house meant the food through out the day was also pretty special as was the BBQ afterwards.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tote Bag

My quilting bag that I use to cart my quilting/stitching stuff around is rather tatty and definitely needs replacing.  The problem was finding just the right pattern that had all the features I thought I required.  

I regularly follow Adrianne's blog (, she's had a few posts about making Tote bags.  Finally I thought I'd just do it and make a tote using her tutorial (here). 

Adrianne uses Soft and Stable in her bags instead of batting or interfacing. I happened to be in Stitchbird one Saturday (see here about why I'm often in Kilbirnie on a Saturday) and bought some Soft and Stable.  The fabric is also from Stitchbird. 

Her instructions are excellent and include a number of very good tips.  I added an inside pocket - next time it'll be bigger and maybe with a zip closure.  As I didn't have any tape for the handles I covered the off cuts of the Soft and Stable with some of the bag material.

Using the Soft and Stable was easy, one of the great things about it is the bag is mostly free-standing.  Also, it doesn't need to be quilted although I did.

I already have an order for a second one.  My daughter has chosen the fabric and wants a slightly smaller one - which is fine as I have a smaller piece of soft and stable left over.  Now to convince her that she could sew it or at least some of it!

Finally, for those in Wellington do go and visit Stitchbird's new shop - just a hop and a skip (not even a jump) across the driveway from their old shop.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A glimpse

I've been busy quilting the quilt that I started earlier in the year. (here, here, here and here).

The deadline is scarily close and at ~2m square this is the largest quilt I've ever quilted!  

I'm doing straight stitching - so no free motion fancywork on this! Sewing one line and then restarting on the same side instead of attempting to turn the whole quilt around.  While this is using more thread it is making it more managable.  

As I'm not quilting (yet) into the border, it also means a few threads to thread in.  

Using two King Tut threads, one in each direction.
What I'm little bit proud of are my DIY skills to construct the frame I used for basting the quilt - more on this another time.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pieced Star in Stars

I've finally pieced the star in star blocks that I won at a Guild meeting several months ago (see here and here). 
For awhile I played with the idea of adding white or black/grey strips and then cutting the block on an angle so the stars became 'wonky' (see below).  This was to get around the problem that quite a few of the blocks were different sizes! 

I couldn't decided between using white or a grey, so the blocks rested while I worked on other projects.  Recently I revisited them, randomly adding black or grey strips.  Then cutting the blocks to a uniform size before joining them.  I did ponder (briefly) about adding half stars in the outside spaces.

The piece will now rest some more as I go back to working on other projects.  Also I don't have anyone in mind for this quilt let alone how to quilt it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Through our Hands - Issue 3

The third issue of the free online magazine 'Through our Hands' is now available.  The magazine is put together by Laura Kemshall, Annabel Rainbow and Linda Kemshall and as with the earlier issues features interesting articles and heaps of eye candy. 

There are articles by Maggie Grey, Sue Benner, Dijanne Cevaal, Jane La Fazio and others.

Click here to read the first issue or here for the second issue.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Can Do Purple

Back here I went on a bit about how I didn't really like the colour purple.  And, as I mentioned then Aotearoa Quilters have a purple 12x12 challenge, with the deadline 21 November.  The entries will be displayed in Palmerston North during the Manawatu Quilt Symposium early next year.

In between other stuff I've been working on a couple of purple pieces (maybe more!) and I also got a little side-tracked ...

I had a bit of a clean up and came across a newsletter from Nancy's, which included a picture of a cute little sewing machine from a blog (  Well I just had to have a go ... this did mean ferretting through the kids lego and finding most pieces, however, a few substitutes were required.

Back to the purples, playing with different techniques ...

It isn't too late to create your own wee purple master piece, the challenge is also open to non-Aotearoa Quilters members.

The full instructions for the lego sewing machine appear here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Couple of Quilt Shows

Recently I managed to see two quilt shows within days of each other.  The first was Wellington Quilters Quild exhibition at the Portrait Gallery.

Portrait Challenge quilts

one of the raffle baskets -
a friend won this and lucky me scored the freezer paper!

Maybe in a later post I'll feature some of my favourite quilts, including who made them, etc.  While I do have plenty of photos, they only have a number beside each quilt so to work out the quilt name and maker you need to go through the exhibition booklet! and that's if the number is readable from the photo!! 

Anyway on to the second show, this was Cotton On Quilters at the Wanganui Girls' College hall in Wanganui.  This was a lovely exhibition with a relaxed feel to it and there were merchants!

Their featured quilter, Griet Lombard, had a fantastic selection of quilts. These were displayed on a stage so getting up close was easy and mostly you could see the backs.  Pictures were allowed (I did check - several times).  I had seen a few of the quilts before at other exhibitions or in the NZ Quilter magazine, I spent quite awhile enjoying them.
selection of Griet Lombard's quilts
Block a Day

Block a Day - detail
All You Ever Wanted to Know About Friendship -
used teabags in memory of all the cups of tea shared with friends

Winter Garden
Winter Garden - closeup
Selection of journal covers

Sunset at Waitarere Beach

Enjoy your Labour Day for those in NZ.