Monday, March 31, 2014

The Bag

Laura Kemshall recently requested photos of work inspired by DMTV videos for her Pinterest board. This prompted me to take a few pics of my accordion bag.

I created this bag after watching one of the DMTV videos.  I carefully followed the instructions and rewatched the episodes several times to make sure I had the process correct for making the accordion part. 
The fabric on the outside are hand dyes from Distressed Threads.  I drew the petal/flower design with Paintsticks and then each petal has an extra layer of batting (still one of my favourite techniques!).
Two years ago my quilting guild had a bag challenge as part of their exhibition and I entered this bag.  I won viewers choice and a merit award.  The judge (not a quilter) said the bag wasn't very practical as you'd loose things in the bottom - hmm practicality wasn't a criteria we were given and that would rule out most handbags!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Happy Camper

I've been finding that one of the hardest things about exhibiting my quilts is photographing them.  

I have a good camera and tripod but until now my problem has been lighting.  I've been photographing quilts in our dining room which has a reasonable amount of natural light.  While that has been OK for coloured quilts, any quilts with white I haven't been able to capture correctly. Until now!

After reading Holly Knott's article Shoot That Quilt! I now have lights.  I investigated her suggestions on making my own lighting stands, while I can purchase the daylight bulbs, I failed to find the reflector lamps (If any NZers know where to buy these please let me know). 

Instead I purchased two stands with reflectors and daylight bulbs from Photo Warehouse, while they aren't professional quality they suit me just fine. 

Now I can photograph white quilts (and other colours).

before lights
after lights

Note: these photos are really low-res, they are just to show the difference in colour.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Blocks are together

There has been progress on the quilt (see here and here).  With the help of my stitching group we laid out the blocks. 

As we arranged and rearranged I took photos ...


When we had our final arrangement, that we mostly agreed on, I pinned the blocks together and laid them on top of each other ready for sewing.  

The blocks sewn together ...

Now this may not match the final arrangement that we had come up with as 
a) I hadn't actually taken a photo of the final layout, 
b) a few pins fell out so I didn't know where some blocks went and 
c) I ignored the useful suggestion to pin different numbers of pins at the top of the line of blocks, so I didn't know which was the top or bottom of the line of blocks.

Now it just needs the corner triangles and the borders ...

Monday, March 24, 2014


The last few evenings around dusk we've been watching Kaka in our neighbour's apple trees.  The Kaka is a New Zealand native parrot and an adult can be up to 44cm in length.

I tried taking photos - they aren't too good given the really low light, the Kakas colouring and that they don't stay still for very long.

Last night there were 7-8 feasting on the apples.

Suburban Wellington has relatively large numbers of native birds thanks to Zealandia (formerly Karori Sanctuary) and Otari Wilton Bush

We've only started noticing the Kakas in the past year or so. These recent visits being the most we've seen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Blocks

There has been progress on the quilt (see first post here), I've pieced the blocks.

I'm enjoying just following a pattern, while I like the challenge of designing a quilt then working out how to actually make it, this has been quite relaxing - cutting, sewing, ironing, ...

What I'll probably do is make most of the top and leave it for awhile, maybe a group effort on basting and quilt it later in the year.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Exciting Stuff

Today's exciting news is my quilt "Knit One Paint One" has been selected for SAQA's 'Redirecting the Ordinary' Exhibition, curated by Alicia Merrett (click here to see her amazing map quilts).  

The first showing will be at the International Quilt Festival (IQF) in Houston, in October.  It will also show at IQF events in Chicago and Portland in 2015. 

Knit One, Paint One
It is a whole cloth quilt with turquoise/aqua colour added with Sennelier oil pastels and each 'knitting' stitch has been padded with an extra layer of batting (Trapunto).  

While I've been using the Sennelier oil sticks I had never tried their oil pastels.

I was introduced to them by a family friend, Henry (14) who has been creating and exhibiting stunning drawings of birds with these pastels.    

The oil pastels are cleaner to use, I did find them a bit harder to blend - just need more practice!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A new project

I've decided to make a quilt for a someone close to me.  I don't often make bed sized quilts, the only ones in our house are the ones on the kids beds (or floor).  Actually to be more honest I don't make bed sized quilts!

So this is a project that I'm sure will challenge me and as it isn't for a competition I'll try and document its progress here.  More about competitions in another post - just to say there is a major one due later this year and its rules are just a bit unclear.  So I'm just being a bit careful in what I post about any possible entries. 

My friend Suzy is closing her shop Piece by Piece at the end of the month, I'll miss not being able to just pop in.  So today I went for a visit with the pattern she'd previously given me and the colour scheme.  This is what I came home with ...

I don't think I'd have ever chosen these by myself!  So thanks to Suzy and also Jan, June and the other ladies who happened to be in the shop at that time.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Basting Mice

I've just finished quilting a slightly bigger quilt (well bigger for me), its been a bit of a struggle handling all the extra weight through my sewing machine.  

Now that its finished I've remembered a wee story about a spray basting experience - 

Awhile ago I watched the Craftsy video Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine  by Ann Peterson. She demonstrated spray basting - it appeared easy to do and would make quilting a lot easier, etc.  

Off I went to a local quilt store and purchased a pink can of magic, why pink? only because it was way cheaper than another brand and it was cheap because it had been bought at another quilt shop that was closing down.

I thought I'd try on a small quilt (28" sq), so off outside I went - didn't trust myself spraying adhesive on our carpet!  So I started spraying, except the can continued spraying - the nozzle was jammed, no amount of wiggling, etc. would stop the flow of stickiness! Before my hands became totally covered in muck I put the can in a terracotta planter pot (with hole in the base - this is an important detail).

I then washed my hands for ~15 minutess (as recommended on the label) to completely remove all the sticky stuff.  Meanwhile the can was still releasing adhesive into the pot!  Presumably it would have been good for a number of quilts.

By the next day the can had finally emptied itself, the sticky stuff had escaped out of the (drainage!) hole in the pot and spread onto the ground and spread a bit more.  Firmly stuck in the sticky stuff was a mouse - even the cat thought better than trying to retrieve it.  Anyway that night it rained, quite a lot, the next morning most of the stickiness had washed away and the mouse? It was still stuck to the ground and was completely flat.

The moral of the story? definitely do all spray basting outside and Craftsy videos are really quite good.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Blues have their Outings

Aotearoa Quilters (AQ) Blue 12x12 challenge (previous posts here and here) have been at the Craft Fairs in Christchurch and Palmerston North.  

Photo: The BLUE challenge photos are now up on our FLICKR site. See them all in detail. Check it out now
photo from AQ's facebook page
There will be an additional showing in Palmerston North at the Rose City Quilters 'Tote and Gloat' day early in May.

To view the individual entries click here - mine are numbers 1 and 58.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Out and About

Over the past few weeks we've had visitors from out of town. Its interesting being a tourist in your own city, finding things you haven't seen for awhile.


 Coffee and cake at Chocolate Fish Cafe.

Lunch at one of my locals - Marsden Village Cafe


 Dragon boating on the lagoon

Wandering round Parliament grounds, a great source of shapes and textures.
Parliamentary Library porch
glass tiles outside the Parliamentary Library

Sculptures on Bowen St (behind The Beehive) 'Kaiwhakatere: The Navigator' by Brett Graham.