Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I have 3 Christmas quilts hanging on the walls this year and thought I'd share. Bethlehem was started and finished last Christmas (although I see I still haven't sewn the trumpets on for the angels) but the other two are older projects that I just finished in time to hang yesterday.

Enjoy this special day.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Christmas Quilts

I am so pleased to have finished work for the year, and to have given away my last two quilts, this time to two of my colleagues.

The pattern for Random Ohio Stars comes from Bonnie. This is the first of her quilts that I have finished, though there a couple in progress including another Ohio Star which my little group have been working on as a swap for about 2 years. Thank you Bonnie for your inspiration and generosity in sharing your designs. For the backing idea I have to thank Mary. I didn't offset the pieces enough, but will know better next time. This is a great way to make quilt backings when you don't have enough of any one fabric and want something a bit different.

The centre blocks in the baby quilt are taken from a panel, and I had lots of fun choosing the bright fabrics to go with it. It is actually much brighter than the photo suggest. The little black and white border was a real challenge 'cos the print wasn't exactly straight but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Giving away lots of quilts this year has been lots of fun, and I've really reduced the pile of unquilted tops. I wonder what I should aim for in 2008!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Choose Day Challenge

Cat over at Stone House Quilters has set up a challenge to make a small quilt each month based on a word that she will "choose" at random from a list. I seem to be in "sign up" mode at the moment so I have signed up, and hope to make several small pieces that will be added into a bigger project which plays with different techniques and styles.

The first month's word is... CONNECTION... I've been playing today and this is what I've come up withThe colours are not as bright as they look in the photo, and the blues and purples are bluer in real life. The CONNECTION is that this piece is meant to connect together the oranges and purples that I want to use together for the bigger project. It needs lots of quilting to add texture (I'm not sure whether I'll do that while it's small like this or once the various parts are together) and maybe I'll add some of the big copper coloured glass beads I bought at the Hamilton show.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Two sides of the same quilt

This is a baby quilt I made for a workmate for her new grand daughter. The pics are the front and back of the quilt respectively.

My quilting friends politely say that it is "over achieving" to piece both the back and the front but I have a good excuse. She was paying for the fabric, and I had seriously miscalculated the the amount of fabric I needed (I think I converted it from inches to metrics twice!!!) so piecing the back used it all up.

I have joined Tonya's winter/Christmas class to challenge myself to make a quilt without a pattern - I'm excited but apprehensive because I'm not exactly overflowing with ideas but I guess that is the point of taking the class. Right? You can check it out on her website.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

I Have Been Quilting

I've been looking at Bonnie's blog and feeling like I get no quilting done compared to her but I have done a few things lately.

The top picture is is Mystery Quilt 11 from the Quilt Mystery group, and will be my first Quilt of Valour once it is finished.

The sampler is the 2004 "Saturday Sampler" from the now closed Quilters Cabin. It has been a UFO for a long time because I have had trouble getting the right borders. The first borders were pieced and then sat for a year (or 2) before being taken off. Some of the fabric ended up on the border of Sam's birthday quilt, which you can see here.

Last is the red sampler made from blocks my friend Helen made a few years ago in the "Saturday Sampler" programme at the Cloth Shop. She hates them! I love them! Once DH has quilted it, we will choose a charity to give it to.

And now I should go and do some more quilting instead of sitting at this computer - I'm sure the computer is to blame for me not being able to keep up with Bonnie - VBG.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Hamilton Trip Part 2

The purpose of the Hamilton was of course to attend the Craft and Quilt Fair to get inspiration from the quilt show and the merchants, and to shop :o)

I actually didn't take a lot of pictures, I think I was enjoying looking too much, but these were two of my favourite quilts.

The squares are made with the chenelle technique, using different colours for the underneath layers. The effect was incredible and made it look like the top fabrics were different. I think you should be able to see what I mean in this close-up.

The 2nd quilt was called "Rhubarb". I loved the bright colours and strong shapes.

The other highlight of the trip was the chance to visit my favourite quilt shop, Grandmothers Garden at Gordonton. At this shop it is not just the fabric that makes the visit worthwhile, though there is certainly plenty of that. Hazel who owns the shop is an enthusiastic cook, and when there are big events on she serves homemade scones with jam and cream, and cups of tea in beautiful china cups and saucers. These are served free throughout the day, and her scones are just divine. We visited 3 times (once a day for the 3 days were there) and were lucky enough to also partake of Hazel's vegetable soup on the Friday night. This shop is a joy to visit - it is busy and vibrant, the staff are lively and helpful and there are inspiring quilts everywhere. The only fault I can find with Grandmothers Garden is that it is not closer to where I live! Mind you, I bought quite a good selection of their fabric home, so it feels a little bit like I am there anyway!!!

Hamilton Trip

At the end of September we drove to Hamilton for the Craft and Quilt Fair (more about that later). We were lucky enough to have some beautiful weather for the drive up through the Desert Road so we took some photos that I thought I would share.

Just a week after our trip Ruapehu erupted! Only a "minor" eruption - it blew large rocks up to 2 km from the crater.

We stopped at Tokoroa because I had read about a quilt shop there (it helps to have a book called "The Crafty Girls Road Trip Guide" because you can read about quilt shops everywhere you go).

The quilt shop had a fabulous selection of Christmas fabric which I just had to indulge in (!!!), and I found a really cute baby panel which will make a quilt for a colleague. But possibly even better than the quilt shop (oh okay, maybe just as good as the quilt shop) were the Talking Poles - Tokoroa's version of totem poles. The town has been holding and an carving symposium for several years, and these poles are the outcome of it. They are a great symbol for the town which has been built up around the forestry industry. I especially liked the one with leaves and flowers on, and have some ideas for a wallhanging based on this.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Quiet but quilting

This quilt is going in the mail to my friend Sandy tomorrow (I hope she hasn't found my blog or this will really ruin the surprise). Sandy and I both participated in a swap several years ago where each participant chose the block they wanted to receive and the others made it for her on her birthday. This quilt is made from Sandy's blocks - she gave them to me because I was looking for quick quilt ideas to make into samples for the quilting business. Finally, 2 years later, I've turned those blocks into a quilt which is going back to Sandy for her birthday.

The Sunflowers are now hanging in the hallway. I wont say they are finished because when I walk past them I see places where I could do some more stitching but I'm trying to take a "wait and see" approach.

The last picture is the layout of a baby quilt I'm making for a friend at work who is about to become a grandma to a little girl. The border fabric is pink, purple, orange and lime with hearts and flowers - very girly, and something of a challenge to work with, but I'm hoping it will all come together.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Birthday Quilt done

At the beginning of this year I decided that instead of buying birthday gifts I would give people quilts. It wasn't a decision to make them all quilts, instead I would use tops from my stash that were sitting waiting to be quilted. Some of these tops have been waiting a long time to be quilted so this was just the motivation I needed to make sure they got finished, and I could find homes for some of the ones that I had made "just because" with no particular recipient, or use, in mind.

This week I finished this Lone Star for my sister for her birthday on Sunday.

The good thing about using tops that you have already made, as opposed to making quilts as gifts, is that you don't feel any pressure to choose the perfect pattern and fabric, and make a perfect quilt. For example, this sister is very difficult to choose for. I have thought about making her a quilt for several years, but it's hard to pin down just what she likes, she doesn't have a favourite colour, her house doesn't have a particular style, and I could never picture her actually using a quilt because it just wouldn't be right. But going into my stash of tops it was easy to choose this one for her. She is an engineer, so the geometric design of the Lone Star will interest her, and she has just bought a natural coloured couch for her new apartment. Because I haven't painstakenly chosen the pattern and fabric just for her, it doesn't matter if this isn't absolutely the most perfect quilt for her cos I just feel really happy that is a nice present. And possibly most importantly the stash is reduced by one more!!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

I had forgotten how snuggly

... flannel quilts are.

Today we had a new customer drop off a quilt for quilting. It is a really country log cabin style quilt, with lovely big feature blocks in the middle, and it is flannel. She wasn't sure whether to put flannel on the back of the quilt, or ordinary cotton, because we had a cotton backing fabric that she really liked.

It took me a while to remember that our flannel quilt was tucked away in the trunk in the corner of our room, but whe I did I brought it out to show her. Well as soon as she touched the snuggly flannel quilt with flannel on the back she was sold on flannel.

And I was sold on the idea of putting this quilt back on the bed very soon. Winter has definitely made itself known over the last few weeks, and this quilt will make a difference at night.

The quilt was an attempt to use up my stash of flannel after making a couple of flannel quilts. It is a copy of quilt that Sam (Mum to Arnold the blogging Jack Russell) made, and I loved the design as soon as I saw it.

The funny thing is, that as soon as my friends heard I was making a scrappy flannel quilt they gave their own flannel scraps. This really added the variety in this quilt and I really appreciate their kindness. As you can probably guess, by the end of the project I still had lots of flannel scraps left! I've made a couple more scrappy flannel quilts, and I've shared the flannel with my friends, for yet more quilts. It's like a little stash that never ends.

I'm off to check on the lamb shanks that have been slowly cooking for a couple of hours now - it really must be winter.

Monday, 4 June 2007


Well I have been quiet haven't I!!! Over a month since I last blogged. But I have been busy. I went to a 2 day class with Mary Transom to learn how to make this sunflower quilt and I've been working on it ever since. I've made some more progress since this pic - everything is actually sewn down now, and the borders are on, but I can't find the cable to download pics from the camera.

The only other thing I've been working on is the first row for a row quilt swap I signed up for. I left it to the last minute so had a big panic not knowing what I wanted. I finally chose an oriental theme, made some stars with geisha girls in the middle and deep teal, orange and purple points, and fired it in the mail a couple of days before the deadline.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Hidden Treasure

Isn't funny what you find when you start tidying up?

I've been doing some reorganising of our photo files, and in the process I came across this picture of Amish blocks which I received in 2 different swaps a couple (or more) years ago.

When I saw the photo I was reminded of what striking blocks they were and how much I liked the quilt I made with them. A split second later I started to think "hold on, what quilt did I make with them?", followed by "and what did I do with it?".

Slowly the cogs started turning and the brain kicked into gear. It came back to me. I made two (yes 2) of the blocks into a bag to carry my cutting mat to classes and retreats. Here it is without the top binding or handles but you get the idea.

I felt a bit sad to think I didn't have a quilt made with these blogs, but then I realised the fun part - I still have 23 blocks sitting in my cupboard. Now if I just make 2 more, that will give me 25 and I'll have enough for a quilt. Maybe it's time I did something with this project. Now why do I feel like I'm been here before?

I'm off to find the actual blocks!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Dogs Day Out & ANZAC Day

We've been having some lovely autumn weather of late - sunny days with not too much wind and it makes you feel happy the seasons are changing if though it means we are going into winter. Because we haven't had too much wind there are lots of lovely yellow and red leaves on the trees to make it all pretty.

At the weekend we took the dogs out to the river and spent the afternoon there. We had a picnic lunch, while they explored and ran off a lot of energy. They just love the water so they had a great time.

Today is ANZAC Day which commemorates the 1915 landing of New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli. Gallipoli saw a massive loss of life, especially in the context of such new, small countries heading to war for mother England. More and more these days ANZAC Day has come to include remembrance not only of the original ANZACs but of all our soliders lost to war, and the sacrifices that have been made to give us the freedom we now enjoy.

Last night I decided I wanted to play at making a "sort of arty" poppy quilt. It is meant to be one of the poppies that the RSA sell in the lead up to ANZAC Day as a fundraiser rather than an actual poppy. I think it is getting there but I should have used narrower strips of fabric, and it needs more stitching to make up the poppy shape. It was interesting to play, and seeing as I am usually the first to comment that so called art quilts are "just strips and they aren't event straight" it is quite a way out of my normal style.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Saturday, 14 April 2007


I'm on a big learning curve about blogging right now, and I think I worked out how to add a photo to my profile which is why I'm posting this little pic of my Wonky Log Cabin.

I chose this picture because this is the one quilt that hangs on the wall in The Quiltery. You see, the quiltery isn't very large, and by the time you add two doors, two walls of windows a wardrobe and a couple of bookcase to a room you aren't left with a lot of wall space. I have my two favourite prints on the big wall which only leaves a 14 inch space for a quilt. So this little one fills the gap!

I made this just a couple of months ago. As is often the way, I didn't set out to make this particular quilt. I was going to make a log cabin, using dark and light homespuns for an Amish effect, and use up a chunk of my homespun fabrics. Just 6 blocks into the project I was feeling quite clever, because I was making such cute log cabin blocks - until I laid them out side by side and hit a problem. Where was my light and dark effect? I turned blocks, moved blocks, turned them again, and squinted, and then I could make out furrows - kind of. So I decided that I would just have accept that this quilt was going to need me to buy more fabric!

Resigned to having to go to the quilt shop I decided to sew some of the blocks together just so I was really committed to the project. And that is when the biggest problem of all showed itself. My "oh so cute" blocks were not the same size. Some were 3/4 of inch smaller than others. That was going to be a bit much difference to "fudge".

I played with the blocks to try and work out ways of saving the project and came up with the idea of cutting them in half diagonally, and resewing the dark halves together. Then I joined them haphazardly to create this wonky little wallhanging. I had just recently finished a project where I used curved piecing for the first time, so I was able to play with borders that weren't straight. I like the contrast of the very straight lines in the blocks and the skewed lines that frame it up.

After that long explanation, here's hoping I can post the picture in my profile!

Catching Up

Yay it's the weekend again. I did manage to get lots acheived over the Easter break. In fact I did everything on my list except for one of the pillows, so I am pretty pleased with that.

We had a great trip to Wellington and especially enjoyed Pataka in Porirua. The quilt exhibition by Anna Prussing really inspired me to use more colour in my quilts. Photos werent allowed but I did take this one of DH.

You can see thumbnails of the exhibition on the Pataka website.

We had a great lunch at Kaizen, the cafe at Pataka, so the visit was a huge success all round. We visited The New Dowse in Lower Hutt too, but that was quite disappointing. Many of the supposedly interactive exhibitions were not working or had "don't touch" signs on and the overall impression was of an institution trying too hard to be clever and missing the mark.

My goal this weekend is to tidy up the Quiltery. I wonder what I can find to do to avoid it.

Friday, 6 April 2007


I've put the borders on my Year Quilt but I don't know whether it needs something more. Originally I had thought of wide black borders but it seemed too overpowering, so in a fit of indecision I put on a 2 1/2 inch border as a starting point. Now I'm wondering if it can stay like this, or whether it needs something else. And if so what?

Any ideas anyone?

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Long Weekend

Easter is a long weekend here, and I've taken today off as well to make it that bit longer.

I have a list of projects to work on, and the first one is this Batik Circles quilt which just needs to be bound. This was one of those quilts that went together nice and quickly, but then it sat at the quilting stage for about 10 months.

I'm going to put the borders on my Year Quilt, and maybe make some more mile-a-minute type blocks for the backing.

My Stash Log Cabin needs the borders sewing on, as does the Strippy Flannel and those two pillows need to be finished.

Seeing all those project written down makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I'm being a bit ambitious about how much I'm going to be able to achieve in a weekend. We also have plans to drive to Porirua for a quilt exhibition so I'm not actually going to be sewing the whole time. It will be interesting to see just how much gets done.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Quality Control - caught in action

Here is the little quilt quality inspector caught in action on the job tonight. I think she particularly approved of this quilt because it is lovely warm flannel.

At the bottom of the stack is a strippy quilt which I put together at the weekend, and the blue and the red on top are hopefully the borders. If this goes together as planned it will have used up 95% of my flannel stash.

The quite small flannel stash has been fun. It has been lent out and passed from friend to friend so they can use what they need. They usually add some of their leftovers back in, so it has grown and changed.

Now all I have to do is persuade Tabitha to move and then I can make more of a dent in what is left.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Little Stash Quilts

I'm making progress on the little quilts I'm making from my stash of deep red/maroon fabrics. These are going to be made into cushion covers for our bed, to match the summer quilt. I wanted to make 2 different designs because I think it suits the scrappy style. I'm not sure what borders the Birds in the Air one will get - that will be this weekend's project.

Monday, 26 March 2007


Last year for his birthday DH was given a gift voucher for a glider flight, and yesterday, after months of waiting and planning for the perfect flying conditions, he took his flight. I've got to admit it was the most beautiful day, just perfect for gliding and he spent a fabulous hour up in the air on the Kapiti Coast. This really is him getting into the front seat of the glider!

I got to stay firmly on the ground (thank goodness - see how close to the front of the plane the front seat is) from where I could study not just the gliders but also a large flock of ducks taking advantage of the great soaring conditions. It got me thinking about some of those quilt blocks with fabulous names like Birds in the Air and Flock of Birds, so tonight after work I put together one of these blocks.

Now if I just make another 3 blocks, I will have the centre of a cushion cover for one of the large cushions on our bed AND I will work my way through a little bit more of the deep red-maroon stash, more particularly those extra squares that I overcalculated when cutting the last project.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Thanking my lucky stars

I'm just so happy to have managed to set up this blog, and upload a photo successfully - me and uploading photos have not mixed well in the past. What better quilt to have chosen than this one using the Lucky Stars pattern by Atkinson Designs.

I made this just over a year ago for the then 9 year old daughter of friend. When asked for a colour scheme she replied "purple and plue with a touch of pink" - you can tell her Mum is an artist!

In the picture you can't really see the detail of the different fabrics and they all blend together. There really are 12 very different batiks in there, sourced from 4 or 5 shops. Maybe I should have looked for a different border fabric and that would have had a bolder effect. I love batiks but dont find them easy to work with, often thinking as I'm piecing that they are too blotchy.

I had fun with the back of this quilt too and used up some fabrics from the stash that were never going to find a home anywhere else. Even some very ugly hand dyed fabric found a happy home in this back

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