Sunday, 17 June 2018

Patchwork, Tunisian Crochet, stacking Bowties Plus more

Yes its been quite a while since I have had the opportunity to catch up with my blog.  Also I struggle with the format of Blogger and once I have published my post, it moves my photographs around.  Sooooo frustrating.  Any tips would be appreciated.

My classes commenced end of April, starting patchwork for beginnrs at Wellington Sewing Center

Here are some of the quilt tops.

I ran two Classes of Tunisian Crochet, introducing tactile stitches to crocheters at Wellington Sewing Center.

A Quilt as you Go class:

Louise and Prue showed off their completed Kaleidoscope quilts from Last years class.

Some of the ladies who attend my Wednesday night class made Stacking Bowtie cushions.

There are still more cushions under construction.  I do have another class for this technique coming up Sunday 5th August at Wellington Sewing Center.

We were lucky enough to test drive Sue Schreuder's E-Spinner made by Ashford.  It did look easy when Sue was using it.  Soooo on my "Want" list.

My Effort - lets just call this artistic!

And finally -an Overnight or Weekender bag class coming up.  Will fit in the aircraft "overhead" locker provided it does not wight more than 7kg.  Its fully lined with an internal pocket.
For more details, please visit Wellington Sewing Center website or contact

Thats all for now.  Thank you for taking the time to read my post.  Until next time,
Happy stitching


Friday, 2 March 2018

Power cords - Tripping hazards

I am involved with a goup of quilters as a mentor over a 28 week period and we start up again this week.  You can imagine 21 quilters with 21 machines - power cables/cords everywhere.

In the past to prevent anyone from tripping over these cables we have used tape to tape down the cables onto the carpet.  Needless to say when the tape is lifted it leaves a very sticky residue on the cable and on hands.

Andrea (member of this group) suggested we use velcro fabric strips.  She had seen this techqniue on a training course.  So we are going to give this a go.

This morning I removed all the sticky residue from our cables and multi boxes using DeSolvit.  Its a great product but always do a test first because it can eat through laytex etc.  I use this product to gently remove the sticky residue left on my spool from the stickers on machine sewing threads.  Its orange based so if you are allegic to citrus please do not use this product.

Two hours of wiping and these look new.

Our new cable trip protectors.  Nice and bright so they can be seen when in action.  The cable can still move within its casing i.e. adjusted if required.

Hook velcro underneath

Cut 18 cm (7") with strip full width of the fabric (150cm in this case).  If your fabric needs to be longer, sew two pieces together before commencing next step.

Fold fabric in half and sew down the side seam all the way down the length of your fabric.  I found my overlocker quick for this job.

Turn your tube inside out.  Make sure your seam is in the center.  This will be the bottom of your strip.  Turn in the ends and stitch closed.
Sew hook velcro down both sides full length of your strip.  Once finished, cover the hook with loop velcro to prevent the hook attaching itself to your clothing when not in use.
I used 16mm wide hook and loop velcro.

We will test these next week and we can be cut down to size really easily if required.

Happy stitching

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Two New classes

I have scehduled new two classes.

The first is called Zipper Art.   It is 2 two hour sessions Thursday evenings July 12 & 19 and will be held at Wellington Sewing Centre.  In this class you will be shown how to manipulate pieces of zip into different shapes to create your own zipper art piece.
Its all hand work, exercise pieces of zips will be included in the class cost and all you need to bring is a couple of good needles and your smile.

The second class is the "Weekender Bag".  Its soft, so can be easily rolled up to put away when not in use but it is big and will hold lots.  It should fit the "carry on Luggage" requirements but will confirm that later.
The pattern has now been drafted and tested.  I will be making a class sample over the next couple of weeks.  It is currently scheduled over two thursday evenings 26 June and 3rd of July.  It may run over onto a third week or home work will be expected.

Contact to book.  Will post the bag sample ASAP :)
Happy crafting.

Monday, 22 January 2018

The art of Patience.

We all have UFOs of some sort be it, knitting, quilts etc.  They are usually put aside because we loose our enthusiasm for it, hasn't worked out, needs unpicking,  you are stuck in a rut or you just dont like it.  I noticed recently when I tidied up my sewing room, that I had many project bags and shoe boxes full of unfinished projects. Most have now been given away to groups who make charity items for others.  Yes I know thats cheating but it lessens my guilt and creates more space for new projects!

May last year I said yes to making a large wall hanging for a small community. The challenge began with the initial diagram given to me.

Level One of City and Guilds - you are taught to plan a piece, from drawing, measuring to collecting fabric swatches etc.  The thing about plans - they usually get thrown out of the window!!  Every step I made, something would go wrong or just didn't work.  For example I couldn't use batting - it made the selected background fabric look like a block of chocolate - not like a piece of metal.  Then there was our cat who sprayed in my sewing table and managed to get some on this quilt!! Yes he's still alive.

Incidentaly I mixed water and vinegar and wiped down the whole quilt so as it dried there was no water marks.  I got the stain out, there was still a some spray smell.  I have now lightly wiped the backing fabric of the area concerned with eucalyptus oil.

Im glad to say I am nearly finished however this has really tested my patience and I have learnt that I have buckets of patience.  Just as well!!!!  The added challenge was not giving up as this couldn't be put into a project bag and stashed in my UFO pile.  It has to get finished.

I stitched the metallic background and placed silk pieces (A4 size).  I visited every store in the Wellington Region looking for the right shade of braid.  In the end I had to stitch and make a braid using two types to give the right metalic effect I needed (see previous post).

With the delicate fabrics and the height of the braid I had no choice but to spend hours upon hours hand stitching the braid in place draining every inch of patience out of my body LOL.  Especially in some cases redoing letters that were not sitting correctly.  I don't enjoy hand stitching and so gave  myself deadlines each week to get it all stitched.  Some days I would start at 4 or 5 am to beat the heat of the day (its currently our summer here in New Zealand).

I won't be able to show you the whole work (its not finished anyway).  Its very metallic so the shine of the threads don't come through in these photos.

I plan to have this quilt completed by the end of January.  Looking forward to the prospect of starting my next creative project which is busting to get out of my brain.

Incidently - I have another small problem.  The thread I was using required a top stitch needle to prevent the thread from breaking so when I hold the quilt up to the light you see all the needle holes.  I have an I an idea on how I will fix this - will let you know in my next post.

Happy stitching.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Tips and things

I finished my last class for the year last week so hopefully over the next two months will free up time for my own projects. Yayyyyyyyyyyyy

Here's some tips I would like to share with you.

I bought yarn in a sale for a large coat/cardigan for next winter.  Since the yarn is in hanks, I thought I would pre-wind some into cakes before I start knitting.
To keep the cakes secure, store them in old clean stockings.

I am currently working on a unpaid commission for a group.  There is quite a bit of hand work and I have had some complications to work through with the fabrics chosen.  The wall hanging ( 1.8 mtrs square approx) is to look like metal and jewels.  The back ground is some form of man made fibre (unlabelled curtain remnant)  and the 12 jewels are each presented with different coloured silk.  To finish of the jewels I need a braid.  You can imagine how hard it is to find a specific colour which also has to match all the colours and fabric types in this piece.  In the end I had to make my braid.

I used two strips of the brass like braid and one narrow black and gold braid

Sewed the two brass braids together using my open toe applique foot, Zigzag stitch and marching thread.

Overlay the black/gold fine braid over my Zigzag stitches and hand stitched it down.

The braid is then hand stitched around each pieces of silk.  Notice the background fabric?
I have stitched it with out batting onto calico using matching embroidery thread 
to create the illusion of rough metal.

Every time I am in Napier I love to visit "Two Lippy Ladies".
They are renowned for their wonderful vintage dresses.  I love them and they are reasonably priced considering the amoung of fabric that goes into each dress.
Of course I left with a wonderful fun dress - fabric covered in sewing notions!  I wanted a petticoat to go under it.  They had some for sale but were made just from tulle and see through - not good for the Wellington Wind and not a good look for a lady in her late 50s!!.
I work with a clever colleague - Gemma.  She talked me through one of her petticoat designs.  Its essentially a tube petticoat.  I have included some tulle  but most of it is made from poplin.
My tip I want to share is sewing the elastic band on to the skirt.  The skirt before gathering is absolutely massive.  Pinning the elastic onto it was NOT fun.  I ended up with blood on my fabric and pins falling out as I worked my way round the band.  So instead of lots of pins, I tacked sections of the skirt to the band so when I sewed, I stretched and sewed between each section.  No more blood.

Tacked sections

My petticoat - I missed out one of Gemma's instructions so my layers are not even.

Check out the dress.  I love the fabric and design.  My petticoat is just a tad to low 
but I can roll it up is from the top.

Thank you for Reading my post.  Until next month - happy stitching

P.S. - My result on using the shopping bags I made in my previous post.  The smaller bags worked ok but the larger didnt - two much stretch.  Better of with something more solid.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

shopping bags

I REALLY  don't enjoy grocery shopping.  Making an effort to reduce plastic & remembering to bring my shopping bags before I leave home adds to the required shopping prep.  We have a wonderful system at home, if you use the last of a product - write it up on the kitchen white board.  I photograph the list on my phone then of to the supermarket.
Its buying the small produce thats annoying. 

To much plastic!!
I was cutting meters of Mutton Cloth for a customer last week.  Out of curiosity I asked her what was she going to make.  Grocery Shopping bags for bin buying for all her friends for Christmas. 
What a great idea.  So after leaving Pak n Save this afternoon, I headed straight to my sewing room.

Mutton cloth and cotton twine
I liked the idea of Mutton cloth because as a knit it will stretch nicely around whatever produce I am intending to put in my bag. BUT when its cut the ends roll. 

Sew two lines across the width of the cloth at several places on the fabric (fig 1).  These will become  the sides to each of the bags.  Cut between these lines then overlock both sides (fig 2).
fig 1
fig 2
Sew two lines across the width (center) of each section then cut between the rows of stitching.  Three sides are now sewn and the fourth is a fold.  Cut open the side that is on the fold.  This edge will not unravel.

Sew on your tie / twine 

Ive put my ginger into one bag as an example.

I'm sure you may come up with other ideas.  Now to start my production line.
Happy stitching

Symposium 2017

Congratulations to the committee who organised the NZ Quilt Symposium held earlier this month.  It was held on the grounds of St Andrews College in Christchurch.  Exhibitions were located at four venues and each participant recieved a catalogue containing photographs of quilts on display in the main and challenge exhibitions.

Christchurch is a city still rebuilding after a major earthquake 22 February 2011 and it was the first time I had been there since.  There is still more buildings to be repaired or demolished.  I can't really describe how I felt.  Very emotional.

A humming merchant mall,  fun happy hour sessions and a great Carnival evening kept us entertained.  Lots of classes to inspire.  I was fortunate to be one of the tutors at this symposium.

Here are only a few of my photographs.  Enjoy.

The Cardboard Cathedral (the tempory Christchurch Cathedral)
Exhibition Catalogue
St Andrews Collage.  Venue of the Symposium

Bitter Sweet by Claire Smith (tutors exhibit)

Silence by Jean McLean (won best use of colour)

New York Lights by Sophie Wood
Merit in the Creative Construction section.
Im a fan of Sophie's work.  There is always lots to see in her quilts

Chirpy by Rosemay Rush 
Merit Best Applique

Aide-Memoire for the Post-Modern Quilter
by Catherine Croucher

Unknown Furtre by Kat Martin
One of the quilts published in the 2018 Aotearoa Quilters Calendar

Luke Haynes
I attended Luke's lexture.  He's very inspiring.

Year of the Cat by Tracy Carew
Winner Modern Quilt

Ties that Bind by Jeanie O'Sullivan
Winner Traitional Quilt & Viewers Choice.
Simply stunning - my photo doesn't do this quilt any justice!

Fly by Donna Ward
Best in Show, Merite best Piecing, 

Mughal Dynasty Reflextions by Michele Hill
Tutors Exhibition

Breaking Waves by Dianne Southy
Merit Landscape / Pictorial

Watermark by Alison Laurence

Isolation by Sophie Wood

See What My hands and Feet Can Do
By Ruth de Vos (Tutors Exhibition)

Star Burst by Linda Rae

Paint the Town Red by Natalie Murdoch
1 of 20 quilts to tour New Zealand in the
"Aotearoa Quilts on Tour"

Most Fragile by Sandy Briggs
One of the quilts published in the 2018 Aotearoa Quilters Calendar

Cheers by Camilla Watson
One of the quilts published in the 2018 Aotearoa Quilters Calendar

There are so many quilts still on my camera so I may get round to posting more later next month.

Wimsical (with out the h).
My entry in the Tutors exhibition.
Here is the story of my quilt.

Wimsical  (without the H)
Fabric designers spend hours creating their unique fabric designs for quilters, crafters and dressmakers to enjoy.  For several years now I have been creating quilts out of one fabric.  Basically, I cut up a fabric and re-design a different look by manipulating the fabric using traditional blocks.

I love visual textures, illusions and where possible also like to add tactile surfaces to some of my quilts.

The inspiration for this quilt came from the fabric itself - Marianna by Gray Sky Studio for ‘In The Beginning fabrics’ (2015). I was drawn to the elegant shapes, curves and subtle colours of the print. 

The centre of my quilt is made up of kaleidoscopes using the four-sided kaleidoscope block method.  Inserted between each kaleidoscope I have added a windmill block to add colour.  It was exciting to lay out my blocks on my design wall.  Sewing them together incorporating the windmills was a bit of a challenge.
Wonderfil Dazzle has been couched into the borders to add sparkle.

This quilt is Whimsical but I have left out the H in memory of my uncle Wim who took me to visit a windmill for the first time in Holland in 1967.  I wasn’t so much in awe of the windmill itself, but of the family of eleven who were about to eat their dinner sitting around a dining table that stretched right across the room. 
One day this quilt will be passed on to a young girl to enjoy.  Very Wimsical.

Students wotk in my Stacking Bow Tie class

Students work in my weaving class
We had great classroom facilities at St Andrews College

Playing with layouts using student blocks in
my Quilt As You Go class.
(Another sample below)

More photos are available on the blog of my local club.  Capital Quilters

The next New Zealand Quilt sympoisum will be held in Auckland in 2019.

Click HERE  to register

Happy stitching