Sunday, 28 December 2014

Spinning Stripes (Triangles) Class and Needs List

I probably could be more creative about the name of my new class for next year.  I have been playing around with 60 degree triangles and kaleidoscopes for three years now.  This quilt is different to my other kaleidoscope type quilts because of the way the fabric is cut - lengthways as oppose to width wise.

When looking for stripe fabric for this class - try and find something that has a variant in colour and stripe shape/width.  Look at these examples:

The fabric for my Broadwalk Quilt

Broadwalk - Class Sample

Fabric for Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision
Fabric for Siren Song

Siren Song

Close up of Siren Song.  Notice the quilting.
another idea

another idea

In this two day class we cut, then layout the whole quilt before we sew. The cutting and layout will take most of the day.  The quantity of fabric you buy is up to you and your budget.  Any length from 1.5 metres upto 3 metres.  The triangle size will depend on your stripe width repeat e.g. the finer the stripe, the smaller your triangle size.  When cutting my fabric for the three quilts above I didn't use a ruler - I freeform cut.  I used the ruler for trimming my fabric edge before cutting.

Needs List:
Part one of this class:
Striped fabric (quantities as above)
Large bed sheet (flannel if possible) to layout your triangles
Pins to pin your triangles into groups and into place on your sheet (dress making pins great for this)
Rotary cutter (preferably with new blade) and cutting board
Full length ruler (optional)
60degree Triangle ruler

Part two of this class:
Sewing machine with 1/4" foot attached.
Matching sewing thread with bobbin wound ready to go
New size 80/12 sewing machine needle
Quilting pins

At the beginning of this class while we wait for everyone to get set up - take the opportunity to iron your fabric. 

Have a Happy New Year.  Happy stitching.


Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Mother's Heart

Each quilt we make has a story; who it is for, the choice of colour, design and other creative influences.  When I started this project I had no idea how it would turn out.  It’s not a stunning quilt or one with the “wow” factor.  Its formation became a journey for me both emotionally and creatively.
It started off with the Theme of Pinestream Quilting club’s upcoming exhibition (Expressions Art Gallery in Upper Hutt New Zealand) which is warmth.  The challenge theme is Women in WW1, both at home and abroad.

I spent a lot of time reading letters (available on line) written by soldiers to their families during WW1 (both NZ and Australian).  One wrote about having his 21st in the trenches, others wrote about mischief they would get up to when on leave and finally the handwritten telegram their families received advising them of their son’s death.  I read these with tears in my eyes.  My son had just turned 21 and it got me thinking about how much these soldiers’ mothers and families must have suffered.  They were unable to protect their sons - everything was out of their control and they felt helpless.
“Knitter Get Busy! War chest wants socks.  Appeal for 150,000 pairs.”

Sock May Day was held in 1915.  It was a call to all New Zealanders to assist with this appeal.  Each soldier was issued a new pair of socks every two weeks to prevent them from getting trench foot.  It wasn’t only socks, balaclavas, scarves and gloves were also included in parcels to troops.

Knitting really became a world event – Grandmothers, Mothers, Sisters and Aunts of men on both sides of the trenches were knitting – all doing their part for the war.
Having never knitted a sock, I found a pattern published in the Evening Post 27th November 1915 Ladies Column. (Ref Paperspast, Ladies Column, Volume XC, Issue 129, 27 November 915, Page 11) and proceeded to knit my first sock.  I wondered how others would have fared using this pattern.  I found the language and instruction difficult to follow.

My next resource was a small instruction book for knitting soldiers socks known as “The Grey Sock” book.  This was available in Australia.  I located a copy online – Library of NSW search Manuscripts.  Very easy to follow with row by row instruction – success.  Finished my first sock.  Wow and it was huge and this changed the direction of my quilt – it could not fit into the challenge category dimensions.
I started thinking about other New Zealand heroes, men and women that have influenced us and have made an impact to our country.  They all filled their mother’s hearts (and ours) with pride, joy and sorrow – these were our heroes.    I decided to use the same sock knitting pattern to represent each of my selected heroes and given the size they needed to be male. 

My next sock represents the All Blacks (ABs).  For the 80% of my blog readers outside of New Zealand, the All Blacks are our Rugby team which is one of our main national sports.  Black and white are our national colours.  Although I have selected the ABs – I felt that this sock could really represent any of our national sporting heroes.
Sir Edmund Hillary (beige tramping sock).  He was the first man to climb to the Summit of Mt Everest.  He was a RNZAF navigator, mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist and is featured on our (New Zealand) $5 note.

Possum Bourne – our kiwi rally hero and best known for his exploits behind the wheel of Subaru cars – thus the blue sock (Subaru colour).  Possum’s mother and my mother-in-law were childhood friends.  I guess his selection comes back to the “mother’s heart” theme of my quilt and family connection.
Sir Peter Blake – Yachting legend, Cousteau Society head of expeditions and passionate environmentalist.  Sir Peter was given a pair of red socks by his wife for good luck during the America’s Cup Challenge in 1995.  Since then New Zealanders would support him in his races by wearing red socks.  

Quilt construction and representation.
Once I knitted each sock, it was cut in half length wise and felted into the woollen background then further stitched into place during quilting.  The quilt is completely made from wool (top, batting and backing) – thus keeping with the theme of “warmth”.

The ripples of the quilting depict the challenges of our heroes:
WW1 soldiers (ANZACS) – the sands of Egypt and Turkey

All Blacks (ABs) – the rugged sports fields

Sir Edmund Hillary – the rocky terrain of the mountains

Possum Bourne – speed

Sir Peter Blake – the ocean waves.

 I have embroidered this Canadian chant into my quilt which was popular in NZ (source  It has been embroidered lightly so the viewer needs to move close to the quilt to read it thus drawing into the emotion.

Knitting, Knitting, Knitting with a Prayer in every row,

That the ones they hold in their hearts so dear

May be guarded as they go.

 The stars in the top left corner represent the Southern Cross which appears in our southern hemisphere sky and is featured on the New Zealand flag.  They are coloured yellow to represent the yellow stars painted on Possum Bourne’s Subaru’s.
Felted NZ (top right corner) – Silverfern on the South Island and Koru on the North Island – these are symbols represented on the clothing of our national sports men and women.

The soldier silhouette (bottom left corner) – represents our WW1 heroes (ANZACS)
Mt Everest (bottom right corner) – Sir Edmund Hillary

A yacht – (top right corner below NZ) – Sir Peter Blake

And finally instead of binding the edge of my quilt I have blanket stitched the outside edge with a heavy embroidery thread.  This represents our mothers tucking their boys in at night knowing that they are safe.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Japanese meshwork - Last class for this year.

I had the pleasure of being invited to teach Japanese meshwork to group of quilters who have been meeting weekly for years. Over the last two Monday nights we have been working our way through basic meshwork techniques.  Check out their work.

Unfortunately I have one photograph missing as it was blurred.  A very enjoyable night and a lovely atmosphere teaching a class in someone's home.

Now back to making Christmas presents.  Happy stitching.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

This weeks show n tell.. Spoonflower Christmas Tree Design & fabric lights.

My latest project has been fun and a good reminder how rusty one can get when one hasn't free-motioned for a while.

Earlier this year I bought a print from Spoonflower.
You can up load your own design, choose a product/fabric and they print it for you.  You can also choose designs from their independent designers advertised on their site and have these printed.  I searched for Christmas Trees and this is the panel I choose to have printed.  Its called Christmas Tree in Chalk designed by Cynthia Frenette.

I have quilted it and inserted fabric lights. 

Inserting the lights was a little tough.  I found a great on line video and followed their suggestions. 
Planning the layout of the lights was important both on the front of the quilt and ensuring there was enough cable length between marked placements on the back.  I used pins to mark the hole placements, then freemotioned filled in circles ready for cutting (I did test the eyelet stitches on my machine but they were to small).  I found digging the hole for the lights was really hard -  though three layers of fabric plus a solid mass of machine stitching.  Once my holes were made I placed PVA glue on the hole edges to prevent further fraying.
The other problem I noticed was that the light head was bigger than the light shaft so once the light was inserted into the hole - it tended to protrude a lot more.
I used cable ties on the back of the lights to prevent them from protruding further into the front of the quilt.  I then stitched down the cables putting the power box into a pouch.
Speaking with a customer yesterday she told me she made small button holes for her lights.  Now that to me sounded like a very clever idea and used she also used stickers for marking her light placements.

power pouch
cable ties around the light shafts

Customer show en tell this week.

Lovely in Pink.  Scroll in and check out the quilting.

All the fabric used in this quilt has been made from our customer's Son's PJs
he had out grown.
I think that's a really clever idea.

Happy stitching this week.  I'm about to start making a Christmas Tree skirt class sample for classes next year.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Show en Tell this week & "knitting for cool kids"

I have had a wonderful three days of work.  Customers have been bringing in their completed crafts (best part of the job).  Check out these photos.

Four sided kaleidoscope blocks

cot quilt

Crotchet baby's pram blanket using Loyal DK

SOOOOOOOOOO cute.  Knitting broach. 

Our speedy knitter - Janice.
Full story below.
I joined a Facebook page "Knitting for Cool Kids" six months ago.  It currently has 126 members and not all of them live in New Zealand.  The objective is to knit scarves, beanies, mittens/gloves and slippers for children who attend the lower decile primary schools (lower income areas).  Once you become a member, there are patterns available within the group.  Its awesome - great way to use up left over yarn, knit a quick project and do some good at the same time. 
Janice is a regular customer who just loves knitting and crotchet.  Today she dropped of her fifth load of knitwear - 4 scarves, 2 beanies, 13 pairs of slippers and 15 pairs of fingerless gloves.  Go Janice.

Happy stitching friends.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cartoonify your friends

I was fortunate to attend a class by Camilla Watson called Cartoonify your friends last Saturday.

 Camilla is a wonderful and very clever tutor.  Here is a sample of one of her quilts exhibited at the NZ Quilt Symposium at Taupo 2013

When it comes to faces - she is very clever.  Please visit Camilla's website:

So when Coastal Quilters advertised that she was running a class - I made sure I could attend.

The objective is to cartoonify friends or family.  I found it quite tough drawing the faces in my piece.  Camilla asked if I was emotionally attached to my subjects.  True, I am so this explained the difficulty I was having.

Here is my current progress.

Photograph taken several years ago of my Uncle, Aunt, my Brother and myself
I have drawn cartoon characters of my Uncle and Aunt.
This piece will be their Christmas Gift this year.  Lol - No my Aunt doesn't have
a beard - I had a lot of trouble with the chin.
I have chosen the wrong side of this Kiwiana Koru fabric
as the background to embroider on.
Beginning of embroidering.
I will post the finished wall hanging when its complete.

Great fun class, bit emotional but once I had their faces drawn it came together quickly.

25th of February 2015. I've just realised that I hadn't posted my completed piece from attending this class.
It's a cushion - hadn't been stuffed at the stage I took this photo before Christmas.

Schmetz sewing machine needles

I took a snapshot with my Ipad on the Schmetz website today. 
Check out the colour coding of their needles.  No more struggling to read the tiny tiny engraving on the needle shafts to find out what size they are.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Recent Local Quilt Exhibition

We are fortunate to have four quilting guilds within a 45 minute drive in the Wellington District (New Zealand) so we are spoilt when they hold quilt exhibitions as its only a small drive to the event.
These clubs are:

Coastal Quilters Wellington (  This club has a great website with regular postings and as a member you are invited to join their Yahoo group which members can post latest events, sales and other beneficial information.
Pinestream Quilters - based in Upper Hutt.  Details for this club can be accessed through
Capital Quilters Inc -
Wellington Quilters -
Wellington Quilters held their exhibition recently and today being NZ Labour day, I finally have a moment to post  you some of my favourites.
I like the elegant layout of this hexagon quilt.
Unfortunately I didn't note the quilt name or maker. 

Ancestor by Fyvie Murray
clever quilting

Thread Sketch: Eleanor and Xavier by Fyvie Murray

Kaleb by Helen Beaven.  Painted using procion dyes.
The quilting really enhances the shadowing and colour effects.

At the Seaside by Barbara Craig.
I'm not a fan of row by row quilts however the mix of
tradition and modern forms in this quilt really caught my eye.

175 Across the Lake and 175 Beyond (a) and (b) by Anne-Marie Cunningham.
Some quilts need to be projected to get their full visual effect (using a camera)
These two entries made me feel like I was there - within the scene.

Shot through the Heart by Anne Read.  I like Anne's use of colour
using a Charlette Demesny design

I laughed when I saw this quilt by Catherine Croucher
"Disappointment and the grande dame"
For the 80% of my readers outside of New Zealand, google Anna Prussing quilter images
and you will see some of her stunning work.  The top 1/4 of this quilt has Anna's influence.

Woolly Memory Quilt by Jocelyn Thornton
Very clever idea for recycling knitwear.  Mix of machine and hand quilting.

Back to quilting my class sample for "spin those stripes' .  Here's a preview on my design wall.

Birthday cupcakes made by my friend Brenda Scully for my birthday this week. 
Very cool and Yummmmm
Happy stitching friends