Inspiration Islands.

At the New Zealand Quilt Symposium in January 2015, I had the privilege of listening to a lunchtime lecture  by Sheena Norquay from the United Kingdom.  Sheena’s  talk was for 45 minutes, and it was inspiring.  I could have listened for another hour at least as her photos (80 or more) and the information imparted was fascinating.  The lecture was titled ” Quilts and the Orkney Influence“.

From symposium catalogue it says

”  the lecture shows how the landscape, seas, skies and wildlife of the Orkney Islands, where Sheena was born, has influenced her work. Sheena finds Orkney’s colour palette and special quality of light very inspiring, as well as its rich Viking heritage; in particular, Norse myths and legends which she often incorporates into her pictorial quilts”. 

The talk gave me an insight into how living in such a remote location can influence your quilting – both in design of a quilt and the quilting designs.  It made me think about the Australian and New Zealand landscapes and the colour choices I would make.

I must admit I had never heard of Sheena Norquay until at the shop, I came across some of her thread selections.  We have in stock her Autumn Selection in Ne 50 (Kit Art box 1300m) and small box (200m) plus her Seascape Selection in 1300m and 200m boxes.

Recently we ordered another thread box “Linen and Lace” – a mixture of linen threads,  floss, Lana wool and cotton mako Ne 12.  I am very tempted to buy it for myself! (email us if you want more information about this collection)

Aurifil Pack

Very very nice colours inside!

Inside Aurifil Pack

When the Symposium catalogue arrived, I noticed that Sheena was one of the tutors, and I had hoped that I could do a class with her when I put in my preferences for tutor selection.  Sadly I couldn’t get into a class (but was very happy with the tutors I did learn from!) and  I did get to see some of her work close up though  (sorry about the photo – it was hard to stand back far enough to take a distance photo – plus the two quilts were long and narrow).

Sheena Norquay

The tutors exhibition had this wonderful piece of work on display – the detail in the quilting is amazing. I want to run my hand over the stones – they look so realistic.  The colours merge from one piece to the other.

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and another (just lower down on the same quilt). Look at the little birds.

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Thank you Sheena for your inspiring words and making me research the islands you love so much.

Gathering in the Barn

Last month I treated myself to a day at the Gathering in the Barn held at Linda Collin’s barn in Wonga Park, home of the Quilts in the Barn exhibitions held annually. Leonie Bateman of The Quilted Crow was the presenter for the day. http://thequiltedcrow.danemcoweb.com/

When we arrived our first task was to find our seats, meet friends old and new, and indulge in the yummy morning tea.

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As you can see, the barn was decorated with many of Leonie’s quilts and treasures and she had her pop-up shop there as well, so there was plenty of visual feasting too!  Leonie’s specialty is using felted wool applique.

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Leonie’s quilt “Betsy”, 54″ square.

 

At each place on the table were our gifts for the day, four new patterns designed by Leonie, and a kit wrapped up and temptingly labelled “no peeking”.

 

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I’ve already peeked!!

 

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Four new designs.

The kit we received is called “Cornflower Blue – Doorstop” and includes the pattern and materials required to make this cute little doorstop. The  background fabric is hanky linen, with felted wool applique. Leonie provided Aurifil Cotton Mako 28 on each table for the blanket stitch.

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Leonie’s Cornflower Blue Doorstop.

Before very long all participants were busily and happily engaged in the creative process. The felted wool and Aurifil thread are both beautiful to use and the stitching process is very soothing! I decided I preferred a thicker thread for the embellishment at the top of the flower.  This was easy: I just chose Cotton Mako 12 weight in the same colour.

 

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My doorstop underway.

Leonie’s technique involves the use of a water soluable gluestick to hold the components in place and then stapling (yes stapling!!) them until stitching is complete. The felted wool is not marked at all by this.  However I am quite happy to use a few tacking stitches and this works well too. (I don’t have a very big stapler).

The day went very quickly and by home time I had completed all the blanket stitching. At home it did not take me long to assemble the doorstop.

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Joining the doorstop components.

 

I enjoyed myself so much I immediately set out to make 2 more doorstops as gifts. This time I used wool felt rather than felted wool.  It has a firmer feel but works very well too. As an alternative thread, you could use Aurifil Lana (wool/acrylic) for the blanket stitching.

 

Extra doorstops

Two more doorstops, as yet unfilled.

And now I’m off to pack my bags so that I can catch a plane and deliver these gifts in person!

Doorstopx3

 

 

 

New in Store: Aurifil Designer Collections

The latest Aurifil shipment arrived recently so look at some of the new Designer collections that we have on hand.

Wildflower-Meadow-webSome have been collated by Australian Designers

Sue-Daly-croppedSome are boxes of 12 large spools, while others are boxes of 10 small spools

Sarah-Fielke-small-resizedAnd some are collated in neat little bubble packs

Aurifil-Calypso-bubbles-croppedWatch this space for more updates about the Aurifil Designer Collections or visit our websites (see links to left of screen) to find out more.

 

 

 

Not the perfect match

Jenny and I were delighted to see the February issue of Australia’s “Homespun” magazine in the shop this week.  It is always a good read, with lots of projects to do and plenty of articles about patchwork and sewing plus great advertisements  to drool over.

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Several of our customers had mentioned that they were going to be selling the Homespun Block of the Month “China Blue” in their patchwork shops, and some had mentioned they would like some suitable Aurifil thread packs that would also work with the fabrics.

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We knew that Kathy Doughty (from Material Obsession), one of the designers of this block of the month  was an Aurifil stockist, and we noted that Kathy recommends, in the materials list, Aurifil 50 in a neutral colour like 2900.

This got us thinking.  What other colours could we use to make up a small pack of threads for this amazing BOM and to go with the fabulous Kaffe Fassett  fabrics?   Always Quilting has a small range of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, so we selected a few, and matched them up with our thread selection.  This was a very difficult task as Aurifil has 270 colours to choose from!!

My spool of Aurifil Ne 50 in  colour 2900

My spool of Aurifil Ne 50 in colour 2900 looks good

2564 works well with these assorted mauves

2564 works well with these assorted mauves

We also realised that you don’t need the perfect colour match for your applique.

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The citrus  fabric colours can be appliqued with a soft green/grey or even a soft blush pink

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Although Kathy has recommended 2900 for this first part of China Blue,  you may be interested in these other colours as well:  2564, 2846, 6724, 6727, 6723 (the last three numbers are part of the gorgeous new colours available in the Aurifil range).

Our selection of threads

Our selection of threads

We will be looking forward to seeing what the coming months bring us with this exciting BOM from Homespun, designed by the fabulous Kaffe Fassett and Kathy Doughty (and the design team from Material Obsession).

Happy Valentines Day

Let us share some of our favourite things with you.

Five-Valentines

I searched our previous Valentine postings to re-visit things that we had shared in the past.

valentine-cookiesCan’t go past a good biscuit snack but re-visit our 2012 blog for some great ideas for drawing heart-shaped quilting designs. In that same month JudySewforth shared work on her freemotion quilting of feathers and heart designs

Don't you just love our Aurifil heart?

Don’t you just love our Aurifil heart?

So Happy Valentine’s Day!

To make it an extra special day this year
visit our online store to find great specials on
all things heart related

Hearts for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is approaching and heart-shaped items are everywhere at present. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, you can’t ignore the importance of the heart as a design shape and most of us would have used it at some point in our projects.

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Hearts feature in my quilt Baltimore Basket (designed by Sheri Wilkinson Lalk)

 

 

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One of the blocks in my Queen Square quilt (designed by Sue Ambrose)

 

I recently came across a sweet little pattern on the internet that I am currently making. Designed by Cheryl Fall, it is available to freely download. http://embroidery.about.com/od/Embroidery-Patterns-Projects/ss/Paisley-Hearts-3-Piece-Pattern-Set.htm#step-heading

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My pattern printed from the internet download.

Rather than the traditional red colourway used in the original embroidery, I am stitching mine in blue as this fits my decor. I am also using cotton fabric as my background in place of linen.
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Using Aurifil 12 weight thread for embroidery.

You are only limited by your imagination here. These designs would also look terrific made with wool felt using Aurifil Lana (wool/acrylic) thread.

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Stitching on wool felt with Lana for a different look.

 

I tried a number of different products to transfer the design, but had trouble seeing them. I required a mark I could clearly see, yet one which I could successfully remove at the end of the stitching.  I remembered a friend telling me about the “Frixion” pens, so I gave this a go and found it worked well.  This is a product by Pilot, available in a range of colours and nib sizes. Heat removes the marks, so ironing will take the marking out. If you don’t want to flatten your work with the iron, just hovering over it would probably work.  I did not try using warm- hot water. Marks can apparently reappear at below freezing point (I don’t plan to be in such an environment!) , so if you accidentally remove marks before you are ready, I imagine a short while in the freezer will restore them!  As with any marking item, use with discretion. This tool worked brilliantly for my purpose here, but I would probably be loath to use it on heirloom items, because I don’t know its long-term effects.

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I have a little way to go before I am finished, but the beauty of these small items is that they are easily achievable and I might even complete these in time for Valentine’s Day (this year!)

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Stitching progress so far.

 

Maybe a little stitching before dinner….?

 

 

Sewing holiday

I’ve been away over January.  I wonder if you can guess where  from the photos?
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Is it an English Country Garden?005
I think not – given the time of the year and the season!

Perhaps it is another country with this magnificent gum tree in flower?
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Or maybe it is a tropical island?
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No – none of the above. I attended the New Zealand Quilt Symposium Manawatu held in Palmerston North.146

I had a wonderful time and was able to do a two day classes with Karen Stone from the USA in “Clam Session – the decorative one-patch”.  Just so much fun and so many inspirational ideas to go away with.

Part of Karen’s quilt:

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and the colour combination of fabrics I worked on:

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A long way to go with this quilt!
I also had a workshop for two days with Adrienne Walker of New Zealand called “Wind Fall” making an autumnal wall quilt.

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and my leaf being constructed under machine.  It was a very steep learning curve!
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I loved the week I spent at the Symposium, and next month I’ll ‘bore’ you with more photos from my time away and perhaps some photos of my “works in progress”.

Well done to the amazing Manawatu Symposium committee – all volunteers – who work extremely hard and so ‘professionally’ to make the symposium so successful.

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