A Block Party and Bluebell Woods

This month I have been visiting family in England, and while I am here I have been teaching my Triangle Block Party class.

My walk this time doesn't include a quilt, but look at these beautiful native bluebells that adorn many English woods at this time of year

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When I was a child, we would gather armfuls of bluebells to enjoy, but these days it's not allowed, and really so much better to see them in swathes in their natural setting. My sister, great niece and I loved our adventure in the woods, and the added bonus was a beautifully built wooden playground.

After a bit of catch-up time, I was off on the train to Huddersfield. Nestled in the Peak district in the North of England, Huddersfield was at the heart of the wool trade in the nineteenth century, and many mills have now been converted for new purposes. Four trains from Bedford, I arrived in the village of Slaithwaite (pronounced 'Slawett'), and met Justine and Lisa, who run Simply Solids. It's a great shop stocking a fabulous range of modern fabrics, with a popular online following as well as the local clientele who keep them very busy.

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The Triangle Block Party class was loads of fun and the ladies worked really hard. By the end of the day everyone had completed at least four blocks for their Modern Triangle Sampler - jewels, hexagons, triangles and more were appearing!

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I had loads of fun and really enjoyed meeting everyone

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Making the Most of Summer

This year's southern hemisphere summer is drawing to a close, and it's been a bit underwhelming. Usually we get weeks on end of long, hot days when all you want to do is lie under a tree and take a nap, but this year there has been rain, and days when the weather has blown in a big chill from the Antarctic.

Officially we are now in Autumn (New Zealand classes its seasons in complete months - in England it wouldn't change until the equinox). However, this weekend we had blissful summer weather - not too hot to go outside, it was just calling me to make the most of the warm weather.

The quilt taking an outing this weekend was Candy Drops. I designed this quilt for our Shop Hop last year, and the pattern was published this week in the digital magazine Make Modern, Issue 15.

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It's surprisingly easy to squish a quilt into your backpack - this is quite a small pack that my Mum bought me for a significant birthday. It holds all the necessities - emergency kit, spare layers, lunch, tea making equipment - and quilt.

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Off I went - 20 minutes from home I reached the turn off for the Mikimiki Road. I have walked from Kiriwhakapapa to Mikimiki and back before, but never started from Mikimiki, so that was my adventure this time.

To get to the track, you have to drive through a bit of farmland - which means a gate to close. A bit of a pain for me as my car has a habit of locking itself when you close the door, so I had to turn the engine off when I got out to open, and then to close, the gate, so I could keep the key with me!

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The sky was a perfect blue with a bit of a breeze, but that didn't worry me as I knew once I got into the bush I would be protected from the wind.

After driving down a fairly long track, I parked up and set off hiking. The first part of the walk is surrounded by imported weeds - blackberries, dandelions, huge daisies and long grass are what I am used to in England, not so much in my New Zealand tramping, but I soon reached the Forest Park and plunged into the cool greenness of the bush.

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The path passes along an old track built by loggers, and there are still a few imported redwoods that they planted in an effort to grow trees to replace the ancient natives that were removed. After just over half an hour I reached the stream and set up camp.

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Candy Drops was a nice protection from the bumpy rocks and stones

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The water in the Mikimiki stream is pure and clear, I grabbed some in my billy and put the gas stove on for a cuppa.

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Lunch over it was time to brave a very cold and quick dip in the swimming hole - it looks really shallow in the photo, but it was deep enough to stand up to my neck.

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Laying back and looking up at the clouds rushing across the blue sky through the tree canopy, I remembered doing the same thing in infants school. I think this is my idea of ultimate relaxation.

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All too soon it was time to pack up and walk back to the car. One the way back I spotted a wasps' nest , fascinating to look at but these are European invaders that do a lot of damage, so I hope it will get destroyed.

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Candy Drops was made from Moda Grunge fabrics, using the vanilla colourway for the background. I quilted it using straight line machine quilting with Aurifil and added big stitch hand quilting details in the colour blocks using Sue Spargo Eleganza thread . The backing is from Philip
Jacobs' Botanica range. The quilt top was pieced by Linda Graham. Pattern available in Make Modern magazine issue 15.

Join the Grunge Club and the Eleganza Club at Quilters' Lane to build your stash!

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Photo 11

 


A walk - and some triangles!

The #totallytrianglequiltalong has started! It is so much fun to see the blocks that are being made. I hope you will join in. This is my first block, the Triangle Nine Patch.

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You can see other blocks in the triangle quilters facebook group - anyone can join even if you just want to take a look for now. You can also see them on Instagram.

I will be posting more blocks on here as well as some tips for sewing with triangles as we get further into the quiltalong.

It can be a bit scary trying something new, but everyone who has tried these blocks seems to get into them really quickly and enjoy making them. You can get the pattern from Quilters' Lane, or from my Craftsy store. Why not have a go?

Though you may feel a bit like I did when I got back into going for walks in the bush last year, and was faced with walking across this swingbridge for the first time....

Swingbridge

 

....just take a deep breath, be brave, and you never know what fun is to be had on the other side.

Swingbridge lonestar

Here's my Lonestar quilt sitting on the other end of the bridge. This track takes you through the beautiful Atiwhakatu valley. After the swingbridge there is a place where you can sit and dangle your feet in the clear water, and take a drink from the stream.

Atiwhakatu stream

I found the perfect place to take a photo of the quilt

Lonestar fern

Later on I reached the Atiwhakatu Hut. Our Department of Conservation builds and maintains these huts in the back country, along with various groups such as our local tramping club. For a small fee, you can stay in the bunk rooms. Mattresses are provided but you have to take all your own bedding , cooking supplies and food.

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Lonestar bunk

I think Lonestar wanted to stay, but I needed to get back to do some sewing!

 

 

 


Announcing the Totally Triangle Quiltalong

2017 is going to be my year of the Triangle! Will it be yours too?

Triangle patchwork blocks are so much fun to cut and sew - they come together really quickly and are a lot easier than they look!

I'm also excited that the Sampler quilt has been accepted into Quiltcon, so if you are going to Savannah in February do look out for it.

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To celebrate the launch of my pattern, I am running a Quiltalong on Instagram starting on January 7th 2017. See further down this entry for details.

The pattern for the Modern Triangle Sampler is now available in my Craftsy store here and also from Quilters' Lane at www.quilterslane.co.nz. I will have physical copies available in the shop also.

The pattern is about 80 pages long and includes detailed instructions on how to cut all the shapes in the blocks, 25 block patterns and also finishing instructions for putting together a sampler quilt.

Pattern and rulers

 

Welcome to the Totally Triangle Quiltalong!

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 Join me on January 7th 2017 for the start of the Totally Triangle Quiltalong.

 Follow me on Instagram at @mysteryquilter

You can also follow  my facebook page at www.facebook.com/mysteryquilter

 I will be doing some giveaways during the quiltalong, so make sure you post your blocks in Instagram with the hashtag #totallytrianglequiltalong to be in to win!

What do I need to join in?

  1. Your own copy of the Modern Triangle Sampler pattern, downloadable from my Craftsy store or www.quilterslane.co.nz (or buy a physical copy from Quilters' Lane).
  2. Fabric – see pattern for requirements
  3. Tools:
  • 60 degree triangle ruler – preferably 12” C&T Clearview or 12 ½” Creative Grids
  • Recommended: C&T Corner cut 60 2 in 1 tool
  • Rotary cutter, mat and 6” by 24” quilting ruler
  • Sewing machine and usual sewing notions

There are no templates or paper patterns to print for this project – everything is cut using rulers only.

Block Schedule

The 80 page pattern includes twenty five triangle blocks as well as the instructions for cutting the pieces, and for putting your quilt together at the end.

Here is the schedule for posting photos of your blocks on Instagram.  Of course you can make the blocks whenever you like, this is just the schedule for posting photos if you wish to follow the Quiltalong. Use the tag #totallytrianglequiltalong when posting your blocks.

Date                                      Blocks

January 7th                         Triangle Nine Patch

January 14th                        Bunting

January 21st                                Egg Timer

January 28th                        Arrows

February 4th                        Campground

February 11th                             Propellor

February 18th                     Evening Star

February 25th                     Tararuas

March  4th                          Bow Tie

March 11th                           Chevron

March 18th                           Rimu Tree

March 25th                           Diamonds are Forever

April 1st                                 Gold Medal

April 8th                                 Hexagon Delights

April 15th                              Down in the Valley

April 22nd                              Soccer Ball

April 29th                              True Love

May 6th                               Hex Nut

May 13th                               Triple Gem

May  20th                              Whirlybird

May 27th                             Bowl of Cherries

June 3rd                                     Twinkle Twinkle

June 10th                              Tricorn

June 17th                            Woven Ribbons

June 24th                              Trillium

 

Here’s to 25 weeks of triangle fun and sharing!

Sheila

@mysteryquilter

 

 


Quiltmarket - Making Connections

This year I went to Quiltmarket in Houston for the first time ever. Wow, what an amazing event - there are so many designers, manufacturers, exciting stalls and new fabrics.. it was hard to know where to begin.

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Quiltmarket is an event for shop owners, designers and people in the business of quilting. It goes on for three days (plus a day of 'schoolhouses' at the beginning), and then the whole area is cleared out to make way for Quilt Festival, which everyone can attend.

I was just in seventh heaven, going to presentations by designers I have become familiar with over the years of running the shop, seeing all the new designs and meeting lovely people.

One of the main reasons for attending this year was to meet Kim Moos, founder and CEO of Cotton Cuts. Kim and I have been talking for a while about taking my Mystery Quilt programme to the USA, and it was so much fun to meet up with her in person. Kim is doing a great job, working with a disabled workshop in St Louis to cut the fabrics for the 2017 Mystery Quilt. So now, you can buy the precut Mystery in the USA as well as from Quilters' Lane in New Zealand!

We visited lots of stands Tula Pink's (see photo above) was amazingly bright and colourful, and then we went to see Jennifer Sampou, who designed the fabrics for three of last year's Mystery quilts.

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I love Jennifer's style and her use of natural colourings and motifs in her fabrics.

We also got to visit some other fabric designers, some of these may be appearing in future Mysteries!

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Jackie McFee of Camelot

 

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I was so happy to get to know Kim, and I am really looking forward to working with her and Cotton Cuts to bring the fun of the Mystery Quilt to the USA!

 

About Kim

Kim Moos

Hi, I'm Kim and I'm the Chief Fabric Enthusiast at Cotton Cuts! I've been married to my best friend for 15 years and we have two boys, Lincoln (6) and Dominic (4). We live in St. Louis, via California, Arizona, New Orleans and Boston.

I've been quilting since I was 13 years old. It was a formative year - not only was I able to learn how to use a rotary cutter (life changing), but it was the same year I obtained my first hunting license. There were some basic tenets of my mom's teaching - no scrap left behind, no need to backstitch, press early and often, cut as few times as possible, always use 1/4", only use pins if you have to. I made my first quilt for a friend in high school. It was a quillow (remember those quilts that used to fold up into pockets to make a pillow?) I love to make baby quilts because they are quick to sew and can be done in a weekend - perfect for my busy go-go life.

I started Cotton Cuts earlier this year because I was looking for a new source of inspiration for my own quilting. I was stuck in a rut with the baby blankets – I could only do the same thing for so long. With many of the local quilt stores near me closing, I went online and found site after site of fabric stores but felt overwhelmed by all of the options. Wouldn't it be great if someone could help me navigate all of those options and provide me fabric that I might not buy for myself but would actually love? Cotton Cuts was born!

I recruited some friends to be fabric enthusiasts and to help with all things member care, while I focused on operations. I knew that I wanted to outsource all of our cutting and folding, but it was important to me to invest in my local community and keep all the work close to home. I discovered a workshop for disabled individuals that was willing to take on our project and knew I had found the perfect partner. I had used workshops for other projects and knew the capabilities of these very talented folks. Every Cotton Cuts purchase contributes towards supporting local jobs.

A few months ago, Sheila reached out to me about her Puzzle Mystery Quilt.  I was taken from the first introduction - I am a sucker for quick, fun and new projects.  This wasn't another block of the month and it wasn't a heavy lift for the quilters involved.  It keeps you guessing for 10 months, we do all the cutting AND you get your choice of colors?  It fits so well with the vision and mission of Cotton Cuts, I had to say "Yes!"

It has been my vision that every Cotton Cuts (boxes and Mystery Quilt) delights your inner quilter and challenges you to step out of your comfort zone to try something new.  I hope that we deliver on that vision every month!
 
To sign up for the 2017 Mystery Quilt go to
 
New Zealand: www.quilterslane.co.nz
USA: www.cottoncuts.com
 

Shifting Strata - when grey isn't just grey

It was time to go for a walk .....

The last couple of months have been so busy, I needed to take time out and stretch my legs. My quilt companion is Shifting Strata, a small quilt I made based on Wendy Williams' Crossing Paths pattern back in 2012. I named it after the Christchurch earthquakes. Here's my quilt

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And here is Wendy's original

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Given the recent shifting of the earth under our feet, it felt like Shifting Strata was a very topical quilt to bring. This was one of my first 'improv' style quilts, and also my first attempt at big stitch hand quilting. It was also one of the first to win me a ribbon, at the Capital Quilters exhibition later that year :)

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Having done very little walking over the winter, I took it fairly easy this time. From Kiriwhakapapa campsite there is a loop walk that passes through a grove of redwood trees - these were planted way back before we realised that messing with mother nature is not necessarily a good idea. Now they make a beautiful cathedral, and the native bush is growing up inside, rata vines clinging to the trees and epiphytes growing in the high branches.

The sounds of birds singing and streams flowing with meltwater are so much more soothing to me than the tinned muzak in the shopping malls that we usually get at this time of year. It seemed like everyone else was frantically making their preparations for the big day, as the bush was so quiet I only ran into one like minded soul in two hours of walking. She was headed up to Blue Range Hut - a 700m climb I will have to work up to over the coming season!

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Although the path up towards Blue Range is pretty steep, there are some great stopping points. I laid the quilt out on the ground beneath a massive Totara tree

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Time for a nice morning tea break, hoping the earth doesn't start shaking and bring the tree down on my head!

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There's not a huge amount of showy colour in the bush - no bright flowers or bird plumage. But there is an enormous variety of shades and tonings, and there are some beautiful surprises. Look at the wonderful bright green on this moss covered rock

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These leaves stood out amongst the duller colours too - see how the dark green ones behind sit right back - a lesson for colouring our quilts!

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The interesting shades I observed reminded me of choosing the colours for Shifting Strata. When I made this quilt, I wanted to do it all in neutrals, so I started with greys, taupes and a little bit of brown. It sat on the design wall in the shop and I would keep looking at it every time
I passed. It seemed dull - how could I add some colour and interest without making it garish?

At the time I was reading and soaking up as much information as I could about colour. One of my go to books was Gloria Loughman's wonderful book Quilted Symphony. From this book I had learned that there is really no such colour as grey or brown - every grey is just a shade of one of the hues on the colour wheel, and brown is just a version of yellow. I realised I could add other yellows to go with the brown, and I played with the greys which had purple tones, and added some purple hits as well. All of a sudden the colours began to work!

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After climbing back down the steep track, I carried on around the loop track. This area is full of streams and is always pretty wet and muddy, only drying out in the real heat of summer

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I ended up washing my muddy boots in the sparkling stream

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This is such a beautiful area, a lovely walk and a bit of a work out for me, I can't wait till next time - now which quilt shall I take?

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Wendy Williams is at www.flyingfishkits.com.au. We stock many of her patterns at www.quilterslane.co.nz and can get any that you like into the shop.

Gloria Loughman is another wonderful Australian quilter, see www.glorialoughman.com. We also stock many of her books.

Both Wendy and Gloria will be teaching at the New Zealand Symposium in Christchurch in October 2017. See the link to Creative Construction on the right hand side of this page.

To learn more about colour in quilts from me, sign up for my Patchwork and Quilting techniques class at Quilters' Lane, starting again in 2017.


Plans afoot!

Since the 2016 Mystery Reveal I have had a lovely break away, doing a little traveling around New Zealand.

You may have heard the news about the large earthquake that hit the South Island. There are lots of photos in the news of the damage to the roads and infrastructure there. Although we only felt relatively little shaking here in Masterton, a lot of damage happened on the other side of the mountain ranges in the Wellington area.

Queensgatesource: stuff.co.nz

This is the Queensgate mall  which was closed for a couple of weeks and is now only partially open. I travel past here when going to my Capital Quilters meetings, and when I went last Saturday it was eerily quiet - usually at this time of year it would take ages to drive through the town. Buildings are being demolished and there is a lot of work going on to get things back to normal.

Meanwhile back in Masterton, I am preparing lots of exciting things for next year.

MYSTERY 2017

We had so much fun making the 2016 Mystery quilt. I'm loving seeing the results that people are posting in the facebook group.

Here's Sue's Glittering Paua colourway

  Paua Sue
Miep made the Teal and Steel with extra large borders

Teal and Steel Miep

This is  Stone and Moss made by Marion

Stone and Moss Lisa

If you missed making the 2016 quilt, you can still buy the month by month clues in my Craftsy store - see the link on the right. Start with the Puzzle Mystery Details download which tells you how to pick your fabrics.

The colourways for 2017 are all ready to go and will be launched on the shop website this Saturday, December 3rd.

There is also exciting news for those of you in the USA who want to take part in my Mystery - I am partnering with a company in the US to offer the Mystery as a precut block of the month. Watch out for more information in the next few days.

 

TOTALLY TRIANGLE QUILTALONG

The second project is my Modern Triangle Sampler, which I will be running as the #totallytrianglequiltalong next year. My trusty pattern testers have been busy making blocks and checking my instructions. Linda has made the sampler quilt in all red and white fabrics

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I love it in these colours!

I will be polishing up the pattern over the next couple of weeks and then it will be available in my Craftsy store as well as in the shop. There will also be classes to learn the techniques - at Quilters' Lane and also in the UK next year at Lady Sew n Sew and Simply Solids.

Ask your guild or local quilt shop nicely and they might get me to come along and teach it too.

The Quiltalong to make the 25 blocks starts on January 7th, and I will be posting information about how it will run and what you need to get started. 

2017 is going to be so much fun,  I do hope you will join me in one of my projects!

 


2016 Puzzle Mystery - All is Revealed!

Hi there! What an exciting day - it's the Big Reveal of my 2016 Puzzle Mystery Quilt.

If you have been quilting along, this blog post contains photos of putting the quilt together. You will need the month ten instructions - either from your Mystery pack or by downloading from my Craftsy store.

If you are new to this quilt, the clues are all available on Craftsy. Start by downloading the free information which will tell you about the quilt and how much fabric you need.

So without further ado, let's take a look at the quilts.  My samples are in two of the colourways that we offered through the shop. We had fourteen different colourways altogether, and I will show you some photos of other colourways after the reveal day.

The single quilt is shown here in the Tokyo Garden colourway.

Mystery 2016 Tokyo Garden

And here is the double in the Pewter and Linen colourway

 Mystery 2016 Pewter and Linen Double

Did you guess the layout?

So now it is time to show you how to put all the pieces together:

Here are the photos that follow the instructions you will get.

Step One

D1/K1     D1 k1

 

B1 / D1/ K1

B1 d1 k1

Step Two

F1/M1

M1 f1

AA1/H1

AA1 H1

F1/M1/AA1/H1

F1 M1 AA1 H1

Step Three

Centre Section top half

Centre Section bottom half

Centre Section completeThat's the centre section completed!

 

Step Four : E1/L1

E1 L1

E1/L1/C1

E1 L1 C1

Step Five: G1/I1: - oops my label slipped, thank goodness for Paint,  I fixed it up on the photo!

G1 I1

G1/I1/J1

G1 I1 J1

Step Six

Step Six

Step Six 2

Step Seven

Step Seven 1

Step Seven 2

Step Eight

Step Eight

 

So here is the main part of your quilt top complete! Follow the written instructions to add your borders.

I hope you have enjoyed this year's Mystery quilt

 

Sheila

 


Remember remember the fifth of November!

Hi everyone

Here I am at Quiltmarket and feeling frustrated that I can't give you photos that are the right way round - I promise to post lots when I get back!

It has been an incredible few days and I have lots of news ahead, so stay tuned, and don't forget to look out for the Big Reveal of the 2016 Mystery this Saturday 5th November!