Travel Feed

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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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.


2016 Puzzle Mystery Clue Seven and Sew Marlborough

What a busy month it has been! In July, we had Sew Marlborough, the New Zealand mini Symposium. Hundreds of excited quilters gathered together in Blenheim on the South Island of New Zealand for five days of classes, exhibitions, merchants and meeting up with friends old and new.

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We were up before dawn to get to the ferry terminal in Wellington

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What a view we had from our seats at the front of the lounge area! This is the beautiful Marlborough Sounds on the South Island of New Zealand.

Opening night arrived and I was up on stage to award the Hoffman Challenge prizes for 2015. Here is the fantastic winning quilt, 'Sarah and Getty', by Debby Williams.

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You can see photos of all the quilts on the New Zealand Hoffman Challenge page.

Over the next couple of days I went to a class with Jacqui Karl of Kowhai View creations. Two days of art quilting, using freezer paper stencils, discharge paste and paints was just what I needed to completely relax and rest my mind from the day to day business of the shop. Jacqui is a great teacher and a lovely, generous person. She has her timing down pat, and I managed to complete my little quilt in the class. It's always a bonus when you don't have a UFO to bring home!

Here's what I made

 

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Every night at Symposium the participants gather for Happy Hour. When you think of Happy Hour, especially in the heart of Marlborough wine country, you think of Sauvignon Blanc. Not so. Legislation made it too hard for the organisers to serve wine, but nobody missed it.  The presenters, Clare and Venice, had us in stitches every evening with their double act. Here they are dressed in their grape vine costumes, organising the Iron Woman championships.

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Competitors in the Iron Woman championships working their seam rippers furiously in the unpicking event.

All in all a great few days in a beautiful place surrounded by wonderful people!

So, on to this month's Mystery clue.....

Welcome to the photos to go with clue seven of this year's Mystery. If you are new to my Mystery, you can download information from Craftsy, and the clues can be purchased from there each month. We also have a facebook group where you can share photos and news with other Mystery Quilters.

Here are the photos for sections J1 to J4

J1 step 1

J1

Well that was nice and easy, now on to sections K1 and K2

 

 

K1 4 and 6

Fabrics 4 and 6

K1 6 4 6

Plus a square of 6

 

K1 4 and 6

Another 4 and 6

K1 step 1

1 and 6

 

K1 6 4 1 6

Joined together

K1

Section K1 complete.

Now the extras for the double quilt:

LA1

Here is LA1

LA3

Make two of LA3

LA1L

LA1L

LA1R

And LA1R

 

I noticed that in an earlier month I had not been paying attention to my stripes when making the parts like these, so had to do a bit of unpicking!  If you have a directional fabric, make sure you use the correct small triangle on each one to get the stripes going the same way.

 

So that is month seven complete. Just three months to go now until the big reveal! I have just about completed my sample quilt and I am already cooking up next year's Mystery......