Through the Garden Gate - the Mystery is Revealed

Ten months ago, we started the adventure of Through the Garden Gate.

This Mystery quilt has been so much fun and I have loved watching the progress of detectives as they have posted their clues in our facebook group, which has now grown to over 400 members around the globe.

Before the Mystery started, this colour chart was all people knew about what they would end up with ...

#TeamZinnia (2)As the months went on, pre cut pieces arrived through the mail to make the various sections

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On Friday, Kim from Cotton Cuts did the Big Reveal of the quilt on facebook live, direct from Valley Industries where the US Mystery packs are all cut and packed. You can watch the video and catch up with ace quilter Lincoln's great jokes here

We have been doing a blog hop while making this Mystery, and each month a celebrity blogger has been making one of the clues. The blocks have all been signed, and Kim has now put them together in the completed quilt.... ta da........

 

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'Through the Garden Gate' quilt measuring 48" x 60"

This unique quilt complete with signed blocks is being raffled off in aid of Valley Industries, a sheltered workshop which provides fantastic opportunities for some great folks. It's not too late to enter the raffle, you can purchase tickets here:

BUY RAFFLE TICKETS

The quilt has signatures from all these bloggers, I'd like to thank all of them for donating time from their busy schedules.

Nicole Young (www.lillyella.com)
Cheryl Sleboda (www.muppin.com)
 
Plus yours truly
Sheila Christensen (www.mysteryquilter.com) with guest blogger Kim Moos
 
As well as this colourway, 'Through the Garden Gate' was made in lots of other colours. The fabrics were all pre-cut and ready to sew, and detectives had great fun making the clues each month. If you join our facebook group you will be able to see all of the photos posted by members, the difference in the colourways is amazing!
 
I made my own version in Moda Grunge fabrics. This is the large size pattern (72" x 72")
 
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NEW MYSTERY - This Way and That Way
 
I am really excited to announce that Kim will be running another of my Puzzle Mystery designs soon. Sign ups will be open at www.cottoncuts.com on May 25th. Bookmark her site now and be ready for more Puzzle Adventures!

 

 


Silver Ferns

After a busy 2017 it was lovely to be able to close the year with a walk to my favourite place by the Atiwhakatu stream.

The perfect companion was Silver Fern, one of the colourways for my 2017 Mystery Quilt 'All Aglow'.

This pattern is now available in my Craftsy store

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The Silver Fern is an emblem of New Zealand and can be found everywhere in the bush. It is also the emblem of our mighty All Blacks rugby team.

The weather has been mixed this Christmas but New Year's Eve was a beautiful day, with a light breeze (which means quite a strong breeze in the Atiwhakatu valley!) and lots of sunshine.

The place by the stream is about half way to the mountain hut, about an hour and a half's walk from the car park for me and enough of a good stretch after not doing much exercise all year.

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I love taking  a quilt with me, they have so many uses! This time it was a great cover-up against too much sun as well as the biting sand flies.

Eating my lunch by the stream I heard a pair of Kereru (native pigeons) flying into a tree just above me.

Walking back, the sights, sounds and smells of the bush were so refreshing, and the lines and patterns inspiring.

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If you took part in the All Aglow Mystery I hope you are enjoying finishing your quilt. If you didn't, you can now make one of these quilts for yourself. The pattern for the 48" x 60" version is in my Craftsy store now, and will soon be followed by the 72" x 72" version, which will be included in your purchase once released.

May I wish you all a very Happy New Year and an exciting and creative 2018.


Mini Wonders

The last few months have been really busy with the New Zealand Quilt Symposium plus a trip to Quilt Market in Houston where I was lucky enough to meet up with Kristy Lea of Make Modern Magazine. When I got back home I was excited to see the launch of Issue 19 of the magazine which contains the first block of my Mini Wonders sampler.

 

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This sampler is made using my 60 degree patchwork technique, which is also the method for my Modern Triangle Sampler quilt.

Make Modern is a digital magazine, which is fabulous as you get a huge amount of content in each issue and can just print out the patterns you are interested in. Subscribe to this magazine by following the link on the right hand side of this page.

I hope you will have a go at Mini Wonders. I love the beautiful Alison Glass fabrics in the project, the ones in the photo are Sunprints, and I am now making another using her latest Diving Board range. Another really exciting part of going to Houston was meeting Alison, and I came away with a signed Quilters' Planner which was an unexpected bonus!

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Here's Mini Wonders hanging out in the Bush at Kiriwhakapapa when I took her for a walk. I also saw this beautiful Kereru (native wood pigeon)

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Knights and Castles - and Goats?

Do you know someone who loves Knights of old, castles and dragons?

This new range from Dear Stella is called 'Winter is Here' and I just love the colours as well as all the cute motifs!

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These fabrics were just waiting to be sewn into something fun, and Linda who tests lots of my patterns set to work. Today she brought along the completed Toy Box quilt.

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Out in the garden taking photos I laid the quilt on a bush and the goats next door took quite an interest!

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On the back of the quilt we used the castle tower print

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We loved creating this quilt and you can make one too as this range is now hitting the shops.

The pattern is listed in my Craftsy store.

Contact your local quilt shop to buy these fabrics. If you are in New Zealand you can order a kit from my shop, Quilters' Lane in Masterton.

 

Wholesale pattern enquiries - contact me if you are interested in stocking this pattern in your shop.


Through the Garden Gate Blog Hop begins - enter to win the signed raffle quilt

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Welcome to the 2017 Fall mystery blog hop! I am so excited to be starting this blog hop off and to tell you about this project.

For those of you here for the first time, my name is Sheila Christensen and I am a quilt addict - so much so that I bought the shop! I have been the owner of Quilters' Lane in Masterton, New Zealand, since 2011. In 2012 I designed my first Mystery Quilt.

How does the Mystery work?

  • We offer a choice of colourways and sizes.
  • Each month for ten months you receive a pack of perfectly cut shapes and instructions for sewing them together.
  • You can follow the clues as people post them on facebook in our friendly group.
  • In the tenth pack you get instructions for putting the quilt top together.
  • Mysteries start in February (New Zealand and USA) and July (USA only).

I love seeing all of the different mystery colourways coming together, and our facebook group is a great way for Mystery Quilters to interact and share the buzz! Anyone can join the group and it is a great way to see what the mystery is all about.

You can see photos of my previous Mystery Quilts by clicking on the Mystery Quilt category on the right. This is one of the 2016 quilts.

Stone and Moss Lisa

The Mystery has become so popular here in New Zealand that last year I contacted Kim Moos, President of Cotton Cuts to see if she would be interested in offering the same program in the USA.

We met up in Houston at Quilt Market and hatched the plans, and now Cotton Cuts are offering not just one but two Mysteries each year.

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Here with are with Jennifer Sampou, designer of the 'Snowdrop' colourway fabrics.

Kim is working with Valley Industries to produce the packs for my second Mystery quilt of 2017, which I have called Through the Garden Gate.

Valley Industries is a sheltered workshop in Hazelwood, Missouri, whose mission is to  provide dignified, meaningful employment for adults with developmental disabilities, while providing outstanding quality and service to their valued customers.

 

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Here is Lemarr working on cutting fat quarters for Cotton Cuts monthly subscription boxes.

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Jackie is folding fabrics to go in the boxes.

Cutting and packing all this fabric is a huge job, and I was so happy when Kim told me she was planning a Blog Hop to support this great organisation.

During this Blog Hop, we will be making up one of the Mystery Quilts, and the quilt will be raffled to raise funds for Valley Industries.

You can have a chance to win the quilt by entering the raffle Each of the bloggers will sign their blocks, so this really will be a one of a kind quilt!

Enter the raffle

Each blogger will make up one of the clues and send it to Kim who will complete the quilt. Here is the list of blogs where you will be able to follow the quilt being made:

 
August - Yvonne Fuchs (www.quiltingjetgirl.com
 
September - Teri Lucas (www.terificreations.com)
 
October - Wendy Welsh (www.wendysquiltsandmore.blogspot.com)
 
November - Nicole Young (www.lillyella.com)
 
December - Chris Dodsley (www.madebychrissied.blogspot.com)
 
January - Amy Smart (www.diaryofaquilter.com)
 
February - Sam Hunter (www.huntersdesignstudio.com)
 
March - Cheryl Sleboda (www.muppin.com)
 

Each Mystery Quilt I design comes in a range of colourways. The colours for 'Through the Garden Gate' are named after flowers - Violet, Rose, Geranium, Foxglove, Aster, Zinnia, Hydrangea and Snowdrop.These are four of the colourways still available - Aster, Snowdrop, Geranium and  Zinnia.

Snowdrop

Geranium

     Zinnia

 

 

 

#TeamZinnia (2)This is all the information you get at the beginning to see what you are in for (apart from the size)!

For the raffle quilt we decided to join #Team Aster. We are using Carolyn Friedlander's beautiful 'Friedlander' range from Robert Kaufman.

So, here is the first clue. In the pack is a colour chart, a set of instructions and all the pieces perfectly cut and ready to sew.

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Kim has made up this first clue and she sent me these photos. I love these fabrics and it's going to be so much fun to see all the clues as they are assembled by our bloggers.
 
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If you would like to take part in this Mystery, some of the colourways are still available from www.cottoncuts.com 
 
Do head on over to enter the raffle and read about the great work that Kim is supporting at Valley Industries.
 
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If you cannot take part in this one, don't despair as there will be another Mystery starting at the beginning of 2018.
 
A big thank you to all of our bloggers who have agreed to help us with this Blog Hop and Raffle Quilt. Don't forget to visit www.quiltingjetgirl.com  next month for the next installment!
 

Starting to Quilt my Circle of Stars Runner

Last week I made a new table runner, Circle of Stars

 

Circle of Stars

I used traditional Christmas fabrics, but I can't wait to see what other colours people will pick for their own runners.

I am busy working on the pattern and will release it soon, as well as teaching the class on August 18th. For now I am getting started on quilting my sample, so I thought I would share the process with you.

I am using fusible cotton batting from Hobbs. This batting is perfect for smaller projects as you can iron it in place, eliminating the need to spend ages pinning.

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Use plenty of heat and maybe some steam to make sure it stays in place. I also put a few pins just around the outside. The fusible is not permanent, so if you get any wrinkles you can pull it apart and iron it down flat again.

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I put all the layers together and then gave it a good iron - being careful not to twist.

The next step was to choose a thread. I love variegated thread so I picked this cotton one from Gutermann that highlights the gold tones in the fabrics. When picking thread, pull a little out and lay it down to see what it will look like. This is something we always do when helping customers in the shop.

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For the back, I am using my favourite Aurifil thread. I usually recommend the same type of thread top and bottom and these two are both cotton - mixing cotton and polyester often ends in tears!

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Next I set up my machine with a 3.5mm stitch length and the walking foot. A walking foot helps feed all the layers through at once and avoids creating wrinkles and pleats.

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Notice I have set the needle position at 0. That's because I am going to use the seams as a guide and with this machine I can run the edge of the foot along the seams to keep my lines straight.

Before starting, I test my setup on a scrap piece of fabric at the edge of the project.

IMG_6545Looking good, so let's get ready.

I am marking the runner with two different markers - a Sewline  ceramic marker for the dark fabrics and a Frixion iron-off pen for the light ones.

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I decided to quilt 1/4" away from the seams of the star shapes. Afterwards I will decide where to fill in the spaces and what pattern to use.

To get started, I position the needle where I want to begin and draw up the bobbin thread by holding the top thread and turning the manual wheel of the machine.

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This will stop the bottom thread forming a nest on the back of the work. I will tie these ends in after I have finished.

Now it's time to follow the lines, not too fast, and making sure to keep the weight of the work on the table, not my lap. When I get to an outside star point, I am using the lock button to do a few stitches in one place, this helps keep my points nice and sharp.

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More when I get this one completed ....

 

If you would like to make this runner, I will be releasing the pattern soon so look out for an announcement..

 

Sheila


Charity Quilt Blog Hop

The quilting world is full of people with great ideas, and I love the way quilters work together to make them happen.

As you may know, I am working with Kim at Cotton Cuts to offer my Mystery Quilt designs in the USA. Kim is  running two of these Mysteries this year, with the next one starting in August. Kim has such great ideas and she has decided to make one of the quilts up and auction it off for charity, raising funds for the sheltered workshop where all the cutting for the US quilts is done.

Each of the clues will be made by different bloggers, and Kim is going to finish the quilt.

This is the colourway that Kim has chosen, featuring Carolyn Friedlander's fabrics:

Aster

This colourway is called Aster, and Kim has given each of the colourways a team name - so the bloggers will become part of #teamaster .

One of the bloggers making clues is Yvonne @quiltingjetgirl. There is a lovely article on her blog today about her taking part in this charity quilt. Go to www.quiltingjetgirl.com to read more, and do follow along with the blog hop.

 


Fussy Cutting Hexagons with 2 cuts!

This week I have been fussy cutting hexagons for the new triangle blocks I designed. I wanted to share with you the really easy technique I came up with. I'm sure this must have been done before but I haven't seen it around.

For the new blocks I released last week I have decided to use Tula Pink fabrics. There are so many wonderful motifs just perfect for fussy cutting and I wanted to explore this for the triangle based pieces in my quilt.

Here's the hexagon I cut out with just two cuts:

Hexagon

Isn't it cute?

So here is how I did it:

Step 1:

My hexagon needs to have a finished height in the quilt of 4". I cut a 4 1/2" strip, fitting in the pattern I wanted:

Cut strip

Step 2:

Fold the strip of fabric in half - note, the fold is at the bottom of the photo.

Fold in half

Step 3:

Place your 60 degree ruler on top of the strip. Line up the centre line of the ruler with the centre of the pattern you want to fussy cut.

If you have a ruler with a tip like the C&T ruler here, put the 4 1/2" line on the fold.

Put on ct ruler

If you are using a Creative Grids ruler which has a cut-off tip, place the 4 1/4" line on the fold:

Put on cg ruler

Step 4:

Cut on both sides

Cut both sides

Open out, and voila!

I measure my hexagons from flat edge to flat edge, so this one is 4 1/2" from top to bottom.

Done

 

I used my hexagons in this block I called 'Balance'. Its one of the new add-on blocks available for my Modern Triangle Sampler pattern.

Balance block

You can get the pattern for this and all the other blocks in the Modern Triangle Sampler in my Craftsy store. All the blocks are cut with a triangle ruler and the piecing is easy by machine (no y-seams!)

Sheila

 


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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