Wednesday, 14 November 2018

blogiversary @ kokaquilts

This month is the six-year blogiversary of kokaquilts, gosh I can hardly believe it! I don't usually write about my blogiversary because I don't usually remember it, but, well 6 years and 556 posts later, it's a fair bit of time spent blogging, yes?

There are names I recognise of people who’ve been visiting and commenting on my posts for years, and I’m very touched that these people have come back for more, time and time again. Thank you all for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

If you have stopped by before, you will know I love making quilts. I also love writing my posts, sharing my progress and pics. This year I have made an effort to up my photograpy game, trying to keep things interesting by presenting my quilts in a variety of ways. I have a little camera, nothing fancy. I like to try for both indoor & outdoor pics, and to get more of a 'lifestyle' photo I guess, working with what I have here, using things around my house as props, like decks, wooden table, threads, scissors, plants, thrifty finds, etc.

Today I thought I would look back over some of my older posts and pick out some of my favourite makes, a few of which have been gifted over the years. The quilt on the washing line - in the pic above - is one I made for my first granddaughter Olive. I didn't have a pattern so I combined ideas from a couple of quilts, did each part slowly & with fingers crossed, it all went together in the end. Here's a few more personal favourites . . .

Gypsy Wife, pattern by Jen Kingwell
Loved making this so much,
and am mid flight making a more modern version but have stalled with it!

HST quilt #1 scattered value layout and HST quilt #2  rhythmic value layout
There's something so appealing about those simple HST's

Vintage Spin, before & after quilting

Green Tea & Sweet Beans, WiP up on the design wall
note to self: I must get back to this soon & get it finished

Emperor's Wheel
Up on the design wall & out in the garden
Now all quilted bound & finished - possibly my all time favourite so far

Vintage Butterfly

Daisy Days quilt
- another from years ago using a sweet selection of pre-modern fabrics

Aunt Bet's Quilt
Using a restriced colour palette & simple shapes

Bright Stars
I faffed around for ages trying to decide on my setting for these stars,
love that yellow outer border

and another star quilt, a very early quilt, Spinning Stars
- on location at Waihi beachhouse

 BOM quilt pattern from Material Obsession
so glad I chose the pretty pastel palette for this busy quilt, so easy to sleep under

Retro Flowers Quilt
an oldie but a goodie!

Scrappy Drunkard's Path

Beige & Red Liberated Log Cabin
an early play with improv

Scrappy Stacked Coins Quilt
- all finished with teal binding & gifted

Thank you for taking a walk down memory lane with me.
Happy Wednesday
{or Tuesday depending on where your home is}

Thursday, 8 November 2018

every quilt tells a story

It's so true isn't it, every quilt does indeed tell a story.
I had a lovely, long conversation with Jean today and she told me all about my new old quilt . . .

A long long time ago, in 1994, Jean went to America. She had been invited to be a juror for a Baltimore quilt competition, in Pennsylvania . While in the States she had the good fortune to go to Paducah too and bought three quilt tops.
Once back home in New Zealand again, the three quilt tops ended up spending a few years together, wrapped up in tissue, in a camphor chest. 

One day she decided she should try and fix the quilts up, and get them finished. The peach eight point star quilt was not in good condition. The eight point stars had all been made by different people, as practise blocks for young girls learning to hand sew. Someone had collected them all up and pieced them together, maybe to gift as a wedding present.

However, the blocks had been hand stitched together with black embroidery thread and in one complete corner, there were several stars that needed replacing totally.

Jean spent quite a lot of time unpicking the black thread and repairing the damaged stars. The fabrics were a selection from the mid 20's to 40's era, and luckily she had bought a bag of 30's scraps while over in the States. She then hand quilted it  . . . and the quilt, almost almost finished, ended up back in the camphor chest again.

Fast forward to the present day, and Jean & hubby decided to move from Auckland up north to Whangarei. She needed to de-stash and so she had a 'suitcase' sale at the local guild meeting, selling her fabrics and quilts. And she also put the peach star quilt, along with the two others up for sale at the recent 'Auckland Festival of Quilts'. Where I stumbled upon it . . .

. . . so happy to be the new owner of this lovely quilt,
 I will treasure it.
Thank you Jean for sharing your quiltstory with me.
oh, and I promise never to put it back in the camphor chest. ever. again!
The End

Linking up with Esther over here at estheraliu

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

feeling plummy

Well, after spending some time with a few forgotten projects and getting them to the basting & quilting stage, I thought I'd start something new. I'm using Kaffe's 'wagon wheels' pattern from his book Quilts in Ireland, it's very similar to this pattern here by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts.

This quilt started out with a lovely Phillips Jacobs fabric capturing my attention first.Then I needed to decide on some fabrics to work in with it.

I definitely wanted to include lots of spots, loving the spots lately. I also wanted a variety of soft neutral prints for the background sections, and little 'pops' of plum here & there.

There are some combinations that surprised even me, a few AMH new conservatoryfabric mixed up with Kaffe & Keiko Goke. And using those light grey busy pastel Kaffe prints as a neutral seems to work too with the plum accents.

It's a real work-in-progress at this stage, with things changing along the way. I'm still undecided about going with a light or dark inner narrow border and I may unpick a couple of the centres and do a spot of fussy cutting. Nothing definite yet, just making one block at a time and going for a sort of "mix and don't match" look.

These wagon wheel blocks are quite big blocks, finishing at 16 1/2" and I've got four now. I'm probably going to make nine all together and then gather them all up and make a busy scrappy quilt! Love to hear your thoughts on my 'printsonprintsonprints' version.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

a vintage quilt find

I spied a few quilts for sale while at the Auckland 'festival of quilts' yesterday. This kingsize scrappy star quilt stood out, vintage looking & very different from anything else there, and it came home with me.
It was made by Jean Nutter and was hand pieced and hand quilted. I didn't get a good overall look at it until I spread it out at home, so many lovely little snippets of different fabrics and the points were consistantly good. I'm guessing the binding has been put on more recently. Overall it's in great condition, however I did notice one small area where there has been a 1/2" repair. I can live with that!
I've got a few questions, I'd love to know how old this quilt is & how long it took to hand piece all those little stars, but there is no quilt label nor did I glean much info at the stall. Taking a risk and giving it a gentle wash next.
And, while it's not my quilt, it's still a very lovely scrappy one so I'm linking up with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' over here

For lots more photos of the show quilts, pop on over to see Julie from justjulielou latest post. I'll leave you with a pic of my favourite quilt from the show . . .

So many delightful little blocks and such a fabulous choice of fabrics.
And it won First Prize Large Bed Quilt and Best Hand Appliqué at Auckland Festival of Quilts 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

'goodnight moon' quilt

I've been faffing around with lots of different projects lately, including another old WiP

You may remember some tea towels I bought ages ago, hm-m-m way back in November 2016? {see this post} While out for a cafe coffee one day, I did a little thrifting in a nearby opshop, and found a lovely selection of tea towels. A lady had put her special collection up for sale, all Irish linen, each one with crotchet edging, and I couldn't believe my luck.

I had a little play with a few trial log cabin blocks, mixing up some bright scraps with the vintage colours of the tea towels. However, I hit a roadblock. Something wasn't gelling quite right, so this WiP got put away, and I moved onto something else, as you do.

Recently though, I re-found this little bundle of glorious teatowels. I needed to make a decision
. . . quilt? . . . or kitchen? I decided to have another little play.

I loved the look of this unquilted vintage quilt, and I was able to track down and purchase the pattern for "Goodnight Moon" by Sheena Chapman from from the berryquiltandco in Australia {see here for lots more of Sheena's creative work}.
It's a scrappy quilt with 12 identical blocks, simply turned in different directions to achieve this improv look, great for using up my scraps & some of my favourite fabrics.

I had to ammend the sizes of the components a little to make sure I was using the best of the teatowels and, unlike the pattern, I didn't deconstruct all of my log cabin blocks.

The biggest change I made this time around was deciding to use a peach/blue/teal colour palette. I think it helps create some continuity across the quilt, achieving a nice balance, something that was missing when I first started this project.

I used a real potpourri mix of fabrics, lots of quilting cottons, contemporary & vintage, and of course the linen tea towels.Those tea towels were a little bit tricky as the fabric seemed to shift easily as I sewed, and there are a few different weights with other fabrics I'd added, like the Liberties and some other unknown vintage bits I'd picked up along the way.

Once I'd made up more blocks, I laid everything out on the 'design floor' and had a little play with things. My main aim was for the tea towels to look as if they belonged & not stand out, but I hoped they would be an 'I spy' surprise when you looked more closely. 

I moved a few filler blocks around and added in a few other different ones, and checked that there was enough contrast happening using a b&w photo . . .

. . . but at the end of the day, you just have to jump in and sew. So I've been busy stitching away, determined these blocks would become a quilt, at least before another two years passes by. 

- the final border is 'decadence' by Katarina Roccella, art gallery fabrics.

Just waiting now on some more Kaffe blue spot for the inner border and then the quilt top is all finished. A perfect way to spend a quiet day... lots of fun to simply sew something simple.
And, I've got a couple of teatowels leftover to use in the kitchen too. Linking up with Lorna for 'let'sbeesocial' here at sewfreshquilts and with Kelly for 'needleandthread Thursday' here at myquiltinfatuation