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Check out this page for regular updates on things such as:
For many years I have pursued my quilting passion in a number of "temporary" locations either at home on in other business premises. In 2019 the decision was finally taken to build a dedicated personal creative space - a Quilt Studio for myself. We chose to build a "stand-alone" studio in a corner of our property where it would be simple stroll through the garden to get to my creative haven every day.
We started by signing a contract with our chosen builder in March 2019. After a number of false starts and delays getting consent to build from the council the foundations were finally started in October. Further delays meant the building construction was not started until December. Construction was finally completed in February 2020 with procession taking place in March 2020 (one week prior to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic lock-down).
My husband and I have spent the entire period of the lock-down moving into the studio and setting it up ready for business when the lock-down lifts.
I am really excited to finally be working in a wonderful creative space that I can call my own. It has plenty of room for me and any friends/customers that come round. With great lighting in a warm insulated space that overlooks my private garden it provides me plenty of creative inspiration.
Check out the photos below to see how a building zone has morphed into something I am truly proud of.
|Breaking Ground on Day 1||The concrete pad goes down|
|Studio frame starts to rise from ground||My two sons helping to frame the studio|
|Son and friend putting up drywall lining||Cladding on the outside almost ready|
|Starting to move in - so much to do!||Exterior done - just the wood deck to go!|
|Initial setup of my new creative studio and work area!|
Sharp eyed followers of my web site will have noticed the lack of News and Product postings since 2017 till now.
2017 started with a his and roar and my throughput and productivity was amazing with the operation of two longarm machines.
After a short break in the South Island I returned to find my mother very ill. Over the coming months quilting took a back seat while nursing my mother until unfortunately she passed away in January 2018.
The loss of my mother hit hard as she was an integral part of my quilting life. She appears in many photos throughout the web site. Her support and advice is sorely missed on a daily basis.
While continuing to quilt at a slower pace I made the decision to sell one of my longarm quilting machines. This was done towards the end of 2018 to a good friend and fellow quilter. It is good to know that machine is now bringing a lot of enjoyment to someone else.
My personal focus turned inwards to my family and my time and energy was spent decorating and renovating our home at the end of 2018. On completion of that task I was able to refocus on Wise Owl Quilting and make plans to take it down a new path in 2019 and into the future. More about this soon!
Wow! I have finally done it! I have taken Wise Owl Quilting to the next phase. I have added a second Long Arm Quilting machine to my business.
With the departure from the nest of my youngest son we have converted his bedroom to an office/sewing room. Then with some clever rearrangement of my existing studio (ie garage!!) I have been able to install a second Gammill computerised Long Arm Quilting Machine.
With the implementation of this second machine I am able to improve my throughput of quilts by having one machine quilting edge-to-edge designs while I work on my own personal quilts.
Installing new shelving allows me to display an even bigger range of backing fabric as well as a selection of fat quarters and other important accessories for my customers to choose from.
The installation of better strip lighting and air-conditioning has turned my studio into a much better working environment. I am looking forward to meeting the challenges of 2017 with renewed energy and better tools.
This month the Tauranga Patchwork Quilters Group issued the Presidents Challenge for club members. The challenge was called Ï wasn't Expecting That. We all started with a meter of plain fabric this was then torn in half and half passed to the person next to you. This process was repeated 5 times till we had 5 different coloured pieces of fabric descending in size. Hence - I wasn't expecting that! Then the fun started by making a quilt that was 16 x 24 inches. We were allowed to add one more colour of our choice. We also had to incorporate one new quilting technique that we had not tried before.
What a challenge! For myself it seemed I had an even bigger challenge of fitting this into my already busy quilting life. Then the thought struck me that life itself is a series of challenges that I face every day. I realised that my life is divided into five individual but connected activities:
My workMy FamilyMy HomeMy Social LifeMy Personal Growth
Life is made up of all these activity streams taking place all at the same time, all of them fighting for your attention. Each of the 5 colours in the challenge represents one of these activities, with the black vertical bar linking them all at a point in time.
So I called my Quilt - Time Lines of Life.
I was very pleased to find out that I had won 2nd Place in the Challenge.
I chose a modern minimalist piece style quilt as I am really excited by the possibilities offered by this genre. I chose to use a variety of different thread types to explore the impact they have on the design. The quilting style was chosen to impart a feeling of movement across the piece with each "activity" moving at a different pace (just like in real life). The whole piece was enclosed with a new binding treatment called two fabric French binding.
All in all quite a challenge - I hope you like it!
This month I was proud to be selected for a article in the New Zealand Quilter magazine on how to make your Quilts ready for machine quilting (Issue 96 page 54). It is a discussion on all the things that should be taken into consideration when submitting your quilt so that you get the best that your quilt can be. It is made up of gems of wisdom that I have learnt from my peers in the longarm quilting profession and from experience built up over the 1500 quilts that I have put through my Gammill Longarm machine.
With the publication of this article I hope that many more quilters will benefit from this knowledge for when they next submit their quilt to their favourite longarm quilter.
Click here to go to the full information post on my website. You can also download it as a PDF file and print it out.
Over the weekend of 18th - 19th June I attended an applique design class with Rosemary Rush along with a number of members of the Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group. We all chose different designs from a number of options available from Rosemary. I chose the swimming fish.
Rosemary was a great teacher with a very relaxed style that allowed everyone to proceed at their own pace. I learnt some great techniques and how to perfect some of the finer details in creating perfect applique designs.
|Rosemary Rush explaining applique design principles||Some of the Tauranga girls displaying their work|
I am proud to be supporting this event this weekend and am very pleased that one of my Quilts has been accepted for the "Flight Challenge"quilt competition. It is a quilt that I have been meaning to do for my husband for a longtime now. The "flight Challenge" competition gave me just the incentive to get it done.
The quilt depicts two World War II German Messerschmitt Bf109 fighters in formation over a patchwork quilt of fields and a glorious summer sky. I have named it Kaleidoscope Scramble.
The design is from an original artwork by Peter Nield published in an aviation art book. Peter was kind enough to give his permission to use his work.
The quilt is one of 20 selected to go on a year long nationwide tour of quilt clubs and art galleries around New Zealand. No doubt my husband will be keen to see it back in a years time as he has already picked a spot to hang it in the house!
|Selection of large bed quilts||My Kaleidoscope Scramble Quilt|
The Quilt show in Rotorua was very well attended with some stunning work on display. Although the bright light coming in the large windows made viewing some the quilts a bit difficult, there was plenty of room to see the quilts up close and from a distance.
After the success of the recent Quilts-a-Plenty Patchwork exhibition, there was a lot of interest shown in the club by the general public. To give people a better idea of what the club does and to recruit new members, the club held an open weekend at their club rooms in the Arts & Craft Centre in Tauranga on the 14th & 15th November.
Club members worked hard to set up displays of the clubs work. We also had a travelling National exhibition called the Suitcase Exhibition featuring some of the best small scale quilts from the National Quilt Symposium.
Another popular display was the Aoteraroa Quilters Green Challenge with over 100 entries in this 12 x 12 mini-quilt challenge. There was some truly remarkable ways to use the colour green.
Wise Owl Quilting was the guest trade exhibitor and was kept very busy selling product and taking enquiries for new work. There was food and drink provided by the club members, raffles and a coffee cart to whet the thirst of visitors and members alike.
Over 160 people attended the open weekend and many expressed an interest in taking up this hobby and joining the Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Club.
|Members setting up displays in the Club Rooms|
|A selection of some of the Aotearoa Green Challenge quilts on display|
This years bus trip to the Auckland Quilt Guild Festival of Quilts was another great success. Thirty three ladies from the various patchwork quilting clubs took a seat on the bus to attend the show in Auckland.
This years show was better than ever. This year it was in a new venue The AMI Netball Centre in St Johns. Everything (quilts and traders) was on the one level while the cafe was upstairs on the mezzanine level overlooking the main hall. There was so much to see it really took all day to get around and take it all in. Another top quilting show well done to the Auckland Quilt Guild for putting on such a great display.
View of the main hall from the cafe on the mezzanine hall
Another successful Quilt Exhibition was completed over the past weekend at Queen Elizabeth Centre, Memorial Park, Tauranga. Despite poor weather on the the final day over 1000 people visited the exhibition over the 3 days.
The quality of the work on display was outstanding with many favorable comments from visitors to the show. Many of the quilts found new homes being sold to discerning quilt lovers. I think this is truly a recognition of the quality of an art piece when someone is prepared to pay money for someone else's creation! There were plenty of happy visitors that entered and won the various raffles that were on offer at the show including the Brother NS30 sewing machine that was donated by our major sponsor - BROTHER.
There were 7 traders that came to the show from as far away as Te Kuiti. The trade displays were really eye-catching and there was something for everyone. Wise Owl Quilting also had a trade display. On Friday, I hosted Rachel Parry from BROTHER when she demonstrated an incredible sewing machine that produced beautiful embroidery. Over the following 2 days I was kept busy demonstrating the BROTHER Cut'n'Scan machine and talking to the many existing and new customers that came to my stand. I could not have done this without my support crew (my mother Robin and my husband Garry) who were kept busy selling fabric, notions and gifts.
It was my first trade exhibition for Wise Owl Quilting and I was really pleased with the response that I received from all the people that stopped by. It is always a lot of work to be involved in something like this but the hard work really paid off.
On Saturday 8th November 2014 Wise Owl Quilting hired a mini-bus and took thirteen members of the Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group to the Auckland Festival of Quilts put on by the Auckland Quilt Guild. This years show was bigger than ever over three floors of the QBE Stadium, Albany. There were hundreds of quilts and plenty of trade exhibitors to visit to browse all the latest products.
The crew had a great day out and loads of laughs were had in the mini-bus on the way up there and back again.
Maureen, Dorothy, Liz and Robin showing their appreciation of the quilts on display
Last weekend I ran a class at my local Quilting Club (Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group) called the "Yellow Brick Road". This was a simple but fun quilt design produced by Atkinson Designs of Elk River, Minnasota, USA. Terry Atkinson generously authorised me to supply and teach this quilting project.
A group of 14 ladies from the club brought along their own fabric to make their version of this quilt. We spent a productive and fun two days cutting out the fabric pieces, laying them out and sewing them together. So that by the end of the course everyone had a completed quilt top ready for quilting. The great thing about this quilt is that for those more skilled or faster at cutting and sewing they were able to make quilt tops up to Queen size. Others working within their skill range were able to construct smaller but no less dramatic looking quilt tops.
A lot of fun was had by all with plenty of gossip and hard work. Check out some of the work produced by the girls below:
Essential Technical Skills for Longarm Quilting
by Linda V Taylor
This week I was very privileged to spend some time attending a seminar featuring Linda V Taylor and her husband Rick Taylor in Auckland. The event was organised by the Auckland Quilt Guild and Karamu Quilting. Linda is a world renowned quilter and quilting teacher. She hosts a her own TV show aimed at longarm quilters that airs on PBS TV stations across the USA. Checkout her website www.thequiltingschool.com to see the amazing range of skills that she teaches.
Linda spent a day taking us through a number of Technical Skills that are essential for all Longarm Quilters to master if we are to produce quality customer quilting. The sewing was demonstrated on a Gamill Longarm Quilting machine supplied and setup by Ross & Maria Munro of Karamu Quilting. Her techniques we filmed by her husband Rick and shown on a large screen TV so that we could all clearly see what she was doing and the technical tricks used to achieve them.
Linda was a pleasure to listen to and we were spellbound by the ease with which she was able to produce simply stunning effects on the quilt. With her ability to teach in a way that came across as knowledgeable but easily understandable we realised that we would be able to produce work to the same high quality (with a bit of practice of course)! I cannot wait to try some of the techniques on my next quilt.
The second day was a technical seminar hosted by Rick Taylor on sewing machine maintenance. As longarm quilters we are totally reliant on the continued correct operation of our Longarm Quilting Machine. After listening to Rick it soon became apparent that anything less than a perfectly maintained machine will have a significant impact on the quality of the work that we produce. I learnt a lot about threads, needles than I ever knew before (and I have been in the sewing business for 30+ years)! I will certainly be paying more attention to my machine than I did before and thanks to Ricks knowledge and the great teaching tools provided on this course I feel more confident to tackle some of the more technical issues now.
After two days of intensive training on this course I feel like my skill level and overall knowledge of Long arm Quilting has increase 10 fold. I would thoroughly recommend anyone who is serious about Longarm quilting to attend such a course. If I lived in the United States I would definitely book myself into one of Linda's Longarm Retreats at Star Valley, Wyoming, USA. It would be worth every penny. Ah well I better get back to quilting if I am to save enough money to get there soon.
WOW! What a day it was at Carol's Katipatch Garden Party.
Sunday 2nd February turned out to be a beautiful day, with a light breeze and the sun shining down. The setting at Carol's landscaped gardens was perfect for a wonderful display of quilts and other crafts buy local Bay of Plenty art and crafts people. There was a terrific turnout of visitors attending the show. Not only did visitors have a great range of products to admire (and purchase) but they were fed and entertained as well!
My husband Garry and I setup our stall in a corner of the front garden overlooking the harbour and were soon in business telling people about Wise Owl Quilting and selling some of our range of gift items and quilted products from the stall. We also brought along a range of umbrellas from our other business "Dollys Brolls"to sell.
I am pleased to announce that the show was a great success for Wise Owl Quilting. It was also one of the most enjoyable shows we have attended with a great friendly atmosphere. We were also thankful of the way Carol's daughter looked after us by bringing around coffee and water and generally making sure our needs were met. We will certainly be attending the next Katipatch Garden Party in 2015. In the mean time. below are a few photos to show you what it was like.
I am excited to be going to the Auckland Festival of Quilts this coming weekend of 1st 2nd 3rd November at the Harbour Function Centre, North Harbour Stadium, Oteha Valley Rd, Albany, Auckland.
This event used to be called Calico Christmas but has been renamed to be more represenative of the broad range of quilts produced by the members of the Auckland Quilt Guild. They also have lots of quilting merchants there as well. If you can afford the time to go to Auckland it is well worth the visit. See you there!
I am back from another wonderful Quilt Show. The Auckland Festival of Quilts put on a wonderful selection of work for us to view. Many thanks to Judi Schon and her team for an excellent show this year.
There were so many quilt styles, sizes and different techniques on show to inspire us. It took a full day to get around the show over 3 floors with merchants and a cafe as well.
I was pleased to see that Owls are still very popular. I brought a new Owl quilt pattern from the Cloth Shop and can't wait to start this one! Many stuffed Owls were on display from the merchants, some new and others I had not seen before.
What really caught my eye was something that was really unique was this 3D wall hanging by Annie White. Called "White on White" it won a well deserved 1st Prize in the Amateur Wall Hangings category. The effect of the light and shadow really brought it alive as it altered with your change in viewing position.
On display will be quilts, wall hangings and novelty items that range in style from bold vibrant colours and designs to subtle shadings and classical traditions.
There will be raffles and Merchants Stands to buy quilting materials and accessories from. Some of the quilts will be for sale too. There will also be a Kitchen Sales Table full of great craft gift ideas for Christmas presents. Ít’s a great way to fill in an hour or two on a winter’s day. So come on down and talk to the members to find out about quilting and joining the club they are a real friendly bunch!