World of WearableArt®

At our Christchurch Quilters meeting at the beginning of September, we were thoroughly entertained and impressed by a presentation by two ladies from NZ Blood Service.  What on earth does donating blood have to do with quilting, I hear you ask.   Abso-bloomin-lutely nothing, is my reply🙂

The two ladies in question had come up with the idea of using more than 80,000 discarded plastic items from their work at the blood bank, collected over a period of about nine months, to create entries for the World of WearableArt®, known as WOW®, a renowned international design competition that attracts hundreds of entries from all over the world.

Here’s a little bit of the story of WOW® from the official website to set the scene for you:

“The Finalists compete for over $165,000 in prize money plus internships with leading creative companies such as Weta Workshop.

Using the human body as a blank canvas designers create works of wearable art to be exhibited in the annual Awards Show. Designs are brought to life in this spectacular stage performance – a world where theatre, fashion and art collide. Held each year in September in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, this unique event draws an audience of over 55,000.

The World of WearableArt® competition has encouraged an explosion of creative activity, inspiring designers from a wide range of backgrounds including art, fashion, textile and industrial design, jewellery, architecture, law and home making, to name a few.

The range of garments produced for the event is simply breath taking, as the rules of competition mean that anything that is in any way wearable can find a place on stage, as long as it is original, beautifully designed and well-made.

WOW® gives entrants freedom of expression without the constraints of commercialism it encourages lateral, original thinking and provides the opportunity to be innovative and inventive.”

In other words, anything goes!🙂

Here are some photos (courtesy of our club’s newsletter editor) of what our two guests designed and created:




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I think what really struck me (apart from the sheer ingenuity of stringing together thousands upon thousands of little ampoules, tops, lids, clips to create the garment) was that all those little pieces of plastic, each weighing so little on their own, added up to the incredible weight of 65kgs when it came to freighting it from Christchurch to Wellington for pre-acceptance consideration.  Which was possibly one of the reasons that, sadly, the entry wasn’t selected to go forward for judging – imagine the poor model having to carry all that weight as she flossied up and down the catwalk🙂

It was fascinating to see how they had combined colours and shapes so effectively – and the thought of having to drill over 80,000 little holes so they could string everything together just blew me away!

Have a look here if you’d like to read a little bit of the history of the awards – amazing how it’s grown from such humble beginnings to an event which attracts thousands to Wellington each year.  Now that my son is living in Wellington, I might just have to consider making a trip up there one year to experience the show – it sure looks wonderful!

Harbingers of Spring

It’s been a beautiful day today, and I thought I’d share some photos from my garden to show you that spring has really moved in – particularly welcome after the cold blast we experienced last weekend.  From daffodils to plum blossom and pussy willow, from rhododendrons to forsythia to promising lilac buds, it’s all happening!🙂

And to finish off the day, tonight (starting in about three minutes, so I need to get this finished off and posted lickety split!), we have the All Blacks playing the Springboks:  go, the ABs!!🙂🙂





































For those of you not familiar with the World of WearableArt Awards, held annually in New Zealand, here’s a link to a brief history of how they all started:




One thing leads to another …

Bitterly cold weather on Friday and Saturday has meant some quality quilting time indoors, which in turn means good progress on my September OMG project – here’s a photo I took yesterday:


I decided late yesterday afternoon that I needed one more row of blocks, so I made those, added them on, and then auditioned the backing material I had in mind (yup, looks good), and the binding (ditto).  This morning I started assembling the quilt sandwich, which I always find the most tedious (and my least favourite) part of making a quilt.

“Take a break”, my inner self urged.  So I did.  Grabbed a cuppa and plonked myself down at the computer to have a look at some quilting blogs – and that’s when Distraction Struck.

I came across a post from a blogger who was making a convergence quilt (Ricky Timms is a master at these), with brief details on how she was doing it.  I’ve always been keen to have a go at this technique, so you know what I did, don’t you?  Uh-huh.  I immediately abandoned the OMG, grabbed four small squares of fabric, and proceeded to waste creatively spend the next hour (plus …) making this:


It’s kinda cute, don’t you think?  My original squares were only 4.5″, so I could only cut three different width rows (1″, 1.5″, and 2″), but I reckon it was time well spent in that it showed me (a) I could do it; (b) I need more practice at fiddly sewing and matching seams (definitely room for improvement there!); and (c) I really want to make a bigger one of these🙂

So, as my post title says, one thing led to another … oh, how easily I can be distracted from the task at hand!

Inner self is now reminding me there’s a quilting sandwich awaiting my attention, and that I’d better get back to it if I want to get the project completed by the end-September deadline – slave driver … (mutter mutter mutter …)




September OMG

Each year, the Christchurch Quilters’ Club seeks contributions from its members of community quilts, which are given to charity organisations for them to distribute as needed.  The club provides free batting for these quilts to its members, so all we need to provide is the fabric and our time to make up as many quilts as we can.  Initially I had intended my August OMG project would be one of these community quilts, but then I fell in love with it and changed my mind, deciding instead to keep it🙂  Which meant that I needed to come up with something to replace it!

So, while I will still be working to finish off my August project, I have chosen to make a new, quick, simple, scrappy (sort of) Disappearing Nine Patch quilt as my September OMG project.  A quick fossick through my stash found a number of smaller amounts of fabric which I thought would make a nice cheerful quilt, so I set to cutting out and sewing together my nine-patch blocks:

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Some of this fabric has been around for yonks.  See that orange stuff with the birds and flowers on it?  That’s been skulking undisturbed in my stash for so long it’s almost fossilized, so it’s high time it was liberated to make a more meaningful contribution to the world🙂

So, my aim for September is to get this quilt completely finished off (the quilts must be ready by our next meeting early in October, but since I’m going away for three weeks right at the beginning of that month, I need to get it done before I leave:  no pressure …🙂 )

OMG buttonI’ll be linking up with Heidi’s Goal Setting party at Red Letter Quilts just as soon as it’s available🙂


Two more finishes for August …

I mentioned in an earlier post that August had been a productive month, and that I would tell you about it later – and that ‘later’ has now arrived🙂

Project No. 1

When I had the wee stutter on my August OMG project because I didn’t have the right thread for quilting it, I was so in the sewing zone that I just didn’t want to stop … so I delved into my UFOs/WIPs and pulled out some string blocks which I had made up about two years ago, and sewed them together into a small lap quilt.  I found a piece of fabric in my stash which was just the right size for the backing, did some very simple diagonal quilting, and then bound it with some lovely blue striped fabric which I’d recently purchased as backing for another project (see more about that in Project No. 2 below).

The front ...

The front …


... and the back

… and the back

Project No. 2

This was another one I fished out the UFOs/WIPs box – an OBW (One Block Wonder), also started two years ago.  At that time I had just started learning about OBWs and this was my first attempt – now I know a little bit more about what kind of patterned fabric works best for this type of project, I can see that this fabric isn’t really suitable.  (Good lesson – part of my learning curve🙂 )  Despite this, I’m still quite pleased with the end result, which this time was quilted with some simple wavy lines (getting adventurous …🙂 )

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The front …


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… and the back

Both of these will probably end up as donation quilts.

I was definitely on a roll in August – OMG achieved plus two more finishes!🙂


Quilty 365: Day 244

Confession time:  I totally ignored my circles last month, so I’ve done a big catch-up over the last two days, and completed another 31 for August, bringing me up to 244:  only another 118 to go to complete my 366 for the year!

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I’ve also cut out quite a few more circles to use for September, so hopefully it won’t be a major exercise again at the end of the month.  While I was looking for some backing material for another quilt a week or so ago, I also came across some smaller pieces of fabric which I felt justified in treating as ‘scraps’ for the purpose of this project, to add a little more variety.  I’ve also started ‘making’ fabric by sewing smaller scraps together and then cutting circles out of that – all good fun!

Quilty 365Linking up with Audrey at Quilty Folk here – I always enjoy looking at how others are getting along🙂



Community service … and the Big R!

Community service day

Yesterday my team at work spent some time out of the office to undertake a bit of community service, and we chose to paint out some of the graffiti in our part of town.  We struck a beautiful day weather-wise (after the morning fog lifted), with clear blue skies and a comfortable temperature in which to work outside.  Here we are gathered together in our best old clothes, smiles at the ready, at the start of the morning (minus our team leader, who was Acting Photographer in Charge)🙂

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And here are some action shots to prove that we didn’t just skive off for the day!

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Good job, team!


The Big R Day is coming up really fast!

After nearly 19-and-a-half years with Christchurch City Council, I’m due to retire at the end of this month (scary to think I now only have 4 weeks left …).  I started preparing for this last July, when I was allowed to reduce my working week to 4 days; and as from 1 July this year, I reduced this further to a 3-day week (Tuesday-Thursday), for my final three months.  (I can thoroughly recommend 3 and 4-day weekends!!🙂🙂 )  With a retirement function scheduled for the last Thursday in September, I gave some thought as to what sort of gift I would like, and came up with the idea of asking for a small amount of fabric (fat quarter, fat eighth, or even scraps) from any of the invitees who would like to contribute, which I can then make up into a quilt to remember my time at the Council.  So this request was duly included in the invitation, and my friend who is organising the function set up this crate in the office:

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As you can see, there is already a donation in it – but I’ve been very good, and I haven’t peeked inside the bag … well, not really, but I couldn’t help but see that it was considerably more than what had been suggested; however, when I ‘chastised’ the donor for her generosity she just smiled and shook her head and said, “Oh, I just had a wee clean-out …” . Bless her!🙂

It’s definitely a little weird thinking that in another four weeks I won’t be working any longer … but I’m looking forward to unscheduled days when I can potter at whatever takes my fancy; not to mention delving into the depths of my fabric stash to reacquaint myself with what I actually have in there, and putting it to good use!🙂













Winter photos (August 2014)

In early August 2014 I had planned to take a few days off and drive down to Invercargill (at the bottom of the South Island, NZ) for a couple of days to help my friend, Isobel, celebrate her 90th birthday. Mother Nature, however, decided to throw a spanner in the works, and delivered a big dump of snow over a good part of the South Island just a day or two before my trip, so I changed plans and decided to fly down and back instead of driving.  (A flight of just over an hour and a half compared with a drive of 7-8 hours each way sounded pretty good to me when I saw news footage of the driving conditions down south, I can tell you!)

I was looking through my external hard drive the other day at some of my stored photos and came across these shots which I’d taken during the flight down (I was lucky enough to get a window seat), and thought I’d share them with you – seeing them again reminded me of what a pretty winter wonderland it was!🙂

The first three were taken just after 9am as we crossed over the Rakaia River (or was it the Rangitata? Not sure now …) to the south of Christchurch – I think we were only flying at about 18,000 feet and as you can see, it was a glorious winter’s day, clear blue sky and look at those snowy Southern Alps in the distance!

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The next photos were taken about 30 minutes later as we flew inland and passed over Mackenzie Country and the Waitaki Basin.  This was absolutely stunning – I was fascinated by the patterns formed by the lines of trees providing shelter breaks, and the writhing, twisting course of the river, which reminded me so much of oil on top of water. (I think the lake in the final photo is Lake Benmore, but I could be wrong – if anyone from New Zealand can identify it for me, please do!🙂 )

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As we flew on the land use changed to forestry (again, I was struck by the patterns of the rows of felled stumps on the cleared areas), and then gradually we began to leave the snow behind as we drew nearer to Invercargill …

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It was an amazing flight; much better than the return trip when we ran into some rather nasty turbulence which nearly did me in – I hate flying when it’s bumpy!😦

And I thought I’d finish off with a photo of the birthday girl herself, with the quilt I made for her and a stupid chicken toy which I gave her (she has a thing about chooks …) – it gave us all a good laugh, when you picked it up by the neck it let out an almighty chicken cackle and flapped its wings (small things amuse small minds, I know, but we all got a kick out of it!🙂 )

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Lovely memories of a great weekend!🙂