South Pacific Dreaming – Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Wall Hanging Entry


Once again I am participating in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival which is very generously organised and hosted by Amy’s Creative Side.  This time I am entering two quilts.  South Pacific Dreaming in the Wall Hanging category and “Celebrate” quilt #1 in the bee category.  If you’re new to Pretty Bobbins, welcome!  I am all about free motion quilting, it’s my passion and I host a weekly linky party on quilting process :)  I’m soon to become a longarm quilter, but for now I work on a Bernina 440QE.  I’m currently based in Nouméa, a French territory in the South Pacific but am about to return to live in Australia.

Set of three quilts


Back in June some very good friends of ours left Nouméa.  They had lived here on their catamaran for many years and are one of the happiest, nicest family’s that I know (can you tell that I miss them?).  They commissioned me to make a set of three wall quilts (above) for their family as a souvenir of their time in Nouméa.  Honestly, the pressure was on.  I don’t know if you know many “boaties” but they tend not to have a huge amount of belongings (because they need to fit them all onto a boat).  These three quilts were to be a key souvenir of their time not only living in Nouméa, but sailing around the world and the South Pacific.  (I’m tearing up writing this LOL).  I spent a lot of time talking to them and they gave me some special photos for inspiration.

They are kite surfers – go girl!!

I made three quilts for them but the one I’d like to enter into the festival is South Pacific Dreaming (also the title of the set).

I used a lot of techniques in this quilt that I have learnt in the last year or so.  The improv curve piecing was based on the class I did with Rachel of Stitched in Color.

The family portrait outline style thingy (very technical!) was self taught and involved merging two photos, tracing, some freezer paper and some free motion quilting.  I’m planning a tutorial at some point but I’m sure you can figure it out yourself :)  I merged two photos, in the original photo the Father and son were sitting in a hammock and I tried to keep the texture of the hammock to give the idea of my friend sitting with his baby on his knee (seriously cute baby!).  The second photo was taken years later and my friend was leaning in perfectly toward her now four year old.  Pairing the two photos to create a family portrait was a lot of fun and I love the outcome.

You can see the family silhouette better from the back.

The detail in the quilting is momentarily lost when you glance at this quilt.  I didn’t want the family portrait to be overly obvious and it took me a few days to work out how to quilt it.  Whilst I’m usually up for all sorts of fancy free motion quilting, this quilt called for lots of straight lines to really give the picture that I was after.  You can see that I went with the beach scene quilting a palm frond in the top corner.

A photo taken on a joint family vacation. See those palm fronds everywhere? :)

The white section is quilted to show the iconic shape of the Catana Catamaran windows.

My friend’s catamaran moored at The Isle of Pines. Can you believe this? Stunning!

To me this quilt really felt like a night scene in the South Pacific but I took the colour palate for all three quilts from the Mahi Mahi fish.  My friends gave me a great photo of a freshly caught (by them) Mahi Mahi and it took my breath away.

Photo courtesy of my friends


Whilst I am only entering the South Pacific Dreaming quilt in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, it is a set of three and I’d like to briefly share the other two with you because they are deep with meaning.  ”She Travels” was for my girlfriend (the wife/mom of the family) and the pink symbolizes her sailing around the world.  I included some prints with French text to represent the French culture in which we live (and remind them of me – one has a sewing machine!).

For the quilting I followed the path that my friends took from Florida, to the Caribbean onto the Galapagos, Tahiti, The Cook Islands, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia (with many stops in between!).  I then echoed this route in ever expanding lines to give the idea of a map of the sea bed or currents.  The three circles come from details of the catamaran and I added the phrase, ”Know your dream, find a route” just above these circles.

The third quilt is called “Elements” as to me it represents the elements of the wind, water and land as well as kiting, a clear passion of my friends.  This quilt excites me.  I really pushed myself by pairing a busy pieced section with an expanse of white which I then quilted in bold colours.  Absolutely no room for error!

I took the shape of the island from the photo below, the lighter blue of the wake behind the board shifting into the darker blue.  The colours represent the turtles that laze about in the seagrass bed and the unsuspecting kiters that have to dodge them.  The flaming C represents the kites that my friends have used during recent years.


I have no idea of winds and waters but I absolutely love these photos of my friends kiting.  I can see how much they love it and I can feel the excitement.  These things zoom and on a good day there are dozens of them weaving around each other.  Pouring over these photos I could almost imagine the wind and I did my best to capture this in my quilting.

My friends now live in Floriada and are sorely missed.  You know the kind of friends that you can pick up with at a moment’s notice?  The ones that you randomly think about and imagine what they might be doing?  We will leave Nouméa in two months and I hope to make something similar as a souvenir for my family.

South Pacific Dreaming (set of three wall quilts)

Usually when I share a quilt I talk about the materials used, these quilts used more than just materials, there were memories and emotions and dreams involved.  It was a privilege and a pleasure to work on these pieces and I miss my friends dearly.  They sent me a photo last week showing me the quilts on the walls of their new home and I want to share their words with you, “…we hung your quilts today and I am feeling so much better. I wanted to get a photo for you with/before the sunset… Anyway, they have very much lifted our spirits – thank you so much again. They have just so much meaning in every stitch and really look amazing in their spots.”


Pieced and Quilted: by me on my Bernina 440Qe

Size: approximately 30″ x 20″ (from memory!)

Thread: Aurifil threads (2000, 1135, 5005, 5006,1128, 2810 in 50 wt and 2024 in 40 wt)

Fabric: Bella solids (the white is snow) and lots of favourite prints from my stash.  If you would like the details of a specific print, please let me know and I’ll try and help you, but I suspect I used around 40 different prints so I’ll skip trying to list them all ;)

Wadding: 100% cotton

South Pacific Dreaming – my entry into the Wall Quilt Category

Thanks for stopping by and I encourage you to participate in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival by either visiting and/or entering the festival.  This is my third time entering and it’s a great quilty and bloggy event.  Thanks for all your work Amy!

15 Comments on South Pacific Dreaming – Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Wall Hanging Entry

  1. collette howie
    October 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm (6 months ago)

    thank you for sharing such lovely stories about your inspiration! The colours are so beautiful x

  2. Cheryl
    October 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm (6 months ago)

    Such wonderful quilts! They will look wonderful all hanging together. I love the quilting on them

  3. Charlotte
    October 26, 2013 at 12:05 am (6 months ago)

    Such a beautiful and touching quilt. I am sure your friends treasure it.

  4. Ruthann
    October 26, 2013 at 4:53 am (6 months ago)

    Beautiful..funny I am just finishing up a quilt that has a beach theme to it. Not anything close in beauty that you have created. Mine too had foot prints. I did the swirl quilting on the ‘water’ portion. I really like where you did the swirl quilting. Beautiful!

  5. Susan
    October 26, 2013 at 5:27 am (6 months ago)

    Gemma, that’s another amazing entry. Your work is so inspiring. The thought that went into installing so many memories in these mini quilts is fantastic. I am sure they will treasure these forever, and that you will create equally amazing works for your own family.

  6. Renee
    October 26, 2013 at 6:56 am (6 months ago)

    I love the creativity and artistic value of these. The love, details, quilting, piecing they all have are fantastic. And they went to such appreciative, adoring people! What a wonderful souvenir to have!

  7. CitricSugar
    October 26, 2013 at 7:04 am (6 months ago)

    Very cool! I love how you translated inspiration to fabric.

  8. Debbie
    October 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm (6 months ago)

    oh these are lovely!! So full of meaning and so nicely executed. Thank you for sharing the set!

  9. Katy
    October 27, 2013 at 7:57 am (6 months ago)

    Fabulous inspiration and great conveyance of all the themes :)

  10. Lisa Stahl
    October 27, 2013 at 8:21 am (6 months ago)

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with us. I can say that I was tearing up reading your words. The thought passion that went into making these gifts is unbelievable as well as your quilting ability. The backs are even more gorgeous than the fronts and I hope that the judges see that when they adjudicate the contest.

  11. MARY
    October 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm (6 months ago)

    Incredible!! Oh my gosh the story/piecing/quilting takes my breath away. I too like FMQing. I have to start following your blog and join the linky party. Thanks for sharing these

  12. Dana
    October 28, 2013 at 9:44 am (6 months ago)

    The wall hangings are wonderful, but I love the story that goes with them, I’ve read through it twice. What a thoughtful memory you made for them.

  13. Rebecka
    October 29, 2013 at 10:03 am (6 months ago)

    Beautiful Quilts. I love the family stitched in the quilting. The photography is beautiful!! Great memories.

  14. Jennie @ Jennie's Threads
    October 31, 2013 at 9:27 am (6 months ago)

    All three of these quilts are beautiful – there is so much detail which you simply don’t see at a quick glance – the family portrait is amazing. I am in awe!

  15. salley
    November 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm (5 months ago)

    Great these little quilts…good luck with the BQF … and returning home!


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