Thursday, July 22, 2010

More -- Much More! -- About the New Zealand Hoffman Challenge

Earlier this year, I wrote a couple of posts featuring last year's New Zealand Hoffman Challenge. I ran into it, totally by accident, when my husband and I and our goddaughter, Destiny, took an Australia/New Zealand cruise and stopped in Blenheim, home of The Quilter's Barn.

If you didn't see the pictures of these great challenge quilts, here are the links. For Part 1, click here and for Part 2, click here.

Since then, Juliet Fitness, one of the entrants, has e-mailed me, filling me in on a lot more about the Hoffman challenge, New Zealand style. Her quilt, "The Joy of Living" is the second quilt in Part 1 of my post. About the challenge, Juliet says:

"Here in NZ it has been going annually since 1993, organised initially by a quilt shop (originally Grandmother's Garden in Hamilton), a break in 2002 when there was no organiser before Catlin Quilts of Owaka, South Island, picked up the job, and now organised byNeedle n' Thread in Geraldine, in the South Island.

"The NZ rules are that it must NOT be square or rectangular, but must fit within a metre square, hence all the interesting shapes that you saw. There has to be a recognisable amount of the challenge fabric (not just the binding). All the entries are displayed in the shop that organises it, and shoppers there can choose a viewer's choice. The quilts are judged and usually about 20 are selected as finalists to travel the country for the next year."

Much to my happy surprise (don't we all love to get gifts? and aren't quilters wonderful, sharing people?) in my mail this morning was a copy of the April 2010 issue of New Zealand Quilter with an article called "Hearty Hoffmans" about this year's challenge. Thank you, Juliet! Juliet also e-mailed me some photos so that we all will know more about this event.

This was the Hoffman challenge fabric. I thought it was interesting when Juliet said that she had entered in every Hoffman challenge except for 1995 when she was moving households and 2004 when she didn't like the fabric!

"He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" by Juliet Fitness. In Juliet's words:

"I have been a finalist every time except for 1994, 1997 (2 entries) and 2006 when mine was a bit controversial but ending up selling while all entries were on display at Catlin Quilts. In 2008 I finally won my first prize (Merit) in the challenge and that quilt also sold. This year was my best effort yet, winning Best Contemporary....for my winning quilt 'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not'."

Here's a detail shot -- look at those teeny tiny, beautifully executed points!

"I specialise in paper-foundation piecing, especially the New York Beauty block, and extreme spikes!! I teach classes on this here in Auckland and at national symposia."

Juliet was kind enough to send along a few more pictures of quilts she has made. The above is called "Merino Muster - Don't Forget the Dog". We were told that there were 100 times more sheep in New Zealand than humans and we were able to see a demonstration of sheep herding by what looked like border collies, so this fabric made me laugh. This quilt will be shown in World Quilt & Textile and will be touring the US for a few months.

A detail of Merino Muster -- Juliet said that this quilt uses lots of New Zealand fabrics.

"Illuminated French Curves" is my personal favorite; the brights on black just make the picture glow -- would love to see it in person! That's not gonna happen, as this quilt was an entry in the National Association of New Zealand Quilters (NANZQ) biennial challenge last year, won Merit Innovative and was bought by a visitor from the UK.

Guess I'll just have to be happy with the photos -- here is an excellent detail photo. Juliet says that she loves piecing more than quilting, but after 27 years she is getting better at the quilting. She admits to being a competition junkie, having been in over 70 competitions, with a few prizes under her belt.

Thank you so much, Juliet, for educating us all about the challenge and sharing your quilts!

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