Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quilting in New Zealand

Marina and her stepmother, Karen, recently traveled to New Zealand to visit Karen's granddaughter, who lives in the capital city of Wellington. We were blown away by the beauty of New Zealand, and the warmth and hospitality of its people. We also had fun tracking down some quilt shops (see the red dots on the map).

We started our trip in the capital city of Wellington, which is on the southwestern tip of the North Island (see map). This cosmopolitan city has an absolutely spectacular setting, as shown below. The water is a beautiful aqua color, just as it appears in this photo*.

One day we went to the suburb of Karori, which is home to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary - and to the Piece by Piece Quilt Shop (below).

The interior of this wonderful shop is festooned with quilts and fabrics from around the world. A 'sexy hexy' quilt made with fabrics by Amy Butler can be seen on the wall, below. The elegant Suzy Miller, who owns the shop, can be seen in the middle as she cuts fabric.

We spent well over half an hour ogling fabrics by Kaffe Fassett, Liberty Art, and many other leading designers and manufacturers (check out the Piece by Piece website for a list).

We purchased a stack of 100% cotton Japanese indigo fabrics, and a whole collection of cotton prints by Pat Bravo (you'll see our purchases tomorrow). After the fabric shopping spree we stopped at the cafe next door to enjoy a delicious New Zealand-style cappuccino. What a perfect morning !

The next day we hopped on the Interislander Ferry to the South Island.  The ferry travels 50 nautical miles across the Cook Strait, and the trip lived up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. We arrived in the town of Picton, then strolled over to the train station to catch the Trans Coastal train.  The train goes all the way to Christchurch, but we stopped off for a day and a half  in the coastal town of Kaikoura. When we got off the train in Kaikoura and looked to the left, we saw the Pacific Ocean! The gray clouds seemed to intensify the aqua color of the water.

And when we looked to the right from the station, we saw the cheery sign below....

The sign is on the back of A Patch of Country. What a great location ! We walked to the front of the shop on another day, under bright blue skies (see below). It is a whole cottage devoted to fabric, sewing, quilting and other crafts.

This shop has a great selection of batiks, cotton prints, and patterns, along with a room devoted to New Zealand-themed fabrics and patterns (see photo below). These items are called Kiwiana, a term that refers to iconic Kiwi elements.


The distinctive herringbone/chevron quilt on the wall is made with New Zealand themed fabrics - it even includes kiwifruit !

Our whale-watching trip in Kaikoura was canceled due to high seas, so we felt justified in spending some of the money we 'saved' ! We purchased several New Zealand themed fabrics, and a bundle of batik fat quarters.  (For examples of some of the products the shop carries, visit A Patch of Country online.)

After a fun time in Kaikoura we traveled to the Southern Alps by train and rental car before heading up north for the final leg of the trip. Tomorrow we'll show you more scenery and more quilt shops in Te Anau and Auckland (and we'll show off all of our NZ fabric purchases !)

*Image credits:  The photo of Wellington Harbor is from Wikimedia Commons.  The map of New Zealand is from Google Maps.  All other photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.


  1. I have always wanted to travel to New Zealand - it looks so beautiful and I have always heard such good things about it.

  2. Glad you had a good time in New Zealand. Shame your whale watching was canceled, but good idea to buy fabric! I live in Whangarei, a couple of hours north of Auckland. I used to live close to Wellington and agree it's a beautiful city. Looking forward to more pictures.

  3. I'm glad you got to come to our beautiful country. If you get north of Auckland there are some nice quilt shops too. The Country Yard in northland is fab!!

  4. I have been once and didn't take in any quilt shops but everywhere I looked was beauty and the nicest people you could meet anywhere.

  5. Wow Marina you certainly travelled around while you were in NZ. I will be making a note of the quilt shop in Karori for next time I am in NZ.


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