Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas around the world: New Zealand

Mary Metcalf, who owns Kiwiquilts, is passionate about patchwork and quilting. As a fourth generation Kiwi, Mary is extremely proud of her New Zealand heritage. Through her online shop she is able to bring a piece of New Zealand's unique scenery, design and flora to quilters throughout the world. Here you will find quilts featuring Pohutukawa, a native New Zealand coastal tree with spectacular dark crimson flowers that bloom just before Christmas, and the beloved Kiwi bird.

Kiwi Christmas Tree mini quilt, 15” x 15”, design by Jenny Hunter, pattern at Kiwiquilts (Auckland, New Zealand)

The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand, and the association is so strong that the term Kiwi is used all over the world as the colloquial name for New Zealanders. The Kiwi Christmas Tree mini quilt features flowers from the pohutukawa tree and, instead of the traditional angel, a gold kiwi presides over the tree. The first settlers used pohutukawa blossoms to decorate their homes at Christmas time, regarding it as a New Zealand substitute for holly. Here is a gorgeous Pohutukawa wall hanging that is one of the most popular patterns at Kiwiquilts:

Pohutukawa wall hanging, 80cm x 1.10m (31½” x 43½”), by Mary Metcalf at Kiwiquilts

The leaves are appliquéd either by hand or machine and the blossoms are very easy piecing; a fabric kit is available. We  also love Mary Metcalf's green and red Hibiscus wall hanging and her many Kiwiana quilts and fabrics.

These designs mean so much to us after our own trip to New Zealand earlier this year; see our article on Quilting in New Zealand and Quilting in New Zealand - part 2.

Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Mary Metcalf.

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