Progress Report

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Another busy week, made unpleasant by a very stiff sore neck and shoulder. But it takes more than that to keep me from my Friday evening stitching!! This is the only time I seem to be free to take a few hours to stitch and I jealously protect it … and make the most of it by staying up far too late. I have been enjoying watching The Good Wife over the past weeks and find myself pushing on for “just one more episode” before bed. All to the good as I am on track with my Block-of-the-Day (BOD) …

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Last night’s work.

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This little stack contains 91 pieces, representing each day of the first three months of 2016 including February’s leap day! 

… and Block-of-the-Week (BOW)

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13 completed and one to be done this evening.

 

 

All going well, I will have a cutting spree tomorrow as my stock of prepared applique orange peel pieces and my EPP triangles are significantly depleted. I look forward to the fun of fabric selection and making up combinations. And even a bit of fussy cutting.

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Shop news:  

Have just added a bright and cheerful 1930s -looking range from American Jane called Bread n Butter.

 

 

 

 

Varsity

 

And I have a nice selection of the Volume II range from Sweetwater. This range recreates one of Moda’s most popular collections – Mama Said Sew! Sweetwater brings back the classic col
ors of the original collection, with a style and theme to match.

 

 

 

 

 

Come and visit us at the shop:  Motifsbyhand

I hope you can all take time to take a few stitches. Take care.

Jacqueline

 

Moving on ….

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Hello … I’m back!!

Suffice to say that 2015 was a difficult year. But I now take on 2016 with positive thoughts and energy.

Resolution #1 – For several years now I have wanted to do a Block-a-Day. I considered doing a star a day as many others were working at last year as I do like stars. And I am liking the appliqued circles that are being gripped up by many already this year. But, as I have long wanted to do an Orange Peel quilt, I decided to make this my own block-a-day quilt for 2016.
The plan is to hand applique slim orange peel (or melon) shapes cut from the many and varied fabrics in the in-store Kaffe Fassett range, supplemented by my personal stash collected over many years, onto a background of charcoal coloured linen. The linen is called Hanky Linen. It comes in many colours and is used mostly as a ground for hand embroidery. I chose the charcoal as a strong neutral to offset the saturated colours of the Kaffe fabrics. These fabrics fascinate me: even the ugliest ones have appeal!
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I have already designated working title – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (GBU).
I am happy to report that I am on track. While I relish the rare opportunity to regularly do daily block, I do have a routine where I do a few blocks at a time a couple of times a week. These are quick and satisfying … and it is difficult to stop at one!! I have been working diligently and am up to date. The photograph below is quite dated now but I will post more photos in the next day or so.
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Resolution #2 – Of course I can do a Block-a-Week!
So here I go with an EPP block of the week based on this quilt.

Since I first saw pictures of this quilt around the web and Pinterest some time ago I have been tempted to make it. See more about it the wonderfully interesting and informative blog hosted by Regan –

1 - Week 5
I am using the English Paper Piecing method to construct the equilateral triangles out of a scrappy selection of reproduction fabrics, mostly US Civil War era. I am on the hunt for the main chrome yellow coloured fabric so would welcome any suggestions. It is coming together nicely and a block a week is really no pressure. Again, the very bad photograph below is not up to date.
Resolution #3 – Now, I did actually have ambitions of also doing a Block-a-Month to hone my very immature hand piecing skills but have had to be rational and let that one go until 2017. I am considering one of Jen Kingwell’s patterns, possible The Circle Game.
Resolution #4 – Confession time! I resolved to blog more regularly to post progress on my daily and weekly blocks as well as any other quilting news and info. And importantly, to share all the new fabrics arriving in the shop. So far I am a dismal failure … but I am not giving this one up! To be honest, I had a post written in early January but ….  I hope this post is a new beginning.

Shop news: New fabrics arriving regularly. I received new stock of some Kaffe Collective fabrics, Anna Maria Horner’s Fibs and Fables and True Colors, some Tula Pink True Colors and a luscious range designed by Zandra Rhodes called Feathered:

The Homespun Magazine’s TILDA Block of the Month quilt Foxley Village, designed by Natalie Bird of Birdhouse Designs, is popular. Foxley Village
I have been stitching along with this one too. It is the first BOM that I have following along with and I am loving the discipline it imposes.
Please follow me on Instagram too as I often drop photos and news there too.
Thanks for visiting.
Jacqueline
BTW … At the top of my New Years Resolutions for 2017 is to improve my photography!!
https://www.etsy.com/assets/js/etsy_mini_shop.jsnew Etsy.Mini(8165877,’thumbnail’,5,5,0,’https://www.etsy.com’);

2015 … so far so good.

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Welcome to 2015!

I am a bit disoriented this year and have not even thought about resolutions and plans … just do more of what is important to me and my loved ones, do it better and remember to enjoy the journey. So far so good.

My elder daughter broke her leg and ankle (on the very first day of my holiday trip!!) and must keep completely off it for three months. So I am settling into a new routine caring for her. I have to admit to a couple of instances of neglect when I have been so immersed in stitching that I have missed mealtimes!!

I have made a good start on my Marquise Quilt Kit using Moonshine by Tula Pink.

I must say that the kit is a joy. All fabric hexagons are already cut and in little labelled baggies so I could jump right in and start glueing and sewing. A perfect holiday project!

Marquise Kit - Start

I have just about done all the top row of grey and cream and the first row of coloured motifs will start to put it together this evening. It is so much fun playing with these pieces of colour and seeing them all come together … ooooh!

And, more gorgeous colour to play with …

Iznik Collection by Snow Leopard, a new designer in the Free Spirit stable. Snow Leopard Designs is a design studio based in London that specializes in producing beautiful fabric collections inspired by exotic cultures from far away lands and distant mountains and valleys.

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The Iznik Collection is inspired by the decorative pottery and tiles that were produced in the town of Iznik in Anatolia, Turkey, between the 15th and 17th century. Iznik pottery is known throughout the world for its vivid cobalt and turquoise blue glazes and simple swirling patterns inspired by natural forms. The pottery was originally inspired by the Chinese blue and white Ming dynasty porcelain that was being brought along the Silk Road during the 15th century and had such a profound influence on the Ottoman court at that time.

Snow Leopard 2 Snow Leopard 3 Snow Leopard 4 Snow Leopard

The collection itself has been developed from a select group of glazed tiles and plates. As well as simple floral and geometric motifs, it includes such elements as the tree of life. This new collection from Snow Leopard continues to give a contemporary form to these great artistic traditions from the past, while allowing them to be enjoyed in our homes today.

I can hardly wait to get the cotton sateen range in store.  The range is very similar but different designs.

The quilt shown in the picture above is made from a free pattern on the Free Spirit website:    http://freespiritfabric.com/graphic-elements/gallerys/t617_1.pdf

I used some of these fabrics to whip up a couple of pairs of pyjama pants which I teamed with singlet tops for my girls for Christmas. Now they want matching wraps! And I am going to make a tunic top or two for myself as these colours will look great with white pants and jeans. And there are definitely a couple of quilt ideas buzzing around in my head.

The other colourful delight in store is Regent Street Lawns.

Moda-Regent-London-5

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Motifsbyhand

I am so excited about this fabric … it is lawn and it looks and feels just like a Liberty!! I couldn’t wait to get started.

Regent St Quilt - 1 Regent St Quilt - 2

Here’s wishing you lots of colour in 2015. Thank you for dropping by.

Jacqueline

This afternoon …

This may be my last peaceful weekend before holiday season, so I indulged in some studio time. Some singing and jigging along with some favourite music DVDs and this …

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I had fun, and am pretty pleased with the outcome. I wish I had stuck to my original plan to keep all borders on blocks to a single colour as that would have looked better on the busier sashing/background.

Now, what fabrics shall I test this pattern idea with next?

Thank you for dropping by. Take care.
Jacqueline

Run, don’t walk …

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Quickly, hurry across to take a look at the latest blogpost from Petra Prins over at:
http://petraprins.blogspot.com.au

Then go here:
<a href="https://www.etsy.com/listing/206092562/dutch-heritage-arabesque-ecru?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/206104575/dutch-heritage-arabesque-light-grey?ref=shop_home_active_4&ga_search_query=Arabesque

https://www.etsy.com/listing/206092634/dutch-heritage-arabesque-tea?ref=shop_home_active_2&ga_search_query=Arabesque

https://www.etsy.com/listing/206104597/dutch-heritage-arabesque-light-teal?ref=shop_home_active_3&ga_search_query=Arabesque

Beating Around …

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Again … it’s been a long time between posts. I do think about posting a lot, but just run out of time.  Life gets in the way – lots of work, lots of family, a bit of entertaining and socialising, a bit of helping out here and there, a couple of mini trips away from home ….

Have you ever heard about the Beating Around the Bush Convention?

It is a wonderful week of needlework heaven, held in Adelaide every second year, and organised by the girls from Country Bumpkin … yes, the same group of people who bring us the wonderful Inspirations magazine and the A-Z guides.  I went to my first convention in 2012. I booked in for just two days of classes, but by midday on day one I was in a queue to book for any classes that were still available for the rest of the week! Amazing teachers, beautiful designs and a very large group of fellow students who were just all having the best time ever! Heaven!

I did some familiar work – lovely counted thread/sampler work etuis with Betsy Ross – and then moved on to some new techniques – learning some Turkish ethnic stitches with Alison Snepp and a little crewel with Hazel Blomkampf.

My daughter and I watched and waited for the catalogue for BATB 2014, and were ready to pounce on the booking website when it opened to be sure to get our first choices…to be honest, choices two and three would have been just as good. Take a look at the class selections:

http://countrybumpkin.com.au/webletters/batb/BATB_2014.pdf

This year I did classes with Deborah Love (Schwalm whitework), Hazel Blomkampf (crewel using silks and beads) and Margaret Light (a beautiful whitework stomacher) … and had every bit as much fun and enjoyed every class!  Check out the following link for more reflections on BATB 2014.

https://inspirationsmagazine.com.au/reflecting-on-beating-around-the-bush-2014/

So, make a note to keep an eye out for the next Beating Around the Bush Convention. I congratulate the organisers for convening some of the world’s experts who also happen to be the best teachers I have experienced and just the nicest people …. and some of them the “funnest” ladies!! The venue cannot be faulted … spacious and light, with generous common areas and excellent, generous catering.

I would love to be able to show off my work … but my camera is not here and I have not downloaded my photos.  What a very bad blog-host I am!!

Here is some eye candy from the shop – www.motifbyhand.com

M13680 18 M1368312 Rue Indienne - Romani Bleu Rue Indienne 3Retro Orchard - FQ 1 September Blue FQ 6FlyAwayPER-39-0480 - Sampler 1749PER-21168 - Sampler 1852 - 2 TG 450 - Amsterdam TG 480 - Sydney

SO, hope to see you at BATB 2016 … I will be the one sitting in a corner stitching madly to complete my projects from 2014!!

I appreciate your time. Take care!

Jacqueline

A Competition – You have to be in it to win it!

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I have had a lovely few hours of stitching time this past weekend.  It is good to get back to my latest work in progress …

Current work in progress - coming along slowly.

Current work in progress – coming along slowly.

The photograph does not show the delicate colours very nicely, but you get the idea. It is actually laid out on the doona on the guest room bed which may have inspired a plan for the background of my quilt.

My other handwork achievement for this weekend was a lovely piece of applique. While working on this I had happy memories of my weekend of stitching with Carolyn Konig at her Winter Wonderland classes. Again, my photography was done quickly today so the colours are over exposed.  They are strong and rich in real life. Next I have to make the border of hand pieced stars.  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Carolyn’s shop and classroom is so light and airy and comfortable, and the classes are conducted around an enormous wooden table.  Carolyn is inspiring … as a look at her awesome book will reveal …

Designs from Carolyn Konig's book - Creating Heirlooms

Designs from Carolyn Konig’s book – Creating Heirlooms   www.motifbyhand.com

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Carolyn is a generous teacher with lots of wisdom and experience to share. I especially appreciate her quest for perfection in everything she does, and admire her boundless energy.

I have just moved house again … move number 20 in 33 years of marriage, and that is not counting a few moves in and out of apartments for temporary relocations and the coast house. While some have been better than others, none have been easy. On the plus side, the new house has a nice studio space and office for my fabric retail business which is coming together nicely. With new stock arriving regularly, I look forward to opening for personal visits during select hours or by appointment in the near future.

Shamelessly, I will take that very loose segway … talking of the future, Christmas is not that far away. I have been on searching for a Christmas fabric range to stock. I had nothing specific in mind; just looking for a range of designs and colours that appealed. This is what I have decided on:

A Merry Little Christmas by Zoe Pearn

A Merry Little Christmas by Zoe Pearn

Would you like to win a Layer Cake (42 10″ x 10″ squares) of this fabric range –  just send me a comment answering the question below:

What will you be sewing for Christmas this year …  a quilt, Santa sacks, stockings, Advent calendar, Christmas napkins, placemats, table runners, wine bottle bags, gift bags, pincushions, pillowcases, cushion covers, totes, wall hangings, ornaments, decorations, aprons, a dress for a little girl, pyjamas for a little boy?

Winner will be announced next weekend. I will post to anywhere for a good answer!

Thanks for dropping in. Please do take the time to visit my shops: www.motifbyhand.com   or    www.etsy.com/shop/Motifsbyhand

Take care and happy stitches.

A Mid-Year Resolution

I solemnly promise that I will never again finish a quilt top and not also complete the backing and binding.

I really do! Seriously …..

I have just spent two whole days rummaging / selecting / measuring / cussing / considering / cutting / sewing / hemming and hawing / etc.

I have sixteen … yes 16! six + ten … quilt tops which I have decided need to be sent off to a professional machine quilter for finishing. Oh, I did have high-falluting plans to quilt myself. In the beginning, I even intended hand quilting all of my quilts but, quickly, reality set in. There is just too, too much yumdiferous fabric, too many wonderful quilt patterns, too many ideas swirling around in my head.

So, let’s take charge. As my husband keeps reminding me…I can have anything I want, I just cannot have everything. Some quilts I really want to hand quilt. I want to make just so many, many quilts designs. Some I just want finished! So, I have sorted through my pile and selected three that I want to handquilt. Maybe one will be utility quilted; this is such good fun and so gratifying. Claytons quilting to the purists, but it is all about making lovely even stitches to add texture to the quilt isn’t it?

That leaves thirteen quilts for the machine quilter. Oh dear, this is going to be very expensive! Some of these quilts I do not love. But they all have some redeeming features. They all deserve to be finished and used and snuggled with.

Such a lot of fabric is used in the backing. This is a whole other area of creative opportunity, with more freedom that the quilt top. I enjoyed the sort of off-the-wall approach and pieced and patched to make up the acreage required. I have to admit that there are one or two quilts that, I suspect, will have backings that I have a special fondness for.

I am sorry that I did not take any photographs of this long, untidy and gut wrenching process. I promise to give you a gallery of completed quilts in the not too distant future though. For your viewing pleasure, I do offer the following eye candy:

CPF - Ziggy 1056 03 CPF - Ziggy 1056 02 CPF - Ziggy 1056 01 CPF - Bubble 1057-02

CPF - Bubble 1057-01  CPF - Bubble 1057-03  Rue Indienne Mill Book Series 1852 Heart's Content

Going with the flow.

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Life does get in the way sometimes.  I have so many ideas, so many plans buzzing around my mind but so many other things seems to prevent them coming to fruition.  Thank heavens it is all good stuff so my frustration is tempered and without regret.

Take this morning for example …. I had the best of intentions for a productive day of chores interspersed with some stitching and playing with fabrics in my workroom.  What happened?  A luxurious sleep-in and a delightful two-hour Facetime chat with my three grandchildren, daughter and favourite son-in-law (my only one but he likes the chuck-up!) took me through to lunch. But I have been industrious this afternoon and have checked a few tasks off the list, including one biggie that I have been putting off.

I am going to give you a glimpse of the new pattern I am working on at the moment.  This is what I wanted to spend more time doing:

Daisy Chain

Daisy Chain

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English paper piecing over thimbles and squares to make rings.  Aren’t the Tilda fabrics so soft and pretty.  They are very gentle and mellow palette that make me smile as I sit and stitch.  I am also smiling because this is coming together very quickly so I am seeing the pattern of interlocking rings come together in just a few hours of work.  I have actually moved on and have just about completed the rings and am pulling together my ideas for the applique centre.

These delicate colours are a contrast to my current rug hooking project.  I decided to try using monk’s cloth for this one and have to admit that I am finding it less enjoyable than using linen as the ground fabric.  However, my grandson and I are having fun with this design … I will leave it to you to identify his contribution! Now tell me, do you see two dinosaurs? Silly me, I thought I was hooking up two crows!!

Silly Nonna thinks these are crows!

Silly Nonna thinks these are crows!

A variety of new things in the shops:

Dutch Heritage by Petra Prins

Dutch Heritage by Petra Prins

Dutch Heritage by Petra Prins

Dutch Heritage by Petra Prins

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And lots of MODA additions.  Jelly rolls, layer cakes and fat quarter bundle have been very popular.  Yardage is on it’s way:

Atelier Community Grant Park Heart's Content Mill Book Series 1852 Rue Indienne

And, of course, the range of TILDA fabrics is growing all the time.

Please visit the shops:

http://www.motifbyhand.com

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Motifsbyhand

Thank you for visiting.  I hope all your stuff has been good stuff … no regrets!

Take care.

Jacqueline

Have you considered hooking?

I spent far too long trying to come up with a clever title for this post, using the word “hooker”. In the end I decided to spare you from any of the lame ideas and just get on with writing.  Have you ever considered hooking, rug hooking that is? I have long been drawn to the appearance of hooked rugs. And I just want to touch! Like quilts, there are patterns, styles, colours and techniques to suit all tastes.

Several years ago, while visiting the US, I arranged to have a couple of classes. I expected that it would give me a bit of an introduction and that I would come away tantalised and wanting more.  But, this is the thing … Rug hooking is so easy!  Put the hook into the hole, scoop up the fabric (usually wool) strip and pull it through to the top.  The trick is to get all of your loops on top to be an even height and this is not difficult.  I very quickly settled into a rhythm and was hooking and talking and looking around!

Have you ever considered giving it a try?  Just take a look on Pinterest to see the scope of what can be done with this simple craft.

With winter coming on here in Australia, I am looking forward to getting the hook and hoop out and making some more cushions and then tackling a bigger project like a floor rug.  And it looks like I will be in good company, there a several newly released books on rug hooking, including a terrific guide from Polly Minick.  Polly and her sister (Minick and Simpson) have a distinctive fresh take on a retro look and often present hooked rugs with matching quilts.  I like the look of quilts with the rugs.

http://www.motifbyhand.com/store/p242/Basics_of_Rug_Hooking_by_Polly_Minick.html

https://www.etsy.com/listing/188370895/basics-of-rug-hooking-book-dvd-polly

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So, do yourself a favour and try doing a Google search on rug hooking.  You will find some very good instructions for beginners with great pictures, as well as lots of inspiration to tempt you to try hooking.  I am noticing the steady growth in interest in this traditional craftand wonder how far it will go.

For Australian rug hookers:;

http://www.rughookingaustralia.com.au/

http://www.rugcraftingaustralia.com.au/australian-rugmakers-guild/

I am awaiting the imminent arrival of a selection of kits which are designed (and priced) with beginners in mind so, if your appetite has been whetted,  please keep an eye on the shops:

http://www.motifbyhand.com

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Motifsbyhand

Thank you for visiting.  I very much appreciate your interest and encouragement.

Happy hooking!

J.