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June 2012

playful stitches

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Last week I started playing around with some of the embroidery stitches on my sewing machine.  It has only taken me three and a half years to get around to doing so.  I bought my machine - a pfaff quilt expression 4.0 - primarily for quilting purposes but the pretty possibilities offered by the 150 enticing machine embroidery stitches also are what lured me in its direction.  

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I'm having a lovely time sat here at my machine today just playing around and seeing what's on offer - tortoises, houses and broccoli-esque trees amongst others.

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A few things I've learned -

1.  You can use ordinary quilting cotton as long as you iron interfacing to the back for fairly decent results.  However I find some stitches give fairly inconsistent results (see tortoises with fairly squashed backsides above).  I found some thicker cotton fabric in my scrap stash which is almost canvas like in texture and I found this gave fine results for all stitches (I still ironed interfacing to the back of this too).

2.  Go Slow!  I've found it better to go at a more leisurely pace to get good results, taking around 1-2 minutes to completes a row of stitches roughly 7" in length.

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3.  I've been using 12 weight Aurifil thread for my top thread with a 30 weight for the bobbin.  The 12 wt is a wool/acrylic mix and gives a much prettier homespun-y look than using cotton thread.

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OK, back to the machine - the cat shaped stitches are calling my name :)


So much stuff!!!

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Bloom quilt in progress by Charlotte

If there is one thing better than being a fabric and pattern designer it has to be seeing all the wonderfulness created by others with those fabrics and patterns.  The images for todays post are all taken from my Flickr group (where you can upload images of anything made from by designs or tutorials).  Today's pictures showcase just a fraction of the talent within the group, seriously I am in AWE. 

(Please click on the maker's name under each pic to take you to the picture and more details on flickr)

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Bloom WIP by Jeni

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Finished Bloom quilt by Julie - I love the addition of the dresden corners on this one :)

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Bloom in progress by Kelly

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Crackle quilt by Angela

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Wallet by Verryberryhandmade

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Doll by Amy

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Little apples dress by Jenniekill

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Little apples ice cream dress by The Good Enough Mother

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Pincushion by Sotak Handmade

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Bus from London embroidery pattern by Hadley

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Zakka style sewing pouch by Monkey Patch

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Swoonish pillow by Crystal

Lots more yummies to see in the group :)  


vintage holiday quilt top done!

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Hello Monday morning!  I have a little picture fest for you today.  I managed to complete my Vintage Holiday quilt top on Friday afternoon and snapped a few pics in the girls bedroom.  I pretty much stuck to the same colour placements as Camille used in her original quilt as luckily the colours for both the Vintage Modern and Cherry Christmas lines are very similar.

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I rarely do sashing from prints or borders so this pattern was a good excercise in branching out of my auto pilot tendencies.  I used the grey Wreaths print to sash and red Presents for the border.  The white is bella solid in white bleached.

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This morning so far, I have pieced together a batting from two large pieces, moved the furniture about to make space for basting and pinned all the layers together.

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Now with the sofa moved back to its usual spot, I have begun the quilting but stopped a third of the way through to write this blog post :)  Hopefully two more hours should do it.

I love the process of basting and quilting but I do get to that saturation point in a few short hours where I've had enough.  The trick is to push ahead and get the hard work done before I get there.  Talking of which, better get back to it.


vintage summer holiday

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Outside the sun is shining and it's feeling decidedly summery.  Meanwhile, I have decided to have a holiday from summer and spend a little of it in winter (fabrically speaking) with the help of my Cherry Christmas prints.

I loved Camille's Vintage Holiday quilt pattern when she showed it at the end of last year and as soon as I got my fabric I knew that this would have to be the first quilt I made from it.  So I purchased the pattern two days ago and right now I am almost 12 bauble blocks down.  Block one - above - is my current favourite but that changes every minute or two so actually means very little.

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I had fun pretending to be all jolly and merry and ho-ho-ho whilst stitching these, each block looks so different yet they are so simple to put together.

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Each one comes with that dah dah dah daaaahhhh!!!! moment when the finished fabric bauble is revealed.

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Here's an action shot from my sofa right now.  I'm planning a few Chrissy quilts this year so I guess I'd better stop rambling and get back to the stitching.


The ones that got away

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Working on new fabric colours today, I pulled out a few of the strike offs of rejected colorways from 'A Walk In The Woods' and thought you might be interested in looking at them too.  It's interesting to think how different a collection can look re-coloured and how differently it could have been percieved if I'd released it this way.  Above are mostly warm colours, browns and darker pinks (including super girly foxes on pink).

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And here are more brown versions with a few olives and a different version of the blue colourway.

I kind of like that they are darker and more intriguing than the chosen colours, in line with the tale itself.  But I feel we went along the right lines with the more nursery friendly colours of the final shades.

But what do you think??????  Do you like the idea of stranger and less obvious shades in fabric or do you like to play it safe???  Do you think of colours in terms of seasons or do find you buy the same shades year round?

I'm looking at colours for new fabric today so any input will help me greatly :)


Cherry Christmas!!!!!!!

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Fancy a closer look at my new line Cherry Christmas???  Well here we go :)

This one is my first holiday line for Moda, more than Chrismas itself this line celebrates the run up to the big day and all the anticipation that it brings.  I don't know about you but in my house this is when plain old boring t-shirts are replaced by Santa ones, the socks start getting stripy, my mugs, tea towels and oven gloves are all replaced with special holiday ones I only use at this time of the year.  We also have Christmas books and Christmas domino's and Christmas anything else that any designer has ever dreamed up in the holiday part of their imagination.

The road to this collection has been a long and windy one that began almost three years ago here.  For this line, those original sketches have been tweaked and tweaked until I got exactly the colourful, fun and modern look at Christmas througn the medium of fabric I was after.

But enough talk, here are the pics!

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So what do you think? I would love love love to know! Will you be shopping for a few cherries this Christmas!!!  (remember not long to go now because it's out in July :))))))


I taught a class!

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Yesterday I did my first ever teaching stint at the Fat Quarterly retreat in London.  I've been very nervous over the last few days but calmed myself down with the knowledge that I know I can talk about embroidery for hours barely drawing breath.  I taught the group my Cherry Merry Robin pattern and you can see some of the finished pieces by my students in the photo above.

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I needn't have worried at all because I was lucky enough to have a class full of enthusiastic and talented ladies attending.  You can see two of my happy campers above beaming with pride at their stitched up robins.

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It was lovely to see so many people completely engrossed in their stitching, just the best way to spend an afternoon.

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Sadly, for now time will not allow me to add teaching to my repertoire but now that I've given it a go I hope that sometime in the future I can try it again.