Not the perfect match

Jenny and I were delighted to see the February issue of Australia’s “Homespun” magazine in the shop this week.  It is always a good read, with lots of projects to do and plenty of articles about patchwork and sewing plus great advertisements  to drool over.

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Several of our customers had mentioned that they were going to be selling the Homespun Block of the Month “China Blue” in their patchwork shops, and some had mentioned they would like some suitable Aurifil thread packs that would also work with the fabrics.

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We knew that Kathy Doughty (from Material Obsession), one of the designers of this block of the month  was an Aurifil stockist, and we noted that Kathy recommends, in the materials list, Aurifil 50 in a neutral colour like 2900.

This got us thinking.  What other colours could we use to make up a small pack of threads for this amazing BOM and to go with the fabulous Kaffe Fassett  fabrics?   Always Quilting has a small range of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, so we selected a few, and matched them up with our thread selection.  This was a very difficult task as Aurifil has 270 colours to choose from!!

My spool of Aurifil Ne 50 in  colour 2900

My spool of Aurifil Ne 50 in colour 2900 looks good

2564 works well with these assorted mauves

2564 works well with these assorted mauves

We also realised that you don’t need the perfect colour match for your applique.

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The citrus  fabric colours can be appliqued with a soft green/grey or even a soft blush pink

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Although Kathy has recommended 2900 for this first part of China Blue,  you may be interested in these other colours as well:  2564, 2846, 6724, 6727, 6723 (the last three numbers are part of the gorgeous new colours available in the Aurifil range).

Our selection of threads

Our selection of threads

We will be looking forward to seeing what the coming months bring us with this exciting BOM from Homespun, designed by the fabulous Kaffe Fassett and Kathy Doughty (and the design team from Material Obsession).

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Sewing holiday

I’ve been away over January.  I wonder if you can guess where  from the photos?
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Is it an English Country Garden?005
I think not – given the time of the year and the season!

Perhaps it is another country with this magnificent gum tree in flower?
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Or maybe it is a tropical island?
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No – none of the above. I attended the New Zealand Quilt Symposium Manawatu held in Palmerston North.146

I had a wonderful time and was able to do a two day classes with Karen Stone from the USA in “Clam Session – the decorative one-patch”.  Just so much fun and so many inspirational ideas to go away with.

Part of Karen’s quilt:

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and the colour combination of fabrics I worked on:

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A long way to go with this quilt!
I also had a workshop for two days with Adrienne Walker of New Zealand called “Wind Fall” making an autumnal wall quilt.

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and my leaf being constructed under machine.  It was a very steep learning curve!
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I loved the week I spent at the Symposium, and next month I’ll ‘bore’ you with more photos from my time away and perhaps some photos of my “works in progress”.

Well done to the amazing Manawatu Symposium committee – all volunteers – who work extremely hard and so ‘professionally’ to make the symposium so successful.

Not long now

I’m looking at my calendar and counting down how many sleeps until Christmas. In other words, how much time I have got left to do all the pre-Christmas things that need doing and my list is getting longer.

I have managed to complete one project, a Christmas tree ‘skirt’ for a family member who hasn’t seen the finished item yet – and as she doesn’t read this blog, I am fairly safe it will be a surprise when I give it to her.

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I looked and looked for a suitable pattern, and was thrilled to find a whole book with beautiful Christmas things to make.

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I wanted a modern look, and this design suits my criteria – colourful, modern and relatively quick to do.

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I had to add a slight change to the pattern, as I stupidly cut the centre hole far too big.  Memo to self:  read measurements twice before cutting! I cut the circle out of the centre twice the width it was supposed to be (measured out 7 inches on both sides of centre inside – darn!). Of course I had started to scissor cut the circle when I realised. So my design has an extra ‘garland’ to match the outer one.  I guess that makes the pattern more original!!

Naturally some AURFIL thread was used in the construction and quilting. I had the right colour for the buttonhole stitch in Ne 28, and used the Ne 40 in red and soft aqua in the quilting.

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I bought some pretty reindeer fabric for the backing

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and a chevron striped binding worked too.

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Happy Christmas to everyone – just one week to go…

062PS  Our shop, “Always Thread” is closing from the 19 December 2014 until 5 January 2015.

Oh dear, it comes around again.

Yes, the shops are starting to fill up with Christmas decorations, the catalogues are full of gift suggestions, and my calendar is filling up with end of year celebrations. I know I should be very happy to get so many invitations out  and have people to buy gifts for – but IT HAS COME AROUND TOO QUICKLY!!!!!!
Looking in the Always Quilting shop I discovered some ideas for Kris Kringles or gift making. Re the latter – I had better get sewing quickly if I want to make a quilt! but some of the other ideas are done much quicker – or don’t involve any sewing at all.
My ideas list:

A “quick” cushion??

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Perhaps a table runner – or one table mat??
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A Christmas Stocking??IMG_0006
For those with more time on their hands than me, a lovely Christmas quilt
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Can always give a card (for someone else to make!)
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For a special friend, a collection of thread??IMG_0011
A quilt label??IMG_0013
And always appreciated – more Christmas fabric and some gorgeous Brillo thread!!IMG_0008

You can check out the Always Quilting online store for more ideas. I hope you can find something special for your gift buying.

Under the big top

Recently I went away with 49 other patchworkers from my guild to a “Retreat”.  I don’t know how the name was chosen originally, as it certainly isn’t a time for quiet contemplation!  It’s a time for enjoying sewing, and eating meals none of us have to prepare, and making merry (in a very contained sort of way!!).  Our club choses a venue only a few hours away from where most of us live in the  Victorian countryside.  We were very lucky this year with beautiful blue skies and warm sunny days.

Retreat WP 2014 Neerim East

This year the theme for the weekend was “Under the Big Top”. The organising committee cleverly works with this theme in the goody bags we each receive on arrival, entertainment and  the Saturday night ‘ dress up ‘.  There was  an amazing variety of costumes – with lions, strong men, clowns, popcorn sellers, fairy floss fairies, ring masters and even a bearded lady and a sword thrower’s assistant putting in an appearance.  (No photos here – too incriminating I think!).

Many make great use of the time away from other commitments to sew from morning to night – either by hand or by machine.

Beautiful hand embroidery

Beautiful hand embroidery

Some enjoy the walks in the natural surrounds or relax with a magazine or some chat instead of “working”.  It is always interesting to see what everyone has chosen to bring along – some complete a quilt in a weekend, while others work on several projects.

Naturally I found someone using Aurifil !!

Naturally I found someone using Aurifil !!

Japanese case for glasses or rotary cutter

Val’s Japanese case for glasses or rotary cutter

Allison quietly sewing low contrast quilt blocks

Allison quietly (and accurately) sewing low contrast quilt blocks

Beautiful machine applique on a William Morris design from Belinda

Beautiful machine applique on a William Morris design from Belinda

Wendy starting a new project with hand applique

Wendy starting a new project with hand applique

Jeanette's beautiful appliqued borders for a new quilt

Jeanette’s stunning appliqued borders for a new quilt

The “Retreats” have been an annual event for our club for many, many years, and each year the organising committee manages to make our time away even more memorable.    I think everyone came home slightly tired, but in a good sort of way – enjoying the time shared with friends old or new.

 

Bits and Bobs or Dis and Dat

I haven’t got any major projects to ‘flaunt’ this blog post.  Just chipping away at all the things I should be finishing and the list grows.  I have to report that I have finished my 21st Century Round Robin Modern Quilt borders.

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I was undecided on what to do with the borders – to bag them out – or put a traditional border in various colours matching the  quilt.  In the end I went with a two colour border, and I ‘m very happy with it.   Looking at the photo, it seems to show the border is slightly wobbly – it isn’t! and that it varies in width – it doesn’t!!

The next project I have finished, is one for my patchwork guild’s ‘art quilt group’.  One of our clever members Marion, demonstrated how to monotype print.  It was the first time I had done anything like this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Such luck if you managed to get something looking good!! You had no control over what the end product would be – though with time, and experience this would not be the case.    We were asked to make something with our samples – and here is my result using two prints and some of my hand dyed fabrics. I have ’embellished’ them with straight line quilting or crosses  in Ne 12.

Monotype Printing

Threads Monotype printing

Finally, I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Amanda Daly, a patchwork tutor from New South Wales.  We spent a weekend making “Ocean Jewels”.  It was relaxed fun class and some speedy sewers managed to get theirs nearly completed in the weekend. However, I am still to put mine together – but will enjoy working on it slowly.   It is a bit like a puzzle – some components need to be  placed together to make up the final wall quilt.

"Folded" square

“Folded” square

 

Another  - just like the other!

Another – just like the other!

Strip Side Bar

‘Seaweed strips” and side stripe bar

Oh for some more hours in the day – and time just to sew!

Quilting the 21st C Round Robin

Further to my post on 25 July 2014, about the Round Robin blocks we organised at Always Quilting, I had lots of fun quilting my “Modern Quilt”.
threads I need to tick it off the list of things to do – as I know that the year is racing along and it has to be completed as soon as I can.  The pile of other projects to be completed is increasing rather than decreasing, and I find if I can get a small project quilted I feel a sense of accomplishment.

More quilting

After looking at this little quilt for ages, I decided to machine quilt wavy lines, and then circles in certain areas to mimic the pattern already there.

Yellow thread

The machining was done with the wonderful Ne 40 – in matching colours to the fabrics  1148,1135,4250(a variegated) and 2525.

quilted circles

I found Aurifil has a gorgeous variegated gold (3920) in the colours I wanted. The  more subtle change of the Ne 12 which I used for all the  hand quilting  was just perfect.

Quilting Thread

Now all I have to do is put a binding on the quilt – that is the next decision to be made – will I do a traditional binding  ??or one that is less obvious??  I call it ‘bagging the quilt out I don’t know the ‘correct’ term – but it means the binding is not obvious  on the front – more like a facing used in dressmaking.  So – still a little bit more work before I can display it properly!

 

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