A beautiful present.

Another gold package arrived in the mail.

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I know this is from friend Pammy.  I have kept all the gold envelopes that have come in the mail over the years and now have quite a collection.

Inside a beautiful hand drawn card.

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I think I will frame this one.  And the wrapping paper is hand printed.  It is also now all ironed and rolled onto a cylinder for future use.

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And an antique embroidered piece from India.

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It is the front of a child's dress.  Shiska mirror work and lots of other stitches.

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What I at first thought were buttons are actually little tassels that have felted up.

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The stitching of the front opening is interesting and isn't perfect. But that adds to the charm.

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It is actually stitched through 2 layers of fabric.  The top layer looks like silk, but it might be a good quality rayon and the backing is a printed cotton.

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The back of the embroidery is interesting as well.

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Isn't it just .... I can't think of the right word.  Mouthwatering, Wonderful, out of this world, too much. Just, just...

Thank you old friend.



A little every day is keeping the wheels turning.

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I should really read all the instructions CAREFULLY  before I begin a project.  That lettering is stitched over 1 thread.  I am going cross eyed trying to see it and maintaining a good tension for this section is challenging.  It has become so difficult that I am only able to stitch one length of thread a day on this section.  Still I can enjoy the rest of the stitching.

I have also completed all the 1/2 square triangles and the flying geese pieces for the 12 blocks of the Crown Quilt.  Another thing I didn't think of was shashing for the blocks. Hmmm.

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Progress report on the Phillipa Naylor on-line class.

I was introduced to Phillipa's work at the 2017 Houston Quilt Festival where she had won the "Miniture Quilt" category of that years show.  It was a beautiful piece and the precision of the sewing blew me away.

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When I saw an advertisement for an on-line class I knew I wanted to do it.  I also knew she had a background in the fashion industry and the skills learnt there would be invaluable.  (When I did my training as a Buyer one of the places my Company placed me was in their garment design and manufacturing business.  Becoming a  seamstress was not something that was seen as a great career so I would have not gone here of my own accord.  But, what I learnt from those wonderful women has stayed with me for the rest of my life.)

One of the things I believe is that you should always 'keep learning' even if you think you know a subject well, there is always someone who looks at it a different way, or has another experience  of the topic.   I am only a few lessons into this course and that belief is being shown to be well founded.

The one area I am inconsistent in my skills is precision.  Some times I hit it, sometimes I just miss.  It drives me up the wall.  So, this unit on precision quilting is testing me but Phillipa has all the moves.  The project is a crown block with lots of points and different angles.  ( I didn't see that at first.)

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What I saw was, here is a chance to use up some of my fabrics.  Maybe I could use this design to make one of those quilts on my to do list.  I rushed on to see what fabrics I had and sure enough there was enough for a quilt, bar about 20 centimetres of the white.  (which I had no trouble buying.)  Notice I missed the batting, backing and binding.  I'm hoping they will be in my stash.

The design called for a feature fabric for the centre, and medium, light and dark fabrics.

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The quilts I wanted to make this year for charity were for children, hence the cats.  I have now finished the cutting out, enough for 12 blocks.  (The tips given for this task were very helpful.)

I am now in the process of finishing the 1/2 triangle blocks.  There were two very good tips given here.

Use a leader strip before you start stitching.  This works a treat. Lovely even stitching and the machine doesn't eat the fabric. Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 4.23.51 pm

Use either side of your 1/4" foot when chaining.  Why didn't I think of that?

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I can highly recommend this class.

New Book and Recycling Project

As I have mentioned before, I greatly admire the work of Kate Davies at KDD& Co  

and have recently purchased her new book Wheesht.  ( If you follow this link you can read Kates' overview of each chapter.)

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It is about creativity, but not what you would normally expect from a book about this topic.  The content here is more 'thought provoking' rather than 'how to'.  I believe that it will take me quite a long time to get through every chapter and do the writting justice by considering the content and pondering what this could mean for me.  Even then, in light of what I have read in Chapter 1, this process may cause changes in my practise that could be on going.

To illustrate, Chapter 1 is concerned with darning.  It was my grandmother's darning samples that she did when she was 7 or 8 years old that got me interested in embroidery to begin with, so my attention was peaked.  I don't do a lot of darning, winter is short here and I tend to live by the saying "a stitch in time saves 9. " So when it came to the task for this chapter I couldn't think how I would do anything.  But the chapter also made me think why I have nothing to darn and I realised that although winter is short, and that is a valid reason, I also put my clothes in the Charity bin and buy new ones because the replacement cost is so cheap. Another reason is I don't like the look of repaired clothes.  That led to the question "why don't I like the look of repaired clothes? "   I'm a bit shame faced to say that the answer was "what will people think of me".  (I'm still pondering this one.)

Then I considered just what did I have to be repaired?  An old quilt.

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I made this back in the 1980's before we had patchwork shops here.  It is all made from cotton dress fabrics of different weights.  It have been washed so many times the fabric is very soft and lovely to have against your skin.  This is the quilt my husband always pulls out when he needs a quilt.

But the use of dress fabrics has led to so some of the seams coming apart.  Not only coming apart but fraying so badly it can't be resewn without some major work.

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The answer is to patch it.  I love those Boro garments that are patched and darned with Shashiko stitching, my solution isn't nearly as elegant but I unpicked the binding and trimmed that flaying before adding the patch.

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As I had made this quilt so long ago I couldn't find the original quilting thread or anything like it.  So I settled for my "spagetti thread" , which is a bit heavier than what I used originally.

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I then replicated the quilting pattern I used originally, with a few adjustments, and patched that seam.

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I know other sections are going to fray like this so this will be an on going project.  I am going to count this piece as my Recycling Project for this month.  I wonder what Chapter 2 will produce?

The birdbath

I finally got my birdbath.  It has taken ages to get here and this is it's second column,  my husband dropped and broke the first one.  It is very solid but I kept the old one as well because it is so dry here.

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The little bird should sit on the edges, but he kept being attacked so now he sits in the tree.