Archive for July, 2009

Well July with coming to a close, it’s almost time for my Morris Workshop fabric giveaway to come to a close.  But, if you haven’t signed up, you have until the end of the day on August 2nd to submit your entry (see below).   I’ve loved reading everyone’s ideas for using the fabric!   And, I admit it!  I’m gleening inspiration from all your suggestions.

The Morris Workshop fabrics (on the bolt) made their way to many stores this past week, and from what people have told me…it’s flying off the shelves.  These fabrics are so beautiful that they would work in just about any project.  But, if you are short on inspiration there are several books and patterns that can help you out….many of which I’ve talked about in earlier posts.  But, specifically…check out Michelle Hill’s book entitled William Morris in Applique (www.amazon.com/William-Morris-Applique-Stunning-Individual/dp/1571207945), or Barbara Brackmans patterns (www.pickledishstore.com/categories.php?CID=57).

I am between applique projects at the moment (except, er….a couple of those unfinished projects that I should work on), so I’m trying to figure out what direction I’m going to go in for the next quilt.   To get inspired, I often look around to see what’s out there and I’ve noticed recently that there are a lot of free patterns being offered by designers. 

Farmers' Market by Pat Sloan

Farmers' Market by Pat Sloan

It seems that everyone is well aware of the block of the month pattern that you can download from the Bunny Hill Designs website.  (If you are one of the few that haven’t heard of it…check it out on her website at bunnyhilldesigns.com.  Just look under the tap marked “free patterns”.) For inspiration on how color choices really change a quilt, take a look at her flickr group that shows pictures of completed blocks from all over the world.  A particular favorite of mine are the blocks being stitched up by the maven on the Happy Zombie website (www.happyzombie.com).   It will take a little digging to see the blocks she’s put together…but, it’s worth it.  Monica truly is a  happy zombie with a terrific sense of humor that will have you chuckling out loud.

A free pattern that I didn’t know about until recently was one being offered by Pat Sloan called the Farmers’ Market Quilt (shown above).  Pat has given me permission to show a picture of her quilt with one request.  If any of you out there feel so inspired as to make this quilt…she’d love to see a picture of it.  For  a complete set of all the applique block patterns along with border instructions go to patsloan.typepad.com/quiltershome/farmers-market-blocks.html .

Now before you all go away happily and feel that you’ll never buy another pattern…remember that pattern designers are dependent on our purchasing their patterns for their livelihood.  In this tough economy we all are tempted to just photocopy and share purchased patterns without thought of the impact of infringements.   But, if we want these folks to continue their good work, we’re going to have to give them an incentive.

And I will now step down from my soapbox.



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summer berries 2

Summer Berries by French General

As (promised/threatened…you pick) a couple of posts ago, here is a picture of my latest assembled French General bracelet kit.  Isn’t it pretty…and my favorite pinky red color! 

 Originally the necklace from the July offering of the Une, Deux, Trois club…I easily made it into a bracelet, and now  I have enough extra chain to venture out into bracelet making on my own.   With the help of Kaari’s book, French Inspired Jewelry, I feel uber prepared for whatever vintage bead or charm comes my way.

My mother was c-r-a-z-y for jewelry.  So much so that she worked for Sarah Coventry as a door-to-door sales person when I was in grade school.  She was convinced that the only way she could really sell an item was to have one herself.  (I know…now who does that sound like???)   And, she was always modifying things…adding bits, removing offending baubs…so that she could have it just the way she wanted.  When she passed away a few years ago, I inherited her jewelry box…or should I say jewelry crate.  This box is huge by anyone’s standard; a full 36 inches wide!  But, I’m learning to appreciate its vast contents of 1930s – 1960s costume pieces and parts for their potential in my own jewelry making.  So, thanks to Mom and Kaari for my latest indulgence.

61eOyxm3WpL._SL500_AA240_If you’d like to begin your own jewelry renaissance, then may I suggest looking at Kaari’s book.    Even if you never make a single earring, you’ll love looking at the pictures.  There are dozens of easy projects to make from vintage and vintage-inspired beads (which you can then go on the hunt for).  The book is easily found on Kaari’s own website (www.frenchgeneral.com), Amazon, and your local book shop.  But, I’m warning you…you might just get hooked.

 I learned a couple of months ago that if you put the words “fabric giveaway” in the title of your post…you can get lots of hits.  So, I’m reminding folks that I still have an active giveaway for a layer cake of Barbara Brackman’s new Morris Workshop line by Moda.  (See my post dated July 18th).  So, if you’re interested in participating…you still have time.  I will collect responses through August 2nd.

Have a great weekend everyone.


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I find that one of the pains of coming home after having been away on vacation is having to sort through piles of junk mail and bills.  When I went on my vacation a few weeks back, I anticipated a similar task on my return.  But, much to my delight, I was also welcomed home by an unexpected present from Barbara Brackman.  Inside I found two layer cakes of Barbara’s new Morris Workshop line with a note telling me that I could keep one, but the other was for a giveaway on my blog.  WOW…big thanks to Barbara for her generosity!!!!!

In an earlier post I gave folks a preview of this new fabrics line inspired by the timeless designs by William Morris.  (https://penelopetucker.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/barbara-brackman-does-william-morris-again/)  Well, seeing the fabrics online did not prepare me for how beautifully printed this new line is.  Moda (www.unitednotions.com) must have pulled out all the stops on their printing process.  The greige goods are both lightweight and finely woven…and the printing is extremely well done.  Thanks to Moda and Barbara for doing it right!   

Moda's Morris Workshop designed by Barbara Brackman

Moda's Morris Workshop designed by Barbara Brackman

So, if you’re interested in throwing your needle into the ring for this group of 42-10″ squares (nearly 3 yards total) of  the Morris Workshop line, here are the rules.  

Leave a comment on my blog by August 2nd and tell what you would make with such a fine group of fabrics.   I will be posting the winner of this giveway on Monday, August 3rd…so, you have plenty of time to come up with something really clever. 


Encycloopedia of Applique by Barbara Brackman

Encyclopedia of Applique by Barbara Brackman

Not only have I have planned the deadline for this giveaway to coincide with the release of these amazing fabrics (so keep an eye out for them at your local quilt shops) and my birthday, but also the release of Barbara’s newly updated Encyclopedia of Applique published by C&T (www.ctpub.com/). 

A few years back I purchased a copy of this seminal reference book, and paid dearly for it because it was out of print and in great demand.   A companion to Barbara’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Pieced-Patterns-Barbara-Brackman/dp/0891458158), it was a “have-to-have” so it was worth it.  

With more than 2000 traditional and modern designs named, catalogued, organized, and dated, one would think that this book was for textile/quilt researchers only.  Well, not really…when you think that this is also an amazing resource for designers.  I’ve often referred to it to give me ideas for applique blocks I’m designing.  It also includes drawings of swags and other appliqued border treatments…so, I feel that it is a book that everyone who is a quilter should have in their home library.   As ever, if you are interested in finding a copy…see if your local quilt shop can order it for you.

Best of luck for those participating in the giveaway.

— Penny

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There…I said it!  My palms are sweaty, and I’m certain my blood pressure has gone up a few notches.  But, I *am* addicted to the jewelry kits produced by French General…heart and soul, or should I say heart and wrist. 

A few months ago I read a post on the Fig Tree blog talking about her visit to Kaari Meng’s shop (http://figtreequilts.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/08/french-general.html).  Innocently I followed along and went to the most amazing website (www.frenchgeneral.com) that I’ve seen for quite a while.  Beautiful photography, design, and inspiration abound…and it’s updated on a monthly basis, just to keep us coming back for more.   Did these folks major in marketing at Harvard or what!

doorstepSo, after having purchased a number of kits from both French General and Paula’s Kit Club (www.paulaskitclub.com) I recently talked my friend Pam into main-lining with me by sharing a membership in the Un, Deux, Trois club at French General.  What is that you say…well, it’s a monthly kit club where you get  limited-edition coordinated bracelet, necklace, and earring kits.  (Go to frenchgeneral.com and follow the drop down menu for more information and photos of past kits.)  And, when you think about it…the per unit cost of these kits is quite reasonable at an average cost of $16.66 each.  All designed by the fab Ms. Meng using a combination of vintage and vintage-inspired baubles.   And, since you never quite know what’s going to come your way it’s like getting a surprise gift each month.  It’s not a rationalization…really.

So, the plan is that we will share the cost and then rotate the kits.  One month I’d get the necklace and earrings and Pam the bracelet, and the next month flip.  Well, the first box arrived on my doorstep earlier today and I’m dying to break it open and inspect the goods.  (Did I mention that we agreed to only open the box when we are together!  ARGH…that’s really a test of my inner strength.)   So, here’s a picture of the *yet* unopened box.   I will post a picture of my completed project soon.  I just know that I am not going to be able to not make it up immediately.


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I know….I haven’t posted for awhile.  So my apologies.  I have been out and about on my summer vacation and just have been trying to catch up.  But, I have lots of things to show…so, hopefully I will get myself in gear and start posting all the things I think might be of interest.

A DVD that I ordered came in the mail  today that I wanted to tell anyone who is remotely interested in English history/period dramas about.  The Young Victoria is a fairly recent movie based on the early years of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  Starring Emily Blunt (of The Devil Wears Prada fame) and Rupert Friend (Cherie, Pride and Prejudice, and real boyfriend to Kiera Knightly), it appears that this film (or DVD) may not hit the US market…at least no formal release dates have been suggested.  I haven’t viewed it yet, so I have no idea if it’s good…but, the reviews look promising.  To view the trailer, as well as see additional information on the film, go to www.theyoungvictoria.co.uk/.

The Young Victoria DVD

The Young Victoria DVD

Also interesting is that Princess Beatrice of York (first daughter of the Duchess of York and Prince Edward) has a non-speaking cameo role as a lady-in-waiting.  For pictures of her in costume, go to http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/film/article2273894.ece.

Over the years I’ve lamented that there are a number of UK releases that are just not available in the US.  For example, one of my all-time favorite films is Far from the Madding Crowd, Staring Julie Christie and Terrance Stamp.  I had an old VHS tape of a PBS showing several years ago, but could not find a  DVD version of the film.  But, this last year I obtained a UK DVD copy and now am able to play the film to my hearts content.  Since I order these items on amazon.co.uk, and I am quite clear that they will be mailed to my US address, I can only assume that that I am not breaking any treaty by obtaining and viewing them. 

What might be problematic for some, however, is that these DVDs are Region 2.  That means, they are meant to be played on UK DVD players…and not on Region 1/US players.  This can be resolved by purchasing a multi-region (or code free) DVD player, which I did last year.  I got mine from Amazon.com (the US site), and it cost about $60.  It plugged right into my TV and I didn’t have a lick of trouble getting my precious UK DVDs to play.  In fact, I use it for my US DVDs as well.  I’m not endorsing any particular player or seller…just citing my experience.

So, if you are as much as an Anglophile as I am…maybe this is a solution for you to view those films that never seem to make it to the colonies.

I’m planning a fabric giveaway to coincide with my birthday at the beginning of August.  So, be sure to check back for more details in the next week.

— Penny

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