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My Office today
Sep 19-21: Mallaig to the Orkney Islands
After the bustle of London Mallaig was sooo peaceful. It is a working village based on the fishing industry. The two nights we had there were
Going on to Orkney involved our host taking us by car to get the ferry to Skye, catching a bus to Kyle of Lochalsh, where we noted that
the train was leaving at 12.08 and that the station ticket office opened every day and 9.46am! The train trip to Inverness was spectacular
along the side of the Lochs. Then it was (going
to be taxi but ended up being) a bus to the airport. The plane to the Orkney Islands was delayed by a couple of hours and we hope to still have
a little light to see the landscape out of the little plane's windows. We then hire a car, and spend 3 evenings at a B&B and do some sight
seeing there ......
Well, another lesson learnt! One has to look after oneself no matter what you are told, even by those who 'know'.
At the check-in desk for the plane we were told
we could get a light meal at the cafe alongside - which we did. When the earlier than the expected (but delayed) boarding call came, off we went
(it is a very small airport). By the time we got there (some 30 yards but around a corner) the doors were locked and we were in big trouble.
The staff in this area had a completely different idea as to what we should have done and decided we required to have a thorough 'manual'
security search.... this was for a very little plane going a very little way ... but they had their fun.
We got here in the dark and it is just so very quiet. We are looking forward to the view out out window in the morning - across some water
to a few other cottages.
Day 2 - London (17 Sep)
Despite the forecast being for rain - it was fine and there was sunshine - a pleasant surprise,
so off to do the 'fine day' sight-seeing while we could. We became familiarized with the London Underground
again, then an up high spin for an all-round view of the city (see Big Ben in the background), followed by a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
The architecture never fails to amaze and inspire me.
(btw - useful info for those travelling: for the London Eye and many other tours the very best place to get
tickets from is the London Heathrow Info desk when you first come out of customs - they are open tickets
and fast track ones (no queuing) and were cheaper to purchase there than anywhere else! (a happy accidental discovery)).
Back at our new accommodation Bryan discovered that it was not Starbuck's dodgy internet speed which was causing him to
have email problems - it was that the high up bosses had not let those who needed to know further down that there was a policy
change. Bryan had thoroughly checked with the top IT people that his work email would work overseas on his personal computer
(this is a work trip for
him - for some of the time anyway). Even these IT guys were unaware of this 'unmentioned' new policy which means
that it cannot happen once the computer is overseas!
Solution: a 'work' computer is now being configured and will be couried to him for when we get to Edinburgh.
No - I will not be having daily updates, but these two days have been rather eventful. Tomorrow is another day in London
with an overnight train to Glasgow and a change of train the following morning will take us on to Mallaig.
Getting there and Day 1 (16 Sep)
Leaving home all started well. Bags successfully packed under weight for the 4 autumn/winter months we are travelling.
This time the plane even left on time!
Some 30+ hours later we landed at London Heathrow, and wearily set off for our special first night apartment which overlooked the Thames.
It was fantastic - apart from the fact that their was no power for the
kettle and toaster, the plug in the basin was jammed shut, there were only some of the venetian slats in place
to attempt to shut out the outside lights (which were beautiful, but we did need some shut-eye!). Then there
was the internet - which despite being part of the package was not there, and as for lights to work by ... those
from outside were not quite enough! In daylight the apartment did appear to have lots (the holes without
fittings seemed not too serious, there were lots of others), but when we turned them on the two which
functioned were one above the toilet (very necessary) and one over the kitchen sink (not quite so necessary) -
but neither seemed particularly good places to do computer work from.
Much complaining to the administrators brought the response that maybe they could do something in 4 hours or so
- but guess who was wanting to be asleep by then? The 'maybe' put us well off, and lack of internet sealed it.
Even our phone reception was impossible in the building.
We took our bags and went across the road to Starbucks! Yay for Starbucks! Slowly drinking coffee we did some
basic internet work but the main job was finding alternative accomodation. London was almost completely booked
out with other events including the grand opening of the Rugby World Cup - which New Zealand is defending.
So, we have started putting down those travel memories - the ones you need to start laughing about very quickly!
When in Santorini
I am back to winter in NZ after tripping around for just over 3 weeks in the United States during their summer. I have spent just over a week
recovering - it has all be so exciting!
The first main stop was a Statler Stitcher conference - SUGAR - which was held in Kansas City. There I got to catch up with many of you which
was so, so good.
Associated with that conference was an exhibition in which I won a blue ribbon in the Wholecloth category for my quilt 'Chevron Heaven'
The amazing part of that story was that the quilt was never meant to be judged - as I said below, it was to go
into the Teachers' Exhibition. However, by the time I got to Kansas City the Teachers' Exhibition had been abandoned, so into the main
exhibition it went, and now aren't I just so pleased?!
After that great excitment I found that there were other winners who had used my quilting patterns in their quilts
- Nita Rossi won a Blue Ribbon in the First time Entered category for her quilt 'When in Santorini'
- Amelia Poore-Bone won a Blue Ribbon in the Traditional category for her quilt 'Husband's Lone Star'
- Dee Gerardy won third place in the Traditional category for her quilt 'Cable Fantasy' (see photo in June notes)
- Sue Burnett won an Honourable Mention for the quilting she had done on Rayna Clinton's Patchwork of the Crosses quilt
Walking around the exhibition a bit more I found yet other wonderful quilts which had my quilting designs on (very exciting for me!)
- 'Urban Pods', quilted by Anna Mary (Midge) Flinn. She was a first time exhibitor and had completed her quilting most professionally
- 'Indian Star', quilted by Cheryl Blocker, another masterpiece by another first time exhibitor. Cheryl was awarded a Teacher's Award
from Anne Hurlburt.
- 'The Secret Garden' by Carol Lynman (a fellow New Zealander) who admirably met the challenge of quilting many different sized and
- and Kathy Johnson, yet another first time exhibitor with her hexagon quilt - just fantastic!
Then to top it all off: Marilyn Harding's quilt 'Jumping Jack' won Viewers' Choice. That was an honour indeed!
Those who gave her their vote were, in the large majority, Statler Stitcher users - they knew what they were looking for and looking at.
This was the first time Marilyn had entered a quilt into a show, so thank you Marilyn for being brave and taking that leap!
Well done one and all!
I went on to have a little break in Greenwood, Indiana and after that off to teach in Louisville. A group of 25 had got together, found a venue and
accomodation for those who needed it and we had a great day (plus some) together. Thank you Sue K for organising that venture.
The last and final stop for me was in Denver, Colorado where Kelly Gallagher-Abbott of Jukebox Quilts had arranged for me to teach for
3 days. She is a Gammill dealer and has the most wonderful set-up, with room for lots of longarm machines as well as a great space
for teaching. There I met yet more people as well has having a peek around Fort Collins and going on a little of their art walk on
the Sunday - which was a day to relax.
Coming home involved a full 24 hours of travel - but here I am again, and busy planning my next adventures!
Husband's Lone Star
Midge's Urban Pods
From 8th June I am away in the US, teaching at 3 different venues - arriving back in NZ on July 2nd.
I am looking forward to seeing so many people who, up until now I only know through email. To put faces to names will
be so exciting.
I have completed two quilts for the Teachers' Exhibition, and am very pleased with them both.
They are on the Chevron theme - plus I will be putting up in the gallery yet another chevron quilt,
but with quite different proportions.
These are a little sneak preview of what I have done
with the new patterns. Free quilting plans and additional photos are due to be released on 18 June, the day SUGAR starts
- one lives in hope, anyway!
The Tidy Up
I am due to teach in the USA in June - so lots of preparation has to be done this month including
- samples, teaching notes, handouts, projects..... and general tidying up.
Therefore, very little new design work will be undertaken.
If new designs do appear it is because they have been sitting patiently waiting for me to upload them and I have finally got there!
In June though - there will be a release of a few new patterns (inluding a free patchwork pattern)
- these will be a couple of the new patterns which appear on my sample quilts.
They are looking great - bindings are being sewn on now. So keep a look out for them.
The image to the left is a photo sent through from Dee Gerardy
having great fun with all things 'cable'. Click on the image to be taken to the quilting gallery where
it is, and then click on the main image there to get to some detailed, good quality close-ups. How I would love to see this
quilt in the flesh.
Concatenating Script Lettering
I found that concatenating letters work with all versions of Creative Studio not just CS6 -
so, to be fair, have put the alphabet back up on sale for this month so that everyone gets a chance to play!
Concatenating Script Lettering
Yay for concatenation on Statler Stitchers! It is making life just so much easier when we quilt and here is yet another
use for it.
I have reformatted all the characters in this set so that they can now be concatenated using the Repeat Patterns function.
It is now just so quick to form names and words - no more lining up letters, snapping end points together - it is all done for you.
I have put together a page of instructions to walk you through concatenating the letters -
click here to download them
for the instructions when not using concatenation
click here to download these.
Crazy Stitches with curves
(the initial set had 13 patterns in it - click on image to go to the current set)
Crazy Stitches with only Straight Lines
(the intial set had 32 patterns in it - click on image to go to the current set)
Oooh! My love of Crazy Stitching has just been taken one step further with Statler Stitchers now able to stitch them along paths that
curve and wind - as well as regular straight paths.
I need to tell you that it started from the day I was born: becoming familiar with Crazy Stitches and holding them dear to my heart.
I did not even know this had happened and yet it had done so literally right under my very nose. How?
Well you might ask!
Let me tell you the story.
At about the time I started patchwork in the 70's my maternal Grandmother died.
BTW - she is the one whom I blame for my 'collecting' (let's say) penchant.
I inherited her collection of velvets - velvet pieces of ALL kinds - silks, upholstery as well as regular dressmaking. They
were mainly ones which had been on sample cards - but dressmaking scraps were also in there.
It took me a few years to decide what to do with them, but when I saw a fan pattern in a magazine I knew that would be just the thing.
Each of the fans could be of different pieces of velvet! How wonderful! I could showcase them all! After piecing several blocks I decided
the velvet really cried out for something more.
Now - did I mention I collected? Well - I had just the resource required for that 'something more'. I would crazy stitch each of the fan
blades using some embroidery threads which had been given to me by my 'Aunty' Hazel. She had somehow very badly tangled and knotted lots
and lots of threads together. In her wisdom she decided that untangling and unknotting was something which might keep me amused as a child,
and she gave me the added incentive of being able to keep them if I did so. Needless to say I spent many an hour untangling and
unknotting ... and keep them I did, for about 15 years until the crazy stitching stage hit ... just waiting!
The next question was - what stitches should I use? So I did what
one does - go and unearth the sampler done at school (aged 11) and used some of the stitches from that. Next I
looked out the book of embroidery stitches my mother had given to me when I was preparing items for my 'Hope Chest'. After running
out of stitches from those resources I sought out another I had - "The Ladies Journal Complete Guide to the Worktable" - which my paternal
Grandmother had recently given to me. She had received it from her Grandmother who had been given it in 1886.
Who says collecting isn't worthwhile?
I should have realised that if it took quite some time to embroider 2 blocks - it was going to take a lot more to embroider 20 of
them. But I persisted - at the beach, in the hospital beside sick children as well as just relaxing.
As an aside - batting was not readily available at that time - so I purchased some factory ends of calico which had nice thick wool batting
cross-hatched onto one side of it. I unpicked one from the other and put TWO layers of that batting into the quilt (I have learnt a bit since
then - including how velvet frays!)
Anyway - that velvet quilt is one of my favourites, and I love it dearly with all the memories it brings. (So does my younger son, who has
already claimed it as part of his inheritance - he loved 'wrinkly' Granny (from whom he has also inherited the 'collecting gene')).
Since then I have crazy stiched many other quilts - but now on my sewing machine. Quilts made of wool, men's ties, as well as regular cotton
This is where the story gets very interesting.
Years after I had completed the velvet quilt mother was moving - and she produced from the back of a linen cupboard, safely tucked
away for close on 40 years, a quilt. Not just any quilt ... no ... a quilt made for me by my Great Grandmother and given to me when I was
born and guess what? Great Granny had made it from samples of fabric and she had Crazy Stitched together! I had evidently used it as a
'kicking rug' when I was a baby. I must have spent a bit of time kicking in the middle of it as there is quite a worn area there.
So as I said at the beginning: I had started life with Crazy Stitches right under my nose! Such a beautiful gift and lovingly made
just for me - how could I help but not grow up to be addicted to them!
Look well at the photo - and you can see those 50's sleeves with their high caps for gathering! Guess where her scraps had come from
- so cool! Also, I love the way she has laid out all the pieces - very balanced. Even the colour of the threads match each side - I had a very
clever Great Granny!
The final bit of news was that mother still had the note which Great Granny had included with the gift - what treasures I have and you can
see how I was born to love Crazy Stitching!
All Crazy Stitches
(the initial set had 20 patterns in it - click on image to go to the current set)
- and also, just to cap it all off (as if this was not enough) Great Granny's Grandmother was the one who did the embroidered Sampler
on the "About Us" page - the 1839 one, when she was 10.
Now I have the joy of digitizing many of those old patterns, getting them to run on our modern quilting machines - embroidering AND
quilting in the one step (aren't we spoilt?). I have got some way there - but there are a lot more to come!
I will be doing the same thing as in the past:
- you will be able to purchase patterns individually or
- you can purchase them at greatly discounted prices in sets. If you do this and additional patterns are subsequently added to the set
they become yours free of any additional charges: just redownload your original order which had the set in and they will magically be
for printable catalogue pages of Crazy Stitches click here
Well - I have gone mad on Hunter's Stars this month!
Some time ago someone wanted one - which I did and put up on the website, but in the process I had drawn (on paper) almost
another 2 dozen of them.
My drawing arm is currently out of use - but my digitising one is not (for some reason I use a mouse in the other hand).
Hence - if I have a drawing already done, I can use this time to get on and digitise those designs which have been
so patiently waiting.
So - I am well underway in getting several of these completed - but in the process have found that there are an infinite
number of differently proportioned Hunter's Star blocks.
What I have done is to digitise my designs for the most popular proportions - and have done a catolgue page explaining them.
Included are designs for many of the different sized blocks which can be made using the Rapid Fire ruler from 'Studio 180 Design'.
There are also some designs for the traditionally proportioned blocks.
To find them all in the General Patterns area - enter 'HStar' into the Name Search filter
I found this photo of a wonderful antique Carnival Glass bowl
- and look at the design moulded into it - perfect to adapt for a modern quilting design!
It may take me a while to convert all of these drawings into patterns which will work on the machine, but aren't they just grand?
Patterns will gradually be added to the website - including ones which are not illustrated below.
I have made a set which will contain all the derived designs. More will be added as I have time - including triangles -
and the price of the set will gradually creep up
- BUT - for those who get in and purchase this set early, you can just keep downloading your original order and the new ones will appear.
Currently there are
2, 3, 4 patterns in the set.
The reward for getting in early is that you will not have to pay any additional amount.
Click on the coloured bowl image to the left to go directly to this package.
A very traditional style of glass bowl which has been the inspiration for several patterns. Two of them have ended with a bit of a
modern twist to them.
The two arc patterns were done first - just to have a play. These were made more useful by formatting them as p2p patterns.
Then I went on to the border design. This I considered a little plain if it was left as per bowl -
I wanted to spice it up a bit, so circles - or pearls went on the top of each of the 'fan tips'.
The final bit of the change was to make the border repeats work well - so that they could be used without the corner pattern and
butt right up to a cornerstone if required. That meant getting rid of the central 'fan' point - so they got reduced from 5 to 4.
The resulting design has the interest and modern twist I was aiming for, and in many ways gives the impression of lace.
The border can also be used by itself in bars - no pattern dividing required.
One of our special design areas is:
capital letters - small letters - numbers - punctuation -
symbols - words - names
Sharon Perry has developed this script style of lettering over a number of years.
• letters are clear, smooth and regular
• letters flow seamlessly from one to the other
• cursive, single line and continuous stitching
• all have been digitised using the same size grid - they fit together with no fuss or bother
• downloadable instructions available from the 'Info & Free' page
Personalise your quilts - have them tell a story!
Many other types of patterns are also available.
We are especially proud of the development of patterns for what can otherwise be very difficult areas.
Solutions are achieved mainly through the focus given to the p2p (line pattern) function:
• builders - especially useful for sashings
- once masquerading as regular blocks - now reformatted into p2p patterns
- they require 2 passes to be 'built'
- quickly placed and extremely accurate at intersections.
- if the machine head can get in and all the sashes are connected - they will sew out with just one start/finish.
• p2psu (point to point set up)
regular blocks - reformatted so they can be placed (or set up) using the p2p function.
- extremely useful for situations such as the chain in a Double Irish Chain, placement in hexagons, etc.
• sashes - which will not overstitch
designed for ease and success at intersections.
Where they turn or cross over each other:
- their corners are self-turning and
- their main design elements will not stitch on top of each other.
Illustrations clearly show what occurs at the intersections.
-------------- other things yet to be added --------------
• completed quilts - for purchase
• along with patchwork patterns (for making the quilts)
• and for a change of scene, there will be some embroidery patterns for sale
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