Wednesday, July 20, 2011

… a bit of a sneak peek

Here they are. . . the little strike-offs for my next line for Lecien. . . Durham Collection - Anew . . .

(click on photo to enlarge)

(The colorways are: white, a warm grey (which I'm crazy about!), pink, red, yellow, green, & a robin's egg blue.)

. . . wait. . . you may say. . .  Wasn't there just a Durham Collection - Anew last year?

Yep. . . there was. . . but this line will always have this name. . . it's a tradition for Lecien - as this originally was one of their in-house lines. 'Lynn S' left a comment on my last post (but is listed as 'noreply-comment' - s0 I couldn't email you directly. . . sorry Lynn!) - asking about the history of the line & how it got it's 'Durham' name. . . & I thought this would be a perfect time to share a bit (what I know - at least!) about that.

The 'Durham Collection' has been a Lecien line for several years now. . . (starting - I think in 2003 -  '04) & was actually the line that I fell in love with & then discovered who Lecien was. . .! It embodies a soft - vintage feel & the company even goes some extra steps at the mill to be sure a wonderful timeworn look is a part of the fabric . . . right off the bolt.

If you are familiar with quilts that are known as 'Durham' quilts. . . you know that these quilts are known for often being whole-cloth quilts that are exquisitely hand quilted. Durham is a town (& also a county) in Northeastern England, referred to as the North Country region. Professional quilters were employed in Durham and it has long been associated with beautiful quilting. The ladies of the area became known for their beautifully hand-quilted quilts after the 1st World War - during the depression era - when jobs were scarce. They received large orders for quilts (mostly made from solid, sometimes satin, soft colors) from Claridges Hotel in London. . . & the soft colored, beautifully detailed quilts became known as 'Durham' quilts.

Although the Durham Collection fabrics from Lecien are not solids. . . they are known for their soft florals & wonderful attention to detail. . . much like the look & feel of Durham quilts. . . & I imagine that the look & feel of those Durham quilts is what inspired the name for the line.

After the original Lecien in-house designer of the original Durham Collection fabric lines had moved on to other design pursuits, Lecien continued to design the line in-house for a bit. Then, in 2009 - right as my first line for Lecien (Celebration) was going to print - they asked me if I would be interested to continue the Durham Collection & design the next line. After I picked myself off the floor. . . I said "oh, yes!" (. . . trying not to sound too excited!. . . although I was!. . . it was my favorite line!!!) Because of the change of the line going from an in-house design, Lecien wanted to add a distinguishing addition to 'Durham Collection', so we added "Anew" to the name of the line. It's the same line. . . just with a new designer. Me. (!)  

To say I'm thrilled about being involved with this line is such an understatement. . . & for this year's line, I popped some of the colors. . . just a bit. They are still soft. . . but there are also some wonderful accent pieces. Many of the designs are based on vintage fabrics from my collection. . . & they translate so beautifully to this line & this look.

I will be giving some more peeks in the upcoming weeks. . . & for shop owners (because I know I'll be getting emails. . .!)  the fabrics are going to print by the end of the month. . . & they will be presented at Fall Market. . . but might be available for ordering just before then. (. . . at least for the bolts sent out on the first ship!)

I hope that you enjoy these fabrics as much as I have. . . I'm so excited about these fabrics & can't wait for the sample fabrics to arrive so I can 'play'!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

… hexie love

For years. . . I have had 'do English paper piecing' on my 'to-do' list. . .

. . . & the two Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts that I have (one made by each of my Grandma's) are my favorites & I have on display so I see them each & every day (& are right up at the top of my 'things to grab if ever I would have to evacuate' list). . .
. . . & I also had 'collected' so many packages - in so many sizes ( ¼", ½", ¾", 1", 1¼", & 1½") of hexagon paper templates. . . but I had never taken the plunge. That's one of the drawbacks of designing,  I don't often have the time to jump into projects that aren't part of one of my new designs. So. . . how to solve that?. . . Yep! One (& actually now two) of the new designs you will see coming up this fall - will have hexies in them. (. . . & for those of you who aren't as enamored with making them - no worries - there will be piecing options. . .)

. . . but I am having a ball making these little cuties! I am using scraps from each of my fabric lines. . . fussy cutting some of them (just for fun!) & I now understand just how addictive they are! It's so much fun to see how happy they make you - just in the creating & finishing of each little flower . . . it's like they have they're own little personalities. . .

Here's a peek at the little lunchbox/tin that I've been carrying around with me wherever I go (they are the perfect take-with-you project). . . It's been working wonderfully. . . but I can see that a trip to Jo Anne's or the Container Store is in the near future - as I'm needing a case to house all the little hexies one they are prepped - & while they wait to be made into their own little wonders. I'm going to look for a little case with smaller divisions or compartments that will keep them snug & safe until it's their turn.

. . . & just in case you are about to jump into the English paper-piecing bandwagon (or are already there). . . I have found that the tips from Sue Daley  (Patchwork With Busyfingers) to be the best that I have found. I was first basting with thread the corners of each of my hexies. . . but then I watched a video she did & she showed how she used the Sewline glue pen (from United Notions) to lightly glue baste the edges of the hexies to the paper pieces. . . & it works like a dream . . . & saves so much time! (Thank you Sue!)

Well. . . I'd best sign off for today. . . the UPS man brought me the next Durham Collection - Anew strike-offs late yesterday afternoon. . . & they are calling my name! (. . . & I'm so very excited about this line! . . . giddy was an understatement when I saw them!) I will take some photo peeks for you. . . (& hopefully you will get as giddy as I am!)

Hope you have a wonderful day!


Monday, July 11, 2011

. . . 'a little fall of rain'

Although it might not thrill many. . . this is such a welcome sight for us here in Arizona. . . & for the last week, this has been the view outside the windows. . .

. . . ahhh rain!

We have been blessed with our summer rains & it's been to nice to have them as a part of the hot summer days. . . they cool things off. . . & it's actually kind of funny, how we get a little giddy when the clouds build up on the sky, carrying with them the hope of showers.

The rainy afternoons have meant a lot of time for stitching & although I've got several new designs in the works. . . none are at the stage of peeks. . . just yet (close though!). I have also been making lots (& lots) of hexies. . . & will take some peek-y photos for you today. I'm having so much fun with them. . . & now understand how addictive they are!

Well. . . I'd best get to my errands for the day. . . things are pretty empty in the refrigerator & pantry & if I'm going to get to the market. . . I'd better go before my hexies start calling my name!

Hope you have a wonderful week!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

… the summer sun. . .

. . . is providing the warmth & coaxing all the flowering plants in the garden to put on such a pretty show for us. . .

This is one of my favorites - one of the Crepe Myrtle's (this one a tree) that we have in the backyard. I love how delicate & yet sturdy this plant is. . . it hangs in there - even when the sun is beating down on it & the temps are in the 3-digits for days-on-end. It just takes it all, thrives, & looks beautiful. . .

Right behind this Crepe Myrtle, is the tall wall where the Cat's Claw vines are putting on their summer show. . . the yellow is so pretty behind the pink of the Crepe Myrtle blooms. (It's called Cat's Claw because these vines seem to grab (& hold!)onto anything! These are planted at the base of these 12 ft. walls. . . & they had grown to the top & flourished within the second year they were planted.)

. . . & while we've had plenty of summer sun. . . we got a little taste of a bit of rain early the other morning. I remember waking up - ever so slightly - & hearing it hitting the window (. . . before I fell back asleep almost immediately!) . . . It sounded so good, as we (& all of Arizona) need to get our summer rains so very badly. We have been in triple digits temperature-wise for well over a week & it's been so very dry for such a long time, but it's looking very promising that we might get rain on Sunday & Monday. (yea!) I'm thinking that we won't even mind if we don't have fireworks on the Fourth - if it is because we are getting rain!

Here at home, (. . . inside. . . with the air conditioning running!), Dad is doing pretty well after his surgery. (Thank you to those of you who checked up on him!) At the hospital, when the surgeon came out to talk with me after the surgery - he told me it was a little more involved than he first thought. . . but that Dad did well. They then had a bit of a complication with him in recovery - managing his pain, but in the long run I think it worked out for the best, because he's not trying to over-do here at home. I'm thinking he doesn't want to go back to the pain level he had. Bailey has been 'on watch' with him. . . where he is always laying nearby him. . . just so he can keep watch.

Design wise, I've got two quilts at the quilter & my days have been spent at the design table writing up the directions & making hexagons. . . (lot's & lots of hexies!. . . I love them & they are soooo addicting!). . . & new stitcheries. Can't beat that for a way to spend the day!

Hope you have a wonderful & safe celebration of the Fourth of July!