Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Blood of my blood

It's been a while since I've had something to say on the blog that I couldn't just whack up on Instagram, but here it is.

This quilt idea came to me last October, while I was on the way to a job interview (no, I didn't get it, but it turns out that was for the best). It was a quick sketch with some very strong and definite requirements (hand applique, dense quilting, just the tiniest bit of colour) that went on to bug me and pick away at me in my sleep.

I had a lot of shit to get done and no time to spare for a good few months, during which the idea just would not shut up and go away. And then there was QuiltCon, and it turns out that being forced to wait was pretty much the best thing that could have happened. I came back inspired and with a new appreciation of what it means to put your all into something. To try your hardest to make it perfect. It's a new thing for me - until now I've been all about getting ideas out of my head and into fabric as quickly as possible.

all credit to Chawne and her Snatch for the quilting inspiration
This one was all about the process.

And during that process, as (weirdly) happens quite often for me, the quilt named itself. Blood of my blood. It's a part of me, and represents so much that I can't even begin to put into words.

So, pick your favourite cheesy saying:
Patience is a virtue. Take your time. All good things come to those who wait.

It's all good.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Friday, 6 February 2015

Paper Pieced Modern - book tour

I love the internet quilting community - I've "met" (and actually MET) so many lovely people online. One particular friend is Amy, who shares my love of colour gradation and consistently sews things that make me actually properly gasp. I mean, have you seen this and this?

Amy has just written a book called "Modern Paper Piecing" that is full of the most gorgeous quilt designs as well as excellent, clear and complete instructions for paper piecing. Including how to deal with directional fabrics. Which I don't need to read. Because I never get it wrong. Ahem.

Moving on.

I am so happy to be part of the book tour, and would like to introduce you to my favourite quilt - Diamonds and Emeralds.
Photo by C&T Publishing
I love everything about this quilt - the movement, the colours, the totally fabulous and over-the-top but classy mirror ball dot background. It's even quilted with metallic thread. Gaaaaah! I tried to call dibs on the actual quilt but apparently it's already spoken for. Humph.

In Amy's words:
The design for this quilt was a collaboration between me and my husband. He drew up a rough sketch of the block (four diamonds plus a rectangle in the centre) and suggested that I somehow create a gradation effect. At this point, I deviated a bit from his suggestion (sorry husband - still love you!!) and created a gradation using just four fabrics (dark blue, medium blue, green and yellow) for the diamonds and emeralds.
Sourcing fabric for this was interesting to say the least! I got it in my head that I wanted some of Suzuko Yoseki's "Catch Letters" prints that I had seen in a Red Pepper quilt quite awhile beforehand. I snatched up the last of the green and yellow fat quarters from an Etsy shop, and stretched them a bit further by using some Kona solids that matched the background colours. I couldn't find more anywhere else!
I didn't want to use solid black for the background - that seemed so stark - and some Mirror Ball Dots in my stash caught my eye. I ordered some from Craftsy during a clearance sale, but mistakenly ordered too little. No biggie, I thought, just order more. So I pieced as much of the quilt as I could until I ran out, and grabbed some more at my LQS. However, apparently there are VERY different looking dye lots for these prints, and the new fabric didn't even come close to matching!! I was sooo lucky there was still some left on Craftsy and even more luckily, it matched. There was some major finger crossing going on!

C&T publishing are very generously giving away a copy of the book (hard copy in the US and electronic in the rest of the world). To be in with a chance to win head over to Instagram and follow Amy (@13spools) then come back here and let me know you've done it (or that you are already a follower). Mr Random will pick a winner at 12 pm (GMT - London) on Thursday 12 February. 

If you can't wait you can pick up a copy RIGHT NOW from Amazon or get a signed copy from Amy's Etsy shop. If you want to get sneaky peeks of all the designs in the book (and I know you do!) then make sure to check out the other stops on the tour.

Feb 5th - Lindsay @ Lindsay Sews
Feb 6th - Charlotte @ Displacement Activity
Feb 7th - Molli @ Molli Sparkles
Feb 8th - Elise @ Lovelea Designs
Feb 9th - Amy guest posting @ C&T Publishing
Feb 10th - Darcie @ The Seam Allowance
Feb 11th - Christa @ Christa Quilts
Feb 12th - Amy guest posting @ Craft Buds
Feb 13th - Amy @ 13 Spools
Feb 14th - Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe
Feb 15th - Amy @ During Quiet Time
Feb 16th - Wrap-up post back at 13 Spools

Congratulations, Amy, on a wonderful book. I can't wait to meet you at QuiltCon. Watch out - there is a high likelihood of tequila and hugs.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Welcome to the Star Block of the Month!

I'm so excited to be sharing my new quilt pattern as a block of the month over at The Daily Stitch. The quilt is a twin size made from 12 different star blocks in four sizes, with two colour palettes to choose from.

The cool palette includes green, turquoise, blue and cool purples (and is not-so-secretly my favourite), and the warm palette is a gorgeous, bright mix of yellow/orange, red, pink and violet. I've used my favourite low volume fabric ever - the wonderful Botanics Crosshatch in grey by Carolyn Friedlander - as the background.

Annie has put together kits for each colourway, with all the fabric you need to make the quilt top in the warm or cool palette.

I'd love it if you sewed along with me. Get the monthly tutorials over at The Daily Stitch, and join in the fun on Instagram with #starBOTM

Thursday, 30 October 2014

I blew into the world on a leaf*

*prizes if you can identify that quote**
**ok, so there aren't actually any prizes. Sue me.

Once again I wax lyrical about the wonders of Oakshott fabrics. The shimmer, the colours, the all-round gorgeousness. Sorry if I sound like a stuck record, but it's all true. I've even taken to wearing the stuff, having made an Aubépine dress from a gorgeous green I snapped up in the sale recently (photos eventually, if I can ever persuade Croydon to get her camera out).

Mr Oakshott sent me an Autumn F8th bundle recently with a view to designing a quilt (#bestjobever) and I had lots of leftovers (the fabric is 60 inches wide, making a F8th surprisingly enormous). So, what's a girl to do? The answer is, apparently, to go a little bit handstitching crazy with some needleturn appliqué and chunky quilting.

image from Oakshottfabrics.com

The background is made up of 2 inch (finished) squares of assorted neutrals (some Oakshott, some Kona, some whatever-the-hell-was-in-the-drawer), pieced together before adding the leaves. I believe that technically you are supposed to appliqué first and piece second, but I didn't want to risk losing all my points in the seams so I REBELLED! Of course, I could totally be imagining that you are meant to do it that way round, in which case let's just pretend that nothing untoward happened.

Moving on.

Once again my ridiculous stash of perle cotton came into its own, with five neutrals used to represent the swirling wind and stitching co-ordinating with each leaf. See - you can never have too many colours.

This baby finishes up at 20 inches square. I'm going to need to rejig the quilt wall so I can squeeze it in there somewhere.

Daughter number one and puppy for scale
I think I can live with that.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Fairy Tale-tastic

A while ago Aneela asked me if I would test her new patterns for a sewing wallet and (totally adorable) teeny weeny needle book and pouch. I said yes straight away and then promptly failed to get off my arse and make them for a couple of weeks. Oops. I thought they needed special treatment so I finally cracked open some Spoonflower Heather Ross FQs that I won at QuiltCon (that was a while ago - nearly time for the next one!).

(blimey, that paragraph was linktastic)

Anyhoo, first with the sewing pouch. I *love* this pattern. It's got everything you need for popping some handwork in your handbag (or schlepping it from room to room). The see-through pocket is so useful, and is assembled in a really clever way. I did slightly overstuff my pincushion (no, that's not a euphemism), which made it difficult to attach, but that was entirely my fault. And just look at the cute fabric! Ugly ducks! Pretty ducks! Swans! And (slightly off-topic) Rapunzel!

Must. Calm. Down.

Onto the teensy pouch. OMG CUTE! Also, the construction was so clever. I want to make a gazillion of these and use them for everything.

These patterns are really clearly written and result in such useful and well thought out items. The finish is really professional (even with my, ahem, skills) and I think the pouches would make a fantastic gift. Just putting that out there. *Cough* 78 days to Christmas *cough*.

Saturday, 27 September 2014


It's happened again, that thing where time just keeps moving in spite of my best efforts to slow it down. A whole year. And now you are twelve - a hilarious, brilliant, and (dare I say it) increasingly self-confident almost teenager.

Speaking of which, you are getting quite the dab hand at some teenagery characteristics. Sleeping late has suddenly become the most important feature of your weekends. Being embarrassed by your parents is a permanent state of affairs (and I look forward to dancing like a loon at your upcoming Bat Mitzvah). We are not yet at the (no doubt inevitable) door slamming, you-ruined-my-life, stroppy phase, for which I am grateful. You are sweet and kind and funny, and so creative you take my breath away. Given the right materials, there is nothing you can't make.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. And watch out World - Lucy's coming to get you.