Thursday, 31 May 2012


The London Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a fab giveaway over on their blog! You could win these lovely fabrics, generously donated by Michael from Tricolette.

Click here for your chance to win!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The postman actually did ring twice

Seriously. He really did. Although the first time it was actually the FedEx man with the moo cards that I ordered at the last minute and had to pay extra for shipping so they would be here in time for the retreat. I'm going to be handing these things out like sweeties, whether people want them or not. I have to justify the courier charge somehow.
The second time it was the real postman with a package all the way from California. Inside was the most beautiful mini quilt from Dorrie, my partner in the DS Quilts doll quilt swap. The quilting is amazing - Dorrie says she did it on her long arm. She had better watch out, because I might just turn up on her doorstep with a whole load of quilt tops and stay for a couple of weeks. She also included some lovely fabric and a packet of m&ms (my favourite). Now, I'm not saying that they got opened immediately, but it's possible that I kept the almost-empty package for photography purposes. Ahem.
What a great post day! I feel very lucky indeed. Thank you, Dorrie!

Monday, 28 May 2012


I am so excited to have been nominated in the Favourite Throw Quilt category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated my quilt - you have made my week (possibly even my month).

Head over to Amy's Creative Side to vote for your favourites in all the categories!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Counting the days

Hello! Excitingly, there is only a week to go before the Day of Squealing, or to use its proper name, the Fat Quarterly Retreat.

Fat Quarterly

My name is Charlotte, and I live in London (luckily!) with my lovely American husband and three kids (girl, girl, boy, or more accurately, girl, girl, puppy/monkey/ninja).

By day I am an editor for a scientific journal, and by night I am mostly found in front of the telly watching Judge Judy or something equally intellectual. I work from home, and my office is in the same room as my sewing stuff, so as you might imagine I tend to get a bit distracted now and again. Ahem.

This is me, with the aforementioned lovely American husband:
I had to go back almost two years to find this photo. I am normally the one behind the camera!
I actually have curly hair. Not sure what was going on here.

I will be bringing my shot cotton improv quilt for show and tell:

And a recently quilted Siblings Together group quilt ready to hand over:
And I will be instantly recognisable as the extremely overexcited squealy person. Oh, wait, there might be a few of those ;-)

Looking forward to meeting everyone!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Inspired by Klee

The London Modern Quilt Guild challenge for this month is to use solids to make something inspired by abstract art. I love a challenge and coincidentally really like to avoid work whenever possible, so this was a match made in heaven.

I love Paul Klee's work, none of which is a quilt, but really could be. After revisiting my shot cottons quilt last week it occurred to me that these fabrics have a really nice painterly quality that would work well here. So, armed with a bit of graph paper, I sketched out a design based on this painting and got to work.
There were a whole load of partial seams to sort out, but it came together really nicely. I quilted it in a grid of not-at-all-straight lines (I just can't be bothered to get the hang of keeping them straight) and made it into a cushion cover. And then I accidentally made another one in a slightly more restricted palette. It's like they breed when I'm not looking, seriously, I don't know how it happens.

Anyway, the entire sofa is now covered in homemade cushions, which I love right up until the moment they all get thrown on the floor by one of the kids. And, let's face it, the husband. Sigh.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Hello! If you are visiting from the Blogger's Quilt Festival, then welcome. I'll put the kettle on.
I'd like to share this quilt that I made last year. It was my first foray into improv piecing, with all the bits cut without a ruler, put into bags in colour groups and sewn together randomly. I made a whole load of different sized blocks and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle. The fabrics are Oakshotts, from the wonderful ColourBox. I must admit, it took me a while to get the nerve to cut into them - they are almost too gorgeous to disturb.

The original idea had been to hang this on the wall, but in the end I prefer to have it lying around to snuggle under. It's the kind of quilt that looks lovely close up, so you can see the way the colours play against each other. And get a good close-up view of the inevitable cat hair.

I quilted it in not-very-straight lines with Aurifil 50. I love the way the stitching lines are so fine, but give the quilt a beautiful texture.
It is backed and bound with black, to contain the madness slightly. And the best part is that I still have loads of fabric left over. I'm thinking cushions. You can never have too many, right?

Amy's Creative Side

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Stop me before I use white again

I've finished the four rings of petals for the lovely Bloom quilt, and I am so in love. These were seriously addictive to make, and came together really easily (once I remembered to use my 1/4 inch foot, idiot that I am). I've used a mix of Denyse Schmidt fabrics with Flea Market Fancy, Hope Valley, Sugar Creek, Aunt Edna, Daisy Mae and even some Katie Jump Rope. Did I mention that I love it?

it's 40 inches across!
Now on to background choices. Because this is for my (king size) bed I am thinking that a sheet is the way to go, rather than breaking the bank with quilting cottons. Maybe in a really pale grey or blue. I'm really going to try to avoid using my usual white. I fancy a change, although I am pretty sure I'll chicken out when it comes down to it. I am also toying with the idea of handquilting, mainly because of the impossibility of wrestling with the enormousness. We'll see.

Monday, 14 May 2012

*insert wild cackling here*

Yesterday was the best day out I have had in forever. A few of us from the LMQG went to the beautiful home of the brilliant and hilarious Lucie Summers for a screen printing workshop. Lucie had prepared screens with our designs for a quilt label in advance, so after a cup of tea (in THAT mug) we got right down to business. Thanks to Lucie's expert tuition, there were happy dances going on all over the studio. 
Michael and Sydney

It's possible that I got a little bit carried away with all the lovely colours available and I now have more quilt labels than I could ever use, I think. Ah well, any excuse to make a million quilts. In all the excitement (and hysterical giggling) I only remembered to take one photo. 
each of these makes two labels, so I have about 2 billion of them
After lunch we all had a go with some of Lucie's own screens, which was really great. By the time everyone was finished practically the entire floor of the house was covered in drying fabric. 
And then, of course, there was the Summersville, some of which accidentally jumped into my bag and found its way home with me. I have no idea how that could have happened. Odd.

All in all a great day out. I haven't laughed so much for ages. Or eaten as much lasagna, but that's a whole different issue.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Blooming marvellous

The lovely Aneela came to the London Modern Quilt Guild meeting this Sunday and brought her Bloom quilt with her. It is even more gorgeous in person than it is on the interwebs, and that is saying something. After I tried to sneak it out of the meeting without her noticing (made very difficult because everyone else had the same idea), she very kindly offered to send me a copy of the pattern so that I could make one of my own. I've been humming and haaaing about a quilt for my bed for ages, and this is perfect. I love the way that you don't lose any of the design in the bits that hang down over the sides. Also, you can make the background as big as you like, which is fantastic.

I'm going to dip into my Denyse Schmidt stash for this one, I think. I had a lovely time playing with fabric this morning when I should have been working. Once again I find myself wishing that sewing could pay the bills. In another life, maybe.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

I am currently feeling a combination of smugly efficient and rather sleepy, having been up since 7 a.m. and made a birthday cake (for a friend's daughter) and a giant batch of granola by 9.
Neither of these things is as time-consuming or complicated as they might sound. This was my third time making the world's easiest and most tween-friendly birthday cake and took about an hour from weighing the ingredients to bunging it in the fridge so I don't accidentally eat it. Underneath it's just a regular two layer sponge with buttercream, but covered in diabetes kit-kats and smarties and strawberry laces on the outside.
The ratio of effort to squealy children is very gratifying with this cake. Just stand well back after they have had some - it might contain just a little bit of sugar.

There are a few reasons why I like to make my own granola, including a pathological hatred of raisins (ptooie) and the ridiculously high price of the ready made kind (which coincidentally happens to be about 84% raisins). 
I haven't worked out how much this costs to make, but given that it is mostly oats (cheap as chips) and flour I can't imagine that it is anywhere near as expensive as the stuff in the shops. Also, and I can't stress this enough, it doesn't have raisins in it.
This recipe, some simple measuring (with the world's cutest measuring cups), a little light stirring, bung it in the oven for 45 minutes, and that's breakfast made for the next three weeks.

Can I go back to bed now?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Two birds, one stone

I've been wanting to make a little something extra to send along with the doll quilt for the DS Quilts swap. I also have been sent a book to review for UK Handmade. I thought I should test out at least one of the patterns in the book before I wrote about it, so had a go at making the little sewing pouch. It's a really sweet pattern that can use as many or as few fabrics as you like. I customised my version by including a scrappy patchwork strip on the front, using up all the little tiny crumbs of fabric I had been hoarding saving.
I can't give too much away now, but I had fun sewing this up. It's really quick to put together and would make a great little gift, I think.
I hope my partner agrees!