Monday, 14 August 2017

making for selfsewn

What do you make your quilty friends? One you've never met? One whose work you love and admire?

It's a tough decision but then I thought about Clare, things I know she loves, the things I think she does beautifully and I put a lot of thought into it.

It started with a challenge. Metallic thread + cork fabric. I wasn't sure it would work, honestly it wasn't easy, especially since it also had a layer of Bosal and lining fabric too. I also sew really fast and metallic thread doesn't like that, after asking advice on social media I slowed down a lot and it got better. And the result looked really cool!

The pretty pastel glimmers of the Spotlite WonderFil thread are a nice contrast to the coloured flecks in the cork.
I used colour 7731 and I will definitely be experimenting more with it, I think it would look stunning on a low volume print too.

I chose to make it into a bigger version of my A Piece of Me Pouch, I wanted Clare to be able to put art supplies in it, maybe with a sketchpad too. I love her art and want to see more of it so I hope this encourages her in a way.

For the reverse of the pouch I used this fun Cosmo Textiles matchbox print from Sunny Day Supply, one of my very favourite prints. It's nice to add something of your own style into things you give and we both love Mary and her shop too so it has good connections.

Of course I had to do some English Paper Piecing because it was through Clare's blog that I learnt to do it - specifically this blog post. Then she did a block party with her fabulous Rose Star tutorial, which was the quilt that really made me want to learn epp!

I chose Liberty Wiltshire berries and the Monstera print by SkinnyMalinkyQuilts because I thought Clare would like them, the bee is me in Manchester and the background is the rain! 

The applique was easy, using a decorative stitch on my machine (the same method I used for hexies here) to hold it in place and quilt it at the same time. And I turned it into a decent sized pin cushion!

I had somehow managed to misplace my stuffing but happily I found it after a bit of a hunt. I love using this ball type stuffing, it's nicely bouncy and really easy to work with. It is fluffy but doesn't go everywhere like other stuffing I've used. Also it's cheap for a massive bag! To get the best stuffing (in my opinion) click here.

And I had to round the corners just because I've become obsessed with using CDs as a cutting template! Does anyone play CDs anymore? I do sometimes... and tape cassettes!

I hope she enjoys using them, they were made with lots of love!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

festival frolics!

My Festival of Quilts 2017 experience was filled with so much good stuff! I'm going to start with people, then goodies and then the quilts! So jump through this post as you like :)

Of course I wanted to attend the festival but I knew I had to when Clare - Selfsewn told me she was going because we have been online friends for years. I love meeting people in real life and Festival is the best place to meet quilty friends (Nat and I did a few years ago!).

I'm sure I squealed when I saw her, gave her a big hug and I might have even held her face because I was so happy to see her! We went in the festival together (having both failed to fill in our details on the back of the ticket!) and on the way to meet Collette, we stopped to exchange gifts. Clare gave me the most magnificent mini quilt and I will share what I made for her tomorrow.

Absolutely, perfectly Clare. Beautiful stitching and quilting. My very own 'quilt label' - she knows I've always loved her labels (so much so that I naughtily looked at the back of her quilt hanging at festival last year to see the label she made!). And can we talk about the pink ribbon and heart so prettily appliqued?! LOVE! Also striped binding ♡♡♡

We met up with Collette - Poppy and Poochie, another long time friend and inspiration to me! We had a good chat and all met Victoria Findlay Wolfe as we admired her quilts. I failed to get pictures of that. Then we wandered through the exhibition, chatting and taking silly selfies.

We met lovely Irina - Zepher Skies, who is so sweet and her joyfulness is contagious! And the superwoman Catrin @patshyncatrin, who totally amazes me with all she does and her huge heart. Also she's hilarious and speaks Welsh so beautifully I could listen to her all day and wouldn't care that I don't understand. Lucky she speaks English too though ;) Then I got to chat more to Anna Maria Horner after meeting her when we did Sewing Quarter the day before - she was so funny and genuinely lovely, I think everyone I spoke to that met her fell in love!

I was lucky to chat to so many other lovely friends I saw as we walked around. It's so cool to see familiar faces and meet new people! I end up in a bit of a daze so sorry if you saw me looking blankly, I do get overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place and slight anxiety that I can't find the exit!! I also didn't take that many pictures this year, I did put quite a few on my Instagram story but the quality of those pics isn't so great and then I just got tired of holding my phone.

So on to my haul... well this time it's quality not quantity. I'm not lacking in fabric but I can't resist Liberty, especially good sized scraps that are £1! These are from Alice Caroline - who had a beautiful stand and the ladies there were really lovely. And thank you Clare for treating me and buying the bright one on the left for me! (I forget what that print is called - leave a comment if you know!) The one on the right is Pepper - I love this print and have a couple of other colourways. It's a great stash print. 

I also got what I wanted! A wooden seam roller from Purple Stitches. I can't wait to try this out, I will let you know how I get on with it. Purple Stitches also had an amazing selection of fabric, gorgeous florals and a great mix of modern prints from different designers - do check them out, they also have a crazy good sale section!

I realised that Simply Solids is always a 'base' at festival - because Justine and Lisa, as well as Katy and Kelly who were there on Saturday are the most fun, the shop is awesome and they always know where to go and where people are somehow!! 
The Aurifil stand was fun too, I watched Anna Maria Horner do a hand quilting demo!
There were so many great demos and things going on, I couldn't see everything and I just can't mention it all because I'd be here forever but it was all so good.

So let's get on to some quilts shall we... I am just going to show a few here, ones that I would like to remember because they caught my eye (and perhaps I hadn't seen them on social media - so if you don't see your quilt here please don't take offence, it may just mean that I already know where to find it!). Do go and see all the pictures people took at #FOQ2017!

Penny Chattey

 Pippa Moss

 Victoria Findlay Wolfe 

Julia Attwater

 Vivian Fox

Jenny Ladbrooke
Alison Mayall

Did you have a favourite quilt from Festival of Quilts this year?

Friday, 11 August 2017

Greek Cross Quilt ✚ Anna Maria Horner

What an exciting time I'm having! Today I got to meet Anna Maria Horner who made a special guest appearance on Sewing Quarter. She was genuinely so lovely, it was a thrill to meet her and see her beautiful quilts up close because I have long been a fan of her designs and work.

Of course I was there demonstrating projects I have made using her latest collection Floral Retrospective.

This quilt is made up of 12 traditional Greek Cross quilt blocks and you can click here to get the block instructions

I fussy cut the larger flower prints for the centres, framed beautifully by the Overachiever print. The background fabric is Linea in Lichen by Makower, which compliments the greens so well.

Keeping with the colour scheme I used a lovely soft green #2840 Aurifil 40 wt thread to quilt around the diamonds. It would be a great quilt pattern to do some free motion quilting or hand quilting because of those nice spaces and the geometric shapes.

The quilt is 36" x 48".

Next I made a cushion cover (shown here unstuffed!) with butterfly blocks and I really like the folksy vibe this has:

I hand stitched the antennae and did some hand quilting around the wings using perle 8 thread. I actually did the quilting sitting in a games shop while my son was learning to play Dungeons and Dragons. I asked about sewing in public on instagram and generally people always seem to have good reactions, which is brilliant. Leave a comment below if you sew/craft in public and tell me what your experiences have been like, all good?

And I only just clocked that John matched his shirt to the cushion, butterflies everywhere!

If you would like to watch Anna Maria Horner talk about her career, design process and take a look at some drawings that are part of her next fabric collection then click play below!

Tomorrow I am heading to Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham (mostly to finally meet fabulous Clare - Selfsewn, another quilting heroine of mine) and also to look at all the gorgeous quilts on display. You can follow along on my instagram as I will be adding pictures/videos to my story while I'm there and I will do a blog post soon too of course!

I hope you're all having a nice start to the weekend, happy sewing!