STASHING #17

Happy Easter everyone!  Lots of exciting news to share soon, as well as project progress that has kept me away from blogging for longer than I’d like.  The last few weeks have been hectic and I’ve recently thrown learning Japanese into my already crazy schedule, so I apologise once again for the lack of posts of late.

Today, on this Easter Sunday Stashing, I have something much more delicious than chocolate.  Fabric, and Tula Pink fabric at that.  You may remember me talking about my increasing Tula hoard a few stashing posts back when I scored a complete Salt Water collection from Etsy.  I’m continually on the look out for any of her earlier collections and it would appear luck was on my side again this week when I found a UK online store that had over half of the Birds and the Bees collection in stock!  What a find!  With the release of  Fox Field this collection has been resigned to the limited availability section of Tula’s back catalogue, so I knew I had to have it…all of it!

Clockwise from left:

Tree of life in honey, cinnamon and pool; Swallow Skies in sunset, storm and apple; Bees Knees in lapis and forest; Squirrel in mist; Little Bits in pool, honey and mist; Lady Bugs in sugar and storm; Meteor Shower in sunset and aqua.

I couldn’t believe that so much of this collection was available!  I’m still on the look out for the other 12 and hope to add them to the stash soon.  To put the cherry on this Easter treat, Stitch Craft Create currenly have an Easter fabric sale until Sunday 27th April.  Buy any 3 units of fabric and get a 4th unit free.  To claim use the promo code FABS4 at the checkout.  I may not share my chocolate, but I’ll share the fabric love.  What did you get?

STASHING #16

I must apologise for the lack of activity around here of late, yet such stillness has been offset by feverish activity in the attic.  I’ve been working night and day to get the blocks finished for the Superhero quilt and yesterday I achieved just that!  I was so desperate to get my hands on new fabric that I went ahead and ordered the border and sashing fabrics a few days before completion, so I wouldn’t be hanging around waiting for them.

So, a small amount of stashing this week, but stashing none the less.

All from M Is For Make, the Kona black will frame the superhero blocks with a thin, quarter-inch border.  Nothing like a little black to make your colours pop!  For the sashing I wanted something with texture, and this Yarn dyed linen from Robert Kaufman is just the ticket.  When the borders and blocks combine I’m hoping for a comic book page feel.  Finally, the Kona snow is in preparation for my #NGAQB April blocks, which I hope to start soon.  As Usual, I’m linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash.  I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours…

A SUPERHERO QUILT WIP II

I’ll start by saying shouting from the lofty heights of Gotham City’s skyline… “I’m loving making this quilt!”  Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me tell you why in a more civilised fashion.

I began this quilt with the vaguest of plans.  As I mentioned in the previous post, I really wanted to embrace my scraps and keep my eye from wandering to the neatly folded piles of yardage.  I can say that after nine completed blocks, I’ve only “made” a scrap once, and that’s because the orange was too orange to leave out!  I’ve behaved myself and so has my machine, who’s “eaten” greens, blues and yellows ravenously.  Dare I say I’m running out of scraps?

It’s the colours you see; bright, saturated, types that fly off the design wall, capes-a-flapping, begging to be sewn into a block.  Like I said, I’ve completed nine so far, each inspired by a Marvel or DC comic book character.  When I started this quilt I thought I’d sew and sew until the block looked and felt done.  I’ve since revised that now, and each of the blocks are being made with specific dimensions in mind.  I felt that if I wanted to arrange them in a comic book style then there would have to be some sort of math to help me do that.  So, one particularly slow day in work last week saw me ruler in hand, planning the layout.  With these sizes decided upon, I sew a block until it’s a little larger and will trim it back when the time comes to add the sashing.  The numbers don’t stop me from getting my improv A-game on though.  Sometimes I sew strips, other times mini log cabin units.  I stack and slice and dice so much I half imagine speech bubbles filled with ‘POW’ and ‘ZAP’ radiating from my rotary cutter.

Each block has been great fun to make, though I particularly enjoyed the two above.  The topmost features the American flag, a nod to the identity of its namesake, whilst the bottom is the biggest block I’ve ever made.  It’s 27″ long!  When I made the Incredible Hulk block I was planning on sharing all the names.  Now, I think it might be fun to do a little competition once all the blocks are finished and see if people can guess who inspired them.  Four more to go…

STASHING #15

Yesterday’s Mothering Sunday saw me swap fabric for frangipani when I hosted an afternoon tea in thanks for maternal duties.  It was only when I got back home I remembered I’d forgotten to share my latest fabric spoils with you all for Sunday Stash.  So here they are, in all their better-late-than-never glory.

Last week we took a trip to Hereford; a place I’d heard a lot about but had never visited.  In a nut shell, it’s a quintessentially English city.  Street market?  Check.  Cathedral?  Check.  Fabric store?  Check, check, check!  Doughty’s had been mentioned to me before so I knew we had to make a pit-stop there.  What I didn’t know was that they spread themselves over three premises, nestled in a quaint courtyard.  One is for needle craft and haberdashery, another for dress and craft fabrics, and the third for patchwork and quilting.  I knew that if I dragged the man into all three there’d be serious boredom issues, so I contained myself and only browsed the patchwork venue.

Inside was a great selection of plain cottons, batiks, Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett fabrics and novelty prints, as well as all the usual paraphernalia associated with our craft; rulers, cutting mats, wadding and templates.  I knew time wasn’t on my side so I scanned the shelves robot-like, not really knowing what I was looking for but knowing that I’d know once I found it.  Despite finding some bolts of  Flea Market Fancy legacy, I showed restraint and went away with the small selection above.

I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to note the selvedge details but after a little research I’ve come up with some names.  The blue herringbone is from ‘Marrakesh’ by Lewis & Irene, a British, family-run fabric business.  The yellow and blue stripe and the dinosaur print are from ‘Jurassic coast’, also by Lewis & Irene. and impossible to leave behind.  The gorgeous stars and moon prints are by Maywood Studio and I’m wishing I bought more!  The final yellow-green print caught my eye for its likeness to something by Tula Pink, so home it came!  I could have spent hours in the shop, yet despite a chair in the corner for any non-fabric aficionado visiting he was having none of it.  Still, I know where it is now…a fabric addict never forgets.

Linking up some what belatedly with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash.  Go forth and drool fabric lovers!

NO GIRLS ALLOWED QUILT BEE – MARCH

As well as many birthdays, including the dog’s, March marks month three of the #NGAQB and the center-stage positioning of our second Andrew (with an Andres too even the bee members get confused; I’m not expecting you to keep up!)  Like the other one, this Andrew recently shared a bit about himself in our Facebook group.  I’ll go and make tea whilst you get to know him better…

“I’m the other Andrew, or Mr. March.  I went to art school and concentrated on photography.  I now work in healthcare, specifically as an aide in Intensive Care and Cardiac Services.  Quilting was introduced to me by my mother a couple of years ago when I asked her to teach me, knowing she wanted to get back into it.  I made one small table runner and one lap quilt then put my machine away, only to pick it up again 6 months or so ago.  Thanks to social media, specifically Instagram, I started noticing more and more male crafters and quilters.  I started to follow them and began a conversation about an all-male quilt bee…and here we are.”

Yes we are, with tea!  Andrew shares his awesomeness as Testostersewn on Instagram.  For his month, he chose an Inverted Star block.

“I chose the Inverted Star block because I haven’t yet worked with half-square triangles and wanted the challenge.”

We were asked to keep the star solid and the exterior pieces either solid black or a black tone-on-tone print.  As for colours, we were guided by a photograph Andrew shared with the bee.

“I asked for the color inspiration to come from a photograph I took on my last trip with my husband to Key West. We’ve been there twice in the last year and I love it.  Asking for your help to commemorate this new favorite place of mine seemed appropriate.”

I have to admit that I didn’t realise the photograph had a significance to Andrew until after I made his blocks.  I feel so privileged to have contributed to something that will stir great memories.  Whilst I enjoyed making these blocks I don’t mind saying I was a little anxious beforehand!  After reading through the pattern several times, I ultimately decided to ignore it!  Whenever I’ve made half square triangles in the past, my go-to method has always been to stitch either side of a line draw on a square and cut in half.  The pattern called for triangles cut first then stitched together.  Well, I guess cutting on the bias is my bronchitis, coz I ain’t got time for it!  Instead, I made over-sized units and cut them down in an attempt to improve the accuracy of my piecing and have the block come out the right size.  There were a lots of pieces in this block and I didn’t want to lose too much of it!  I fastidiously sewed each seam with a scant quarter-inch allowance and went softly, softly with my iron.  Distortion I did not need!  Thankfully when it came to measuring up, the blocks were the size they were suppose to be, give or take a few threads.

The photograph allowed for a great colour palette; lots of moody blues and greys with hints of whites and marine greens.  I had no shortage of fabric to choose from as these are the colours I love to work with.  I used a mixture of prints and solids and tried to varying their position over the two blocks.  I’m particularly proud of the fussy cutting I did on the Joel Dewberry print in the first block.  I really wanted the pattern in exactly the same place and I think I nailed it.   A small victory in a long-fought battle against steam and seam!

Yesterday Andrew confirmed receipt of the blocks so I can breathe a sigh of relief.  Apart from January, all the blocks I make are destined for air travel and I always fret that it’ll be my package that gets mislaid.  So far, so good.  Andrew seems pleased too.  He ended his mini biography with this…

“Thank you all for the stunning blocks I’ve already either received or seen online.  The work you each produce is amazing and I’m glad to be a growing amateur in such an elite group of fun and talented craftsman!”

Such sentiment!  Three months in and I’m loving every minute of this quilt bee experience.  Sharing my creativity with such a great bunch of guys is so rewarding, I wouldn’t even if I didn’t have a month of my own…actually, scrap that, roll on October, it’s ours and we wants it!

As always, follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #NGAQB.

 

A SUPERHERO QUILT WIP

Remember a few weeks back when I talked about the strike of inspiration that came from a Marvel comic?  Well, yesterday scraps were flying through the attic as I grabbed and sewed improv-style.  Even the dog wasn’t safe from the cascade of confetti that fell from the cutting mat.  I thought I’d start with The Incredible Hulk, thinking I get the most bang-for-my-buck in terms of scrap usage.  I mean, have you seen the size of that angry doctor?

To say I went at this without any sort of plan would be a lie.  I had the vaguest idea what I wanted to achieve, that was, take random scraps and sew them all together, without care or worry about size or straight seams.  I really wanted to let myself go, lucky-dipping into the scrap box to choose the next piece.  I forbade myself from using anything from stash.  If a scrap was too big, I sliced it in half; if it was too small, I added it to something else.  This liberating style of piecing is something I used when making the dinosaur quit, only this time there was no solid sashing, just blocks of uninterrupted colour.  Finished block size?  Didn’t have a clue!  I just added and trimmed until it “felt” right.

I tried to vary the piecing, sometimes sewing strips together, other times making small 4-patch blocks and adding a border to one or all the sides.  There were no rules, which made the process all the more enjoyable.  After a few more additions today, I think the first block is done.  But who knows?  A week down the line might see this Hulk block double in size.  I’m still leaning towards the idea of setting these blocks in a neutral background, perhaps a grey or black linen mix, something that will really set off the bright colours of Marvel.

500 FOLLOWERS INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY

Happy St. Patrick’s day to you all!  Whilst there has been lots of sewing with green scraps in the attic today, the timing is purely coincidental.  I’ll be sharing more about what the scraps are for soon but I just wanted to check in and remind you that today is the last day to enter my Instagram giveaway.  Tomorrow I’ll randomly draw a pair of winners and these fat eighth bundles of Hapi by Amy Butler will be no longer up for grabs.

You’ve got to be in it to win it!  Good luck.