NO GIRLS ALLOWED QUILT BEE – JUNE

Quick, somebody call the police, because I have been robbed…of time!  Where in the world did July go?  Was it something I said?  Please, come back!  I swear I’ll be better, make the most of you and give you the attention you deserve…no…you’re truly gone and you really can’t turn back the clock?  Damn!

I can’t believe that we are over half way through the bee.  I’m disappointed in my self that I’ve fallen behind, but hey, life’s an attention seeker.  This weekend, having cleaned and re-organised the attic a while back, I was ready to jump back on board and tackle some of the guys’ blocks.  technically I’m still behind, with July’s fabric still languishing in a pile, but for now let’s talk about Mr. June, AKA Chris Jones (a wonderful Welsh surname) and his block du mois.

Chris was originally an extra member of the bee but owing to another member’s need to leave stepped up to take June.  Like all the others, he gave the group this FAQ so that we might get to know him better.  Read on!

Do you have any nicknames, or go by any other name?

I used to be heavy into online gaming (Everquest and World of Warcraft) so I have a few character names that people still call me. Typically, Chris is good enough to get my attention. I’ll answer to just about anything you call me though.

Did you go to College? What did you study?

I started college with the expectation that I would get a biology and chemistry degree, and move on to work in a hospital as a phlobotomist or in a research lab. I was three classes shy of my biology degree when I took a psychology class on a dare. That one class changed everything that I had planned for my life; I ended up graduating from college with dual degrees. One in Psychology with an emphasis in Depth and Archetypal psychology, and one in Sociology with an emphasis in Anthropology.

One day I’ll make it back to school and get my Masters in counseling. I want to either be a licensed counselor, or teach psychology and anthropology on a college level.

What do you do now?

Right now I’m a SQL Developer/Data Administrator for an online book company (nope, not that one – not that one either). I’ve been with the company for fourteen years; I started with them two weeks after I graduated college. I started in the Customer Service department, and quickly moved up to CS Manager. I’ve held a position in just about every department within the company, and if I haven’t worked there, I work closely with them to generate reports or import data.

When did you start quilting?

I didn’t actually pick up quilting until I was in college and living with my mom’s family. She has a strong lineage of quilters, and I thought I might enjoy it. I grew up with my grandmother, who was a seamstress. She taught me how to sew, crochet, cross stitch, embroider and many other things.

When I graduated from college, I stopped quilting for a while. I was sucked in to the world of MMORPG, and barely had time for anything else but work. I picked up quilting again at the suggestion of a great friend at work. She introduced me to hand-piecing and I was in love again. I’ve done quite a few small projects, but I’ve yet to actually quit a top yet. I’m hoping that I’ll get to take some valuable time-off soon and try my mom’s new long arm or free motion quilting machines.

What other hobbies do you have?

Outside of sewing/quilting, I love to cook, can, and garden. I just picked up canning this year, and I love it. There’s nothing more awesome than taking the things that you grow and preserving them to eat throughout the year. Though I don’t typically eat it, I love making jam, the stranger the flavour profile, the more fun. So far I’ve made mulberry jam, strawberry balsamic jam, grape jelly, wild berry (strawberry, blueberry, mulberry) and apple butter. I’m trying out recipes for pineapple rum jam and mulled red wine jelly. They will likely be part of the family Christmas presents this year.

Do you have pets?

Yep, I have three furbabies that are the love of my life. A scottie named Finnigan, a Cairn named Ursula and a German Shepherd named Zahara. Ursula and Zahara were both rescues. We’re currently taking Zahara through obedience school right now.

What is your favourite animal?

Definitely a wallaby, with a giraffe coming in a close second. I want to make it to Australia one day so that I can see wallabies bounding around the countryside. (And I promise not to be freaked out by the drop-bears :))

What is your favourite color?

Orange, definitely orange. From pumpkin to safety vest, I love it all.

If you could pick your own name, what would it be?

For a long time I wanted to change my middle name (no, I won’t tell you what it is, but if you guess correctly, I’ll let you know) to Xavier. I’ve always loved that name, and I’m not really sure why.

Which season is best?

Fall will always have a special place in my heart. I love the color of the season. But now, because I really enjoy planning gardens, and digging in the dirt, I’d have to go with spring. The smell of the air right after a spring rain….it’s invigorating.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be?

I’d love to see my grandfather again. He was such an amazing person. He was a short-order cook in the army, a recorded musician that wrote music, played the guitar, banjo and fiddle, and spent the greater portion of his adult life as a taxi driver. His routes ranged from around the block to across the country. He loved life, and never had a cross word for anyone. He, like my grandmother, really taught me how to “be” in this world and I love him for it. I’d love to see him again.

How would you best describe yourself?

I never know what to say with this question. I think the best thing that I can say is that my Meyer’s Briggs personality type is INFP. I’m introverted, usually very quiet and reserved, or in my own world. Feelings and emotions are important to me, and I am usually overflowing with them. I like to daydream, and don’t like strict rules.

If you could be any fictional character,who would it be?

I can’t narrow it down to one. I’d like to think that I’m equal parts Mindy Kaling, Aquaman, and Captain Jack Harkness in a candy-coated Lord John Grey shell.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I probably have too many to mention here. I have a touch of an OCD streak that rears its ugly head from time to time. Right now the biggest thing that bothers me are leaves. I was out in the snow raking them the other day because I couldn’t stand seeing them all over the ground. As far as peeves from others, though, I don’t like people who use others for their benefit. Gets in my craw every time.

Do you have siblings?

Yep, I have a half-brother and a step-sister. Both are grown, though my brother still lives with our parents.

What kind of music interests you?

I will listen to just about any type of music, except modern country. I just can’t get into it. As far as favourites…the sugarier the pop, the better. As of late I’ve been bouncing between Bollywood hits and electronica.

What book/movie/tv show can you not live without?

TV is a guilty pleasure of mine; I watch way too much of it. I’m a card-carrying fandom member for Supernatural and Teen Wolf – can’t miss an episode. I don’t read as much as I should, but I like fantasy, historical fiction and romance books. Bernard Cornwell, Gregory McGuire, and Diana

Chris blogs at adandyman and is Kailichi on Instagram, Pinterest and twitter.

For his month Chris choice a diamond stack block.  I have to admit that when I first saw this I was a little worried.  I mean come on, look at all that bias.  In the end it wasn’t that bad, although my second block came out decidedly better than the first.  Chris had no specific colour requirements, only that the first border around the diamonds be white, other than that, the crayon box was ours to command!  I naturally gravitated towards my colours of teal, mustard and purple, throwing in some favorites such as an Architextures crosshatch and some Tula Acacia Foxfield.  Though I bitched at the beginning, these weren’t that bad to make and I think I’d happily do them again…maybe…with wine…and hard liquor.

The #NGAQB hashtag is blooming now, so be sure to check out all the marvelous male-made things.  Also, I think we’re going to have our first completed quilt top soon.  Mr.January, Sandy, has finally gotten around to making his last few blocks.  Yay!

STASHING #25

Just a quick one today fabric lovers as I’m in an out of the attic trying to catch up on my bee blocks.  I hate being behind and so I’m taking advantage of the relative  cool to sew sew sew!  Charlotte Church is across the road, jamming out at a sing-song at a local coffee shop.

So, this morning I popped to Ikea to pick up some of this…

Three meters of the Ludovicka print.  This is going to make the perfect backing for a little project I have in the pipeline.  I’m still working out the details so I can’t share too much more with you, but watch this space, as I’m a sucker for a sneak peek!  I love using Ikea prints for backing.  They mostly come in at 60″ wide, so great for larger quilts without the need to join pieces.

That’s it!  A little more reserved than last weeks splurge!  Head over to Molli’s to see all the other fun stuff.

STASHING #24

Last weekend, when I attended the Fat Quarterly retreat in London, I took with me a small suitcase, filled mostly with clothes, toiletries and the like, as well as an over-the-shoulder canvas bag that held the majority of my class supplies.  I imagine it comes as absolutely no surprise to you then that during the return journey home, my shoulders were burdened with an additional two bags.  Bank balance and musculature alike were not happy with the obscene amount of fabric I had managed to accumulate over the course of the retreat.

But what a retreat it was!  I swooned into London with all the excitability of a child at Christmas.  I had no idea what to expect and was, if I’m honest, a little nervous.  I needn’t have been.  The weekend was a delight from start to finish, so much better than I could have ever imagined.  I meet so many wonderful people, took some great classes taught by some greater teachers and, much to my disbelief, walked away with an even bigger sense of love and pride for the community we find ourselves in.  The passion was palpable.  In every room creativity bred, passing from person to person like an infectious laugh.  It was intense; days filled with fabric, friends and the odd power outage.  Seams were sewn and ripped alike; cutting, pressing, laughing and singing, all culminating in a teary farewell on the street outside Baden Powell House, thanks to a rather ill-timed fire alarm.  Wonderfully organised and incredibly rewarding, I’m already looking forward to the next one!

What made it so much fun for me were the people.  Before the retreat Id touched base with a few people on Instagram, most notably Kelly, who posts as the_orriginal.  As well as looking through her stash for any Tula I needed, Kelly was kind enough to be a fabric mule for me.  She told me she lives close to Intrepid Thread, and that if there was anything I wanted she’d be happy to bring it over for me.  Well, I don’t need asking twice!

Not wanting to over-burden her, I tried to restrain myself.  Unfortunately fortunately the store hadn’t received their delivery of Cotton and Steel by the time Kelly had to leave for London, so I limited my self to a fat quarter bundle of Indelible by Katarina Rocella.  This stunning debut collection is heavy with my favourite colours, teals, greys and mustards, and features a shade of purple that simply begs to be seen in real life.  Graphic lines mix beautifully with flora and fauna to make a truly striking collection.  I can see me needing more of this before to long.

I couldn’t let Kelly leave just yet though, not before I’d scored another fat quarter bundle, this time Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft.  This seemingly endless collection blends soft pastels with vivid greens, purples and metallic ink.  Like the indelible, this collection features stags, as well as birds and other woodland creatures.  There are so many useable prints my mind is doing over time trying to come up with a quilt design that will do them justice.

Go and seek out these fabrics at once!  You will not be disappointed!

I’m so greatful to Kelly for bringing these all the way from the states for me.  I have a lot more goodies that I acquired at #FQR2014 to share with you all, but you’ll have to wait until next week for the juicy details.  I’ve got to keep a little something back! so, after all of my recent extravagance, the stash looks like this…

Like I said on Instagram…it’s a sickness.

As usual, I’m linking up with Molli for Sunday Stash.  I’ve already had a nose around at who’s bought what and it’s looking pretty from where I’m sitting.  I suggest you go and do the same!

MY HEAD RUNNETH OVER!

Oh my goodness you know when you have so much to say and you think you’ll never be able to say it all so you don’t take a breath and talk really quickly and then you think of something else you want to say and the list grows longer and longer and you start to fidget because the words and the sentences are growing and growing and building up in your brain like a pressure cooker but there’s nowhere for the words to go and it feels like your head may explode so you wish you could just snap your fingers and have it all stream out of your mouth in a wonderful wordy rainbow!

Phewwwwww!

Let’s stop there, if only to remember that punctuation is my friend.  In all seriousness, I think the last few weeks may have been the busiest quilty ones I’ve had since I stated this blog.  I mean my last post was weeks ago!  I apologise to anyone who may have been crawling the wall waiting for me to say something (no, no one?) but now that I’m here I do have a lot to share.  Firstly, and perhaps the most exciting news, is that this happened this week…

Hold the front page!  It’s only my dream machine, on the back seat of my dad’s car, making its way to my house!  After much research and nervous deliberation I finally succumbed to my inner desires and bought this beauty.  In my defense, the deal I was able to score, what with sale savings and the trading in of my old, beloved machine, was far too good to turn down.  I wasn’t expecting to be upgrading quite so early but I’m so glad I did.  You may not be able to believe that I haven’t actual sewn with it yet, just lovingly unpacked it and placed it proudly in the attic.  I’ve scoured the menu and will settle down with popcorn for the instructional DVD sometime soon.  The weather here has been unbearably hot and humid, no more so than in the attic, so that’s put me off a little.  But, bee blocks and future projects wait for no man, not even the weather one, so I’m excited at the prospect of having a good play very soon.  I’ll be sure to write up my thoughts and let you all know how I got on.

In other news, I attended the Fat Quarterly retreat in London last weekend.  I’m going to do a full write up when I blog about Sunday Stash this weekend, simply because I couldn’t talk about how much of an awesome time I had without mentioning all of the amazing goodies (not to mention the strained necked from the weight of said goodies) that I came back with!  Let me just say that it was such an amazing experience, full of creative people from all over the world, all joined in their shared passion for patchwork and quilting.

A few other bits and pieces have made me smile over the few weeks, mostly some secret sewing projects that I’ve been working on, but that’s all I can say on that matter for now.  You’ll just have to watch this space…

That’s all I’ve got!  This weather is really draining, and all I can think about right now is the glass of wine that inches from my hand. I’ve got a lot of projects in the pipeline, some secret, some not so much, and can’t wait to share some more with you all soon.  Thanks for sticking with me!

A VEGTABLE PATCH QUILT

I finally got around to photographing this quilt today.  I actually finished it about 2 weeks ago but have been waiting to take it to a friends allotment plot.  I couldn’t think of a more suitable location for a photo shoot.  After a couple of false starts we finally managed to meet up today and get the job done.  Thankfully, the storm held off just long enough for me to get my lens cap back on!

I loved making these blocks and am so pleased with how they’ve turned out.  The whole process was improvisational (recently, my mot de jour) and you can find out more about them in this post.  I didn’t really have a finished product in mind when I started but love where the creative process has taken me.  Most of these blocks started life as sketches on the back of receipts and the whole journey was, aptly, an organic one.

After I finished the top I wanted the quilting to really emphasise the earthy nature of the quilt.  For the backing I chose a seeded, natural cotton that has been in the stash for a while.  Thankfully I bought a lot of it, which is good as I can see it becoming the back to many more quilts like this.  I chose dense matchstick quiting in a white, cream and tan variegated thread.  The texture is amazing and I can’t help but be reminded of onion layers when I look at the back.

I was stumped on the binding for a good few days.  At first I was drawn to the colours of the vegetables, but after somebody suggested they should remain the main players and the binding shouldn’t compete with them, I opted for an old, go-to binding; a Carolyn Friedlander crosshatch, this time in grey.  Subtle, but still nice to look at.

My head is already full of ideas for more ways to explore this type of piecing and now, when I’m in the supermarket, I’m lingering just a little longer in the produce aisle!

STASHING #23

How long do you take to answer the question “Do I really need this?”.  I asked myself that a lot this week as the department store where I work prepared to enter its summer clearance sale.  The usual things were offered up to savvy shoppers, you know, like duvets, wine glasses, saucepans and Tula Pink’s Fox Field collection.

What?  Hold the front page!

I was a shocked as you!  As a frequent visitor to the haberdashery department, I already knew that our remaining stock of Tula’s previous collection Acacia was to be reduced to half price and so had some set aside for me.  What I wasn’t expecting was the recently acquired Fox Field to follow suit.  So, with over 17 bolts of Tula goodness for around £5 a meter, I think it took me all of 0.25 seconds to say “YES!  I really, really need this.

So, nothing really new in the stash this week, just more of some old friends, 15 meters more!

 

STASHING #22

I’ve some real beauties for you this week.  A few weeks ago, after a rummage and reordering of the stash, I began to lament on how little of the Architextures collection by Carolyn Friedlander I had left.  The crosshatch prints, also featured in her follow-up collection Botanics, are such useful additions.  They’re great for binding and make awesome backgrounds and negative space.  A little black and some of the text print made up the sum total of my remaining pieces.  This needed rectifying.

So, as I’ve been known to do in the past, a friend and I went all out and hunted some down, and not just stopping at the crosshatch prints either.  I wanted it all, the full house, something I sorely missed out on last time.  I knew the collection was going to be reprinted but had heard rumours that some designs would be left out.  Imagine then my delight as I saw more and more prints popping up for sale!

Now, in the space of a week, the only print I’m missing is the black blue print.  Instagram has been wonderful in allowing me to replenish my stock of this most beloved fabric, owing to all the great and sometimes rare things that pop up on the destash hashtag.  These are the first delivery, which I tore into a few days ago.  A rainbow of crosshatch and those to-die-for text prints.  The rest, which includes the more of the ledger and topography colourways, is due any day now and will be the stars of a feature Sunday Stash.

I’m linking up with Handmade by Mary Emmens for today’s Sunday Stash.  Go look at all the goodies and enter her great giveaway.  I shall imminently, after I’ve petted the Architextures one more time.