OAKSHOTT LIPARI BLOG HOP

Welcome to the second stop on the Oakshott Lipari Blog Hop. Now, before we begin, I have a little confession to make. I am a huge Oakshott fan! I remember seeing some way back when and dying at the sight. You know when people say “oh, you really have to see it to believe it”, well, nothing could be truer with these stunning fabrics. They beg to be viewed up close. My stash now has a whole shelf of them and even a separate box for all the scraps and off-cuts. Hoard them I do, so it was a no brainer when Lynne asked if I’d like to be part of a blog hop celebrating the latest collection.

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Each of the eighteen colours of the Lipari collection are woven with black thread to give a dark and rich palette. I was reminded of a Moroccan souk by the deep jewel colours and my mind was awash with exotic things I wanted to make! They’re 54″ wide too, so they go that little bit extra and are perfect for garment making.

After much thought and lots of fabric petting, I decided upon a paper pieced quilt block I’d had in my mind for quite a while. I think I’m right in saying that the inspiration came from a plant pot I saw in a Buzzfeed article about the ten coolest things you can buy your plants. Slightly odd, but inspirational none the less! I’ve called this the ‘Prism Plant Pot’ block.

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It’s always so much fun to draft a paper pieced pattern. At the start, there’s the worry about whether it’ll all come together and actually look like it does in your head. After a few initial sketches, I had the design nailed and was thankful that a friend was able to digitise it for me. I’m more of a pencil and graph paper sort of guy, which, although fine for me, wouldn’t work too well when it came to sharing the pattern. After a quick test block, I was ready to go!

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Owing to time restraints, I settled on a mini quilt for this make, although, by using chain piecing, the blocks came together so quickly that a full quilt wouldn’t have taken that much longer. I decided to pre-cut the fabric to size beforehand for this project, the first time I’ve done so. I was so surprised at how much quicker the whole thing came together and before I knew it I was ready to quilt. Oakshott cottons take quilting beautifully, though it took me an age to decided on a design.

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What at first was something I didn’t look forward to, quilting has become one of my favourite parts of quilt making. I guess it’s a confidence thing. Early on, I would see beautifully quilted quilts with intricate designs and wish that I could do them. With every new quilt I make, I’m excited and willing to try something new and push the limitations of my skill, slowly but surely building up my repertoire.

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For this mini, after discarding several ideas, I went with a meandering angular line that was so much fun to quilt as I tuned in to an episode of one of my favourite podcasts. If you find yourself tensing up when you attempt FMQ, then listening to some music or a podcast is a great way of finding some flow. The binding was simple, and chosen to blend in to the quilt top. You all know that binding is my favourite part and I so relish the moments of hand sewing with dog at feet and some old vinyl crackling away in the background. Bliss!

This fabric, like all the other Oakshott I’ve had the pleasure of working with, really is a dream to sew. Yet it’s the colours that get me every single time. I’m so excited to see what they come up with next!

Should you want to make your own Prism Plant Pot mini, you’ll find a small tutorial below. I won’t go into the ins and outs of paper piecing here as there are plenty of great write ups on the subject already. If you’ve never tried, this pattern is a really easy one, though you may want to do a few test blocks using fabric that isn’t your best.

To to make a mini like mine, which finishes at approx. 22″ x 26.5 you’ll need to make 16 blocks, which will be sewn into a 4 x 4 layout. Start by printing out 16 copies of Prism Plant Pot template 1 and 16 of Prism Plant Pot template 2 These will be paired up to make one finished block.

To make the quilt, use the following fabric quantities as a guide, though remember that with paper piecing, everyone has a different level of comfort, that’s to say, you may need more wiggle room than the next person! I’ve listed the colours I used too.

For the prisms – fat eighth pack of Liparis (with lots left over!)

For the background, backing and binding – 2 meters of Liparis Milazzo

For the side pieces – 0.4 meters of Liparis Pollara

For the top fabric – 0.25 meters of Scandinavia Uppsala.

If like me you want to do all the cutting beforehand, then use these following measurements to prepare all your pieces to make 16 blocks.

From the prism fabric (I used all the colours in the bundle except the Milazzo and Pollara as these were used elsewhere) – 32 3.5″ x 4″ pieces, 2 of each remaining colour. These will be section 2 on the pattern.

From the background fabric – 32 3.5″ x 2″ pieces for section 1, 32 3.5″ x 2.5″ pieces for section 5 and 32 6.5″ x 1.5″ pieces for section 6.

From the side fabric – 32 3.5″ x 4″ pieces for section 3.

From the top fabric – 32 3.5″ x 1″ pieces for section 4.

Piece all 32 block halves before matching them in pairs and joining together to make 16 finished blocks. Take care to align each half so that the prism is as neat as possible. Arrange the block in 4 rows of 4, distributing the colours. Sew the blocks into rows before joining the rows together to complete the quilt top.

From your remaining Milazzo fabric, cut your backing and your biding strips (you’ll need 2 at the full WOF. I cut mine to 2″ but if you prefer you can cut to 2.25″). Baste with batting using your preferred method and quilt the top before making and attaching the binding.

Job done!

Thank you for stopping by today. If you’ve liked what you’ve seen, be sure to take a look at all the other stops on the tour, which you’ll find listed below. To keep up to date with all the goings on from the attic, follow along by signing up in the task bar and following over on Instagram where I post as quiltsfromtheattic. If you make a Prism Plant Pot block, let me know using #prismplantpotblock.

Happy sewing!

5 May     Allison Dutton       allison-sews.blogspot.com

10 May   Nicholas Ball         quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com 

12 May   Helen Purvis          archiethewonderdog.blogspot.com

17 May   Lynn Harris            thelittleredhen.typepad.com

19 May   Kitty Wilkin           nightquilter.com

24 May   Jessica Skultety      www.quiltyhabit.com 

26 May   Karin Jordan           www.leighlaurelstudios.com

31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan  sharksdinner.com

SIMPLY SOLIDS BLOGGER BUNDLE

A few months ago, the lovely ladies at Simply Solids, a great fabric store in Huddersfield, asked me if I’d be interested in curating a bundle for a new stash club they were rolling out. The ‘Blogger’s Choice’ bundle is made up of fabrics chosen by bloggers and quilts designers, and once the first three names were announced, it was clear that I was in awesome company. After Karen Lewis and Nicole Dakiewicz selected their fabrics, it was my turn. I thought about it for weeks beforehand and am now so excited to say that my month is live and flying through the postal system to land in the stashes of subscribers.

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As you may know, pulling fabrics is one of my favourite parts of quilt making. I went for a palette of rich blacks, hot pinks, earthy browns and a splashes of gold. I took the jumble print from Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander as my starting point and added some Handcrafted by Alison Glass, as well as some great blenders like the modern batik print by Me and You for Hoffmann Fabrics. I also couldn’t resist throwing in some Essex yarn dyed from Robert Kauffman for texture.

I received my bundle yesterday and it looks SO good in person! I think I may have outdone myself.  The metallic painter’s canvas has to be seen in real life. It’s just gorgeous!

There’s still time to sign up to the stash club and receive my bundle. Other bloggers will be announced over the coming weeks. For all the information you need to subscribe, visit simply solids here.

Thanks for dropping by!

QUICK AND EASY QUILTS

When I first started out on my quilting journey I sent an email to Lynne of Lily’s Quilts, asking for advice about how to start a blog. I really admired her work and thought she’d have great brains to pick. Thinking back, the email was probably cringe worthy to say the least, but Lynne was kind enough to respond and give me some great pointers. I remember being so excited. It was like I was talking to quilting royalty and had been invited to join this crazy, fun world of quilting

When I was asked to take a look at Lynne’s new book, Quick & Easy Quilts, I jumped at the chance. As some of you may know, I’m a bit of a bibliophile and getting my hands on a crisp, new book is almost as good as fabric deliveries! When the book is about fabric, then I’m winning.

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Published by Kyle Books with bright and cheerful photography by Jan Baldwin, it’s the kind of quilting book you can’t help but smile at as you flick through. I have to confess that I loved it even before I opened it. The cover is beautifully tactile; embossed, with a sheen across that title that begs to be stroked. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right; I’m mad, but you’ll understand what I mean if you get a copy.

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I was pleased to see that despite the title, many of the projects look decisively more difficult than Lynne’s clear and concise instructions make them. The Supernova is a stunning, impactful project that looks like it would take you weeks, yet through clever strip piecing it could easily be a weekend project.

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Lynne’s eye for colour has always made the quilts she makes special, and the ones in this book are no exception. Though it’s hard to pick a favourite, the cool, water-inspired fabric pull of the Out on the Ocean mini quilt makes my heart sing, as does the freehand curved piecing, something which I’ve experimented with myself a lot in the past. It was refreshing to see several improv pieced projects alongside Lynne’s more usual precisely-cut-out-projects.

Amongst the twenty modern projects featured, there really is something for everyone, regardless of ability or skill. Whilst tidying up the sewing room the other day, I couldn’t help but pull some fabric ready to make some Schoolhouse blocks. I’ve seen these beauties from Lynne before and the wall hanging in the book looks so awesome I think I need one of my own.

To get you all inspired for some quick and easy quilt making I have a copy of the book to give away to one luck reader. To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what type of quilter you are. Do you like long cutting lists and precision, or are you like me and love to hack, press and slash? The competition is open to all and I’ll draw a winner in a week. Good luck!

The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered!

EASTER PAUSE…AND PLANNING.

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re all taking the time to slow down and surround yourself with the people and places that you love. We have a nice relaxing few weeks planned and are spending some time travelling around the country. With the sewing machine taking a well-deserved rest too, it’s the perfect time to take stock and plan for the coming months.

As well as the books and board games I’ve packed, I’ve brought along my trusty note pad. I intended to get organised and prioritise what I need to work on once the holiday is over.

First up will be to finish the wonky cross I’ve been working on for what seems like an age. It’s been one of those slow burning projects that I work on between more pressing deadlines. I think now the time has come for it to take a front seat and get finished. I intended to have it long armed, so I’ve only the top to concentrate on.

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I do so enjoy working on this project, and I’ve been lucky enough to receive some great scraps from the IG quilting community. I was running out of my own in these colours and, knowing that I wanted this to be a large quilt, I put out a call to arms for any fabric people could spare. Boy, did they deliver. I have so many now and can’t wait to get them all pieced into blocks.

Now, where did I put that notebook?

THE DENIM STUDIO BY ART GALLERY FABRICS

Oh my goodness! I could sit here and list the reasons why I haven’t blogged in such a long time, but to be honest, I can’t even remember them all. I know there was the small matter of buying a house to deal with, Christmas, and lots of small deadlines that seemed to get the better of me. So, I say we forget all that and jump straight in with the loveliness that is the new denim collection by Art Gallery Fabrics.

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram will now how excited I was when Christopher, aka The Tatooed Quilter, asked me to be part of a blog tour celebrating this new fabric release. From my experiences of sewing with AGF in the past, I knew that this was something I had to be involved in, not to mention these were denims designed for quilters! I was sold.

As I waited patiently like a fabric-crazed animal for my supplies to arrive, I got to thinking about what I would make with them once they had. The collection is made up of 25 different fabrics so there really is something for every project. I’d requested some of my favourite prints in the lightweight denim, some solids in the smooth denim and a few colours of heavier, textured denim. When I ordered them I wasn’t sure what they’d become, so I played it safe and got a bit of everything!

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At the drawing board, my mind recalled a story about the time my grandmother gave my dad some money to buy a new pair of jeans. As a boy, I was told the cautionary tale so many times I’ll never forget it!

With three children to raise and my grandfather long-passed, money was tight, so my dad was overjoyed at the thought of a new pair of jeans. With the money in his vice-like grip, he went to the big city to seek out them out. Once there, he became enamoured with a pair of patchwork jeans, made up of oddments of denim and detailed with crazy stitching. It wasn’t too long before the money in his hand had been replaced with a bag in which a pair of the mismatch jeans was tucked. Upon returning home, my dad couldn’t wait to show my grandmother what he’d bought. He was sure to be the talk of the town with these new threads! How pleased she would be to have such a popular son!

My grandmother did not agree. So mortified was she that my dad had spent the money on what she saw as rags, she took what little change there was, clipped him around the ear and caught the next bus to Cardiff to return them!

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The mini quilt I made pays homage to this story. I used a variation of my tried and tested ‘Drunked Tiles’ quilt to piece small, oddly-shaped pieces of denim together, blending both the prints and solids to create my own mismatch of denims. I added some improv diamonds throughout the top, starting densely in the top left corner and becoming less frequent as you move across the quilt. I fell in love with the rich ochre of the textured denim but was worried about the seams it would create, particularly in the blocks where it meets at four places. Whilst they were thicker than usual, I pressed them open and decided upon a dense quilting pattern to take care of the rest.

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The quilting was a joy to do and was another favourite, an edge-to-edge sea of mussel shells, quite dense so as to secure all those seams. The mini lies beautifully flat.

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I don’t think I’ll ever be a quilter who likes a lot of unquilted space. I say, the denser the better! The Aurfil 50 weight blends beautifully into the denim and yet adds just the right amount of visual interest.

The fabric was a dream to sew with. It presses beautifully and is so soft. I can see this become a stash-staple, particularly the solids, and can imagine lots of lovely fabric pulls that combine it with other AGF collections. For me, the rich colours evoked a western theme; cowboys and cacti, dusty plains and low suns.

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I can’t wait to hang this on a wall in the new place. I think it’ll look perfect in the dining room, where the cacti live.

Thank you for sticking with me during my leave of absence! To any new followers I may have acquired since my last post, I can assure you, the wait isn’t usually this long!

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour, as well as the hashtag #thedenimstudiobyagf on Instagram, and do your stash a favour, get some AGF denim in it!

Monday 14th – The Tatooed Quilter

Tuesday 15th – Me

Wednesday 16th – Sariditty

Thurday 17th – Ginger Peach Studios

Friday 18th – Modernhandcraft

A SIZZIX GIVEAWAY!

I’ve taken a break from quilting to let you all know about a great giveaway from Sizzix that I’ve just found out about. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as my shoulders are about to drop off!  I’m still not entirely on board with the whole ‘take regular breaks’ thing!

Anyway, by signing up to the Sizzix newsletter you have the change to win a Big Shot plus machine. This is the machine I have and I can’t say enough how great it is!  It’s versatile and suited to so many quilting projects thanks to the array of dies available, everything from squares to hexagons.  It makes your piecing quicker and more accurate every time.

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Sound good?  Simply fill in your details here to be in with a chance of winning.  The competition closes Friday 27th November at 10am GMT. Good luck!

NEW ARRIVALS

With my busy schedule showing no sign of letting up, it may come as no surprise to some of you that another plate has been added to the dozen or so that I’m already spinning.  We’re buying our first house!  I’m altogether excited, anxious and extremely stressed.  As far as the process goes, it’s still early days, but I can’t wait to move in.  If all goes to plan we’ll have a nice garden for the dog, a much bigger kitchen and a sewing room for me!  The property has an attic, but it hasn’t been converted.  So, I’ll be taking up residence in the smallest of three bedrooms, all of which have lots of lovely light, perfect for sewing!  I’m so looking forward to planning the layout from scratch and taking on the challenge of finding a home for everything.

As well as the ever-growing fabric stash, Some other things which will need to be housed are the new dies I received from Sizzix a few weeks back.  I’ve been itching to play with them since they landed on the door mat!  Added to the collection was the 1/2 inch hexagon die, 2″ finished square, 3″ finished square and the 3″ x 6″ finished rectangle.  I also received some of the larger Bigz XL 25″ dies for cutting 3″ strips, which will make piecing some of the improv quilts I have planned a breeze.

I’m still working on finishing up a few deadlines, and who knows when it’ll be time to pack up shop and move from the attic, so using these dies may have to wait a little longer. Thank you all for sticking with me.  I know the posts here haven’t been as frequent as I’d like, but I can promise you all lots of exciting things are in the pipeline.  I’ve got a new blog design waiting to be launched, lots of fabric news and some great projects just waiting to be sewn up!  Once everything’s settled down we’ll have a big, celebratory giveaway!  In the meantime, be sure to follow me on Instagram, where I post lots of snippets and sneak peeks.