STASHING #6

Life seems to have caught up with me recently.  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Christmas is lurking around the corner, waiting to ambush any who are unprepared.  I’ve already recoiled in horror at photographs people have posted of beautifully wrapped piles of gifts.  I can honestly say that done and dusted I am not!  However, despite the growing list of things to do this time of year inevitably brings, I’ve been trying to press forward with my various projects.

The Gossip Quilt took a back seat for a while as I participated in the Lighthouse Quilt Along.  The result of that is now basted and ready to be quilted.  I plan to do that tomorrow and, owing to its small size, it shouldn’t be too much of a chore.  With a bit of luck I’ll have a finished quilt to share with you very soon.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’ve been making lots of half square triangles.  These are for a special quilt that has an impending deadline…wink, wink, nudge, nudge.  I can’t say too much about it yet, but the top is almost complete (I was so over squaring up) and the backing fabric is the ‘star’ of this stashing post.

This simple fabric makes the perfect backing for the busy quilt top, and what’s more, I got it on the cheap.  I only needed a meter but got almost 2 for the same price as it was the end of the bolt.  Bargain!  Now to find the perfect binding…Oh, and if you fancy following me on Instagram, click on the icon at the top of the side bar.  I regularly post WIP shots of my current projects, interspersed with pug portraits, slices of cake and the odd fabric giveaway.  What’s not to love?

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SEWING STARS IN SPACE

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a huge geek.  Aside from my obsession with dinosaurs, which has been well-documented on this blog, I love all things fantasy and sci-fi.  I was raised on The X Files, my bookcase is weighed down with Tolkien, Pratchett and Hobb, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Star Wars.  What little boy doesn’t have thoughts of battling dragons or exploring space?  I know I did…and still do!

On the 10th of November, International Space Station Expedition 37 returned to earth after some seven months in orbit.  Aboard the Space Station was American Flight Engineer Karen Nyberg, a passionate crafter and sewer.  Amazingly, during her free time Karen was able to make a quilt block and overcome all the difficulties of sewing in zero gravity.  For the quilters amongst us who would love to go to space (if I’m not alone), imagine being able to sew there too!  Karen sent a video to earth in which she talks about the problems she encountered with cutting, stitching and maintaining accurate seams, before revealing her completed block.  It’s truly amazing!

And the best bit?  She’s invited quilters from all over the world to come together and make a ‘global community space quilt’ which will combine her block and all those submitted.  The blocks will be stitched together for display at the 40th annual International Quilt Festival in 2014 and at other public displays.  The 9.5″ square blocks can be any variation of a star theme, using any colour, style and technique and must be received by the 1st August 2014.  I got really excited when I read about this and can’t wait to submit my block.  For more information about how to submit your block, download the flyer.

LIGHTHOUSE QUILT ALONG III

The Lighthouse Quilt Along is in full swing as we reach the third week.  By now everyone should have made a test block from their chosen fabrics.  As I knew I had so many other projects to work on, I’ve managed to get ahead this past week and have already completed my quilt top.  My original plan of a 5 blocks by 5 blocks quilt, which would have finished at 40″ x 40″, has now become a mini quilt, finishing at 32″ x 32″.  The reason?   I had some Essex linen in my stash that I wanted to use for the blocks and the backing.  There wasn’t quite enough so I decided to scale down.  I could have ordered more but I really wanted to get it finished and was too impatient to wait!  The top went together really quickly as, like Faith suggests in today’s post, I made the blocks assembly line style; all the cutting, then all the sewing etc.  The whole process was simple and stress-free.

If you’d like to quilt along, visit Fresh Lemons for the template and piecing instructions and make some blocks.

STASHING #5

I’ve always had an affinity for Japan; the culture, the food and the fabric.  I’ve wanted to visit ever since I was young and it’s a place that has continued to resided amongst my top five holiday destinations.  I first discovered the wonder of Japanese fabric just after I started my quilting journey, at the same time as I discovered Heather Ross.  Heather Ross lead me to Kokka and Kokka lead me to Echino.  I knew from my first glance of this amazing collection that I’d found my perfect fabric.  My next thought…how do I get my hands on this!

Over the following months, I began to appreciate the rarity of past Echino lines.  People were hoarding this; stocking up and locking it away in a fire-proof chest under the bed.  Google searches turned up some stockists here in the UK, though their selections were limited and highly over priced.  Etsy had scrap packs and Ebay had snippets, but I needed wanted NEEDED more.  I knew I wouldn’t be going to Japan anytime soon, so the internet was my only option.  With my limited success on English-language sites, I ventured into the alien world of .jp with little success.  I couldn’t speak Japanese (unless you count karaoke, bonsai, haiku and sushi) and was worried what I’d stumble upon!

I moved onto different projects, yet Echino stayed at the back of my mind.  Then, a few months ago, the craft club at my work asked if I’d teach them some patchwork at their next meeting.  Of course I said yes and couldn’t believe my luck when a Japanese colleague of mine, who I’d had little interaction with up until that point, offered to pick up some fabric for me when she visited her parents in October.  My first thought…ECHINO!  After that, everything was easy.  She found a great Japanese site, obviously having none of the troubles that had befallen me, and asked me to make a list.  A list!  A list of Echino!  As easily as it would have been to order everything I knew there were weight constrictions; her suitcase was her own after all.  She was going for a month, so after the order was placed I waited…and waited…and waited.  Then some news; the package had arrived and it was securely packed into her suitcase.  I was happy!

She returned a few days ago, with this…

Christmas had come early!  That parcel wasn’t going to stay wrapped up for long.

The fabric was perfect!  The colours are even better in real life; bold, bright, graphic designs coupled with insects, birds, trains and frames.  I’m so happy that I finally got my hands on some of this.  I can see this being used in so many future projects that I might have to re-stash!  Any suggestions for blocks?  What would you do with this great fabric?

Insects, Cherry, Piece, Acacia

Acacia, Insects, Cherry, Cockatiel

Peck, Dahlia, Woodland, Frame

Flower Bed, Ni-co, Frame, Train, Ni-co, Frame

Once I can draw myself away from this newest addition, I’ll fold it back up and attempt to find space for it amongst all this…wish me luck.

LIGHTHOUSE QUILT ALONG II

The second part of the Lighthouse Quilt Along was posted by Faith from Fresh Lemon Quilts today.  This week is dedicated to making a test block and calculating the amount of fabric you’ll need.  For those of you who are new to paper piecing, Faith has written some extremely thorough instructions, providing photographs of each steps as well as  instructional text.  There is also an extremely helpful amount of maths already worked out for anybody whose brain doesn’t work that way!  When I paper piece I tend to be as skimpy as I dare with my fabric, but for those new to this the amounts suggested will help you avoid any problems.

When the quilt along kicked off last week I decided to stray from the rainbow idea and instead use my quilt to showcase a fabric range.  I’ve chosen to use my recently acquired ‘Acacia‘ collection by Tula Pink.  I’m pairing this up with coordinating solids and a Robert Kaufman Essex linen/cotton blend for the background.  I haven’t made a paper pieced quilt block for a while so it was great fun to make my test block.  Only 24 more to go…

Do you fancy quilting along too?  It’s not to late to start.  Visit Fresh Lemon Quilts for all the details.

A VISIT TO THE VILLAGE…AND A GIVEAWAY!

Firstly, hello to all those joining me from Lily’s Quilts.  The Small Blog Meet is a great way to get to know others just like you.  There’s so much inspiration and creativity out there, so take a moment to enjoy it by visiting some other blogs.  If you’re a blogger with fewer than 50 followers, be sure to link back so that others can find you.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I had my mini holiday in London.  I love that city; the sights, the sounds and the bountiful opportunities for stash-sourcing.  What with shopping and sight-seeing the two-day break flew by, but I made sure to save time to visit The Village Haberdashery.

The Village Haberdashery 47 Mill Ln, London NW6 1NB 020 7794 5635

The Village Haberdashery
47 Mill Ln, London NW6 1NB
020 7794 5635

I first came across this shop online late last year.  I was looking for a fabric retailer that focused on the high quality, designer prints that I was beginning to incorporate into my quilts.  In fact, my first purchase was a number of the fabrics I used in the dinosaur quilt.  The whole ordering process was simple and hassle-free and I vowed then that it would be my go-to online store.  Imagine then  my pleasant surprise when I found out that a bricks-and-mortar store was to open; an expansion of the online operation.  I was excited…very excited.  The opportunities for fabric shopping here in Cardiff are somewhat limited, so I knew that I’d have to visit the store whenever I next found myself in London.

The Village Haberdashery is easy to find.  A 15 minute walk from West Hampstead underground station (located in Zone 2 on the Jubilee line) will take you past a bustling concourse to the quieter, more idyllic Mill Lane, where the beautifully dressed shop front will catch your eye before the sign above it.  I’d arrange to meet Annie, the owner, who’d kindly agreed to answer some questions about how the shop came about.  She’d just returned from Quilt Market so I was eager to find out about all the goodies she saw there.  After my wandering eye had taken in the wall of fabric, the notions and trims, we got talking, stopping now and then to serve a customer or see to Harvey, her adorable son who she told me is also director of sales; quite an achievement for somebody still in nappies!

“I used to work in PR”, Annie tells me, masterfully juggling materials and motherhood, “but that would be hard to go back to now.”  I learn that the online store started in February 2012.  Annie lives just down the road from the shop and used to work from home.  “When things started to take off I knew I’d need a bigger space.  It was perfect timing when this place came up.”

The store is gorgeous.  Bolts of fabric line one wall.  Even with a quick glance I spotted Heather Ross, Riley Blake, Michael Miller and Denyse Schmidt.  Despite the media-fulled warnings of a super storm days before, the sun streamed through the window and made the prints all the more appealing.  As the name suggest, the shop stocks more than fabric, offering shoppers a delightful array of threads, yarns, notions and trims.  With so much choice, I asked Annie what fabrics she likes and how she decides what to order.  “I’m drawn to bright colours and interesting, small collections.  I love anything by Anna Maria Horner and Cloud 9.  I tend to stare at things until something takes my eye.”

Annie told me that a typical day involves getting up at around 7am, feeding Harvey and packing supplies to bring to the shop.  It’s so nice that Harvey and Annie get to spend their days together at the shop.  At 10am they open, and the hours are filled with fulfilling web orders, checking the inventory, ordering stock, blogging and general tidying, all whilst attending to the steady stream of customers that come through the door.  The shop also runs classes.  Thursday nights are knitting nights, but a quick glance at the ‘classes‘ section of the website and you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy, from crochet to machine applique.  There are also patchwork classes run by fabric designers, though these fill up quickly so it’s best to book early.  “Another thing we’re doing at the moment is projects in a bag.  Everything you need for a project to just grab and go.”

Despite the money burning a hole in my pocket, I left with just a couple of additions for the stash, though it was hard to walk away from the as-yet-unreleased ‘Botanics’ jelly roll by Carolyn Friedlander that Annie had brought back from Market.  When I say I left with just a couple of things, that’s not entirely true.  I’m so excited about Quilt From The Attic’s first giveaway!  Annie has very generously provided a bundle of ‘Collage‘ by  Carrie Bloomston.  This gorgeous fabric is bold and artful, filled with letters and textures that make it perfect for so many projects.

As this is my first ever giveaway, you have 5 chances to win:

  • Sign up to follow Quilts From The Attic and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Sign up to receive The Village Haberdashery newsletter and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Share a link to the giveaway (tweet, blog, Facebook, Pinterest) and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Like Quilts From The Attic’s Facebook page and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Like The Village Haberdashery’s Facebook page and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

I’ll leave the giveaway open for a week then randomly draw a winner.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you should you win.  I’ll also announce the winner by edit to this post.  Thanks for entering and good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

The winning comment was number 9.  Congratulations hannlib!  I hope you enjoy your prize.

STASHING #4

It’s difficult for me to come home from work empty-handed (I work in a department store with a modest fabric selection) so I knew I’d better leave room in my bag when I went to London earlier this week.  Aside from visiting The Village Haberdashery, which I’ll be telling you about soon, I hadn’t really planned any major fabric shopping.  I’d actually purchased a few of the pieces from Tula Pink’s new Acacia collection before I left, and was happy to see more of them in Oxford Street’s larger, better stocked version of where I work.  Unfortunately Fortunately, for my bank balance at least, they didn’t have the entire collection, so I’ll be adding to this stash with the remaining prints soon.  Such awesome colours!

photo

Clockwise from left:

Raccoon in slate, Diamonds in slate, Hummingbird in slate, Butterfly Wings in slate, Pineapple Slices in slate, Quills in slate, Arrowheads in slate, Pixel Dot in slate, Hummingbird in yellow, Butterfly Wings in sunset, Diamonds in sunset, Arrowheads in sunset, Quills in sunset, Pineapple Slices in sunset, Hummingbirds in sunset, Pixel Dot in sunset, Raccoon in sunset