STASHING #12

This is gonna be a quick one, for reasons I’ll disclose soon.

Sometimes I buy fabric to hoard and look at.  Sometimes I buy fabric for a specific reason; I need it for a backing or a binding.  More often than not its imminent use means it doesn’t end up making it to the stash.  Such was the case with the binding fabric I chose for the Quilt-that-reminds-me-of-the-beach-until-I-think-of-a-better-name-quilt.  I love the clean simplicity of this print, which comes in a variety of colours, and it’ll be a perfect addition to the brightness of the beach quilt.

Sun Print by Alison Glass – Bike Path in white

Other times I don’t even buy fabric; I have it sent to me buy the loveliest people in the blogsphere.  One such example was the delightfully dapper Molli Sparkles, with whom I won’t be linking up with for Sunday Stash as he’s on the road again!  After his recent trip to Japan he returned with a wealth of goodies and my eagle eye was quick to spot some Joli Pomme amongst his loot.  This Japanese fabric is something I covet.  When I told him about the oh-so-special print his generosity saw him offer to send me some as a gift.  What a guy!  This print really has to be seen in the cloth to be truly appreciated.  Its M.C Esher in fabric!  I awaiting the perfect fabric find to repay the kind deed.

Joli Pomme – Metamorphose in black

The reason for this brief but beautiful fabric post is this is happening today…

Today’s Sunday Stash is hosted by Sarah at mila + cuatro.  Go check out all the fabric goodness.  I’ll see you all in a week!

 

 

WHEN INSPIRATION STRIKES

In my last stashing post I likened myself to a quilting Spider-man, whose superpowers include fabric buying to the extreme, precision pressing and the ability to wrestle a beastly quilt through the minimal throat space of a domestic sewing machine.  Alright, I admit these aren’t at all on par with flying, invisibility and telekinesis, yet for a while I couldn’t get superheros off my mind.  It wasn’t their powers that tugged at the creative consciousness, but their colours.  All those bright reds, blues and greens, much like the colours found in my overflowing scrap bins.  As I looked closer I saw Superman red, Batman black, and a deeply-buried purple scrap that could have been torn from The Hulk’s shorts. With my brain currently in improv mode, I envisaged taking these scraps and making blocks, randomly sized and shaped, and setting them into a rich grey linen.  Just like that, the superhero quilt was born.  What could be more fun than taking a Kona colour card and matching it to Marvel?  I am itching to get started!

I love how inspiration strikes!  In recent weeks I’ve been inspired by, amongst other things, a leek, a red cabbage, wallpaper and a picture of geological strata, all wanting to be turned into quilts.  With my quilt bee commitments, as well as the other quilts on my to-do list, my future’s looking very busy.  Watch this space.

Quilters Assemble!

A-QUILT-THAT-REMINDS-ME-OF-THE-BEACH-UNTIL-I-THINK-OF-A-BETTER-NAME-QUILT WIP

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have noticed I’ve been messing around with a bundle of Sphere by Zen Chic for Moda recently.  I can’t really say too much but this is a special project for me and for that reason I haven’t shared much of its progress here.  I’m waiting for it to be finished before I finally reveal all…not like that cheeky!

As I’ve made this quilt I’ve grown to love the fabric collection even more. I loved the comma collection, also by Zen Chic, and Sphere has some great, bold prints as well as more subtle stash blenders.  The colours are so fresh, and although I usually shy away from yellows  I had great fun matching the collection to solids using my new Kona colour card.  I even took the opportunity for a little night sewing in the attic whilst the man was away.  It was strangely satisfying to look up and see the moon rather than the sun.

As this quilt has a an imminent deadline I’ve made great progress in a short space of time.  In fact, this is probably the quickest I’ve made a quilt.  After a marathon quilting session yesterday and this morning, all that remains to be done is squaring up and binding.  My binding fabric arrived this morning after some super quick delivery time from The Village Haberdashery, and is already cut and sewn together.  Talk amongst yourselves whilst I go and press it…well, you want that reveal don’t you?

STASHING #11

Sometimes I get a little sad at the thought of all the great fabric collections that passed me by before I got bitten (and we’re talking radioactive bite here) by the quilting bug.  My biggest regret is that I wasn’t fabric aware enough to appreciate Heather Ross’ Mendocino upon its release.  If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have bought bolts of the stuff!

One collection I remember being released is Saltwater by Tula Pink.  I was taken by the nautical theme, and any fabric collection that features cephalopods is a sure hit with me.  Alas, these were the earliest days of my quilting adventure and although bitten, the superhero ability of stashing had yet to reveal itself.  Fast forward to now, and any new Tula collection is stocked up on and lovingly caressed.  Acacia sits nestled amongst the other coveted items of my stash, soon to my joined by Fox Field.  I’m overjoyed that I can now add Saltwater to that precious pile, having scored an amazing deal on Etsy for a fat quarter bundle of the entire collection.  These fabrics have to be seen up close and personal to truly appreciate them.  I am in love!  Although difficult to choose, I’d say the green colourway is my favourite.  I feel like I can almost taste the salty spray of the sea when I look at these.  If they have that effect on me, imagine what they’ll do to a quilt!

Clockwise from left:

Aqua – Sea Stripes, Ocean Ponies, Bubble Shells, Sea Debris, Floaties and Sinkies, Tortoise Shell, Subs and Seaweed, Octo Garden.

Clockwise from left:

Seaweed – Sea Stripes, Ocean Ponies, Bubble Shells, Sea Debris, Floaties and Sinkies, Tortoise Shell, Subs and Seaweed, Octo Garden.

Clockwise from left:

Coral – Sea Stripes, Ocean Ponies, Bubble Shells, Sea Debris, Floaties and Sinkies, Tortoise Shell, Subs and Seaweed, Octo Garden.

As usual, I’m linking up with Moli Sparkles today, who has returned from Japan with some of his own stash goodies.  Check out what other people have been adding too!

NO GIRLS ALLOWED QUILT BEE – FEBRUARY

As well as the torrential rain and icy winds that have assaulted much of the UK, February also brings with it the second month of the #NGAQB.  It seems like only yesterday that me and my fellow bee mates were in the planning stage; assigning months and getting to know each other in the virtual space of our Facebook group.  I guess then that time really does pass quickly when you’re having fun, and even quicker when you’re having bucket loads of it.

February sees the first of our group’s two Andrews take the quilting compass and direct us towards gaggles of flying geese amid negative space.  During their month, the bee members share a little of their history with the group.  As it happens, Andrew too has an affinity for all things Japanese.

“I grew up with an older sister and my parents and my family went back-and-forth between the Philadelphia, PA area and Tokyo, Japan.  Although more of my time was spent in the US, I always felt like Japan was a second home (maybe my “real” home?) to me.  I spent 4 years of high school at the American School in Japan and they were some of the best years of my life.  I am still extremely inspired by Japanese culture and art.”

One of the things I like best about the bee is hearing how the other members came upon their quilting journeys.

“I owe my life of quilting to my wonderful partner, Chad.  He has an addictive personality, so he’ll get stuck on something and will put all his energy into that one activity for a relatively short amount of time in an obsessive way.  He usually drops that activity and moves on to a new hobby pretty quickly.  But a number of years ago, Chad began knitting.  He found a great group of other knitters to hang out with and he became hooked!  It’s the first time I’ve seen him stick with something for so long!  He was making such beautiful knitwear and I became quite jealous.  I tried my hand at knitting, but I absolutely HATED it.  I mean, it made me so frustrated I just completely gave up.  This didn’t really surprise me because I’ve never considered myself much of an artist or “maker.”

“I didn’t want to give up on the making, though, so I started wondering whether there was something else that was more my speed.  I began with sewing, just making little things like zippered pouches, coffee cup sleeves, knitting needle “roll-ups” etc.  Although I enjoyed it a bit, I didn’t like the finicky work associated with this type of sewing.  I somehow got it in my head that I should try making a quilt.  When I found out that my sister was pregnant in early 2010, I thought that perhaps a baby quilt for my soon-to-be niece was a good place to start.  I taught myself using Alex Anderson’s “Start Quilting” and I got a lot of great help from my co-worker, who had already been quilting for a few years.”

“That first project was a challenge for me and I made some incredible mistakes and got extremely discouraged at numerous points in the process.  Normally this means that I’ll never do that activity again, but for some reason, I was so happy with the final result, that I kind of forgot all the pain and decided to push forward with more quilting.  My co-worker quickly convinced me to join a relatively new group called the “Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild.”  I met some amazing quilters and made many new friends through Philly MQG and within about 1 year, I became the president of the group!  I have been president now for a couple of years and it is still a ton of fun.  I’m presently spending quite a bit of my time organizing a modern quilting retreat in Lancaster, PA called “Mid-Atlantic MOD” with a couple other awesome quilters from the Central NJ MQG and the DC MQG.”

As well as his blog, you can check out Andrew’s work on his Flickr feed, and by following him on Instagram (andrewjoslyn) and Twitter (andrewjoslyn).

For this month we were asked to make blocks that incorporated flying geese of any size and colour into neutral negative space.  Recently, negative space has become my mot du jour and I love experimenting with it.  For Andrew’s first block, I wanted curved flying geese.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may remember and episode of intense panic when I made this block.  You see, my original plan was to have the geese set amongst the grey fabric without the black sketch border.  A miscalculation in size led to some improvised splicing and this was the end result…better than anything I had previously envisaged.  The whole incident inspired this post, where I learned to embrace mistakes and roll with the punches dealt to me by too-short fabric pieces and misaligned seams.

For the second block I was interested in addressing a theme that had risen it’s rather ugly head a few weeks ago.  Anyone who follows the #NGAQB may be familiar with an accusation of sexism that came about due to the naming of our bee.  I won’t dig up all the details again here but the incident inspired me to create a block that showed whilst we embrace our differences as male quilters, we will always have utmost respect and appreciation for the female quilters who came before us.  I wanted the block to be a fun and mischievous interpretation of breaking the mould and embracing change.

I’m so happy with both of these and had such great fun making, even if I did get a little stressed with the first!  They’ve already been posted and should arrive with Andrew soon!  I can’t wait to see the others.  Mr. January has almost received all his blocks and I can tell you know they look awesome together.  Make sure you keep up-to-date by following along with the hashtag #NGAQB on Instagram and Twitter, or click on the badge in the sidebar to link to the Flickr page.

 

 

STASHING #10

Oh my!  These stashing posts have reached double figures.  Me, a problem with buying fabric?  Don’t be so ridiculous!  In my defense, I didn’t actually buy this post’s stash additions, I won them!  I never win anything, so you can imagine my utter surprise and delight when I received an e-mail from Sarah letting me know I’d won her Sunday Stash giveaway.  I vaguely remembered what I’d written in my entry comment; something about my stash lacking greens and purple.  Well, I can tell you that has been rectified in the most gorgeous, color-saturated way.  After a depressing day at work yesterday I came home to a package brimming with delights.

How awesome are these!  I would never have expected to receive some Botanics in my prize bundle.  I love anything Carolyn Friendlander does and her newest collection is so rich and versatile it begs to be seen in the cloth, as it were.  I’ve used crosshatch in numerous past projects and there two new colourways shout binding to me. As if one designer wasn’t enough, nestled amongst Carolyn was Denyse Schmidt, Lizzy House and Violet Craft.  I’ve always admired domino dots from afar and now I may have to acquire some more.

photo 3(1)

I’m so thankful to Sarah for these fabrics and can’t wait to work them into a project soon!  Today I’m linking up for Sunday Stash with Kate Quilts as last I heard, Molli was slumming it in Tokyo airport.  Poor love!

A GOSSIP QUILT – WIP III

Sometimes the quilting journey is even more enjoyable than the finished quilt, something I can definitely say of the Gossip Quilt.  Placed out of sight for a few good weeks whilst I worked on other things, I returned to this quilt with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm.  Creativity swayed the direction many times in the construction of the blocks as well as the final layout.  You may remember my original plan was to have the top composed entirely of full log cabin blocks in the colours featured on the backing fabric.  With my increasing love of negative the quilt top quickly took on a whole new look.

I agonised over the layout with this one, more than I have done with any other quilt I’ve made.  I wanted to convey a sense of gossip, using the blocks as “tidbits” that were spreading and, much like gossip, becoming distorted in the telling.    The layout I finally settled on came to me after some gratefully received Instagram advice.  Never has a design wall been so useful!  The final quilt top is a mash-up of several versions I posted pictures of and I’m so pleased with it.  The weather here in Wales has been atrocious of late so I stole a few moments to photograph this outside during a lull in the rain.  Recently, taking pictures of anything in the house has been a chore, owing to the abundance of grey gloom!  The wind was trying to get the better of me but I was quick fingered on the shutter and ran back inside, pug and quilt top in my arms, before the clouds ripped open once more.

Now to order the batting and decide upon a quilting design…and a thread colour!  In an ideal world there would be a variegated thread with these exact colours running through it.  I’m off to have a look, but not before I link up with Lily’s Quilts for the small blog meet.  You should all know the drill by now!