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.

STASHING #14

A little late with Sunday Stash this week, but I have good reason.  My friend recently returned from a trip to NYC and yesterday was our catch-up day, and as well as tales of snow and skyscrapers, she returned with this little lot for me!

Clockwise from left:

Comma – Asterisk in black, Michael Miller – Faux Bois in white, Joel Dewberry ‘Bungalow’ – Hive in maize, P & B Bear Essentials, Comma – Swinging Chalk in slate, Bonnie Christine ‘Reminisce’ – Meadow in gold, a lovely grey print with no details, Carolyn Friendlander – Widescreen crosshatch in grey.

I am in love with this selection.  When I knew she was going to NYC I told her about The City Quilter and how she had to visit.  I asked her to keep an eye out for any Comma prints, a line which I missed the first time around, as well as graphic grey prints.  She did not disappoint!  I love the wood grain and you can never, ever, have too much crosshatch.

I’m tardily linking up with Alisa at A Stitch In Between for Sunday Stash, before going to find some space to put all this…

MAKING PIZZA

Remember a few posts ago when I mention all the weird and wonderful places inspiration jumps out from to strike my creative consciousness?  Well, I’ve found it hiding in a pizza box.  A few months back, whilst browsing the ‘following’ feed on Instagram, I came across an improv block that someone had labelled ‘ice cream cone’.  It was very me and I wish I could remember who posted it.  Fast forward a few days and I found myself looking cock-eyed at that night’s pizza dinner.  All I could think about was how it resembled the block I’d seen.  One of the challenges I’d set myself this year was to make my own paper piecing pattern, and I started to think how cool it would be to have that pattern be a pizza slice.  Patchwork is full of triangles!  Before I knew it I’d grabbed a scrap of paper and was scribbling like a man possessed.

After a few attempts I had in my hands some semblance of a pattern and ran to sew it up.  I don’t mind saying I came across my first hurdle pretty early on.  I pondered and pondered the problem but couldn’t get my head around it.  Then, in a eureka moment, it came to be; the pattern has to be in 2 pieces!  A quick round two with the sewing machine and I had a block, albeit an imperfect one, that I’d designed myself.  The best bit?  It looked like a pizza slice!

My original idea was for this to be a square block but I thing it works better like this.  I have a plan in my head for a mini quilt, with rows of these slices set amongst a grey background.  The fun bit will be choosing fabrics for the “toppings”.  I can’t wait.

 

STASHING #13

Jeg havde en vidunderlig tid i København!

It’s always hard coming back from a holiday and returning to your everyday life.  Whilst in Copenhagen, we ate too much, drank too much and walked more than anyone really should on a holiday, but such excess made for a great trip.  Our friend was the perfect host and tour guide, having planned five days worth of activities that kept us all busy from dawn to dusk…pretty much.

We visited castles and cafes, the tiny Little Mermaid and the grave of H.C Anderson, shopped in antique stores and toured the canals.  Yet amongst our filled itinerary, I found time for fabric!  A 15 minute train journey from the city center took us to Lyngby and Speich Design – a patchwork and quilting shop.  Whilst I was in fabric heaven, my companions were not so enthralled, and slunk off to find coffee.  I was alone, sans distract, and had time on my side.

The shop was beautifully arranged.  Wall to wall fabric bolts arranged in colour order competed for my attention.  A quick scan showed little designer fabric, but the selection was none-the-less impressive.  As well as the yardage, there were baskets of fat quarters, threads, rulers, templates, and other notions.  I was particularly taken with the large range of paper piecing templates, ranging from tiny quarter-inch hexagons to all manner of polygons.  The price was a tad over what I would pay here in the UK, but I wasn’t going to go home empty-handed.

As I rummaged through the colour-coded baskets I spotted some Botanics by Carolyn Friendlander.  Branches and Line Scratch in charcoal were snapped up, as was a graphic green print by Riley Blake.  My inner geek couldn’t leave a Michael Miller Dinosaur print behind, and I was almost floored when I came across a fossil print, sadly lacking any selvedge information.

As well as this dedicated patchwork shop, Copenhagen also boasts a number of Stof 2000 stores, stof being the Danish word for fabric.  The location I visited had a limited quilting weight selection, but the prices were very reasonable, with many bolts offered for £6 a meter.

I restrained myself and went away with a little of this ant fabric.  Being a budding entomologist I couldn’t leave it behind, and It’ll sit well with the other creepy crawly fabric in my stash.  I also have plans for these ants when my #NGAQB month comes around.

As usual, I’m linking up with Moli Sparkles for Sunday Stash.  What new additions have you added recently?