NGAQB II – MEDALLION ROUND ROBIN

True to my word, I held off from joining anymore swaps for about, oh, I don’t, five minutes! In my defense, the latest thing to lure me with its charms is the second incarnation of the No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee, which this time takes the form of a round-robin-style medallion swap.  Pretty hard to resist, right?

You may remember last year when the hashtag #NGAQB popped up all over Instagram.  It was such a fun and creative experience that there was no way I couldn’t be involved the second time around. This year, John Adams took charge to round-up seven male quilters to partake in what promises to be an awesome swap.  No different to any round robin you’ve seen before, each month will see one quilter add to another’s quilt before sending it on. Fun, fun and more fun!

I’ve spent the last few days pulling fabric and making my centre ‘square’ (a term I apply very loosely). I’ve chosen a saturated palette of deep teals, mustards and red-purples (surprised?) with accents of greys, blacks and beige neutrals.  I went for an improv approach, sewing and slashing with abandon to come up with something I hope the others guys will find inspiring.  I want each future round to reflect the quilter who added it, and instructed them that anything goes!

This first part is en route to Scott, along with a bunch of fabric, some I used and some I didn’t.  I hoping that snippets of the centre block’s fabrics scattered throughout the quilt will add some continuity and bring all the additions together.  The pile is full of Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander and many more of my favourites. So much great stuff to play with!

As for my first addition, it’s going to be on a Molli Sparklified unicorn. Yes, you heard right. I’ve already got an idea of what I want to do and cannot wait for it to arrive.  Watch this space!  Have any of you experienced a round-robin swap?  Tell me all about it!

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LECIEN LOG CABIN WIP

These days, fabric is coming into the attic quicker than I can cut it up and make things!  As pretty as it looks all piled up on the shelf, and there are a lot of shelves, I recently took some time to start working with the amazing L’s Modern Basics fabrics that Lecien were kind enough to send me. These modern, vibrant blenders are perfect for so many things, but I wanted to really showcase the collection is a clean, graphic way, something which can be at odds with my usually improv piecing method.

I loved that the collection was split into two distinctly different colourways, warm and cool, so decided to work this into my design.  Log cabin blocks lend themselves beautifully to clean lines and optical illusions and are a great way use a large range of prints.  This was clearly the way to go!

I decided to paper piece the blocks as I wanted thin logs, half an inch to be precise, and like the accuracy this method gives.  I drafted a pattern and got cutting.  I’ve spent that last week making up blocks and have loved every second!  The piecing is so addictive and by pre-cutting my pieces to size beforehand, the blocks come together really quickly.

As I made the pattern on quarter-inch dot paper, I found that I was able to use the exact size of fabric for the log and use the dots to line up the pieces before sewing, making everything even easier since there’s no trimming of the seam.  I have the design all planned out and just need a few more blocks before I can start sewing them all together.  Watch this space.

THE COMPLETE QUILTER

Early last month I was contacted by Search Press and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing a new quilting book they were publishing soon.  As many of you know, I’m a complete bibliophile, so I jumped at the chance to take a sneak peek.  The book, written by long-time Instagram friend and author of Quilting On The Go Jessica Alexandrakis, arrived just in time for me to take on a recent trip and so my 8 hour train journey was well-spent.

As is clearly states on the cover, The Complete Quilter (with a US title of Get Started Quilting) is full of ‘essential techniques, tricks and tested methods’ and is perfect for anyone looking to get into quilting but isn’t quite sure where to start. The book is divided into three clear and concise chapters, Quilting Essentials, Quilting Techniques and Quilting Projects, each containing a vast amount of information that allow you to build skills before moving on to something new.  The opening chapter takes you through everything you’ll need to know before you embark on making your first quilt.  I was happy to see detailed information on selecting and storing fabrics, something which can sometimes overwhelm beginner quilters thanks to the vast array of fabric available.  Jessica talks about all the tools and notions, about rotary cutting and sewing machine basics before moving on to some of the many techniques used in our craft.

As well as the usual half square triangles, flying geese and nine patch blocks, I was pleased to see a few improv techniques covered, more than any other beginner quilting book I’ve read to date.  Each technique is accompanied by clear instructions and each step photographed in detail, perfect if you’re more of a visual learning.  The slice and insert technique really appealed to me and it was refreshing to see a beginner quilting book offering an alternative to the more traditional patchwork blocks.  There’s also a wealth of information on foundation piecing, EPP and using templates.

Even as a competent quilter, I found myself learning things from Jessica’s thorough explanations.  I particularly liked that she took the time to explain what to do with the quilt after you’ve made it, with 4 pages dedicated to washing, storing and repairing.  The book also acknowledges the importance of social media in the modern quilting movement and cites Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr as great places for inspiration and feedback.

Whether your just getting started or have been quilting for years, The Complete Quilter is a great addition to your sewing library and is available in the UK now and in the US later this month.  Luckily for you, the nice people at Search Press sent me an extra copy.  Fancy winning it?  Just become a follower if you aren’t already and leave a comment on this post telling me which quilting skill you’d like to brush up on.  I’ll even throw in a Lecien charm pack of Quilter’s Basics to get you started on a project (perfect for the super cute doll quilt and pillow).  Follow me on Instagram and leave a second comment here telling me you have for an extra entry.  I’ll leave the giveaway open for a week before randomly drawing a winner.  Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Edit:  Congratulations Pat.T.  The random number generator chose you.  I’ll be in touch via e-mail very soon to ask for your address.