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