MR DOMESTIC’S AURA BLOG PARTY

I’ve been the world’s worst blogger, haven’t I?  The thing is, life just got so busy.  Increasingly, Instagram’s speed and snappiness makes it my platform of choice for keeping you all up-to-date with the attic’s goings-on.  Now, I’m not going to spend all this post apologising for what I haven’t been writing, but rather get to sharing the cool thing that I came here to share with you all.  So let’s move on…but, I am going to try to blog a bit more, maybe even attempt a site update…watch this space.  Anyway, tah-dah!

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A few months back, Matthew, AKA the insanely talented Mister Domestic, invited me to be part on his blog party for his latest fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, Aura.  I’ve been following Matthew for a long time, so I knew that whatever had his name on it was sure to be something that I wanted to be involved in.  His work is amazing and his colour palette make my eyes smile.  This collection was inspired by a trip to Hawaii that Matthew took with his daughter.  I couldn’t wait to get started!

The fist thing was to curate the fabric I was going to use for my project.  I picked all my favourite prints from the collection before mixing in some Art Gallery Pure Elements.  Those colours are so rich and saturated that the task was not an easy one!  I also had some oddments of Art Gallery denim which I threw into the mix.  Aren’t they pretty all hanging out together?

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It was obvious I was going to make something using improvised techniques, so I settled on an old favourite, a wonky cross quilt, to really make the colours and prints sing.  This type of block is great for getting into a rhythm and loosing yourself in the piecing.  I’ve made quite a few of this type of quilt and never bore of the process.  Here’s what the blocks looked like as I played with the layout.  Again, this arranging and putting together of the quilt jigsaw is so enjoyable.

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Piecing the top was a quick process.  I used my go-to Aurifil thread for joining and quilting, favouring an all over zigzag that’s becoming quite at home in my free motion repertoire. The quilt is approximately 35″ square and I intend to pass it onto to my latest nephew, born at the start of the year.  I can’t wait to get some photographs of him chilling out on it!  Luckily, on the day I came to photograph the finished quilt for this post, the sun was shining and we had one of the bluest skys I think I’ve ever seen in Wales.  It must have been that Hawaiian vibe rubbing off!

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Thank you Matthew for asking me to be a part of celebrating this great collection.  Be sure to check out all the other amazing makers that are part of this party.  There are some thirty-odd projects to look out for, so plenty to inspire you all.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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GEOGRAM BLOG HOP

Hello! I know, I know! We’re not even going to mention it. I’m working on getting better, so for now let’s move swiftly on and look at some lovely fabric, yes?

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To followers new and old (who are also very, very patient), welcome to my day on Lecien Fabric’s Geogram Bloh Hop. I’m so excited to share with you all the fun I’ve been having with this new and exciting collection. But first, a confession. I only have a WIP. I started with all the best intentions and yes, whilst I did leave it to the eleventh hour, I still had every faith that I would get the project done on time…and I would have, had it not evolved so dramatically. You see, this new collection from Samarra Khaja is so inspiring, my original idea grew wings and soared to new heights. So that’s my confession, straight out the gate.

A little about the fabric. As I mentioned, Geogram is designed by very talented Samarra Khaja. It has 30 SKUs and a variety of precuts and will be in stores this month. It’s currently sold in the U.S., Europe and Australia and will be released in Japan in the spring. Plus it’s awesome!

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The colours! Oh, the colours!

For my project, I wanted to make something that would show case the whole collection in all its rainbow-y goodness. I knew that whatever I ended up making, the fabrics would have to appear in a full colour spectrum, that way their true awesomeness could be appreciated. I also knew that I wanted to pair them with a neutral, something with a bit of texture too.

As you may have noticed from IG, I’ve been enamoured with wonky cross blocks of late, having developed a streamlined process for their quick and easy construction. What better way to showcase this collection than with a field of wonky crosses! I got to making them and then realised I couldn’t stop. The project grew and grew, from the small mini quilt I originally envisioned, to the current quilt top I have waiting to be basted.

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I loved the process, particularly filling in the background with various yard dyed linens. Making an improv quilt like this, where you’re never quite sure what size your blocks or even the quilt top will end up, is so liberating. I throughly enjoyed doing this giant jigsaw and you can see that the quilt evolved through several stages before I was happy with it.

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As always, the casualty of such construction is the sewing room, which looks like my fabric stash threw a frat party in there! I’m taking a day off before I tackle the mess and get basting! Be sure to pop back and see the finished quilt. Also, keep a look out for a little scrap giveaway on IG very soon!

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For more projects using Geogram, be sure to check out all the other stops along the way. A full list can be found on Lecien’s IG account. On a final note, the selvedges of the collection read “make stuff and be nice”. What a lovely anecdote for the times we know find ourselves in.

Thanks for visiting!

THE BUSINESS OF BLADES

Whatever I do, I’m all about quality. Making a cake? Use the best ingredients. Need a new pair of jeans? Invest in more expensive ones and they’ll reward you in the long run. My mantra is no different when it comes to my quilting. I love the feel and weight of really good fabrics. I love the knowledge that my thread isn’t going to snap every five minutes because it didn’t cost 50p. When I first began quilting, rather than rush out and buy everything, I took the time to curate a collection of quality tools that I knew would not only do the job, but do it well.

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I mentioned in a recent episode of Quilt  Monkey that us quilters are so often blinded by all the pretty fabrics that we sometimes forget about the things that makes using those fabrics easier, namely our sewing machine needles and our rotary cutter blades. To change either of these after becoming accustom to their dull and blunt predecessors is a simple pleasure that many of us of forget about. Yet such an act can make all the difference to the quality and accuracy of our sewing.

Now, I know some of you will be like me, wanting nothing more than to take what we spend on these things and buy yet more fabric. I hate the fact that blades are marked up so much here compared to in the US, where everything seems cheaper. Yet, with that little voice of quality whispering in my ear, I was sure to buy only the branded blades for my cutter, thinking anything else would be substandard and uneconomical. Well, how wrong I was!

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A few days ago I received some blades from the lovely people at Barnyarns. I’d purchased items from them before and was pleased to see they’d arrived on Instagram. What piqued my interest was a post about the range of unbranded blades they now stocked. I read that the blades were made of quality steel and fit most of the top brands, like Olfa, and many different models. I was intrigued.

The blades arrived, were promptly tested and I can say that I’m throughly impressed. I received the 45mm size, but these replacements are also available in 60mm. They come in pairs, housed in a small plastic case for safety and ease of transport. You’d think that a lower priced product would do away with things like that, but just like their more expensive counterparts, these are nicely packaged and perfect for storing your dull blades for disposal.

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As for the business of cutting, I’d never know I wasn’t using a branded blade. The cliché  of ‘a hot knife through butter’ seems obvious, but the cuts were so beautifully clean I can’t help but use it. I was layering fabric and the blades had no trouble slicing through 5 layers; they probably could have handled more!

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I’m so pleased that these blades changed my mind about unbranded notions for my quilting. Of course, there are some things I won’t change, but the savings available on what is a top quality product makes these my blades of choice for the foreseeable future. Thanks Barnyarns!

Do you need to change your blade? Do yourself and your cutter a favour and try these out. Head over to my Instagram where I’m giving away 5 pairs of 45mm blades to some lucky people. Then you can let me know what you think!

Thanks for visiting!

SIMPLY SOLIDS BLOGGER BUNDLE

A few months ago, the lovely ladies at Simply Solids, a great fabric store in Huddersfield, asked me if I’d be interested in curating a bundle for a new stash club they were rolling out. The ‘Blogger’s Choice’ bundle is made up of fabrics chosen by bloggers and quilts designers, and once the first three names were announced, it was clear that I was in awesome company. After Karen Lewis and Nicole Dakiewicz selected their fabrics, it was my turn. I thought about it for weeks beforehand and am now so excited to say that my month is live and flying through the postal system to land in the stashes of subscribers.

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As you may know, pulling fabrics is one of my favourite parts of quilt making. I went for a palette of rich blacks, hot pinks, earthy browns and a splashes of gold. I took the jumble print from Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander as my starting point and added some Handcrafted by Alison Glass, as well as some great blenders like the modern batik print by Me and You for Hoffmann Fabrics. I also couldn’t resist throwing in some Essex yarn dyed from Robert Kauffman for texture.

I received my bundle yesterday and it looks SO good in person! I think I may have outdone myself.  The metallic painter’s canvas has to be seen in real life. It’s just gorgeous!

There’s still time to sign up to the stash club and receive my bundle. Other bloggers will be announced over the coming weeks. For all the information you need to subscribe, visit simply solids here.

Thanks for dropping by!

QUICK AND EASY QUILTS

When I first started out on my quilting journey I sent an email to Lynne of Lily’s Quilts, asking for advice about how to start a blog. I really admired her work and thought she’d have great brains to pick. Thinking back, the email was probably cringe worthy to say the least, but Lynne was kind enough to respond and give me some great pointers. I remember being so excited. It was like I was talking to quilting royalty and had been invited to join this crazy, fun world of quilting

When I was asked to take a look at Lynne’s new book, Quick & Easy Quilts, I jumped at the chance. As some of you may know, I’m a bit of a bibliophile and getting my hands on a crisp, new book is almost as good as fabric deliveries! When the book is about fabric, then I’m winning.

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Published by Kyle Books with bright and cheerful photography by Jan Baldwin, it’s the kind of quilting book you can’t help but smile at as you flick through. I have to confess that I loved it even before I opened it. The cover is beautifully tactile; embossed, with a sheen across that title that begs to be stroked. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right; I’m mad, but you’ll understand what I mean if you get a copy.

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I was pleased to see that despite the title, many of the projects look decisively more difficult than Lynne’s clear and concise instructions make them. The Supernova is a stunning, impactful project that looks like it would take you weeks, yet through clever strip piecing it could easily be a weekend project.

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Lynne’s eye for colour has always made the quilts she makes special, and the ones in this book are no exception. Though it’s hard to pick a favourite, the cool, water-inspired fabric pull of the Out on the Ocean mini quilt makes my heart sing, as does the freehand curved piecing, something which I’ve experimented with myself a lot in the past. It was refreshing to see several improv pieced projects alongside Lynne’s more usual precisely-cut-out-projects.

Amongst the twenty modern projects featured, there really is something for everyone, regardless of ability or skill. Whilst tidying up the sewing room the other day, I couldn’t help but pull some fabric ready to make some Schoolhouse blocks. I’ve seen these beauties from Lynne before and the wall hanging in the book looks so awesome I think I need one of my own.

To get you all inspired for some quick and easy quilt making I have a copy of the book to give away to one luck reader. To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what type of quilter you are. Do you like long cutting lists and precision, or are you like me and love to hack, press and slash? The competition is open to all and I’ll draw a winner in a week. Good luck!

The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered!

A SIZZIX GIVEAWAY!

I’ve taken a break from quilting to let you all know about a great giveaway from Sizzix that I’ve just found out about. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as my shoulders are about to drop off!  I’m still not entirely on board with the whole ‘take regular breaks’ thing!

Anyway, by signing up to the Sizzix newsletter you have the change to win a Big Shot plus machine. This is the machine I have and I can’t say enough how great it is!  It’s versatile and suited to so many quilting projects thanks to the array of dies available, everything from squares to hexagons.  It makes your piecing quicker and more accurate every time.

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Sound good?  Simply fill in your details here to be in with a chance of winning.  The competition closes Friday 27th November at 10am GMT. Good luck!

NEW ARRIVALS

With my busy schedule showing no sign of letting up, it may come as no surprise to some of you that another plate has been added to the dozen or so that I’m already spinning.  We’re buying our first house!  I’m altogether excited, anxious and extremely stressed.  As far as the process goes, it’s still early days, but I can’t wait to move in.  If all goes to plan we’ll have a nice garden for the dog, a much bigger kitchen and a sewing room for me!  The property has an attic, but it hasn’t been converted.  So, I’ll be taking up residence in the smallest of three bedrooms, all of which have lots of lovely light, perfect for sewing!  I’m so looking forward to planning the layout from scratch and taking on the challenge of finding a home for everything.

As well as the ever-growing fabric stash, Some other things which will need to be housed are the new dies I received from Sizzix a few weeks back.  I’ve been itching to play with them since they landed on the door mat!  Added to the collection was the 1/2 inch hexagon die, 2″ finished square, 3″ finished square and the 3″ x 6″ finished rectangle.  I also received some of the larger Bigz XL 25″ dies for cutting 3″ strips, which will make piecing some of the improv quilts I have planned a breeze.

I’m still working on finishing up a few deadlines, and who knows when it’ll be time to pack up shop and move from the attic, so using these dies may have to wait a little longer. Thank you all for sticking with me.  I know the posts here haven’t been as frequent as I’d like, but I can promise you all lots of exciting things are in the pipeline.  I’ve got a new blog design waiting to be launched, lots of fabric news and some great projects just waiting to be sewn up!  Once everything’s settled down we’ll have a big, celebratory giveaway!  In the meantime, be sure to follow me on Instagram, where I post lots of snippets and sneak peeks.