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.

 

 

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 PROCESS

Remember the wonky cross blocks I was making every now and then, when other quilts and tight deadlines weren’t pulling me every which way? Well, as some of you may know, I finished making the top. There was a happy coincidence actually, in that the particular day marked exactly one year from when I made the first block. It was completely unintentional and a nice way to mark the occasion.

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As I write this, the quilt is having some magic added to it by Trudi Wood, quilter extraordinaire! I’ve actually entered it into this year’s Festival of Quilts, along with one other, and is the first time I’ve had an entry in a competition. I wouldn’t normally enter, but something about this quilt pushed me to.

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I’m not ashamed to say I love this quilt, even though it’s not finished and I’m having a nightmare deciding on a binding fabric! Though perhaps what I love even more is the process behind it, the small steps to make the cross blocks, sometimes 2 or 3, sometimes a whole stack; in the morning, or at night whilst the house sleeps, I’ve never been so engaged with a project as I was when I sewed this one. I’m so excited to get it back and add the finishing touches, if only to allow myself to start another!

However prolific a maker you are, enjoy the process. Take time to savour the stitches and be rewarded all the more at the end of it. I know I was. Now, back to that bloody binding…

 

CRAFTING THANKS

Many of you may have heard me refer to my ‘American mum’ on my various social media platforms. Debi Pedersen is the real-life mum of Stacey, a very dear friend of mine, and somebody who I’ve grown close to in the 8 years I’ve known her.  She and her husband Jim were kind enough to put us up when my partner and I embarked on a tour of California with Stacey, back in 2008.  We had such a great time and vowed that we would keep in touch.  In the years that followed, we’ve met up in London and they have stayed with us here in Cardiff when they visited to celebrate Stacey’s 30th birthday. They really are awesome people and have done so much to support my growth as a quilter that it was only natural I’d want to repay them in the best way I know how.

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Now, I’ve been known to use the Pedersen’s residence as my own personal post office. If I make a purchase or partake in a de-stash and the seller won’t ship internationally then Debi kindly let’s me have fabric and other notions sent to her for storage.  I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve done this and I inevitably end up with a towering pile of purchases waiting to be collected. I always envisage that one day I’d return to CA and collect it all, but more often than not Debi surprises me and has it posted out.  So thoughtful!  On one of these occasions she included in the package some blueberry-themed fabric she had picked up for herself at a local store, asking if I might be able to make something for her with it. Shamefully, that was about 2 years ago.  Life got in the way and the fabric fell ever-deeper into the stash.  It took a house move and a load of unpacking for it to resurface and prompt me to get a move on. The heart of Debi’s house is her kitchen.  Both her and Jim and amazing cooks and she has such a passion for all things culinary. With that in mind, I decided that a table runner, rather than a quilt, would make for a more fitting gift. Refusing to keep her waiting any longer, I liased with Stacey to get some secret table measurements and set about making!

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The resulting runner makes me smile, not only because I know it’s going to a deserving person, but also beacuse I had such fun making it. As always, I indulged in the fabric pull. Using the blueberry fabrics that Debi had sent as my inspiration, I mixed them with some stash favourites, including some new L’s Modern Garden by Lecien, various Carolyn Friedlander prints and some coordinating Kona solids. The background is Essex linen in steel. I kept the construction simple, making a load of stitch and flip blocks before trimming them down to squares using my trusty Sizzix Big Shot.  Then it was a case of arranging them into a long lightening bolt shape and sewing them all together.  For the quilting, wavy organic lines compliment the angular piecing. I used Aurfil 50wt against an amazing First of Infinity print for the backing.  It had been waiting patiently in the stash for its moment to shine and I think that it has found it! With a text print from the Architextures collection, the runner was done.

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In the weeks since completion, the runner has crossed the Atlantic and arrived safely in the States. I’m pleased to report that Debi and Jim love it and I’m so glad that I’ve finally been able to thank them both in some small way.  I love that a small piece of me is in their home and their hearts and hope that they’ll continue to love and use it for genrations to come.

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Thank you guys!

OAKSHOTT LIPARI BLOG HOP

Welcome to the second stop on the Oakshott Lipari Blog Hop. Now, before we begin, I have a little confession to make. I am a huge Oakshott fan! I remember seeing some way back when and dying at the sight. You know when people say “oh, you really have to see it to believe it”, well, nothing could be truer with these stunning fabrics. They beg to be viewed up close. My stash now has a whole shelf of them and even a separate box for all the scraps and off-cuts. Hoard them I do, so it was a no brainer when Lynne asked if I’d like to be part of a blog hop celebrating the latest collection.

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Each of the eighteen colours of the Lipari collection are woven with black thread to give a dark and rich palette. I was reminded of a Moroccan souk by the deep jewel colours and my mind was awash with exotic things I wanted to make! They’re 54″ wide too, so they go that little bit extra and are perfect for garment making.

After much thought and lots of fabric petting, I decided upon a paper pieced quilt block I’d had in my mind for quite a while. I think I’m right in saying that the inspiration came from a plant pot I saw in a Buzzfeed article about the ten coolest things you can buy your plants. Slightly odd, but inspirational none the less! I’ve called this the ‘Prism Plant Pot’ block.

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It’s always so much fun to draft a paper pieced pattern. At the start, there’s the worry about whether it’ll all come together and actually look like it does in your head. After a few initial sketches, I had the design nailed and was thankful that a friend was able to digitise it for me. I’m more of a pencil and graph paper sort of guy, which, although fine for me, wouldn’t work too well when it came to sharing the pattern. After a quick test block, I was ready to go!

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Owing to time restraints, I settled on a mini quilt for this make, although, by using chain piecing, the blocks came together so quickly that a full quilt wouldn’t have taken that much longer. I decided to pre-cut the fabric to size beforehand for this project, the first time I’ve done so. I was so surprised at how much quicker the whole thing came together and before I knew it I was ready to quilt. Oakshott cottons take quilting beautifully, though it took me an age to decided on a design.

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What at first was something I didn’t look forward to, quilting has become one of my favourite parts of quilt making. I guess it’s a confidence thing. Early on, I would see beautifully quilted quilts with intricate designs and wish that I could do them. With every new quilt I make, I’m excited and willing to try something new and push the limitations of my skill, slowly but surely building up my repertoire.

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For this mini, after discarding several ideas, I went with a meandering angular line that was so much fun to quilt as I tuned in to an episode of one of my favourite podcasts. If you find yourself tensing up when you attempt FMQ, then listening to some music or a podcast is a great way of finding some flow. The binding was simple, and chosen to blend in to the quilt top. You all know that binding is my favourite part and I so relish the moments of hand sewing with dog at feet and some old vinyl crackling away in the background. Bliss!

This fabric, like all the other Oakshott I’ve had the pleasure of working with, really is a dream to sew. Yet it’s the colours that get me every single time. I’m so excited to see what they come up with next!

Should you want to make your own Prism Plant Pot mini, you’ll find a small tutorial below. I won’t go into the ins and outs of paper piecing here as there are plenty of great write ups on the subject already. If you’ve never tried, this pattern is a really easy one, though you may want to do a few test blocks using fabric that isn’t your best.

To to make a mini like mine, which finishes at approx. 22″ x 26.5 you’ll need to make 16 blocks, which will be sewn into a 4 x 4 layout. Start by printing out 16 copies of Prism Plant Pot template 1 and 16 of Prism Plant Pot template 2 These will be paired up to make one finished block.

To make the quilt, use the following fabric quantities as a guide, though remember that with paper piecing, everyone has a different level of comfort, that’s to say, you may need more wiggle room than the next person! I’ve listed the colours I used too.

For the prisms – fat eighth pack of Liparis (with lots left over!)

For the background, backing and binding – 2 meters of Liparis Milazzo

For the side pieces – 0.4 meters of Liparis Pollara

For the top fabric – 0.25 meters of Scandinavia Uppsala.

If like me you want to do all the cutting beforehand, then use these following measurements to prepare all your pieces to make 16 blocks.

From the prism fabric (I used all the colours in the bundle except the Milazzo and Pollara as these were used elsewhere) – 32 3.5″ x 4″ pieces, 2 of each remaining colour. These will be section 2 on the pattern.

From the background fabric – 32 3.5″ x 2″ pieces for section 1, 32 3.5″ x 2.5″ pieces for section 5 and 32 6.5″ x 1.5″ pieces for section 6.

From the side fabric – 32 3.5″ x 4″ pieces for section 3.

From the top fabric – 32 3.5″ x 1″ pieces for section 4.

Piece all 32 block halves before matching them in pairs and joining together to make 16 finished blocks. Take care to align each half so that the prism is as neat as possible. Arrange the block in 4 rows of 4, distributing the colours. Sew the blocks into rows before joining the rows together to complete the quilt top.

From your remaining Milazzo fabric, cut your backing and your biding strips (you’ll need 2 at the full WOF. I cut mine to 2″ but if you prefer you can cut to 2.25″). Baste with batting using your preferred method and quilt the top before making and attaching the binding.

Job done!

Thank you for stopping by today. If you’ve liked what you’ve seen, be sure to take a look at all the other stops on the tour, which you’ll find listed below. To keep up to date with all the goings on from the attic, follow along by signing up in the task bar and following over on Instagram where I post as quiltsfromtheattic. If you make a Prism Plant Pot block, let me know using #prismplantpotblock.

Happy sewing!

5 May     Allison Dutton       allison-sews.blogspot.com

10 May   Nicholas Ball         quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com 

12 May   Helen Purvis          archiethewonderdog.blogspot.com

17 May   Lynn Harris            thelittleredhen.typepad.com

19 May   Kitty Wilkin           nightquilter.com

24 May   Jessica Skultety      www.quiltyhabit.com 

26 May   Karin Jordan           www.leighlaurelstudios.com

31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan  sharksdinner.com

LECIEN FABRICS AND FALL QUILT MARKET

Remember all those time I told you “I’m so busy but I can’t share any of it with you yet!”  Well, I’m excited to say that today, I finally can!  You may know from my numerous Instagram posts that I’ve been working a lot with Lecien Fabrics of late.  I’ve admired this Japanese company from afar for a while and was delighted when Yoko, one of their representatives based in the US, made contact with me a few months ago to ask if I’d be interested in trying out some of their newest collections.  That initial collaboration turned into the colourful log cabin quilt I blogged about some weeks back.  Highly publicised on my Instagram feed, I had so much fun making that quilt top and looking forward to the day when I can finally get it basted and quilted.  Also, nudge, nudge, there’s another one in the works!

Some of the other Lecien projects I can now share are a little more muted in their appearance but were no less exciting to make.  When Yoko asked if I wanted to use the latest First Of Infinity collection I jumped at the chance.  Set to make its debut at this fall’s Quilt Market, the fabric, like previous collections, makes a bold and graphic statement, and I’m so excited the quilt I made will be featured on the Lecien stand!

I wanted to use the fabric in an improvisational way (such a shock, right?) and coupled it with some 1000 Colours solids and new yard dyed cottons.  I can’t tell you how much of a joy all these fabrics are to work with.  They press like a dream!  For the first time, Lecien have released a number of new pre-uts and have coordinated new solid colours to work with their most popular collections, including First Of Infinity. I quilted this quilt with organic wavy lines and finished it with a simple black binding.  I so wish I was going to Quilt Market to see it in the wild.

Another quilt that will be gracing the Lecien stand is a smaller sample I made featuring the some of these new solours.  Improv again, I loved piecing with abandon and coupling the lightweight solids with the texture of the new yarn dyed cottons.  Pre-cuts like origami squares (10″ x 10″) and sushi rolls would be perfect for this kind of piecing.  Another thing that makes the quilt special is the fact that I got to quilt it on a long arm during my last trip to North Wales to film Quilt Monkey episodes.  It was highly addictive, as I always suspected it would be, and in my head I’m rearranging furniture to see if I can fit one it the attic!

The new look book for all of Lecien’s new and upcoming releases is available to view now.  Just click here to see all the gorgeous fabrics and inspiring makes that feature them.  You can also see all the pre-cuts available, which I’m sure with get your creative juices flowing!

I’m so excited to stalk the Quilt Market hashtags and look forward to seeing ALL the fabrics.  If you’re attending, be sure to stop by the Lecien stand and let me know what you think of these quilts.  Any pictures of my work in the wild would be much appreciated.  I felt so privileged using these fabrics before their general release and am so excited to be featured at Quilt Market.  I sense a giveaway coming on…

JUST A LITTLE LONGER…

Oh my goodness! Where HAS the time gone? I’m actually a little shocked to find that this is my first post of the month. In my mind, we’re still in July and I’ve got plenty of time before those deadlines creep up on me.

I know I said this last time, but I’ve been so busy sewing away I haven’t had time to tell you all about it, even though each time I sit at the machine a voice in my head says “I must blog about this!”. I’m here with nothing more than an update, as I still can’t share all the exciting things I’ve been working on just yet! It’s infuriating for me because all I want to do it shout from the rooftops, “Look at this! Look what I made!”

So, what’s been happening? Well, I’ve been working a lot with Lecien Fabrics recently, trying out lots of their new collections, including the new First Of Infinity line which is so cool! I’m excited to let you know that I’ve made not one but two quits for Lecien’s stand at this autumn’s Quilt Market and I can’t wait to share those projects with you!

Another line which found its way onto my cutting may recently is Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis. This lady needs no introduction and I’ve been a fan of her hand-printed fabrics for a long time. I was ecstatic when Karen asked me to make something with her debut collection for Robert Kaufmann. I had so much fun playing with old and new designs. Karen’s work really sings on the Kona cotton base cloth and as soon as she has received the quilt I’ll be sharing more details. For now, here’s is a sneak peak.

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The stash has  swelled with lots of new fabric additions recently. Some favourites include these great blenders I picked up at a local quilt store’s sale, as well as these stunning cotton yard-dyed fabrics from Lecien, which worked their way into both of my Quilt Market quilts!

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I’ve been sewing away at my NGAQBII commitments too and will have more to share very soon. The great thing about the bee is that everyone is so relaxed and there’s never any pressure to get it done!

The very blog you’re ready will soon be updated with a new logo and a great illustration which is so perfect and sums up exactly what Quilts From The Attic is all about. This month is the blog’s second anniversary and I want to thank you all, old and new followers, for the support and love you’ve shown me and my work. Stick with me, because there’re some very exciting things up ahead!