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.

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…

NGAQB II – SO FAR

The second incarnation of the #NGAQB is well under way. You may remember my last NGAQB post, where I shared my center with you and explained my fabric choices and what I was hoping the other members of the bee would add to it. Well, from what I’ve seen posted in Instagram, I can tell you that my expectations have been more than met! I asked for improv and boy did I get it! If you haven’t been following along, now’s the time! I can tell that there are going to be some stunning quilts once the rounds are complete.

In the bee, I always receive quilts from Molli Sparkles, so it was both an honour and a slight worry that I was to be the first to add to his center block. Perhaps starting block is a better word, since there’s no obligation to keep the block centered. When we started we were told and encouraged to add to all sides or add to one. As you can probably guess, this really appealed to my improv-inclined brain!

Molly had used an amazing paper pieced pattern of a unicorn for his starting block. The minute I saw it I was totally blown away by his fabric choices and was so excited to dive into my own stash and see what I could find. In my mind, I wanted to create a kind of improvised forest in which the unicorn could gallop, unbridled and free. I used a lot of Kona solids in vibrant pinks and purples, along with some Anna Maria Horner, Lecien L’s Modern and Cotton and Steel. I hacked and slashed fabric before piecing it into long-ish strips, adding some freehand curved seams for interest. The piecing was very freeing and of the moment and I soon had enough to add to unicorn block. I decided to leave the top edge, in the hope that the next person to receive this would continue working upwards, taking inspiration from my long thin strips and adding to the magical forest feel!

The next block I received belonged to Quilt Dad. Like Molli, John had paper pieced his starting block, this time a trio of feathers. Once again, I was so inspired by the colour palette and excited to see that John had used one of my all time favourite prints, a wood grain by Joel Dewberry, albeit in a tiny role.  I wanted it to be the star! I had a little left in the stash and was determined to use it!

For John’s block, Molly had added a first round of epic beauty! I was a little scared to continue, lest I ruin it. I took inspiration from the Totem Pole Quilt I made for a past swap.  I pieced long, improv strips and attached these to the quilt log cabin style.  This was a real scrap-busting exercise as I had a lot of red pieces that were perfect for this, including some of the new Blueberry Park collection by Karen Lewis and some snippets that had been waiting for their moment to shine longer than is polite to mention!  Fun, simple sewing for both of these blocks, and I loved every second!

I’m so excited to see how these and all the other quilts in the bee evolve!

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!

SIGNS OF THINGS TO COME

This is going to be short and sweet! So much has been going on in the attic lately that I’ve found myself making lists of lists just to keep on top of it all.

I know there’s been a bit of radio silence around here of late but I just wanted to let you all know that I’ve been working away and will have lots of things to share once I return from a week’s jolly in Paris. I’m looking forward to going away, taking some down time and returning rejuvenated and ready to go!

Something to whet your appetite? Well, they’ll be some of this…

a bit of this…

and a lot of this…

Plus they’ll be some big changes to the site. It’s all so exciting! I’ll see you all soon!

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!

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.

LUSTING OVER LECIEN

Sorry for the recent radio silence.  Feel free to blame it on one of two things.  Either I was so busy working on my increasingly high pile of deadlines, or my ability to sit and type was affected by the pain that has assaulted my sinuses these last few days.  I think I’m finally over the worst of it, so hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon.  In my absence, lots of exciting things have been happening! The letterbox has been flapping around like crazy as lots of new fabric was delivered for me to play with and I’m excited to share some of it with you now.

As I became more active on social media during the early part of my foray into quilting, the name Lecien popped up on various posts and pictures.  The fabric depicted was mostly floral, with lots of pastels colours and ditsy prints that appealed to the more traditional quilter.  A few weeks before the most recent Quilt Market, I stumbled across Lecien’s Instagram account and began following them.  I learnt a lot about the history of this Japanese company from their website, and yet, something on Instagram was different.  The fabric they were positing peeks of wasn’t the fabric I’d come to associate them with.  These were bright, graphic and modern and appealed to my style of quilting. Over the course of Quilt Market I grew to love their most recent collections more and more as they shared pictures of gorgeous quilts made with these fresh, modern fabrics. I was sold.  I had to have some!

Imagine my delight then when I received an e-mail from Lecien’s American representative to ask if I’d be interested in receiving some of their fabrics to use in my future projects.  I was overjoyed and immediately replied YES!  Those of you who follow me on Instagram will already now how excited I was when a boxful of fabric arrived.  I was like a child in a sweet shop as I rummaged through all the goodies they’d sent.

The collection that caught my eye online is called L’s Modern and comprises of a rainbow of stunning blenders and small-scale prints split into two colourways, warm and cool, and a ‘Spring’ collection also split into warm and cool colours.  As well as yardage, the collection is offered in a range of precuts, from 5″ charm packs, 10″ origami squares and 2.5″ strips called sushi rolls, I know, adorable, right?  The potential for this collection is limitless, and I can see so many ways to incorporate these prints, either small or large pieces, into my patchwork. The colors are zesty, the designs bold.  Whilst impossible to choose a favourite, I love the dumbbell print and the squares-in-squares which, in the cool colourway, are printed with metallic ink.  So on trend right now! The text print is awesome too, and I am a sucker for a good text print.  There are a number of prints, especially in the Spring collection, that would make great bindings and so many would work with other fabric collections.  If brights aren’t your thing, then there are numerous other collections to look our for.  I was also sent some Quilter’s Basics in the woodland colourway which is a little more subdued but just as versatile.  Some of the greens I can see finding their way into future Vegetable Patch quilts.

This loveliness is looking right at home amongst the ever-increasing stash and I can’t wait to get some of my deadlines out of the way and start sewing.  Now, I feel lucky to be the recipient of such awesome fabric and I want to share some of it with all of you!  I have a L’s Modern Spring sushi roll in the cool colourway up for grabs.  Much like a jelly roll, there are 42 2.5″ by width of fabric strips to play with, perfect for so many blocks and patterns.

If you fancy getting your hands on it, simply leave a comment on this post.  If you’re not yet following the blog, please do so and let me know in your comment.  For an extra entry, head over to Instagram and follow me there.  Leave an extra comment on this post to let me know if you do.  I’ll draw a winner in a week.

EDIT – Congratulations Brooke K!  You are the randomly chosen winner of the giveaway.  I’ll be in touch via e-mail shortly to find out your shipping information.  Thanks to everyone for playing along.