STASHING #27

I’m so looking forward to a day in the very near future when I can sit down and fill you all in about recent attic antics!  The festive period has proven to be one of the busiest, both in work and outside of it.  I can’t wait to just sew, write and drink tea with gay abandon!

For now then, a visual feast.  A little stash addition that had me weak at the knees.  Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics collection, in all its gorgeous glory.  I may have or may not have had some of these prints already…

Enjoy, for however long you want, then check out all the other fabric goodness over at Molli Sparkle’s Sunday Stash.


BLOGGER’S QUILT FESTIVAL – VEGETABLE PATCH QUILT

Swiftly following the anniversary of this blog is the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, which happens twice a year to coincide with International Quilt Market.  I was so swamped in the spring that the festival passed me by, so I’m excited to be involved again this time around.  The sheer abundance of creativity and inspiration throughout the festival makes it a date to remember for anyone as enamored by patchwork and quilting as me.  Just remember to set aside half a day to browse all the entries, oh, and bring biscuits too!

This time I’ve decided to enter my Vegetable Patch Quilt into the Original Design Quilts category.  This quilt remains something I’m immensely proud of.  Be sure to check out this post for more details about its conception and construction.  I’m not ashamed to say that every now and then I lay it out and just stare at it.  When I started my quilting journey, the idea of making anything remotely like this was laughable, let alone design it myself.  It’s funny what we learn on our quilting journey.  This was the quilt that solidified my love for improvisational piecing and abandonment of the quilting rule book (which so many people tell me doesn’t even exist!)

Much like the subject matter, the journey of this quilt was an organic one.  It began with an image of a leek, which took root in my brain and compelled me to fashion it from fabric.  Scraps of fabric littered the attic and I risked a local shortage of spray starch as I sewed and hacked my vegetable blocks.  So liberating and so inspiring!  Since I finished the quilt it has become the most commented-on thing I’ve made and I was pleased to share it with my fellow quilters at the recent Fat Quarterly Retreat in London.  It’s definitely a keeper, and I can see the patch ‘growing’ in the near future.

I have to end with a huge thank you to Amy from Amy’s Creative Side who works so hard to bring us the festival each year.  I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of organising that must go into it and I feel so privileged to be a part of such an amazingly creative experience.  Now, go forth and vote for your favourite in each category!

A SECOND HALF SQUARE TRIANGLE QUILT

It’s officially October, my favorite month, and this latest finish is woefully late.  You see, back in June a work colleague and his wife brought home their newborn son.  Another colleague and I decided it would be a nice gesture to make a baby quilt for them. We had a collection and went shopping.  My friend is a student of fashion design and has similar tastes to me when it comes to fabrics.  We like the same colours and designs so the whole process was blissfully easy.  It’s not the first time we’ve collaborated on a project, having made a graduation quilt a few years earlier, and it was fun to teach her some new things, like half square triangles.

We chose a simple chevron layout, alternating the rows between light and dark fabrics.  We knew the sex of the baby before we pulled fabric, but wanted to stay away from the traditional blue palette, instead opting for something a bit more modern.  We chose low volume prints, including some Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander, paired with mustards and blacks.  We used a variety of fabrics including some Robert Kauffman Essex linen and some double gauze.  This was my first time sewing with some Cotton and Steel basics.  They are so much nicer in person!  Some might think black an unusual choice for a baby quilt, but we were both sold and really like the bold statement it makes.  We pieced the top together in a day before I took it home to finish.

With a simple layout we opted for some equally simple quilting, wavy lines across the entire quilt top.  The quilting was a joy to do and I really dig the texture this type gives.  The backing was some Ikea Britten print that I had in my stash, whilst the solid black  binding continues the simple feel of the quilt.  This was the first time I’ve cut my binding strips two inches wide.  I really like the look of a skinny binding and I think this works better than my usual two and a quarter-inch strips.  The quilt finishes at 37″ square.

We’re both really pleased with how this one turned out and can’t wait to gift it, even if it is a little late!

NO GIRLS ALLOWED QUILT BEE – JULY

I’m slowly but surely working my way through my HUGE to-do list, even though new things keep sneaking their way onto the bottom of it!  Quite high up were my blocks for July, August and September’s #NGAQB gentlemen.  Mr July is the lovely Ryan Walsh of Ryan Walsh Quilts, who can be found on Instagram as ryanwalshquilt.

In his own words, Ryan is…

“…a self-taught quilter and quilt designer who enjoys taking classic quilt designs and updating them with a modern twist. He’s employed full-time as a NYS Licensed Funeral Director and manages a funeral establishment in his hometown. A busy dad, the majority of his quilting adventures occur in the late hours of the night after his kids are in bed!

Ryan uses quilting as a vehicle to satisfy his never-ending need to be creative. His work is based around combining traditional piecing methods with free-style construction techniques. As a way to challenge his ability, Ryan participates in several online bees and quilt related swaps every year.

When he’s not quilting, Ryan also enjoys photography, embroidery, collage, crocheting, sightseeing and spending time with his family.  Ryan currently resides in the Catskill Mountain region of Upstate New York with his children.”

Mr. July requested Knee Socks blocks from a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! fame.  I’ve been an avid follower of Elizabeth’s blog since I started quilting.  I used her Mod Mosaic block tutorial when I made the Dinosaur Quilt and was looking forward to trying my hand at these.  The block finishes at an impressive 24.5″ so we only had to do one.  Ryan asked for a scrappy rainbow look with low volume fabrics for the background.  I had great fun rummaging through my endless scraps and picking out little groups of colour.  The great thing about the scrappy version of the block is that scraps as small as 1″ wide can be utilised, and there you were thinking those were destined for the bin!  Heed my advice, keep everything!

Some old favourites joined the block party for his month, including snippets of Tula Pink and Heather Ross.  My love affair with crosshatch continues into these blocks too with Carolyn Friedlander’s widescreen serving as the background.  As much as I love this block and it’s boldness, I do have a confession to make.  My block actually came out a 1/4″ too small.  I’d love to lay the blame at someone else’s door but alas, your boy did bad.  You see, I realised when I’d finished that I didn’t press my seams open, despite what the instructions instructed me to do, and this block has a lot of them!  Add all those up and it’s obvious where my extra length went!  Because he’s great like that, Ryan said he’d make it work, which was good, because by that point I’d scratched it from the to-do list, and once something’s off that, there ain’t no way it getting back on!

Remember to follow along on Instagram with #NGAQB.  The guys are really stepping up their game and making some awesome things!

NO GIRLS ALLOWED QUILT BEE – JUNE

Quick, somebody call the police, because I have been robbed…of time!  Where in the world did July go?  Was it something I said?  Please, come back!  I swear I’ll be better, make the most of you and give you the attention you deserve…no…you’re truly gone and you really can’t turn back the clock?  Damn!

I can’t believe that we are over half way through the bee.  I’m disappointed in my self that I’ve fallen behind, but hey, life’s an attention seeker.  This weekend, having cleaned and re-organised the attic a while back, I was ready to jump back on board and tackle some of the guys’ blocks.  technically I’m still behind, with July’s fabric still languishing in a pile, but for now let’s talk about Mr. June, AKA Chris Jones (a wonderful Welsh surname) and his block du mois.

Chris was originally an extra member of the bee but owing to another member’s need to leave stepped up to take June.  Like all the others, he gave the group this FAQ so that we might get to know him better.  Read on!

Do you have any nicknames, or go by any other name?

I used to be heavy into online gaming (Everquest and World of Warcraft) so I have a few character names that people still call me. Typically, Chris is good enough to get my attention. I’ll answer to just about anything you call me though.

Did you go to College? What did you study?

I started college with the expectation that I would get a biology and chemistry degree, and move on to work in a hospital as a phlobotomist or in a research lab. I was three classes shy of my biology degree when I took a psychology class on a dare. That one class changed everything that I had planned for my life; I ended up graduating from college with dual degrees. One in Psychology with an emphasis in Depth and Archetypal psychology, and one in Sociology with an emphasis in Anthropology.

One day I’ll make it back to school and get my Masters in counseling. I want to either be a licensed counselor, or teach psychology and anthropology on a college level.

What do you do now?

Right now I’m a SQL Developer/Data Administrator for an online book company (nope, not that one – not that one either). I’ve been with the company for fourteen years; I started with them two weeks after I graduated college. I started in the Customer Service department, and quickly moved up to CS Manager. I’ve held a position in just about every department within the company, and if I haven’t worked there, I work closely with them to generate reports or import data.

When did you start quilting?

I didn’t actually pick up quilting until I was in college and living with my mom’s family. She has a strong lineage of quilters, and I thought I might enjoy it. I grew up with my grandmother, who was a seamstress. She taught me how to sew, crochet, cross stitch, embroider and many other things.

When I graduated from college, I stopped quilting for a while. I was sucked in to the world of MMORPG, and barely had time for anything else but work. I picked up quilting again at the suggestion of a great friend at work. She introduced me to hand-piecing and I was in love again. I’ve done quite a few small projects, but I’ve yet to actually quit a top yet. I’m hoping that I’ll get to take some valuable time-off soon and try my mom’s new long arm or free motion quilting machines.

What other hobbies do you have?

Outside of sewing/quilting, I love to cook, can, and garden. I just picked up canning this year, and I love it. There’s nothing more awesome than taking the things that you grow and preserving them to eat throughout the year. Though I don’t typically eat it, I love making jam, the stranger the flavour profile, the more fun. So far I’ve made mulberry jam, strawberry balsamic jam, grape jelly, wild berry (strawberry, blueberry, mulberry) and apple butter. I’m trying out recipes for pineapple rum jam and mulled red wine jelly. They will likely be part of the family Christmas presents this year.

Do you have pets?

Yep, I have three furbabies that are the love of my life. A scottie named Finnigan, a Cairn named Ursula and a German Shepherd named Zahara. Ursula and Zahara were both rescues. We’re currently taking Zahara through obedience school right now.

What is your favourite animal?

Definitely a wallaby, with a giraffe coming in a close second. I want to make it to Australia one day so that I can see wallabies bounding around the countryside. (And I promise not to be freaked out by the drop-bears :))

What is your favourite color?

Orange, definitely orange. From pumpkin to safety vest, I love it all.

If you could pick your own name, what would it be?

For a long time I wanted to change my middle name (no, I won’t tell you what it is, but if you guess correctly, I’ll let you know) to Xavier. I’ve always loved that name, and I’m not really sure why.

Which season is best?

Fall will always have a special place in my heart. I love the color of the season. But now, because I really enjoy planning gardens, and digging in the dirt, I’d have to go with spring. The smell of the air right after a spring rain….it’s invigorating.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be?

I’d love to see my grandfather again. He was such an amazing person. He was a short-order cook in the army, a recorded musician that wrote music, played the guitar, banjo and fiddle, and spent the greater portion of his adult life as a taxi driver. His routes ranged from around the block to across the country. He loved life, and never had a cross word for anyone. He, like my grandmother, really taught me how to “be” in this world and I love him for it. I’d love to see him again.

How would you best describe yourself?

I never know what to say with this question. I think the best thing that I can say is that my Meyer’s Briggs personality type is INFP. I’m introverted, usually very quiet and reserved, or in my own world. Feelings and emotions are important to me, and I am usually overflowing with them. I like to daydream, and don’t like strict rules.

If you could be any fictional character,who would it be?

I can’t narrow it down to one. I’d like to think that I’m equal parts Mindy Kaling, Aquaman, and Captain Jack Harkness in a candy-coated Lord John Grey shell.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I probably have too many to mention here. I have a touch of an OCD streak that rears its ugly head from time to time. Right now the biggest thing that bothers me are leaves. I was out in the snow raking them the other day because I couldn’t stand seeing them all over the ground. As far as peeves from others, though, I don’t like people who use others for their benefit. Gets in my craw every time.

Do you have siblings?

Yep, I have a half-brother and a step-sister. Both are grown, though my brother still lives with our parents.

What kind of music interests you?

I will listen to just about any type of music, except modern country. I just can’t get into it. As far as favourites…the sugarier the pop, the better. As of late I’ve been bouncing between Bollywood hits and electronica.

What book/movie/tv show can you not live without?

TV is a guilty pleasure of mine; I watch way too much of it. I’m a card-carrying fandom member for Supernatural and Teen Wolf – can’t miss an episode. I don’t read as much as I should, but I like fantasy, historical fiction and romance books. Bernard Cornwell, Gregory McGuire, and Diana

Chris blogs at adandyman and is Kailichi on Instagram, Pinterest and twitter.

For his month Chris choice a diamond stack block.  I have to admit that when I first saw this I was a little worried.  I mean come on, look at all that bias.  In the end it wasn’t that bad, although my second block came out decidedly better than the first.  Chris had no specific colour requirements, only that the first border around the diamonds be white, other than that, the crayon box was ours to command!  I naturally gravitated towards my colours of teal, mustard and purple, throwing in some favorites such as an Architextures crosshatch and some Tula Acacia Foxfield.  Though I bitched at the beginning, these weren’t that bad to make and I think I’d happily do them again…maybe…with wine…and hard liquor.

The #NGAQB hashtag is blooming now, so be sure to check out all the marvelous male-made things.  Also, I think we’re going to have our first completed quilt top soon.  Mr.January, Sandy, has finally gotten around to making his last few blocks.  Yay!

A VEGETABLE PATCH QUILT

I finally got around to photographing this quilt today.  I actually finished it about 2 weeks ago but have been waiting to take it to a friends allotment plot.  I couldn’t think of a more suitable location for a photo shoot.  After a couple of false starts we finally managed to meet up today and get the job done.  Thankfully, the storm held off just long enough for me to get my lens cap back on!

I loved making these blocks and am so pleased with how they’ve turned out.  The whole process was improvisational (recently, my mot de jour) and you can find out more about them in this post.  I didn’t really have a finished product in mind when I started but love where the creative process has taken me.  Most of these blocks started life as sketches on the back of receipts and the whole journey was, aptly, an organic one.

After I finished the top I wanted the quilting to really emphasise the earthy nature of the quilt.  For the backing I chose a seeded, natural cotton that has been in the stash for a while.  Thankfully I bought a lot of it, which is good as I can see it becoming the back to many more quilts like this.  I chose dense matchstick quiting in a white, cream and tan variegated thread.  The texture is amazing and I can’t help but be reminded of onion layers when I look at the back.

I was stumped on the binding for a good few days.  At first I was drawn to the colours of the vegetables, but after somebody suggested they should remain the main players and the binding shouldn’t compete with them, I opted for an old, go-to binding; a Carolyn Friedlander crosshatch, this time in grey.  Subtle, but still nice to look at.

My head is already full of ideas for more ways to explore this type of piecing and now, when I’m in the supermarket, I’m lingering just a little longer in the produce aisle!

STASHING #22

I’ve some real beauties for you this week.  A few weeks ago, after a rummage and reordering of the stash, I began to lament on how little of the Architextures collection by Carolyn Friedlander I had left.  The crosshatch prints, also featured in her follow-up collection Botanics, are such useful additions.  They’re great for binding and make awesome backgrounds and negative space.  A little black and some of the text print made up the sum total of my remaining pieces.  This needed rectifying.

So, as I’ve been known to do in the past, a friend and I went all out and hunted some down, and not just stopping at the crosshatch prints either.  I wanted it all, the full house, something I sorely missed out on last time.  I knew the collection was going to be reprinted but had heard rumours that some designs would be left out.  Imagine then my delight as I saw more and more prints popping up for sale!

Now, in the space of a week, the only print I’m missing is the black blue print.  Instagram has been wonderful in allowing me to replenish my stock of this most beloved fabric, owing to all the great and sometimes rare things that pop up on the destash hashtag.  These are the first delivery, which I tore into a few days ago.  A rainbow of crosshatch and those to-die-for text prints.  The rest, which includes the more of the ledger and topography colourways, is due any day now and will be the stars of a feature Sunday Stash.

I’m linking up with Handmade by Mary Emmens for today’s Sunday Stash.  Go look at all the goodies and enter her great giveaway.  I shall imminently, after I’ve petted the Architextures one more time.

A DRUNKEN TILES QUILT

I’m so excited to finally share this quilt with you today.  It’s been complete for some time now and I’ve been itching to let it see the bright lights of the blogsphere.  You may remember from this post that this quilt was originally named ‘A-quilt-that-reminds-me-of-the-beach-until-I-think-of-a-better-name’.  Well, it’s now called ‘Drunken Tiles’, and can be found in the latest issue of Fat Quarterly Magazine which is published today!

I was honoured back in November when I was sent a bundle of Sphere by Zen Chic for Moda from Lynne at Lily’s Quilts, tasked with designing and  making something for the upcoming precuts issue of Fat Quarterly.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram might have seen some colourful scribblings and a few WIP shots as I worked on this quilt earlier in the year.  I didn’t want to tempt fate and mention who it was for just in case it wasn’t good enough and I didn’t make the cut!  When I found out I had I was over joyed.  I’ve loved every minute of my quilting journey but never would have imagined, way back when I started, that a quilt I’d designed would be featured in so prominent a publication.  Things like that just don’t happen to this guy!

This quilt make full use of the fat eighths I was sent.  I was aiming for a quick and simple design that could be made up in a range of sizes and fabrics, appealing to beginners and more experience quilters alike.  I used a stack and cut approach to make the blocks, pairing the prints with coordinating Kona solids, speedily delivered by The Village Haberdashery.  I used a widescreen crosshatch print by Carolyn Friendlander for the backing, which I’ve since panic stashed, and finished the quilt off with a great bike path print by Alison Glass.  The quilting reflects the fabric collection’s circular name and is a meandering stipple with loops.

I love the fresh, zesty colours of the Sphere collection and you can see why I was quick to associate it with sun, sand and all things summer.  I feel warm just looking at it!  The fabric dictated the location of the photo shoot, the first that’s taken place away from my house.  I took advantage of a rare day of sun in Wales during March to snap the shots.

Be sure to check out the issue for all the other great quilts that are featured!

 

STASHING #14

A little late with Sunday Stash this week, but I have good reason.  My friend recently returned from a trip to NYC and yesterday was our catch-up day, and as well as tales of snow and skyscrapers, she returned with this little lot for me!

Clockwise from left:

Comma – Asterisk in black, Michael Miller – Faux Bois in white, Joel Dewberry ‘Bungalow’ – Hive in maize, P & B Bear Essentials, Comma – Swinging Chalk in slate, Bonnie Christine ‘Reminisce’ – Meadow in gold, a lovely grey print with no details, Carolyn Friendlander – Widescreen crosshatch in grey.

I am in love with this selection.  When I knew she was going to NYC I told her about The City Quilter and how she had to visit.  I asked her to keep an eye out for any Comma prints, a line which I missed the first time around, as well as graphic grey prints.  She did not disappoint!  I love the wood grain and you can never, ever, have too much crosshatch.

I’m tardily linking up with Alisa at A Stitch In Between for Sunday Stash, before going to find some space to put all this…

STASHING #13

Jeg havde en vidunderlig tid i København!

It’s always hard coming back from a holiday and returning to your everyday life.  Whilst in Copenhagen, we ate too much, drank too much and walked more than anyone really should on a holiday, but such excess made for a great trip.  Our friend was the perfect host and tour guide, having planned five days worth of activities that kept us all busy from dawn to dusk…pretty much.

We visited castles and cafes, the tiny Little Mermaid and the grave of H.C Anderson, shopped in antique stores and toured the canals.  Yet amongst our filled itinerary, I found time for fabric!  A 15 minute train journey from the city center took us to Lyngby and Speich Design – a patchwork and quilting shop.  Whilst I was in fabric heaven, my companions were not so enthralled, and slunk off to find coffee.  I was alone, sans distract, and had time on my side.

The shop was beautifully arranged.  Wall to wall fabric bolts arranged in colour order competed for my attention.  A quick scan showed little designer fabric, but the selection was none-the-less impressive.  As well as the yardage, there were baskets of fat quarters, threads, rulers, templates, and other notions.  I was particularly taken with the large range of paper piecing templates, ranging from tiny quarter-inch hexagons to all manner of polygons.  The price was a tad over what I would pay here in the UK, but I wasn’t going to go home empty-handed.

As I rummaged through the colour-coded baskets I spotted some Botanics by Carolyn Friendlander.  Branches and Line Scratch in charcoal were snapped up, as was a graphic green print by Riley Blake.  My inner geek couldn’t leave a Michael Miller Dinosaur print behind, and I was almost floored when I came across a fossil print, sadly lacking any selvedge information.

As well as this dedicated patchwork shop, Copenhagen also boasts a number of Stof 2000 stores, stof being the Danish word for fabric.  The location I visited had a limited quilting weight selection, but the prices were very reasonable, with many bolts offered for £6 a meter.

I restrained myself and went away with a little of this ant fabric.  Being a budding entomologist I couldn’t leave it behind, and It’ll sit well with the other creepy crawly fabric in my stash.  I also have plans for these ants when my #NGAQB month comes around.

As usual, I’m linking up with Moli Sparkles for Sunday Stash.  What new additions have you added recently?