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

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!

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!

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.

SEWING FOR SEWING’S SAKE – A WONKY CROSS WIP

I love sewing, there’s no denying that.  As I approach three years of quilting, my stitching schedule is busier than I would ever have imagined when I started on a toy-sized machine in 2012.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I thrive on the pressure.  Eleventh hour deadlines fuel my creativity, whether they’re for magazine commissions, Sizzix projects or Quilt Monkey episodes.  I love how far my quilting has been pushed and am grateful for all the opportunities that come my way.

That said, there are times I find myself pushing projects or ideas to the back burner because they’re not on the to-do list.  I sometimes feel pangs of quilt guilt whenever I work on something that isn’t in my diary; spontaneous ideas that more often than not remain unrealised due to my ever-demanding time constraints.

A few days ago, I ventured to the attic to pattern write and found myself sat at the machine and sewing scraps together far before I’d reached for a pen.  I guess this was my mind’s way of telling me I should be a little selfish.  Well, I’m so glad I was.  I loved it!  It was so freeing! I had no idea what I was going to end up with or what fabrics I would use. I had no measurements, sketches or notes to work from.  I looked at my out-of-control scraps, took a hand full of neutrals, threw in some teal and aqua (which are the most numerous of the scraps and seem to breed in the small hours of the morning) and with a full bobbin, put my foot to the floor!  Sewing, slashing and pressing, it was clear that my mind was taking me on a wonky cross journey; a block I’d long admired but never made, due to my, yep you guessed it, lack of time.  The process was so quick, what with chain piecing and mass pressing, that I had a dozen randomly sized blocks finished in about an hour.

I’ve decided to add to this project as and when I can.  I’m going to stick with the colour scheme, make them oddly sized and fit them all together at the end.  I thinking big, like king sized big, if only to make a real dent in the scraps situation.  I love the variation that the improv piecing creates, with long and thin as well as fat and squat crosses.  There’s no discrimination here!  The scrappy, low volume background really makes the colours pop and the addition of some linen and calico adds great texture.

I can’t wait to work on this a little more.  I’ll keep you all posted!

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.


STASHING #26

Oh fabric, how I’ve missed you!  Not sewing with you, because there’s been a lot of that going on lately, but buying you.  Of that, there hasn’t been so much.  In fact, I’ve been missing from Sunday Stash for such a long time.  It’s great to be back!  I feel like Bette Midler, who, after almost thirty years, is returning to these shores for a series of concerts. Some say love, it is a river…I say it’s finally getting your hands on fabric you bought who-knows-how-long-ago!

You may remember a long while back I had a number of fabric acquisitions sent to my American Mum’s house for safe keeping.  She really is the greatest and lets me use her home like a post office come storage unit for those times when I simply have to have something but the seller won’t ship international.  Having such a place also allows me to enter international competitions my UK abode would otherwise prohibit.  It’s not what you know but who, right?  One of my quilting besties Kelly (the_orriginal on Instagram) is visiting the UK soon and offered to be a fabric mule for me…again!  Although I didn’t have the funds for any new purchases, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get some (I couldn’t burden her with it all) of the fabric in storage to this side of the pond.  What I wasn’t expecting was for the rest to arrive in a lovely care package, completely with Napa Valley roasted coffee and lots of chocolate.  Thanks Mum!  Expect a lot of fabric sharing in the next coming weeks as I’ll be meeting up with Kelly to retrieve the rest, but for now, here’s a few of the beauties.

To be honest, I completely forgot  I bought this awesome Unicorns and Rainbows bundle by Riley Blake Designs.  I mean, what fabric stash is complete without fabric like this?  Bright, bold and fantastically fantastical.  Anything with unicorns on is sure to be a winner with me.  Second up is something I wasn’t expecting.  A beautiful bundle of hand-dyed batiks from Hawaii.  American Parents visited recently from Napa and picked this up for me.  The fabrics are so much nicer in person and no justice whatsoever is done my photography.  These will be saved for something very special.  I’ve never used batiks before and will have to wait for the perfect project to justify cutting into them.

As I said, lots more to come, but for now check out all the other additions people have been making.  There’s a bit of a celebration going on over at Molli Sparkles today, as Sunday Stash reaches triple digits!  There’s a prize to be won, and maybe some cake.

OAKSHOTT BLOG HOP AND A LEAF SKELETON QUILT

A big, warm welcome to my stop on the Oakshott Autumn bundle Blog Hop.  I’m mighty excited to share what I’ve been working on over the last few weeks with you all.  When I first saw the bundle that Oakshott have put together I knew I had to get my hands on it.  I mean, come on, just look at those colours, which are not done any justice by my photography.  Most people stare at me with a look in their eye that screams “Is this person for real?” whenever I say “Yeah, I’m more of an autumn, winter kind of guy.  I’d rather be cold than hot.  Give me a log cabin and a roaring fire over a beach any day.”  A sun worshiper I am not, so these crisp, season-changing colours are right up my leaf-littered street.

Though not my first outing with Oakshott, I’d never used them on this scale before, but I can tell you the pleasure was multiplied.  The bundle is a beautiful thing to behold.  21 perfectly folded fat eighths tied together with a contrasting ribbon that got the creative cogs turning.  Obviously something autumnal was going to come out of this fabric, but I was aiming for something a little different.  After a few inspirational dog walks I became interested in the idea of capturing leaves that have broken down and become skeletons; those wispy, frail-looking things that sit amongst the bottom of the leaf litter.  I got to scribbling and finally came up with something I thought would work.

I had so much fun making these blocks and could have easily made many more.  Sometimes, with certain blocks, I almost get a “ugh, how many more?’ kind of feeling.  Not with these.  They were fun and fast to make (especially when your making them at night with a dog at your feet and Dione Warwick for company.)

The quilt layout is simple and finishes at 44″ x 60″.  The leaf skeletons blocks are pieced into rows, with the odd one turned upside down for some added interest.  Since I requested some additional yardage in the nutmeg colourway, I used that to add some negative space in between.  I kept the quilting simple and used a variegated thread to quilt leaf shapes around the skeletons, whilst using the open spaces to add some more elaborate, fern-like leaves. The backing is a great monochrome leaf-shaped print I found at Ikea and the binding, an orange line print from my LQS.  I recently started cutting my binding strips to 2″ and I really like the skinnier binding on this quilt.

Want to make your own leaf skeleton block?  Well you’re in luck.  Here’s a tutorial!

Leaf Skeleton Block

The fat eighths in the bundle measure approximately 27″ x 10″, though you may find some slight variation.  Since this block is pieced improvisationally, exact measurements aren’t essential as we’ll be squaring the blocks up at the end.  You may want to read through all the instructions first to get an idea of the technique.  Before starting, I pressed and starched all my fabrics, though feel free to skip this step.  Each of the fat eighths will yield 2 blocks, though you need to mix and match from different fabrics to achieve contrast.  Take your first fat eighth and cut it as follows, remembering the exact measurements may be ever so slightly different.

Two 0.75″ x width of fabric strips from the shorter side

Two 0.75″ x length of fabric strips from the longer side

Four rectangles approximately 4″ x 13″ from the remaining fabric.

Take the one of the longer strips and cut it in half.  Take the 2 shorter strips and cut each in half to give 4.  Take the second longer strip and cut it into 6 pieces the same size as those cut from the 2 shorter strips.  Take 2 of the rectangles and cut each from corner to corner to give 4 triangles.  You can see that in the example above I’ve taken fabric from 2 different coloured fat eighths.  This will make each side of the block a different colour.  If you’d like both sides of your block to be the same, simply use all the rectangles from the same coloured fabric.  However, the leaf skeleton fabric must be different in order for it to be seen, so be sure to take that from a different fat eighth.  I found it easier to cut all my fabrics first and then mix and match the colours.

Take the remain 2 rectangles and place them on your cutting mat.  Using a rotary cutter and ruler make 5 angled cuts along the length of each rectangle, varying the widths as you go.  Be sure to cut one rectangle with the angle towards the left and the other with the angle towards the right, as shown in the picture.  If you want a particular colour to be on a specific side of your block, it’s important to cut as follows.  To be on the RIGHT hand side of the block, the cuts must match the green fabric above.  To be on the LEFT hand side of the block, the cuts must match the orange.  If you don’t mind what side they appear on, or if you’re using the same fabric, just make sure you have one set of cuts going one way and the other going the opposite.  Hopefully you’re all still with me and I’m not confusing you too much!  Its gets easier from here on, I promise!

Take your 10 short strips and place them into the cuts you’ve just made.  Using a quarter-inch seam (although accuracy is not as important for this block) sew a strip right sides together to each of the cuts, then press the seams to the side.  Make sure to keep the pieces in the correct order.  I found it helpful to chain piece all the strips first, then snip them and place them back onto my mat.

Next sew each of the pieces of the rectangle back together, making sure to line up the edges as shown above, and press the seams to the side.  Repeat for the second rectangle.  You should now have 2 rectangles each with 5 strips in them.  Yay!

Cut each rectangle from corner to corner to give 4 triangles.  Again, a little thought is needed to make sure you cut in the right direction.  You can see above that in the block, the leaf skeleton “arms” always point upwards.  You’ll want to make sure that you cut from the corners that will result in that.  Also, you can see that the direction we cut when we inserted our strips has resulted in the green fabric being on the right of the block and the orange on the left.  Just be sure to refer to the pictures before making any cuts.  The worst that can happen is that your leaf limbs will point downwards rather than up, and who knows, maybe you’ll like that!

Sew a plain triangle to the cut side of your striped triangle and press to the side.  Repeat for the other 3 striped triangles.

Use your ruler to straighten the other side of the block, taking care not to cut too much away.  Take your remaining long strip and sew it to the long edge, allowing a little overhang at the top and bottom.  Now sew the other side of the leaf to the strip.  Despite the amount of fabric build up in the central section of the block, I pressed my seam to the side and had no problems.  Do what works for you.

You now have a completed leaf skeleton block!  All that’s left to do is to square it up.  Due to the improvisational nature of the block the finished size will depended on a few things, most notably the amount you trimmed from the side before inserting you leaf’s spine.  You may notice that you fabric has distorted somewhat, due to all the bias edges.  Panic not!  This is a fun block and shouldn’t course stress.  Just trim all your blocks down to the size of your smallest one.  I found that I could trim mine to 6″ X 10.5″ for a block that finishes at 5.5″ x 10″.

And there you have it, a leaf skeleton block all ready for your own leaf skeleton quilt.  These really do look good en mass, and I’d love to see them mixed in with some other leafy block for a real forest feel.  I’d love to see your versions of the blocks, so feel free to add any links to your work in the comment section below.  If you’re on Instagram, feel free to tag me or use the hashtag #leavesfromtheattic so I can check out what you’ve been up to.  This is my first ever tutorial, so please be gentle with me!  If you have any questions or there’s something you don’t understand, please leave a comment below and and I’ll get back to you.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Oakshott for giving me these goodies to play with, and to Lynne of Lily’s Quilts for organising the blog hop.  Make sure you check out all the other great stuff that my extremely talented peers have come up with by visiting all the other stops of the hop.

Thanks for visiting!

21st October – Sonia Spence – www.fabricandflowers.blogspot.co.uk

22nd October – Rossie Hutchinson – www.r0ssie.blogspot.com

24th October – Mary Menzer – www.fairlymerry.blogspot.com

28th October – Alison Dutton – www.alison-sews.blogspot.co.uk

30th October – Kati Spencer – www.fromthebluechair.com

31st October – Wynn Tan – www.zakkaArt.typepad.com

LEWIS AND IRENE – A GIVEAWAY WINNER

Just a little bit of belated housekeeping today.  I’ve been so consumed with deadlines of late that this little giveaway completely slipped my mind!  So, apologies if you’ve all been on tenterhooks but I can now reveal that the random number generator picked farmquilter’s comment.

Congratulations!  I’ll be in touch to arrange delivery of your prize.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

INTRODUCING LEWIS AND IRENE

There’s nothing nicer than taking a trip to a city or town, only to discover a new fabric shop. My quilted heart skips a beat every time I see the words sewing or haberdashery emblazoned across a shop front window.  A while back, quite a while back actually, I visited Hereford and sought out Doughty’s, a place I heard great things about.  You may remember I blogged about the experience in this post. One of the things I picked up was a great dinosaur print by an unfamiliar-to-me manufacturer, Lewis and Irene.  I really liked the look and feel of the fabric and set about investigated the company further.

A quick tour of their website and I was sold.  Their fabrics are “threaded with love and printed on 100% pre-shrunk cotton with a light Schreiner finish”.  They have some great collections, featuring a wide range of styles and colours.  Being the dinosaur geek I am, I was always going to be taken with Jurassic Coast, a bright and breezy collection with a perfect binding print.  Another favourite from their Autumn 2014 collections is Fox & Friends, which is full of cute critters and leafy tones, a lot of which would be right at home in my stash.  They have some great upcoming lines too, and I do love a fabric company that gives impatient quilters like me a sneak peek.  I’m particularly looking forward to Spring Hare, coming in 2015.

Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast

Fox & Friends

Fox & Friends

Spring Hare

Spring Hare

I contacted Hannah, the creative director, who was kind enough to answer some questions and tell me a little more about the story behind Lewis and Irene.

“The directors of Lewis & Irene are Bryan (Managing Director) and Jacqueline Taphouse (Finance Director), Andrew Heaton (Sales Director) and I (Creative Director).  Andrew and Bryan have been in the textiles business forever.  Bryan for over 40 years now! We are based in Romsey in Hampshire.  Bryan and Jacqueline are my parents so it’s very much a family run company. It was Jacqueline who decided to start Lewis & Irene – we wanted to create a fresh company that designed for the modern quilter and had a wide appeal with lovely designs. We feel it’s exciting times for the craft industry with so much renewed interest in sewing and creating.”

“Once we had decided to start the company we had to think of a name.  My Grandpa died in 2012 and my Grandma died of cancer 26 years ago when she was just 58 years old. They were really incredible people. They showed such love to their little family despite not coming from the most loving backgrounds themselves. As a family we are very close and their influence has been passed down through three generations now. Their names were Lewis & Irene and we couldn’t think of a nicer tribute to them. ‘Threaded with love’ couldn’t be more appropriate! We have a lovely designer who Bryan and I work with very closely. The designs are a real team effort with each of us contributing something and it’s my very favourite part of my job! Lots of our collections have quite personal relevance.  Jurassic Coast for example is inspired by my little boy who is 4 and loves dinosaurs.  One of his favourite places to go is Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset so he can hunt for fossils and look at the dinosaurs bones in the marine center.  He runs around with his bucket and spade knowing it’s where the dinosaurs lived and his little imagination runs wild!  Every collection has a real meaning to us.”

I’m really looking forward to adding some more from the collections to my stash.  The variety of prints is great, with focal fabrics as well as useful blenders and small-scale prints that would work well in almost any project.  Fancy trying some of their fabrics for yourself? Yes?  Well isn’t it your lucky day. Lewis and Irene have generously provided a vintage fabulous forties for me to giveaway to one lucky reader.  What’s a fabulous forties I hear you ask!   It’s forty strips of fabric, each cut to two and a half inches, exactly like a jelly roll.  These cuts are so versatile and there are loads of great quilt patterns that use them.

To be in with a chance of winning, please sign up to follow the blog then leave a comment telling me what you’d make if you won.  If you’re already a follower go ahead and leave your comment.  I love hearing all your ideas!  For a bonus entry, go and like the Lewis and Irene Facebook page and leave a separate comment telling me you’ve done so.  I’ll leave the competition open for a week before randomly drawing a winner.  Good luck and thanks for visiting!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.