MY HEAD RUNNETH OVER!

Oh my goodness you know when you have so much to say and you think you’ll never be able to say it all so you don’t take a breath and talk really quickly and then you think of something else you want to say and the list grows longer and longer and you start to fidget because the words and the sentences are growing and growing and building up in your brain like a pressure cooker but there’s nowhere for the words to go and it feels like your head may explode so you wish you could just snap your fingers and have it all stream out of your mouth in a wonderful wordy rainbow!

Phewwwwww!

Let’s stop there, if only to remember that punctuation is my friend.  In all seriousness, I think the last few weeks may have been the busiest quilty ones I’ve had since I stated this blog.  I mean my last post was weeks ago!  I apologise to anyone who may have been crawling the wall waiting for me to say something (no, no one?) but now that I’m here I do have a lot to share.  Firstly, and perhaps the most exciting news, is that this happened this week…

Hold the front page!  It’s only my dream machine, on the back seat of my dad’s car, making its way to my house!  After much research and nervous deliberation I finally succumbed to my inner desires and bought this beauty.  In my defense, the deal I was able to score, what with sale savings and the trading in of my old, beloved machine, was far too good to turn down.  I wasn’t expecting to be upgrading quite so early but I’m so glad I did.  You may not be able to believe that I haven’t actual sewn with it yet, just lovingly unpacked it and placed it proudly in the attic.  I’ve scoured the menu and will settle down with popcorn for the instructional DVD sometime soon.  The weather here has been unbearably hot and humid, no more so than in the attic, so that’s put me off a little.  But, bee blocks and future projects wait for no man, not even the weather one, so I’m excited at the prospect of having a good play very soon.  I’ll be sure to write up my thoughts and let you all know how I got on.

In other news, I attended the Fat Quarterly retreat in London last weekend.  I’m going to do a full write up when I blog about Sunday Stash this weekend, simply because I couldn’t talk about how much of an awesome time I had without mentioning all of the amazing goodies (not to mention the strained necked from the weight of said goodies) that I came back with!  Let me just say that it was such an amazing experience, full of creative people from all over the world, all joined in their shared passion for patchwork and quilting.

A few other bits and pieces have made me smile over the few weeks, mostly some secret sewing projects that I’ve been working on, but that’s all I can say on that matter for now.  You’ll just have to watch this space…

That’s all I’ve got!  This weather is really draining, and all I can think about right now is the glass of wine that inches from my hand. I’ve got a lot of projects in the pipeline, some secret, some not so much, and can’t wait to share some more with you all soon.  Thanks for sticking with me!

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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!

 

LOOKING FORWARD

And in the blink of an eye the year has gone!  I’ve never really been a fan of New Year’s Eve and I’m not the type to go out and drink the night away.  There are always too many people in too little space and the taxi fare you pay to get there is astronomical; you really might as well be going to the moon!  I tend to spend the last hours of the year in loose pants, cup of tea in one hand and the other, claw-like, lowering itself into a tin of Cadbury’s Miniature Heros.  In those moments, my mind drifts and contemplates what has been and what is yet to come.

The last few months of this year have been wonderful in so many ways, particularly my quilting life.  What first started as a very personal, solo adventure has fast become a bawdy, rambling troupe.  I’ve met so many amazing and inspiring people on the journey and it feel like there’s a lot more to come.  Two years ago, before the words ‘fat quarter’ and ‘half square triangle’ entered my vocabulary, I could never have imagined myself as part of such a vibrant, creative community; having a blog of my own, with followers, and comments, and likes oh my!  I was very much a one-man-band, but through this blog, Facebook and Instagram I’ve encountered so many other wonderful artist who I feel privileged to play along side in this great quilty arena we’ve created.

So, to 2014.  The year is already shaping up to be an awesome one.  Firstly, I’ll be participating in my first Quilt Bee.  A few months ago, whilst enjoying the entries of the Quilt Bloggers Festival, I happened across an entry by a male quilter.  I was so excited to have found somebody else like me I commented at once, congratulating him not only on his amazing quilt but also his gender!  That comment planted a seed, which quickly took on a life of its own, becoming the “No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee”, or the #NGAQB for the cool kids.  13 guys, yes, guys, 12 months and a whole load of testosterone-fueled quilting.  You’ll be hearing a lot more about the bee over the coming year but I don’t think I have to tell you how excited I am.  The group has a really special feeling and I know that each and every one of the members will have something to teach me.  I’ve nearly completed January’s blocks and will be sending them off to their recipient soon!  Want a sneak peek?  Oh, go on then!

2014 will also see me turning my hand to designing a quilt, something that excites and unnerves me in equal measure.  The wonderful people at Fat Quarterly were kind enough to let me lose with a fabric bundle with the task of creating something for their upcoming pre-cuts issue.  I’ve had great fun messing about with paper and colouring pencils over the last few days and am itching to get started.

Aside from hangovers and Hogmanay, the end of the year is traditional reserved for resolutions; things we commit to to make a difference in our or others lives over the coming year.  I usually shy away from such things, preferring to allow the year to play out in its own unpredictable way.  That said, there are a few things I aim to do.  The first is to use more of my stash.  As pretty as it looks, its primary function is to be used.  I’ll never (no matter how hard I try) be able to stop the shopper in me from buying fabric, but if I can use what I buy, rather than just look and smile at it, then I’ll consider that a win.  Secondly, the past year has seen me step up my free motion quilting and that is something I want to continue.  I’ve moved away from stippling towards more adventurous designs and hope to utilise the quilting books I received for Christmas to progress.  I’ll be a free motion feather freak before you know it!

So that’s it for this year.  Thank you to each and every one of you who follows, reads, comments and likes.  You, as much as anybody, have welcomed me into this quiltsphere and I can’t wait to share 2014 with you all.  Happy New Year!

Linking up with Lily’s Quilts for the Small Blog Meet, a great way to meet other like-minded bloggers.