CRAFTING THANKS

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

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

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

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

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Thank you guys!

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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 – 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!