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.

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A VISIT TO THE VILLAGE…AND A GIVEAWAY!

Firstly, hello to all those joining me from Lily’s Quilts.  The Small Blog Meet is a great way to get to know others just like you.  There’s so much inspiration and creativity out there, so take a moment to enjoy it by visiting some other blogs.  If you’re a blogger with fewer than 50 followers, be sure to link back so that others can find you.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I had my mini holiday in London.  I love that city; the sights, the sounds and the bountiful opportunities for stash-sourcing.  What with shopping and sight-seeing the two-day break flew by, but I made sure to save time to visit The Village Haberdashery.

The Village Haberdashery 47 Mill Ln, London NW6 1NB 020 7794 5635

The Village Haberdashery
47 Mill Ln, London NW6 1NB
020 7794 5635

I first came across this shop online late last year.  I was looking for a fabric retailer that focused on the high quality, designer prints that I was beginning to incorporate into my quilts.  In fact, my first purchase was a number of the fabrics I used in the dinosaur quilt.  The whole ordering process was simple and hassle-free and I vowed then that it would be my go-to online store.  Imagine then  my pleasant surprise when I found out that a bricks-and-mortar store was to open; an expansion of the online operation.  I was excited…very excited.  The opportunities for fabric shopping here in Cardiff are somewhat limited, so I knew that I’d have to visit the store whenever I next found myself in London.

The Village Haberdashery is easy to find.  A 15 minute walk from West Hampstead underground station (located in Zone 2 on the Jubilee line) will take you past a bustling concourse to the quieter, more idyllic Mill Lane, where the beautifully dressed shop front will catch your eye before the sign above it.  I’d arrange to meet Annie, the owner, who’d kindly agreed to answer some questions about how the shop came about.  She’d just returned from Quilt Market so I was eager to find out about all the goodies she saw there.  After my wandering eye had taken in the wall of fabric, the notions and trims, we got talking, stopping now and then to serve a customer or see to Harvey, her adorable son who she told me is also director of sales; quite an achievement for somebody still in nappies!

“I used to work in PR”, Annie tells me, masterfully juggling materials and motherhood, “but that would be hard to go back to now.”  I learn that the online store started in February 2012.  Annie lives just down the road from the shop and used to work from home.  “When things started to take off I knew I’d need a bigger space.  It was perfect timing when this place came up.”

The store is gorgeous.  Bolts of fabric line one wall.  Even with a quick glance I spotted Heather Ross, Riley Blake, Michael Miller and Denyse Schmidt.  Despite the media-fulled warnings of a super storm days before, the sun streamed through the window and made the prints all the more appealing.  As the name suggest, the shop stocks more than fabric, offering shoppers a delightful array of threads, yarns, notions and trims.  With so much choice, I asked Annie what fabrics she likes and how she decides what to order.  “I’m drawn to bright colours and interesting, small collections.  I love anything by Anna Maria Horner and Cloud 9.  I tend to stare at things until something takes my eye.”

Annie told me that a typical day involves getting up at around 7am, feeding Harvey and packing supplies to bring to the shop.  It’s so nice that Harvey and Annie get to spend their days together at the shop.  At 10am they open, and the hours are filled with fulfilling web orders, checking the inventory, ordering stock, blogging and general tidying, all whilst attending to the steady stream of customers that come through the door.  The shop also runs classes.  Thursday nights are knitting nights, but a quick glance at the ‘classes‘ section of the website and you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy, from crochet to machine applique.  There are also patchwork classes run by fabric designers, though these fill up quickly so it’s best to book early.  “Another thing we’re doing at the moment is projects in a bag.  Everything you need for a project to just grab and go.”

Despite the money burning a hole in my pocket, I left with just a couple of additions for the stash, though it was hard to walk away from the as-yet-unreleased ‘Botanics’ jelly roll by Carolyn Friedlander that Annie had brought back from Market.  When I say I left with just a couple of things, that’s not entirely true.  I’m so excited about Quilt From The Attic’s first giveaway!  Annie has very generously provided a bundle of ‘Collage‘ by  Carrie Bloomston.  This gorgeous fabric is bold and artful, filled with letters and textures that make it perfect for so many projects.

As this is my first ever giveaway, you have 5 chances to win:

  • Sign up to follow Quilts From The Attic and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Sign up to receive The Village Haberdashery newsletter and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Share a link to the giveaway (tweet, blog, Facebook, Pinterest) and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Like Quilts From The Attic’s Facebook page and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
  • Like The Village Haberdashery’s Facebook page and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

I’ll leave the giveaway open for a week then randomly draw a winner.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you should you win.  I’ll also announce the winner by edit to this post.  Thanks for entering and good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

The winning comment was number 9.  Congratulations hannlib!  I hope you enjoy your prize.

A DINOSAUR QUILT…STILL A WIP…WITH SOME MINGLING

Unlike the dinosaurs, who in all likelihood had no idea about their impending extinction, I know for certain that the end is coming…for my dinosaur quilt that is.

It took me so long to decide upon a quilting design.  Should it be straight line or free motion?  Edge-to-edge or here-and-there?  Well, after much research and hair-pulling, I’ve finally decided on a design; something with curves to contrast all the straight lines of the piecing.  The quilt is destined to be basted on my next day off and then it’s peddle to the floor to get it finished.  My hands haven’t been idle; as well as planning the design of two other quilts, I’ve also made the binding, using a black, scale-like print from Bundle of Jungle by Laura Berringer which fits the theme perfectly.

photo

Keeping me away from the sewing machine is the Small Blog Meet over at Lily’s Quilts.  With this being a relatively new venture for me, I’m so excited to see what everybody else is doing, and to find out it’s not just me who is fabric crazy!  If you have 50 or fewer followers, visit the site and join up too.