MR DOMESTIC’S AURA BLOG PARTY

I’ve been the world’s worst blogger, haven’t I?  The thing is, life just got so busy.  Increasingly, Instagram’s speed and snappiness makes it my platform of choice for keeping you all up-to-date with the attic’s goings-on.  Now, I’m not going to spend all this post apologising for what I haven’t been writing, but rather get to sharing the cool thing that I came here to share with you all.  So let’s move on…but, I am going to try to blog a bit more, maybe even attempt a site update…watch this space.  Anyway, tah-dah!

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A few months back, Matthew, AKA the insanely talented Mister Domestic, invited me to be part on his blog party for his latest fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, Aura.  I’ve been following Matthew for a long time, so I knew that whatever had his name on it was sure to be something that I wanted to be involved in.  His work is amazing and his colour palette make my eyes smile.  This collection was inspired by a trip to Hawaii that Matthew took with his daughter.  I couldn’t wait to get started!

The fist thing was to curate the fabric I was going to use for my project.  I picked all my favourite prints from the collection before mixing in some Art Gallery Pure Elements.  Those colours are so rich and saturated that the task was not an easy one!  I also had some oddments of Art Gallery denim which I threw into the mix.  Aren’t they pretty all hanging out together?

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It was obvious I was going to make something using improvised techniques, so I settled on an old favourite, a wonky cross quilt, to really make the colours and prints sing.  This type of block is great for getting into a rhythm and loosing yourself in the piecing.  I’ve made quite a few of this type of quilt and never bore of the process.  Here’s what the blocks looked like as I played with the layout.  Again, this arranging and putting together of the quilt jigsaw is so enjoyable.

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Piecing the top was a quick process.  I used my go-to Aurifil thread for joining and quilting, favouring an all over zigzag that’s becoming quite at home in my free motion repertoire. The quilt is approximately 35″ square and I intend to pass it onto to my latest nephew, born at the start of the year.  I can’t wait to get some photographs of him chilling out on it!  Luckily, on the day I came to photograph the finished quilt for this post, the sun was shining and we had one of the bluest skys I think I’ve ever seen in Wales.  It must have been that Hawaiian vibe rubbing off!

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Thank you Matthew for asking me to be a part of celebrating this great collection.  Be sure to check out all the other amazing makers that are part of this party.  There are some thirty-odd projects to look out for, so plenty to inspire you all.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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THE PROCESS

Remember the wonky cross blocks I was making every now and then, when other quilts and tight deadlines weren’t pulling me every which way? Well, as some of you may know, I finished making the top. There was a happy coincidence actually, in that the particular day marked exactly one year from when I made the first block. It was completely unintentional and a nice way to mark the occasion.

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As I write this, the quilt is having some magic added to it by Trudi Wood, quilter extraordinaire! I’ve actually entered it into this year’s Festival of Quilts, along with one other, and is the first time I’ve had an entry in a competition. I wouldn’t normally enter, but something about this quilt pushed me to.

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I’m not ashamed to say I love this quilt, even though it’s not finished and I’m having a nightmare deciding on a binding fabric! Though perhaps what I love even more is the process behind it, the small steps to make the cross blocks, sometimes 2 or 3, sometimes a whole stack; in the morning, or at night whilst the house sleeps, I’ve never been so engaged with a project as I was when I sewed this one. I’m so excited to get it back and add the finishing touches, if only to allow myself to start another!

However prolific a maker you are, enjoy the process. Take time to savour the stitches and be rewarded all the more at the end of it. I know I was. Now, back to that bloody binding…

 

EASTER PAUSE…AND PLANNING.

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re all taking the time to slow down and surround yourself with the people and places that you love. We have a nice relaxing few weeks planned and are spending some time travelling around the country. With the sewing machine taking a well-deserved rest too, it’s the perfect time to take stock and plan for the coming months.

As well as the books and board games I’ve packed, I’ve brought along my trusty note pad. I intended to get organised and prioritise what I need to work on once the holiday is over.

First up will be to finish the wonky cross I’ve been working on for what seems like an age. It’s been one of those slow burning projects that I work on between more pressing deadlines. I think now the time has come for it to take a front seat and get finished. I intended to have it long armed, so I’ve only the top to concentrate on.

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I do so enjoy working on this project, and I’ve been lucky enough to receive some great scraps from the IG quilting community. I was running out of my own in these colours and, knowing that I wanted this to be a large quilt, I put out a call to arms for any fabric people could spare. Boy, did they deliver. I have so many now and can’t wait to get them all pieced into blocks.

Now, where did I put that notebook?

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!