Sunday 29 September 2013

Saints and Pinners Florals

Florals from the big to the ditsy make up the majority of my fabric stash.  I love floral prints above all others and it is what I am drawn to time and time again.  So, I picked a floral theme for this month's visit to Saints and Pinners.  Starting with queen of the vitnage style floral, Denyse Schmidt and the timeless bouquet prints from Flea Market Fancy legacy in turquoise, red (gold really) and grey .  These still tug at my heart strings.
For a more modern floral I have put a little selection together which have a less obvious floral feel, either through the boldness and simple colours- Kama Stone, the art nouveau feeling of Specimen in raspberry or the organic flow of Cloud 9 Coral Weed.
 Anna Maria Horner revisits florals in a new way in every collection and often within a collection too.  Strickingly different prints from Little Folks range of voiles, Little Honey Gold and Coloring Garden in Berry. 
Lovely melon candy colours in the Lollies florals, in  peachgrass, peach and red.  Soft and pretty colours but not too overtly feminine with the geometric mandala  style design
And big and blowsy, these Philip Jacob roses, English Rose in red, English Rose in lavender. This is a tiny glimpse of a large scale print, for a better idea, look at the Westminster fibres site look here for red, and here for lavender to get an idea of this print in all its lucsious glory.  It would make the most sumptuous quilt back, like an eiderdown!  These last two prints are in the sale at £1.80 for fat quarter.  Remembering the 20% off for every £10 fabric purchase, 2 metres would work out at under £12, and 4 metres is a good amount to think of for quilt backing.   Great value and a real impact print.
No code needed for 20% discount, it is taken off at checkout.  Enjoy the flowers x
 sib blog

Thursday 26 September 2013

Cosying up at Eternal Maker

Down in Devon we are still getting the very tail end of summer weather so its warm even if it is a little damp and drizzly but the hints of Autumn are giving me thoughts of cosy times ahead-I've already purchased sheepskin boots for indoors to save my chilly feet.  I spotted some gorgeous  flannels and brushed cottons at Eternal Maker, look at these beauties...just arrived
Robert Kaufman Shetland flannel in Ocean.  The colour, the herringbone, dreamy isn't it?  Perfection for PJs, pillow cases and also bags, tablet cases and  man/boy gifts.  It has a great utilitarian and yet snuggly appeal.   Absolutely love it and I think this will fly out of the shop once the weather turns chilly.  Also available in Redwood and Jet.

Flannel is always a great fabric for children.  I spotted the Sew Liberated Mei Tei baby carrier pattern was in stock at Eternal Maker at the moment.  The carrier has no hardware, just flannel lined cotton. The Shetland flannels would make a lovely winter carrier.
There are some lovely brushed cottons that would work well too with the carrier or with simple dresses, tunics or PJs for winter cosy clothes.  This deep pinky red Japanese floral brushed cotton almost makes me think Christmas (shh!).
My love of Nani Iro means I am always looking at those prints with an eye to future sewing plans.  A long sleeved dress in on of these brushed cottons is calling me...Little Letters in navy
And grey/pink/glitter...
Are you ready to snuggle?  
sib blog

Monday 23 September 2013

September offers at Village Haberdashery

Annie at Village Haberdashery has so many offers it is hard to keep up with all of them.  Last week it was Melody Miller Folk Modern at 25% off... before you go lookie, too late, it has been and gone, but there is another offer to compensate, one free fat quarter for every £10 spent on fabric.  I'll warn you, there's not much time, this offer finishes on Wednesday so let's have a quickie look to see what's new to buy and get a bonus.
Squared elements may well be the best basics range that Art Gallery have ever produced, such a winner.  Great as a binding print, handy for backgrounds and as a blender and the irregular square help break up any overly strong geometric fabrics you might be combining it with.  Build a bundle here.
Briar Rose is already popular and its only just become available.  There are so many prints to chose from and the colour palette includes one of my favourites combos- green and pink together,  I am also drawn to the deep coral colourway of the Nanny Bee print. Bundle options here.
Colette's latest pattern, Zinnia skirt is now available, this is a photo of my favourite version, the pleats sewn down-  I find pleats at the waist can be a tricky look to pull off and the stitched down option looks much sleeker.  
The fabric to go with this?   Chambray would work well and Interweave Chambray comes in seven jewel like colours.
Talking of jewel like colours, Acacia has a rich autumnal colour palette.  I think my favourite print has to be Arrowheads in sugar, really delicate and almost ditsy.  Bundle option is here
Strike whilst the iron is hot to get your free fat quarter, no code needed. To keep up with Annie's flash offers, follow her @VHaberdashery on twitter.
sib blog

Thankyou with a Simple Scarf

Thankyou for the lovely comments left on the 'peek inside 500 Quilt Blocks' post.  I have been feeling a bit grotty over the weekend so your words have been a balm when I came out from under the duvet.  Here's a super quick make as a thank you!

Simple Yard Scarf
You will need:
1 yard  double gauze
Lace scraps
Cotton thread e.g. Aurifil Mako 50wt
1. Cut in half across the width of the yard, selvedge to selvedge.
2.  Lay selvedges over each other, right sides facing up.  Sew two rows of stitches close to top selvedge to make a central flat seam. 
3. Bring the long edges right sides together and sew along using 3/8" seam (double gauze tends to fray easily) to make a tube with open ends.  Press the seam open. Turn tube through to right side, press again.
4.  You can leave the ends as they are- double gauze has soft fringed selvedges. or you can add a little lace trim.  I sewed mine on the inside of the tube so the ends of the tube were left open to keep a floaty effect.  The selvedge are so pretty on this print that I wanted to make a feature of them.
This fabric was bought from Eternal Maker a few months back.   You can find their current range of double gauze prints here.  You could do the same with voile or lawn, or any light soft fabric- silk even!
sib blog

Thursday 19 September 2013

500 Quilt Blocks: A peek inside

Self promotion does not always sit easy with me, but forgive me, I am a more than a little excited as is Lynne.  Advance copies of our book, 500 Quilt Blocks arrived today.
There are three formats, an aqua green hardback for UK(and maybe elsewhere?), an aqua green UK soft back  (not as vivid as the Amazon pic, much softer colour) and the blue hardback which is for the USA market.  The contents are the same, it's just the covers and the jackets which vary.
The book is a small format, just 6" x 6" and 1" thick and it is packed with blocks, instructions and pics .  There are 100 core blocks ranging from the simplest 4-patch to curves and paper piecing of more advanced blocks.  Each core block has 4 variation and there are 20 projects, each using a different block.  Lynne and I will have copies to sell imminently and book plate stickers too, these were just the advance copies, the publishers are waiting for the next bulk shipment.  So meanwhile, here are a few of my favourite blocks and projects.  This is 'Mother's Dream'.
Lynne and I decided on the blocks we were doing and were aiming to include all our favourites, represent our different design styles with new blocks, modern blocks and classic blocks.  I did a series of five animal blocks called 'Pets' based on cats and dogs.  This is dog block is for my cavalier Lottie and like her, it always makes me laugh when I see it.  The black cat with the white nose and chin reminds me of Bob, our late much loved moggy.  These are rotary cut blocks.
I love spool blocks and thinking of all the times I have seen wonderful online quilters and friends make great quilts and projects with the friendship butterfly/spool block, I knew that this block had to be in our book.  I chose it for a project bag.  There is a full size paper piecing template in the book for this.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know well my love of kitchenalia so there are a set of five blocks called 'Pots and Pans', all rotary cut and include a kettle, teapot, casserole dishes, and a milk pan.  All are rotary cut and any would be suitable for the obligatory potholder project.
Lynne did the lion's share of the quilts in this book- we each know our strengths.  I made one quilt, 'Baby Love', a baby sized square quilt which uses number, letter and giant heart blocks.  I used Oakshot elements for the solids so there is a bit of shimmer in there too and it is beautifully soft and cuddly.
It was a huge amount of work all packed into a little book.  Three months from start to finish, which is a very fast turn around.  I had the best co- author, a wonderful friend and support through some hard times that just happened to crop up during the writing so a shout out and lots of love to Lynne xxx We brought the best out in each other design wise and also kept each other going when we were exhausted and near the last of the 250 blocks we were each churning out last February.  Today has been very special, seeing it all in print.
sib blog

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Exeter Sewing Directory Meet Up: the Second

On Saturday I had the pleasure of teaching and attending at the Second Sewing Directory Meet Up in Exeter.  The sun shone again and it was a wonderful relaxing day of sewing and talking.  Every time at these events I hear great stories and put a face to another online identity
Claire, Deena, Janet and Andrea busy at work and at the sunniest spot in the room. 
The Exeter/Newton Abbot cohort, Emily, Mary, Jo and Susy.   Jean on the right who was very generous with her strawberries.
Ruth (Fi's Sister), Pippa (Fi's mum) who both did a lovely job with Fiona of greeting everyone, ensuring everyone was sorted for tea and biscuits.  And Emily on the right, a blur of activity as she organises her design.
Sue and  Mary busy with raw edge appliqué.  Jenna concentrating on precision with her blanket stitch- she who came from the near by Exeter Sewing Machine shop.
Sue brought extra applique supplies for people to use and told me stories of Laura Ashley dresses and evenings from her glamourous past.  Rhiannon provided our in house shop, The Sewing Boutique, and gave us a generous online discount too.
Fi actually having a moment to sit down and sew, alongside Hannah who travelled from Cornwall and is also known as Quirklyhannah on Instagram.  You can see more photos in Fi's blog post.
Will, from Abakhan travelled down from Chester to learn a little hand sewing and applique skills from me and Fi along with sewing machine basics from Jenna Sewhappygeek (hiding to the right in the pic below) who had him completing a small drawstring bag before the afternoon was out.  Will was a non sewer when he started but a quick learner.  He left with a long list of new equipment/stock ideas for Abakhans and new stitching skills.   He found out about how quilters contribute to Siblings Together from Mary & friends and he is taking his experiences back to  put to good use in the Abakhan business.  Look out for his ideas and activities on Twitter and I have a feeling we might see him again, maybe Fat Quarterly retreat 2014?
And this is what the day produced.  Beautiful bags for Making for Charity.  
I had designed a set of letter templates, a bird shape, leaves and circles and everyone came up with their own design.   I loved the variety in everyone's creations.
There is a mix of the skills that I taught and a whole lot more from the makers.  Needle turn, raw edge appliqué, foil circles and then all the extra additions of embroidery, fabric  textures, buttons.
Fiona has a busy year getting her book done, but even she is finding it hard to resist the allure of organising another meet up in Exeter.  Spring 2014 looks possible, maybe a sewing clinic for all your creative troubles?  And the usual stitchy chat and socialising.  People travelled from near (10 mins walk) and far- Deena came from Manchester.  Others from Plymouth,  Cornwall and Dorset.  And for all those lovely people who wanted to see mine and Lynne's book 500 Quilt Blocks and even buy a copy,  I should have some very exciting news at the end of this week, watch this space...
sib blog

Saturday 14 September 2013

The Makery book

Whenever I get the chance to visit Bath, I always pop into The Makery.  It is one of those shops that you wish was in your home town with beautiful stock and inspiring.  Part emporium, part workshop, it was one of the first new style of craft  concept shops when it opened in 2010 and as well as fabric it stocks stamps, jewellery findings and more.  Last week I was sent  Makery: Over 30 Projects for the Home, to Wear and to Give to review and it represents the same spirit that can be found in the shop
It is a mix of crafts from crochet and knitting, to sewing, to jewellery making to decoupage.  You can see from the contents page it is jam packed full of projects , most of them quick and relatively easy to do. 
The layout reminds me of the shop, each project has a photo page depicting the resources beautifully laid out.  These are for the Shrinkles tags made with stamps (you can see my efforts in the top picture next to the book cover.
 This book reminds me of those 1970s Golden Hands style craft books  of which I am quite a fan, although in those days they did expect you to build your own kiln whilst housing a full size loom in your bedroom.  Kate's projects are a little more contemporary and accessible with the emphasis on things to wear, use and give.  These projects particulalry caught my eye.  Simple new transport spin on the pincushion in a teacup (I am on the lookout for a suitable vehicle to make this):
A more advanced project, Stag head.  The pattern pieces for this and other projects are full size (hurrah!) in a pullout sheet at the back.

 I had a go at the tape measure brooch using black silky ribbon.   Now I need a vintage cloth tape measure to make the real thing!
The instructions are clear and well written and a lot of the acitivities would work well for new crafters or to do with children as there are lots of quick fix activities which don't need lots of specialist items.  There are basic technique guides at the back and detailed resources list, although a quick click on to ebay or amazon or even a trip to WHSmiths will find you brooch backs, Modge Podge, shrinkles paper and the like.   
sib blog