Saturday, 30 April 2011

my opinions are mine and mine alone

I spend a lot of time on twitter chatting to people that I call friends that I met through blogging and the online communities of flickr and so on. Just recently there has been a lot of chat on the recent bitchiness and downright nastiness that has been going on within this online community that we are all part of.

ooooh - happy mail box!

I'm not a huge fan of definitions or pigeon holing. I understand it helps define what something or someone is but as a case in point I'm a contradiction - I'm a University educated mother of 2, married, well spoken, middle class (if you must). Put me in a suit and I look like any well heeled working woman. Put me in a vest top and I get stared at. I am used to people coming up to me and telling me to my face that I'll hate the tattoos that cover both of my arms when I'm 70. My reply is that I'm more likely to hate every other part of me when I'm 70 and at least my arms will be pretty to look at. I get a lot of muttering behind my back, I get a lot of disapproving looks as if to say I am setting a bad example to my children being so heavily tattooed. Despite the fact that they have no idea of what kind of parent I am or how traditional in my role as a wife and mother. It is assumed I must be a little bit rough, a little bit wrong and my kids must be tearaways. My husband is an even better case in point - he's big, he's got a shaven head, he's pretty much covered in tattoos. He looks like he could handle himself in a fight. Truth is - he's never done drugs, never smoked, never drinks (never has done), has manicures and facials, his best friend is the lint roller, and if someone tried to hit him he'd run away, he was at an incredibly posh boarding school until he was 13 and has been privately educated his whole school life. Both of us prefer to stay in and drink cups of tea and watch a bit of TV than go out causing a riot. Why do people feel the need to assume and judge on appearances? 

So, what's my point? I feel the same way about quilting, sewing, crafting, designing - all of this that we do. We do it because we love it.  We are all different, no-one is right or wrong, no-one is better or worse in their opinions. We cannot assume things about people's lives because of the photos they share. We share photos for whatever reason - we probably want to keep a record of them for ourselves, we most likely want to share with our friends, we may want to make new friends, we might hope to make a little pocket money from sponsors, or maybe we want to make a career out of it. We all want this community to be a huge guild where we all hang out, where advice is readily available and there are friends on hand to answer questions. We won't like everything we all make, but if X came up to me and showed me her latest creation and she loved it and she was so proud and she was grinning when she asked my opinion...what would I say? What would you say? I'd say 'wow - that's great'. And I'd mean it. Because it doesn't matter if I don't really like the fabrics, or the style of the design, or even the construction - it's not for me and unless someone asks me how to do things differently it's not my place to tell them they're doing it wrong. Nothing is wrong. 

We are all 'nowadays' quilters - whether we follow a more traditional or modern path. We are all passing our love of a craft on to the next generation. Let's help them embrace it, welcome them in, offer them support and encourage them. If they get a line of fabric or a book deal - let's celebrate that, because it's a pretty big deal for that person and it's something they are incredibly proud of.

Let's play nice.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I am a Pirate - look at this bounty!

Out Now!

Issue 5 of Fat Quarterly is out today! Subscribers already have their copies, but if you don't have a subscription head on over to the website and buy it right now!

Then head back here and tell me. Ok? Because if you tell me you have your copy of issue 5 (or if you subscribe already) you get an extra chance in the giveaway.

Giveaway? What giveaway?

Ohhhhh....let me tell you.

The super awesome folks at Robert Kaufman send me a gifty this week (after they'd heard me muttering on twitter about how I really wanted a Bounty of Basics box and was procrastinating about shipping costs).
They sent me not one but TWO boxes of bounty (say that in a Pirate voice, arrrrr)!

boxes of bounty!

Loooook at all those beautiful fat quarters of solids. I could just leave them as is and never use them. I could just stroke them forever. I even tried to convince the husbeast to hang them on the wall as art. He told me I needed to see someone.

So instead, I shall cut them up and make quilts. Plural. There's 200 fat quarters there. I'm thinking I could use 20 to make another fit for a princess quilt. I also really really want to make the book worm quilt from this issue of Fat Quarterly. As well as a plain spoken quilt by Bill Kerr/Weeks Ringle (which has been on my 'list' for a long time). What else? String quilt in solids. That would be amazing. So many to choose from.


But in the nature in which they were given to me, I shall share. Just leave a comment on this post (leave a second comment if you follow me, leave a third if you're a fat quarterly subscriber/have bought issue 5). That's up to three chances to win a stack of 25 fat quarters. And I'll let you choose which stack you like, so no chance of getting colours you hate. What's more - anyone can enter, anywhere in the world. Just make sure you have your comment linked to an email address/leave an email address so I can contact you.
PLUS 2 runners up will share a stack - so 12 FQs each (of my choosing - I'll pick good ones!)

Does that make sense? Let's go over it again -

- one winner will get a 25 FQ stack of their choice (from the picture above - pick a section)
- 2 winners will get 12 FQs each
- anyone is welcome, anywhere int he whole wide world

Leave a comment, plus another if you follow me, and an extra comment if you are a subscriber to Fat Quarterly/have bought Issue 5.

I'll leave the giveaway open until Monday 2nd May.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Fit for a Princess

Fit for a Princess Quilt

I'm so excited! This week my first ever tutorial for Sew Mama Sew will up on their blog! I'll be sure to let you know when it's posted, but for now - grab 20 fat quarters and 8 yards of pompom trim and get yourself ready! You can make this picnic quilt that's Fit for a Princess!!!!

EDITED TO ADD - the tutorial is right here! Go check it out!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

sunday stash

sunday stash

Oops. I went shopping.

I can totally justify myself though - the solids (klona cottons from Alice at backstitch) are part of my allowed fabrics so I'm not breaking stashpact rules there. The habitat (from Kathy at Pink Chalk) I will justify thus - Jay Mccarroll's line won Modern Madness over on the Fat Quarterly blog. I didn't own a single scrap. It seemed incredibly wrong. I have rectified it. There may be more on it's way from a different Cathy. Just saying.....

In other news - I've started a group on flickr for the scrap vomit/technicolur yawn quilt. A few people have mentioned they'd like to make one so I figured a group might be a good idea (actually, Nicole told me to do it). Maybe you'd like to come and join too? Just pop over. We'll have a cuppa and chat scraps. Everyone is welcome. It's a great long term quilt project, you can make a block every now and then and before you know it you'll have a quilt.
Once I get Quilt Market out of the way I thought about organising a squares swap or block swap or something. Whatever the cool kids in the group fancy.

Friday, 22 April 2011

a propostition

a morning's work

My scrap vomit yearning has started again. Helped in no small part by Thomas and Nicole and the chatter on twitter. Hmm, I wonder if I could get scrap vomit trending on twitter? What does trending even mean? How do I even get a hash tag on a mac keyboard? (oh - there it is - #. It's alt 3. Obviously).

Anyway, back to the scrap vomit. Thomas has done about 150 different degrees in Art and Arty stuff and clearly has one of those freaky arty brains (I have a brother the same - another artist. Used to only wear one kind of trouser, one kind of underpants, one kind of socks and one kind of sweater. He lived with us for a year. He had multiples of each but would only wear that same outfit. Apparently Woody Allen is the same. Most days I wanted to kill him for his obsessive behaviour). So Thomas has come up with the ridiculous (yet brilliant) idea of a queen sized scrap vomit using no repeated fabrics. That's some task. He needs 3,500 different2.5 inch squares. Want to help him? Head over to his blog and you read all about it.

I was thinking I could probably get some help with my blocks after Ruth mentioned that she would love to make me a couple (I didn't even ask!) So I thought 'I have a lot of fabric, I could do with getting rid of some of it so I can close the closet and stuff. I wonder if people would swap fabric for blocks?' Well, it seems they would. I've got elves across the globe cutting 2.5 inch squares for me as we speak. My plan is to get all the A blocks made for me, and then I only have the B blocks to worry about. Queen size quilt, here I come!!!!! I love flickr and twitter and this little online community of awesomeness. Every day I am genuinely touched by someone's kindness or generous spirit.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011



Issue 5 of Fat Quarterly will be out in just over a week (April 27th). For this issue I've designed a quilt using some of my most favourite fabrics - Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks and the ever faithful Kona coal. Here's a little tip for you - if you buy fabric from different bolts the colour can be ever so slightly different, which can give enough of a variation in shade in a quilt to look interesting, but without it being too obvious. It works - honestly!

As usual, the long armed Chris quilted my quilt for me. This time in an all over loopy star design. It's quite a dense pattern, which I think it needed having so much negative space. If I'd have had more time and was less inclined to send my quilts out I think it'd look lovely with lots and lots of narrow lines running vertically. A bit like this quilt by Tia.

Because the blocks are so big, and because there is so much negative space, it's a relatively easy quilt to throw together. As long as you like half square triangles. Which, fortunately, I do. And if you start with charm packs the cutting time is reduced considerably too. So that's a winner, right?


This time next month I'll be on my way home from Quilt Market. My partner in crime (Brioni) isn't coming this year. Boo hiss. I'll let her off, she has her hands full (which if you follow her blog or flickr stream you'll know why). So I'm flying solo. I realised it's the first time I've ever flown anywhere by myself, which is a little bit pathetic at 36 yrs old. I don't mind flying, I don't mind going by myself - I'm sure I won't get lost. I don't like those e-tickets though - the airline I'm using doesn't even give you an e-ticket you can print off so you have something physical in your hand. I had to call them and check, because I'm a little bit concerned I'll get to check in, they won't have me on the system and I'll have to catch a later flight - hence missing sample spree (which is, obviously, the main reason for going, right?!)

EDITED TO ADD - For those that don't know Quilt Market is a big trade show for quilty stuff in the US. This Spring is held in Salt Lake City (every fall is held in Houston). Sample spree is a bit scary. It's like the first day of the sales, everyone pushes and shoves to get their hands on the as yet unreleased new lines, patterns, notions etc. But mostly the fabric. Everything is sold at around half retail price. The Moda table is particularly busy, and particularly scary with ladies (and men) who are much bigger and stronger than me, with little regard for polite waiting in line and hoping for the best. I need to sharpen my elbows and learn to shove.

Monday, 18 April 2011

quilt story

Oh look - who's this over on the Quilt Story blog today? Why, it's little ol' me!

drum roll please....

Mr Random.Org has spoken and he's chosen number 60. Which (frantically checks the list) is Jessy!

Congrats Jessy - I'll be contacting you shortly.

Thank you to everyone that entered xxx

Sunday, 17 April 2011

sunday stash

liberty prints from the husbeast

It's been a while since I did a sunday stash. Because of stashpact I try not to look at other peoples' stash pics. It tempts me and then I have to beat myself with a willow stick to rid my brain of the delicious images.
However - stashpact seems to be failing a little this month, I have just bought myself a box full of stuff that is zooming it's way here right now. I've decided to give up stashpact for lent. Or something like that.
But I'll be back on that wagon and showing restraint soon enough.

Anyhoo. Technically this is not a break of the stashpact because my incredibly well trained husbeast was in the big smoke last week and came home with a 'Worn and Washed' roll of liberty prints (I don't think these have been worn, or washed though...).  These rolls are great, you get 10 full (52") width strips of fabric that vary in size, around 2metres total. Kind of pricey (£49) but a nice way to get a selection of fabrics within a colour theme. Especially nice as a gift (to yourself!). You can check out the Worn and Washed website here.

Speaking of stashpact. I've been trying to use up bits and pieces I have lying around and make an effort to get rid of some of the orphan blocks I have lying round. I made a lacklustre start on an asterisk quilt, soon realising that I probably wasn't going to finish it because it wasn't thrilling me enough. I think I chose the wrong fabrics - flower sugar is gorgeous, but in all honestly, too pretty for me in this pattern. I like it more random patchy - more English country cottage, Cath Kidston style.

flower sugar pillow

So the orphan blocks were sewn together, quilted densely with straight lines all over and turned into a standard size bed pillow. The sham was a bit too big for the pillow and sagged a little too much around the edges (hey, don't we all?) so I made it into an 'oxford' style and now it fits perfectly, and looks rather lovely.

Have you entered the giveaway yet? Head on over......right here.....I'll announce a winner Monday (18th). Speaking of giveaways - have you entered the Sarah Fielke giveaway over on Fat Quarterly? Why ever not?! You could win a copy of her new book (which is amazing). Kate is also having a giveaway for 8 FQs of Sarah's fabric over on her blog. So you should head there as well, shouldn't you?  Go on - off you go. Away with you......

Friday, 15 April 2011

can o' magic

Never did I think it was possible to get quite so excited about a yellow spray can with a blue lid. I was not convinced that something you spray and works like glue could possibly make basting easier. However, thanks to Angela and Megan who swear by this stuff I was convinced to give it a try.

Holy Moly, sweet mother of Christ and all that jazz - it's flipping a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Honestly. No word of a lie. I've been spraying all kinds of random wips to try it out. So far - 1 doll quilt, 2 pillows and a baby quilt. All quilted really absolutely super duper fine - no wrinkles, no gumming up my needle, no problemo.

Mr 505 - will you marry me?

I found mine on the bay of evil but I think it's pretty much available all over. Most definitely for you Stateside folks.

Don't forget the giveaway for a Single Girl pillow made from Liberty prints is on til Monday - click here to enter.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

a little giveaway


I promised it a while ago and then I got distracted by the Single Girl quilt along and all sorts of other stuff but I finally got this little pillow finished and I even mastered buttonholes in the process (which has me excited beyond all excitedness). This baby is a big girl - in the pic there's a 20 inch pillow insert inside her, but you could go up to 22 inch, for that full belly look. I like my pillows a bit squishy, just like my bum. She is made with liberty print tana lawns and kona raisin, with a button opening on the back and 2 vintage mother of pearl buttons. She comes with complimentary cat hair. So if you are not a cat person - first up, what are you doing here? I'll chase you out with a stick, and secondly, I'm sorry - my cats seek out quilty stuff and will sit on it. Cat hair is an obligatory addition to everything (much to the husbeasts annoyance).

So - what's the dealio? Simples - leave a comment. Leave a second comment if you're in the Single Girl Support Group for an extra chance to win (don't be going all sneaky on my ass and join up now - I'll know).

That's it.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

a day at the farm

Yesterday Ginger and I met up with Jen, her friend Alice and Alice's 2 childerbeasts at this cute little farm just outside of Peterborough.

Jen is over in the UK for a momcation for 12 whole days of child and husband free fun. Lucky girl, no?

Anyhoo - it was so awesome to finally meet up face to face (she came with a pile of quilting mags too - I'm all stocked up with reading matter for weeks now - thank you so much Jen!). Did I get a pic of the two of us together? Um. No. I was too distracted by the baby animals and the Mr Horse with his zippity doo-dah out on show. I did get a picture of that....but it's ok, I won't share it with you. It will burn into your brain for the rest of your life. Of course, if I was a Mr Horse I would most likely walk around with my zippity doo-dah on show the whole time. It was pretty spectacular. He looked VERY proud of it (as you would be, I'm sure. Men are men, whatever the species).

Ginger and his new friends played pooh sticks...


We all squealed at the ickle baby duckies....


I plotted how I could get this beauty home without anyone noticing...


As well as play doh face (as Ginger called her) and her eggs that were tucked underneath her cozy feathers...


I spotted my Mum as well (I call her old goat. It's a term of endearment. Honestly)....


Jen spots the bakery and hunts down cake.....

Jen hunts for cake

Where I grew up in East Anglia pigs live like this - roaming the fields freely and each has a little metal hut like an old fashioned air raid shelter to hide in when it's cold, or too warm, or time for bed. East Anglian pigs have the best life there is as far as pork in progress goes. They may end up as bacon, but they live a good life before then. Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be - as Temple Grandin would say. Happy pigs make me smile. They also make me almost crash my car every time I see them - I have a big love of pigs.

as happy as a pig in....

I love open farms. We have one really close to where we live that we visit a lot. I also love 'real' farms. One of Miss G's best friends lives on a working farm and this time of year is lambing time - so they often have a baby in the house that has been rejected by the mama sheep and needs feeding up to save from dying. If you go round to the house the lamb follows the farmer's wife around like (for want of a better pun) a lost sheep.

Anyhoo - yesterday was such a fun day. And in just a month I'll be meeting up with Jen again - this time in Salt Lake City for Quilt Market! Twice in one year - how cool is that?!!!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

one out, one in

single girl - top finished!

The Single Girl quilt top - FINISHED! It's as wonky as a 3-legged donkey, but perfection is over-rated. Or at least that is what I am telling myself. Plus - once it's quilted reasonably densely, washed and wrinkled up no-one will ever know except me, you and the long armed Chris. Our little secret? Good.

Now that I've got her ticked off the list I can move on to dressing my naked bed. Actually, my bed has 3 quilts that are rotated on a regular basis, but another one can't hurt. Have you seen the naked bed challenge? Head over to Sarah's blog to find out more. There are prizes galore!
I'm playing along for fun - because Fat Quarterly are judges so no prizes for me, plus it gives me an excuse to use up some more scraps.....

the beginnings of a dressed bed

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

from trash to treasure

It all started with this quilt. Fair to say Melanie's quilt haunted my dreams. Still does. In my humble opinion it is the perfect quilt. It ticks every box on the perfect quilt check list.
And, after a while of it haunting me I figured I'd make my own version - not a complete copy, a little different but the same basic blocks.

So I had a practise (and a couple of fails) and came up with this mock up;

scrap vomit mock up version 2

I cut a whole heap of 2 1/2 inch squares and kept them in a little box my friend Nicole sent me long ago in a swap. My plan was simple - I was to use even the ugliest of fabrics, along with some of my most favourite scraps and I wouldn't buy any fabric. (Actually, I had to buy some more of the turquoise blue solid because I used some in something else and then didn't have quite enough...but that was it). The black was from a bed sheet I'd bought from ikea to use as a quilt backing, and the little squares were all from my scrapbox (and from the kind donations of others). Some of you even quilted along with me (although I have to say I wasn't the best leader of a quilt along and fell behind pretty early on).

tidier scraps

My friend and neighbour saw the blocks when I was making the quilt and fell in love with them. So I decided when it was finished it would be her quilt, as a thank you for being such a great friend and neighbour for the past 11 years.

I had it long armed quilted by the wonderful Chris (who chose this art nouveau style fan pattern) and it was bound in more of the same black bed sheet.

scrap vomit - bound and finished!

Now it's all finished. My friend is away on holiday, but as soon as she's home it'll be handed over and begin it's life with it's new family. I expect it'll get used to death. I'm actually hoping in years down the line she asks me to patch up little worn areas or fix tiny holes from it being dragged about the house and garden.

The next time it's my turn in a quilting bee - this is what I'll be asking for. I still have half the bed sheet left and since I started this quilt my scraps have bred and gotten really quite out of control. I think I need a big one, just for me.

et voila!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who quilted along with me and made their own scrap vomit/technicolour yawn quilt. Even though this one isn't mine I think it's one of my all time favourites. There's nothing quite as satisfying as a scrap quilt, is there?

Monday, 4 April 2011

Modern Relief {Japan}

It's started! The next fundraiser for Modern relief has kicked off today. This time you need to visit the Modern Relief blog by clicking this link and buy a raffle ticket there.

We have an amazing amount of quilts this time round, and as a group we decided to stagger the raffle - so for the next 6 weeks there will be a new set of quilts on display on the Modern Relief blog. The draw itself will take place on May 16th and the winners announced shortly afterwards. A couple of this week's quilts are below....aren't they gorgeous?

my neighborhood
(my neighbourhood by A Quilt is Nice)

Modern Relief Japan
(by One ShaBBy ChiCk)

Full details of how the fundraiser works can be found here.

Please, dig deep - help us help Japan. For the price of a few cups of coffee ($10) you could win an amazing quilt, and know that you've done a great thing to help a country in crisis.

Thank you xxx

Sunday, 3 April 2011

blogging sporadically

One post a week. I'm really not being a very good blogger at the minute. Things are busy here in the Monkey House/FQHQ and I'm doing a lot of secret stuff that I just can't share.
I've also been working on a little giveaway thingy for you guys, so it's not all bad, is it? More on that soon (when I manage to get it finished. Along with the other 5 gazillion things on my to-do list).

Maybe it's my hormones. Or age. Or the fact that I had a spray tan and I am now bright orange, as opposed to Californian Tanned, or maybe it's just that I miss her terribly on a daily basis since she left the Fat Quarterly team (I think that's the most likely reason). Whatever the reason, when I got a package this week with Super Nova's return address on it I was A; confused and B; ridiculously excited.
When I opened up the package and this popped out I had a little weep. And since then this beautiful pillow has followed me everywhere I've needed to sit in the house. Sewing - yep - my bum goes right on it, on the couch - I lean up against it, in bed - I have a little snuggle into it.
Thank you Nova - you know how much you rock. And I love you heaps. You know that too, don't you? I can't even begin to tell you how much I love it xxxx

surprise mail...

I've also been busy with pompom trim recently. I blame Angela. Firstly, I've found it can be used as a delightful way to hide bad hair days.

bad hair day?

And secondly (possibly to greater effect) I used it to trim the Honey Child quilt (keep posted for news of the tutorial - it's going to be somewhere much more exciting than this little old blog. I'll be sure to let you know - ok?!)

sneaky peeky

I absolutely love how it turned out. It's super simple, and great for a summery picnic blanket.

Right - back to the grindstone. It's Mother's Day here in the UK and we are off to the in-law's for lunch. I'm trying to decide whether pompom trim would also make an excellent mask to hide my bright orange skin. It's worth a shot.

Blog Archive