Thursday, 31 January 2013

spinning stars of leopard - finished!

Oh this quilt took too long.

What started as a quilt along with great intentions was soon ignored (because I just couldn't get my points matchy matchy).

spinning stars

2013 is the year of finishing my shizzle (Megan has a great hashtag on instagram #finishit2013 - tag your photos to take part in the great finish!)

Trudi quilted this (Chris - I haven't abandoned you, I have a quilt here for you ready to go, I'll probably post it today!) and instead of an all over pattern it's lightly custom quilted. The centres are quilted like a Yorkshire Rose, and then the pointy star bits are quilted with feathers, that take their inspiration from the feather print in Field Study.

She did a great job, and I can't recommend her work enough. It's great having a quilter in the kitchen guild, it makes dropping off and picking up quilt tops quite easy.

leopard print backing

It's backed with a leopard print velveteen from Anna Maria Horner's field study collection, with a stripe of voile just to break up the leopard a little bit and to add extra snuggliness.

It's an amazingly soft and cuddly quilt, quite heavy despite it's small size, because of the velveteen and feels extra luxurious because of it too.

I appliqued little hexagons over each centre point, to hide the messiness. Sneaky, huh? I used this method (cutting a soluble stabiliser instead of paper and the fabrics using my Sizzix big shot and 2 of the hexagon dies - the 1.25" and the 1")


The quilt has been bound in a bubblegum pink binding (Moda Bella petal pink) and washed up brilliantly - I didn't pre-wash the velveteen, I didn't pre-wash any of the fabrics, and it's shrunk just enough for wrinkling but not become distorted or twisted. I think I was lucky and the quilting has stabilised it quite a bit and you should probably pre-wash any fabric that isn't a regular quilting cotton. I'm too impatient and can't be doing with waiting for it to dry. Do as I say, not what I do - pre-wash your flannel, corduroy and velveteen. They do shrink. It would be such a shame for you to make something you're incredibly happy with and then ruin it by washing it and it twisting up weirdly. I promise the next quilt I make using substrates I'll pre-wash. Deal?

Finished size (after washing) - 51" square (approx)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Modern Quilts - winner

thank you all for entering the blog blitz giveaway for the Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe book tour.

The winner of the e-book is....

number 312...


Dianne - I'm emailing you to make sure I have the right email to send your e-book to.

Also - LIS, if you're about I've tried emailing you about the rock n romance bundle you won. Can you email me because I haven't heard back from you with your address. Maybe I got put into your junk folder?

If I don't hear anything by Monday I'll draw a new winner so hurry hurry!!!

#scrappytripalong progress

My first scrappy trips quilt is all finished - quilted, bound and about to get a little soak and crinkle before use.
I couldn't be happier with the finished quilt. Trudi did a wonderful job quilting it, with a rainbow variegated thread, and I bound it with my favourite leopard print from Field Study.

it's a rainbow!

The sunshine and snow is proving to make photographs a bit tricky - it looks incredibly bright here (it is pretty bright to be fair)

scrappy trip along - Love!

I've also pieced a back for the Denyse Schmidt Chicopee Trips version using some Chicopee Corduroy.

chicopee trips in the snow

The corduroy was a joy to use - it behaves in a similar way to both the flannel and velveteen, probably somewhere between the 2. I used a generous 1/2" seam allowance to control any potential fraying (although it didn't fray much at all).
I took a little while to decide how to piece this quilt back. I don't usually plan my quilt backs, and tend to either use single prints pieced with a centre seam, or extra wide fabric. I sketched out a few ideas for this, to see how best to use the yardage I had. At first I thought I'd make something like a giant block, but I was flipping through some books on the History of Quilts and I remembered when the Quilts exhibition was on at the V&A a few years ago. There was something that I'd particularly liked about the old quilts on display. Quilts often had 2 sides, one for regular use that was simply pieced from cheaper or more abundant fabrics and one fancy side that was for decoration. I love the idea of utility quilts - after all, as 'modern' quilters, that is pretty much what we all make. They may use fancy designer fabrics and cost a pretty penny to put together, but we make them for warmth, for comfort and to show other people we love them enough to make them a quilt.

So I made a really simply pieced square (well, it's a rectangle actually) in a square type of block using my corduroy. It's a perfect juxtaposition to the small squares of the scrappy trips front, and adds an amazing texture to the quilt. I didn't pay attention to the nap of the corduroy, it would have been easy enough to do, but once it's quilted and all the texture comes from that I like the idea of having the different directions of the cord nap adding to the sensory element.

chicopee corduroy quilt back

Gosh. Reading this post back it sounds terribly artsy and really quite pompous!

Put simply - I like stroking my quilts, I guess I never grew up from those cloth texture books babies have.

I'm toying with the idea of quilting this myself. But I'm not sure. I'm not brilliant at quilting, and I do think Long Arm Chris will do a far better job than me (plus I haven't been to see her for a little while).

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

my favourite block quilt along

Have you seen the 'my favourite block' quilt along on Kim's blog? I am block number 3 of 20, and it already looks like a really great quilt is going to be formed if you quilt along.

My favourite block is a simple one, but it's still a great block. It doesn't sing, it doesn't dance, it's just a churn dash.

You can download the directions here and make your own version of the block. I like it scrappy - with lots of different prints. I think I'll make a few more of these in both the 6" and 12" sizes, it'll be a fun project to make over the course of the year. Maybe using up fabrics from other projects and creating a diary in quilt form for 2013.

churn dash blocks

If you head over to Persimon Dreams you can find out more about the 'my favourite block quilt along', and learn a little bit about me as well (if you don't already know enough!).

There's a flickr group too!

And on Thursday of this week you can check out block number 4 of the quilt along on Pamela's blog.

Monday, 28 January 2013

scrappy 9-patch drawstring pouch tutorial

Happy Monday!

My latest blog post is available on the Sizzix blog.

Today I have a simple tutorial for a scrappy drawstring pouch.


I hope you like it! They're so easy to make, and you don't need to use a Sizzix big shot to make them - but it certainly speeds things up.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

what's new, British pussycat?

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, the postal prices in the US are going up from tomorrow and for those of us that live in the UK and Europe it will have quite a heavy hitting effect on our potential fabric shopping. The price rise is about $8 - that's 1 yard of on-sale fabric every time we do an order. We can reduce the effect by buying a lot of yardage at once, but what better way to cheer ourselves up than with some local retail therapy?

This bundle of Pearl Bracelets from the village haberdashery should do the trick...

I really need to get down to visit Annie's real life bricks and mortar shop. It looks so wonderful.

Annie has a gorgeous selection of nani iro double gauze. There's also a scarf project for you to try on the blog. Nani iro is not for quilts, although I think you could probably add in the occasional piece, it really is for dressmaking. I love this particular print.

In fact, this picture shows it a little better....

Justine has started a flickr group for Simply Solids so share your solids projects and blocks from the Stellar quilt along. (Free pattern download - here!)

Have you got these clover wonder clips already? Do you look at them and think 'I don't need them at all, they're pointless'? I was a bit like that until I got some and now I don't really know how my life was managed without them. They work for so many different situations - instead of pins for bulky layers, for holding binding in place when you hand finish it,  holding fabric in place for english paper piecing, 'pinning' oil cloth or vinyl fabrics....the list goes on.

Justine also stocks these needles for hand sewing, which are amazing (seriously - I'm not making it up, they make such a difference)

Kate at M is For Make has a wonderful selection of Japanese dressmaking books. I can't sew garments (I will learn - it's my life's mission!) but I love to look through these books, and they make such a gorgeous addition to any bookshelf

The dress is the bottom right of the picture is my favourite style of dress - I have a whole selection of skinny, stretchy, drapey cotton knit dresses. One day I will make one (I say this all the time). I'm going to start out with something less stretchy though. That dress is from this book.

Don't forget that Kate also has Anna Maria's rayon challis which is specifically for dress making.

As well as a whole section of dressmaking fabrics.

The guys at eclectic maker have a great range of essentials - such as wadding, general haberdashery, and interfacings. It's always worth just having a little nose around those other sections to see what's about.

Moda muslin is a lovely, low cost alternative for quilt backs. It also makes for a more primitive looking solid - there are little flecks running through the fabric and it's what we call 'calico'. The fleck free white version is still more primitive than a regular white solid, but both are lovely to use and wash up amazingly the more you throw them in the wash.

Have you got any constellations by Lizzy House yet? I'm going to keep on at you til you buy it.
Alice has it in stock now and I say this every single week - but there are so many great prints you would be a fool not to buy them. The twinkle twinkle print is so fantastic as an alternative to a solid for backgrounds.

It comes in white....

(my favourite) black....

and this beautiful blue....

Don't forget that Monday's are my day on the Sizzix blog, and I'll be back tomorrow with a simple and fast project for you to try (even if you don't have a Sizzix, stop by anyway - you can make it without!)

Before I go I wanted to remind you all about quilt and stitch village and their call for quilts (or embroidered pieces).

The deadline has been extended for entries to March 18th, and it's a great way to show support for our local shows and to show the public what we do.

Will you enter something with me?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

what's new, American pussycat?

Thank you for all the amazing comments on my news yesterday - you make my heart swell!!!!
Yesterday was an amazing day. I shared my book news with you and my incredibly sneaky friends organised a surprise meet up with one of my absolute best friends in the whole wide world.

I have the best friends in the world ever.

John is like my big brother, he's amazing (and if you've met him you'll agree with me). He'd come over to London for a couple of days on a detour from his business trip to Germany and I wasn't able to get down to meet up with him (which was heartbreaking). Justine orchestrated a secret meeting and we spent 5 hours together laughing and chatting and hanging out  - me, John, Laura, Justine, Brioni and Sandy. It was the best day ever. I really didn't want to go home. Now I can't wait for July and the Fat Quarterly Retreat so we get to hang out all together again, and with the missing members of the crew from yesterday too, because Tacha, Lynne, Mandy and Lu were sorely missed.

So onto Fabric News.

The postal prices increase on Monday, so today is probably your last day for getting things at the old prices before the crazy price hike (US peeps - it affects you less, don't worry!). UK and Europe peeps - seriously, if there is anything you have been half interested in buying grab it now before the cost of a flat rate envelope rises to $25.

Breaking it down for you yard by yard - Brenda can fit 10 yards in a FRE, that's probably as much as you are ever going to get in one so the increase is around 80 cents per full priced yard. Which doesn't sound as bad, but if you're are only ordering a bundle or a smaller amount of yardage you're going to suffer more.

As an incentive to stock up, precuts and bundles are 25% off using the code BUNDLE25. That includes scrap packs too.

Loads of great blogger bundles too. I love this one of Audrie's.

Camp Stitchalot tickets are selling fast. For more details on the weekend and who will be there (me) check out the camp page.

Fat Quarter Shop have had an arrival of Posy by Aneela Hoey.

It's sugary sweet, girly and has a really nice set of co-ordinates and blenders

The new Lecien tiny prints are in stock too. These are just gorgeous. Small scale, kawaii, cute animals, fruits or flowers and either girly....

or boyish....

No-one does child prints as well as the Japanese.

Lola Pink Fabrics has Noteworthy by Sweetwater in stock. I wasn't sure about this collection at first, but the more I see it the more I like it. Especially the notebook print.

Another print that has grabbed me this week is this one from Kate Spain. The whole honey, honey collection is beautiful, but this print is my favourite of all. Shipping prices at Lola Pink are always lower than elsewhere - there isn't any mention of the increase, but I can't see them not increasing over the weekend. If in doubt, just shoot them a quick message.

Shipping prices have increased at Sew Me A Song already, in preparation for Monday.

There's a load of great value to be found in the sale section including this bundle of haystack prints from Madrona Road.

Sew Fresh Fabrics shipping will increase over this weekend, although most of their items are calculated with lower shipping taking in account you are ordering smaller amounts, such as a half yard here, a fat quarter there.

Architextures is in stock. I love this line. Love it so much.

Still lots of good deals in the specials section on both one yard and half yard cuts. That section is always a great place to find a great fabric at a really great price.

That's it from me for today. I'll be back with tomorrow's What's New, British Pussycat. Happy Saturday!

Friday, 25 January 2013

some news......

Yesterday my mum sent me a text to say she'd spotted this on Amazon (I'm guessing she trawls the coming soon pages in hope of spotting something I've done), so I thought I should probably share the news!

May 7th I have a book coming out, with Martingale/That Patchwork Place. Eeek. They're a fantastic company to work with, and I've really enjoyed the book process so far (although I am nervous as heck for when it actually comes out).

It's only a little book - 25 of my favourite traditional blocks and some modern variations and ideas, 1 quilt and 3 small projects. Smaller book means lower price point (which, let's face it, is important these days with the economy the way it is, I know my book buying has severely suffered this past year), and my hope was to create something similar to the Japanese craft books that inspired me when I first started sewing and quilting.

I love block books. I like them better than books with projects in. I also love scraps (as you know) and it was important for me to write a book that combined the 2. When Martingale suggested trying this new smaller format that they're bringing out I was really excited, and if this was the first book of a series you can expect more of the same...if it was a series....just know....maybe that's a hint.....

So what's it about then?

There are 25 (I guess the title gives that away!) 6" finished blocks, all with the option of self sashing taking them up to 8" finished. Plus a small collection of projects that are inspired by or use the blocks. You can see all of the projects and blocks on Amazon so you know exactly what you get before you make that click to buy (I like that about Martingale books - it's something they tend to do for all their books).

Find it on Amazon UK, US, and the Book Depository for pre-order!

(can I also mention I love that the band with my name on it is orange. I love orange. I hadn't noticed it before now, I had nothing to do with that - they chose ORANGE! It's the little things that keep you happy)

Thursday, 24 January 2013

a couple of winners and other stuff

I am finally getting round to the winners of the Rock n Romance and Glimma/Architextures giveaways.  Talk about being a Slow Joe.

So, Rock n Romance is going to number 14 who is Lis

And Glimma/Architextures is going to number 30, Jess

I'll shoot the 2 of you emails shortly!

In other news, have you seen that USPS are increasing their shipping charges on January 27th? The increase is quite steep, and will impact on every store - the charge is just too much for anyone to take a hit on.

Flat Rate Envelopes will increase to around $6 domestic, $20 for Canada and $25 for international.

If you were wanting to get some bits and pieces before the increase, get them before the weekend. As yet Fat Quarter Shop haven't mentioned a price rise, but I think it will only be a matter of time before their advertised shipping rates increase too.

I just stocked up some sketch flannel from Pink Castle Fabrics. I'm using the lipstick to back my (as yet nowhere near done) Christmas Scrappy Trips quilt.

And remember, Brenda can fit up to 10 yards in a flat rate envelope, so it really is the perfect time to make the most of the old shipping price before it increases on Monday.

There's still a massive amount of great fabrics in the sale section too.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe blog tour and giveaway

Today myself and the other designers from Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe are having a little blog tour and giveaway! You can find out where to go for 1 of 19 chances to win an e-copy of the book by visiting the Martingale site (and be sure to leave a comment on my blog before you do that, so I can enter you too!)

Being part of this book was a great honour for me, especially as I don't see myself as a Modern Quilter - I love traditional quilts far too much and I'm all a little bit too crazy for pattern to be using a lot of solids, which is sort of how I tend to envisage a more modern quilt aesthetic....but let's face it, a quilt is a quilt is a quilt - whatever camp you're in, whatever you think you make be it modern or traditional or something in between, it's because you love the process and you love the result, am I right?  I am firmly of the belief that the more prints you can add in a quilt the better. That's my downfall a lot of the time. 3 prints? Nah, let's make it 30. So what I do tends to be busy.
Consequently, you might be surprised to learn that my absolute favourite of all the quilts in the book is Audrie's Lanterns in the City (below). Where's the prints? It's all solids! It's the quilt I can't make because my brain doesn't work that way. It's so beautiful, and so perfect and I'm going to force myself out of the print obsessed safety zone and give this a go later this year.

Another favourite of mine is Kate's quilt. Diamond Crosses. It's a gorgeous traditional looking block in such subtle colours. Again, I'm not comfortable working in a more muted palette, so I was immediately drawn to this quilt. It was made with a layer cake and some extra bits. Cool, huh?

So, onto my contribution. I'm going to admit something now that I haven't before. I was positive they'd turn down my submission for the book, because it's a traditional looking dresden plate with a border and sashing. I was really surprised when I got the email back saying they'd love to include it. I did a big happy dance.

I really do love the book, and I have a lot of quilts from it noted as must makes. Pretty much all of them to be honest. 

So, leave a comment on this post and then head on over to the Martingale blog for another 18 chances to win a copy. 

scrap vomit - strip pieced

A couple of weeks ago I promised some folks on Instagram and twitter (I'm ImAGingerMonkey at both places if you want to follow me!) that I'd do a quick strip pieced tutorial for the B blocks in my scrap vomit quilts. Regularly I piece them square by square, but as I was playing with strips for the #scrappytripalong I figured it'd be fun (and fast) to make a scrap vomit quilt using strips as well.

There's a couple of things about strip piecing that I don't like as much as piecing with squares -

  • you get more blocks that look similar because you're cutting multiples from the same fabrics
  • when you're sewing strips they can curve a little in the middle when you don't pin or you sew a bit too fast (you can see that in my pics), which makes your squares not quite as square as they should be (a good press and some wiggling pretty much sorts this though)
Other than those slight downsides, it's faster and it's easier and you can easily speed through multiple blocks at once.

So - in order to make the mock up below, which ends up at 70" square, you will need to make 12 B blocks and 13 A blocks. You can follow the original tute for the A blocks, or you can figure out strip piecing after you've made these blocks. I'm still making my A blocks from squares, to get more variety in the prints.

scrap vomit part deux mock up

Cut a total of;
36 strips 2.5" x 22" of PRINTS (1.25 yards total)
21 strips 2.5" x 22" of BLACK fabric (just over 0.75 yard - get a full yard to be safe!)
13 strips 2.5" x 22" of AQUA fabric (pretty much exactly 0.5 yards - to be safe get 0.75 yards!)
9 strips 2.5" x 22" of RED fabric (0.5 yards)

(I'm using kona black, kona lagoon and kona red from Simply Solids)

Make 3 of the following strip set;

strip piecing step 1

Make 3 of the following strip set;

strip piecing 2

Make 2 of the following strip set;

strip piecing 3

Make 3 of the following strip set;

strip piecing 4

When you have finished sewing each of the strip sets, press the seams (pressing them open will help you match seams as you piece the blocks) and cut each strip set into 8 strips 2.5" wide.

Assemble the blocks as the picture below (chain piecing makes this step go super fast);

strip piecing 5

Press your seams open again, and that's it.

You just whizzed through 12 blocks.

You should also check out Krista's chain piecing tutorial - she's making a SV quilt right now and is speeding through the blocks because of her method. You can find it here.

Monday, 21 January 2013


I've had to wait until I was certain this was actually real and I could see it live on the interwebs before I said anything but every Monday from today you'll find me with this banner......

Over on the Sizzix Quilting blog as one of the regular creative bloggers.

I'm a little giddy with excitement about it.

I really hope you'll come over there and hold my hand, because I'm the new girl and I'm actually really nervous in case no-one stops by (you know, like the one stall at the craft fair that has no customers at all).

Every week I'll be chatting about what I use my BigShot for and doing tutorials and things, as well as progress on some of my projects. It'll be much like here, but over there instead. I'll remind you all, don't you worry, and I will get upset if you don't visit me.

So come on - let's go......

(& if there's anything you'd like me to demonstrate or try out or any questions you have about any of the dies just leave me a comment - on here is fine, and I'll do my best to answer your questions!)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

what's new, British pussycat?

Hands up who's snowed in thanks to the British attempts at snow? We have all of 2 or 3 inches here and it's pretty funny watching the neighbours trying to get their cars out of their driveways and up the block paved gentle slope we call a hill. My car has been parked on the main road since Friday, I'm not moving it back down until the 'snow' has well and truly gone.
Don't tell my neighbours but I have a heap of rock salt in my garage, I'm hoarding it for an emergency, or to sell at black market prices when the compacted snow has well and truly iced up. I'll be the rock salt pimp. You can find me on the corner of the cul de sac, selling a cup of salt for £5.

So, other than our snow woes (how come we are so bad at dealing with a little flurry?), what's new my pussycats?

Lots of sale stuff at Backstitch. Summersville, Flea Market Fancy and Quilt Blocks to name but a few.

New in is Constellations by Lizzy House. The 3 pearl bracelets and the moon phase dots are essential for every stash. There's a fun and free download for a quilt pattern on the Andover site too.

Whilst we are on the subject of free downloads, Justine at Simply Solids has this great star quilt as a free download as part of the Sew Solids Crew monthly stash club. You can read all about it on the blog and join in with the quilt along. Everyone is welcome!

Justine has had a restock of many of the kona solids this past week, so if there was something you were wanting recently that had sold out, or was low in stock, go and check it out, chances are it's back in again!

I just got my monthly stash bundle from the sew solids crew, and next week I'll be making my 2nd swoon quilt block for the rainbow swoon.

I just can't decide which 2 of these 3 greens to use in my block....

Holly, peridot and candy green

Kate at M is For Make has this fantastic pattern from Green Bee in stock. I have this pattern and it's on my list for this year. It's a really beautiful quilt, and so simple too (honest - I've read the pattern and it's not tricky!) It's a great one to showcase a selected bunch of your favourite fabrics, and the pattern has different size options too, which is a winner in my book.

It would be great with this shot cotton as the background and maybe some Field Study for the ring (I will, admittedly, opt to use Anna Maria Horner for any situation) OMG - can you imagine if you used shot cotton and voiles? That would be to die for.

Over at The Village Haberdashery there's still a stack of great stuff on sale. I really do need to get some cherry christmas before it sells out for a Christmas Scrappy Trip Along Quilt using Bonnie's amazing tute.

I just got some chicopee corduroy to make a quilt back from. I'm thinking I'll piece something cool with it, so my quilt will be double sided - cord on one side, cotton on the other. The texture of the corduroy is gorgeous - really soft and a nice fine wale. It feels so beautiful and I can imagine it will just soften up more and more with every wash. For more conventional use, it's great as dresses, shirts and skirts. The washi dress by Made by Rae would be so cute.  Why can't I sew garments? *sigh*

Pearl Bracelets from Lizzy House is coming soon, but if you're quick and you want to pre-order a bundle at a special price, click here, there's a whole £15 off the regular price if you pre-order. 

Finally for this week, over at Eclectic Maker you can pick up some of my friend Alexia's husband's fabric for Cloud 9. It's pretty darn good and has that perfect scale for quilting that lines like Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt has. And the colours are really wonderful as well. I have a bundle that I'm as yet unable to take the ribbon off, it just looks so good in its stack. There are 12 prints in the range, and the folks at Eclectic Maker have 2 different FQ bundles of 6 fabrics as well as yardage.

Also grab yourself a bargain in the going, going, gone section. Quite a few people mentioned the backing for my latest scrap vomit quilt - it's here in the sale section...

And here it is on my quilt....

another one

And a closer up pic....

#widn bindathon. Story of my life right now. With a pups under the quilt and a cat to my left. Tagged by @claireej I tag whoever wants to play!

Dan Bennett fabrics pretty much pass most of our community by, and it's a shame, because he has a great use of colour. I think I should challenge myself a little more this year, and use fabrics that I might have to seek out a little, like Dan's. Sometimes these fabrics that aren't on our radar like the usual 'trendy' lines are just what we need. Like that print for my scrap vomit backing. It couldn't be more perfect if it tried.

For those of you playing along with the scrappy trip along, and maybe wanting to start on something new - Brenda, Megan and I have sorted out which block we'll be doing for February's IG-along and you can jump in whenever you want (you don't have to have instagram- that's what the flickrgroup is for!). It's the xplusalong. Head to the flickr group for pics and a link to the tute. Just like the scrappy trip along, it's a no pressure quilt along. Use the hashtag #xplusalong on twitter and instagram and everyone is more than welcome to join in! The scrappy trip along group on flickr has over 800 members in just a few weeks and there are over 3,000 pictures on instagram with the #scrappytripalong hashtag. I've been checking out as many as I can and commenting there, but it's hard to keep up!

I made 4 practise blocks of the x + block. Pretty much loving them so far.....

That's better (bottom right still looks wonky - which is freaking me out!) #xplusalong

It's after midnight again and I need to head up to bed if I'm going to get anything done tomorrow! Today I set my alarm for 7.30am and woke up at 9am. Not good. 

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