Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Stash Busting Blog Hop!

Hello! It's my turn on this fabulous blog hop today and can I just say how much I adore the two books on this hop!

I was so excited when I realised that a few of my online stitchy friends had projects in the 50 Fat Quarter Makes book! I of course used this to my advantage and got contributor Jo Avery to answer a few questions about the book and her projects.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I've been making quilts for over 25 years and I did my first EPP hexy project (a clutch bag for my mum!) when I was only 10.
4 years ago I turned a hobby into a business by opening a craft studio and shop in Edinburgh. I teach here most weekends and weekday evenings and we also have a small online shop selling fabric and wool. As well as patchwork and general sewing I also teach crochet, embroidery and sock knitting - all crafting loves of mine! I've been writing myBearpaw blog for the last 6 years and am also a regular contributor to both Love Patchwork and Quilting and Quilt Now magazines. In my spare time (!) I organise the annual Stitch Gathering Modern Quilt Retreat in Edinburgh. This year I have been taking my workshops 'on tour' around the UK and beyond and I am especially looking forward to visiting Simply Solids HQ in June to teach Cathedral Windows!
On a more personal note I am married with 2 grown up sons and 2 cats and we live on a smallholding called Shangri-La Farm where we grow trees and generally commune with nature! 

2) How did you decide what projects to contribute to the book?

Contributors were asked to suggest projects that could be made from different amounts of fat quarters (so 1 FQ, 2-3 FQS, 4-6 FQs and so on). The editor was trying to avoid project repeats and already had a couple of quilts so I had to come up with different ideas for patchwork (as I'm not much of a dressmaker!) like the reversable Celebration Table Runner and the Farmyard Playmat. Also I managed to get a mini quilt in by making it a wall hanging! And then I needed a couple of smaller items that just used 1 or 2 FQ's. I've made a fair few notebook holders over the years and they are a great gift so I included one of these and added some applique mini hexies to make it a bit more special. The hardest bit was thinking of something you can make with just one FQ! In the end I made a small drawstring bag, personalised with an initial made out of buttons, as a really special gift bag.

3) Any top tips for new sewers?

Expect to be slightly disappointed when you try out something new.  I find a lot of beginners have really high expectations and get frustrated with themselves when they are just getting started. look on that first thing you make as a practice piece and be prepared to try out a new technique a few times before you are happy with it. Don't be too hard on yourself! Even if you have been sewing for years and years you will still make mistakes, but that's because you are a human being not a robot, and any little errors will just add to the handmade charm. Or if all else fails pretend you are Amish, they always had a deliberate error in all their quilts because only God can make something perfect (at least that was their excuse!).

4) What's your favourite fabric designer / line of fabric?

My favourite fabric designer is Denyse Schmidt. I am totally in love with Franklin and am just about to start a new quilt using the whole line. I love how cohesive her lines are, you can tell she designs them with quilters in mind. I think Flea Market Fancy is my all time favourite but I also loved Chicopee, Florence and Hadley. I'm also a huge fan of everything Cori Dantini and Carolyn Friedlander do. And a special mention for our own Karen Lewis, I've just finished making a quilt with her screen printed fabrics and they were a joy to work with.

I've got to say the top 2 projects I'll be trying from the book are Jo's farm playmat 

and this super cute twirly swirly skirt made from just 2 fat quarters! I already have them picked out!


If you'd like to see the other stops on the blog hop please head here. There's a great competition to enter over there too!

These two books are just full of great projects, lots of eye candy and I love them both! I'd really recommend you getting them! If you're local to my shop Simply Solids in Huddersfield then Jo is bringing signed copies of the book to her evening talk on June 12th and will be teaching a Cathedral Windows Quilt class on Saturday 13th.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mini Quilt Heaven!

Since the start of the New Year I've signed up for a number of Mini Quilt Swaps over on Instagram! They were all so tempting I just couldn't say 'No' despite my heavy work load and family commitments!

The first swap has just come to an end and was the #rainbowminiswap. If you search the hashtag over on Instagram you'll see all the lovely mini's that were swapped around the world. 

These swaps are basically blind so you know who you are making for but you don't know who is making for you - exciting right? The idea is you stalk your partner across social media so you get a feel for their style and then make a mini to suit them. Here's the Rainbow Mini I made my partner Janine all the way from Australia!

I went for a Rainbow Churn Dash which I love! The background is Sketch Black/White and the Churn Dash are made out of Confetti Dots, both from Timeless Treasures. The mini is then quilted in Aurifil #4660 Pink Taffy which is variegated. I included a pouch filled with some fabric scraps, a couple of mini spools of Aurifil and some Soak Mini's. 

The same day that I posted my mini the Postman brought me my mini! How weird is that?

Isn't she a beauty? My partner Claire got it just right with the solids and the Anna Maria Horner fabric! I love it so much I'm going to put it up in the shop on our mini quilt wall! 

My next swap mini is for the #ukminiswap and this is what I'm working on

It's an English Paper Pieced mini using a Wafer pattern designed by my friend Reene who blogs at Nellies Niceties. I'm using Priory Square fabric which is from Art Gallery and available in my shop here if you like it!

I've started the quilting and this parcel will be wrapped up and posted by Monday next week!

As you can see I use a Hera marker for making my quilt lines, the tool basically puts a crease in the fabric which you then use as a guide for your quilting, genius right!

That's as much as I'm going to share on this swap before I post it as I don't want my partner to have seen it all before it arrives!

Finally for today a heads up my Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt is in Issue 10 of Quilt Now magzine! Woo Hoo!

I loved making this quilt and it really made a dent in my scrap bucket which is always a good thing! If you'd like to buy a copy of the magazine please head here but be quick as they never stick around long!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Weeks gone by

The weeks are flying by in 2015 don't you think?

I've got so much done these last few weeks apart from blogging it seems! Here's some of what I've been up to on the fabric and sewing front!

 I've had a couple of fabric purchases from PolkaDotTea Fabrics which is a great little Etsy Store run by my lovely quilting friends Danielle and Jeanette. My favourite of these was 'Lighthearted' by Ayumi Mills (bottom right), I Love Love Love this line!!!

I've also had some fun times with my famalam

The big news on the family front this month is that my little cousin in New Zealand got herself hitched! My folks went to the wedding but we couldn't do it with Jett been so young, I'm gutted about that but I really wouldn't have coped all that way with a newborn, a toddler and a child with additional needs!! Needless to say Hunter has spent a lot of time working at the shop as my folks haven't been around for daycare, he loves it at the shop, good job really!!

We've puddle jumped and rode on Donkey's and had a wild time at a party celebrating World Down Syndrome Day!

Jett is changing so much at the minute:

He looks massive at the side of my niece Fearne!! He's teething all the time so he's got those rosy red cheeks and is mouthing at everything! He's loving his Jumperoo too!

Hope you've enjoyed a peek into what's been happening round here the last few weeks! I'll try not to leave it so long next time!!

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