It’s official, I really like EPP! Well, the initial “cover shapes in fabric” part, anyway – I haven’t quite got to the “join shapes together” part yet, but I can’t see why I won’t enjoy that bit too. 🙂
I’ve discovered how fun EPP is thanks to the craft swap I mentioned recently. Having decided to sign up, I also decided that I would try and sew up as many hexagons as I could for my partners (with the exception of the one person who only wanted squares)… mission accomplished! I took my little IKEA bags full of templates and fabric squares away with me while I dog-sat for my cousin, and managed to churn pleasingly briskly through all of them while I was away.
Here they are all ready to sew!
And here they are all sewn up and ready to be put in the post:
This person requested squares only, so I sent hers out before I went away. Unfortunately, Royal Fail in their infinite wisdom decided to put her parcel through the office woodchipper and delivered a mangled, empty envelope, so I had to re-do hers when I got home (the picture above is of the replacements).
Much annoy. Very sulk. 😐 “Sincere apologies” my bum. To make up for it, I did extra squares for her and while I was at it, I did extras for everyone else, too – after all, I already had the rotary cutter out and the scrap bin upended all over the floor!
At 2″ on a side, these were the largest hexies requested (all the others are 1″ a side, and I requested 3/4″ ones). This partner asked for a wide variety of fabrics to build up her collection. This was by far the most fabric-consuming parcel, so in this case I decided to just add in the snippet of VW camper fabric – it’s cute and I think she might like it.
Some people asked for multiples of 2 or more – this person wanted a good variety of prints as well. I really hope she enjoys the red/gold square print, it’s one of my favourites!
Guess what this person’s favourite colour is! 😀 I think she and I might be colour-twins, I love blue too and it was hard to pick out just a few blues for her!
Yellows, purples, reds and aquas, as requested. 🙂
Another person who requested a mixture of prints (her only criteria was “no pink!”) – there’s a few duplicates there but not many.
Lastly, this person requested greys, aqua, cute critters and mushrooms – I thought I was going to fail on the last two but then I discovered I had that purple unicorn print, which featured both – yay! The paper cranes were a great find while I was away and I think they count for both grey *and* cute critters.
Being new to EPP, it took me a little while to settle into a method I found most comfortable, effective and quick. Because I cut my templates from card, I didn’t fancy trying to pin or stitch through that, so I opted for using paper clips to hold the fabric around the shape as I sewed:
As I stitched each side, I moved the paperclips round the shape – this probably wasn’t strictly necessary except on the fussy-cut prints, but it did stop me losing paperclips down the side of the sofa! I also learned that the ends of paperclips are quite sharp and will catch very easily in fabric and thread, so I couldn’t push them all the way onto the hexagon – this meant that they had a vexing habit of pinging off without warning unless I was fairly careful, but I still preferred this method overall. It’s been great practice and I’ve really enjoyed learning how to do it, I’ll be trying some more challenging shapes soon too.
I’m still receiving hexagons from the other swap partners (three parcels have arrived so far), when I have them all then I’ll show them off in their own dedicated post and explain what I want to do with them all. 🙂
When I heard my cousin was getting married, I offered to make the happy couple a quilt as a wedding present, but they decided that it wasn’t something they were really looking for and declined the offer. I’m completely fine with this – I would have welcomed the challenge of creating something to fit their minimalist, modern style but a quilt is such a big investment of materials and effort that I don’t really want to make one for someone who isn’t all that into the concept – certainly not a big bed-sized one! However, my aunt happened to mention my offer to her mum, who announced that she would rather like to commission a quilt, please and thank you!
After a phone chat with her, I had a firm grasp of her desired colour scheme (royal blue, emerald green, aqua) and her general inspiration (a checked silk in that colour scheme from Malaysia), so I went away and doodled up a few possible options for layouts and took a whole mess of fabric photos so that she could have a look at what was available to me locally and pick out the ones that appealed to her.
She selected the diamonds as her preferred layout and several fabrics from Artisan Spirit’s Shimmer range, which I was super-happy about because I adore those prints! A bunch of maths and a surprisingly lengthy amount of humming and hawing in the local quilt shop later, and I was all set to start making the quilt top. Because the palette ended up being fairly constrained, I decided to make the design more regular rather than random:
The colours are terribly approximate (that’s what you get when you don’t use EQ and you don’t have the time to import swatches into Inkscape), but you get the idea! It took me a little while to gather the confidence to start cutting (I’m always more nervous about that when it’s on someone else’s tab), but thankfully my maths was on point and the construction went really swiftly once I got my teeth into it – it’s a repeated shape, after all.
Thankfully, it was possible to do some strip- and chain-piecing, which made life a lot easier. Because of the way I handled the sashing, I ended up needing to do partial seams on two sides, but some careful thought and measuring made it a pretty painless experience. In fact, I found the hardest part to be assembling strips on a diagonal – it was difficult to keep track of where I was, especially when I was working from an image on my laptop screen! Eventually, I did the sensible thing and printed out a layout that I could scribble on with impunity, and that made life a lot easier.
It grew quickly! To pin it, I took it to the village hall and sneakily borrowed an unused kitchen floor while the Wednesday Toddler group was using the main hall – I really am going to have to make something nice for the lady that runs that group, I’d never be able to pin really big quilts without her help!
Like a numpty, I forgot to take my camera along when I did the pinning, so I didn’t get a pic of the whole thing when it was all spread out nicely – only a pic of half or it, which is all that would fit on my craft room floor! While I was piecing, I cut whole diamonds for the set-in edges, and when the whole quilt was done I realised that I really liked the look of the points along the sides so I decided to keep them! Initially I considered rounding them off to make scallop shapes, but was then persuaded that the diamond points were more in keeping with the rest of the quilt, so they stayed untouched.
I kept the initial quilting very simple, just running in the ditches along the sashing, with the idea that this would stabilise the layers nicely and allow more complex quilting if desired. Once this “core quilting” was done, I decided to do a little extra straight-line quilting on the set-in triangles and diamonds around the edges to secure them where I wanted them to stay, then attached the binding. I knew that I would be seeing my aunt’s mum at the wedding and decided to take the quilt along so that she could see it and tell me whether she wanted any more done to it. To my delight, she was thrilled with it and didn’t feel that it needed any more quilting. (Not that I would have minded the FMQ practice!) I’ve since been busy burying all the thread ends (I think I’ve found them all now – I did my best to keep them in predictable places) and hand-finishing the binding, which is almost half-way done now. I love the look of hand-finished binding, to my eyes it really completes a quilt (also, I kind of suck at machine binding, lol!).
Thank goodness my other cousin and my brother-in-law are very tall chaps! 😀 The lady on the left is the recipient; I brought the quilt with me on dog-sitting duty so that I can finish off the binding and add a label, then I’ll deliver it to her on my way back to Wales. 🙂
I also really want to revisit some of the also-ran layouts I came up with, especially the one with the curves and the modified log cabins. Possibly in different colourways, though! 😉
I’ll tell you a secret now – I H.A.T.E. shopping for clothes. I cannot even tell you how much. Partly it’s because I’m rather podgy at the moment, and partly it’s because I’m quite tall (almost 6′) and the combination of those two factors makes finding off-the-peg clothes a total pain. One of these problems I can (and plan to) do something about, but my height is never going to go away! So when I was faced with my cousin’s wedding in July, I was completely stumped by that hateful “What to wear?” question. I looked around a bit, but as so often happens, I was completely uninspired by anything I saw locally or online. Frustrated, it suddenly occurred to me that I really ought to consider actually making myself something to wear. I’m not a very keen dressmaker, but I have done a little dressmaking in the dim and distant past and needs must when the devil drives and you have simply nothing to wear! Accordingly, a few weeks before the Big Day I found a site selling a variety of patterns and went “shopping” with the aid of my mother-in-law. After much umm-ing and ahh-ing, I picked out two dress patterns and one shirt pattern that I thought would suit me, figuring that I should have time to make at least one of them. I also dug out the Liberty prints I bought not long ago and made the happy discovery that I had enough of my two favourites to be able to make two of the shirt pattern! That really decided the matter for me (the only extras I needed to buy were a couple of metres of ribbon), so I set to cutting out and running up Version 1.0 in the white and blue print.
(Uhmmm, yeah, I really wasn’t kidding about the podgy part!) This version came out ok, once I wrangled the ruffly front bit into submission, but I hadn’t really adjusted the pattern to better fit my shape, so I ended up having to really re-work the back seams quite heavily to make the shirt fit more closely. It did work, but with room for improvement. The ribbon tie round the back is not part of the original pattern, I added it in to help give the top better shape and to balance the ribbon on the front. This version is wearable, but I knew it could be better.
The second version is much better in all respects:
Armed with my experiences from the first one, I adjusted the paper pattern to give a much better fit, I didn’t have to re-do the ruffles several times over before I got them right, and the whole thing went together a lot faster too. You still won’t see me on the Great British Sewing Bee any time soon, but this has reminded me why it’s handy to be able to make clothes now and again. I still have the two dress patterns waiting in the wings, so there might be more clothing experimentation in the near future – especially since I’ve seen some really pretty fabric in Aberdashery that I suspect might really suit one of the patterns. 🙂 A benefit that I really noticed from becoming a quilter is that I am now a much more accurate sewist generally, with a much better appreciation of seam allowances and how they work. It sounds daft, but I didn’t really fully understand the 5/8″ seam allowance for clothing when I made clothes in the past. But now I do, and I have a sewing machine that really helps me with things like that, and as a result I made clothes that I feel much happier about. So that’s a very positive thing.
If you’re curious, I wore the blue/white shirt for the pre-wedding evening party and the blue/orange one for the actual wedding. The fabric, being very delicious Liberty lawn, is so lovely to wear that I think both shirts will see outings in future, especially on hot summer days, and that’s more than I can say about many wedding outfits! 😉 Also, I still have plenty of scraps left over for a bit of Liberty patchwork if the mood takes me. Yay!
I’m a member of crafting forum Craftster and have settled into the quilting community there. It’s a cosy group with some really lovely, informed and helpful people! Of course, it’s a general crafts forum so all kinds of people do all kinds of crafts, and craft swaps (both private and public) are very popular. It’s a great way to exchange like-for-like or trade your skill in your craft for someone else’s skill in theirs – with the upside that you both get something beautiful and personal to enjoy. 🙂 I haven’t joined many craft swaps so far (I’m acutely conscious of my time management and only want to commit to deadlines I’m sure I can manage without too much stress), but the ones I have joined have been great fun and have really enriched my crafting.
The Quilt Block Swap
The first quilt-related swap I joined was a Quilt Block Swap – swapping blocks with four other people, although the more ambitious quilters could choose to join several groups if they wished! I only joined one group to start with, which meant making three blocks per partner for a total of 12 blocks made and sent out. It’s a great way to “access” other peoples’ stashes and accrue a number of blocks that might be tedious to make en masse, but are quite bearable if everyone is only making three. The swap has guidelines about block size so that the exchange is reasonably fair, although some flexibility is cheerfully accepted if all the swappers are on board with the concept, as I’ll show!
These are the blocks I made and sent out to my four partners, according to their specifications:
From top to bottom, we have Scrappy Trip Around the World and/or Ohio Star, Bright Hope blocks with a central feature fabric plus coordinates, Wonky Houses, and Words. Yes, I totally made a swear word; the recipient made it clear that any and all words, including swears, were acceptable! 😉 The Words blocks were a bit unusual, but everyone really loved the idea so there were no issues with the person choosing them – in fact I think she almost had to beat us all off with a stick! All the blocks were fun to make, although interestingly the Wonky Houses gave me the most pause – possibly due to some kind of “blank canvas” effect. Once I got going with them though, I think they came out well – and are really going to make an amazing quilt when put with the rest of the “village”! I also can’t wait to see the Words quilt come to life – the crafter making it is a complete dynamo when it comes to crafting, so I’m sure it won’t be too long.
I specified that the background should be cream or off-white and the cranes themselves were “quilter’s choice” with oriental/asian-themed fabric if available, but no problem if not. I have to say that my fellow crafters did not disappoint! I love all the Cranes I received and how diverse they all are! All of them are beautiful and well made, and I’m so looking forward to turning them all into a quilt (possibly with four more cranes made by Yours Truly). In the photo above, you can already see my plan, which is to intersperse Flying Geese blocks between the Cranes to mix things up a bit – and having two birds on one quilt is a notion that rather tickles me! 😉 I need to re-do that example block though – sadly the fabric is a bit cheap and that solid pink has already faded unevenly. 🙁
The Hexie Swap
So how ’bout that EPP, eh? It feels like it’s going through a bit of a revival recently, what with the apparent popularity of EPP patterns such as the Passacaglia (I adore that pattern, not sure I’m yet brave enough to try it myself!). EPP is something I’ve so far watched curiously from the sidelines, thinking it might be fun to try but lacking a suitable impetus to give it a go. When someone on Craftster mentioned the idea of swapping fabric squares or finished hexies, I decided it was high time to jump on the EPP bandwagon! After all, what’s more appealing than the thought of chilling in the summer afternoon sunshine whipping up some traditional patchwork, favourite drink at elbow? Of course, living in Britain means the sunshine ain’t all that reliable, but it’s still a nice idea! Also, I have some vague plans for quilt designs that would revolve around EPP and this seemed like a good taster session to find out whether it really is something I would enjoy doing a lot of before I commit lots of resources and supplies to a larger, more complex project.
Because it ended up being quite a small group (eight of us in total), we decided to do a mass swap together, meaning that I have seven people to send squares or hexagons too. Of course, it also means that I will receive squares or hexagons from seven people – I can’t wait to see what they have in store for me! 😀 For the sake of my sanity, I ended up creating a spreadsheet to keep track of each crafter and what they had requested, and I already have all the squares and templates cut:
There we are, all ready to go! In fact, one package is already in the post. 🙂
Having never really tried EPP previously, I thought I ought to have a bit of a practice to make sure I’d be ok with making them for other people, so I whipped up a quick half-dozen hexies in my chosen size (3/4″ sides) to put on a personal project:
Yay! These were fussy-cut from an Eclectic Elements model aeroplane blueprints print that I love so much I went back for more! The project they’re on is one that I would like to try and work into a magazine pattern submission, now that I’ve made a prototype and identified the areas that need smoothing out a bit, so I’ll be keeping the rest of it under wraps for now. 😉 I will, however, post my progress with the swap hexies so I can show off all the fabrics I picked out. 🙂
…I’ve just been super-busy for the last couple of months! Family stuff, work, a wedding, that whole Brexit thing, and last but not least, crafting! Things have been made, I’ve just been regrettably bad about sharing it of late. So, I’m going to do a few catch-up posts to show what I’ve been up to and what I’m currently playing with. 🙂
First off, more bags! The organiser of the sewing group I joined when I was dog-sitting in Dorset back in May/June kindly forwarded me some pics of the bag tombola stand that I contributed to:
Doesn’t it look amazing? The variety and creativity was lovely, and the stand did really well, as it deserved to! Great job, ladies! 😀 As well as donating two bags of my own, I gambled on a ticket and won a very cute and beautifully made little tartan shoulder bag, great for if I want to look a bit smarter out and about.
I made another, slightly smaller version of my “Produce bag” very quickly as a gift, with a different theme – a whimsical purple unicorn print:
I love this print, it’s so much fun, and it’s going to crop up in some other things I’ve been working on recently! 😉
I’m currently away on a dog-sitting mission in Dorset, so I couldn’t resist paying a visit to Hansons in Sturminster Newton. It’s quite the Aladdin’s Cave of crafts! I didn’t really have anything particular I was looking for (and when has that ever stopped anyone shopping anyway?), but in the back of my mind, I recalled the fund-raiser coffee morning for the Riding for the Disabled Association I’d been invited to by the local sewing group I joined last Monday. Part of it will involve a tombola with bags as prizes, and when I saw some really great novelty fruit and veg prints, I had a bit of a *ping!* moment.
How cool are these? Definitely the kind of thing to use as the feature fabric on shopping bags, I thought. A bit more rummaging and pondering and I came up with four toning solids and an earthy-looking brown blender (Makower’s Spraytime):
This, I felt, could become something. I added a metre of cotton batting to the pile for good measure and proudly carried my finds home (after getting hopelessly lost in Blandford while looking for the vets).
After playing around a little with the numbers, I cut each of the novelty prints into two 10.5 x 19″ rectangles (the FQs were really generous!), attached them to each end of a rectangle of brown Spraytime, lightly quilted the result with straight lines, sewed up the sides and boxed the corners to make my outer bag. The solids made very nice coordinating liners, and I finished the raw edges around the top with a binding of more brown and added brown handles. It didn’t occur to me until I was part-way through bag #2, but the brown really does look like the nicest kind of soil, especially after I quilted it with brown variegated thread! (No, I have no idea why I own brown variegated thread, but this weekend I was really glad that I did!).
For variety, I quilted the print area with perpendicular straight lines – happily again I discovered that I (mostly) had coordinating thread suitable for each colour. Yay for random purchases!
I think they look really neat as a set:
In total, 12 FQs, 1.5m of brown Spraytime and 1m of wadding was just enough to make all four bags (it almost wasn’t when I messed up cutting the brown a bit, but luckily I managed to gather enough off-cuts to make binding and handles for all of them in the end). My plan is to donate two of them (probably the lemons and carrots) to the RDA coffee morning and keep the other two. I’m really proud of how they came out. 🙂 I think I will also write up a tutorial/pattern for them (with slight size adjustments so they’ll be more US FQ friendly). They’re pretty easy to make and I had a lot of fun with them.
And literally in the nick of time, too. I finished the binding mere minutes before I had to go out, but it’s done. 🙂 There’s some bits I would change and some bits I’m not happy with (aren’t there always?) but on the whole I’m pretty damn proud of it.
The backing is a Marvel fabric I found in Birmingham, which I just couldn’t resist, and I used left-over yellows from the piecing to make a scrappy binding. It finishes at approximately 36 x 48”, which seems to have become my preferred size for baby quilts. Taken all together, it probably took me less than a week to make, but I was lucky I had the chance to really focus on it and keep the momentum going, or it would never have gone done in time.
Some of my favourite bits:
Gotham’s graffiti artists are an educated bunch! 😀 I found this equation fabric in a shop in Beaumaris on Anglesey and couldn’t resist scooping it up.
I’m pleased with how this tower came out, it was a bit that was really bothering me about how it would go together and it changed shape quite a bit during the design phase. It was paper-pieced and ended up working well, even with tiddly pieces.
Right in the middle there is probably the most awkward partial seam in the whole quilt. It definitely needs sorting if there’s ever a Gotham 2.0. (It’s not stained, that’s just drips from the iron.)
Perhaps designing several blocks of 1/4 x 1/2” finished bits was not the best idea. I know right?! Who knew?! It came close to working but isn’t right, so I’d do that differently next time.
For the quilting, I didn’t really have time to do anything terribly fancy (and I didn’t want to fight the busy buildings), so I ended up with organic straight lines for pretty much everything. I used different shades of grey Guetermann polyester on the buildings, working mostly vertically but also following the shapes of roofs as applicable, the bat signal light effect was done with variegated yellow cotton from YLI and the sky was horizontal lines in blue polyester. I used Superior’s Bottom Line in light grey for all of the back, so that it would hopefully not detract too much from Iron Man et al. Mostly everything was fine, although I did struggle with a bit of puckering and shifting when it came time to quilt the sky, especially towards the top, which was extremely annoying. I suspect an issue with my pinning, or perhaps it all got loosened up when I was shifting the quilt about during the building quilting (I used the walking foot almost exclusively). So, things to work on. Always things to work on! 🙂 But this one definitely counts as a triumph for me, especially given how much I had to hurry to get it done.
Fabric architecture is where it’s at for me right now. I’m currently building a Gotham-ish cityscape, complete with bat signal, as a baby quilt. The design has been sitting on my laptop in Inkscape for a few weeks now, but I’ve only just in the last few days had a chance to implement it.
This is my approximate design. Lil bit on the busy side, eh! From a design point of view, the important features are the buildings. The HST background is kind of a placeholder – the intention was always to create a “night sky” look with midnight blue/purple/blue gradient, using randomly oriented HSTs to create more movement and texture. After I’d drawn this, I was rather intimidated and unsure where to start with it. Part of me wanted to start with the buildings – they’re in the foreground, after all! But because of all the partial HSTs between the buildings and the fact that several buildings required a degree of foundation piecing, sorting the HSTs out first made more sense. I had three midnight blue FQs (one solid, two with rather lovely star prints) earmarked for the night sky, and I needed to know how far down I needed bring them to create the look I wanted.
I used two different purples to bridge the gap between the midnight blue and the dark blue that’s mostly around the buildings. Once I had a good grasp of what colours each row of HSTs consisted of, I started assembling buildings and putting the top together.
A good start! There’s some serious fiddle in this quilt; quite a few bits finish at only 1/4” wide. Luckily, the Pfaff is fantastic for this stuff. I’ve equipped it with the straight-stitch plate to stop smaller pieces from being eaten by the needle hole, and everything is going together really well, barring instances of user error! More about that later, though.
I started off intending to just use the six grey FQs I bought in Birmingham, but I quickly realised that I wanted a greater variety of greys, so I dug out the left-over Shimmer 2 FQs I used for my sister’s Weekender bag, and picked out the ones I thought would work. The nice thing about using these is the fact that they add glitter and a sci-fi impression that I would not have got from the prints I started off using.
I’m glad it’s a decision I made early on, before I’d got too far across the quilt. I’m trying to keep the metallic prints more in the centre, though. You can see the sky gradation happening here; I’m quite pleased with it, although I think I could have done with one more FQ of midnight blue and nixxed the all-purple row. I’d say “maybe next time,” but that’s a big maybe!
The problems with making this have been a combination of a lack of time, leading me to rush at it a bit, and the fact that I didn’t really write a proper cutting/piecing guide for myself. I have a (occasionally hilariously wrong) cutting list and for piecing I have my laptop sat on my sewing table so that I can squint at the .svg in Inkscape and try to figure out what goes where. It’s not ideal! So there have been… issues. More haste less speed and all that. I’ve demonstrated that adage frequently in the last few days, given my habit of joining things the wrong way around or upside down. The tall building on the far right in the pic above is a good example; it somehow managed to cause me a lot of hassle because I hadn’t formulated a sensible plan for piecing it, and an extra-special “duh!” moment happened when I thought I’d got the whole thing all done, only to lay it out on the floor, step back and then groan loudly when I realised that I’d managed to join the very top layer on upside down without noticing. I did briefly consider leaving it, but then I sighed wearily, grabbed the unpicker, carefully excised it, flipped it over and put everything back again. Ufff.
However, I feel like I’m on the home straight with this now, barring too many more stupid mistakes. Two more buildings are nearly done and I hope the two remaining ones won’t cause any trouble. *crosses fingers* Joining everything together has been interesting too; there’s a lot of partial seams and the HSTs are no help in this regard, although they look so good that I wouldn’t want to lose them. I am in abject terror of someone asking me for the pattern because I’m not sure I can make sense of how I have gone about putting this together. Between the foundation piecing, HST craziness, partial seam nightmares and the fiddliness of some of the buildings, I wouldn’t know where to begin trying to explain it to someone else!
Oh, and my cutting table now looks like this:
This is what 50 Shades of Grey was all about, right? 😀
It seemed such a good idea at the time. I was in need of a decent-sized quick-ish quilt for a gift (…because when aren’t I, apparently?), and I saw a great pattern in the QuiltNow quilting magazine I’d picked up as lunch-break entertainment the other week. Generally I am not a follower of patterns, but I liked the look of one in particular – Loominous by Lynne Goldsworthy. Importantly, it looked straightforward and quick to assemble. (It was. It is a nice pattern! Lynne did a great job!) A note in the margin suggested using shot cottons instead of the prints used in the original. I read the requirements list. 25 FQs? Ah-ha! I have 25 FQs of shot cottons, I thought to myself. Perfect! 15 of them were a bundle bought a while ago, I think they’re by Rowan. The other 10 were the stripey ones I picked up more recently from Calico Kate. Since they were all end-of-bolt pieces, I have no idea who they’re by.
I started off feeling fairly positive about my plan. Having played around with the FQs as a collective, I knew that I could group them into fairly pleasing colour families, so I got out the rotary cutter and set to cutting. It wasn’t until I got to piecing that the doubt started to creep in. The pattern appeared to rely on having a good distribution of prints and colours, and with the extremely broad colour distribution – everything between (almost) white and (probably) black, that was going to be… interesting. Regardless, I ploughed on, hoping that I was wrong and that this would be one of those “hate it now, love it later” projects.
Oh dear. No. Very No. 🙁 Too many colours. Far too many. Just… argh. The bright pastels (is that a Thing?) just can’t stop fighting against the murkier darks, and the whole thing is an eyewatering mess. Some individual colours might be fine, but some of them are really quite weird, especially en masse. I’m cross with myself because it’s a waste of fabric (the stripey ones, anyway; the possibly-Rowan solids were not actually very nice quality at all – we’re not talking Oakshott here by any stretch of the imagination!), it’s damaged my self-concept of being usually fairly good at colour use, and I *still* don’t have something ready as a present. 🙁
Shortly after I took this photo, the whole lot fell off the wall, possibly under the weight of all the Fail. (It has convinced me that I *NEED* a proper design wall, though. I am so over trying to arrange blocks and assess designs on the floor – it just doesn’t cut it.)
So, what now? Well, I don’t want to completely waste all the fabric and effort in this, so I’m going to try splitting the blocks into smaller, more coordinated groups, to see if that improves things. If it works out, I shall donate the resulting quilts to Project Linus; I know they’re always in need! If it doesn’t work…. back to the drawing board, I guess?
…Or give me some other patchwork fabric. That works too. Yeah, I wonder how many times that pun’s been used? Oh well! :p I seem to be failing hopelessly at not buying fabric right now, although at least a smidgen of it is for a commission. I’m not sure if that makes it better or not! A big contributor to my stash was the Sewing For Pleasure show at the Birmingham NEC a few weeks ago. 11 fat quarters for £15? Yes. HELL yes. Please. I may have gone a bit nuts at that stand! Then there have been some more local purchases as well, including some lovely stripey shot cottons and some completely unexpected Liberty prints.
Sewing For Pleasure Purchases
The first stand to really suck me in and get me reaching for my wallet was Japan Crafts. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I’m rather partial to Japanese-related fabrics and crafts, so their selection of shiny fabrics initially drew me in. However, it was the sashiko supplies that really hooked me. Sashiko is something I have wanted to try for a while, and here was a stand selling nice bundles of everything needed to have a go! And a flexible attitude to mixing and matching supplies helped, too. I ended up walking away with two small and one large panel of pre-preprinted sashiko designs, plus a generously sized skein of sashiko thread.
I have a feeling my bundle was supposed to include needles too, but either I dropped them somewhere at the show or they got forgotten in the purchase kerfuffle, so I had to order some more, which was a bit annoying. 🙁 Still, I’m pleased with the designs and looking forward to maybe sitting in the sun and doing some hand-sewing!
As mentioned, I found a stand doing a very good (by UK standards, anyway!) offer on fat quarters. I did not hold back!
Many of these were bought with a quilt already in mind, so I don’t feel too bad about them finding their way into the house. 🙂 And I picked up plenty of yellows after discovering that it’s a really under-represented colour in my stash.
I also bought a few fabrics from other stands as well:
The Marvel superhero fabric will hopefully be the backing for a quilt for my cousin’s first baby, due in May. Also, I clearly cannot stay away from Moda’s Modern Backgrounds – I couldn’t pass up getting a couple of half-meter chunks. I’m just a sucker for equations on quilting fabric! Then some random fat quarters – I really liked the leaves in two different colourways and I love a good blue.
That was about it for fabric purchases, the only(!) other things I bought were some thread and a(nother!) FMQ foot for the Pfaff – the dynamic 6D spring foot – after thoroughly quizzing the staff on the stand to make sure that it would work on the QE 4.2.
They agreed that it would be fine and indeed they were right; it’s the foot I used to quilt Poppy’s Flower Garden and it seemed to work well, even though I threw silly things like fleece at it. On the right are some #8 pearl cottons, which I’ve wanted to play with for a while, and which have already been pressed into service, a random grab-bag of shininess from Oliver Twists that I just couldn’t resist and that does potentially have a project to go with if I ever manage to start it, and some Aurifil that I picked out for my sister’s wedding quilt, which is finally basted and ready to go under the needle.
The solid is Moda Bella in Royal Blue, and the prints are from Artisan Spirit’s Shimmer range, which I adore. The brief was for a royal blue/emerald green bed quilt and the design will be diamonds, which will hopefully look like they’re floating against the solid royal blue. It was a bit tricky to sort out designs and fabric choices with the client because she doesn’t live near me and she has no internet access, so I had to take photos and send them to a family member to show to her! But these are the prints she particularly earmarked and they go beautifully together. I wanted to try and get more green into the top in the sashing between the diamonds or by adding another print, but unfortunately every green we tried fought hard against the other fabrics. However, the Artisan Spirit range also has extra-wide fabric in a really great emerald green that I’ll put on the back, and I may bind it with green, too.
While hunting down the above, these somehow fell into my basket and followed me home:
Shot cottons! I think these are from Rowan, although I’m not 100% sure. I have two FQs each of the red/green, blue/orange, pink/silver and blue/gold, and just one each of the blue/silver and light blue. I’d like to find a project that will really show off the stripey-ness and shimmer of these fabrics, they’re very lush. Fortunately, they also go really well with a bundle of “plain” shot cottons I bought a little while ago, so I’ll probably combine them to make a decent-sized quilt. I think shot cottons are becoming my answer to the fact that I like the concept of a quilt with solids but the range of solids actually available to me (without having to order online) is horribly limited.
Lastly, I mentioned Liberty, didn’t I? And I haven’t shown off any Liberty yet, have I? Well now! Look what I found hiding out at Wheeler Fabrics in Machynlleth!
They’re got a small collection of luvverly Liberty prints in at the moment for a great price, mostly on the bolt but some as fat quarters. I’m afraid I have no idea what any of the prints are called, I just picked out the ones that really “spoke” to me. I love the sketchy look of this print and when I realised I was cherry-picking FQs of it out of the box, I figured it would make much more sense to just buy a big bit, so this ready-cut bit is ~1.5m.
So is this bit. With so many colours, it goes with lots of other prints really well. I’m sure I’ve seen it before online somewhere and I loved it, I just didn’t expect to find any practically on my doorstep!
I thought this print was a batik at first, it’s got that kind of organic look that demands a second glance. It’s rather darker IRL, but at least this picture shows the print on it. I bought half a meter.
Same print, different colourways. Half a meter of each.
And likewise here! A half-meter each of these. I love the bright version of this print, but there wasn’t much else among the bolts that teamed up well with it, other than the pixelly effort above. Still, it demanded to come home with me!
And these are three random fat quarters that just caught my eye. (Well, that purple would catch anyone’s eye, lol!) No real plans for these yet. I know they don’t go together, or with the other prints. That’s fine, they’re not expected to. 🙂
Finally there’s this. I didn’t buy this bit! I found it loitering in a pile in my hopelessly chaotic craft room, so I suspect it’s from mum’s fabric stash. It looks sorta-kinda a bit like a Liberty print but there’s no way to tell. It has a similar feel and weight to the Liberty prints I just bought and I think I can persuade it to get along with that punchy floral print, so they may end up in a project together. 🙂
So, that’s my recent haul, give or take a bit. And now I really ought to get back to work so I can justify all this wicked spending I’ve been doing! *pulls self away from the Liberty Craft Blog*