Saturday, August 27, 2016

What I bought

This year I went a little crazy. Forgive the slightly skewed shot. I was knackered by this point. It feels like a big haul. I went a little crazy. Not having access to a quilt shop just makes me go giddy when I see all this stuff that I can only ever access online. I loved just browsing! I feel bad. I bought a lot of stuff! I didn't quite plan to. The way I like to rationalise it is like this: if it was on your shopping list then it's a fair purchase. If it's something for an actual project you are doing then it is a good purchase. If it's a spur of the moment purchase for a new project then it's LAVISH. If it's not even for a project but you just like it then it is WELL LAVISH.

Let's see how I did...

I bought some things for my new travelling EPP bag for the Smitten project. As it's all preplanned and for a project it's a fair purchase. I bought a small rotary cutter which I had been after ever since I started watching Sue Daley's YouTube channel. In her Top Tips for Paper Piecing she talks about the tools that she uses and this is one. I bought a small ruler of my favourite kind which fits in my little bag perfectly. I am pretty happy about that. And a new thread cutter for 50p. I keep losing mine.

I also bought some Superior Bottom Line Thread that she recommends. They were doing a special on them at the show. Three for two. I am unsure about them. I will gauge them against my Mettler thread and see how I feel. They are on Su Daley's list of EPP must haves though so I am bowing to the guru.

I also bought some Hiroshima Needles. Luckily the Clover stall had examples out of all the needles.
I got the Tulip Applique Needles 6/Pkg-Size 10 Big Eye ones they recommended but they also gave out free sample packs of other needles. First impressions tell me that my Clover Black Gold Needles Applique/ Sharps Assorted are thinner, smaller and sharper and more my thing, but we'll see. The wider eye on the needle is great and maybe a slightly thicker needle will stop my thread shredding. I am looking forward to seeing how the new thread performs.

I also bought some of the tulip pins which was totally LAVISH. But they were so beguiling. Mum was buying some and I knew I would be so jealous. They look great on my new pincushion. I really don't need them at all.

I bought three patterns, well two really as one was my birthday present from mum. She got me the Bring me Flowers pattern which I have wanted for ages. I am not 100% about the full quilt, but I love the individual blocks which people do. Seeing Kerry's has got me into it. It's a backburner project for a rainy day.

Festival of Quilts 2016
I also bought a Sew Enchanting mini dresden plate pattern which was totally spur of the moment. I have no idea what fabrics I would even do it in. I love the odd shaped hexes and the embroidered letters. I think I would use totally different fabrics but I have no idea what. Maybe Liberty or just my scrap bag. Or tasteful solids. Oooh, I have no idea.

And I bought a Janet Clare sewing kit pattern along with a small charm pack of her Wordsmith range for Moda and a fat quarter of one of her text prints just in case. I am glad I had the extra fat quarter as there are only just enough blocks and I needed to substitute some one I had laid them all out. I also bought a lovely fat quarter of soft calico from The Shuttle to use as lining and another text print from a different range which I thought I could use for something someday. This is going to be a Christmas make present so it didn't feel that lavish.

Fabricwise my biggest splurge was at The Eternal Maker which I ended up visiting multiple times. It's such a great shop! I didn't really need that much more fabric for my Smitten, but it's nice to shop for it. So now I have lots of stripes and yellows and pinks to add to my stash. I love the itsy bitsy spider fabric, that will be the centre of the first hexagon I think. I am eager to get started. I want to lay out all my fabrics and choose the first hexagon fabrics then settle into some autumn nights on the sofa surrounded by all my kit.

The other thing I bought for this project was some Colonial Needle 2 oz "Glue-Baste-It" The Basting Glue for Fabric. See on the bottom right? It has a superfine tip which means you can use less glue. I have found removing the papers from the sewline glue pen a bit hard. I need to use less glue, so I thought this might help. Now I feel ready!

Not forgetting the Farmer's Wife though. I did manage to buy some cheap backing fabric from Fabrics Galore. The grey stripe will look perfect. I considered grey seersucker from The Shuttle but it is hard to work with as it never lies flat so I kept it simple. I also stocked up on some simple grey fabric as I didn't find all the neutral fat quarters at The Shuttle this year which I find so invaluable so this single grey will have to do instead.

Speaking of The Shuttle, it is now a major stop off for me as I always use their fat quarters of plain fabric. They are finer and thinner than regular cotton, percale at a guess but they are lovely to work with and go really soft. I used all my last lot in my Farmer's Wife so this year I got a big batch. It's still a great price: 4 for £5. Result! I'd really like to do some small just plain projects this year so I might use the greens to make a cushion or something. An idea is gently brewing.

I also swung by Kaffe Fassett to just look at his lovely shot cottons. I didn't quite have a project in mind this year though so I ended up buying none! Luckily there was a Fair Trade stall selling very similar fabrics by the fat quarter so I got some of those. They are so lovely. I think they would make great little flying geese or mini square in an Amish inspired purse or something. Mum said I could make something for her out of them so maybe I will get my act together in time for Christmas. When something can be turned into an xmas present I always feel better about the purchase. I love homemade xmas presents, they are such a rarity these days.

My final purchase on the last day was this cool fabric from The Eternal Maker. I did the classic thing of seeing what someone else was buying and falling in love with it all. In the end I had to get her (Gill) to show me where everything was and we became Instagram friends! Hark at me! It makes me want to go to a quilt retreat and meet other people who get excited about fabric. I need to dork out!

And lastly, I did spend a long time looking at books. It was nice to leaf through ones I see other people buy. The only one I was really tempted by was Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Romance but mostly because I love the pickledish pattern from the cover. I keep watching Mary's one and really like it. The rest of the book was not really to my liking though so I held off. I'd really just like to buy a cheap second hand copy but there don't seem to be any. I will just have to do my best alone!

So there you have it! a big haul. I have just spent the last year making an epic sampler quilt though, so I feel I have slaved enough to earn it. Obvs, the fact that it's pretty wonky and every, yes every block has too big outside seams meaning none of the points will match up, is beside the point. When I get home from summer hols, it's time to baste the Farmer's Wife and start the Smitten.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Festival Quilts 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016
Well The Royal Festival of Quilts was epic once again. We decided to go Thursday/Friday this year as we have never done that before. I was so excited! The biggest change this year was that the second hall had really filled up and didn't feel like the forgotten about add on hall. It actually felt nicer to be in and more spacious. I reckon it has become the better hall.

It was pretty jam-packed on the Thursday, a bit less so on the Friday so not there's not much difference people wise from weekday to weekend. But it felt good being there on the first day when everyone was fresh and you knew you were seeing everything first.

Festival of Quilts 2016
There were loads of offers and cool things. I felt a bit overwhelmed at the start. We just wondered around wide-eyed. I wish I had got the Lucy Boston special from Paper Pieces... maybe next year. It was amazing just to be able to look at everything properly rather then be shopping online. More about what I bought later.

Festival of Quilts 2016
And look at these great bundles from The Contented Cat. It's so hard. I am tempted by everything. I see some people who just buy one thing or just go to look at the quilts and I am awed by their restraint. I just want everything! I usually prefer the quilts on display at the stalls because then I know it is within my grasp to make them so I have a lot of pictures of those. Many stall holders don't like it. I guess they are selling the patterns for these quilts and don't want people to copy them, but I love to look back and remember them and look up the various stall holder's shops and rack up another potential project image on Pinterest.

Festival of Quilts 2016
As for quilts. I always like to check out the miniature quilts. Look! They are so tiny! I was trying to note down people's names so I could credit them, but, well... I just can't sort it all out, so it's just pictures of nice things that caught my eye.

Festival of Quilts 2016
Look at these beautiful fabrics. They look so delicate and oldy worldy. And they are mostly fussy cut which I wasn't going to do with my Smitten quilt as I sometimes feel it gives off a fractal appearance which messes with my mind but this is just lovely. It makes me eager to get started.

Festival of Quilts 2016
I love the little donuts and the warm colour palette. I just think this could be really nice in shot cotton solids. It's a Monkey Buttons pattern called Sunset.

Festival of Quilts 2016
There was a great plastic piecing stall. The pieces were ridiculously tiny; I love the samples on the walls – so pretty.

Festival of Quilts 2016
But back to the exhibition quilts. They were mega. Look at this! It was huge. It's just so much work. I am always awed.

Festival of Quilts 2016
These were all the antique quilts which always catch my eye. They are wonky and threadbare and just beautiful. I love the old fabrics, they work so well.

Festival of Quilts 2016
So pretty. I love the pink stripe in the centre.

Festival of Quilts 2016
I love the mix of purples, pinks and peaches.

Festival of Quilts 2016
And there were a few Farmer's Wife quilts. Look at this one all in yellow! It is so well done. Mine looks like it was made by a monkey in comparison.

Festival of Quilts 2016
I love the colours here. They are so sophisticated and mellow. I seem to always make rainbow car crashes when really all I want to do is make tasteful quilts. This looks so soft! I think this was my favourite quilt!

Festival of Quilts 2016
I loved all the sampler quilts that were cropping up. I spent a long time looking at individual blocks and working out which were my favourites. It's great to see them in the flesh. All in all a great show.

On a more modern note...
Festival of Quilts 2016
I love the colours

Festival of Quilts 2016
I love the randomness combined with the Alison Glass fabric

Festival of Quilts 2016
I love the colours and the quilting.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

FW99: Widow

This week. After laying out my blocks I realised that I needed only one of the last 5 blocks in order to complete my layout so I thought it fitting to just make the last one. It felt weird thinking this was the last time. A rite of passage.

Block 99 Widow 20160806-P1450339
I wasn't that sure about this block but it felt like the one to make and in fact I really like it. I should have put the first block and the last in opposite corners but I wasn't that organised.

I really like the peachy colours combined with the yellows. Sometimes I wish all my blocks had followed this theme. I just hope there is enough of this palette in the end result.

Open seams were a must. I am pretty happy with the tidiness of the back. A very satisfying last block. Now back to sewing it all together. I have completed all my strips. I just need to sew the inbetween sashing strips. I doubt I will finish this before Birmingham but at least I tried. Roll on Thursday and The Royal Festival of quilts!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

FW93: Starlight & FW94: Susannah

This week has been hard in the fact that I am so over making blocks! I can see the finish line so clearly now I am rushing. I decided to do both blocks this week; one easy, one a bit harder. I doubt there will many more weeks with both blocks completed. Above are my untrimmed sections. I also realised that after waiting till halfway through this process to get my small rotary cutting mat, then not using it for a long time, it has finally become a regular fixture. I wouldn't say it was essential, but once you are in the groove it does make life easier so I am glad I own it.

It's definitely an easy process to trim my blocks down using it in combination with mum's 6.5 inch ruler. I do think that ruler has been pretty essential to the process so I would buy more square rulers in the future if I was doing a big project.

Block 93 Starlight
93 Starlight
I was in two minds about this block as it does have a few funny angles in it but I am glad I made it in the end. The finished shape is very pleasing and the pink fabric hasn't been featured much so it's good to get a bit more of it in. Nearly everything lined up perfectly in the end so it was relatively painless to put together.

I think the only slightly off bit is that dark purple ray coming towards you. Very slightly off. Oh well, I am still pretty happy.

And the back is very neat meaning the whole block lies nice and flat.

Block 94 Susannah
I wasn't going to make this block, purely because it was a bit similar to block 49: Katherine, but then I realised how much I liked that block so I changed my mind. So not only did I make it, I used my favourite fabrics in it.

I really like how it turned out. I love the peach solid.

And the back is very neat mainly because it was a nice, simple block.