Wednesday 21 February 2018

Quilt Show preparation, a new kit and North Star Quilting

For the past few weeks I've been cutting, folding, glueing, and pricing like a mad woman, in preparation for my first show of the year, the Spring Quilt Festival at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. This 3-day event is held in a smaller hall than the one in Autumn, which I must say does make for a more much relaxed show. Talking to visitors last year, many commented on how nice it was to wander around the stalls at a leisurely pace, have time for some lunch before having a second look around and actually remembering where they saw that something that caught their eye!

As you can see, I've added some lovely individual fat quarters to my show stock, these boxes look so inviting don't they! And I've a few new kits not taken to shows before, including this gorgeous new Mosaic Garden Quilt Kit in Michael Miller's Wildflower fabrics.

You may recognise this quilt from a pervious Pre-Cut Party pattern, I've increased the number of blocks to thirty to make this double-sized quilt finish at approx. 67" x 80". The kit includes 120 pre-cut 5" squares, 3.10m of Makower's Ivory and eight binding strips, plus thread and full instructions. This new kit will be available in the Sewmotion shop early next week, priced at £68.00.

Did you notice the beautiful quilting on my new quilt above? Most of the time I love to quilt my own tops, but this quilt begged for something special, so I decided to give it to my friend Bryony Liddle to longarm. Bryony and her husband Luke run North Star Quilting, a longarm quilting service up here in the North East of England. I let her have free reign on my quilt, and she didn't disappoint! Keeping with the grid-like pattern of the patchwork, Bryony went to town with some truly stunning quilt designs in block formation. Fine Art trained, Bryony is a joy to work with, incredibly enthusiastic about her work and is very talented indeed! For more details on North Star Quilting's services, including prices, click here

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers & Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Learning from our wonderful quilting community

It really is easier than ever to learn a new skill these days thanks to the wonderful worldwide web and the generous communities out there who love to share their knowledge for free - and the quilting community is certainly no exception. Like many of you, whenever I'm stuck on a project or don't quite understand a technique and need to see a demo, I head for Pinterest or YouTube and it all soon becomes clear.

There are so many websites where quilter's share their knowledge, tips and hints with their readers - you can see my own collection of free tutorials here, from cutting fabric, speedy chain-piecing and EPP to designing a backing and joining binding ends.

The UKQU website is a another growing resource for learning with many of the UK's top quilting professionals as well as us 'normal' people sharing their skills and inspiration in the Bloggers Central section, and there's also a great Hints & Tips section with more free tutorials. This website grew out of the incredibly popular Facebook group and also includes information on quilting retreats, workshops and training, local groups and quilting shops.

I have heard some say that blogging is dying out, but I don't think that's true. If you read my own blog, you will see that every week I link to so-called Linky Parties, weekly online get-togethers where bloggers can share their current makes and meet people across the world, my favrourites are Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication and Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

As the world becomes smaller and communities become global, these blogs and websites are great opportinties to meet new quilting friends from around the world and find inspiration in unexpected places. Where do you hang out and find your best inspiration? Instagram? Pinterest? Do you have a favourite blogger to share with us? Please leave your comments below, I love to explore new places!

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday 8 February 2018

A new Overlapping Cushion Kit - & a surprise birthday trip

This curved EPP nonsense really has taken over my life, I went to finish my latest cushion on the machine this week and realised how long it had been since I sat there! So next month's free pattern is definitely going to be a machine-sewn quilt, honest!

For now however... I couldn't resist making a second version of my Overlapping Cushion kit, this time using these gorgeous rich prints from the Coonawarra Red collection by Helen Stubbings.

This block is actually one that features in my Curve Motion Medallion BOM quilt, I loved it so much I needed to use to in other projects. Thanks to glue-basting, these curved shapes come together quite easily, and surprisingly quickly. They are then appliqu├ęd onto a linen-look cotton from Sevenberry's Japanese collection making this a very sumptuous cushion indeed. What's more I've now added a Sewline gluepen and cotton thread for piecing to both of the kits, so you can get stuck in as soon as you open the box! These kits are £29.00 each, and if you subscribe to the Newsletter you can get 15% off before the end of the month.

As I mentioned last week, Justin was whisking me away for my birthday, I knew not where... well after a couple of red herring turns towards the Newcastle ferry terminal and the airport (!) we kept going north to the beautiful town of Alnwick, home to Alnwick Castle where they filmed the Harry Potter films. Unfortunately the castle was closed until March, but that's just an excuse to return!

Alnwick Castle

We walked around the town on the Friday, and popped into the famous Barter Books. This wonderful second-hand bookshop is situated inside a glorious old Victoria train station, complete with miniature trains running on tracks over our heads and a cosy fire-lit cafe in the old waiting room. Needless to say, we spent a few hours in here. 

Barter Books, Alnwick
Justin had then booked us a gorgeous cream tea at our hotel, The White Swan, followed by a lovely evening meal in their Olympic dining room, so called because its whole interior including the beautifully carved wooden panels, mirrors and ceiling were originally part of the Olympic ship, sister to the Titanic. Apparently the owner of the hotel went to the auction after the ship had been decommissioned, and decided he wanted to buy this whole room, then came home and built the hotel's dining room to accommodate his new purchase. The room is certainly very impressive!  

The Olympic Dining room, The White Swan, Alnwick
On the Saturday it sadly rained... all day! So we went on a little driving tour up to Berwick, crossed the border into Scotland - again, we plan to return in better weather - then heading back down we stopped at Bamburgh Castle, crossed over the causeway onto Holy Island, finally stopping at Seahouses for the best fish and chips I've had in a while.

Berwick Viaduct and Bamburgh Castle
That evening we went to The Plough, a beautifully restored coaching inn dating back to 1896, where they serve food from their renowned Jolly Fisherman Craster menu - I had the Bouillabaisse which was just amazing! 

On Sunday the sun was back, and on Stitchscape's Diane's recommendation we stopped at Alnmouth bay on our way home, and wasn't disappointed, what a beautiful beach for a morning walk, thanks Di! 

The stunning Alnmouth Bay
So if you're ever in the northeast of England, head a little further up past Newcastle and explore the wonders of Northumberland, you won't be disappointed, even in the rain!

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at QuiltFabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday 1 February 2018

It's Pre-Cut Party time!

January always seems like such a long month, and this year was no exception. After a wobbly start with the dreaded lurgy, I still seem to have accomplished quite a lot - my Curve Motion Medallion BOM is in full swing - don't forget, this block-of-the-month EPP quilt is available to join at anytime, so why not sign-up for 16 months of slow, meditative hand-sewing.

Month One of the CMM BOM features these two centre rings
I've also been lucky enough to have two projects featured in Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine, which always makes me smile. 

Rainbow Waves - Love Patchwork & Quilting, Issue 57
I've finally uploaded my previous Pre-Cut Party patterns onto Payhip which are now available for sale here, and I've another hundred or so designs running around my head for the year ahead! Many of these new designs are based on the curve EPP technique that I'm now totally in love with, and which features in this month's free Pre-Cut Party pattern - for those new to Sewmotion, I design a free pattern based on my love of quilting pre-cuts for my Newsletter subscribers every month. 

Subscribe to the Sewmotion Newsletter for this free EPP Flower Hoop Art pattern
This pretty EPP Flower Hoop Art project lends itself so well to fussy-cutting - a technique where you cut identical motifs from your fabric which then create a secondary design when the shapes are sewn together. To accompany this month's free pattern, I have written a tutorial here on how to use template plastic for fussy-cutting your fabric. So if you would like this free pattern and more throughout the year, sign up to the Newsletter here.

January is also a long month as it's my birthday on 2nd February, and yet again, I'm being whisked away by my wonderful Justin to who knows where - I will let you know next week :)

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers & Needle & Thread Thursday