Thursday 25 February 2016

A Hint of Summer from John Louden

Once a year I am asked to design and make a collection of quilt samples for fabric company John Louden & Co. Based in Leeds, this third generation family company sells a huge selection of apparel and craft fabric throughout the UK and Europe. In the quilting world, they’re probably currently best known for their gorgeous Scandi Christmas range which includes cute reindeer and penguins and festive stars and hearts in red or blue on a soft calico base.

Even though Christmas is thankfully way off, I thought a wall hanging would show off these Scandi designs well and that large baubles would make the most of the featured animals in each of the fabrics, and of course they just had to be hexagon baubles! Each one is attached with Bondaweb, then machine appliquéd and quilted with blanket stitch.

The other fabric collections I had to work from were far more summery, in particular this Summer Pastels range, from which I made a lap quilt/wall hanging and a table runner. 

The A Summer Bouquet lap quilt is based on a favourite technique of mine, the stitch-and-flip method used to make snowball or half-snowball blocks. I particularly like how the two plain blues used in the corner triangles seem to pop out. The A Wave to Summer table runner was made using a wedge ruler, and rather than going round in a circle, every ten wedges I flipped the next one to make them go in the other direction, hence creating a wave-like design.

The next range, the lovely Trailing Vine collection, has some directional issues! This one took some thinking about, and after a while I came up with this four-pointed star that I thought, with some careful fabric placement, could emphasise the directional nature of the vines. This range actually comes in nine colours in both negative and positive colourways, but I decided to stick to purple, pink, green and grey to create this foundation-pieced Star Jumps lap quilt. I then had some fun with free-motion quilting in the negative spaces.

The final collection, and possibly my favourite, is Pretty Posies which comes in four colours, again in both negative and positive colourways. I decided to take the blue and red, together with the same blue and red from Trailing Vine and make this very Americana looking table runner. Not only are the colours reminiscent of the American flag, but I think the small squares in this half Trip Around The World pattern evoke memories of old hand-pieced quilts made by the pilgrims on their search for a better life.


Each of these patterns and fabric collections will be available at your nearest Louden stockist, for more information, contact John Louden.

Don’t forget if you would like to follow my weekly updates and ramblings you can follow me by email or Bloglovin in the column on the right. We also publish a monthly Newsletter which not only tells you about our latest products and pattern releases, but also has some great  offers only available to subscribers. To subscribe click here.

This week I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilt's Let's Bee Social and Needle And Thread Thursday over at My Quilt Infatuation - come and be inspired!

Thursday 18 February 2016

A Much Needed Upgrade!

This week has seen some radical decisions… we’ve upgraded the operating system on our poor over-used MacBook Pro! I have to admit, we’re quite lazy and sometimes daunted when it comes to updating software and the like, also a little scared of things going wrong. However, after struggling along with a very old version of iMovie, I decided it was time to move on… I found the Mac OS upgrade and pressed the button, three hours later and we are now running the rather impressive sounding El Capitan and I have a brand new iMovie to play with!! Yeah!

So the next logical step was to have a play and make a new movie… and voilà, we have the next episode in our English Paper Piecing tutorial series. 

My philosophy behind these mini movies is for the viewer to be able to watch a short film and grasp the technique pretty quickly. I have watched many films on YouTube, and while so many are amazing and very educational, there are others that I find quite laboursome to watch, and a little boring. So in making my own I wanted them to be snappy, jolly and straight to the point, hence the music and the subtitles. If the music annoys you, (and I wouldn’t blame you after hours of listening to the same track myself) you can turn the sound off and still get what’s going on – perfect for viewing in public!

If you’re inspired by these movies and want to try EPP for yourself, or maybe you’re looking for a portable holiday project, these lovely cushion kits are available to buy in our shop. Each kit includes all the fabric, papers, glue pen and thread to make the top, plus full written instructions.

In other news… I’ve just had a delivery of these gorgeous prints from Michael Miller’s Sea Holly collection by Sarah Campbell, don’t you just love that teal and grey! I plan to mix these with a couple of Kona Solids for some new pre-cut kits, so watch this space!

Finally, just a gentle reminder for us all, Mother’s Day is just around the corner (Sunday 6th March) so why not treat your dear mum to a gift as unique and special as she is with a handmade gift from Sewmotion! We have purses, pouches, make-up cases and cushions in the Sewmotion Shop, our Folksy shop and of course on Etsy. My latest additions are these cute polka dot cases and pouches made is a gorgeously soft linen, and I’m just finishing these glasses cases now and will be available at the weekend.  

Don’t forget if you would like to follow my weekly updates and ramblings you can follow me by email or Bloglovin in the column on the right. We also publish a monthly Newsletter which not only tells you about our latest, news products and pattern releases, but also has some great discounts and offers only available to subscribers. To subscribe click here.

This week I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilt's Let's Bee Social and Needle And Thread Thursday over at My Quilt Infatuation - come and be inspired!

Sunday 14 February 2016

Sunday Stash #13 & Today's Quilter

Having just finished a big project, I thought it was about time I had a tidy of my messy stash... you know how it is, you get these flashes of inspiration or emergency gifts to make, and you end up pulling fabric and not putting it back... or maybe that's just me!

There are two issues with tidying a stash - 1) you scare yourself silly when you realise how much you have, and 2) ideas for new projects and patterns bombard you from all angles - I'm exhausted!

I did come across some gems though - at Christmas I treated myself to some fat quarters of Mini Pearl Bracelets by Lizzie House, I know it's a strange colour range, but I quite like it and can see maybe some four-pointed stars on a white background... I only have 6 FQs so this one will need some thinking about. These came from The Village Haberdashery who I've just noticed have a brand spanking new website, very nice indeed!

My other recent purchase were these gorgeous teals and orange from Doughty's Je Ne Sais Quoi range - I do love this whole collection, not only are they quality cottons, but they're a whole 65" wide and come in cute ditsy designs. I am planning some new patterns with these babies, and maybe a new kit or two... 

I also wanted to share some great Sewmotion news, we've been featured in this month's Today's Quilter magazine. I'm pretty sure I've raved about this mag before. Aimed at the modern quilter inspired by traditional fabrics, patterns and techniques, this monthly mag features great patterns - which tend to be at least eight pages long - a breakdown of new techniques harking back to the history of quilting, and to top all that, the truly inspiration Lynne Edwards runs a virtual workshop in which she breaks down the basics of quilting - superb for beginners! Lynne also features in this month's pullout in which she talks about her amazing life, her beautiful collection of quilts, and her love of teaching.

There is also a well researched round-up of quilting news and events - the piece on Sewmotion is spot on and very lovely (gush!), as well as features on world class quilters who provide even more inspiration - this month there's a great article on pre-cut queens the Lintotts. So I suggest you get to the shops asap, sit back with a cuppa and get inspired!

This week I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles' Sunday Stash - come and say hello.

Monday 8 February 2016

We have a winner!!!

I'm so pleased to announce the winner of our very first Giveaway is Heather, who by her comments on Facebook, really needs yet another hobby to add to her already wide repertoire!

Heather gets to choose which of these gorgeous colourways she would prefer - if you would like one of your very own cushion kits which include the fabric, papers, glue and thread to make this cushion top, plus clear instructions introducing you to English paper-piecing - visit our shop, where you can pick one up for £20 with free UK postage!

Thursday 4 February 2016

My first movie!

I must have a hundred different ideas floating around my head at the moment, what with more samples for John Louden (more about that next week), my new Hexy Cushion Kits to get into the world, and the patterns, kits and designs begging to be put to paper, my brain can get pretty overwhelmed! So this week, as it was my birthday, I decided to learn something new just to add to the madness!

Here is my first attempt at filmmaking! Haha! Not the best quality I know – I used an old digi-camera I’d forgotten we owned, and an even older version of iMovie. Still, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, though that tune now drives me insane after hearing it so many times!

In my first film venture, I wanted to share my favourite technique for glue-basting shapes for English paper-piecing, a method that features in our new Hexy Cushion Kits – great gifts for Mother’s Day (6th March) – click below for more details.

There’s still time to enter our free GIVEAWAY – for a chance to win a Hexy Cushion Kit of your very own – you’ll be addicted to EPP in no time – leave a comment below telling me which craft you find the most addictive – entries close at midnight, Friday 5th March, and a winner will be chosen at random.