Thursday 19 May 2016

Finishes & More May Purchases

I don’t know about you, but when I have a holiday on the horizon, I either go into a complete panic and try and get everything done that I can before leaving my workroom for a week, thus completely stressing myself out. Or I start to wind down way too early, using my week off as an excuse for not getting things done.

Well, this week, thankfully I've gone somewhere in the middle – not only have I finished two quilts, but also indulged in a little planning for some me-sewing away from the computer screen.

My first finish is this cute baby quilt using Riley Blake’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic collection, together with some matching Konas and a white-on-white print.

Once I’ve finished writing up the pattern and had it checked by my trusty ‘testers’ – you know who you are – it’ll be available as a pre-cut kit.

Having realised that my Quick & Easy/Beginner’s Quilt Kits were quite girly, I decided to put together a more masculine version, though I do admit I quite
like it myself! 

This one features another Riley Blake design, Keep On Groovin’, with navy and orange Kona solids. Again, this will be added to my Kit collection once I’ve got back from my holiday.

I have to say, I’m totally loving this May is for Makers movement, it has really made me sit down to look at other designers’ patterns with the view of making something myself – I haven’t done this for years! It’s also given me the great excuse to make a couple more purchases!

First up is this funky Runaround Bag from Anna at Noodlehead, who I have admired for years on blogs and Instgram. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not really a ‘handbag’ sort of girl, but would much rather a big bag I can throw everything into - including the odd bit of handsewing - so this will be ideal, I just need to find the right fabric now…

And talking of handsewing, well English paper piecing to be exact, my third purchase this month is this gorgeous EPP design, Perpetual Spring from Flossie Teacakes

Florence is a self-confessed EPP addict, and I would say one of the pioneers of fussy-cut piecing. For those new to this wonderful craft, Florence has a great Beginner’s guide, plus a fantastic tutorial on how to fussy-cut your different shapes on her website. I have been catching curved paper-piecing all over Instagram during the last year, and felt I must have a go. I do love the yellows Florence has used, though looking at my stash of solids, I may go for a range of pinks with maybe a light grey… guess what I’ll be taking away with me next week!

So as you may have gathered by now, I will be on annual leave next week, enjoying more delights of the Netherlands – our second home! This means I will not be processing orders through my Sewmotion, Folksy or Etsy shops until Tuesday 31st May (though my PDF pattern downloads will still be available through Etsy). Have a great week lovely people!

Why not pop over to these Linky Parties for more quilty fun and inspiration...

Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday 12 May 2016

Big Stash and May is for Makers

In between designing, cutting, sewing and packing, I try my best to squeeze in some reading, particularly some of the wonderful quilting blogs from around the world. One of my favs is Yvonne Fuchs, aka Quilting JetGirl – not only do I love her style of quilt design, modern and simple yet so striking, but also her whole philosophy behind our craft. If I’m feeling in rut or just not happy with myself, her mantra “you are doing your best work right now” always seems to bring me up again.

Yvonne recently shared a fellow quilter’s blog, LR Stitched. Lindsey Rhodes is another fabulous quilter who shares my love of colour and designs some beautiful patterns. This month she launched a campaign called “May is for Makers” - you can read her full post here.

One thing that really resonated with me was the fact that I am terrible at buying other quilters’ patterns, or products come to that. I know I spout on about how great it is to give something handmade, but when it comes to me buying other people’s creations, I think to myself, “I could make that”, or “I could design that pattern” so why buy it? Now of course, I then go home, get distracted with my own work and never get round to making or designing anything of the sort.

And this is the point, why should I spend my own precious time doing something that someone else has already spent hours upon hours designing? Why shouldn’t I buy that quilter’s pattern and just make it?! Maybe this need to work everything out and design it myself comes from my own background. I have no formal training in this sewing lark, but rather am totally self-taught – I love working out “how did they do that?” However, I now realise this isn’t helping anyone, not me, and certainly not the quilter who has slogged their guts out to perfect their latest creation in the hope that someone will make a purchase.

In a world of free online tutorials (Lindsey’s and mine included) we need to do more to support those talented designers out there. As a quilt designer myself, I know the hard work over many hours that goes into writing a pattern, from designing the quilt, making it, possibly in various sizes, writing the instructions, drawing the illustrations, and that’s all before the actual marketing…

The patterns you see on sale on Etsy, Craftsy and quilters’ blogs really are worth every penny and I for one am going to make a concerted effort to invest. Afterall, as every quilter knows, that stash needs using, so why not treat yourself to a wonderful pattern from a talented quilter and just get stuck in!! Looking for ideas? Why not visit some of my favourite bloggers from My Blog List at the bottom of the column on the right?

So my first purchase was this beautiful block design, Triple Goosed by JeliQuilts – this girl really has a thing for flying geese!

This pattern was a joy to make, you do need to know your foundation piecing, and there are no fabric cutting instructions – I cut 3”, 2½” and 1½” strips and cut them down as I went.

I’m not sure how and even if, I’m going to quilt this, the thickness of the Essex linen is making the seams quite chunky, so I may just make it into a cushion panel… we’ll see!

Meanwhile at Sewmotion HQ

We’ve had yet another delivery! This gorgeous collection is American Patch by P&B Textiles – who knew red and pink could go so well together!

I’ve also tried to go a bit more boy-like having noticed how ‘pretty’ my recent purchases were, so we have this funky collection, Keep On Groovin' by Riley Blake.

Both of these ranges will be used in my growing collection of pre-cut quilt kits, so I best get designing!

Looking for more quilty fun and inspiration? Why not pop over to these wonderful Linky Parties and say hello;
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles

Thursday 5 May 2016

A four-patch wonder, and a new All Squared Up kit

One of the many reasons I love patchwork and quilting so much - apart from the gorgeous colours, textures, stroking factor (you know exactly what I mean!) -  is how there is always something new to learn. Clever quilters around the world share new techniques and discoveries every day - we're very generous like that - so I just had to share this little gem.

Now, I'm sure this isn't an original idea, and that it probably eeked into my subconcious from Pinterest, YouTube or a lovely fellow blogger - who knows where! But while I was developing new quilt patterns that feature charm squares, I was having a play and came up with this very quick and nifty way of creating two four-patch blocks in one go... You can see the full tutorial with plenty of pics here.

While not fabric-playing, I’ve finally finished my latest All Squared Up quilt, this time in Sevenberry’s Japanese prints with a little cream Kona thrown in for good measure.

This pre-cut kit includes all the 2½” x 44” strips, borders, binding and thread you need to complete the quilt top, you just need wadding and backing. A couple of lovely customers who are just beginning their wonderful quilting adventure, have recently told me that these kits are great for them, as they don’t have to worry about fabric selection, or even all of the cutting, they can just get stuck in, which was so great to hear and this is exactly what I’m aiming for!

Just when I thought I would move onto a new quilt design, these Cotton Candy beauties from Dashwood turn up… How amazing would they look in an All Squared Up quilt!?!

On a sad note, I may have mentioned that my next craft fair was at Stokesley Town Hall this Saturday. Unfortunately, the organisers, Yorkshire Craft Fairs, have decided to call it a day and cease trading, mainly down to poor footfall and low re-bookings from stallholders. It’s a great shame this fair is now cancelled, I was really looking forward to another sunny weekend in North Yorkshire!

Anyway, I have been looking at other events further a field… more news on those soon! For now, I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilt's Let's Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday over at My Quilt Infatuation and Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts - come over and say Hi!