Thursday, 25 May 2017

Searching out Beauty

I haven't felt like posting anything this week following the Manchester bombing. It's been such an awful event that I've kept away from news and radio wherever possible unless there is something positive to take from the reporting. The help of others and the acts of kindness during the grimmest of times are the reminder that people are on the whole good, kind, noble and generous. 
















I spent last weekend visiting my brother in London. We saw so many beautiful things, from Michaelangelo and Sebastian, 1300 to 1500 paintings at the National Gallery, coffee and a swedish bun at Fabrique, the gardens at the Geffrye Museum of the Home, the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, Tikki London, and finally my first visit to Kew Gardens which was an utter delight.
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Friday, 19 May 2017

May at Plush Addict

I've got totally distracted with animal prints for my May visit to Plush Addict, there seemed to be so many new ones! Plus there's a 70% mid season clearance sale until 22nd May which covers all departments, dressmaking, habby and quilting.


Clockwise from top left:

  1. Makower Studio Forest Talk 8 Blue Fabrics.  A very pretty mix of colours and prints with a forest/floral theme.   A green selection is also available as well as individual yardage.
  2. Michael Miller Pink Bunny Plush.  A short pile/plush cuddly fabric with a dimple effect. 
  3. Riley Blake Bunnies and Cream Bundle with Panel.  Gorgeous vintage style rabbit print from Penny Rose fabrics.  Bunnies, florals and recipes, what's not to like?  Individual prints can be found in the bundle listing. 
  4. Kokka Story Time Bear.  Japanese fabric, high quality printed cotton gauze.  This would be beautiful for a new baby- making pretty muslin cloths, something that gets so much use and is so easy to do, just a double turned hemmed square.
  5. Michael Miller Sassy Cats Blue Bundle.  Cats and geometric blenders, v cute!  Also available as a pink bundle
  6. Porter & Stone Burghley Novelties, Hartley, Curtain Fabric.  Stunning print which can only make me think of Hartley Hare from Pipkins (you need to be of a particular vintage to remember that reference!).  Note the five day lead time on this item for ordering. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

More Travel Outbound Bags

I've been busy making as per usual and I thought I'd share a couple of Travel Outbound bags that I sewed up.  I first made Chase's (¼ Inch Mark) pattern in January for a swap partner at The Threadhouse Retreat and I knew then I'd need one and it had great potential as a gift project and is easy to personalise to match the recipient.  I made one for me to co-ordinate with my Cora bag, and then one for my mum (the Cotton+Steel cat print canvas) as a birthday gift.  She loves it: perfect as a caddy for storing her phone, iPad, puzzles, pens all in one place.  She's quite hard to make for so I'm extra pleased with this one.








It's a great pattern with a very satisfying result.  It relies on good quality zips and I bought these Japanese ball zips from Nanagracy on Etsy.  Great choice of colours and sizes and they arrived fast too, well worth it!
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Thursday, 11 May 2017

May at Village Haberdashery

Time for my May visit to Village Haberdashery and Annie's been making some exciting announcements including a visit from quilting royalty, Anna Maria Horner in August and some classes that she'll be running at the shop:

Clockwise from top left:

  1. A choice of classes with Anna Maria Horner, Folk Flower Block, Travelling Blooms Quilt or Inspiration by Hand.  Something for all tastes, reverse appliqué, colour, embroidery and hand sewing work. 
  2. Etta Dress by Tilly and the Buttons.  Tilly Walnes newest pattern, a fitted dress, lots of dart shaping and optional details.  The construction looks interesting, I enjoyed seeing the inside of the sleeve with its bias finish on Jane's version of Etta in this blog post. 
  3. Wanderlust Tee by Fancy Tiger.  Easy fitting, boxy style T-shirt pattern with closer fit in the shoulders, flaring out to a slight A-line. 
  4. Birdsong Collection by Joanne Cocker for Dashwood Studio.  This collection is everywhere at the moment and I'm not surprised, pretty muted colours and soft modern prints. 
  5. Sleep Tight, Toys in Grey.  Sarah Watts for Cotton+Steel, part of a very cute, gender neutral nursery style collection
  6. Observer Knit, Triangle Tokens in Metallic Ink, April Rhodes for Art Gallery. There's 15% off all knit fabrics until end of day16th May with the code KNITS15
  7. Magical Summer PVC Coated cotton, Icons in Multi.  Great for wash bags, PE bags, packed lunch carriers, children's outdoor wear and much more. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Splendid Sampler Book

The Splendid Sampler started as a 100 block mystery quilt block-along adventure in 2016 with Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson leading the way and inviting 84 designers to contribute blocks inspired by their love of sewing.  The project grew and grew and the Facebook group currently has over 27 000 members.  The blocks were originally free until all 100 had been shared and they were then withdrawn to be published in a book (the bonus blocks remain on the site) and here it is.  I was lucky enough to be one of the contributing designers and it's a very proud moment to flick through this book and be a little part of it alongside so many other amazing quilters.


Part of the Splendid Sampler experience was to try out different techniques and this is reflected in the book, the chapters divide according to the technique.  I thought I'd show you a photo from each of these chapters.


The 'Patchwork Blocks' chapter includes construction diagrams, just like the original shared patterns, alongside the making instructions.


The 'Appliqué Blocks' chapter has written instructions and diagrams where needed and the pattern pieces can be found in a full size pull-out at the back.  There's a mix of needle turn and machine raw edge appliqué.


The 'Foundation-Pieced' chapter, where you can find my First Stitch block, has diagrams, instructions with patterns on the pull-out sheet as before. 


The embroidery chapter has a mix of close-ups and diagrams and the basics for all the different skills are covered in a how-to style chapter at the back.  There's also a gallery of completed quilts showing different setting styles and colour choices. 


The pull-out sheet at the back covers all the templates, patterns and other extras for the various techniques, all full size.


it's generously sized, 11" x 8 ½" approx. with matt finish cover and pages.  I've really enjoyed having  look through; its a joyful, inspiring book, and I'm planning to select some of the blocks I didn't make with the original sew-along and add to my little stack of completed blocks.


A huge congrats to Jane and Pat.  They have both worked tirelessly on this project and remained utterly positive and helpful throughout whilst keeping their usual quilting and design work going including both delivering new fabric lines!  They are two incredibly successful women within the quilting world because of their vision, commitment and sheer hard slog.   I think this project surpassed even their expectations, it had such momentum and that's still ongoing.  You can find all the book details here.  If you missed out first time round, or only got part of the way, there's a second chance to sew-along using the book.  Schedule is due any time! This page has all the details. #thesplendidsampler

Monday, 8 May 2017

Spring Cleaning: New Sew-Ichigo Patterns, Singles, Sets & Freebies

Penny and I have been busy working on the release of our new Spring Cleaning set for Sew-Ichigo.  These patterns were designed as a themed foundation paper piecing cover booklet for Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine in 2015.  We've tweaked some of the patterns to simplify some of the designs and make the piecing a little easier and we've added a new beginner friendly pattern, Trash Bin, which is available as a free download at Payhip (UK/EU) and Craftsy and there's an extra bonus detailed free tutorial taking you through all the steps to sew the free Trash Bin block










Penny and I are currently working on a couple of projects using these blocks- they lend themselves nicely to kitchen, utility room, laundry space makes - and we'll share as they are completed.  I hope you enjoy them and if you make any of our blocks, don't forget to tag us on Instagram- we would love to see.  Find us at @sewichigo and use the hashtag #sewichigo.
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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Small Piecing Steadies The Mind

When things are all getting a bit much, I'll often turn to something contained to escape from it and regain a feeling of control.  Sometimes this manifests itself in a keen desire to clean the bathroom. The smallest room in the house, the least amount of clutter and it's quickly restored to a satisfying level of cleanliness with the feeling of a job well done.  For crafting, I've found myself making less clothes recently, despite a need for some items, and more attracted to small patchwork piecing.  I started making Glitter quilt blocks after I interviewed Jen Kingwell's for the release of her beautiful Quilt Lovely book and my aim was to hand sew the blocks sporadically on train journeys and weekends away.  The downside to this was it did take me quite a well to prep each block.  I traced the shapes on to template plastic but despite my best efforts, I would lose one of them from time to time, plus seam allowances needed to be added so I would procrastinate the prep task for another day.  Sarah and Penny at Pretty Fabric and Trims posted a picture of Jen Kingwell acrylic templates including a set for Glitter and I thought this would be encouragement to nudge my progress with this project.


They are pricey- maybe it's the cost of importing them from Australia?  The Glitter set is the cheapest  but I do think you have to feel motivated to splash out.  I have found them very useful though and they have sped up my prep.  I draw around the edge on the reverse of the fabric using a Sewline pencil and add the dots at the corners. I then join the dots to create the stitching line and cut out either with scissors or a rotary cutter and ruler.   I'm not sure if this would work for me so well for the curved sets, I think I'd prefer a window style option for that.   I tried rotary cutting with these templates and that worked too.    The edges feel rough, they do not look laser cut and I'll confess this concerned me at first glance but actually made no difference when using them.  They were worth it for me.  I wanted something to hand sew- this project is the equivalent to a Liberty hexagon quilt that just keeps on growing - and I've made more progress this week than I have in ages!  I just love the canvas that each block provides for me: a fussy cut for the centre, two contrasting prints to surround it and a low volume or a dark background to finish.  It rests my mind and there's that satisfaction of completion when another block is cut out or sewn together.  Ahhh. That's better...

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