Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Summer days, drifting away...

...but hey, won't those autumnal nights see a return to more sewing?!? I hope so, although the last couple of weeks have been great. We've had lots of nice family time, a fun camping trip to Suffolk, which was made all the more special with our puppy. Having a dog has really given an extra dimension to long walks and holidays this year! In and among various days' out, there has been the odd bit of sewing...

 

My scrappy trip is now one and a half rows short of the full quilting experience... Yes, the thread ran out! So, it has ground to a halt for now. However, my Kaffe Fassett fabrics are all sewn together, ready for quilting; just a bit more anxious about this one, as the fabrics are so fine.


In rare free moments, I've also been putting something together with the rainbow charms from a recent swap...


So far, it hasn't been quite as easy going as I'd expected, even involving hubby taking a close look at the instructions, and declaring them flawed :-( However, I'm persevering, as gone too far not to!


Reading, though, has been high on the agenda, with this fabulous novel. One day a friend sent a quick email, saying she was listening to Tracey Chevalier discuss her new book on the radio, and it was all about patchwork. At first I wasn't sure what I thought, as the style wasn't really grabbing me. However, it then became a very gripping tale, and a really interesting one with some gritty moral dilemmas for quilters the world over! I thoroughly recommend this book.


This one, Patchwork Please!, arrived in the post yesterday, after seeing some of the projects popping up online. Looking forward to browsing through it later.
Hope you are enjoying these last (?) days of summer...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Festival of Quilts

Yesterday Miss PatchyRose and I had a long and enjoyable day out at the Festival of Quilts. To be honest, I hesitated even up to the night before about the wisdom of taking a child, as I know from the time I went a few years' ago how overwhelming it is! Thankfully, it all worked out perfectly, and I enjoyed her company, as well as watching her take in all that creativity.


We didn't buy a programme, so unfortunately I can't give details of the designers, but it was interesting for me to see that Miss PatchyRose was drawn throughout the day to the more 3 dimensional items around her. They were certainly varied and impressive!


She would like me to make her a smaller version of this dress, but with simpler and more discreet sleeves ;-)



Miss PR kept up a running commentary throughout the whole eleven hour day... She was totally bemused about how the awards worked, as we saw so many beautiful things which hadn't won prizes. A programme might have helped us make sense of it all, but I'm not sure when we would have found time to read through it!


 

The photo doesn't do justice to this amazing boat! And these were two of my favourites quilts on display...




One of the highlights for us was discovering the Décopatch stall, tucked away in a quietish spot. For just £2.50 you could learn how to do it and cover a heart with their selection of pretty papers. It really gave Miss PR the chance to sit down for half an hour, and gain valuable head space away from the crowds. However, she also discovered her creative groove, as she totally took to it, her nimble fingers whizzed away...



It also proved useful bribery, as good behaviour throughout the day meant we returned for a bag full of décopatch items to bring home and make. Her other top favourite was meeting Janet Clare and looking through her beautiful books and projects. Obviously there were a few sewing purchases too...

 

Simply Solids had offered 10% off at the festival; I forgot to take the voucher and then couldn't access the internet. However, they were so lovely that they immediately offered the discount anyway, just by mentioning where I'd seen it :-) As I was buying three metres of charcoal grey kona, the difference meant the purchase of another fat quarter! Their service was so good that I will be adding them to my list of online shops. From the Cotton Patch, I picked up two charm packs of Kaffe Fassett, which I've been wanting ever since I went to his exhibition recently. They also had one left of that very cute purse frame, with chunky pink twists - now just need to learn how to make the purse... Despite the very long day, with all the driving, I couldn't go to bed without some fabric play ;-)




Definitely not what I should be doing right now, but couldn't resist laying out the Kaffe squares to check if the prints and solids worked alright! No point putting them away again, so I'll just have to sew them up before I get on with the other quilts in progress... More than ever, it will be tough to quilt on my regular sewing machine; we both had a go with a longarm machine yesterday, and totally fell in love! It was a dream to use!

Such a great day, and we came away having gained lots of inspiration and new experiences. I do, however, wonder why they don't stretch it to a fifth day? And stay open for longer each day? It was so incredibly busy and crowded. It would also be interesting to know how the many stalls fared - it felt like there were hundreds of 'shops' there. Whilst some have a unique product, there is a great deal of overlap, which must be hard. The cost of getting there and buying tickets is considerable, but I didn't feel we were then getting bargains on our purchases, other than décopatch and Simply Solids. It can end up feeling like a lot of expense and energy just to access an enormous retail experience. I wonder if the organisers could be more imaginative in what they offer their visitors?


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Multi-tasking...

...aka too many quilts on the go! Finally finished my scrappy trip top...


It's been on the go for far too long for such a simple quilt...


Before I started sewing, I cut enough strips to make eight blocks...



... intending it to end up much bigger than this! However, this has not been one of my favourite projects, so I decided to wrap it up with nine blocks. Funnily enough, the ninth was the centre block, and the one I like the most. It has proven to be a learning experience...



I learnt that I need much more low volume fabric in my cupboard, as it would have been better to dilute some of these strong colours. Also, I learnt that I don't work well with prescriptive projects. I'm much better at gaining inspiration from blogland, and then applying my own creative touch, than trying to follow along with a particular design. However, I have managed to end up with a quilt top than I can practise my quilting on without too much stress ;-) It will look nice with both these cushions too...



The scrappy trip can now join red and grey in hanging over the bannisters waiting to be quilted...


I'm not a big fan of projects stacking up, so will need to get on and quilt them both soon. It wasn't the best time to start another piece, but I saw a design that was irresistible and a perfect use of my rainbow charms. This is the progress so far, which tells you nothing about how it should look when it's done!



I need to pick up some solid fabric for it, which I will hopefully do at the Festival of Quilts later this week. Thankfully I do have one 'finish' though, my next stage of the sewing bee. I received Maria's beautiful row of wonky houses...



I've shamelessly borrowed Maria's photo, but can assure you that the strip is even more fabulous in real life! It was quite daunting going next, and needing to create and add my own strip to this one. According to the rules, I could add either above or below. I had Plan A and Plan B, owing to my insecurities (!) so started straight away just in case... Fortunately Plan A worked out just fine - at least, in my opinion. Jen received my strip, and was very good at the sneak peek photos, making me wish I had planned ahead with them, and taken shots of the fabrics before I started sewing. However, I just kind of ploughed ahead, so can only show the end result, and hope it's not too obvious to Maria!!



 This will be posted off later this month, when we start round 3. Looking forward to the next stage!

 

Thursday, 1 August 2013