Thursday, 28 June 2012

a welcome break

I'm incredibly busy at the minute - if you're waiting on an email from me, I swear I'll get to it shortly, I just have a plate that is piled dangerously high and a couple of deadlines in particular that are taking up most of my time and energy.

Yesterday I felt like I was going to explode. To be honest I was more likely to implode, quite quietly, by myself. When I get stressed I go very quiet. If I don't address the stress right away I'll melt down and I'm neither use nor ornament.
Yesterday was that day. Nothing seemed to be going right, I couldn't get my brain into gear, I was chasing my tail and ending up getting frustrated with myself. So I took a break, I made a coffee, and I pulled out some fabrics I'd been saving for a day that I really needed a treat and I made this.

a welcome distraction

I used Jeni's drawstring bag tutorial, with Terri's pocket addition. It was exactly what I needed. Wouldn't this be perfect to take to a class? The pockets hold all your tools, the bag itself could hold other important stuff like FQs or pincushion or something. And wouldn't they also make great gifts - with things stuffed in each pocket and a big treat or 2 inside? 

Fabrics are Fox Hollow by Monaluna which is amazing fabric. The alphabet print is genius, and I think I had to go back 4 times to look at it at quilt market. I can picture some amazing children's quilts and accessories made with these fabrics, they're just perfect. This bag isn't for a child, though it's mine. Hands off kids.
I also used handwriting paper stripe for the top of the bag, and an old repro red dot for the ties

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

orange soda template

If you have been following the quilt along over on Allegory's blog you might be interested in one of these little acrylic templates.

Orange soda templates!

It's the exact size for the petal shape that you need for the applique. There's a lot of petal shapes to cut out in that quilt. A lot. I know because I'm on my second version of the quilt now, and I'd forgotten about how many petals I had to cut out before. With this template you can actually use a rotary cutter to speed up the cutting. It's also thicker than using template plastic, so if you don't trust your rotary cutting abilities it also makes tracing round the shape so much easier. Either method - you win some time back. Time you could spend on drinking tea and eating cake.

orange soda applique 1

They're just $5 each, plus shipping and you can find them in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

calling UK quilty types

I'm looking for 4 of you to take part in a Fat Quarterly designer challenge using the not yet released Katharine's Wheel collection by Nel Whatmore for Free Spirit.

Nel Whatmore

If you're interested pop over to the FQ blog and leave a comment before July 1st!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

if you buy one book this year...

...make it this one.

My friend Sarah sent me the most amazing book recently. It was a book that I had no idea existed and now that I do my world is a happier place.

Brigitte Giblin is a French Australian quilter who has the level of talent and skill that I can only dream of one day having. She is what I call a 'proper' quilter, not in the sense of following rules or competition level guidelines, but in the sense of simply being amazing. Her colour choices, her designs, her skill set - she is one of those people that is on a whole different level to most of us. I'm not putting anyone down here - we all do different things, we are all good at something, but Brigitte is one of those people whose work makes me gasp. I'm not exaggerating, it actually makes me gasp.

I first heard about her a couple of years ago via Linen and Raspberry's blog, thanks to a little hexagon purse Jean had made using Brigitte's pattern. And then because of more information going into my head, which pushes out existing information, I forgot about Brigitte's work until the book arrived on my doorstep and I literally couldn't do anything except stare at it for a good hour.

Brigitte Giblin's amazing book

Feathering the Nest with vintage inspired quilts is published by the French company, Quilt Mania. They are also the people that make the amazing magazine that is possibly the best quilting magazine ever.

Brigitte Giblin's amazing book

Brigitte's book is full of hand pieced quilts. And applique. And lots of both. Don't let that put you off if you're not a hand piecer or an appliquer (made up word?). It is well worth the cover cost for something that will give you immense pleasure for years to come.

Brigitte Giblin's amazing book

I think just owning this book will inspire you. For example, just recently I heard that you should never applique English Paper Piecing (EPP) onto background fabrics, that's what someone told a friend of mine. I love to applique a pieced top onto a background, and I felt a little disheartened by that concept, that I was doing something that people would sniff at. Spring Carnival and Hexy MF are appliqued onto their backgrounds, I love them and how they look, but it was suggested (not by my friend!) that is was lazy to do it that way and you should piece backgrounds. Well, Brigitte appliques her EPP onto background to, and incorporates a mix of EPP and applique into her designs, which would only work in the way they do because of that mix, so you know what? If someone with as much talent as this lady does it then it's pretty ok with me and I feel much better for it!

If you would like to go and buy this book, and I cannot stress enough how much you need it, then you can buy it direct from Quilt Mania. It is a little more expensive than regular titles. You know the saying you get what you pay for? This book is exactly that - platinum quality and something that you will never tire of.

You can find Brigitte's website here and the blog for the book with hints and tips and more information plus photos here.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

sewing summit

Class sign ups haven't happened yet, but I like to plan ahead and be organised while I remember (because I easily forget).

If you happen to be going to sewing summit, and if you plan to take my class (or even if you don't!) you can take advantage of the discount code SEWINGSUMMIT25 for 25% off the Spring Carnival template set. Just enter the code on checkout!

The code is good until I jump on the plane to SLC (any last minute orders I can bring with me), so you don't need to rush out, but if you were thinking about getting a set, or if you are determined you'll be in my class then here's the link.

I am so excited about teaching in October, I'm so excited about meeting new people and seeing old friends. Come on October, hurry up and get here!

template 3

Don't forget about the sewing summit scholarship program - entries close July 9th so hurry and get yours in!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

wish you were there?

In case you were thinking how nice it would have been to have gone to the retreat we organised at the start of this month, maybe you might like to have the next best thing and get yourself a copy of the retreat special magazine?

Fat Quarterly Community Retreat Special Issue

There are all sorts of great projects, including some of the classes that were held over the weekend.

I made a quilt....

cutting corners

Lynne made a union jack pillow...

Ar you coming to London?

There's also an amazing pattern for Lucie's London bus mini quilt (which you can just see peeking at the back of this fan girl picture of John and me)

John & Katy

Get yours here!!!

Monday, 18 June 2012

what Katy did next

When I went down to London to visit Liberty and, Sholto, the designer of the Lifestyle cottons (that are out later this Summer (for UK/Europe) and Fall (for USA/Australia)  this August/September for everywhere) they were kind enough to give me some fabric to play with (read about my adventures here).

I couldn't wait to make something for me. me. me. Because I'm selfish like that. I did share them though (I'm quite generous really, occasionally at least) - I gave some to Lynne and some to Brioni. Lynne has already used hers, mixing the blues I gave her with prints from her stash. You can see it on her blog. It's pretty, pretty. And proves that you can mix those little Liberty prints with other fabrics no problemo. Maybe she'll give it to me? I doubt it. She's mean to me.

liberty constellation

I used some essex yarn dyed linen (in black) and the bright colours from bloomsbury gardens (the name of the Liberty collection) and made myself a single constellation block that I added a border to and turned into a pillow.

liberty constellation

It's rather large - 28" square. I've realised I don't much enjoy making smaller pillows, these big ones are great for leaning up against on the couch when watching TV. Small pillows get trapped in the small of my back and poke me and annoy me no end. Although I do like the look of them on my bed and for perching my bony little bum on when I'm sewing.

liberty constellation

Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics has listed all of the prints she's ordered (that's all 55 of them!) for you look at and get email notifications when they're in stock. She is planning on doing FQ bundles as well, so you might want to keep an eye on her store. I know I am.

For those of you on twitter - follow @lib_lifestyle and on pinterest - lifestylelib
That way you'll never miss a trick, will you?

Saturday, 16 June 2012

spring carnival - quilted!

I picked this up just before I went off to Quilt Market, and then with jet lag, the retreat and one thing or another I didn't get around to taking pictures. *slaps wrists*

spring carnival - quilted

Long armed Chris was left to her own devices with this little quilt. I told her not to over quilt it, but to do whatever she felt was right.

quilting close up

I trust her implicitly - she knows exactly what I like and I always like a bit of a surprise, so I mostly don't ask for any pattern in particular, just let her get on with it. She told me she tried to do something far more modern than either of us usually go for. I think she has it spot on - I love the little shapes quilted in the bottom echoing the tumbling pieces, and the quilted border.

quilting close up

This is now going to visit Claire at Patch fabrics ready for an english paper piecing workshop I'm teaching there in September (which isn't advertised yet, but will be shortly, I'm sure). I think it's September 22nd, and will be a full day workshop.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Hexy MF quilt along

lilly belle quilt a long

How are you all doing? Have you got your fabrics chosen and ordered or ready? And how about your paper pieces? Check this post for the requirements - both paper pieces and fabrics. Don't forget if you order from you get 25% off using the code FAT25 until August 31st. I have stocked up on a heap of other shapes, because that offer is a really good one. I ordered more 2" triangles, squares and hexagons for Spring Carnival. I've been planning a variation of it ready for when I go to Sewing Summit in October, to demonstrate how versatile it is. I still have templates for Spring Carnival in my etsy shop. Just saying, you know, in case you wanted some.

Cutting instructions will be up on the Fat Quarterly blog on Sunday, so take the time this weekend to start pressing all of those fabrics you've chosen.

And for those that have been waiting - more Hexy MF acrylic template sets are in the shop.

hexy cutting

Not ordered fabric yet? Well, maybe you should go and visit Brenda - orders over $35 get 15% off the total using KATY15 at (no end date as yet on that code) and bundles are 20% using the code PRECUT20 until this Sunday (17th). That includes bloggers bundles which would be perfect for Hexy MF.

If you've jumped ahead and made a start on your Hexy MF I'd love to see - upload pics to the Fat Quarterly flickr group. And fabric stack pics too please, I love to see all of the variations!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

the twinkling stars of cuzco

Cuzco was the site of the capital of the Inca empire. It's a city in Peru....but it's also Kate Spain's upcoming line with Moda (out in October). Personally I think this is her very best line yet - the colours are beautiful, the designs are a fantastic mix of large and small scale. Kate is really good at designing fabric - she just has this knack for getting things spot on.
I was lucky enough to be sent a layer cake by Kate (who I adore more than words could ever possibly express - she's one of the nicest people you could ever meet, she really is out of this world wonderful).
I sat petting it for too long, because I loved the line so much I wanted to make something that I loved just as much as the individual fabrics and not just another quilt that could be added to the just another quilt stack.

twinkling cuzco stars

John made one of my favourite patterns in our book, Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop, and I'd bought a body pillow in order to make my own version long before the book was even out.

twinkling cuzco stars

You don't get a good idea of just how big this is from the pictures. Maybe adding my foot will help...

it's a biggie

It's 50" long - HUGE! I made this for my very good friend Mandy, of the Kitchen Quilt Guild and Simply Solids, as it was her birthday last week. I'm not sure her husband will be as happy sharing his bed with this husband replacement but Mandy seemed quite pleased with it. You can see a picture of it on her bed on her blog. Now I want to make a second version for me.

(there is a small misprint in the pattern in the book - you need to cut 20 print squares rather than the 12 stated)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

drink the cool aid

Allegory is hosting a quilt along of my quilt from the Fat Quarterly book. I'm so excited she loves my quilt that much, and I really hope you'll join in too.

orange soda

Orange Soda is a nice simple quilt, lots of squares and a bit (ok, a lot) of applique - but it's simple applique and done on the machine, and raw edge so it's not tricky. Promise.

possibly orange soda?

You will need the book, if you haven't bought it yet then you can find it online at Amazon or in any good book shop.

Head over to Allegory's blog for more details and join in with the flickr group here.

What flavour soda will you choose?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Katy's adventures in London (and Kansas City)

I had the absolute pleasure and honour of visiting the design studio for Liberty last week and not only got to look at where the magic happens, so to speak, but was talked through the process of how a design comes to life from an idea to the finished fabric and I even got to peek at the designs for the next collection that will be previewed in Houston this Fall (and I'm sorry - but I won't even give you a hint as to what they're like, just be sure that if you like this first collection, you'll love the second collection, if you like Liberty prints per-say, you'll not be disappointed, and if you don't like Liberty prints as a rule - prepare to be converted).

liberty lifestyle design process

Sholto, the man behind the designs for the Liberty Lifestyle quilting cottons (Bloomsbury Gardens, the first collection will ship this August/September.  I'll be sure to compile a list of stockists as soon as it starts shipping) is completely fascinating. He has more artistic talent in his little pinky finger than I have in my entire body. In fact I would bet money that he could draw better blindfolded and with his arms tied behind his back than I could even if I concentrated really, really hard and tried my absolute best. Without sounding a little bit fangirl, he's the sort of person you could talk to for hours and hours about what he does and how he does it.

You can read all about my adventures in the hallowed halls over on Fat Quarterly today. Go on over and have a read!

constellation block

Also - if you are killing time at 4pm EST today (that's 9pm for those of us in the UK), then head over to Pat Sloan's radio show for All People Quilt, as I'm one of the folks featured in today's show. We recorded it at market and I promise it's only short, and I hope it's relatively interesting. If all else fails you can go over and laugh at how weird my voice sounds on radio. I love Pat Sloan so much - she is so great, works incredibly hard to promote all of us in this community whether we are modern or traditional or somewhere in between and I'm almost certain she never sleeps. There's a great mix of guests on the show tonight, it's always worth a listen or subscribing to via i-tunes to listen later.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Hexy MF with me?

I fell in love with Bari J Ackerman's first line with Art Gallery fabrics (shipping this month) so much I thought it'd be fun to do a quilt along with it. Then I remembered she loved hexy MF can guess the rest, right?

hexy MF template pic

I'm frantically sewing some flowers together using the cool sunrise collection of LillyBelle to give myself a head start but if you'd like to join in with me then the posts will all be on Fat Quarterly starting with fabric requirements on Saturday of this week (June 9th) and then I'll post directions over the next few weeks, all through the summer, so even if you have never English Paper Pieced before you will be absolutely fine. Plus - this is a hand sewn project, it's going to take a while, so don't worry about not keeping up - there's no prize for being first and no booby prize for being last.

hexy borders

I have had some templates made up which make fabric cutting so much easier, and far less wasteful. There are just a few available at the minute in my etsy store right now, if you'd like to snap 'em up then please do! They are priced at $15 for a set of 3 templates, the large hexagon that makes up the main body of the quilt, the smaller hexagon that is included in the borders, and the leaf template for applique. (they sold out - wow! That was fast, I have more ordered so they should be here in the next week. I'll let you know once they come back in stock!)

And whilst you're shopping, maybe you'd like to take advantage of this awesome offer on the paper pieces website -  use the code FAT25 for 25% off your shapes (until August 31st 2012). You will need a bulk pack of 1.5" sided hexagons, and a sampler pack of 1" hexagons, and will need to re-use some of the 1.5" hexies to make sure you have enough (it's ok - the thick paper makes them perfect for re-using at least a couple of times!) I cannot stress enough how awesome these papers are - I have always cut my own, but after using these I doubt I'll ever bother again (ok, maybe if I'm in a hurry to get started). They're thick, really nice to sew around and so easy to baste. And you don't get the claw hand from cutting paper out for hours (just from cutting's a start!)

Who is with me?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

frantically pressing rewind

The Fat Quarterly London retreat was just over year in planning. It was hard work (especially for Tacha who did the bulk of the organising), and I was convinced that 5 complete nobodies (that's us) with no experience of event planning (I didn't even have a proper wedding), who just fancied hanging out with a heap of other people that they spoke to on the interweb would end up making a right Royal mess of it (see my nod to the Jubilee weekend coincidence? Clever, huh?).

calm before the storm
(the main hall before the crowds arrived - it looks like a lecture hall!)

I was entirely convinced that something would go wrong, that something really major had been forgotten, or wouldn't happen (like the sewing machines not turning up, or the electric blowing because of all the machines being used at once).

suspicious people

I was also even more convinced nobody would have fun - and that was my biggest fear, that after a year of stressing amongst ourselves and promising nobody gets left out, nobody gets left behind (Like in Lilo and Stitch) there would be clearly defined and separated groups that had no intention of mixing. I had nightmares about it, sleepless nights and actual palpitations from panicking that we weren't good enough to do this, and we were idiots for even trying.

the winning iron woman team

I'm so glad I was wrong. Not even a little bit wrong, but so far from the truth it's like the North and South pole.
Firstly - everyone looked amazingly happy, and there was laughter constantly and squealing and excited chatter and huge grinning faces that you can't fake
Secondly - everyone told me how much fun they were having, and could we do it again next year (yes we can)
Thirdly - I completely underestimated how much we, as the FQ team, would enjoy ourselves. I think we all did.

jelly roll racers

As a group this was the first time we were all together in one room - that's the main official 5 of Tacha, Brioni, John, Lynne and me, but also our additional unofficial members of Lucie and Mandy. Last year Tach, Brioni, and me went to festival of quilts, alongside Mandy and Lucie. We had a hella good time. For the past 4 quilt markets at least 3 of us have been, and we have had even more hella good times. I didn't think we could actually top those good times with times that are so good they go off the scale of enjoyment. I can't even tell you how much off the scale hella good time enjoyment we had. The only way I can probably explain is this - I don't get emotional, I am not a crier (apart from about animals that are hurt or children that are sick), but I ended up being the first to cry after everyone had gone and we were packing away, and starting everyone else off, and I couldn't stop. I was doing the big gaspy sobs (like a child does) and snotting everywhere. It's not a good sight. Thankfully there are no photos.

perfect purses

This weekend was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I'm not exaggerating - I didn't realise what an amazing group of followers and supporters we have. I didn't realise what this event meant to people, and how unique it was in the UK scene. I didn't think we were capable of it, I didn't think it would be as successful. But, wow - I was wrong.

Hadley made me a tiny constellation block

So thank you, to everyone that came, that spent their money to attend something we had organised. Without you this would have been nothing, and for that we are humbled, we are grateful and we feel honoured to be part of your community.

iron woman quilts display

You really are the best.

Liberty Lifestyle fabrics came to hang out

I also need to thank our sponsors - Moda, Robert Kaufman, Aurifil, Oakshott, Abakhan and Korbond for help with filling the goodie bags. Sizzix for coming and demonstrating their products, Liberty Lifestyle Fabrics for hanging out and donating a gorgeous liberty print bag and fabrics to everyone to use, and Tom from Pfaff for dropping off and collecting 20 sewing machines for us to use. Another huge thank you to the staff at Baden Powell House conference centre, who were just brilliant and so helpful and happy the whole time. I also must thank everyone that has paid for an ad in the retreat special issue (out soon!) which is the first time we will have had adverts in an issue of our e-zine, but because of these ads we were able to keep ticket prices right down to an absolute minimum (something we were all very conscious of doing).

Roll on next year! I can't wait to do it all over again!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Eclectic Maker

Eclectic Maker is an online-only store, based in the UK, that supplies designer fabrics, patterns, notions and tools for patchwork, quilting, dressmaking and craft.  I'll let them tell you a little about what they do....

Over to Simon from Eclectic Maker

We started trading nearly a year ago, setting out to provide an exciting alternative for the sewing community, with the freshest designs and whole fabric collections to choose from.  We have fabric ranges from internationally renowned designers as well as newcomers.  We supply our fabric in pre-cut fabric bundles for quilters, to take the hard work out of matching – these include fat quarters, charm packs layer cakes and jellyrolls.  We also supply continuous lengths for dressmaking and larger projects.  Our designer fabrics are complemented by an ever-expanding range of sewing patterns, haberdashery, notions and basics, including Vilene and Batting.

We believe in giving excellent customer service and take great pride in providing a quality service that our customers can appreciate - we are happy just to take a call or answer a query by e-mail if it results in a happy customer.  We offer a fast turn-around as standard and every purchase is backed up by our ‘no quibble’ returns policy.

In the future our goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for our customers, offering pretty well everything needed to complete a variety of sewing projects.  In a nutshell, we aspire to be ‘fabulous fabrics and more’.

We have recently introduced Moda’s Lucie Summers’ Summersville and Lily Ashbury’s Trade Winds to the shop, in Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls and Layer Cakes as well fat quarters, bundles and fabric by the length.  

They also sell freezer paper by the half metre - which is a really clever idea. I've had the same roll of freezer paper for nearly 3 years because I don't use it enough - it's not cheap stuff, buying it per project is ideal!

So, head on over to Eclectic Maker and check out their shop - I'm sure you won't be disappointed you did!

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