Wednesday, 31 October 2012

a fork in the road

I'm not sure how to start this post, and if I'm honest, this is the 5th attempt at starting it.

How do I say this?

It's probably the hardest blog post I've ever had to write, and I'm pretty positive I'm not wordy enough to convey exactly how I feel.

Maybe I should just jump right in and say it.

Almost 3 years ago a group of online friends got together and decided what the world needed was a quilting magazine written by and for people like us. It took a few months of planning and behind the scenes organising before Fat Quarterly Issue 1 came out in April 2010.

Fat Geese on a fountain
'fat geese' issue 1

Fat Quarterly is now on it's 11th issue. Can you believe it? I can't. The past 3 years have flown by in a beautiful blur, and in that time we wrote a book, organised a Sewing Retreat and started planning a second.  Not to mention all the fun we had along the way, because it was always about having fun too.

our book!

We had a couple of changes along the way, with original members leaving to follow new paths, and new members joining the team.

'constellation' issue 5

It's been amazing. You have no idea just how amazing it has been. I can't begin to tell you.

'rollercoaster' issue 6

Sometimes, though, you have to accept that your time is up, and that when real life circumstances change you have to change with them.

Hexy MF
'hexy MF' from the Fat Quarterly quilt along of the same name

What I'm trying to say but not managing very well to, is that I'm no longer part of Fat Quarterly.

I'm packing up my desk, having my leaving party and moving on to new stuff, there's a fork in the road ahead and I'm going to head down the path that isn't very well sign posted. Hopefully it will lead to exciting places.

I will still be at Retreat next year - teaching and helping and being as much of a part of it as I was last time, so you can't actually get rid of me that easily. Tacha, John, Brioni and Lynne have become more than just friends to me - so although I am no longer an official team member I'll still be there if they need me. Always.

And I'll still be here.

Of course.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics has had a delivery of the echino 2012 collection and the liberty bloomsbury gardens prints too!

If you use the code MOVING on check out you can get 25% off until the end of the month. That's only a couple of days - so get in quick!


Bloomsbury Gardens....

Monday, 29 October 2012

Christmas...can we share ideas?

It's coming - whether you want to accept it or not, the Holiday Season is almost upon us.

What are we all planning on doing for it?

There's a whole wealth of tutorials out there for gift ideas and I figured this would be a good place for you to share links to your own tutorials or ideas on your blogs.

I'm hoping to get a couple of quilts finished to gift out, I love Jeni's giant star tutorial - it's a quilt that can be made in just a weekend, and the beauty of the way you cut the pieces is that you can easily make 2 at a time. perfect. This one is made from Splendor 1920 by Bari J for Art Gallery and kona pepper. Jeni has a lot of great tutorial ideas and is well worth checking out.

Giant star quilt top using @barij splendor 1929 (& @jenib320 tute)

There are some more project ideas in my tutorials section. Strip piecing a granny square is fast and fun, and it wouldn't take you long to make a pillow or 2.

strip piecing a granny square tute

Pillowcases are a great way to wrap gifts - especially for children. Ashley's tutorial is my go-to for fast and simple pillowcases.

flannel pillowcases!

Anna of Noodlehead has a million (almost) tutorials that are perfect for all occasions, and lots of them are fast and easy to whip up.

I do love the simplicity of the open wide pouch, and I am definitely going to be making a heap of these for Christmas gifts. Fill them with little treats and they make a perfect gift for anyone, of any age.

noodlehead's open wide pouch

What about you? Do you have any tutorials of your own you'd like to share and some gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season. We celebrate Christmas in this house, but whatever holiday you celebrate, let's have a little share party - link up any tutorials you want to share in the linky tool below. You can add more than one, add a whole heap if you have them. The more the merrier!
And if you have a favourite tutorial that isn't your own, leave a comment instead. I love to bookmark great tutorials for future reference!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

what's new, British pussycat?

Not huge amounts going on over in the UK fabric shops this week. Justine has had a busy week, with re-stocks of the basic neutrals in kona solids. AND as it's payday weekend she has a discount coupon for you! 20% off anything using the code OCTOBER until the end of the month (Wednesday).

I made a quilt top using pepper and Bari J Ackerman for Art Gallery Fabric's new line, Splendor 1920. Here's a little instagram photo peek...

Giant star quilt top using @barij splendor 1929 (& @jenib320 tute)

Pepper is a colour I think is underused, it's a great soft black - almost has a navy hue to it and if you place it next to a true black it looks much gentler. I'll get some decent pictures this week to compare.

Annie is in Houston for quilt market. Lucky beggar. She has a free FQ offer with every £10 spent on fabric until the 30th of the month (Tuesday). The free FQs will be chosen at random, but all you need to do is look at the shop stock to realise it's not going to be an ugly one, is it?!

Make sure you check out the blog too - the regular tutorial feature is definitely going to help me out with Christmas gift making ideas. Don't you love this framed purse tutorial by Emily? She used Anna Maria's feathers pattern shrunk down (there's no instructions on how to do that - but it's easy enough to shrink down those feathers, just print the templates smaller according to how much smaller you want them. A little trial and error with print size, it's all good!)

I blogged about these tonal bundles from Backstitch a few weeks ago on what's new, but they're worth another mention and there's also a couple of new ones that I didn't blog about before. With Christmas looming it's always a good idea to nudge those close to you in the right direction for gifts.

I like this fresh looking one. Curious Comfort. Yes, it is curiously comforting, isn't it? I like that an awful lot of the bundles in Alice's shop are under £20.

Despite the news I heard on the radio this week that the UK is now out of the worst double dip recession since the 1950s, things are still tough and I honestly can't see a time when they won't be. I know how tough things are in my house, we have less than we have ever had and I am seriously dreading Christmas purely because of how much it costs, even when you try and do it on the cheap.
A bundle of fabric that costs under £20 seems far more easier to stomach than a full line or a big bundle. I don't feel that I could ask for any big bundles from family for Christmas, but £18 is an acceptable amount.

Kate at M is For Make is having a well deserved break, it's been a tough few months for her and her family, so I hope they have a lovely break from the routine and recharge.  All orders placed this week will be posted after November 5th.

ALSO! Not UK news, but still news worth mentioning - Paper Pieces are having their annual hexagon sale. 35% off all hexy bulk packs until November 3rd. Now is a good time to stock up on those essential hexagon papers.

That's it peeps. See you next week!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

what's new, American pussycat?

Hands up who's sulking because quilt market is on and we're not there? I feel like I'm missing out on all kinds of good stuff, most importantly Anna Maria Horner's Field Study substrates - voile, velveteen and rayon. That's right - rayon, for dressmaking. Exciting stuff.

But until we get to see all the super lovely things that the folks at quilt market are seeing this weekend, let's have a little end of the month cheer us up and look at some fabricy stuff. Yes?

Brenda at Pink Castle has her 25% off everything in store moving sale until the end of this month - use MOVING at checkout

Odds and ends is new in, and using the 25% off code, you get a bargain!

Not convinced by that picture? I agree - it looks a bit Christmassy, it's actually awesome and will sell out fast, then those prints that are especially great like this one below, will become incredibly covetable. That's what happens with Cosmo Cricket (although this collection is in Julie's own name and not the Cosmo name).

Over at Fat Quarter Shop (who have the best Quilt Market twitter coverage ever, if you are on twitter and are not following @fatquartershop, do it now!) David Butler/Parson Gray's new line has arrived.

There are 2 colourways - the blues and greys...

and the greens and browns....

I'm not as keen on those browns, because I'm not a brown person - but that green print in the bottom left of the mosaic is gorgeous. I love how David designs with a clear masculine aesthetic; this is a collection for guys. Separate out those prints, though, and you have some beautifully delicate looking individual prints. Gorgeous.

Also new in is Flutter from Riley Blake. I love the colours in this collection - red, orange and aqua - just gorgeous.

And for the Pirate lovers....

Sew Fresh Fabrics is at Quilt Market this weekend, and unlike the big boys it's just her in the shop, so shipping will be delayed until she's back.

Lots of new arrivals though. Riley Blake are doing it again with this print (it is that subtle in real life too, I have some and I love it)...

Sew Me A Song is also at Market - shipping will resume Tuesday. You can still go shopping though! How about this basics bundle in blues?

I know what you all want, more text.

Lola Pink Fabrics have their weekly special going on - 20% off all patterns. That's quilts, apparel, bags - everything. Grab 'em while you can!

Happy weekends!!!! I'm off to watch Ginger's football (soccer) match in the cold. I might sneak back to the car and do a little hand sewing once the game kicks off, it's absolutely freezing today, I can't handle the cold!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


She's home....

a glimpse at the reverse

The wizard that is Angela Walters did an amazing job. Of course, I wouldn't have expected anything else.

up close

I bound her with a (green but it looks more of a mustardy colour) bias stripe by Riley Blake (from Pink Castle fabrics - it's out of stock at the minute, I think she'll be getting more in. BTW - you can get 25% off anything in store with the code MOVING until the end of the month)

up close

I'd almost forgotten how much I loved this quilt. Or maybe I didn't love it as much before?


I absolutely love it to death now it's been quilted. Angela is the most amazing quilter ever. I feel so honoured to have 2 quilts that she has quilted for me (the other is Hexy MF). This won't be the last I send her way though, she does something to the quilt top that changes it from being pretty nice to out of this world. (You can pick up Angela's book, or pre-order her next one by visiting her store - or any good bookstore. Angela's first book is amazing, inspiring and will change the way you think about machine quilting and what you can achieve with it).

I was planning on getting some decent photos of the quilt draping it over sculptures or something artsy fartsy, but since I took these pics on the washing line, it's done nothing but rain and there's not a cat's chance in Hell I'm letting that quilt go near the mud, so for now these will have to do. Possibly until Spring.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

what's new British pussycat?

What's been happening this week in the UK fabric shops then?

Well, Justine has some great value Kaffe Fasset shot cotton bundles in both fat 1/8th and fat quarter size. There's very limited stock of these, so if you see one you like, grab it fast.

The Lakehouse prints are 20% off too. With both yardage (well, metres!) and bundles.

And there are lots of new pre-cuts with more coming soon. Grab a Mama Said Sew charm pack or layer cake before they all go (because they will, and fast).

I'm a massive fan of these patterns, and I know you will be too. Little Dots is a gorgeous quilt, template based (but don't let that put you off!) and one of those quilts that makes people go wow when they see it (I can vouch for that - I saw it at quilt market and it was at Sewing Summit, and there was much wowing)

My favourite pattern is Diamond Ring though. Alexia (green bee patterns) told me this is fast and simple. I have the pattern (just got it when I was at Sewing Summit) and it does look pretty easy to do, and a lot of fun as well. And, again, this quilt was wowing people at both quilt market and Sewing Summit. 

Green Bee Patterns also designs apparel for both big and little people, so be sure to check them out. They're a great little company with a whole lot of talent, and different enough to stand out.

Annie has had a delivery of Quilters Dream batting/wadding/whatever you prefer to call it. Quilter's Dream is a fantastic wadding company, with a great range. Currently Annie has both the natural (which is cotton) and the blend (which is a cotton/poly blend) in stock in a variety of pre-packaged sizes. The natural also comes in 2 different weights/thicknesses - Request and Select. Confused by those weights? I'll explain them a bit....

Request is the thinnest weight - it's the drapiest and perfect if you prefer a vintage/antique quilt look and feel to your quilt. I personally love a thinner wadding, I like the flatness. It's not especially warm - because it's thinner, but for more decorative bed quilts, rather than snuggle quilts, or table runners, or wall quilts, it's perfect. I have a quilt made from liberty prints that has this kind of wadding in, and the lightness is just dreamy. 
Select is a mid loft weight. It's probably what you'd think of when you think of a wadding and how thick it should be. It's still nice and thin but with a little more weight than the request, and gives more definition/puff to quilting stitches. It still has that drapey look though, and will shrink to give the vintage/antique quilt look beautifully. 

Kate at M is for Make has a few new bits and bobs worth checking out.

Loving this bundle....

And this one too...

In fact, you should take a look at all of the bundles in stock at the minute - there's some fab new ones with really good colour combos. 

Alice at Backstitch still has a great range of Sketch textured blenders in stock and with charcoal coming back in stock soon.
If you've yet to try these I cannot recommend them enough, I love the depth and warmth using a textured blender gives to a project rather than a regular solid. They're just enough something special to make your fabrics pop (although I'm not a fan of that's true)

Alice also has the incredibly popular Wiksten patterns in stock now. These are unlikely to stay in stock for long, and while they're expensive they're fantastic patterns and well worth the price. I don't think anyone that has bought one has made just one tova or tank. They come beautifully packaged, and the quality of the pattern and the instructions shows.

That's it for today! Happy shopping people!

a giveaway for threadbias

Are you familiar with the site ThreadBias? If you're not I really urge you to check it out. It's a free to join community for us quilting/sewing types - a bit like Ravelry or the small group based communities we build up within flickr, but better than flickr in that it's a real community and much larger with more scope.

It's the brainchild/baby of husband and wife Alex and Rebecca, and Alex's sister Amanda. I love these 3 - they're fabulous and funny and great to chat to. Alex is a computery genius, and both Amanda and Rebecca quilt and sew.

Right now they're trying to raise quite a large amount of money through KickStarter to fund a web based quilt design tool. Alex was showing me the tool at Sewing Summit and it looks amazing. It's easy to use (and by easy I mean I am positive I can use it, which when you consider I haven't been able to grasp any other quilt design software and I can't even make a spreadsheet you'll be more aware of just HOW easy it is). From what I was looking at it has the same kind of user and intuitive friendly appeal as something like the ipad or iphone - simple, click, drop, drag, stretch, re-size. I have no clue what I'm talking about here, like I said, I'm a computer dunce, but this works and I need it in my life. You can read all about it here - and I really want you to. I want this tool so badly in my life.

We all do.

To help out I'm offering up a giveaway. It's a good one. Well, I think so.

See this pillow? It's made from my spring carnival pattern and was the class sample for Sewing Summit. You can win it! (it's 20" pillow,  hand pieced and appliqued and machine quilted. I'll send just the cover though rather than the pillow form too to save on shipping, if that's ok).

Field Study pillow - finished!

You get that, PLUS when I can get a copy of this book (it's out in December, that's my dresden plate quilt on the cover! Eek!) I will send you one of those too. I love this book so much, it is jam packed with 19 amazing quilts from amazing bloggers. It seems fitting for a giveaway that supports ThreadBias

Make a pledge to the kickstarter campaign and come back and leave me a comment saying you have done and you will be entered into the giveaway. If they hit their target or not, the giveaway is still on. Let's try really hard and get them there, shall we? Pledge $5 or more - it's not a lot of money, it's a large coffee, or almost a half yard of fabric. The kickstarter campaign ends in about a week. So pledge away - as much as you can afford. If the target isn't made you don't get charged, but I want them to hit that target. I want it so badly! International entries are more than welcome, and when the kickstarter closes on October 31st I'll pick a winner randomly.

I just want to add - I'm not getting anything out of this, they don't give me any money or stuff or anything, they're just really great people with a really great idea and I want them to make it happen. All 3 of these guys work in real jobs and ThreadBias is their dream. They have families, they have commitments and they work their asses off to build this amazing community. They epitomise what I love most about quilting and the community we are part of - that it's love that drives us and a desire to be part of something we all care about.

Giveaway now closed - thanks for pledging and entering people!!!!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

what's new, American pussycat?


It feels like ages since we had what's new, but I suppose in reality we only missed last week.

Pink Castle fabrics  has the crazy 25% off everything moving sale, enter code MOVING at checkout to take advantage of this.
New lines in the shop include Tasha Noel's, The Simple Life

Summersville coated cottons (which are already good value, and with 25% off an absolute steal)

You could also go crazy in the sale section, with an additional 25% off already reduced fabrics. Stock up on yardage for quilt backs, or how about getting a whole load of your favourite solids for future projects? (Or for entering the Fall For Solids competition maybe?)

Lots of new stuff arriving at Sew Fresh fabrics over the coming weeks.

Frippery from Thomas Knauer is in, Pat Bravo's Rock n Romance, Kasuri (pic below, it's new to me but the block print type prints are really gorgeous )

And this great cheater print from Lori Holt (which also comes in red/aqua);

Sew Me A Song is my favourite place for texty fabrics. If you want text prints, go there. There's a huge range and bundles, such as.....

This bundle;

and this bundle?

How about this one?

You should also check out the shaded cottons by Riley Blake - I really want to get some of these to try (especially granite), because they look fantastic. They're a little bit linen looking, a little bit painter's canvas looking. Very lovely, that's what they are.

Fat Quarter Shop has a free shipping on US orders over $40 and 30% off international shipping offer on until October 24th.

Odds and Ends by Cosmo Cricket is in!

If you're not sure what this line is, then check out these prints and realise you need it;

It's getting chilly now here in the UK, time to think about flannel pillowcases and PJ pants? Even if you think you're not a flannel fan, check out some of the lines you might not have realised were printed on this substrate. Fresh Cut? Vintage Modern and Marmalade, and PlayDate by Dear Stella.

The flannel section at Fat Quarter Shop is stocked right up. Erin McMorris greenhouse is on sale too, I love this apple chevron type print!

Lola Pink Fabrics have Happy Land by Jennifer Paganelli in now! AND at a great low price - 20% off!!!

This line is typical Jennifer, it's girly, yet grown up, great colours, and beautiful designs. I love her fabrics and I love this line just as much as every other.

Look at this gorgeous print...

Check out all of the latest fabrics in store and ALL with 20% off!!!

We have a couple of winners to announce -

Skip the Borders winner is Barbara Woods from Wont To Be Quilter

The Scrap Vomit bundle goes to Amy from Vintage Fern.

Yay! I'll send you both emails in the next day or so to get your details!

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