Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Quilt Now Issue 3

Just to let you know....Issue 3 of Quilt Now is in the shops now!!!! You'll find it in Asda, WHSmith, Morrisons, Sainsburys, all of the best local Quilt Shops and online at More Mags. (As well as the App store and More Mags also for digital versions)

US peeps - it'll be there in a couple of weeks, and you'll find it at Pink Castle Fabrics, Fat Quarter Shop (and if anyone else has it let me know and I'll let you know...if you know what I mean!)

This issue is inspired by Morocco. The cover quilt is by Lynne Goldsworthy using Sara Lawson's Jungle Ave collection for Art Gallery Fabrics (with some co-ordinating AGF prints as well).

I'm a lot in love with the cover gift, it's a Kiriki Press embroidery kit of a little Kukla doll. It's pretty awesome actually. I turned it into a quilt label (which I happen to think is a genius idea, and I intend to beg, borrow and steal as many as possible out of the office so I can label all of the quilts using little ladies).

I'm already almost done with getting issue 4 finished now. It never stops. It never ever stops. I'm like a hamster on a wheel (I do love my job though, so it's ok!)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

what's new, pussycats?

The first Autumn virus has hit Monkey Towers, with all of us feeling like poop (some quite literally) this week. I have been in bed half the week, which was the smartest move I've made in a long time, because today I finally feel pretty good.
Definitely well enough to look at pretty things....

Origami Oasis is new in at Fat Quarter Shop, I love the colours in this. Super bright and cute enough for babies, without being sickly sweet or novelty.

There's a pretty sweet bundle that co-ordinates with Quilt Now Issue 2 at Pink Castle Fabrics

And this is an offer too good to miss (but hurry - it's limited)

25 F8s for $40 - an instant kawaii stash. If you love the cute Japanese prints in the kawaii monthly bundle club, but haven't the cash to commit to a monthly club (or don't want to commit) then this is for you!

There's a 30% off coupon at Contemporary Cloth - use save30 to get 30% off your order

And if you haven't bought any Arizona yet, do it. Because once April's new line comes out, you'll want to put them together. Just sayin'.

The amazing collection by Violet Craft, Brambleberry Ridge, is in stock at Bobbie Lou's. Do NOT miss this one, it's so gorgeous.

It's hard to pick a favourite print, and I do change my mind every day but today I love this one best,

Over at Sew Me A Song THIS!!!!!


And THIS!!!!

It's getting close to Halloween. I pretty much loathe Halloween (sorry) but my kids love it. Even the teenager, so I am rather drawn to this bundle from Cuts of Cotton for some Halloweeny/Fall projects without pumpkin prints. Plus the metallic pearl bracelets in that bundle are an all round WIN

MASSIVE news for fans of Carolyn Friedlander - the village haberdashery have the new line FIRST. Doe is in the UK people. QUICK!!!!! And you will not be disappointed with it, just look at those prints!

Newly arrived at Fabric HQ is figures from Moda. With some great stash building prints.

Like this low volume numbers print...

And in case you can't see it...this is it in monchrome

Next Saturday Simply Solids are opening their real life shop (from 12 on). Go visit, have some fun laughing at the fact Justine is the size of a house and still has 10 weeks left before the baby comes and grab a goodie bag if you're one of the first shoppers.

Also...have you seen this cute Christmas advent calendar tutorial on their blog. Love it!

Plush Addict have these great Floss and Mischief kits in stock, which I think would make great Christmas gifts . I especially love the feathers.

Plus, it's a double points weekend this weekend - earn double points until midnight tonight! QUICK!

New in stock (and also very festive) at Elephant in my Handbag is this collection from Blend

It comes in 2 colourways...I really like them both.

Newly arrived at Backstitch are these amazing clothing patterns by Finnish designer, Named Clothing

I love this dress....

these jeans (although that shape looks a bugger on me)

and this top....

I'm off to lock myself away and sew some more for Quilt Market. Busy Busy Busy. have a lovely Sunday!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

National Sewing and Quilting Month - with Fat Quarter Shop

It's national sewing and quilting month, and Fat Quarter Shop asked if I'd play along on their month long blog tour, sharing some of the stuff I've been up to and answering a few questions. I'm incredibly busy this month with sewing (it is the build up to Quilt Market) so it seems like the perfect month for me to share my experiences a little!

How did you start quilting/sewing?
I did my first sewing as a child, with my grandmother, making soft toys and clothes for my dolls. I wasn't great at it, but it was time spent with my most favourite person and any time spent with her was precious. She was always so patient (way more so than me) and I think she instilled that love for handmade that I have now.

When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter/sewer?
I still feel a little bit of a fraud when I say I'm a quilter, because I pretty much don't quilt anything. Most of my quilts are sent out to my long arm quilter, Trudi, so technically I'm not a quilter...I'm a maker of patchwork quilt tops...maybe. I think I will always feel like I'm a beginner, despite doing this for a while now, and working in the industry. Personally I feel I am always learning, always finding out something new so I'm happy to be a beginner forever!

Do you have any sewing/quilting horror stories or faux pas?
So many horror stories (and they continue to this day, like I said, I am forever learning and whenever you try something new you are going to mess up, that's normal!) The first quilt I made I used kitchen scissors, any old fabric I could find, no rulers, just cut it however, sewed it together all kinds of wrong and folded the binding over from the backing and kind of hoped for the best. It was pretty awful, but it worked...kind of. And it got me hooked, so I wouldn't change it!

What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in sewing/quilting?
Just go for it - don't be afraid to make mistakes. Don't be put off by something that says it's advanced, just be like a fearless child and make the leap. You might find things easier than you thought. You might not, but either way, you learned through mistakes and you did it yourself.

I'm trying new stuff this month. It's a month of first times for me - I'm having my very first booth at Quilt market to showcase my first ever fabric line with Art Gallery Fabrics Limited edition (more to come on my booth planning and all that stuff soon!) and let me tell you...it's scary stuff! I have never planned a booth before, and had to think about sizes of things to make sure they fill spaces. It's a little like decorating a house, but on a small scale. Rather than when I make a quilt usually and don't think too much about where it might be used, I'm having to think of ways to show off the fabrics the best way, or how to get the most out of the fabrics (because I'm currently working from my strike offs - read more about that by clicking here) so I have only limited amounts of those until my yardage arrives (early next month - yay!)

I've just finished my first booth quilt top, which is going off to Trudi for quilting...here's a peek of one of the blocks (there will a pattern for this once market is over and most likely a kit too if I get that organised pretty soon). I am really happy with how the blocks turned out, they show off the fabrics really well, and they look really striking from a distance (which is helpful when there's a million booths with a million quilts in, I want people to look over and see mine and go oooooooh!)

And here's my banner logo (feel free to right click on that and save it if quilting keeps you sane too!!!!)

 What are you working on this month? Have you tried anything new?

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Priory Square Strike Offs {in detail}

The last 2 strike offs arrived yesterday, to complete the set of 8 prints for my first ever fabric collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, Limited Edition (that still makes me grin like a lunatic. My fabric. It's crazy!)

Now they're all here you can get a really good idea of the scale, and the way they play together.

(I've washed them all, but not ironed them, I was too eager to get them photographed and up on the blog! All the pics are taken in daylight, with no flash and unedited and the pics are pretty big so you can click on them to make them bigger and get a pretty good feel of the actual colours)

So, from left to right on the picture below;
you are here, steeping awakening (that's got metallic ink), thru the wire, the shambles, cottagely posy, clover field, pouring rainbows and sunday clippings

These are strike offs, not the finals from the factory - they're what you get before production starts, like a test print. So there were a few tweaks in a few places before everything has been finalised with the mill for printing, but it's all systems go now and my prints are well on the way - it's a crazy feeling. I can't quite describe it, and it doesn't feel like anything else. For me, in my job as a magazine editor, it's like I have the final piece of the puzzle. I know a lot about the industry, I have listened and learned as much as I can to help me do my job to the best of my ability and now I can say I know how it works from a fabric designer's point of view. How very important it is for the designers to get their fabrics out there, to be seen, for the magazines to help in whatever way they can to promote individual designers. Nothing sells fabric more than seeing it made into something and there's a lot of competition from all the designers to get their fabrics into magazines, to get the word out and to be seen. A lot of that work is done by the fabric companies themselves, but it doesn't hurt to try and push your own fabrics. That marketing side of things is something that you might not consider as part of a fabric designer's job - I've always known that it's helped if you push things along yourself but now I'm in those shoes for the first time it's quite daunting - and I'm fully appreciating how much more than 'just' designing is involved. It's a fantastic experience and I'm treasuring each moment of it as I learn something else about the industry.

I am over the moon happy with how the fabrics look and feel. They are even better than I imagined. It's quite tricky to make a design, print it as an illustrator image and then imagine it as a flowing item, with shadows, and movements. Especially because this isn't something I'd done before, so I was worried that the designs wouldn't work together (even though I printed them onto paper, cut them up, played around with them, changed the colours, changed the scale). It's quite nervewracking, and I had to do a deep breath before I opened the package with these inside, just in case they were really awful and not as I'd hoped!!!

The metallic print has come out so so SO good. It's really glittery, it reflects light so well. If you don't like metallic I'd still ask you to try it, because it's not in your face although it is just metallic ink on a cream background. It's not scratchy or stiff, it has washed up so well (this picture is after washing)

You are here, the map print, is going to be something I buy extra of to make sure I have a ton to hoard forever! It's going to be something I use to death. I'm a sucker for a texty print or a map, so I had to include one, didn't I?!

Thru the wire, you can see in the pictures, is a relatively small scale print. The yellow is a good rich cheddary (or maybe hotdog mustard) yellow. It's a tricky colour, yellow, and it involved a lot of discussion with Pat over how to get the correct shade and not lose that strong yellow tone. I was determined I didn't want anything too lemony or citrus, but then also I didn't want anything too mustard either. We have Pantone books at work (another benefit of working for a publishing company, it meant I didn't have to go buy a set myself!), and the cotton passport was like a bible. If you're planning on designing fabrics any time, I would recommend you buy yourself one. It's not cheap, but it's affordable at just under $500 if you want a universally accepted and recognised colour system. It makes the strike offs process way easier because you can communicate the Pantone colour numbers and it doesn't matter if you're in the North Pole or China, or anywhere in the world - Pantone numbers are Pantone numbers. The cotton system shows you how the Pantone colours look on cotton, rather than paper, because there's a huge difference (different papers also absorb ink in different ways...but that's a whole other story and I won't bore you with it right now).

The Shambles is small scale, it's a crazy bright pink, with that same yellow and cream. Love this print too, it's another one I'll be hoarding to death!

Cottagely Posy has come out way way way better than I imagined, although I loved this print, it was my second favourite floral after Sunday Clippings, I couldn't have hoped for it to be any better on fabric. It's going to be great in dresses (this is a knit too), I totally want to back a quilt or 2 in it, and bind stuff, and have it as pillowcases! The colours are amazing, they came out exactly how I hoped they would, but better, because (like I keep saying) fabric is so much better than seeing things on screen and referring to the Pantone colours to get an idea of how things will print.

Clover Field is medium scale, it's a half drop repeat and it's really designed for fussy cutting. I wanted to break up the more traditional feel of the rest of the collection with something that was a touch more modern and graphic, but still floral in it's overall feel. The background colour of this is a nice icy blue green. Even though it's more graphic than some of the other prints, it seems to calm stuff down a little and make things feel less floral floral floral (I don't think you can ever have too many florals, but I'm fully aware the rest of the fabric buying community might not agree with me on that one).

Pouring Rainbows is tricky to photograph to get the colours right - it's more low volume than I had imagined, which is actually a good thing. A happy accident, I suppose! Or maybe it's just because next to the more vibrant prints it's calmer and quieter. I think it'll get used so much with other collections and just make a perfect stash builder for when I want a low volume print that has a little something going on.

And then there's Sunday Clippings. I know this is my collection and I don't want to seem too braggy because that's horrible, but this print made me so happy now it's on fabric. Originally I was planning on making the print less like an obvious collage and colouring in all the background so there wasn't the white around the flowers, but I'm so glad I didn't (that was Pat - she suggested that leaving it as more of a collage would add extra interest, she is a wise lady!). The white lifts it and makes it look even more vibrant. It could have ended up being a little bit on the Granny side with all the navy and the flowers, but Pat's suggestion of leaving those white bits makes it. So thank you, Pat. You are a great mentor!

It's really something else to see your name on the selvedge. I'm pretty humbled by this, it's something I had never in my wildest dreams have imagined would happen. I feel a bit like I'm in a fairytale to be honest, and now I'm cutting into my fabrics to make quilts for my booth at Quilt Market it's slowly starting to hit me - this is real! (this picture is taken on my phone so it's a bit bleurgh compared to the ones I took with my camera)

Monday, 15 September 2014

OMG strike offs!

At the end of last week I did have some good news, the first of my strike offs for Priory Square arrived!

I'm so happy with these, although Walter Bravo (Mr Art Gallery Fabrics, Pat's lovely husband) told me he wasn't overly happy with them and has tweaked the colours a fraction and that the actual production fabrics will be amazing (I totally believe him, because if these aren't perfect and they look it to me, I can only imagine how gorgeous the real things will be!) I'm still waiting for the map print and the metallic floral to arrive (I'll show each print in detail when they're all here), and now these first ones are here I can crack on with my Quilt market booth planning. I'm going to keep a little journal here on my progress so you can follow along with me and understand the process from start to finish. Maybe you'll find it dull as dishwater, but maybe it will be interesting. If nothing else, it'll be nice for me to look back on when it's all over and I'm more relaxed and less stress stress stress!!!!

That's my name...in selvedge!

Thank you so much to everyone that has sent me an email or left a comment after my post yesterday. You know how to make a girl feel happier! xxxxxx

Sunday, 14 September 2014

what's new pussycats?

I had such great intentions this week. Last Saturday I'd gone to the Leeds Modern Quilt Guild meet and sewed up a storm so I'd actually have something to blog about, but the week rapidly went downhill and ended up being one of those super stressful horrible weeks. We've had too many of those weeks over the past year or so, I'm just about over bad news and my eternal optimist, always see the silver lining personality is struggling to see the positive side of things right about now.
Long story short - my husband collects sneakers, he has a pretty crazy collection (It's a thing - I swear, other people do it too!), and he's kind of known in his community. Someone decided they wanted his stuff, so they broke in our house and took it. A ton of stuff. Crazy amounts and it's made me want to just hide away from social media as a whole and just walk away from everything.
But, quilters didn't take our stuff, so I need to get over that and I need to just take a step or 2 back for a little while and try and look on the bright side. No one was hurt. Nothing of personal, family or sentimental value was taken. Stuff is just stuff. But still....

So my what's new post today is heavy hearted and I'm not much in the mood, but here goes....

Bundles are 25% off at Pink Castle Fabrics (using the code BUNDLE25 until the end of today)
This one is Cherie the new line from Frances Newcombe for AGF (and it's gorgeous)

I rather love this kit from Fat Quarter Shop (you need the magazine too, but another magazine is always good, I think)

There's a ton of great bargains to be found at Bobbie Lou's in the sale section

Like this lovely nautical stash builder....

At contemporary cloth, Birch Farm by Joel Dewberry is in stock

Sew me a song always makes me feel happier, I love this from first of infinity

Cuts of cotton has this beautiful rainbow bundle to put a slight smile on my face (I'm trying people, I'm really trying not to be a mardy cow)

Hopping and skipping back to the UK and to the village haberdashery and this lovely new line from Dashwood

There are new arrivals at Simply Solids. I am loving these ones...

The ever so useful essex linen in steel is in stock at Fabric HQ

25th and pine is in stock at backstitch. It's a gorgeous Christmas collection, I'd use it all year round to be honest

especially this print....

Love these cats from Plush Addict (it's a japanese import)

Autumn is drawing in now, and the nights are getting chilly. Backing quilts in cozy fabrics like this corduroy from Elephant In My Handbag is very sensible

And that is it for another week.
Sorry for being a grump, hopefully next week will pick up and things will be less stressful. We're off to the hospital tomorrow for a check up for the husbeast's brain surgery to make sure things are all getting back to how they were, so hopefully that will be good news.
Have a lovely weekend xxx