Monday, 31 May 2010

Union Jack quilt

I've been wanting to have a go at a Union Jack quilt for a while and was nudged by Tula Pink's fabulous Lush version (as well of course as the Union Jack quilt in the V&A exhibition).  I wanted an olde worlde feel fabric and hit on Whimsy.  So I've gone about calculating a block A4 size which uses three pieces of layer cake.  Question is, do I make all these blocks myself or could this be my August month bee block?  On the one hand, they're a right kerfuffle to make.  On the other hand, I think this could be my next addiction which would mean I wouldn't want to share.  And I make the first (test) block out of my three least favourites in the layer cake so these flags are just going to get more and more gorgeous.

Fabric giveaway

The lucky winner of this contest will win £20 (equivalent to about $30) worth of fabric or other goodies of their choice from Celtic Fusion Fabrics- international entries welcome.  What do you have to do? You have to guess how long it will take me to piece, quilt and bind Kaffe Fassett's Diagonal Madness.  23 hours has got me this far:
You can have one guess on my blog and a different guess on the Celtic Fusion Fabrics blog - and let Gwen know what you'd like to win from her shop while you're there.  Commenters who leave interesting / funny / insightful comments will be more likely to win as will entrants who take the time to pick something they would like to win from Gwen's shop as will followers of our blogs.  You don't have to follow but it will count in your favour. Here's a taster of some of Gwen's fabulous fabrics...

Sunny again

When we moved house Jack and I dismantled the climbing frame.  Two years on and it's only just bee re-assembled.  I wish I could say Jack and I re-assembled it but I'd fear for the safety of my and visiting children if we had so I confess we called in a professional. I've just noticed that my husband only appears in these photos at 45 degrees.  I wonder what that means.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Power Ranger well camouflaged

Thank you to Jack for setting up today's June block action.  This time a Power Ranger is making clever use of his green outfit to hide amongst designer fabrics.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

June Block hosts important conversation

In Fresh Modern Bee I and II, we have decided to make monthly bee block photos a bit more interesting.  As well as posting a beautiful square photo of the block sitting on the bathroom floor, our blocks will helping out around the house, visiting famous monuments and, in the case of my June block for Jennifer, hosting "that" conversation between Zurg and Buzz ... "I am your father".  Watch this space for future bee blocks hosting major LEGO action.

BUT HERE IS THE IMPORTANT BIT ... is there anyone in your quilty households, perhaps a 10/11/12 year old boy, who likes lego.  If so, please let me know as my 11 year old son (whose figures I borrowed for the above photo) has just started a lego blog and would love to have some followers and comments from any lego fans you know. 

Stashing in the USA again

Rae Ann very kindly invited me back to Stash Manicure for another bite at the cherry.  I'm over there today so please pop over the say hi if you have a minute.  If you haven't visited Rae Ann's blog before, take a look around when you're there.  She has different guest bloggers every day giving you tips and suggestions on things to do with your stash or help on storing and organising your stash.  Rae Ann also has a giveaway going on right now for followers which is worth signing up for!

Friday, 28 May 2010

£1 P+P today at Seamstar

Courtney's blog says: to claim your £1 postage offer just leave a note on checking out: £1 Offer.  Your Card or Paypal account will be refunded the difference when your order is processed (so when you go through checkout you will be charged the normal p&p rate and get it straight back).

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Kaffe clarification

For those of you who've entered this contest (see post below), don't forget to let Gwen or me know in a comment what you'd like to win.  You can't win if you haven't chosen in Gwen's shop, Celtic Fusions Fabrics.  Here's another tempter:

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Kaffe quilt fabric giveaway - HOT NEWS

The Kaffe Fassett "how many hours will it take Lynne to finish Diagonal Madness for her mum" giveaway has just got interesting.  Because it is now being sponsored by Celtic Fusions Fabrics.  And the HOT NEWS is that you get to choose your very own giveaway (up to the value of £20).  If you choose carefully, that's 8 fat quarters.  You can choose fat quarters, mini cloth stacks, patterns, linen tapes, anything at all from Gwen's shop.  And if you win, your choices will be sent to you (subject to them still being available in the shop, failing which you will be free to choose suitable alternatives to the same value).  Here's a little tempter of something you might choose...
The previous rule that you have as many guesses as you want has now changed.  You now have only two chances to win this prize.  You can make two different guesses.  One guess on my blog and one on Gwen's Celtic Fusions blog.  If you've already made your first guess on my blog, you're in a good position but you need to head on over to Gwen's blog for your second guess and to specify what you would like from her shop.  What about these beauties...
I have taken 18 hours to get this far (see partial quilt top lounging on log pile below) and I have to complete this quilt: (which is not pictured for copyright reasons).  How will we decide a winner?  We will take a few people who are close in hours to the final tally and will then pick the most interesting / funny / intelligent / insightful comment as the winner. Also, guesses now will count more than guesses two stitches before the end.  MUCH MORE!  And the winner is more likely to be someone who is now or becomes a regular visitor to our blogs as opposed to someone who pops in for the day, has a guess then we never hear from them again. I'm not saying you have to follow us but followers and blog readers we get to know may have an advantage. The quilt will take me a few more weeks to finish and the giveaway winner will be announced at the end.  Good Luck!

Authentic quilt top flop

I had a little disaster with a plan I had for a quilt for my oldest son.  My son and I were thinking of something along the lines of Natalia Bonner's fabulous authentic quilt (tutorial here):

But he wanted it all black fabrics and we ended up with this.  And it is blah.  Very blah.  Worse than blah.  The question is, how do I remedy the situation?  Fat Quarterly are asking their readers today what I can do.
I'm really up for any creative idea at all and am happy to rip it up and start again, add stuff, take stuff away, chop and change.  Although it is for a 12 year old boy so NO FLOWERS OR GIRLY STUFF UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Fantasy Bee

With the encouragement of Alison, I am reinstating a post I put up then took down within the space of an hour on Sunday as I had second thoughts about the wisdom of playing the favourites game.  But then it really is just a bit of fun so here goes.  You know people make fantasy dinner party lists and fantasy football teams (well my son does endlessly), well now you can choose you own fantasy bee. You can include whoever you like.  The rules are pretty relaxed really.  You can make up your own rules if you like.  Who am I to restrict your fantasy bee?  So here's mine (as at today although next week, it will no doubt change as I discover another 20 quilt blogs which are my new faves):

1. Lynne because that's me and I don't like to be left out.  I also make nice coffee and always have muffins, cookies and brownies in the cupboard although not homemade. 
2. Mandy who is actually a real life friend who got me into this whole quilting and blogging mess so she has to be in it in case I get stuck and have to borrow her old machine because it's better than mine.  Again.
3. Gwen from Celtic Fusions Fabrics because she is very generous with her fat quarters (that is a hint about something which is happening tomorrow on my blog and her blog where you will have a chance to win some fabric.  Say no more.  Don't want to spoil the surprise.)

4. Nancy because she really makes me laugh and would keep us happy when our points weren't matching.
5. Nanette because, whatever she says about she's not as good as Lori Holt, I still like her applique A LOT.
6. Rae Ann because she is so nice letting people like me on Stash Manicure even though I don't have one to manicure.

 7. Rita because she is the queen of fresh modern quilting and could help us match our points because that seems to be quite a strength of hers.
8. Karen because royalty always need to have a bit of family in tow and she could quilt our quilts with corn circles at the end of we wanted (remember this is fantasy bee where we can have whatever we like).
9.  Ashley because I like pretty much everything she ever makes.
10. Elizabeth because ditto.
11. Any one of the FQ team because they are all amazingly talented and creative although they're probably busy with that magazine at the moment so their blocks might come late which could be annoying.

And now over to you.  Who would be in your fantasy bee?

UK fabric shops

Nadine just left a new comment on an old post which might get lost in the melee of all the other rubbish I write so I thought it might be worth a little post of its own for any fabric shop owners reading:

Sellers in the UK would benefit from including the Designers' names on their website to make it easier for us to find fabric.  We all love certain designers' lines but can't always find them. I just came across some of Patty Young's Flora and Fauna on Ditto fabrics called "dusky kingfisher dot" or something. Had I found those when I googled Patty Young's fabrics in the UK I would not have bought the whole line from sellers in the US.  So British sellers should keep that in mind. If we can't find these because websites aren't organized very well then they will lose out.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Sunny weekend

Go to any UK blog this weekend and mention will be made of the weather.  We make a HUGE deal of a hot sunny weekend over here because they don't happen that often.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Advice needed

So I'm sitting in the sunshine in the garden raw edge appliqueing leaves onto a quilt tree and then adding Perle stitches on top but which ones look the nicest - the blanket stitches (red, top left), the two parallel lines (orange top right), the single run of stitches  that point in (green bottom middle and bottom right) or a mix of all three?

Leah from, a UK fabric shop had the following comments and questions on P+P in her shop:

Hi, as a shop owner these comments are very useful... I am especially interested in the comments on postage. I offer a flat rate postage of £2.50, largely because doing postage by weight / dimension is extremely difficult - I sell patterns and buttons and other items as well as fabrics, so it is extremely hard to get the system to estimate the cost.

One thing I would be interested in is how people like to get samples -- do you mind paying a postage charge of £2.50 to receive samples? Do you like to order them piece by piece or would you prefer to receive a swatch of the complete range, for a small nominal cost? Any feedback would be really appreciated! Happy sewing everyone... Leah x

And here's a John Kaldor fabric from her shop:

Friday, 21 May 2010

My new favourite blog

Now and then I stumble across a blog that I love so much I want to share it and this happened a while back when I stumbled on Freda's Hive.  If you haven't been there before, go and have a look.  I think Nanette is unusual in how she combines fabulous applique mixed with both a traditional and modern feel and fabrics which I haven't really seen anywhere else.  She tells me other people are better than her (typical quilter) but I like her style the best.  If you look at her new header (Nanette, if you'd prefer me to take this picture out, just let me know), you kind of get a feel for what she does.  If you have a minute, take a look at her beautiful tea towels and her going to market quilt - those are my two current favourites. 

Grrr - another mistake and don't forget about the fabric giveaway contest

I make a mistake pretty much every new line of squares on this quilt.  Mostly only Marit and I would be able to spot them but this time even my sister Julia should be able to spot the mistake.  (Julia is the one who posts as Rolleiflex and always asks questions like "what is sashing?", "what is a layer cake?", "what is authentic" and "what is a goose bee?".  She's kind enough to visit the blog on a regular basis but has no interest in quilting beyond that.)  Can you spot it Julia?
Don't forget to continue to guess how many hours this quilt will take me to complete.  There have been a few (relatively) intelligent guesses on my earlier post but here's your chance to guess some more.  So far, it's taken me 15 hours to get this far.

I have not yet decided on the fabrical giveaway item but (i) it will be fabric, at least four fat quarters and something desirable; and (ii) I wonder whether one of the fabulous UK fresh modern fabric shops would like to sponsor the contest in return for as much publicity as I can muster for them on this blog as the quilt is made.

So guess again, as a comment to this post or the previous one.  As I explained before, the winner will be judged on a subjective, non-random basis, based on the accuracy and intelligence of their answer.  Earlier accurate guesses will be worth more in the final decision process than later accurate guesses.  You've got nothing to lose.  Have a guess.

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

On the spur of the moment I have decided to enter a quilt into the festival even though up until this moment, I had decided I really wasn't ready.  But then I read Amy's post and this is not a traditional quilt festival where you have to be an all singing all dancing all mitering quilter.  You can be normal, mediocre, pretty rubbish and pretty newbie-ish like me.  Thank you Amy for giving the remedial quilters a chance to sit in a festival alongside quilting royalty!

So here is the first quilt I made, cobbled together from an Authentic layer cake (which I was so excited to get in the post, I nearly had a funny turn).

I thought I'd start simple with some stacked coins and then add some circles at the bottom because I love circles on quilts.  It would be in my nature now to point out every little thing that is wrong with this quilt but I am going to take the quilting lore approach that, unless you can see the mistakes when you're driving past the quilt at 30 mph, then you needn't worry.
What would I do differently?  Proabably the sashing.  Definitely the sashing.  Buying the sashing without having the layer cake with me was a rookie mistake and the colour is off.  But other than that, it hangs in my kitchen and I really really love it, warts n all.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

As a P.S. to the previous post on UK fabric shops ...

... if any of the UK fabric shops take on any of the commenters' suggestions, come back and let me know and I'll let them know through the blog!  And here is a picture of one of M for Make's fabric bundles just to keep all you fabric junkies interested:

What would make you buy in a UK fabric shop?

I had a comment from a UK fabric shop last night: M is for Make who said that one of the great things about ordering fabric in the UK is that it comes the next day.  I went over to the blog and shop and had a look around and it started me thinking - what could our UK shops do to entice more of us to buy from them and I came up with a few thoughts.  In the meantime, here is some Anna Maria Horner Little Folks which is available at M is for Make, just to tempt you with a pretty picture.
I don't know if these suggestions make commercial sense for any fabric shops but here goes:

1. Free postage and packaging over (let's take the Amazon figure) £15.
2. Lots of different fabric bundles.  I am not mad on buying individual fabrics as I can't see online whether they really work together.  Whereas if a fabric shop owner has created some fun, different, creative bundles, sometimes all one line, sometimes mixing a line with some geometrics such as dots, stripes, gingham and some solids, I am sorely tempted.  Especially if the bundle gives me a slightly reduced rate per fat qarter and especially if the P+P is free.
3. Weekly or Daily deal - perhaps a bundle, a charm pack, a jelly roll, a special on solids, a notion at an appealing price.  A proper discount - not five percent.  Missouri Star Quilt Co do this and, if they were over here, I'd be buying their Daily Deal almost every day. So quilters, what do you want a fabric shop to do for you and fabric shops, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

UK fabric news

Beyond the sea is just in at Saints and Pinners

and Deb has just started to sell Kona solids in her Folksy shop and is willing to consider adding other colours to her range if we ask nicely.

Oops I did it again...

...I did Sainsburys first and then diverted via Darley Dale on the way home to get some Perle to quilt this UFO WIP.  You can see the sun shining in the courtyard in the background of this photo - that is why I need a hand-sitiching WIP - so I can sit out in the sun and sew.
  Anyway, I was mooching round the quilt shop wishing that they had some of the fabrics from Saints and Pinners, Seamstar, Backstitch etc (buttons on RHS of my blog for all three) rather than a ton of stuff I'm not massively mad about when I turned a corner and that's when the accident happened.  I tripped over a new range.  Just in.  Oops.
Any thoughts?  XXL hexagons? 

Did you miss the Fresh Modern Bee...

... well why not head over to Me and Ma and sign up for their Fresh and Funky Quilt Block Bee!  Maria and Julie from Forest Poppy were 2 comments too late for Fresh Modern Bee I and II so have decided to get together and start their own.  Maria says on her blog today: The Bee is to be called Fresh and Funky with an emphasis on modern, fresh quilting using bright fabrics balanced with neutrals and whites..Inspired by the likes of redpepperquilts, jaybirdquilts and  of course lilysquilts...

What are you waiting for...  

Monday, 17 May 2010


Courtney from Seamstar commented on a post of mine about where we UK quilters buy our fabric and I thought it might be worth putting her comment into a post in case anyone missed it.  And because it's nice to have something pretty in a post, here is My Minds Eye - Summer Song - Trees in White available in Seamstar:

Anyway, Courtney said (and I think she has a point)...

seriously though (and yes i'm biased) there are hidden advantages of buying in the UK as opposed to the US:
In the short term -
If you don't like the fabric or there is a problem with the purchase, if you've bought it in the UK you can send it back easily and you can get a no quibble refund. Of course there is also the speed of delivery - no more waiting for lovely fabrics to arrive, you can buy today and sew tomorrow!

In the longer term -
As has already been mentioned, it is a case of 'support your local shops or they close down' - even though in this case the 'local' is all national UK fabric shops.

On the point of getting the best fabrics supplied to the UK - there are certainly a growing number of UK fabric shops which is great. The more UK fabric shops, the greater the demand which means more distributors which in turn means better systems and ultimately better prices.

Personally I can not wait to see the day when the UK has its own shops like Hawthorn Threads or Fabricworm where every fabric of every new collection is there for sale. It is possible, and maybe only a few years away - but it won't happen unless UK fabric shops are supported so they can grow :)

Another Kaffe Goose

Art Deco Kaffe Goose!  Looking at this now, these geese would be easier to do with paper piecing I think.  Mmm...

Sunday, 16 May 2010

UK quilters - where do you buy your fabric

Over in the UK fabric is more expensive than in the US and we have less choice but recently I got some advice from a bee member in one of my bees, Little Island Quilting, about some of the US online shops she uses.  Her advice is set out below.  Where do other UK quilters go?  Do you shop in the UK or from the US online shops?  Which US and UK shops do you use and how do you rate them?  Just to give you something pretty to look at while you're thinking about your answer, I love this Ghostly Ghastly fabric which contemporary cloth (listed below) have in their online shop:
And here is Little Island's advice:

I get my solids mainly from - up until recently they were offering 20% off their Kona solids and every so often they offer free international shipping (and you can order up to two batting rolls as well). I also ordered the Kona colour card from them as is a much better way of deciding which colours to order rather than relying on the accuracy of your computer screen. I also use: 
If I am after something really specific then I use which represents over 200 US quilt shops. Type in 'sale' and you get masses of pages!

Kaffe Geese

When I took this photo of the top corner of the Kaffe Fassett diagonal madness quilt I am making for my Mum...

... it looked a bit like flying geese so I decided to have a little play with the scraps in the Kaffe scrap box (I wouldn't let him mix with the hoi polloi in the main scraps box of course) and came up with something I might use for one of my upcoming bees (although as I have about forty ideas running round in my head for these bees, who knows what I'll end up doing).  So here is my bee goose.  Maybe I should start a goose bee...

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Seamstar - go check out their new fabrics

If you want to be tempted by some fabulicious fabrics, pop over to the new post on the Seamstar blog where they have new deliveries in including the Saffron Craig fabrics shown in this quilt.  They are also putting together some new fabric bundles for us quiltfabricaholics.

Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness - Part Deux

I have added a Kaffe Hour Counter on the left of my blog as my Mum has asked me to keep a rough tally of how many hours I spend on the diagonal madness quilt I am making for her.  I took an excessive amount of time yesterday trying to work out which fabric was which in a complicated process of reading the fabric codes in the book, comparing them to the chart sent with the fabrics, looking online at pictures of the fabrics and comparing the whole lot to the fabrics themselves which are a different colour in real life than on the computer screen or in the book or on the chart.  You seasoned quilters will be laughing at me now as I realised, after about three hours of this process, that the fabric reference number is on the selvedge.  That's how little I know.  Shame on me.

So, how about a sweepstake.  How many hours do you think it will take me to finish this quilt?  A gift of some fabrical description will be made available to the person who makes the most intelligent, well thought through and educated guess.  This will be announced in 2015 or so when the quilt is handed over to my Mum in a ceremony where UK royalty will be in attendance (that bit's a lie).  This will be judged subjectively by me - no random counter.  An earlier guess will be worth more than a guess made as I put the binding on.  You may guess as many times as you like but that probably will only decrease your chances of winning the fabrical gift because you will not sound so intelligent.  You may give reasons for your guess and those reasons may include insults about my skill levels.  Those insults will only count against you if they are lies. 

Friday, 14 May 2010

How much mess can one block make?

My friend and quilting mentor Mandy (of madewithlovebymandy fame) is actually a real life friend in real life and lives in the same teensy village as me which my sister who lives in London calls "the land that time forgot" because we have no amenities to speak of and are not properly connected by road or mobile phone signal or freesat or digital radio or gas or mains drains, let alone trains, planes and automobiles.  Anyway, Mandy is in a bee and, I was so excited to get started on my bees which don't start until June, that she let me make her month's block.  She even put the fabric in a ziploc envelope so I felt part of the gang or perhaps because she knew that if she didn't it would get left over breakfast all over it although she was very nice about that incident.

It is a string quilt block a la Film in the Fridge.  I was given fabulous silk fabrics in golds, reds and greens and produced the block after about four days of sweating, swearing, sewing, ripping and picking with tweezers.  It's going to be a fabulous quilt but I'm not yet at the level of skill or speed required to produce a whole quilt like this in under five years.  And the MESS?  Have you made one of these quilts?  The mess is incredible.  Bits of paper, corners of fabrics, bits of string, bits of breakfast (sorry about that Mandy).  Anyway, all that aside, here is my pretty block (don't zoom in on points etc, just leave it on dim distant view without your glasses on and you'll see something really fabulous).

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness

Here they are, photographed one by one (a couple of repeats to make the mosaic fit).  How fab?

Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness - breaking news

1. BREAKING NEWS - the yellow line has been discontinued and replaced with the fabric below (refer to post below if you're not sure what's going on here).  Is that going to be OK?  Do we still have to consider a replacement?
2. Luckily, this guide to the fabrics was enclosed with them and it links to the instructions in the book which  means nothing will go wrong.
3. For clarification, jm, I am making the quilt for my mum although she may allow me to carry it around with me when I visit her.

4.And finally a question for all you fabric junkies out there, many of whom travelled all the way over here to the UK from Rae Ann's stash manicure earlier this week. If you had the choice (which you don't) would you prefer a whole year's supply of chocolate or a date with George Clooney or the contents of the photo below (which for clarification jm is not mine to keep forever, only to play with for as long as it takes me to make the quilt...which may be some time...):

Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness

As long as any post has this title in it, you can ignore it unless you are my Mum.  She has bravely entrusted me with a Kaffe Fassett diagonal madness quilt kit which the cottonpatch have assembled and courier-delivered to me today and I will keep her updated on progress with pictures on the blog.

But I have a challenge for for my Mum.  In return for updates on diagonal madness, I would like her to comment on the posts as they appear.  So she has to work out how to follow the blog and how to post comments.  If she fails to do this, I am considering using the kit to make a doll's house quilt and keeping the rest to form my much needed stash.  She has two weeks from today to comment on this blog and avoid this terrible fate.  

I do have one question though for those of you with good eyes for colour.  My Mum is not mad about the yellow bits and I wonder what colour we might use instead.  Kaffe, if you're one of my mystery followers and are reading this, (this is a joke of course but I like to imagine that my anonymous followers are quilting royalty) which of your fabrics would you choose.  Shelley, if you bump into him again any time, soon, perhaps you could ask his advice for me. And Shelley has had an imaginary chat with her imaginary friend and suggested these four possiblities.  Any thoughts anyone?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Fresh Modern Bee 2

When I wanted to start a fresh modern bee, the whole thing filled up in just over a day and there have been a few commenters since then who said that they were interested in joining so I said I'd post again to let you all know how many we're up to. It certainly looks like we'll manage to get enough for FMB2 so I've created a Flickr group to get us started.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Those of you who got in line for FMB1 in my comments head on over to the Flickr group and apply to join. They are - Danielle, Lil, Make, do & Mend, Justine, Tammy Gilley, Crafty Chops, Susan, Doris, Pioneer Valley, Amy and the Bad Cats, Scissors & Thread, Jessica and Lisa. Once we're on the Flickr group, we can share information about ourselves and blog addresses.

2. Email me on the address you can find through my profile with your name, address and any month you cannot do. Let me know if there is anyone who wants to kick off as soon as June. If not, we'll start in July.

3. The rules for the group can be found in this post so have a read of that too. To add to those rules, (i) we'll skip December because it's just too busy; and (ii) each month a new thread will be started by the person sending out fabrics where all the discussion about that month's blocks can take place, including when fabric is sent and received, how to make the blocks and when blocks are sent and received.

4. Add the FMB2 button to your blog if you're techno savvy enough to do that. Sadly you have to create a button yourself using the picture gadget and then creating your own link to the Flickr page as I don't know how to write the code for a button!