Thursday, 31 May 2012


Yesterday Kerry verykerryberry emailed me to ask if I'd see the new Amitie fabric clubs.   Well you know I am working on two Amitie BOMs (the Gypsy Wife and Green Tea and Sweet Beans) and have previously made a third one (The Circle Game).  Why?  Well for two reasons.  One - I love the beautiful, random, whimsical quilts Jennifer Kingwell from Amitie designs.  Working on them keeps you interested for a full twelve months which is hard for someone like me who hops from project to project and gets bored easily.  Here is the block for month 4 in the Gypsy Wife BOM.

And the other reason is the fabric choices.  I genuinely believe Jennifer has the magic touch when it comes to fabric choices.  She seems to have her finger on the pulse of what is cool and now out there and has an extensive and eclectic mix of beautiful and unusual fabrics.  So many times, I would post a picture of an Amitie block and get a flood of queries about the fabrics in the block.  So when Kerry told me yesterday that Amitie were setting up two fabric clubs, I had one of those hyperventilating moments where I knew I had to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW or BAD THINGS WOULD HAPPEN.

Firstly there is the Stash Club.  Sixteen 25cm squares of new fabric are shipped to you six times a year.  The picture is just a sample of what you might be sent.  If you do any of the Amitie BOMs, they give you a good idea of the kinds of fabrics Jennifer chooses.

And then there is the Amitie Liberty of London Addicts.  Eighteen 6" squares of Liberty of London prints (seasonals and classics) are you are shipped to you four times a year.  Again, the picture is just a sample of what you might be sent.  For those of you who haven't used Liberty lawns before, they are a real special treat.  Beautiful designs and colours and a lovely supersoft light weight.  Those of you who have used Liberty lawns before won't need telling how special they are.  

Whether you have an extensive stash or are just starting out, these clubs are going to be a great way to build up some special pieces in your collection to add real interest into your quilts.  You can find out more by going to this blogpost about the new clubs here.  And if you watch this space, I will show you the fabrics as they arrive so that you can see what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Geared for Guys Blog Tour

Well I am the penultimate stop of the Geared for Guys blog tour.  You may have spotted the book touring around blogland.  It's written by Emily Herrick and is jam packed full of quilts for the men and boys in your life.  You can buy a hard copy in your favourite bookstore or get an pdf version in Emily's Etsy shop.  There have been opportunities to win a copy of the book along the way and this post is no exception.  Leave me a comment telling me what song you would sing if you were stuck in the desert overnight (see end of post...) and Mr Random will pick a comment one week from now for a chance to win the book.

Here's a picture of Emily at Quilt Market with her book.  And the final stop on the blog tour is back at her blog tomorrow.

I have three guys in my immediate family in the form of my long suffering Welsh husband and my two teenage sons.  So a book of manly quilts is just what I needed.  And as a special bonus, the front cover depicts a quilt designed and made by none other than Fat Quarterly's John Quiltdad.

My other favourite quilts in the book are Oddball,

this retro text Gamer quilt...

and my favourite of the whole book, Switchback

which has a whole cowboy out in the wilderness thing going on reminding me of when the Three Amigos were out in the desert singing Blue Shadows on the Trail.  Little known fact...our three cats were called Ned Nederlander, Lucky Day and Dusty Bottoms.  Goodnight Lucky.  Goodnight Dusty.  Goodnight Ned.  Leave a comment letting me know what you would sing if you were stuck in the desert overnight for a chance to win a copy of Geared for Guys.

Go Laura, Go Hadley, Go Marianne

Well three of my quilting friends have hit the jackpot in Amy's Creative Side's Blogger's Quilt Festival and are in the final five in their categories.  If you have a moment to vote for them, hop on over to this post.  Firstly my real life friend with the impossibly glamorous hair, Laura Needles Pins and Baking Tins with her to-die-for Brit Bee Star Beast quilt in the Group/Bee Quilt category.

And secondly mad as a bag of spanner Hadley Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle with her fabulous rainbow made in cherry quilt in the ROYGBIV quilt category.

And finally, Marianne The Quilting Edge's  extraordinary Oakshott quilt in the pieced quilt category.  I confess this might be my all time favourite quilt ever and a little birdie tells me that anyone going to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham this year might just get a chance to see it in person on the Oakshott stand but that's not finalised yet.  

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Village Haberdashery

As you may know, there is a new haberdashery kid on the block - Annie at the Village Haberdashery only opened her shop three months ago but she is already stocking up fast.  She aims to be a crafter's one stop shop, whether you're a quilter or prefer knitting or crocheting.

She's just back from quilt market so has lots coming in: Lilybelle by Bari J for Art Gallery, Simpatico by Cloud9, Ruby Star Vinyl by Melody Miller and Nursery Versery by Heather Ross for Kokka, Hope Chest by Josephine Kimberling for Blend (I could keep going...).  Choose one of her fabric bundles or maybe build your own.

And she also stocks essentials such as Kona solids, Aurifil threads, wadding and tools.  In spite of the recent Royal Mail price hikes, she's still doing flat rate UK shipping for £2.75.

As well as tapestry kits, full range of DMC embroidery floss, ribbons, trims, buttons...

If you want to keep up to date with the new fabrics coming in from her Quilt Market orders, why not sign up to her weekly newsletter which you can do by scrolling down to the bottom of her home page and entering your email address.

And finally, if you're coming to the Fat Quarterly London retreat this weekend, you will get to meet her in person so stop and say hi and tell her what your must have new fabric lines are for this season!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Green Tea and Sweet Beans - a start

For those of you who don't know, Green Tea and Sweet Beans was a BOM from Amitie Textiles a couple of years ago which will shortly be coming out as a book.  Today I've made a little start on my version.  It's just a start.  Four little blocks.  Two little propellors each 3 1/2" across.  I tried hand piecing them drawing around plastic templates but that doesn't work for me so I gave up and EPPed them but with the seam allowances left unsewn so I can piece the whole thing together at the end on the machine.

I did the same with these two little 4 1/2" inch churn dash blocks.  Ever since Felicity asked us to make scrappy churn dash blocks in our bee, they've been nagging at me to make more.  I couldn't make a whole quilt of these, it would take forever and I'd get bored, but mixed in here and there into a whole scrappy, blocky quilt, I can make as many as I like.

I probably won't follow the Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern to the letter partly because I don't yet have a copy of the book so am just working now from other people's photos of the quilt and guessing and partly because I'm going to just make what I fancy and move things around, change things around but make a quilt in the style and mood of Green Tea and Sweet Beans.  Once I have the book (coming out later this year), I'll have a better idea of where I'm going.  In the meantime, it's hot and sunny here in the UK.  Perfect for hand sewing in the garden or for taking the laptop outside with your twin sister and no doubt doing something very important on it.

And the winner is...

Yes the winner of the Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop book (my fave quilting book right now and deservedly no. 10 in the craft/quilting book chart) has been picked by Mr Random.

Come on down and claim your prize Lindaroo!  And for all of you who entered with your comedy tenuous links to the members of the Fat Quarterly team, thank you, you have kept me well and truly entertained this week.  

Friday, 25 May 2012

Seven more sleeps

This time next week, I will be in London with Katy, Brioni, Tacha and John getting ready for the Fat Quarterly London sewing retreat.  
Fat Quarterly

For those of you who will be there and don't yet know me, my name is Lynne but I won't be in the least offended if you get confused and call me Lily as that is what my long suffering Welsh husband calls me.  And for those of you who haven't met me in person before, I look like this only I now have glasses and am hoping not to be wearing a jumper because I'm hoping this weather will last and we'll have moments where we sip cocktails (or more realistically warm white wine from a wine box) on the roof terrace.  

And I am going to link this post to the Fat Quarterly London retreat linky post which I will be posting tomorrow morning so we can all hop from blog to blog and find out who's going to be there too.  So if you're going to the retreat, make sure to write a retreat post and link up to the FQ linky post tomorrow morning.  In my FQ retreat post, I am going to show you some of the things I'm bringing as well as telling you what I'm excited and nervous about.  I will be packing lots of useful sewing items in this swoon pouch Laura Needles Pins and Baking Tins made for me.  And I'm excited about meeting Tacha and John who I've never met before and spending the weekend with the Fat Quarterly team for the first time ever.  I'm not in the least bit nervous about that bit. 

I will wear this t-shirt with a label made by Jo Mancity 0327.  And I'm excited about spending the weekend with all my sewing, quilting, blogland, twitterland and flickrland peeps, whether or not I've met you in person before.  I'm not in the least bit nervous about that bit either. 

I will be carrying this bag which Jo Mancity 0327 made for me.  And I confess I'm excited but also a little bit nervous about teaching my classes.  But I'm pretty sure that once I get started I'm going to love it.  So if you're in one of my classes, just smile encouraging smiles at me until I get into my stride if you don't mind.

And finally I'm sad that there are a few of you out there who can't make it this year for various reasons and I'm hoping that this becomes an annual event and we'll see you there next year or the year after.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Some of you will already know my pal Jo Avery and her blog Bearpaw, with its lovely mix of quilts, crochet and embroidery.  Jo's day job is running her Homewares and Gifts shop in Edinburgh, and earlier this year she began to stock fabrics, wool and haberdashery there too.  And now Jo has added a craft supplies department to her website as well, and is having a massive giveaway on her blog to launch it.

Here's what you could win: 15 FQs, 8 balls of wool plus a pile of ribbons and buttons! Head on over to Bearpaw to find out more and enter.  She will also be offering an introductory 15% off any orders till the end of May!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Slow slow slow

Still plodding along on my Hexy MF, inspired by (which is a quilter's word which really means copied from) Katy's Hexy MF.  On the plus side, I'm learning applique for the first time and loving it.  On another plus side, it's now lovely and warm here in England so having a hand sewing project which you can take into the garden is perfect.

On the downside, it's much slower than machine piecing so there's not a lot to show.  I've appliqued the whole hexagon to the background and done one quarter of the background applique.  I'm no Cathy Cabbage Quilts (my applique hero) as yet but I'm working on it.

I'm using the freezer paper method which a few of you told me about and which I love.   You trace the applique shape onto freezer paper, cut it out fuse it to the back of your fabric, cut with a 1/4" ish seam allowance.  Tack the seam allowance down to the freezer paper, folding over the edges and using a short running stitch.  Press using starch, remove the tacking stitches and then you have a shape ready to sew down.  Sounds convoluted but I love it.

And that's what it's all about

So three quilts got wrapped up, boxed up, picked up from my doorstep by the courier and, for a ridiculously small cost of £20, they trekked down through England, across the Channel and then down through France all the way to Mont Blanc or so to arrive chez my sister and to be photographed with her in use and in situ.  There was theyoutube quilt which was a thank you to my sister for so kindly following my blog all this time.   

There was my ginormous swoon quilt which was for my niece with swirly hearts quilted by Tracey Pereira.  

And there was the Comic Book Batman quilt for my superhero nephew which was in the latest Kids issue of Fat Quarterly with my amateur hour quilting.

And photos like this make it all worth while.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop - Giveaway

And so the Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop Blog Tour kicks off on the blog of their newest member, me!  If you want to see all the dates and places of the tour, with more chances to win this book along the way, go to the end of this post for more info.  And for a chance to win a copy of Shape Workshop for Quilters, please leave a "top tenuous" comment on this post.  Now a "top tenuous" comment comes from a UK radio show where people have to phone in with their most tenuous link to a famous person, eg, my Mum's dog has her hair cut by Katy Jones' next door neighbour.  So your most tenuous links to any of the five Fat Quarterly team members, the more absurd the better.  One comment per person to win the book.  Mr Random will pick the winner in a week but I will be entertained along the way by your comments!

And for my stop on the blog tour, I have decided to host an interview with the most eccentric member of the team, my real life friend Katy Jones, known online as I'm a Ginger Monkey.  Although she is as tall as a giraffe, has many tattoos, wears outlandishly stylish clothes, has a designer haircut and cinema 3D type glasses, you'd think she would be a scary person in real life and in fact she is as nice as pie.  And here is my interview with her, interspersed with photos from the book.

1. Firstly can you tell us a little bit about each of the four of you who have written this book.

Tacha is the glue that holds the rest of us together. She's organised, focused, determined and looks quite serious. I say LOOKS quite serious because Tacha can reduce me to a fit of giggles with a single look, she has a dry sense of humour that is actually a little bit naughty. John is our big brother - both in stature (he's 6'4" or something huge) and personality. He's a complete whizz with words, and having the male personality in the group keeps us grounded (although truth be told, John is as much of a girl as the rest of us). It's a running joke amongst ourselves that John and I are the eye candy - everyone else makes these crazily complicated quilts and we stand around batting our eye lashes. Try to imagine John batting his eye lashes and looking all pretty, it's quite funny. We all feel crazily protective of him, because he's our brother. Brioni likes to make complicated quilts. If there's an easy quilt to make she won't be doing it, or she'll make the block teeny tiny just to make it harder. She once made a fussy cut english paper pieced quilt in 6 weeks - completely finished in 6 weeks. Brioni is from Yorkshire and those familiar with Yorkshire will understand what I mean when I say she's a true Yorkshire woman - she has a fantastic, dry, cutting sense of humour. And then there's me. Um. I'm not good at talking about me. I like cats. *bats eyelashes*

2. How did Fat Quarterly come into being?

We had all met through various swaps on flickr. It was Tacha that finally brought us together as a group though.  Tacha contacted us individually and asked if we would be interested in doing something together. The initial idea was quite different to how FQ is now, more of a few patterns together and less of a magazine. It has evolved into a magazine that we like to think showcases new and emerging talent, both in fabric and quilt design - a kind of stepping stone into the industry for people that might not have had anything published before. Our main focus is on the community we are part of and championing it.

3. What is Fat Quarterly (the e-zine) all about?

The basic idea for Fat Quarterly was for a more modern quilting magazine that we felt wasn't really represented in the more traditional print magazines available at the time (I think we are still quite unique). We knew we couldn't do that in a printed form without a massive cash injection that none of us had, so we went down the digital road. We were clear in our minds about what we wanted to see in a magazine, and have stayed true to that focus. Fresh, modern, up to date projects using designer fabrics for a variety of skill levels and demonstrating a variety of techniques. We have a theme for each issue (the latest issue is set around the theme of Kids - creating with and for them) and the projects are all related to that particular theme. The magazines have no advertising in them (the only exclusion to that is the special issue we are releasing to coincide with the Fat Quarterly retreat in June), so within the 90-odd pages you get pure content. We are unique in that way, and consequently we don't have a big old pot of money to play with as most magazines draw revenue from advertising, but for $8 an issue, the price of a single pattern, you get practically a book.

4. And how did the idea for doing a book come about?

Within the magazine or on our website we have designer challenges - either a shape, a block, or a fabric and designers that we pick from our readership or twitter make something using whatever the challenge is on that particular occasion. The book came about from that same idea but expanded - each chapter is a different shape, and within that chapter there are 10 different blocks (a mix of traditional blocks and modern interpretations of traditional blocks, and new blocks), and 2 quilted projects (1 large, 1 small). It's always great to see how different peoples' minds work out the solution to a problem or challenge, and I think the book's premise shows our own personalities and strengths within the blocks and projects.

5.  Who is the book aimed at?

The book is aimed at any quilter - there are projects that are aimed at each level of quilter, from absolute beginner right through to the experienced quilter. We would like to think there is something for everyone within the pages. It's also a perfect book for someone thinking of joining a quilt bee - the 60 blocks are all 12" finished which is the general size used for the online quilting bees we have been part of over the years. I guess the idea isn't just about the patterns and the projects but hoping that it might encourage you to think about how you can use the different shapes in your own projects and as you develop as a quilter.

6. What makes your book different from any of the other modern quilting books being published at the moment?

Unlike most other quilt books that are mainly projects or quilt blocks we have both. The chapters are clearly separated so that all of the blocks in each chapter use the same fabrics/colourway, for example all of the polygon blocks are made using kona solids in blues and greys. We hope that the book becomes a reference book in every quilter's library that they can pull out every time they need some fresh inspiration.

7. And now some quick fire questions:

Fave all time quilt you've made:

At the moment my favourite is probably Hexy MF, although orange soda from the book comes a close second.

Worst quilt you've ever made:

There have been a few. The worst one in that the one I am most disappointed with was probably a hexagon quilt I made for Leo, my son, that doesn't look bad at all but I had ideas above my station and thought I could hand piece something amazing (the piecing is ok) and then hand quilt it with a fine cotton thread. I managed to hand quilt one hexagon flower before giving up, and tying it with buttons. It's lumpy (I used a wool batting) and wonky and although does it's job of keeping him warm it reminds me I failed.

Fave quilt someone else has made

A double wedding ring quilt that Erica Ray made and I found on flickr. I absolutely adore this quilt - everything about it is pure perfection, I look at it quite often and just sigh. It's my one day, when I'm a grown up quilt.

Fave quilt you made in the book

Orange soda. I love it. I love love love love love it so much.

Fave other quilt in the book 

This is tricky. Probably Tacha's Nordic Star quilt because her use of dresden plates is genius, although I also love the simplicity of John's flickering stars pillow and the design of Brioni's saw blade quilt.

Fave fabric line ever

Ever ever ever? Building blocks by American Jane. It was that line of fabric that first got me thinking I might want to make a quilt. I still love her fabrics, they are timeless and perfect for everything. I would still go out and buy up every print from that collection now, and it's about 5 years old now.

Fave fabric designer ever

Sandy Klop of American Jane. I buy her fabrics, I hoard them, I love her. She has a style that is undeniably hers and immediately recognisable.

Fave colour

Red. I don't necessarily use it all that much but it's my favourite and I'm always inexplicably drawn to anything red. Including nail polish and shoes.

Fave drink

A really cold bottle of corona, with lime. I actually drink very little but a corona always makes things better, more relaxed, more fun, and just makes me feel happy inside.

Fave food

I am constantly craving really good pulled pork sandwiches or barbeque food. In fact I have some pork slow cooking in the crock pot now for pulled pork sandwiches tonight. With a smoky barbeque sauce. Yum. Apparently Kansas City (where Spring Market is this year) is a great place for barbeque - I'll be dragging the others around trying to find me some ribs and pulled pork.

Fave place in the world

I love the size of the US, the fact that it sprawls, that the sky is so huge and everything is bigger there than in the UK. Food portions are huge (I like to eat), everything is cheaper than it is here (don't get me started on the price of gas in the UK), but I don't really know if I could live there.  So I think my most absolute favourite place in the world ever is London. If I could move there right now I would, I'd live in the hustle and bustle of East London close to my brother and one of my best friends and my kids would grow up way more streetwise and independent than there are being in the Countryside and getting driven all over the place.

Tell us a joke
This horse walks into a bar.
The barman says 'why the long face?'

Hmm, rubbish, isn't it?

Tell us an embarrassing story about yourself
The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me without a doubt was last year at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. We had a booth for the first time and taught some classes. Everything was wonderful....except for a lecture on Social Media and Blogging that Tacha was supposed to take but had been ill (quite seriously, in the hospital and it had been touch and go as to whether she would come to FoQ at all) and at the last minute I said I'd do it for her, thinking the class would be about 5 people and I could grab coffees and we could have a bit of a chat about twitter and the like, all round a table and passing the ipad round. I had absolutely no prep, because I hadn't expected to do it and I hadn't expected anyone would actually go.
In fact there was a large room, set out lecture style with mic and lectern and me stood at the front thinking 'oh crap no'. By the time everyone arrived there were over 30 people and they all sat there looking at me like I was going to tell them something interesting, informative and worth the money they had paid. 3 walked out. You know the day is bad if people walk out of your class. I just wanted the floor to open and swallow me up. It was terrible. The rest of the weekend involved people coming to the booth to tell me how bad the lecture was, I needed a drink after that.

OK so a quick reminder (i) leave a top tenuous comment for a chance to win a copy of the book and (ii) visit the rest of the stops on the tour for reviews, giveaways and block tutorials from the book:

5/24  Handmade by Alissa:
5/29  In Color Order:
5/31  Comfort Stitching:
6/4  Generation Q:
6/7  Sew Mama Sew:
6/12  Pat Sloan:
6/14  WhipUp:
6/18  Sarah Fielke’s The Last Piece:
6/22  Fat Quarter Shop:
6/26  Diary of a Quilter:
6/28  Amy’s Creative Side:
7/3  A La Mode Fabric:
7/6  It’s Sew Kiki!:
7/10  Craft Buds!:
7/12  Craft Foxes:
7/16  {sew} Allegorical:
7/18 Wrap-up Party back at!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Summer Project

OK so I always start planning my summer projects around now so that, when that one annual day of sunshine comes to the UK, I will be prepared with some hand sewing to take into the garden with me.  The day hasn't come yet but should be here any time now.  And so I am aiming to make something which might be one tenth or even one millionth as beautiful as this quilt which is possibly my favourite quilt of all time.  It was a BOM from the BOM shop of wonders Amitie Textiles in Melbourne Australia and will at some point soon be a book which I will buy on release day.  This version here is made by my friend Lil, aka Fissiett on Flickr.

Green tea, sweet beans

So I emailed Peg at Sew Fresh Fabrics and asked her for some background fabrics - kind of creams, greys, aquas which will make the scrappy background to my Green Peas and Ham quilt and they sent me these lovelies.  Look at that McCalls sewing guide fabric. 

I have mentioned in the past that I don't like choosing fabrics - I get anxious and confused and wish every shop would have a plethora of bundles for me to choose from because I feel safer buying bundles than lots of FQs. 

And that's why I love Peg from Sew Fresh Fabrics because I just email her the idea of what I'm looking for and she goes and chooses a stack of FQs for me.  And then when they arrive it's like unwrapping a Christmas present as I have no idea what's going to be in there.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

MQM issue 2

Modern Quilting Magazine issue 2 came through my letterbox today.  A Tula Pink quilt is on the front cover:

My Summersville dresden is in there and, in spite of everything, I'm still happy to see something I made in a magazine. 

And it's fun to see some other projects from online friends like this log cabin purse from Ali at Very Berry Handmade.

Jenna Sew Happy Geek's tote bag.

And a Pick up Sticks quilt by Faith at Fresh Lemons.