Saturday, 29 December 2012

Abakhan Projects on a Budget

In this economic climate, we are all thinking about what we can and cannot afford to make, what fabrics we can and cannot buy, what notions etc.  Well how about coming up with some ideas for projects on a budget?  THIS FEATURE IS NOW OPEN WORLDWIDE.  Here's the idea.  You head on over to Abakhan Fabrics and pick out £20 worth of anything that takes your eye.  We send it to you free, you make, photograph and write a tutorial to go on my blog.
So here's what you need to do:

1.   You can now be anywhere in the world to participate in this challenge!
2.   Leave a comment on this post telling me what you would like to make using £20 worth of anything from Abakhan.
3.   In a few days from today, I will choose a winner who will have one month to choose their booty from Abakhan, make something and write a tutorial.
4.   Don't be disheartened if I do not pick your idea this month, there are always other months.
6.   The item can be anything at all - clothing, quilted or non quilted items - anything crafty at all really.
7.   Be as original, as traditional, as creative or as simple as you like.
8.   And this month's theme is warm and cosy.


Monday, 24 December 2012

Fabricate - a new modern quilting magazine

A quick Christmas Eve post to tell you about Kerry's modern quilting magazine project, Fabricate.  Fabricate is set to be a monthly magazine for contemporary quilters and patchworkers.  Kerry needs to raise £5000 - or $8200 - including fees before the end of December in order to rent shelf space with WHSmiths and make the project a reality.


So if you have $1 spare (about 65p) to pledge then it would be very welcome, and if the target isn't reached, the money is automatically refunded through Paypal, so there's nothing to lose.  Click here to help Kerry get this magazine launched.  And if you find yourself with a little more than $1, there are perks to consider such as 6 and 12 month subscriptions, one off copies by post and even advance advertising at reduced rates just to try and hit this target.

And a Merry Christmas to all of you.  Relax, put your feet up, pour a glass of wine and put the Michael Buble Christmas CD on the iPod.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sponsor news

The wonderful Fi over at The Sewing Directory has another humdinger of an opportunity to win a sewing machine.  It's a brand new Janome DKS30 sewing machine (RRP £499).   This is Janome's latest model, ideal for beginners with 30 built in stitches all with their own illuminated key, an easy set bobbin system, an automatic needle threader and thread cutter and a stop start button so you don’t have to use the foot control if you don't want to.  To enter you just have to answer one simple question, and you can get a bonus entry by signing up to Janome's newsletter.  For full details, click right here.

The Janome DKS30

And for those of you who've been waiting to get your hands on some Oakshotts, they have an online sale starting on Boxing Day and running through until 6 January.  If you spend over £50 and enter the code LilysQuilts in the Delivery Box, you will receive a £5 voucher valid for six months.  


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Made with Oakshott

Would you like to make something with Oakshott fabrics?  Well now, you have a chance.

Lily's Quilts
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Lily's Quilts"><img src="" alt="Lily's Quilts" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Each month, Michael Oakshott and I choose an Oakshott bundle and challenge you to come up with some kind of wonderful idea of what you would make with it.  This month, we've chosen a selection of Oakshott Longshotts.


I'm really excited about this challenge because I just know that modern quilters are going to be really creative with the subtle stripes in these fabrics.


To be in with a chance of playing with these beautiful fabrics, here's what you need to do:
  • Leave a comment letting me know what you would make with these fabrics.  
  • Let me know what colours you would like.  Pick 8-12 FQs for your project.  8 FQs for  smaller project; 12 for a larger one.  Click here to make your selection.
  • Be specific about your idea and make a feature of those stripes.  We won't pick someone who  says "I want to make a quilt" but might pick someone who says "I have in mind a quilt with double hourglass blocks designed to show off these stripes". 
  • After a few days, we will pick our favourite project suggestion and that person will be sent their selection of the Longshotts.  
  • All we ask of you is that you write a guest post for this blog containing photos of the finished item and a tutorial showing us how you made it, ideally within one month of receipt of the Oakshotts.  
And if you don't get picked this month, don't worry, there will be another great bundle on offer next month so stay tuned for a new chance each month.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

And the winner is ...

Even amongst 1,441 entries, someone has to be picked to have won one of these Rio Colourboxes of 40 FQs of beautiful Oakshott shot cottons.

As ever, I called on Mr Random who picked ...
Who is ...

Congratulations Kerstin!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Sponsor News

Kate at M is for Make is now stocking essential colours of Aurifil in both 50wt and 40wt.  As you know this is my thread of choice and the colours she's chosen are all the basics you need.

Amitie Textiles in Melbourne run two fabulous stash clubs and the Liberty club parcel has just arrived.  Drool on.

Oakshott have the Rio Colourbox (giveaway on this blog yesterday) at a special pre-Christmas knock-down price of £125.  Grab it quick - these colourboxes fly out of the Oakshott warehouses and are special editions not regular stock.

Abakhan is the place I buy my rotary cutter and replacement blades - as well as knockdown fabrics, they have a great haberdashery department.

Simply Solids are also broadening their haberdashery with new products arriving all the time.  Coming soon are clover clips - great for holding your binding in place while you sew it down.

Pat Bravo has also asked me to mention that, separate from the Art Gallery blog, she has now started her own personal blog, Soulful Eyes and she'd love you all to go and check it out.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It's a BIG FAT Oakshott giveaway

Do not miss this one.  Oakshott are going to give to one lucky reader - from anywhere worldwide - one of these Rio Colourboxes of 40 FQs of beautiful Oakshott shot cottons.

Comments to be in with a chance of winning:

1.   Leave a comment, any comment.
2.   Sign up for the Oakshott newsletter which you can find half way down the right hand side of their homepage and let me know that you did.
3.   Click to follow me or let me know that you did or already do.
4.   Spread the word - twitter, facebook, blog or whatever other social media takes your fancy and let me know that you did.

A winner will be drawn one week from today.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Make with Oakshott - Just Jude

Hi, I'm Judith from Just Jude and Lynne has very kindly asked me to write a tutorial on twin needling using some lovely Oakshott Silks.  Twin needling is sewing with 2 needles in your machine, and 2 spools of thread, at the same time.

When you get the hang of this technique, it is so much fun, and the possibilities are endless.  The most common way to use twin needling to great effect is in Stained Glass Windows patchwork:

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

The bit that you are twin needling is the 'leading' otherwise known as Fusible Bias Tape

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

This is such a cool product and worth every penny.  It comes in different colours & widths, but I use the 1/4" tape with a 1/4" twin needle (twin needles also come in different widths).  And because it has been made on the bias, it curves really nicely! 

So here's how you twin needle!

Ever wondered what the extra spool holder & hole was for in your machine?  As well as the hooks on the sides of your needle shank? Yep, you guessed it!  Twin Needling.

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

Put 2 spools of thread into the top of your machine.  Some of you may have spool holders that are permanently fixed on the top of your machine, some of you may have one that is fixed and a hole to slot in your spare spool holder.

Now take both threads together, and thread your machine as normal, until you get to the needle shank.

This is where you separate the threads again.  Hook one thread to one side, and the other thread to the other side.

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

Insert your twin needle unit in the same way you put in a normal needle and thread each needle.

You should now have 1 bobbin thread and 2 top threads.  Increase your stitch length to 3.

Iron a small piece of fusible bias tape onto a scrap of fabric (always double your fabric) & practise your twin needling until you get the tension right (you may need to loosen your tension as the fusible tape is quite thick).

This is what it should look like on the back:

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

Now you are ready to twin needle your project.

There are 2 ways to do Stained Glass Windows:

1. Using bondaweb to stick down your design and then twin needle the 'leading' on top (check the compatibility of the bondaweb with the fabric you are using).

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

This method is good for more intricate, curved designs.

2. Make an improve patchwork block and twin needle the 'leading' into the seams.

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

What you must remember when making stained glass patterns, is the raw edges of a length of bias tape must be hidden underneath another length of bias tape (rather like foundation piecing where the last raw edge gets sewn over by the next piece of fabric).

Method 2 is a good way to start twin needling if you are a first timer!

Here are the picture steps for Method 2 followed by the tutorial:

Twin Needling Tutorial Dec12

1. Make an improv block to your required size.  I made a 16" square panel for a cushion front.

2. Study the seams of your block to find out which ones will need bias tape first, and which ones have ends that will need to be covered over by another piece of bias tape.  Peel the back off the tape and start ironing on the sections that need to be sewn down first.  Make sure the tape ends reach right into the seams.

3. Baste the block onto some wadding, backed with calico/sheeting.

4.  Take your block to the machine and start twin needling the smaller pieces of bias tape that are stuck down.  You don't need to start or finish with a reverse stitch, just make sure you sew right to the ends of the tape.

5. Continue building up the layers of bias tape until all raw edges & seams are covered.

6. Trim off any excess wadding/backing.

7. Attach a cushion back and binding if desired.

8 & 9. Sit back and admire your handiwork!

Thank you for taking the time to read this tutorial.

I hope you have been inspired to try something new and have loads of Twin Needling fun!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

See you next Saturday

Next Saturday and Sunday, Annie's real life bricks and mortar shop The Village Haberdashery is having a preview weekend and I will be there Saturday late morning lunchtime and hope to see you there too.  

Date and time: Saturday, 15th December 11-7 and Sunday, 16th December 11-5 

Location: 47 Mill Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 1NB.

See you there!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

How I straight line quilt

I often get asked questions about my straight line quilting so I thought I'd set out how I do it.  As with anything on this blog, I completely ignore the rules about how things should be done and just aim for the way that suits me so take any advice from me with a pinch of salt.  I've scattered a few photos throughout the post of quilts I've straight line quilted.

1.   Backing: we all know that quilt backing is the most expensive part of the whole process so keep this cheap.  Whenever I need a quilt backing, I go straight to the sale section at Fat Quarter Shop.  You can always find something there that is perfect for the quilt you're working on and you can get it for a knockdown price - often as low as $5/yd if you choose well.

2.   Wadding:  I alternate between two waddings.  The first is a French cotton wadding which I buy from Oakshott  It's super soft, warm, cosy and lofty.  Perfect for a quilt that will be used for snuggling on the sofa.  The other one I use is called Sew Simple Super Soft Cotton which I buy from Simply Solids.  It is warm but less snuggly and lofty.  When quilted this lies flatter showing the quilting off better and so I use this when I'm making a quilt for a magazine, for Fat Quarterly, for show or to sit on top of the rest of the bedding on a bed where it will add warmth but doesn't need to be snuggly.  I am going to trial a bamboo wadding from Oakshott soon and will let you know I get on with this - bamboo is supposed to be the Rolls-Royce of wadding so I'm excited for this one.

3.   Thread: I use only Aurifil because it is my favourite and if it aint broke, don't fix it.  50wt for when I want the quilting to add texture but melt into the background.  40wt when I want the quilting to stand out a bit more.  28wt if the quilting is going to be the star of the show.  You can buy Aurifil thread at the Village Haberdashery in the UK and at the Fat Quarter Shop in the US.

4.   Needles:  Again, I only use Superior Titanium Topstitch needles (which are now being stocked in the UK by Simply Solids).  80 for piecing lightweight fabrics like Liberty lawn and Oakshott shot cottons.  90 for piecing regular quilting cottons.  100 for quilting.  They cost more than other needles but last and stay sharp for so long that they're cheaper in the long run.

Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness

5.   Basting:  I baste larger quilts with quilting pins (bent safety pins) and smaller projects with basting spray.

6.   Marking the quilt:  don't be fooled into thinking you can just follow the pattern in the piecing as you quilt.  You will end up with a hot mess of not quite straight lines.  I mark quilting lines on the quilt top with a hera marker.   I start with a wide grid which I quilt.  I then mark a smaller grid in between these lines and then tend to quilt again in between these lines following the lines as a guide.  These final lines do not need to be marked as you can eyeball the half way gap between two parallel lines.  I like my straight line quilting lines to sit about 1" to 2" apart - this is quite dense quilting and is personal preference - I like the look of dense, even quilting.

Brit Quilt Swap

 7.   Stitch length: I use my machine's maxiumum stitch length which is 5.  Smaller stitches are slower, harder to unpick and can pucker the quilt more.

8.   Walking foot:  if you don't have one, get one.  They are built into some machines and, where they aren't, you can usually find one made for your machine or which will work on your machines.  Straight line quilting without a walking foot will leave you in a big old pucker mess as the layers all shift underneath the foot.

Harlequin quilt

9.   Gloves:  I use a pair of very grippy gardening gloves - these make it much easier to keep a strong hold on the quilt as you maneouvre it through the machine.

10.   Quilting table: my machine has a quilting table which I use for any quilt over about 35" square to hold as much of the quilt on top as possible.

11.   Quilting chair:  I also put a chair to my left which helps hold some of the weight of the quilt.

12.   About unpicking: when you first start quilting, it is tempting to stop and unpick every time you sneeze or your arms have a funny turn and make a weird wiggle or the quilt gets caught on your knee and veers off sideways.  Resist the temptation.  Two years down the line when you're sitting on the sofa watching re-runs of The Waltons in front of a roaring fire with a glass in your hand, you will not notice the imperfections.

13.  Wine, tv and music:  straight line quilting can be boring and repetitive.  The addition of music, tv, wine or any other distractions that come to mind can help pass the time.

And what about your top tips for straight line quilting?

Friday, 7 December 2012

Faves on Flickr

As always, there is a lot of beautiful inspiration over on Flickr and here are a few of my favourites from this week.

Faves on Flickr

1. 'Not so spring deer' - free pp pattern.  A beautiful pillow by the incredibly talented Julianna who will, in sneak preview news, be teaching paper piecing alongside Joanna Shapemoth at the London Fat Quarterly retreat next July.

2. Yo-yo in the center.  If you don't know Lori Holt then where have you been?  She designs the most incredible quilts as well has now having a series of wonderful fabric lines with Riley Blake.  I love the vintagey kitcheny vibe in her fabric choices for this quilt.

3. Churn dash quilt.  Svetlana s.o.t.a.k. never seems to have anything in her Flickrstream that doesn't make me stop and take a look and she's done it once again.  I have a churn dash quilt on my bucket list and this is a beauty.  

4. T is for Tipsy - drunk temperance quilt.  I love this modern take on a temperance quilt and, if you have a moment, pop over and read the blogpost that goes with it.

5. Vintage Block Quilt Along.  Charise is one of the cool gang doing that whole vintagey paper piecing thing and now she has started this beautiful quilt along mixing vintage blocks and fabrics.  

6. Marbles - finished!  Here is Katy's version of the Marbles quilt in the Fat Quarters book published recently by the Fat Quarter Shop which I reviewed here.  

7. Drop, nov. 2012.  All I know about this quilt is that it is made by Beatrice 2011 using Luna Notte and that I really love it and would like to make one myself, maybe using Lori Holt fabrics.  We'll see...

8. Post Sewing Summit Swap - full reveal.  A stunning mini quilt made by Trio Stitch Studio using this tutorial by my friend Janice Better Off Thread.

As ever, I love to hear what's caught your eye this week.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sponsor news

Gwen at Celtic Fusions Fabrics has had a gorgeous new selection of fabrics arrive in the past few days... lost of beautiful Kokka fabrics.

Aurifil are working on more and more new thread selections, often put together by fabric designers or prominent quilters such as this collection of 50wt threads put together by Zen Chic Designer Brigitte Heitland.  And don't miss their Sew Mama Sew giveaway of a Mark Lipinski 50wt 12 spool Designer Collection which you can find here.  

And finally a quick reminder that Annie of Village Habderdashery will be holding a preview weekend of her new bricks and mortar shop in North London next weekend (15 and 16 December).  I'll be there around Saturday lunchtime so hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Siblings Together - the photographs

Yesterday I had an email from Delma at Siblings Together, the charity that works to bring together siblings separated by the care system.  In case you missed the series of posts in the spring, a whole group of quilters made quilts for these kids to use at their summer camps and take home with them as a reminder of time spent with their siblings.  I could not use all of the photos as children's faces were identifiable in them and I have cropped some of those I have used but you'll get the gist.

Delma told me the kids loved their quilts but that it was hard to convince them that they were allowed to keep them and take them home.  Some of their foster parents have told Delma that those quilts went straight into their beds when they got home.

Delma told them that the quilts were made especially for them to go under whenever they feel they want to find a safe place to go to and they really liked this idea.  

She talked about a set of three quilts with elephants on them that went to a set of three siblings.  She also said that it seemed so easy to match the quilts to the children, as if they had been made with those particular children in mind. 

She said that the children, sad to be leaving their siblings, going in separate cars, covered themselves in their quilts, for their journey back their lives, to sleep under for their long journeys home to different homes all over the UK.  

Almost 60 quilts were given to the children and Delma wants to thank each and every one of you who contributed in any way at all, whether it was giving fabric, quilting services, whole quilts or blocks.  And just an early warning that we'll be starting a whole new call for quilts again in the new year and we'd love to have any and all of you help us with that.  In fact, what the heck, if you want to get started already, here's the Flickr group with all the info you'll need.  See you there!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Sew it with Aurifil

Those of you who read this blog will know that I sew with Aurifil.  I piece with 50wt and quilt with 50wt, 40wt and 28wt.  If I was an embroiderer or hand quilter, I would quilt with 12 wt.  

And now here's your chance to sew with Aurifil.  Each month for the next three months, Aurifil will be offering one of you the chance to try out one of their 12 spool thread sets and let us know how you get on.  This month the set we are offering is the 12 x 12wt spool Prism collection created by Michele Scott for Aurifil.  12wt is hand quilting or embroidery weight thread but it can run through the machine if you pick a bigger needle.
To be in with a chance of playing with these beautiful threads, here's what you need to do:
  • Leave a comment letting me know what you would make using the Prism Aurifil Designer Collection.  
  • You can make something big, small, quilted, not quilted, useful, decorative.  It's up to you.  
  • After a few days, we will pick our favourite project suggestion and that person will be sent the thread collection.  
  • All we ask of you is that you write a guest post for this blog containing photos of the finished item and a tutorial showing us how you made it, ideally within one month of receipt of the threads.  
And if you don't get picked this month, don't worry, there will be another Designer Collection on offer next month so stay tuned.