Wednesday, 30 July 2014

when Katy went to a class

The other week (last week? It seems forever ago, but it was just last Tuesday) I booked a day's holiday from work and took myself off to Oh Sew Sweet Shop in Mapplewell (which is just down the road from my house) and went and did a class with my friend Hannah.

We were slightly rebellious, making some patchwork before we got to class to use instead of a single piece of fabric. The teacher was a little bit nervous about this but because I had cleverly measured the sample from the bag on display in the shop we had pieced the exact correct size which pleased the teacher greatly, and made us feel pretty good too.

I was class swot (there is no surprise there, it was my plan to be class swot) and finished mine on the day (except for finishing the binding) and Hannah was second fastest, we took this as sign that we were pretty darn cool. The teacher lady said they were 'jazzy', which I think was a polite way of saying she wasn't overly keen on our fabric choices and the lack of co-ordination, plus our flippant disregard for co-ordinating threads.

I took it as the ultimate compliment, because jazzy is an EXCELLENT word and I had gone for the more is best philosophy regarding colour and fabrics (and I used cotton + steel so it's clearly going to win most fash-on and bang on trend sewing bag going).

Here it is all closed up (I didn't add magnetic clasps, because I'd forgotten to buy some, I could add those later, or I could just leave it as is).

oooh....the inside flap (complete with very wonky quilting lines in a horrendously clashing thread).....

3 big zippy pockets (and more wonky quilting lines in the same clashing thread)!!!!

It has clear plasticy stuff in the middle (not a bundle of fun to sew) and a piece of leopardy ribbon plus flowery bias binding (bought - not made by me)!

The leopardy ribbon holds spools of thread! And the clear plasticy bit is see-thru! (obviously)

Fatty likes it....

This is Hannah's, who was also operating the more colour is best philosophy. And my sister in leopard print loving. She monogrammed hers, in case I tried to steal it. I would have, I actually like hers best, especially because she was sensible enough to have it sideways.

I'm not sure the poor teacher lady would like me (or Hannah) to go back to class, but I enjoyed it so much I think I'm going to do this every couple of months. I've managed to earn so many days in lieu at work since I started I should probably start taking them and a day spent sewing and giggling with friends is an amazing day, it's the ultimate treat and I get to hang out with the people that come to my classes when I'm teaching at Oh Sew Sweet, who are all so great I usually forget I'm supposed to be teaching and just sit and chat with them instead. This way they're probably getting better value for money, and they still learn stuff and I can still chat with them.

Monday, 28 July 2014

a gleeful/jungle ave mash up blog tour

I've been having a whole lot of fun this weekend with Sara Lawson's new line for Art Gallery Fabrics. Sara asked me a while ago if I'd like to part of the blog tour for her line, Jungle Ave, and I jumped at the chance. Sara is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet, she's immensely talented, super nice and always looks amazing (she wears the best clothes and she sews them herself, which makes her even cooler in my book).

Jungle Ave is inspired by Sara's home city of Chicago, it's modern and it's cool, and it reminds me of Sara in general. I can totally see her in any one of these prints, or all of the all together in one of her beautiful dresses (with a co-ordinating bag, of course).

I used Jane's block pattern, the nested churn dash, because I needed 8 fabrics and there's 8 fabrics in an Art Gallery Limited Edition Collection. I'd made a block already using Caroline Hulse's Gleeful, and I loved that block so much that I wanted to try it with this too and then I thought I'd mash the blog tours together and have a little party for the two together!

It's a pretty crazy riot of colour. It's even crazier when you add in a block made from gleeful and decide to make a quilt of it, with a scrappy sashing and borders (I'm 3/4 through - it'll be 4 blocks, ad I have made is still on the floor...with sashing and borders it'll end up a nice big baby size of about 50" or so)....

That gleeful block is a bit creased because someone decided it'd make a good bed. That same someone who is happily resting against a basket of dirty laundry (he's a classy cat)

Anyhow, creases aside, I am loving this riot of colour, and the fact that it clashes like crazy. It's got a good scrappy look to it, which I love and it's been a while since I made something so scrappy (which reminds me of why I love it so much). And it just feels good to sew up something that isn't for work, or for anyone, just for the love of sewing (which is why blog tours are so great for me, I love an excuse to lock myself away for a little while and sew sew sew!)

You can pick up Jungle Ave and Gleeful in all good quilt stores right now (I've linked to Pink Castle Fabrics, because it's all there, just one click away!) I love both of these collections, I love that there's only 8 fabrics in each, which makes it cost effective to buy the whole line, I love the colours in both - they're so sunny and bright and happy. Sara's has a great urban edge to it, Caroline's is just sunshine in a jar. And they both use an amazing emerald green which makes me a happy monkey, because I ADORE emerald green, it's the best of all the greens.

Oh and check out the look books on the Art Gallery site, they have some more great ideas for using the fabrics in all kinds of projects. 

I should probably go and tend to that dirty laundry, before that cat decides he's going to climb into the basket and make it his bed (he totally does that).

Sunday, 27 July 2014

what's new, pussycats?

The school holidays have started, which means the husbeast and I spend the next 6 weeks trying to balance going to work with entertaining the children. Or at least, entertaining one and giving the teenager lifts/money etc. The weather has been a blessing so far, because ginge will just play outside (until far too late at night) when it's sunny and the husbeast is managing to structure his workng day around me going out to work and the kids being at school...which is a little scuppered in the school holidays. It's all so new and peculiar for us, this role reversal of me being the main worker bee and him being the main mama bee. (Also, can you believe it's almost a year since the drama of him being in hospital? Wow. I've booked that week off work, and I'm hoping we can get away and not ruin the teenager's birthday this year with ambulances and scary shit - pardon my French). It's really been some year, which I'm glad to say is much better now. Not completely back to how things were, but near enough to keep us all happy.

But enough of that....So, how about fabric?

There's 30% off all Japanese fabrics at Pink Castle Fabrics this weekend (ends today). Help her shift some stock in preparation for their shop move. Please help her, I know how many bolts she has and it's going to be one heck of a operation moving it all.

Find out more here or head straight to the store and use JAPAN30 at check out.

Japanese means nani iro too...and it's new stock, just in last week.

New in at fat Quarter Shop is seaworthy (remember I showed you a quilt made from that line last week?) It's so cute!

Cuts of Cotton have a gorgeous new bundle for Christmas (I know, it's summer, but let's think ahead, we need to start planning our Christmas quilts!)

It's actually just a great bundle for all year, I love these colours

A couple of great prints I spotted at Sew Me A Song.....

this one....

and this one......

A couple of great prints I spotted at Bobbie Lou's....

this one...

and this one...

Skipping over to the UK now to Plush Addict and I'm really pleased to see this has arrived from Dear Stella!

ALSO - there's a great competition going on to win a hamper of goodies worth over £250, plus 10% off all fabric (applied at checkout). It ends at midnight tonight, so get shopping! (more details are here)

Elephant in my handbag has some great plush fabrics in stock. Do you like using plush as quilt backs? I do, probably not so in the summer, but as the summer will be over in about a week and we'll be cold again, it seems sensible to mention them.

If, like me, you love Kelly's irish chain quilt that is featured on the village haberdashery site, with a tutorial, then you'll be pleased to know there's a bundle available

Here's the quilt, if you've missed it. And the tute is here

Low volume fabrics are now available at Simply Solids (I mentioned it last week, but it's worth another mention)

Loads and loads in the new section as well

Loads of new stuff at Backstitch too

Including moda bella solids, which seems like a very clever move to me, because there's not many stockists over here.

Last for this week, here's a couple of prints that grabbed my eye at Fabric HQ

this one (from Dashwood Studio)....

and this one (from Copenhagen Print Company)....

And that is it from me. I'm going to do a little bit of sewing this morning before it gets too warm, and then head down to my mother in law's to (hopefully) get enough sun on my legs to be able to show them bare in public. Have a lovely Sunday!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

same quilt, but different

Remember the Cotton + Steel quilt I showed you recently that was for issue 2 of Quilt Now (out the end of August)? Well, this is the other version using the same block but in a slightly different way.

I used a line from Dear Stella for this one (seaworthy). So far I haven't seen anyone in the UK stocking it, which is a shame because it's a great line (and has a pink colourway too, for a girly twist), but it may come sneaking over here eventually. I'll keep my eyes peeled for it.

And to remind you, this was the Cotton + Steel version....

I used some of the selvage from Cotton + Steel for a label. Which I happen to think was genius, but isn't really. I'm just so sleep deprived at the minute that walking seems genius to me (oh another genius thing - the backing is Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman wide screen. That's 108" wide for quilt backs. Thank you for your genius, Carolyn. Thank you very much. I got it from Fat Quarter Shop. I have since got much more).

(also - LOOK AT ME BLOGGING!!!!! Wow. Do wonders never cease?)

So, you can pick this pattern up in issue 2 of Quilt Now (end of August) but you can always pick up issue 1 now, because it's super pretty. Digital edition as well as real life paper ones are at and you can find it out in the wild in sainsburys, asda, whsmith, morrisons and tesco (as well as some local quilt shops. If you want yours to stock it, tell them and then tell them to email me! I can hook them up, probably not for issue 1, but for future issues). And pink castle fabrics too (if any other US places pick it up I'll let you know but for now, that's your sole US store).

Monday, 21 July 2014

feeling virtuous

This weekend I managed to spend a day with the kids and have some family time AND a day sewing. It was quite the miracle!

To prove that there are miracles in this world, I even spent part of Sunday tidying up my sewing room, which was getting ridiculous with the amount of stuff in piles all over every available area.
It went from this....

To this....

Fair enough that doesn't look all that tidy either, but right at the back on the left I have a stack of stuff I need to take to the next Leeds Modern Quilt Guild Meeting to palm off donate to people that want it. Just scraps and stuff, and a big bag of wadding off cuts I'm taking to my friend Hannah on Tuesday when I see her (she's on some kind of crazy pillow making mission at the minute). At least the floor is clean, and I can actually use the surfaces now.

My desk is tidy (and my little Bernie is all packed up and ready to go to the Oh Sew Sweet Shop on Tuesday for a class. A class where I'm not the teacher and it's a work day that I've booked off as holiday. I'm all kinds of excited!)

Desk number 2 over here is tidy too. (I need the instruction manual next to that Janome because it's all a bit complicated for me. But, oh my gosh, it sews like a dream! It's the Horizon Memory Craft 8900, and the first time I've had a Janome to sew on. I'll blog about it properly when I have actually figured out more than the straight stitch!)

To reward myself, I had a beer. I felt I deserved it.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

what's new, pussycats?

Well, hello. Are you still there?  I'm sorry things are so quiet around here, but I have been sewing stuff which means I have stuff to show you...but no time to blog it! Expect a deluge of blog posts verrrry soon.

Before all that, let's go shopping.

Brenda at Pink Castle has these awesome secret stash boxes. She puts them together every now and then and they are truly fantastic. There are 50 fat quarters from the shop, no linens, no solids just great designer prints from the shelves in store. Each FQ is different too, so it's a fantastic way to boost up your stash or to get started if you're a newbie. lus, they're $80 for 50 FQs, which works out at $6.40/yard, so they're great value too!

Indelible has also just arrived, the line from Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics.  There's so much I love about this collection, it's so great on so many levels and is also masculine without being trucks and tractors.

Gleeful by Sew Caroline for Art Gallery has just arrived at Fat Quarter Shop. 

You might remember I made a nested churn dash block using Jane's pattern with this fabric. It's so fun and happy. I love it. (I really need to get some more so I can make that block into a quilt)

These seed prints from Blend at Sew Me A SOng would be so useful in any stash. I'd like them as binding instead of a dot.

At Bobbie Lou's Emily Herrick's new line for Michael Miller is in. Got to love those stags.

There's this really awesome Pearl Bracelets roll up at cuts of cotton

2.5" strips, 45 in total. Would that make a great rainbow quilt?

Skipping back over to the UK now and at the village haberdashery Far Far Away by Heather Ross (on quilting cotton) is in stock. Remember this line was printed on double gauze a few years ago, which was gorgeous but quilting cotton is soooooo much easier to work with.

Fabric HQ has had a delivery of laguna jersey by Robert Kaufman. These are great quality knits at a really reasonable price. 

KITTENS AND BUNNIES!!!! At Plush Addict!

these ones

and their friends the bunnies....

Simply Solids have a new Low Volume section in the shop with some great new additions from Art Gallery Fabrics

Backstitch have some new fabrics in stock. I am especially liking these ones...

this is a cambric (like a lawn)

this is one of my all time favourites from art gallery fabrics

and this is a lovely drapey viscose for dressmaking

I love the huge variety of fabrics at Elephant in My Handbag. This week this retro rockets print has grabbed my eye. It's lovely, isn't it?

And that's it for another week!
I am locking myself in the sewing room today and I will try to get a couple of blog posts written for this week. It's the summer holidays now, so I am kind of dreading the balance of going to work and having the kids. I don't think I'll be doing much sewing at all this summer because my days off will be spent doing stuff.
Work is great, making stuff is great, but I have realised since I started working outside the house that all too soon the kids will have grown up and I don't want them to look back and think they had all kinds of fun with their dad but I was always too busy.

Monday, 14 July 2014

makin' it cute with Fat Quarter Shop

A little while ago Kimberly and her team at Fat Quarter Shop asked if I'd like to be a part of the blog event for the makin' it cute petal packs templates that they and me and my sister designs have designed as part of the it's sew emma range.

Of course, I said yes. Duh.

My petal packs got a little lost in the mail, and only arrived late last week, so I haven't had a chance to play with them properly, but I am planning on adding those little flowers to pretty much everything that stands still. Including the cats.

With the school holidays happening right about now, and the kids getting fed up with the same old tricks I think these would make a really fun project, whether from fabric scraps, paper, felt...anything really. They're simple to use, the template material is sturdy without being too stiff. You just draw around the template shape, layer, stitch and cut. (There's a video here if you need a visual.) Even little kids would enjoy playing with the flower shapes, if a grown up did the cutting.

If you head over to the Jolly Jabber there are 20 sets to win...go on...get yourself over there! I'm going to get cracking on a flowery garland for my sewing room - I think it'd be great!