Friday, 30 August 2013

UPDATE - We Gathered, We Stitched

Hop on over to MyBearpaw where Jo is offering a Stitch Gathering goody bag as a fantastic giveaway.

Monday, 26 August 2013

We Gathered, We Stitched

I've been!

Yes,  the eagerly anticipated Stitch Gathering has taken place - it was yesterday (Sunday) in glorious Edinburgh which basked in beautiful sunshine.
I travelled in an Ayrshire party of four - thanks Christelle - and we arrived at our venue, Napier College, at 9am.
As folks arrived we chatted, had coffee, and were treated to the most humungous Goody Bag. The bags themselves were made of Liberty baby needle cord & filled to overflowing with goodies too numerous to mention But a special thank you to Ali from Very Berry Handmade for generously providing us with little Liberty Scrap Packs.
We swapped name tags..........mine came a wee bit later as it was made by Sarah who endured a horrendous journey from Shetland, so glad she made it safely.

We then moved on upstairs to our classrooms - we were on the 6th floor and we had stunning views of the City.

Despite teaching for 9yrs now, I was strangely nervous and glad of the copious amounts of bottled water available. I needn't have worried though, I had a lovely bunch of ladies.
My class was Easy Crazy Patchwork and it evolved into a really pleasant stitching session.

Crazy patchwork can be a right messy business! But from chaos, eventually there is order.

Everyone who attended the Gathering had received a fabric ticket with the instruction to enhance & embellish - they are going to be joined and made into a quilt. Well, it's going to be quite a quilt, the blocks / tickets were wonderful. What a bunch of talented ladies with heaps of imagination - go on, take a peek,

And then it was lunch time.................yum!

During our lunch break we had a lucky dip (better than Santa's any day), a fat quarter swap & show & tell.
Suitably refreshed & relaxed we moved onto the afternoon session where I happily morphed into student mode and learned how to do a bit of fabric origami, with Jo. Still a wip, I will share another day.
All things must pass but even after a full day of workshops we had more treats in store,  for just a five minute walk from the college was Jo's shop..........
...................where we were welcomed with drinks & nibbles before embarking upon a little retail therapy. We also had the chance to view all the quilts in Jo's Modern Quilt Exhibition.

All that was left after that for the Ayr group anyway, was a quick Starbucks and the drive home.
What a success The Stitch Gathering was. Jo is a total dynamo and with the help of husband Jonathan, they make a formidable team. Thanks again for all your hard work.
I really enjoyed meeting so many new people,  I met some lovely bloggers too, that so far I have only encountered online and that was a treat.
I hope we can look forward to another Gathering in 2014.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Christmas is a comin'

Sorry, couldn't resist!
August has been a crazy busy month for me so far with the Festival of Quilts, (I really want to do a quilt post), classes beginning next week, a wedding to attend last weekend, two workshops including this Sunday coming at The Stitch Gathering etc etc.

There has also been an addition to the family but I'll leave that for the end of this post.

So last Sunday was Christmas in August. You might remember my class sample -
It's a large wrap around cushion, quilted all over and with applique shapes cut using Gordon, my Accuquilt Go. The ladies prepped their backgrounds prior to the workshop so that they could enjoy playing with Gordon, he does add a little extra to a workshop and I hope to develop a couple of new ones using new dies bought in the US on holiday.

Several ladies followed my lead and chose less Christmassy fabrics - don't they look good!!
Addition to the family? My son and his girlfriend have acquired a puppy - meet Wee Angus, the Welsh (??) Terrier. Adorable doesn't begin to describe him.....................

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Force Was With Me

I was due to set off for the Festival of Quilts last Thursday afternoon. To while away some time in the morning I read a few blogs and when I read Kristy's, knew I had to make use of her wonderful Star Wars pattern. My young nephew starts school on Friday so I pondered awhile, or for 5 minutes, and got started.
I like foundation piecing, am comfortable with it but hesitated momentarily after printing off the pattern.......could I be bothered with all those wee pieces...........well I did and they were small but that's all, no more difficult, just little. We have the perfect word up here - footery.
I got a few bits done before having to fly..................literally, to Birmingham.

It must be three or four years since me and the Sewing Bee girls visited the Festival of Quilts. I think it has become even bigger, now taking up 3 halls of the NEC.

Most of the first day was spent trailing around the huge amount of traders. Mindful of my recent US haul I tried to be sensible - some of my purchases were made with plans in mind, some inspired by the Festival itself.
On the first day I went to a lecture by Maggie Grey called Cupboard Love. I sort of expected a talk on how to use up our stashes but it was so much more, covering lots of textile art topics. I came away from that thinking about all the bits and bobs in my UFO drawer, all the experimental textile stuff I have tried and also thinking of all the travel pics I took last year "for inspiration" but in reality just got filed. So that led me (& Janet) to buy a Thermofax kit to try our hands at screen printing, something I have always wanted to try.

One thing that was really different for me this time was the chance to meet fellow bloggers, girls that I have only known online until now.
On Friday I met up with Di Trudi 

I also met Catrin, Siobhan & Emily. Funnily enough there was a whole coachload of ladies who travelled from my local area - I only encountered two of them but came across my fellow bloggers several times. It was just great meeting you all.
Quilts - there were of course, quilts a plenty, think I'll keep these for another post. We were well quilted out by Sunday night when we got back, and after a day of babysitting yesterday I was happy to sew today -
I got stuck in to my Stormtrooper, so to speak.............
I am hoping it might do as a gym bag but if not maybe he can keep some Lego in it.

Lastly, I finished off the name tag for The Stitch Gathering, now less than two weeks away. 
August is living up to its expectations of being a really busy month for me.....I hope the Force stays with me!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Going Back to My Roots

Debbie Mumm was probably my first quilting love - I loved her style, her quilts, her fabrics. I have always had a notion to make the cover quilt from the above book.
I have also been gently collecting flannel fabric for some time. All these factors have now come together and I started a small quilt last week. First I made the HST blocks. I wanted a very simple pattern as I know flannel can be a bit temperamental, prone to stretching.

Then I cut lots of 6 1/2" squares. I am simplifying the pattern, missing out the Friendship Stars. Finding it really hard to be random in my placement of the squares, this is not the final layout, I'm sure.

And yesterday, I got the bears on - they are made from flannel & velveteen. I like those bears.

This is going to be a Christmas gift for my son's girlfriend - she is a very stylish & modern young lady but loves a proper Christmas so I am hoping this cuddly quilt will be welcomed into their trendy city centre apartment for 2 weeks a year!!
I have also made my ticket for the Stitch Gathering. Jo sent us all a fabric ticket to embellish - genius idea and as I will be teaching Crazy Quilting, what else could I do?

But before Edinburgh, there is Birmingham. Excitement mounting as tomorrow, three of us are off to the Festival of Quilts. We haven't been for a few years so are really looking forward to a self indulgent weekend.
Maybe see some of you there??

Monday, 5 August 2013

Holiday Memories - Mini Quilt Competition

Fiona from Celtic Thistle Stitches has dreamed up a super competition and has all the details on her blog HERE.
She has worked very hard to secure some fabulous prizes so I would just love it if lots of you were inspired by your holidays this year to make a wee mini quilt.
Now I suspect that some of you might be saying - "art quilts!, don't do them, I am not arty" or maybe you haven't actually gone on holiday?
Well, even a day out can inspire you to create something and there are so many styles of "textile art". Even a small arrangement of "Scrap Vomit" squares made using the right colours, could evoke a memory or a place.
In my classes over the years we have had a go at different things, Accidental Landscapes, Journal Quilts and last year, some of my students followed the "Home is Where the Heart Is" project. I put together a wee mosaic to give you an idea of the sort of thing that was created. I have to say that almost without exception, each one of these students declared that they had been taken out of their comfort zone.
The last four of these are only A4 sized so you get an idea of what is possible in a small space.
You could join strips in your colour scheme, overlay with a bit of net & then layer up and quilt into it. Use applique, paint some Bondaweb (glue side) leave it to dry and then iron on to a piece of fabric, this is such fun and can look so clever. In the first picture, Wendy pieced together lots of squares and rectangles in very cool colours, added in some whimsical penguins, and totally pulled off her Antarctic memory.
So why am I getting so worked up about this? Well it's because Fiona asked me to be one of the judges and I am really scared / worried / excited, all at the same time. I know there will be lots of you out there who will instantly have an idea of what to do, but I am hoping to encourage lots of you who maybe dismissed the competition at first read. I shall shut up in a minute but would like to finish on something I made last year for a Brit Swap and this was inspired by a photo I took on holiday. This huge palm leaf made me think of Log Cabin.

And so I made a central panel by plaiting some strips of colour shot fabric. The outer panels were irregular sized strips of fabric, stitched and flipped on to wadding. Nothing too complicated.

So go on - have some fun!!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Impromtu Travels

Whilst in Glasgow today I persuaded my OH, on a spur of the moment thing, to take a run through to Edinburgh.
There was a crafty, ulterior motive, for I knew Jo Bearpaw was about to open her Fringe exhibition in her lovely Edinburgh shop, The Avery Homestore.

Jo is the brains and energy (oh, so much energy) behind the Stitch Gathering on 25th August in the Capital.
I am excited to be teaching a class in Crazy Patchwork that day but in the run up to this first (for I am sure there will be more) Gathering, Jo decided to celebrate modern quilting and how it has been created and influenced by the online community.
My Hexie quilt is there,

 it was created by following an online SAL with Lynne from Lily's Quilts and opened my eyes to the possibilities of revisiting old / traditional patterns with fresh, modern fabrics.
I have three other items on display, all made for me by other bloggers in three different Brit Swaps.
My first was from Alison, at Little Island Quilting, seen in the picture, below the little quilt I received in a subsequent Brit Swap, from Trudi at Quilting Prolifically.

My next item was a stunning cushion made for me by Reene from Nellie's Niceties, (who just happen to be hosting an amazing giveaway today) again, in a Brit Swap. 
I hadn't been to Jo's shop before other than online but I can tell you I could have stayed all afternoon. It is such a pretty space, crammed with goodness of the crafty & homestyle kind! I took some photos, sadly only on my phone - remember this was a spur of the moment trip.

So if you are within an impromtu trip to Edinburgh - GO! You will not be disappointed. The shop is situated in a super part of town, full of interesting shops and eating places. And if you live far away, you can always visit virtually.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sew Hot

July - what a month.

It all started with this -

And following Muzza's historic win at Wimbles, he was then single handedly responsible for our UK heatwave - it's true. Despite sweltering temperatures, some gentle sewing was done, bee blocks stitched, gifts gifted,  and Princess quilts made. Here is my round up.
I am linking up as always, to Lynn's Fresh Sewing Day, if you have never been to look, it is so worth it.


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