Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Jungle Ave Lady Skater

It is not very often that I am encourage to make clothing for my daughter- she has no shortage of quilts and pillows but clothing for a teen are a totally different  affair.  However, when I showed her Sara's Jungle Ave fabric range, she leapt on the dotted knit fabric. And so, the Lady Skater in Dotted Boulevard came into being.

I have known Sara from the online sewing world for a while now- we share a mutual love of garment sewing alongside quilting, making bags and other makes.  She is a sweet, generous and hugely hardworking lady and to see her as part of the Art Gallery team with a Limited Edition collection is wonderful!   She offered me some of her fabric along with some other quilty/bag making/clothes sewing bloggers to help showcase the range as it becomes available to buy any time now.

The dress pattern is Lady Skater by Kitschy Coo.  It was on offers recently for a ridiculously low price and is available as a PDF download.  It is quick to stick together and the instructions are very detailed.  I made size 1 sewn with ¼" rather than ⅜" seams and I made a test bodice before cutting into the good 
stuff.  The hem was shortened a little, otherwise, no changes.  It was sewn with a mix of lightning stitch on my Janome and also with my Brother 1034d overlocker/serger.

The pattern worked well with the fabric.  This jersey has 5% spandex so it has good recovery: it springs back into shape and over areas where jersey can bag out, like bottoms, elbows and knees and it will keep its shape making it good for close fitting garments like leggings, camisoles, t shirts- even knickers!  It also has nice drape and would gather easily and without too much bulk.

We went as urban as we could in a small city in Devon- a little road signage, faded paint and background textural variety to pay homage to Sara's Chicago inspiration.  I think this is my favourite pic!  I have to thank Lula for being my model- she is rather shy in front of the camera so we had to have a lot of giggles to get her through!   The dress is a hit with her- it's a great fabric/pattern combo for a teen. 

sib blog

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Saturday at Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014 #fqr2014

Fat Quarterly Retreat 2014- I was only there on Saturday but it was a great, great day- superb teachers, easy relaxing atmosphere and of course wonderful quilty people!  I started with Thomas Knauer's knotting class.  Thomas is an interesting guy, he brings an academic's perspective to quilting and likes to talk so it made for easy listening.  And whilst we listened we made knots...

I came home with this partially completed sample which Mindy took a fancy to. I am liking the idea of making a hot mat with this to place on the kitchen table for hot pans- there's something about those threads sticking up that invites something to be placed upon them.

 In the same room following a brief break was Jo's embroidery class.  She has a well defined lesson all based around learning six stitches as used on her design.  She was patient, clear and very helpful.  I've spent time with Jo at each of the three Fat Quarterly retreats and she is a bright shiny creative  power house (that's the lovely Sonia paying very close attention below Jo's hand). 

This was Jo's sample… yes it is very beautiful!

I have embroidered before but I haven't been taught-so I learnt some useful techniques and some new stitches and have continued to work on my hoop.  I also bought a very cute Japanese embroidery book from Brioni's destash stall to share with Lula.

The afternoon was my long class- hand piecing with Jen Kingwell, 3 hours of bliss!  She is incredibly inspiring, down to earth, helpful and generous.  We each received a copy of the Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern booklet and a handmade Liberty finger pincushion (like this one).

She had a large class- the retreat was much smaller in terms of numbers which did make for a much better atmosphere and no competing voices in the hall, but Jen's class must have had at least half the afternoon's attendees!  We sat in a large rectangle and she kept moving round us making sure we were all happy and knew what we were doing.  There were tips a-plenty.  I have done hand piecing before but I learnt lots.  For the different appliqué techniques, we took it in turns to stand around her, all craning to see where the point of the needle pushed the fabric under and what to snip, with fierce concentration...

From Green Tea and Sweet Beans I chose the Garden Paths block -it wasn't finished in the class, I completed it the next day.  Hand piecing is not fast but once you get into the swing of it, it is hugely enjoyable.  I was sat next to Mandy (always a good person to sit next to, so relaxed and funny and she had her Bring Me Flowers quilt top resting on her lap) and also Amy Smart (she was super lovely too, incredibly sweet and friendly) and there was much discussion of the pleasures of hand piecing- portability especially.  I loved the class and once I have finished Bring Me Flowers, this is next.   Jen mentioned the joy of having a project that you can prep in sections and pick during dead time- sitting on a train, waiting for appointments etc.  This is going to be the one for my dead time and quiet time.

Jen brought along the original Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt- wow, all of us could not get enough of looking over this and its amazing detail.

And there was Gypsy Wife too, which is even better than you would possibly imagine when it is right in front of your eyes- more subtle than I had originally thought, astoundingly beautiful and vivid fabric combinations and seeing the hand quilting detail close-up was a treat.

And then there was the goody bag, generously filled by the sponsors.  I know it may sound a little tedious to thank sponsors but this time Janome provided 50 machines, no one needed to bring their own.  That makes a big difference.  The Fractured Quilt class had all the fabric provided by Oakshott Fabrics- again this makes for a great class- beautiful and ample fabric resources available to all.  As well as Janome and Oakshott, there were goodies from Riley Blake (yay I got some of Lori's Vintage Happy!), Robert Kaufman, Moda, Aurifil, Korbond, Makower and Duck Egg Threads- I may have bought a little Liberty in anticipation of my Green Tea and Sweet Beans dead time quilt of the future.

Market was a smaller affair, less hectic and more relaxed.  I bought some of Reene's daughter Jess's cards and came away with some Flatter- I have been intrigued by this for ages and a quick test (fabric smoothed instantly with the iron) makes me want to try more to see how it performs.

I struggle meeting lots of people but I found it easier this time.  I sat with a mix of familiar faces for and new ones, I was so happy to meet Karen and Reene at last- I feel like I've known them online for such long time.  It was lovely to chat to Jenny Fox-Proverbs as we have only communicated by email before. Lynne, Tacha and Brioni- well done, it was a triumph!  Trash- you were a star, it felt more socially integrated and I think you were a big part of that.  Sandy- you were master of social media, and Jack and Jack- you were both uber helpful, good natured and funny.  I had lovely chats with people I meet every year, the odd year and for the first time.  And the Siblings Together quilts were stunning- check out #fqr2014 tag on Instagram to see pics or in the flickr group.

I feel inspired and recharged, ready to make more things...

sib blog

Friday, 18 July 2014

Quilt Now: Kiss Me Quick and more...

Surely everyone has heard or seen this now?  For those of you that signed up for the 3 copy subscription you may have had it arrive in the post, or bought a copy in WHSmiths or a supermarket.  Quilt Now, new quilting publication from Practical Publications and most notable for having Katy as its editor.  And what can I say?  It is pretty darn good. I am a little self interested as I have a quilt in this issue.  Quilt Now is packed full of projects and all killer no filler.

 The unifying theme for this issue is a sorbet colour palette.  Familiar names from the quilt blogger world behind the project include,  Svetalana  Sotakhandmade whose work is always impeccable…

 Sara Peterson of Knotty Gnome with a gorgeous curves quilt- love the solid colours in this quilt...

Laura Jane needlespinsandbakingtins with the prettiest pillow...

 Hadley Flyingblindwithoutarocketcycle (incognito in her sunglasses) with  nic and easy stacking cups baby quilt- looks like its are with Oakshott too.

Lynne, LilysQuilts of course, with her clever candy stripe pillow

Reene from Nelliesniceties with her block of the month beauty...

Me, with a beach quilt.  This is a straightforward strip pieced project with a little planning behind the strips to give a random scrappy look.  The letters are raw edge appliqué with bondaweb and are on the full size template sheet. The backing for this quilt is bamboo towelling which is a dreamy, super soft, drapey fabric to work with, absorbent for the beach and means that the whole thing doesn't need batting- its just quilt top and towelling backing.

There are lots of diagrams to make it all as easy as possible all drawn on Touchdraw by me!  I can't recommend that app highly enough.

I haven't shown all the pics I'd like to but I thought it would be wrong to photograph the whole magazine!  Justine also has a great large scale quilt project.  Lisa has some handy storage boxes, Sara has of course- a bag!  Fiona has a jumbo size English paper piecing quilt and Andi Herman has a super pixalalted pineapple quilt.  And there's more projects and interviews too that I haven't covered.  A big boys is there is a pull out sheet for templates and pattern pieces- all at 100% full size- yes full size!  That's the difference of having an editor who quilts.  The templates are also downloadable.

The extra booklet that comes with it: An Introduction to Quilting is not to be missed either.  It has the basics- using rotary cutters, bias strips etc but it also includes cutting harder shapes like diamonds, foundation paper piecing, binding calculation and so on.  It is from the That Patchwork Place/Martingale publishers and is definitely a keeper. 

I wish Katy and the rest of the Quilt Now team the very best with the future of this magazine, issue one is seriously impressive!
sib blog

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

July at Village Haberdashery

This summer has been a boon for fantastic new fabric ranges- they are arriving thick and fast at Village Haberdashery so it's time for a visit and some of you might be wanting to take advantage of Annie's discount all day sale this Friday 18th July in the shop and a late night Friday opening too
First off, the very exciting re-release of Heather Ross's Far Far Away but this time printed on quilting cotton rather than double gauze.  This was one of my first modern fabric obsessions.  I tracked the double gauze prints I wanted down at Purl Soho and when they arrived I made a shirred summer dress that I still wear. 

I think there are new colour combinations here as well as a revisit of the old ones.  I especially like the Frog Prince in Pink (top left in the pic above).  There is a lovely photo from Windham showing the prints in action:

This fabric range is one of my favourite prints featuring purple.  It's more of a violet than purple and mixed with orange, gold and pink for great contrast <3.

I have been stocking up with knit fabrics as I now come autumn I will need lots of long sleeve tops- the staple of my cooler weather wardrobe, and Anna Maria Horner jersey fabrics have just arrived.  They cover a number of her recent collections so there is a mix of colours and prints and they are the usual wider jersey width at 60".

The most wearable colours for me are the Thistle in Midnight

Blues and lilacs are easy colours for me to wear but obviously this is down to skin tone, eye colour, hair etc so it will be different for each us!

Also new in are Papercut Patterns.  This is a New Zealand company.  The patterns have a slightly different presentation style; everything is printed on to thick brown paper and the whole thing- pattern pieces and instructions-open out. The contents of the pattern packet can hang on the outer cardboard hanger- see here for more pics and details, it really is a lovely presentation idea.  Whilst I am taken with their range of styles and the slouchy lounge clothing like the Ohh La La leggings  and the Coppelia (I have just got this in to make), I am not so taken with their cover photos.  They are very young and extremely slender.  I guess as a brand they are more fashion orientated and maybe aimed at a younger sewing consumer than me.  

There is a very keenly priced day course to make the Coppelia at Village Haberdashery with Rachel, House of Pinheiro.  The cost includes the pattern, you need to provide your own fabric/thread.   Another Papercut pattern that appeals to me is the Bellatrix jacket is a neat shape and it is lined too so I would imagine there is lots to learn about in this pattern, and I have seen great online versions of this.

The first of the Art Gallery limited edition fabrics is in- Arizona by April Rhodes, heavily promoted on social media but even after seeing a zillion pics and makes, it is still looking good and is a range of strong appealing designs in great colours.  Very wearable too as there is a good variety of print sizes.  There are cotton/spandex knits:

I have sewn with the Art Gallery knit as I was lucky enough to receive some from Sara of Sewsweetness- her Jungle Avenue range should be in any time.  It is easy to cut and sew, has good retention and spring back because of the spandex (elastane) and is a t shirt sort of weight.  Great for tops, dresses, leggings. 

There are quilting cottons (also good for dressmaking as Art Gallery cottons are light, densely woven and have great handle).

And voile for silky lightweight fabric with a beautiful cotton lawn-like texture.  I've worked with Art Gallery voile for PJ pants and a Kimono shorty robe and it is beautiful stuff- wide too at 52" (similar to Libery lawn width.

I don't usually feature yarn- I can knit but RSI returns fast when I do.  I truly miss knitting.  I knitted a lot when Lula was a baby, for her and myself.   When I did knit, I liked a quality yarn- Rowan, Debbie Bliss, that sort of thing.  The yarn industry, including indie designers and dyers, has blossomed since then and Tosh DK from Madelinetosh is a luxurious super wash merino wool and a firm favourite of many knitters.  It comes in amazing colours, is hand dyed and part of a mini industry in Texas- dyed, packaged etc using low impact materials and traditional methods.  The colours range from the subtle but deep dark Baltic:

The pastel gorgeousness of the wonderfully named, Molly Ringwold

 to the super bright, Edison Bulb.

Each skein is long at 225 yards so whilst it's not cheap, you are getting a generous amount.  There are loads of other shades too

I hope that was a bit of something for everyone; knitter/crocheter/dressmaker/quilter!  Enjoy x

sib blog

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Fat Quarterly Retreat London 2014

It's that time again; Fat Quarterly Retreat is starts this Friday.  I am there for the day on Saturday, not teaching this time just there as a participant and attendee and at this madly busy time of year I am so pleased I am not having to prep class materials for multiple groups and instead I can slowly pull supplies together for the classes I am taking part in.  For identification purposes (as if I don't have enough pics of myself on here) here I am with our dog Lottie.

I am dressmaking like crazy at the moment, a dress for retreat and a few others for the weekend!  I am going to be doing Modern Knots with Thomas Knauer, I have a lovely linen blend for this and for...

embroidering with Jo Avery.  I am using this Lecien Cosmo 'vintage' thread set for the knot and embroidery class and am going to cry some Clover embroidery needles- all their needles seem to be brilliant so I am hoping these are too!

I have my pattern traced and ready for Jo's class- I used a window and stuck the design and fabric on to it, the marker is a Sewline fabric pencil, my favourite way to mark fabric.

My third class is Jen Kingwell's Green Tea and Sweet Beans class so I am sorting through my fabric drawers to pull out a stack of fabrics and hoping to learn some more piecing techniques.  I am very excited about this class indeed!  A whole afternoon of cutting stitching and learning from a master of hand piecing!  My version of her 'Bring Me Flowers' quilt is slowly making progress and is something I am hoping to complete over the summer. 
If you are going and you are reading this, leave me a comment and I'll be sure to look for you!  I am packing all my retreat experience into one day and I am so looking forward to it!  

sib blog