Sunday, 19 October 2014

what's new, pussycats?


We're running a little later than usual today because I'm setting myself targets to finish things before I can do something finish binding this quilt and you can do your blog post. That kind of thing. Like you do with small children (it works with me too!)

Just a little reminder that next weekend I'll be at Quilt Market so there's no what's new post, but if you want to see what's going on in the land of fabrics and stuff follow me on instagram (@ImAGingerMonkey) and I'll make sure I post lots of pics (probably all at once late at night when I get wifi in the hotel - so I'm apologising early for the possible market spamming!)

New in at Fat Quarter Shop is a line I am SO excited for, Frances Newcombe's Utopia. I have this right at the top of my neeeeeeed list. I can't wait to see this fabric in person.

Another one on my list of must haves is new in at Pink Castle Fabrics, Jeni Baker's Geometric Bliss. 

I spotted this bundle of Madrona Road on sale at Sew Me A Song. I loved that line, it's a great one for stash building so if you don't have it - snap it up fast! Such a great stash building line. Great colours too.

I'm a sucker for those cross hatch prints in Architextures, and Cuts of Cotton have a heap of them. It's one of those prints that if you have it in your stash you feel safe and ready for any fabric emergency. The white on white = perfection.

Contemporary Cloth are closing down and still have plenty of great bargains through the store. Use the code Save30% on checkout for 30% saving on everything.

Find some great out of print stuff like this Greenfield Hill from Denyse Schmidt voile (infinity scarf anyone?)...

Cotton + Steel just arrived at Bobbie Lou's. I know you probably already stocked up, but if you're like me you have re-stocked at least once. And if there's a print you're missing or wanting more off, head over there.  As always, her prices are great. Just $11 for the regular cottons and $11.48 for the metallics (per yard). That is cheap, people! Plus......GALLOPING HORSES! Everyone needs more of these.

Skipping across to the UK now and at the village haberdashery these Robert Kaufman flannels are in stock. These are double sided - cosy on both sides and great for clothing as well as anything else you can think of for using soft flannel. I think a nice winter quilt backed in these would be amazing.  

I am loving these prints from Plush Addict. It's origami oasis from Michael Miller. Gorgeous colours and animal graphics that aren't all cutesie.

These scandi Christmas prints from elephant in my handbag are just gorgeous. So subtle and pretty, so not the usual Christmassy fabric.

Newly arrived at Fabric HQ is Emily Herrick's gorgeous deer print. I love this print. It would be amazing as a quilt back, a dress, a bag, in quilts, everything actually.

I'm also loving this type print at Backstitch by Minick and Simpson for Moda. That's a blue print on cream. I like it for that fact alone, it's gentle and not so harsh than a black on white text print.

Last but not least this week is Simply Solids, who have had a delivery of peppered cottons to add to their collection of linens and shot cottons. These are gorgeous, so shimmery and so soft

And that is all from me! I'll see you for more updates on what's going on in the land of fabric when I'm back from market! Back to the sewing room and more prep prep prep!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Katy goes to Quilt Market - part 3

Today I'm going to talk a little bit about the feelings and emotions that I'm feeling as we head towards Quilt market.
I haven't had a proper night's sleep in over a month. I currently spend the night restless, and tossing and turning. Every little sound wakes me up, and it takes me forever to fall to sleep, even though I am exhausted. My head is full of lists of things I need to do before I leave, things I can't forget to make, bring, remember to sort out, as well as all the self doubt and disaster scenarios possible. Not sleeping is a nightmare, because I have to get up for work at 5.30am 3 days a week and sit in a car for 2 hours.

dresses by Kristi using the pocketful of posies pattern by Blank Slate Patterns

Generally I'm not a nervous person, I like to talk to people, I can sell a product, if you like. The people side of market doesn't bother me one bit. I'm actually pretty introvert, and prefer to be at home in the quiet away from people most of the time, but put me in a crowd of people I will perform like a monkey. Having my 'show face' on for the whole time is no problem at all - I have that covered, but what I'm not good at is the confidence in myself to pull it off well and I'm convinced things will go horribly wrong. It's that side of things that has me worried. Selling 'me' is not something I'm great at, so I'm having to almost step away from the fabrics as being mine and think of them as something I am selling.

omg - Aurifil thread to match Priory Square!

(I have a thread collection with Aurifil!!!!! That was crazy exciting - the colours match the fabrics of Priory Square, and it'll be shipping to shops right after Quilt Market! - more on that to come soon, when it actually sinks in!)

As we head into the final weekend of preparation, reality has pretty much hit me smack in the face like a sledgehammer. This time next week Quilt Market will be open and I will have people visiting my booth. I get the following running through my head constantly....

binding binding binding - quilted by Trudi
What if it looks a mess? 

What if my fabrics are a flop?

What if I'm sick while I'm there?

What if something happens beforehand and I don't get there at all? 

ROLLS of fabric!!!!

Quite honestly, this has been the most stressful yet exciting experience ever. It's almost impossible to put into words, but it has completely made me realise how hard fabric designers work, and pattern designers too, and anyone that has a booth at Quilt Market or does this full time for a living. It's a roller coaster of emotions, most of them are amazing, and 

Luna Rabbit - kit available at

I couldn't have done any of this without Trudi, Jacqui, Reene, Kristi and Leslie who have helped with making things, they've been amazing.  Once I'm there and my booth is all set up I'll get a ton of photos, and you'll be able to see what's going on as I post on my instagram account (@ImAGingerMonkey) and you'll be able to see everything that everyone has made for the booth, with better photos than these snaps from my phone. 

embroidery by reene...butterflies by me!
But right now, I need to go hand stitch the binding onto 2 more quilts, stitch those butterflies down, make a dress for that poor naked rabbit, make sure my flight is booked, sort out car parking, and check the details on my ESTA, get some dollars, pack, and do all the regular things I normally do in a week for the kids, the husbeast and the fur babies (oh, and go to work...I forgot about that). Plus get a manicure, and my hair cut and coloured, because right now I look like I'm dressed as a witch for halloween, it's not a good look.

And probably, right now, have a bath, chill out, and relax a little bit...and stop stressing out like a crazy woman!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

what's new, pussycats?

Hello! I am later than usual today because I slept in, and I'm not going to make any apologies for that - sleeping in is the BEST! (Especially when I'll be up at 5.30 am tomorrow to go to work, I deserved that extra few hours in my bed!)

First up this week is Fat Quarter Shop's amazing new quilt a long, which is not only a gorgeous quilt, but for a great cause too. It officially starts in January 2015, and consists of 12 blocks, with a new block pattern released on the 15th of the month each month. All Kimberly and her team ask is that each time you download a block pattern, you make a donation to St Jude's hospital which is a research hospital that concentrates on children's cancer, with no cost to the family.  (you can read more about it on the blog)

Snapshots is available as a kit which you can reserve now, and each of these blocks are traditionally pieced - no paper piecing!

All bundles and pre-cuts are 30% off at Pink Castle Fabrics this weekend using the code BUNDLE30 on checkout

There's so many to choose from....


text prints...

pretty much everything you could wish for, to be honest.

Here's a couple of gorgeous prints from Bobbie Lou's

Alexander Henry at just $10/yard

Sarah Fielke enchanted for just $10/yard too 

Sew me a song have some really great new bundles. REALLY great.

Art class....

and sewing school are my 2 favourites

Cuts of cotton have a great selection of pearl bracelets. I love this bundle, those jewel tones are gorgeous

Don't forget there is 30% off everything in store (no minimum spend) at contemporary cloth. Use the code save30% on checkout

It's the perfect time to stock up big!

Hopping and skipping across the pond and here in the UK there's the Sew annual awards, and time to vote for your favourite shop, blog, etc etc.

A few of my sponsor shops have been nominated, so click here and vote for your favourites. (P;ush Addict and the Village Haberdashery - let's help them win!!!)

The village haberdashery has zen chic's new line, figures in stock now

Plush addict have the christmas line from dashwood in stock, and it's gorgeous. My favourite christmas line for a long time, possibly ever.

Elephant in my handbag have brambleberry ridge, Violet crafts gorgeous line with metallic sparkle in stock now.

New in at Backstitch is gramercy by Leah Duncan. 

Fabric HQ has this lovely rabbit and hare print from makower fashion fabrics

Simply Solids have a great range of basics and blenders, I was having a little nose around and picked out these 3 that I love

gold star



And there you have it! Another week over with! I'm going to sew all day today - quilt market booth prep is calling! Have a lovely day xxx

Friday, 10 October 2014

Katy goes to quilt market - part 2

Are you ready for an update on my quilt market prep adventures?

So, we are now just 2 weeks until the big day and Quilt Market opens. This means I have precisely 12 days to prepare for market. Where are we at with that?

Well, the booth furniture is sorted - thanks to a little help from my friends and my Art Gallery Fabrics family. It really does feel like we're all part of a family, which is great news when you're stuck on the other side of the ocean having daily stresses about how it could all go wrong.

My sewing is going ok...although I had an absolute disaster day on Wednesday. I cut out a ton (hundreds) of triangles to make a scrappy little pyramid baby quilt, I sewed the rows together and somehow (because I'm useless) I managed to lose all the top tips of my triangles. It looked awful, and it wasn't something I could fix with unpicking and resewing, unless I unpicked every single triangle. (Can you spot the screenprinted fabrics in there too? Karen from Blueberry Park has screen printed some of the Art Gallery Pure elements that co-ordinate with Priory Square, they look amazing!)

A time out (throwing the triangles onto the floor in a strop) and rethink (with a cup of tea, which makes everything better) and the Sizzix big shot came out. I'm now making little hexagons from the triangles. It's not what I'd planned to make, but it'll do the job, and the plan is I can hand stitch hexagon panels onto pillow covers on the plane if I run short on time.

Jacqui and Reene have come through trumps with some garments from my knits - I now have 2 little baby girl dresses, an infinity scarf and a floaty t-shirt top with more stuff on the way (once the yardage arrives).

Trudi has made a start on quilting the first quilt, and it's looking amazing, so I'm really excited about that. Lots of gorgeous feathers, because she knows I love feathers.

And I finished a dresden bolster pillow. With pompom trim, because pompoms make everything awesome.

I now have to make some scrappy fabric boxes with the leftovers of my strike offs and all being well the advance yardage will arrive next week and I can get back on making some bits with bigger pieces of fabric and some garlands for hanging around the booth. We're pretty much all on track! Next week I am down in Wales on my day off from the day job doing some filming, which cuts into my prep time, but it'll be ok. I'm starting to relax a little more and accept that what will be will be. Yesterday I was stuck in stationary traffic with the sales manager from work for 5 hours on our way back from a meeting. What should have taken me 2 hours took 7, but as we sat there talking about everything under the sun I thought to myself - at least this isn't when I'm on my way to Quilt market (and, also, at least we did get home eventually, 2 people lost their lives, so it puts things into perspective, doesn't it?)

Plus - in some really great news, I just heard last night that I have a new roomie, Sara Lawson, which is so awesome, because it means there'll be 4 of us in our room and it'll keep the costs even lower. Plus it's Sara and she's just the most gorgeous person ever, if I'm honest.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

little quilts blog tour (with giveaway!)

I've mentioned this book before but it's always worth mentioning because it's so absolutely amazing, and I'm not even the hugest fan of mini quilts, because I don't have enough wall space for them to hang.

Little Quilts by Amy Lobsiger and Sarah Fielke is a book full of mini quilt patterns, but it's more than that. It's a story of their friendship and it resonates with any of us that have quilty friends, because we all do - the friends that live across oceans, the friends that we don't necessarily ever meet, but we would give our right arms to if they asked, because they're a part of us and they're who we turn to when we're having a bad day, not just when we're in need of fabric or pattern advice. This book (and because I am friends with both Amy and Sarah, so I know what was happening in both their lives at the time) is special. It has beautiful projects, Amy and Sarah are both the most talented quilters I know, I love what they make, it has gorgeous photos, it has great instructions and it makes you feel warm inside which isn't something you generally get from a book about quilts (ironically, because a mini quilt will not make you warm, it's too small). That is what sets it apart and it's not just because I am friends with the both of them, it's because you follow the friendship through the book, and it reminds you of your own friends and what they mean to you. So you should buy it, if you don't have it, and make at least one of these little quilts for your special quilty friend.

Amy organised the blog tour and a little swap to go hand in hand with it. I am behind terribly with pretty much everything at the minute. Life in general. So my mini quilt that I have not quite made is to go to a lovely lady (who I must admit, I don't know, she is a new to me quilty type, which is always exciting) Yep, it is still unfinished. Over a week late. I feel I will have to add in some really good stuff in her package to make up for it.

There are two reasons for my tardiness - one is probably better than the other. The first is, I knew what fabric I wanted to use, I knew as soon as I saw the book and decided on the quilt I wanted to make (candy is dandy by Amy) that I wanted to use peppered cottons (I had those already, they're lovely) and to add Alison Glass's new hand dyed batik-like fabrics that I had gone a lot crazy over at quilt market this Spring. Alison's fabrics are still not out in the shops BUT I finally managed to get some early just this week (still too late for this blog tour and swap) and I am now on my way. My mini quilt is ready for piecing and will be finished by Monday - I was hoping it'd be finished by today, but I've been working late in the day job and not coming home til 8pm, so by the time I get to the sewing machine I've been too sleepy to sew (I don't know how you people with jobs sew on a night - my brain switches off as soon as I get in the car for that drive home...which, incidentally, is a nightmare at the minute thanks to the roadworks that have been so kindly put on the M62 and the M60).
And the second reason, Quilt Market prep. Oh my gosh - I am eating, sleeping, and breathing it right now. Again - how do people do it and not die from the stress? I am a ball of angst, I can feel it in my shoulders, it's the last thing I think about at night and the first thing in the morning.

So...look at the pretties - imagine them to be a box of quality streets (probably only the British will get that reference). That's my mini quilt - inspired by quality street, and the shiny wrappers of chocolates you only ever got at Christmas (in our house, at least).

YOU CAN WIN A BOOK!!!!! Leave a comment here on this post and I'll pick a name in a week! Everyone is welcome, anywhere in the world! It's a real book! Made from paper! I'm going to add to that and I will send the winner some of these amazing Alison Glass fabrics because they really are amazing (and I know both Sarah and Amy would agree with me on that).

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Fabric HQ giveaway

It's time for a giveaway!!!!
The lovely folks at Fabric HQ have a brand spanking new website and they're having a fun little blog hop where you can win a variety of prizes to celebrate.
Right here you can win;
  • 1 metre of fabric of your choice (you can have it as FQs, half metres, or a single piece of 1m - it's up to you!)
  • 3 spools of Aurifil 50 weight (my favourite thread) in great neutral shades
  • 6 x small spools of Aurifil thread; 1 in each of the thread weights (which also includes the amazing new Aurifloss, on the cutest wooden spool)

 How can you win this lovely prize? Simples -visit the Fabric HQ website, browse the fabric then come back here and leave a message on this post telling us which fabrics you’d choose if you won.

•     you must be in the UK or Europe

•     leave one comment on this post for a single entry

•     sign up to the Fabric HQ mailing list (found at the bottom of their website for a second entry (and come back here and leave a second comment on this post to say you've signed up.

•     Make sure we can get in touch by leaving us your email address on the post or make sure your account is linked to an email      

It’s that easy! We will pick a winner at random next  Tuesday 14th October 

Be sure to visit these other websites for the rest of the Fabric HQ blog hop giveaway for your chance to win lots of other lovely sewing related goodies.

Wednesday 8th October - The Sewing Directory

Thursday 9th October  - Fabric HQ's very own new blog on their new website 

Friday 10th October - Flossieteacakes

Good luck!


Sunday, 5 October 2014

a what's new pussycats special

This week instead of the regular round up I wanted to draw your attention in particular to one of the stores that sponsors my blog, Contemporary Cloth.

Sondra has been operating since 2001, she stocks a really nice variety of fabrics, her service i fantastic, her prices are great, and she also stocks some really unusual fabrics too that are harder to find - like Oakshotts. Sadly, she has decided to close the doors to the website and focus her career on surface pattern design.

This is the kind of email I've been getting more often recently, because I sign up to a huge number of newsletters, it seems that some of the stores that have been really familiar to me since I started quilting are closing for one reason or another (sew Mama Sew, for example, closed the fabric store and changed their focus, Pink Chalk fabrics are closing, Form and Fabric...the list goes on). A fabric store is a whole lot of work, that's for sure, and the financial reward is very small. There's not a huge margin between wholesale price and retail, it's a very competitive market with people keeping their prices as low as possible in order to try and get that all important sale.

So with that in mind, Sondra is clearing her stock and moving her focus elsewhere. She has 30% off everything in store now, until it all goes, using the code save30. I hope you'll go shopping and stock up to help her out, and to wish her well on her next adventure.

BTW - she has a really good selection of essex linens and yarn dyes, which are always handy to have on hand in your stash as well as a lovely selection of solids - and we always need more of those, right?