Wednesday, 31 August 2011

so touched

Thank you so much to everyone that has offered to help with the project for Amy. Sarah and I were chatting last night about how overwhelmed we are by the response. Overwhelmed in a good way. Amy is clearly as special to many people as she is to us. Thank you so much to everyone that has emailed. Sarah is wading through the responses and if you haven't heard back from her soon, you will shortly.

If you would like to help also - email Sarah and she will send you the details of the very simple block we would like you to make and donate for our quilted hug to our dear, dear friend.

Quite a few people have also asked about monetary donations. After I received one email from someone yesterday I realised that the cost of any illness in the US, even with good healthcare plans, is crippling. If you would like to help in any small way there is a fund set up here. Every dollar counts and if enough is raised to fund the medical bills the rest will be set aside for a trust for Dan and Amy's daughter. Don't buy that extra FQ of fabric, or that coffee from starbucks today - donate it instead.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

can you help?

If you read Amy's blog you will have heard the terribly sad news that her husband has passed away after battling terminal cancer.
Amy is one of the best people in the world. She is wicked in her humour, even during times when most people would have curled up into a ball and refused to continue on. I can't express enough how much I love and respect and admire her. Both as a quilter and as a friend.
Sarah and I were talking about what we could do to help, short of getting on a plane and flying over (which isn't really practical, let's face it) and in lieu of a real hug we thought a quilted one would probably show her how important she is to us.

Would you help?

Email Sarah for more details -

Monday, 29 August 2011



I'm going to be honest here. I'm not a perfectionist. I'm a corner cutter. Not all the time, some quilts I'll throw my whole heart and soul in to. I don't know if that makes me love them more. I'm more inclined to think it doesn't, that sometimes those super fast, corner cut, slightly shoddy quilts are the ones I'm less precious about and those are the ones I love more.

Cases in point....

This quilt. It should live on my bed, I spent a fortune on the quilting. I slaved over it until my eyes literally went funny and I couldn't see from hand stitching all the dresden plates onto the backgrounds. It lives in the closet. I use the excuse that it's my winter quilt, but it won't come out in the winter, because it's too good for using.
This quilt. Shoddy points, terrible quilting (I quilted it) - but covered in cat hair, tea stains, and it's used all the time. I love that quilt.
This quilt. I pieced it in a day, that included cutting all the fabrics. It's a permanent fixture on Ginger's bed. It gets dragged outside in the summer, it's been washed and dried a million times, it has pen on it, and cat snot, and only the Lord knows what else. It's a technically poor quilt, the appliqued rocket has bubbled, the zigzag stitching to fix it on was really badly done. The binding is kind of wonky and doesn't miter well at the corners. So what, right?

I'm hoping that with this one I'll break the cycle and use it til it falls to pieces. Despite taking me over a year to piece and being done 'properly', not by cutting corners.

So, here's my confession of the day - I was planning on making this quilt on Elizabeth's blog. But I wanted something small for Ginge to use on the couch, not for his bed. Or even to hang on the wall for Halloween. I started printing letters, and I realised I was going to have to piece tiny little squares to get a good patchwork effect in the size I wanted. Then I'd lose all the cool Halloween prints, I may as well use any old 'Halloween coloured' fabrics. So I thought, and I scratched my head and I realised I could cut corners, whip something up really fast and not piece any of the letters at all.


So, again, it's not perfect. It's not going on show, none of my quilts are. They're for using. Even the ones I don't use because I actually made real effort with them and didn't just go bang at it for a week til it was done.

So, 'fess up - I'm a corner cutter - I don't give a rat's ass that my points aren't perfect, I won't unpick to get a sharper point (not usually anyway). I just love to cut and piece and have something finished.

What's your confession?

(fabrics above are Eerie Alley from Lola Pink fabrics and kona coal from Simply Solids)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

lazy holiday weekend

here we go again

I actually forgot it was a holiday weekend here. Probably because all my days are currently blurring into one long day of handing money over to Miss G for whatever she happens to be doing that day, taking her places, picking her up, packing a bag for her, dropping her somewhere else, giving more money, shopping for more get the picture? Almost over. One more week of the holidays and sanity will be restored, and I'll once again remember what the day is.

As Miss G will be absent for most of the weekend, and Ginge is easily pleased/entertains himself I've started cutting into some fabrics to make a quick bow tie quilt like Angela's. Except I'm still totally unable to cut my Habitat up and instead I'm using Just Dandy (it's on sale if you click that link to sew mama sew) and Peacock Lane along with a really cool dot by timeless treasures that I got from the Fat Quarter shop with a twitter special 50% off code. Those twitter specials are really good. I find it tough to resist a 50% off coupon. All the squares are cut, my little squares are marked and I'm ready to sew.

I made a realisation this week. Jennifer Paganelli is my go-to fabric when I have to make a gift quilt. This stack is my 4th gift quilt made from Sis Boom. This time I'm using a whole mix of stuff, including the new line, West Indies that I picked up from Lola Pink fabrics. I love them there. Janet always writes a little thank you note in the package and sends hugs to me and Snoop. That kind of personal service is second to none, you don't find that often, do you? The rest of them I picked up on sale from Pink Chalk. Kathy Mack is one of my Quilt Market highlights. I like to shop at places where the people are nice. It makes me happy to spend my money if I know the folks it's going to are super lovely. I think you'd have to go a long way to find someone as genuinely lovely as Kathy is. She has passion and always seems to be so on the ball with her fabric buying. At least, we have crazily similar taste so the fabrics she gets excited about at Market seem to be the same as me. In SLC this Spring we were both getting crazy excited that Kaari Meng is redoing Rouenneries for debut this fall. That is right at the top of my sample spree list. I'll punch people in the face to pick up a stack (ok, I won't but I will be all pointy elbows and I'll fight to get to the front of the line for it). I wouldn't elbow Kathy though. I'd let her take the last bundle, because I know it'd be going to a loving home.

Anyhoo....back to the lovely Jen. There's another person that you couldn't fault - soooo nice. I mean SOOO nice you think she might not really be so nice and at home she pulls the legs of spiders or pokes kittens with knitting needles. And everyone says the same thing 'isn't Jennifer lovely? She's such a great person'. So I am pretty sure she doesn't do the spider leg pulling thing. Her personality is as bright as her fabrics, and when she smiles you can see how genuine she is. No-one can fake a smile as warm as that.

 I'm making a slightly bigger version of this quilt for my mother in law's best friend for Christmas. But I'm using that charm pack for the diamonds.

sis boom party

One day I'll actually make a quilt from Sis Boom for myself. Or my husband, because he LOVES everything Jen does. He's a bit girly, for a big guy. Maybe that's an idea for Christmas? His own Sis Boom quilt. Hmm.....

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

zombie constellation - top done!

zombie constellation

I love a quick quilt. I especially love a quick big quilt. I'm not really one for baby quilts or small lap quilts. In our house a lap quilt is at least 70 inches - the bigger the better. A quilt has to be able to cover me from neck to toe, with only my head can be poking out in order for me to stay warm and be comfy. In the winter I have multiple quilts on me, but in the summer just one. I get cold easily, there's not a lot of meat on my bones.

This quilt is approx 70 x 76". It's a little smaller than the original constellation because I've only added borders at 2 sides. That's because I made a booboo with one of my big star blocks and used a different sewing machine to piece it...there's a lesson for you (which I'm sure you know, as I do really but I kind of forgot, or decided it wouldn't matter). If you piece blocks, use the same machine for all of them. 1/4 inch feet vary ever so slightly from machine to machine. One block ended up a bit bigger than the others, so part of the points will get lost in the binding. C'est la vie. Who's going to care? No-one really. Not in the grand scheme of things, there are bigger and more important things to worry about in life than some star points sneaking off into the binding.

I've never taken one of those stained glass style photos before, of the quilt top from behind. Usually because my seams are such a state I wouldn't want to show anyone. Still, it looks so pretty I couldn't resist this time.

stained glass

So, if you have an urge to make a pretty big but fast and nice and simple quilt, you could make one like this. I'd be so stoked if you did.

The pattern is available from here.

Fabrics are Happy Mochi Yum Yum by Monica and Organic Shipyard from Timeless Treasures. Both are available here and here.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


12 years ago today.


How'd that happen?

You were a funny looking baby...

Obsessed with dressing like a Princess....

You grew so fast and before we knew it, you'd started school

Then you moved to Juniors. We thought you were grown up then (but you were only 7)

You're beautiful.
In every way.
Inside and out.

Happy Birthday baby girl. 

Have a wonderful day and thank you for making Daddy and me proud.
Although I could throttle you sometimes and you're unbelievably stubborn, you make me laugh 'til it hurts, you're kind, generous and treat everyone as you would hope to be treated yourself. 

And you're all mine.

Love you Gracie,

Mummy xxxx

(but, really, can't you just show your teeth when you have your photo taken occasionally?)

it's not cool to show teeth when you smile...

Monday, 22 August 2011

zombies on the lawn

zombie block 2

Zombie constellation block number one has a new friend.

non-identical twins

They're big girls. Plus sized, no doubt.

Pattern is this one from Issue 5 of Fat Quarterly (available here) but messed around with a bit.

Fabrics are Happy Mochi Yum Yum by the happiest of all zombies, Monica. And this weave type print.

More soon.....

Friday, 19 August 2011



The Hexy MF is all packed up and ready to ship off to Angela for her magic quilting touch. We'll be reunited at Quilt Market in Houston this October. And then Hexy MF can keep Lu and me cozy on the plane ride home. Clever thinking, eh? I might make it a tradition. Go to Quilt Market sans quilt, come home with quilt. I did it at Spring Market too with the Honey Child quilt that had been hanging in Jennifer's booth (and was then used by the little old lady on the plane next to me to sleep under. Sweet, huh?)

See more of the ridiculously long journey of hexagons in my flickr set here.

Time to start a new english paper pieced project, me thinks.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

something new

first block!

This fabric and this pattern (modified a little). It's going to rock, even if I do say so myself, which is a little braggy and the sort of thing that should result in a big slap from any one of you.

In other news - there's a glimmer of hope in my previously mentioned quest for modern Horn sewing cabinets...the lucky man that was pestered by me for 4 whole days is going to mention my (let's face it - genius) views at his next supplier meeting. Keep those fingers crossed that someone listens.

And in older news...don't forget we can hang out all day long and go home with a tumbler cushion like this if you go to Claire's site and book the workshop. I'll bring some sweets and I'll let you eat in class. Go on, come along, it'll be fun I PROMISE.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

and the winner is....

The winner of the Simply Solids jelly roll giveaway is Jednoiglec who said....

Festival of Quilts? You're so lucky to be there! 
I like that in Europe we've got online shops - I love that there's a shop with great selection of Kona!

Congrats! Email me your address (katy at fatquarterly dot com) and I'll get your jelly roll in the mail to you.

Monday, 15 August 2011

FoQ off

Phew. I'm back from doing actual real life, stood on my feet, smiling sweetly, dealing with the public work for a whole 4 days AND I'm still alive to tell the tale.
It wasn't all work at FoQ (the Festival of Quilts). We did a lot of messing about whilst demonstrating the delightful wares that Eternal Maker had for sale (Tacha's hat is my new design - don't copy it, I'm expecting a call from Karl Lagerfeld shortly to include it in Spring 2012's couture collection for Chanel)

NB - there'll be a skirt tute on whipstich using Melody's Bee fabric really, really soon, like next week or something. Melody told me that, so I'm telling you. 

pic stolen from Mandy

We hung out with Mandy and her husband most evenings at the pub (and they were just down the aisle so we could wave at them lots too)

Simply Solids Booth

Tacha and me also taught a class on English Paper Piecing that was really good fun AND the students liked us AND we didn't crash and burn (don't even mention the lecture I took last minute on Friday - that was not so successful. That was, in fact, a complete and utter disaster...but the ladies (that actually sat through to the end - yes, there were some early leavers. I don't blame them, I would have too if I could. I almost did) assured me they wouldn't hunt me down and lynch me. Although I am sleeping with a tyre iron under my pillow just in case).

busy little beavers

Super B made a banner (that stuck to the wall the whole time with only spit and bent-to-death cheap pins from Leeds Market)

Booth Banner

There were even some this one that should have won muchos muchos prizes (and not because it was made by my friend. No, that is not the only reason, it just should have)

shoulda won every category

All in all it was a great few days. We had a fab booth, it was nice and big and lots of lovely people stopped by to say Hi (I'm waving at you - wave back). I spent quite a lot of time hassling the poor man from Horn cabinets into making me a red, high gloss sewing cabinet with no handles, just those fancy magnetic closures you get on kitchen cabinets and wire baskets instead of plastic ones. I also want metal casters, like on the bottom of hospital trolleys. I don't think he took much notice of me, despite being a genuinely good sport and putting up with my constant pestering (and really quite mean comments about his product) but if you see them make anything other than the 'wood effect' finishes in the coming years you have me to thank (yes, I'll take full credit, and the royalty cheque can be made payable to me too, thanks). Admit it - a high gloss sewing cabinet that looked more like this than this, that would be something, wouldn't it? I'd buy it. Actually, I've designed it, so I'll have a free one already, but I'd buy another, maybe an aqua one to go with my red one.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

quiet concentration


A little something I'm having a whole lot of fun with at the minute. Tiny scraps, buttons and hand stitches. See more soon....

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Have you met Mandy?

(Photo courtesy of Mandy Noble/Simply Solids)

Mandy is someone I call an actual real life friend. I met her through shopping for fabric (of course) and then I met her real life friend (Lynne) with my other real life friend Brioni and yet another real life friend, Justine (confused? Me too.) Now we try and get together at Lynne's house often enough to keep us sane and sew. Although in reality we don't end up sewing much and spend more time laughing and gossiping. I thought it'd be nice to have Mandy come over and say hello, because you might not have met her before and that'd be a shame. So here she is......(read through to the end...there may be treats...just saying)

Tell me a bit about  Simply Solids, how did it come about?

Lynne and I were complaining about the lack of Kona solids in the UK and how we just couldn't get what we wanted and maybe should order it in in bulk ourselves.  Then she kind of bet me to start a shop - so I did!!

How long have you sewn for?

My mum taught me to sew when I was little, but I never did a huge amount other than curtains till after the kids were born.  In 1989 I went to a quilt exhibition of slave quilts in Atlanta, Georgia and swore that one day I would make my own quilt, it took a good 11 years before i started one and another 7 years before that was finished!  3 kids got in the way, but once they were past the baby stage I signed up for a block an month workshop and that was it - I was hooked.

Penguin Books Quilt finished
(Photo courtesy of Lily's Quilts)

What would you say is your style of quilting/sewing? 

When I started quilting I was into japanese Daiwabo fabrics so everything was very muted, but after joining flickr and discovering the blogging world I discovered new modern fabrics and fell in love.  I love bright colours and simple designs and my quilts today reflect this.  

(Photo courtesy of Mandy Noble/Simply Solids)

What is your favourite Kona colour combination?

My favourite colour combos change all the time, but at the moment I love peridot/hibiscus.  I can gaze at the stock on my shelves for hours!

Explain a little about how Simply Solids works, describe your shop and what you sell.

My goal with Simply Solids is to have the complete range of Kona Cotton Solids combined with a few other ranges - Amy Butler Solids, Kaffe Fasset Shot Cottons and some plain Linens.  I will always order in any colour a customer needs and am always open to suggestion for different ranges.  I also stock Gutermann Cotton threads and wadding meaning that customers can get everything they need to complete a quilt.  I stock Moda pre-cuts because I love them, the ranges are always changing and they offer such flexibility.  I have only been going for a year so my stock and ranges will continue to grow and grow!

This year you'll be at the Festival of Quilts - where can we find you?

I will be at stand D49 with my husband helping out so please come and say hello.  It is my first time selling at the festival of quilts and I am very nervous, so a few friendly faces would be great!

80s batwing sweater
(Photo by me!)

For those of you that are coming to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, here's a voucher to download and print off for 10% off anything on Mandy's stand (D49, remember - just opposite-ish the Fat Quarterly stand which is D44!)

You can find Mandy's blog here and her wonderful UK based fabric store right here.

But that is not all. Oh no, that is not all. Mandy is also offering one of you lucky blog reader types a jelly roll of French General's Christmas line, Fa La La La French General.


Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. No other hoop jumping, just a comment.

Giveaway will stay open for the next week until I get home from the Festival of Quilts (so until Monday 15th August). Please make sure you have an email linked to your profile or leave a contact email in your comment. It makes things soooo much easier. And next time you need solids try Mandy out for size. She won't disappoint.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

from the fast to the sooooooo slow

still on-going...

After my super fast quilt top in a day (actually, it was more like an afternoon and evening, if I'm honest) it's back to the incredibly slow and long winded Hexy MF. The end is in sight now, though. I've got all the hexagon flowers for the border basted on and I'm working my way through hand appliqueing them, and I've made a start on the leaves. I really do need to get a wriggle on if I'm going to get it finished in time for Angela to quilt it and bring it to Market in just under 12 weeks (yikes!).

I've ordered continuous yardage of an Innocent Crush print for the backing (although I can't remember which one I ordered), because it was on sale even though I really would have liked to use a velveteen or a voile for a purely luxurious and decadent quilt. The sensible side of me caved and said 'the top is voile, you can stroke that, just go for the cheaper option on the back'. I might regret that later, but I'm really needing to save some pennies right now and if I want fancy quilting from the Queen of Quilting herself I'll suck it up and be happy to get the darn thing finished.

The binding has been ready and waiting for ever (well, I did make 38 yards of it)....


Friday, 5 August 2011

a Merry Grinchmas

snow in August?

Freaky weather we're having in these parts today. Look at that snow storm. I had to put my salopettes on especially to take that pic. Yeh, alright, it's just one of the cool effects from picnik.

The weather here has been pretty rubbish though, this week we've had thunderstorms, rain by the bucket full and even a little bit of hail. And today it's sunny. Go figure. Welcome to the Great British Summertime.

I've been busy sewing up the 12 fat quarters of Dr Seuss Grinch fabrics I got from Lola Pink Fabrics. I wanted to make something fun and fast, so I cut up each FQ into 4 pieces loosely based on the turning twenty pattern (I say loosely because I didn't have the book to hand and so I kind of guessed the sizes of the pieces) and made a pretty nice lap size quilt that was 48"x70". Then Ginger asked if it was for his bed, which it wasn't, it was for his lap, and so I added strip of kona snow to the bottom to make it twin sized. I like snow because it's white but not an extra clean white, and with the fat cat that wipes his eye snot over everything and the Ginger boy that is, well, a boy, so he's hardly clean most of the time it doesn't seem to show up dirt as much.

12 FQs and 2 yards of kona have a quilt that's perfect for a bed in just one day. Do you know, I might make a few more of this kind of quilt to use up bits of bobs in my stash and have on hand for Christmas gifts and things. I do still want this pillowcase kit though too. I'm still hinting, family members.

trial run...

(excuse that terrible picture - do you know how difficult it is taking photos of a quilt top on a bunk bed?)

Someone else seems to like it too....

gratuitous cute dog pic

Now I have to piece a backing and get it sent to long armed Chris. I'm thinking a contrasting red thread would look cool, maybe a snowflake design quilted all over, so the red snowflakes pop out on that bottom white strip. Although, once Ginger puts all his pillows and stuffed animals and other general gubbins on the bottom half of his bed you won't see that part of the quilt at all. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

planning ahead...

planning ahead...

It'll be Halloween in a little over 12 weeks. I could sneeze and miss it if I'm not careful (yes, I realise that's unlikely). And then Christmas is just 144 days away. 144!!! That's NOTHING. If I don't start to prepare myself I'll surely miss that as well?

Ok, ok, neither is likely to happen, but I'd quite like to make both a Halloween and Christmas quilt this year. I feel guilty because for the 2nd time I'll be missing Halloween this year, as I'll be in Houston for Quilt Market. We always had a party, and it was always great fun, so I'm pretty guilted out that I'm not about and the party won't be happening for the 2nd year running. To try and make up for the fact I'm making Ginger a quilt. I had thought of free pieced letters like this kind of thing, but then I spotted Elizabeth's quilt and I'm scrapping the free pieced idea and going down this route instead. She's doing a quilt along too. I'm not sure what my quilt will actually say yet, the possibilities are endless. Fancy making a Halloween billboard quilt with me?

The Grinch fabrics I'm still thinking on. They'd be pretty cool fussy cut, so my first thought was a snowball (it's a good winter themed block as well). I'll add in some extra solids whatever I do.

I got all of these fabrics from Lola Pink fabrics, a great online (and bricks and mortar) shop with a really fun selection of fabrics. I'm so tempted by the pillowcase kits, they'd make really great gifts for the sewist that has everything (and if anyone is reading this from my family/friends take a hint - I REALLY LIKE THE PILLOWCASE KITS).

no tricks - just treats

You can find your own eerie alley bundle here. And the Grinch bundles are here and here. Janet and Jennifer sorted me out the co-ordinating solids from their selection in store.

Blog Archive