Sunday, 30 December 2012

it wasn't my fault

I was happily cruising instagram, minding my own business, taking it easy when I got sucked into a quilt that Megan, Brenda and Rita were making.

Being a complete sheep I had to join in. Now there's a flickr group (thanks B!) and a hashtag #scrappytripalong for twitter and instagram (I'm @ImAGingerMonkey if you want to follow me on either twitter or instagram)

First 3 blocks. Done. Guess that's it - I'm making one of these for sure now @lucyandnorman @thatswhatlindseymade @laurajane7789 @justabitfrayed anyone else? @rachelgriffith c'mon. Dooooo it!

We're using the incredibly simple scrappy trips around the world (free!) tutorial on Quiltville.

The blocks are strip pieced, it's so fast and so simple and a perfect way to use up scraps (or, like me, the piles of FQs in your stash)

More..... #scrappytripalong

Wanna come play with us? It's a quilt along of sorts, but informal, no weekly blog posts or deadlines, just a heap of friends making the same blocks over and over again. Blocks end up at 12" (finished), so you could just make 4 if you really don't have any time (it'd take you about an hour - no lie) and have a really nice big pillow.

And if you need to shop for fabric, then Brenda has an awesome sale going on right now.

In other news - I wanted to mention this kickstarter project by Ed Emberley and his daughter, Rebecca and Rebecca's daughter,'s a family affair!).

I'm pretty sure if you are in the US Ed Emberley has been a huge part of your childhood, or your children's childhood. Am I right? And everyone loves the story of Itsy Bitsy Spider, no?

Well, go check out this kickstarter (minimum pledge is just $1) and find out more about their project which aims to give a book for every book sold. The pledge ends on Jan 1st, so please go check it out right now, and spread the word if you can.

Thank you.

what's new, British pussycat?

It's New Year's Eve Eve!!! Happy NYEE!!!!

Justine has been busy marking down things in her shop to clear the way for new arrivals.

10% off haberdashery
15% off kits and solids pre-cuts
20% off patterned pre-cuts and colour cards
30% off lakehouse
50% of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons & Amy Butler solids

Hurry because thing are selling out FAST!

Remember this pillow I made for Justine for Christmas? The bee fabric is still available at M is For Make in the sale.

bee pillow

And the darker colourway too (which is possibly my favourite colourway)

Annie at the village haberdashery has had a delivery of micromod by Rob Bancroft for Cloud 9. These are great basics for stash building, and organic (of course)

There's LOADS in the sale section too - I love this print from Hope Chest

Alice over at Backstitch still has this amazing rainbow of sketch in the shop.

pair it with this lucky rainbow bundle and I think you have an absolutely amazing quilt.

Eclectic Maker are still on their Christmas break until January 2nd, but you can shop with them - they just won't get it in the post until they get back.

They have a gorgeous selection of Laura Gunn fabrics, including 6 different colours of painter's canvas.

That's it from me for this year. I'll see you next year - I promise no more fabric pimping this year...snigger.

I hope you have a fantastic New Year's Eve...I'm staying in, and if I can manage it, I'll be sewing. I really don't like going out on NYE. Too many strangers try and kiss you, food in restaurants is overpriced and serve terrible set menus that you wouldn't choose to eat on any other night of the year, and people are drunk and falling over, or pulling party poppers in your face. Oh - and there is always some kind of awful band playing standards that you only ever hear at weddings.

I am such a miserable old woman.

Staying in, it's the new going out...apparently.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

what's new, American pussycat? - UPDATE

It's almost the end of the year. So what is new for the last weekend in 2012?

There's camp stitchalot for starters. It's going to be so much fun, and I'm teaching a kiss clasp purse class, alongside fellow camp counselors Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, and Rae Hoekstra

What's new fabrics wise at Pink Castle then? Field Study voiles are in, and the velveteens have just arrived, so will be listed shortly. Brenda is planning on making up some scarf kits - I'll keep you posted EDITED - THEY'RE UP! FIND THEM BY CLICKING HERE!
There are 4 different combos of voile and velveteen, in long 72" x 18" cuts so you can make the figure 8/infinity scarf (free tutorial on Anna Maria's site) for just $24 a pop. Pretty good, huh?

This is my favourite. Because it's leopards and moths (I picked those 2 together, you could get the same as me and we could be twinnies)

This one is all summery and fresh and gorgeous.

And there are still 2 more for you to choose from. Midnight and lilac, and cherry and vivacious.

There are a whole heap of new fabrics added to the sale section - including echino, simply color, center city, Liberty bloomsbury gardens, handle with care and in my room. There are some amazing savings to be found, so don't hang about here - go shopping!

Fat Quarter Shop has it's annual massive sale too. So many bargains to be had. Plan ahead for next Christmas and stock up on Christmas lines with up to 50% off. Like cherry christmas or winterkist.

New arrivals include Laurie Wisbrun's super cute seaside themed Don't Be Crabby. The whales are my favourites.

Seascapes by Deb Strain is also new in. This is not typically me at all, but I actually really like it. It's so calming and serene.

The map print is especially nice and comes in a twill version too, so good for throw pillows and what not.

Becca at Sew Me A Song is having a break until January 3rd, so any orders bought before then won't be shipped until the 3rd.

You will want to check out the new daiwabo prints though.



gasp again

Peg from Sew Fresh Fabrics is back at work after her Christmas break.

Go stock up on those amazing Timber fabrics whilst you can.

Lots of good stuff can be found in the specials section. Love these keys.

And some prints from across the pond by Cloud 9 are still available, I loved this line so much.

Don't those 3 fabrics look really good together? Well, that was pure luck.

Add in a solid like this kona mushroom....

and a little oyster....

....and you have a nice little bundle.

Lola Pink Fabrics  have the beautiful Laura Gunn line, cosmos, in stock now.

I absolutely love this line, and I have a quilt planned for the new year using it. You can see the scale of the flowers in this picture, each one is about 2" or so across. It's a really nice scale, and the photos really don't do this line enough justice - it's gorgeous.
I would stock up on many many yards of the painter's canvas and take advantage of the bulk buy and save discount Lola Pink offers. You can't have too much of that painter's canvas lying around you know.

There are a gazillion fabrics on sale until January 4th. Hundreds of fabrics, and patterns have been marked down to clear the way for new stock. Save up to 50%!

I'll be back tomorrow with What's New British Pussycat!!!!

See you then x

Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 is almost over

2012 in quilts

Is it just me or did 2012 fly by really fast?

I was pretty busy this year...lots of changes and lots of good stuff.

Highlights were (in no particular order);

  • Karaoke at spring quilt market with Tula (we murdered Gettin' Jiggy With It, in case you were wondering)
  • The Fat Quarterly Retreat in June (who is coming to next year's - there are still tickets available!)
  • Helping out Sizzix at the Festival of Quilts in August (and hanging out with Lauli and Tula)
  • Going to Sewing Summit - meeting so many old friends (Megan, Amber, Angela to name but a few) for the first time in real life, and making new friends. And more hanging out with Lauli (and Audrie and Amy and Sheila and Alexia and Al and Kaye...and...and...I honestly can't list everyone, there were so many people I loved hanging out with)
  • having the Fat Quarterly book come out
  • being involved in the Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe book
  • the swoon along
  • leaving Fat Quarterly - ok, that is a bittersweet highlight....but watch this space for the sweetness!
  • making quilts (obviously! Some of them are up there in that mosaic)

2013 is coming up fast. I've got a lot more planned...

  • Pat Sloan invited me to be part of the 2013 Aurifil Design team, which is really exciting. More on that really soon.
  • I have some fun stuff happening in May... Camp Stitchalot with Pink Castle Fabrics (tickets have literally just gone on sale - find out all the details by clicking here
  • there's Spring Quilt Market in Portland, with me possibly doing a schoolhouse. Gulp. (That's a bit of a hint, I'm not saying any more than that)
  • Fat Quarterly retreat 2013. I'm there again, and teaching, again!
  • and more! It's going to be a good year, I can feel it. 

What about you? What does 2013 hold for you - anything exciting? What was your highlight of 2012?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

final Christmas gifts

I've had to wait until after Christmas to show you these, because, although I'm pretty certain my sister in law doesn't read my blog, I'm positive my friend Justine does, and as these gifts were made for them, I didn't want to ruin the surprise.

My Melody Miller Bee pillow is all finished and wrapped and as I'm writing this (2 days before Christmas) it's under Justine's tree. She refused to open it when I gave it to her. Damn her.

Justine is an amazing friend and we get on brilliantly. Even our kids get on brilliantly. And Snoop doesn't hate her completely (only a little bit). So when I finished the cross stitch I knew I wanted to make her a pillow with it.

bee pillow

I framed the cross stitched fabric with some of Riley Blake's shaded cottons that Becca at Sew Me A Song sent me. Instead of making a regular block and then quilting, I simply quilted as I went, stitching and flipping the new strips as I stitched it onto the batting. Super easy, and it meant it was already quilted when I finished piecing - time saver too.

I used tangerine and teal on the pillow front and then 2 more colours on the envelope back (I didn't get a picture - how stupid was that of me? And now I can't remember which colours they were either....although I have a feeling it was flamingo and vintage green.) I already had the binding left over from a previous project, so it was nice to use that up.

Here's a close up of the bee stitchery....

bee pillow - close up

I deliberately left a few patches unstitched, so it look a little like an old worn tapestry. It goes really well with the slightly battered look of the shaded cottons. I think Justine will love it, she loved it at every stage as I was making it, so unless she's sick of looking at it, she'll be happy.

Onto Christmas gift number 2.

floressence quilt

I think Floressence is an amazing collection from Art Gallery Fabrics. It's so perfectly mis-matched and looks like a really beautiful stack of fabrics from all different collections. It kind of looks like you pulled these out of your stash and thought 'oh yeh - I'm going to put this huge over the top shabby chic rose print with this modern geometric, what of it?' And if you had done that, your friends would all laugh and tell you it was CRAZY. However, you didn't - the crazy peeps at Art Gallery did instead. It shouldn't work, but it really does. And in huge pieces like this quilt you can see the mis-matched nature perfectly.

Trudi quilted this for me and I could not be happier with how it turned out. She used a beautiful variegated pink thread and added just the right amount of quilting - not too much, not too little. It feels amazing. The binding is sketch in lipstick (available here in the UK). I had a pink solid picked out, but it looked to flat when the quilt was all done, so I tried out a few other fabrics and the sketch was perfect.

floressence quilt

The weather is terrible here, and I can't get a decent picture at all. I'll keep trying, but I don't want to drag the poor quilt around the mud, because it's not mine.

I added a label (and had to sew it on pretty quick smart, because I was falling more and more in love with the quilt and was starting to think about keeping it)....

...and making a label.

...and now it's off to my sister in law and brother in law, who live next door to us and have been amazing in what has been a not so great year for us. I don't think we could have gotten through it without them. Lots of tough stuff happened, and is still happening with a whole massive shift in our lives work wise, financially and every other which way. I don't ever tell them how much I appreciate them, we're not that kind of people - but they know it, and now they have a quilt to remind them of it. Actually, right now, as I'm writing this post, they have Ginge and have given him lunch and are taking him to the movies. We are blessed to have them.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a day full of happiness, love and gifts.

have a wonderful day!

Spare a moment to think about the people in your life that don't look forward to Christmas, and take a few minutes to make sure they're ok. Send them a quick email, text, or phone call.

A massive thank you to every single one of you that stops by here, whether you're a regular or not so regular visitor. I truly appreciate it.

Here's to another year of me waffling on about nothing incredibly important and encouraging you to buy as much fabric as me. Normal service will resume shortly, but for now I'm off to eat too much, drink a little bit and snooze on the couch.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

what's new, British pussycat?

A huge thank you to everyone that went to visit Annie's bricks and mortar shop last weekend on it's preview opening. Annie was so pleased the weekend was a success and that so may of you were able to go. We've been chatting about classes and the possibility of me popping down to teach when she's up and running properly and has a class schedule sorted. Have a think about things you'd like to see, and if you'd like me to teach anything specific.

New in at the village haberdashery this week is a big restock of Aurifil. I'm pretty sure that most of you know this is the thread I choose to use, and the 50wt is my go-to thread for everything, be it piecing by machine or hand, quilting, hand sewing - whatever. I love it. Annie has over 60 colours in stock now. Before I found Aurifil I tried pretty much every brand of thread on the market, from the expensive to the cheap. I used thread that friends had recommended, that I saw other bloggers use, that was sold in the local store - I had all kinds of tension issues and thread breakages. As soon as I bought my first cone of Aurifil I was converted. Yeh, I bought a cone before I bought spools - that was pretty brave (or stupid) of me. Mind you, Alex Veronelli managed to smooth talk me into that cone at the Festival Of Quilts one year, and I never looked back since.

Annie has a pre-sale of lucky penny by Alison Glass right now. £5 off the bundle. Lucky Penny is fantastic and the colours are amazingly rich.

IMG_1889 - Version 3
photo credit, Alison Glass on flickr

Also new in is Juggling Summer from Zen Chic for Moda.

My friend Di made a gorgeous bag using this line recently, as well as a couple of clutches that show off the gorgeous prints so well.

241 tote

Annie also has cuzco in stock, which is gorgeous and my favourite Kate Spain line ever.

twinkling stars of cuzco

Oh - and simpatico is on sale, so grab that now - it's absolutely beautiful.

There's lots of gorgeous sketch in stock at Simply Solids.

This citron colour is amazing.

Justine has been busy mailing out the first month of the Simply Solids Crew bundles this week. If you're not signed up for this monthly stash building club, then do it now. It's going to be fantastic. I signed up for 3 FQs a month, so I can make a rainbow swoon quilt. I have my first month (which is purples) in hand, and I'm hoping to get some time over the Christmas break to make my first block.

More essex linen is in stock as well as a restock of Kona solids.

Kate at M is For Make got a delivery of Handle With Care by Suzy Ultman for Kaufman fabrics this week. These prints are just wonderful, and such fun.
I made pillowcases for Lauli and me to take to Sewing Summit out of them (I can't find a pic of the pillowcase I made. Hmm. Where is it? I did anyway - ask Lauli.)

Kate also has some delicious Kaffe Fasset shot cottons in stock as well.

This steel one is particularly yum, I think.

Alice at Back Stitch is closed now until December 31st. You can still shop, but nothing will be mailed out until then. Bear that in mind if you have a little shopping trip there.

I got this amazing bundle of linen/cotton blend fabrics in the mail this week from Alice (thank you Alice - it was a complete surprise and a lovely one too!!!)

I'm not sure what to make with it - definitely a quilt (of course). Maybe I'll add in some other solids, or some bluey green prints and make a lovely calming patchworky quilt with biggish squares. Actually - I know what I could use. I was chatting with Nicky after she left a comment on yesterday's what's new post and wouldn't constellations be a fab collection to add to that bundle? I've got a bundle of it so I'm going to have a little play around.....I'll keep you posted.

Sizzix has a huge sale on at the moment. I think pretty much all of the on-sale dies are for regular scrapbooking or paper crafts, but have a look through - if you applique I bet you could find a bargain or 2 there to use with fabric.

Eclectic Maker will be closed over the Christmas period, but you can still shop there and when the package arrives i january you will have forgotten what you bought (or is it just me that does that?)

Maybe you could treat yourself to a bundle of Notting Hill from Joel Dewberry?

 I'll be popping in again before Christmas, but for those of you that won't be reading blogs from now on - have a wonderful, happy, fun filled Christmas holiday. I hope you get everything you wish for, whether it's lavish gifts or fun memories. maybe a little bit of both would be good?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

what's new, American pussycat?

It's just 3 days until Christmas - I hope you are all ready, and wrapped, and everything is under the tree waiting for the big day.

We go to my mother in law's for Christmas day - which makes it nice and easy. I need to cook a couple of things to take, one of them being leek and butter bean gratin (recipe here). It's all kinds of unfair, because I can't eat it (being allergic to dairy) and it was my favourite vegetable side dish. *sigh*

Pink Castle fabrics will cheer me up with a coupon code. BUNDLE25 gets you 25% off all bundles this week only. Brenda made up a heap more of my Cherry Limeade bundle, you should get that. It's awesome. I said so, and therefore that must be true, right? (I am NEVER wrong, my opinion is like the gospel. Kinda. Or maybe not. Ok. Not at all...but my bundle is super cute. Pinky swear.)

There's all kinds of new stuff in too;

Cleo from Dear Stella (there are bundles of this still in stock too)

Pearl Bracelets


Cotorienne by Yuwa

Possibly the most exciting news to come from Pink Castle fabrics this week is Camp Stitchalot in May 2013. You're getting an early heads up - registration isn't open yet, and the page isn't completely finished but I can't keep it in any more.
Me, Rae (as in Made by Rae), Melody Miller AND Rashida Coleman Hale are going to be camp counsellers. It's going to be amazing. Read up on what's happening on the Camp page, and stay tuned for updates soon!

Fat Quarter Shop  only have a couple of days left on their Count Down To Christmas daily deals. Don't miss out on these, you can grab some absolute winners on these daily deals, but you need to make sure you check in every day (or follow me on twitter and I'll be tweeting it at some point - I'm @ImAGingerMonkey on twitter)

You also need to check out the sale section for crazy bargains.

New in this week are some fun Super Hero fabrics from Robert Kaufman.

Get a Clue with Nancy Drew (I can't decide if this line is all kinds of amazing, or all kinds of wrong - I'm veering towards amazing though, it's NANCY DREW!!!)

There are also new Art Gallery Fabrics pure elements colours in, which are really gorgeous solids to work with (in case you haven't tried them before). Very soft, beautiful colours and a higher thread count than most regular quilting cottons.

There's still a few (but only a few) places left on Lola Pink Fabrics' block of the month . I really love the pattern for this quilt and the fabrics, it looks amazing and it's sure to be a lot of fun.

The ladies have a heap of new stuff in stock too. Architextures, cosmos, salt water, les amis,

Sew me a song has had a big old delivery of pearl bracelets.

And some new fun text prints from Timeless treasures, like this one called Mode Rouge

and this one

And this cute little baking themed print, which would make really great aprons, with a fun polka dot trim.

Sew Fresh Fabrics is the kind of store that you could browse in for a long, long time. And you should. Because you'll find good stuff if you do. Just look at the great selection of fabrics on their front page...

Prints like ric rac rabbits from Creative Thrusday. You could easily have missed that and there's a lot of cute stuff in that line.
Hello Pilgrim - I know we've got pearl bracelets and constellations out now from Lizzy, but Hello Pilgrim is such a great line, and some of those prints should stay in print forever and ever. Colour wise, I think Hello Pilgrim was Lizzy's best ever. I'm tempted to say I love it best of all out of everything she has ever done, I'm really tempted...but I'm not sure I can say that. I do think leaves and berries is my favourite ever Lizzy print though. Weird choice? Maybe, but it's a really gorgeous print with quite a lot going on and it's easy to use. Some of Lizzy's fabrics are amazing but trickier to use for anyone or any age (I'm thinking about the animals or the people, in general). This print is timeless and suitable for all. It works as pillowcases, clothing, bags, quilts, quilt backs, cut up super small, left super big, any way up; it's just one of those perfect fabrics.

On the pic up above there's that great grey chevron by Riley Blake. We all know that print, right? But put chevron in the shop search, and you get some amazing chevrons that I bet you've never seen before.

Such as this one.... 

Cool, huh? It comes in orange too. And this amazing multi coloured version, which reminds me of Missoni knitwear. It's part of the Primitiva line from Andover. 

So, there you go. Go on a hunt; grab a coffee, spend a few minutes mindlessly browsing and see if you find anything fun that you missed before. I bet you will. I spend a LOT of time searching through the same shops each week for What's New, and every week I find something I've missed before - like the prints above. Never spotted them before at all!
I love doing these posts for that reason alone. I love fabric, I love shopping, I love to get packages in the mail and then try and squeeze them into my over-full fabric closet - but I really love finding stuff that is a little outside my regular comfort zone, or not quite within my little circle. Those surprises (like the other week when I found Gabbie with that amazing letter press print or those crazy good text prints from Love Notes), they make it extra extra fun.

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