Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The length we go to

The length we quilters go to find the right fabric or thread can be...well...long. Or is this just me ?

I am working on a quilt for LP&Q for the solids series I announced a while back and decided on a very particular thread for the quilt I am working on at the moment .

When it comes to choosing the right thread for my quilts two things are important to me; the quality and the colour. What isn't so important is the brand, although given that I only use top quality thread, the brands I use for piecing are somewhat limited to Gueterman, Aurifil and Superior.

My preferred quilting thread thickness ranges from 40w to 28w and is only driven by colour (and availability). If for example I want to quilt in a steal grey, it matters little to my if I use Gueterman Sulky in 30w or a similar colour in the 28w from Aurifil. They are both equally good although the Aurifil is better value for money and I am lucky that Tina at Tikki stocks both.

But sometimes I venture out of the normal range of colours I tend to use and go for a variegated thread. Mostly I use Gueterman Sulky then but on occasion something with a bit more punch is required. And then I need (yes need) Valdani hand deyed thread.

I have used Valdani once before on my Comet quilt and love the boldness of the colour distribution on the variegated spools. Valdani isn't that easy to come by in the UK and whilst I managed to get the above two I used for the Comet quilt fairly easily from Germany, this time around it was quite a challenge to get the red/white M41 I chose for my new quilt (there is a hint somewhere there as to the colour of the quilt).

My first google search let me to Germany but I had to find out that the shop I previously bought didn't stock them anymore. My next stops were a variety of shops all over the place that all wanted to sell me M41 in 8w or similar. 
Then I found an on-line shop in Norway whose website was only in Norwegian but had a picture of my thread ! Yes I punched a fist in the air. Using google translator I managed to find out that the shop wasn't yet set up properly but because they had the thread on their web page I anyway sent a mail to the owner asking for help.
Not wanting to wait for an answer I googled a bit more and found ecrater but they only had the required colour in the required strength "on hold". Still I sent a mail because you never know but got a negative answer back. Then I found DS9 but their shipping costs were a little extravagant. Meanwhile a few days had past and as I am on a deadline got a little desperate.
So I went onto the Valadni web page itself, set-up an account, ordered the thread for what seemed a reasonable shipping fees only to find out after a few days  that payment processes were being revamped and the charge would have been huge. Admittedly Dana made every effort to get the thread to me for the best price she could get and even asked the plant in Romania to send them to me directly.
Whilst this conversation was going on I received a response from the lady in Norway who sadly had to tell me that she did not have the thread in stock (deep breath at this point)  but that maybe her friend who is also Norwegian but lives in Bosten may have (sitting up a little straighter again). 2 hours later, the lovely Ase who is from netquilter and who turns out to be the Valdani distributor in the US had put one spool in the post for me for a very reasonable fee and best of all it arrived on my door step within 3 days. 

I sure I got a few more grey hair over this but am happy to report that I have the thread in my hands !!

Has any of you gone through crazy length to get a particular thread or fabric ?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Dashwood Studio give-away

The London Modern Quilt guilt is hosting a great give-away on their blog.

Follow this link and you are in for a chance to win this great fat quater set of 'September Blue'.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Stash Note 93

I love Japanese fabric and have an ever growing stash of it (that really needs to be used). Trawling through Etsy I spotted some new collections by Suzuko Koseki for Yuwa Fabrics at this wonderful Etsy shop called Miss Matatabi.

And I just couldn't help my trigger-happy-fabric-shopping-finger and within minutes I had a wonderful array of prints in my shopping basket.

All are by Suzuko Koseki as these Patchwork squares above and below. They are seriously cool.

 Then I have a bit of text print added and which is called 'Fashion Magazine'.

And this wonderful lime green print aptly names 'Fashion Window'.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Kona cotton giveaway giveaway winner

And the winner of the Kona cotton giveaway is Cathrine.

Congratulations and thank you everybody for participating.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Kona Cotton giveaway

So here it is as as announced earlier in the week. Robert Kaufman and I are giving away one fat quarter set of the 33 new Kona Cotton colours to one lucky winner.

To participate in the giveaway you simply need to tell me if you have ever made a solids only quilt and/or will consider it in the future.

Further rules are the usual ones:

  • no restriction on participants
  • need to include the answer to above question in the comment
  • I will absolutely not chase potential winners, so you must have an e-mail address attached to your profile (no response bloggers comments will be disregarded)
  • giveaway ends on bankholiday Monday the 25th
  • winner announced the day after

Enjoy and thank you very much for participating !

Monday, 18 August 2014

In support of Solids

I have teamed up with Robert Kaufmann' Kona Cotton and Love Patwork & Quilting to make a series of solids only quilts for the magazine. The first quilt that is truly a riot of colour and I promise you, should not be missed is made using all the new Kona colours plus many, many of the existing colours. It will feature in the November or December edition. So why am I telling you this ? Well, because Robert Kaufmann generously sent me two fat quarters bundles of the 33 new colours which means I can give one away. That I will do later in the week and I hope you stop by and participate.
But first I hope you enjoy a little trip down the solids only memory lane with me.

Over the past years I have not only appreciated solids but have worked often with just solids and now almost find myself preferring them to patterned fabric (there I said it).

And one of my all time favourite quilts is still the 'Single Girl' quilt made with Kona and Klona cottons. Having it on my sofa or bed or simply looking at it fills me with enormous pleasure and satisfaction and I am sure this will never change.

And I think the second favourite is my Comet quilt featuring Oakshott Cottons that really pack a punch.


But it wasn't always high impact colours that I went for. 'Tuscan Hils' uses masses of negative space in a very subtle way and incidentally was my first quilt on which I tried circular quilting and that has now become something of a trademark on my quilts.

I also used circular quilting with 'She loves the Blues' , a quilt commissioned by my brother for his girl friend. I really love this quilt with its floating squares.

A wall painting in a London restaurant served as inspiration to make the Sketch quilts. Sketch I was sewn from all my solids scraps and Sketch II with Michael Miller Cotton Couture and both make me smile a lot. Sketch II was also the first quilt that I made for LP&Q.

Sketch I
Sketch II

I must have been drunk to want to make 400 or so HSTs for 'Drunken Harlequin' but I was glad I did in the end. This quilt also uses the incredibly soft Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids.

And my latest edition to the ever growing solids series is the Gee's Bend inspired quilt 'Dreams of Summer' which was constructed without rotary cutter or ruler and felt quite liberating to make.

There is growing number of quilters such as Alissa Haight Carlton that now use solids as the main feature in their quilts and not just as a background colour. Solids only quilts have a distinct modern feel to it that is often combined with a graphic design element. I find it easy to use solids but know other quilters find it rather difficult due to their intensity. So I hope the giveaway that will be on my blog later in the week will inspire another quilter to become a convert for solids only quilts!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A new shopper for me

I almost never use plastic bags for grocery shopping. We never did at home and although Mum and Dad have a bakery and we do give out plastic bags in the shop if customers ask for, we just never use them ourselves. So this is something that comes natural to me.

But cotton bags do eventually wear out and I was in need of a new one. The other day at the Village Haberdashery I spotted this wonderful cotton twill and I knew I wanted to make this bag with it. No other, just this simple number and oh boy am I happy with it.

The bag uses vintage linen that I have from my grandmother and I used the twill not just as a handle but also as decorative straps around it. This does make sewing a little tough but I used my trusted walking foot throughout and that made the process quite easy.

The handles are 17 in long which is perfect to carry the tote in your hands or on your shoulders. It's got boxed corner of course and is lined with 'Annali' from Dashwood studios.