Wednesday, 19 August 2015


Such A Clever Bunch

Regular readers will know that once a month a group of my gal pals and I meet up in the Surrey Hills for a good old stitch and bitch, this Saturday was the day and where we haven't all been together as a whole for a while, there was a whole lot of bitchin to catch up on.....don't worry there was a lot of stitchin as well.

I don't think I say often enough how inspiring I find these five, amazing ladies I am lucky to call my friends, the things they create and come up with honestly are beautiful. It always amazes me how very different we are, our tastes in fabric and patterns vary quite dramatically at times, yet there are things we are very much united in....a strong dislike for needle turn applique and a great love of cake!

This month once again we were all working on a variety of totally different projects, some of which I have now added to my quilty bucket list and some I will totally pass on but can appreciate the great work that has gone into it. 

First up Val and her Christmas Quilt,

Predominantly Log Cabin based this is a quilt kit Val picked up from Patchwork Cabin in Great Bookham, it was originally put together as a Block of the Month but can now be bought as a pattern or a kit. The pictures don't do it enough justice, it really is something to look at, the corners meet up perfectly and those little houses are just divine!!

Adorned with a variety of seasonal objects such as holly leaves and a giant Christmas trees, applique also forms a big part of this quilt. It looks like a good project if you want to try out a range of new techniques, or perfect them if you already have some experience there.

Next up Caroline and a whole lot of crazy, tiny squares, even tinier than mine so even though I may have rubbed off on her a little bit, she's crazier than me!!

The cause of these tiny squares is a Hoffman Bali Pop and a style of quilting called Bargello, the nature of it being focused on colour placement, very accurate cutting and matching of seams.

Caroline decided this wasn't enough of a challenge, so she is doing it all half size, which means her squares are only 1 inch in size!! I just can not wait to see how this will turn out. 

Kerry Q started out the day making some cushions for her lovely new house, out of this divine Art Gallery fabric we found last year at Festival, a simple quilted square with a concealed zip

And she finished the day on this darling little quilt called Robot Riot which she picked up from Creative Quilting, again last year at Festival if memory serves...

Aren't they so cute?? There are kits available but Kerry has chosen to use up existing fabrics she already has and added in some fat quarters in modern prints/colours to tie it altogether. The quilt itself is very versatile and can be put together in a variety of ways, but fundamentally it is an applique based quilt. 

Carrie was busy working on a quilt for her son, who has now got into Uni and will be going in a few weeks, so now she really has to get a wriggle on!! It is a very simple square design but the modern fabrics and colour way really bring the whole thing to life.

Sue's life has totally been taken over by Foundation Piecing, not that I blame her, it is a totally amazing way to generate beautiful patterns and designs!! This weeks adventures came out of Jen Kingwell's new book Quilt Lovely and is called Wheel of Fortune

Using Road Fifteen by Sweet Water, she's also been making these funky circles, totally can not pick my favourite colour way, I just love them all

I wasn't totally idol either, I cut out all the bits I needed to make a Mariners Compass (maybe my most fav block ever!) and a few border blocks as fillers for the medallion edges to the African quilt, 

Until next time, 
Happy Quilting
Kerry xx

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


Going Square Eyed!!

I've always been one for day dreaming, usually about my wedding to David Beckham and what a glorious affair it will be, doves will be released, rainbows will appear across the sky, everyone will burst into harmonious song complete with synchronised dance routines Ala Glee..... I'm doing it again! On quiet days at work I am at my worst, day dreaming and doodling, a very fatal combination for me at the best of times but on this particular day, it was all my friend Jane's fault. She came sauntering up to me with this lovely smile, clutching a book and said "I know you quilt and sew and such, but do you cross stitch?" and that friends is how my downfall began.

The answer is no, I do not cross stitch, but nevertheless the book was left with me, "to have a flick through, if you so wish" still with the lovely smile and encouraging eyes I would just like to add and after a short while of the book sitting on the counter looking at me, I thought well no harm ever came from flicking through a book...or did it?? All the designs were very small (obviously not being to scale), set out in a variety of themes - Floral, Christmas, Lettering you get the idea, but somewhere in the mix my eyes fell upon this rather lovely star/snowflake type design. It caught my eye, I thought it was nice, I finished flicking and put the book down. But it called to me that blessed little star, like a moth to a flame, so I had another look, a longer look and I started to think....never a good idea! Cross stitch is nothing more than a lot of squares cleverly placed to make some rather nice designs, a bit like patchwork? Yes exactly like patchwork! I worked out that I would need about 2025 squares and to make it a worthwhile size they would need to be 1 1/2 inches in size, well  that is thoroughly ridiculous and life is far to short, or is it? Above you can see those 2025 squares!!

I started to sew them together in little sections, not really sure how I was going to go about putting this beast together, but slowly it grew, 

and grew, 

and grew, it was starting to take shape and the design of it was really quite striking, but sewing in long rows (49 squares across) was very tricky I kept missing them off or putting reds where creams needed to be and had to unpick an awful lot!! So new plan, sew in chunks!!

This was a far better way of doing things, much easier to manage and far less unpicking was needed, which encouraged me and spurred me on more, because I will admit that I had thought about giving up and actually did for about a week. But the blessed little star just kept calling to me!! And eventually it started to grow, 


2025 squares turned into this rather beautiful 49 x 49 inch square, that upon reflection, some breathing space, a few swear words and a whole lot of unpicking, I am very, very proud of.  I looked into the design some more as well and it turns out that it was based on an old Colonial design called The African Star rather appropriate for a project I am already working on wouldn't you say? 

I had at the back of my mind thought that maybe I would make Africa Down Under a Medallion style quilt, having not yet attempted one but finding them hugely interesting, so this will now form the centre of my now Medallion style quilt idea and we will see what happens. If you have made one or have any tips/ideas for making one I would love to hear all about it.

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx

P.S In case you were wondering, I decided to hang on to Jane.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


One Day Just Isn't Enough

This week, as I am sure many of you know, was The Festival of Quilts up (or down depending where you are coming from)in Birmingham, it is my quilting highlight of the year, the one I save all my pennies for, the one I get huge amounts of inspiration from, the one I get back ache and bruises from, and this year was no different. I always find it incredible to see the wide variety of people that come to this event, literally every age group, race, both men and women, it is amazing to me how so many different people from all walks of life can be drawn together by bits of colourful fabric stitched together in some truly breath taking patterns and designs.

We set off at 6:30am, had one petrol pit stop and arrived promptly at 9am, this allowed enough time to sit down, have a sausage sarnie and hot chocolate whilst planning our route of attack via the trusty show guide. First stop was Quiltmania, to purchase the rather lovely premiere issue of Simply Moderne. The first 100 customers bagged themselves a free gift, a rather lovely set of Aurofil threads put together by the super talented Victoria Findlay Wolfe, so obviously Kerry Q and I made a mad dash straight over there. An extra bonus is that inside is a detailed spread of where to go for your quilty needs when in New York....I'll be there in 10 weeks time, it's like they knew!! Our next stop is always the wonderfully colourful Alice Caroline, for all our Liberty needs, and yes we need them!! Her infamous £1 a piece scrap baskets are always full of treasures and this year was no different.

We then zig-zag around all our other favourite places - The Cotton Patch, Lady Sew and Sew, Kaleidoscope, picking up a huge variety of delicious fabrics and a few sought after books/patterns before moving on to ogling the hundreds of beautiful quilts on display. Every year I am amazed by the talented people there are in this world, and the breath taking things they can create from such little pieces of fabric, rows and rows of stitching and just pure imagination. I think it's best if I just let the pictures do the talking....

I came away feeling a few things on Thursday, firstly in awe of these master pieces and the people who created them, secondly a little bit intimidated by their talent but hopeful that maybe one day with a lot of practise I might be half as good and thirdly very inspired with lots and lots of ideas for projects I want to create and make. It really is such a fab day out, there is something for everyone and even non-quilters come away feeling like maybe they should learn to sew. There are many great places to go and try out beginners quilting classes or less specific general sewing classes, many of them can be done online via websites such as Craftsy, but there are also a huge amount of free video tutorials on websites such as Youtube. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't sew, it has opened up my life to a whole creative world that has saved me from some very dark times and helped me to make some wonderful life long friends.

If you have been to the show, I'd love to hear about what you found inspiring and see all the lovely things you will make me feel less bad about all my spends!!

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx

Sunday, 2 August 2015


Savage Beauty

Unless you live under a rock, you will know that there has been a huge retrospective exhibition of Alexander McQueen's work on at the V&A, what you may not have known however is that today was the closing day so if you haven't been, I'm afraid that's it. Thankfully I managed to sneak my way in (legally) on Friday with two of my fabulous friends - you know who you are!! What a treat it was, having frequented the museum on several occasions and seen a couple of previous exhibitions on McQueen, I can honestly say that this was by far the best thing I have ever seen.

My poor feet may never forgive me, we were in there for 3 hours and I'm still fairly sure I missed things. The exhibit itself spanned his entire career, starting with the 1992 graduate collection from his MA at St Martins all the way through to his final collection Pluto's Atlantis for Spring/Summer 2010. I have had many favourite McQueen's over the years but I have to say that his final collection was by far my absolute best!! From a fashion point of view, a design point of view and just all round beautifulness. 

And now it's even worse because I look at things (and by things I mean everything!) from a quilting point of view, like those dresses above they would make such a gorgeous, kaleidoscope, English Paper Pieced style quilt and the more I look at it so would this wallpaper......

This was the wallpaper in one of the rooms at McQueen, it really was a feast for the eyes, so many shapes that could be worked into the most wonderful of designs. Lately that is the eye I seem to have been using the most, my design eye, I have a few things in the pipeline that I am very excited this space, I will share them with you as soon as I am able. 

I would like to leave you with this image.......

I will explain in much more detail, I just have a few more kinks to iron out and a few more of the 2025 squares to sew together and then all will be revealed.
Have a great week, for those of you that will be joining me at Festival - whoop whoop- don't forget to write your list of must haves, mine may or may not be 2 sides of A4!!

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx