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Secret Sewing – Staycation

Hi ladies and gents,

Somehow another month has passed us by and the newest issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting has already hit the shelves.  It’s always super exciting seeing your work in print, but this month is extra special for me because my quilt is on the cover *insert shocked emoji here* ! I first got that ohmygod feeling at the Festival of Quilts last week (which was fantastic by the way) when I saw a mockup of the cover hanging next to two of my quilts (yeah, that was pretty cool!) , but it really was a pinch-me moment when I held the actual printed magazine in my hands. I have been singing Dr Hook ever since, as Love Patchwork & Quilting is my equivalent of Rolling Stone – I’m totally feeling like a rockstar right now!

Now that the secret is out I can show you the finished quilt, for which you’ll find the instructions to make one of your own on Page 14 of Issue 25. This issue is all about enjoying your summer at home, and my ‘Staycation’ quilt was designed with Amy Butler‘s ‘Violette’ range, which gives it that real tropical holiday vibe. You can buy this gorgeous fabric as a kit from the brilliant Cotton Patch, which includes everything you need to make the quilt top and binding.

Collage3Collage4No, jeans were not a good choice for today…12Collage5My favourite project from this issue is Jo Avery‘s adorable ‘Homebody’ quilt. It’s so vibrant in these Denyse Schmidt prints and I love that each house has a personality of its own.21And how could I not be drawn to Fiona Hesford‘s scrappy cat softie on the cover! A few children I know may well be getting these for Christmas. Did I just say the C-word? *shiver*Collage61With a forecast of 30 degrees tomorrow, you’ll find me here on my quilt, enjoying a book in the sunshine (and maybe definitely a cheeky cocktail) pretending I’m on a beach in the Caribbean. Have a lovely weekend y’all! xx

For more regular updates, follow me on Instagram – @lauradimplestitch

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Secret Sewing

In my head, it had been about six weeks since I wrote a blog post, so I was horrified to see it’s been double that! My blogging has really slowed down this last year, partly out of being busy with other things, but also because a lot of what I’ve been working on has been top secret!

Finally, I can reveal one of these hush-hush projects which I made way back in April now ,for this month’s Love Patchwork & Quilting mag. LP&Q have teamed up with The Cotton Patch to launch The Cotton Club, a new monthly pattern with a fabric kit you can buy to make the quilt yourself. It’s a fab idea and I was thrilled to be asked to design this bright quilt featuring hot and spicy Kaffe Fassett prints. It never gets old seeing your work in print alongside so many other brilliant quilters, so I was full of beans when my contributor’s copy landed on my door mat this morning.

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I used my favourite ever text print for the back, and now I almost love the back more than the front! I love how these fabrics play together. Need to panic-buy some more of this Carolyn Friedlander print. I can’t get enough of it…kfCollage2kf Collage3

Norton especially loves how they’ve styled my quilt for the mag, and can’t wait to get it back so he can roll all over the real thing. First though, it’s taking a trip to Birmingham for the Festival of Quilts next weekend, so if you plan on going, stop by the LP&Q stall for a good look 🙂 See you there! L xx

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For more regular updates, follow me on Instagram – @lauradimplestitch

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The one where she actually blogs! Catch up – Part 1

Well, I’m not sure if anyone is still here (I don’t even have an excuse for my absence – I guess I lost my blogging mojo in recent months. I’m not sure it’s fully back but we’ll see how it goes), but I thought we were well overdue a little catch up!

So, Happy New Year and all that! Seems daft saying it now as we’re well into February and the holiday season is but a distant memory, but it would be rude not to acknowledge it. I hope everyone has had a great start to the year. Ours has been mixed – as owners of an old Victorian house, winter brings with it all kinds of problems and this year has been especially problematic. Leaking pipes just before Christmas meant taking apart half our kitchen and only having running water for about 1hr a day for a couple weeks while we waited for insurance companies and plumbers to get back to work. There were also guttering problems (which was fixed twice, due to decent tradesmen being like unicorns) and now a wall needs repointing as there are huge holes in the brickwork causing mould in the bathroom. Joy of joys. On top of this our big softy, Norton, has developed cystitis as a recurring problem and I think we have an interloping cat which is stressing him out, so we’ve had several trips to the vet and lots of moping from him. Poor chap.

In better news, we hit the January sales in true married-couple fashion, and treated ourselves to a luffly new sofa. This inspired us to redecorate the living room – knocking out a broken window-seat in the bay window that had been there since we moved in and taking the plunge and painting one of the walls a dark charcoal blue. It looks great and has really opened up the space and given it a new lease of life, which needs to be done every once in a while.

A happy coincidence is that the sofa also makes a great backdrop for my products and so I’ve spent the last couple of weeks re-photographing my current stock, to freshen up my Etsy store front.

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And of course I’ve been busy sewing. Pet quilts have proved popular since Christmas and my Notonthehighstreet.com shop is keeping me busy and I have a couple of custom orders on the books through Etsy too. Between all this, I’ve managed to squeeze in a few new products which are all currently available on Etsy.

Safari Moon

This was a work in progress that I started a LONG time ago (see original blog posts about it here and here), and at some point it got tidied away in a box and forgotten about for several months. It was so close to being finished that I was surprised I hadn’t done so months ago as it’s actually become a favourite of mine. I’ve been a huge fan of Frances Newcombe’s Safari Moon range from the start, and that love for the colours, the zebras and the traditional inspired prints has not faded. The finished project is a cute little baby quilt, which I think could work for both little girls and little boys.

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Winter Birds

This quilt was born out of me wanting to put together a quick project between obligation sewing. I had a stack of grey-blue and low-volume linen prints that I had wanted to use for some time, but felt it needed something else. A little injection of red from my stash and this quilt practically made itself. More traditional than many of my quilts, but they say variety is the spice of life. Another boy-friendly, but also gender-neutral quilt available for sale now.

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Southern Point

This mini quilt is a recent finish. As part of my New Year’s sewing resolution, I’m trying to use up as much of what I already have in my stash before buying new fabric (which is both torture and a great challenge at the same time!). I wanted to design something with just a couple of colours so I turned to Pinterest to find inspiration for a colour palette and then pulled these four fabrics from my stash. Foundation paper piecing is my latest obsession so I drew up a quick design on the computer and completed the whole thing in a day. It’s been a long time since I designed, cut, pieced, quilted and bound (by hand, no less!) all in one sitting but it felt great and I’m so pleased with the result. I’d like to make a lot more in this style.point1Collage4There is still a lot more to show and tell, so stayed tuned for part 2. In the meantime you can buy any of these quilts here, and if you’d like to see what I’m up to more regularly, find me on Instagram with the handle @lauradimplestitch . L xxx

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Mustard and mint, a yummy combo

Phew, we’ve survived Halloween (almost, still have a party to attend this evening but I’m being a grump and not wearing a costume…).

I’m excited to share with you today my second baby quilt finish of the week. As previously mentioned, I’d been collecting these fabrics for some time, originally planning to make a Grey Abbey quilt but slowly adding and swapping out more and more fabrics from other collections until I think there were only 3 Grey Abbey prints remaining. Mustard is a pretty common colour in my wardrobe, and I was really pleased to see it popping up in fabric trends this spring and summer. It’s such a diverse colour which goes great with navy or brown, corals and peaches, and as in this quilt, mint and grey. I love these colours so much, I’ve already started using some of the scraps in a new lap quilt!

I didn’t take any pictures during the making of this quilt. I was totally in the zone and the quilt came together so quickly that it practically made itself. The patchwork was pretty straightforward, and then I quilted in it straight lines, 1″ apart, and bound it to finish with a cute blush Flurry print. I’ve lost count how many hours of sewing I’ve racked up this week but I’ve enjoyed making something without a deadline. The finished quilt will be available in the shop later this weekend – as you’ll see, Kira’s taken quite a shine to it though, so hopefully someone will snap it up before she claims it for herself…Collage1 DSC_0883 Collage2DSC_0916DSC_0927

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Friday Fright-night Finish

Happy Halloween guys! I must admit I am not a big fan of this holiday – I loathe fancy dress and am just a wee bit terrified of the gangs of kids that come knocking on our door (I’ve had a bad experience in the past!), many of which don’t even bother with costumes and just stand there with their hands out expecting free sweets. What I can get on board with, though, is this gorgeous autumn weather we’ve been having and I love that it’s November tomorrow and still relatively warm. I think I’m getting over my sadness at summer ending.

This week I’ve finished not one, but FIVE projects. I KNOW! Three of them are just diddy but I’m still really pleased to have them ticked off my list and be on top of my work schedule again. The quilt I’m going to share with you today is perfectly seasonal – warm browns, golds and greys, woodland themed fabrics and snuggle-central make this a very autumnal quilt. I must admit that if this didn’t have a little boy’s name on it, I would have found this one hard to give up.

Clamshell quilts are among my favourites. When one of my all time favourite quilts, ‘Octopus’s Garden’ was sold this summer I did feel a little sad to see it go. So, I was over the moon when my customer chose this design from the 6 different ones I sent her. One of these days I’ll make my own clamshell quilt.Collage1 Collage2 Collage3I’m still obsessing over the little touches of metallic gold in the deer print, and the little toadstools on the back are to die for. Doesn’t it make you want the weather to get colder?! I’ve named this quilt ‘Far From Any Road’ after the Handsome Family song (one for all the True Detective fans out there!). I hope little Theodore enjoys his birthday present 🙂

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It’s all in the details part 2 – Personal

Here’s the second post of handmade details from our summer wedding. Last one, I promise, and I’ll resume usual quilt-business soon!

First up, table decor, menus and (hundreds of pictures of) flowers…

For our menus, I spray painted embroidery hoops gold, and then printed the text onto grey linen fabric. It took a few goes to get this right, I had to attach the fabric to A4 paper to run it through the printer, and there were a few casualties to printer jams and smeared ink, but once I got the hang of it they came together really nicely. They were supposed to have a grey stripy ribbon (the one from the invitations) around the top, but I typically couldn’t find the ribbon, and after hunting for it at 1.30am the night before we were leaving for the venue, I decided we’d have to go without. It made it onto just one, but I think they still looked cute.

0377Since day one, I’d decided to do my own flowers. Largely as a cost saving exercise, but also because I wanted a loose, freshly picked and casual look. Over the year leading up to the wedding we collected a ton of jars to use as flower vases. A LOT of curry/pasta sauce/jam etc was consumed let me tell you! With the help of my bridesmaids, we decorated each one with bits of ribbon, lace and twine to pretty them up a little.

I ordered the flowers from a local wholesaler. I had sent them inspiration pictures with loose guidelines of what I wanted, and they came back with a list of flowers that would be in season and fit within my specified budget. I was very flexible about the colours and flower types, I just asked for mostly white with some shades of pale blush pink and peach, with lots of greenery and I was really pleased with what turned up the day before the wedding. With the help of my mum, my bridesmaid, auntie and even our photographer Julie, we started to make little arrangements in each of the jars, each doing our own thing to create a varied and eclectic mix, with no two jars the same. It was really relaxing and therapeutic, and a lovely way to spend the day before my wedding. The tables were finished off with linen runners, and a sprinkling of little carved birch hearts.

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Collage80354Collage7 0346I also made my own bouquet, which I did totally on a whim pulling random flowers from the selection until I was happy. I hand tied it with some lace ribbon, and my late grandad’s ring, as my something borrowed and blue 🙂

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OK, so, I didn’t make these myself, but I just wanted to flash our cake toppers as they were just so darn cute. These were handmade by an eBay seller and weren’t much larger than a thimble. Love.

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Which brings me to my biggest wedding DIY – 1000 origami cranes. This was an idea I fell in love with very early on, and everyone thought I was totally batshit crazy when I decided to do it. In Japanese tradition, a crane represents good health, fidelity, peace and truth. The birds also mate with one partner for life (which is believed to be 1000 years!), so are a lovely symbol for a wedding, and also happen to be very pretty. It is believed that if you make 1000 of these origami birds, you’ll be granted with a wish or even eternal good luck.

And so I set to work folding them, and it wasn’t long before I roped in my mum and hubby too. We started 9 months before the wedding, just doing a few in front of the TV every night so that we wouldn’t have a last minute panic. I guess I’m someone who likes repetition, as it’s a big part of quilting too.

I was SO pleased we did it. They looked even better than I had dreamed they would, and made a stunning centerpiece for the dining room hanging from gold-painted branches in the dome. Not bad for a total spend of about £15! I’ve kept one branch which is now hanging here at home and I’m not bored of looking at them yet.

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Finally, I of course, did some sewing! Instead of having a traditional guestbook, I wanted each guest to write a message or quote or doodle on a quilt block, for me to sew into an heirloom throw that we can snuggle under in years to come. I used scraps in browns, greens, greys and blues, in two different block designs and this was one of the handmade details I was most excited about as, believe it or not, I’ve never made a quilt for us to keep! Sadly, the message didn’t really get around about it and only a handful of people actually signed it (and some of them signed the wrong bloody side!). Not sure what to do with it now as it doesn’t really work with only a few of the blocks signed. For now it’s sitting in a box until I decide how to make the most of it. Ideas very welcome.0361Collage11 0406Well, that concludes my little self-indulgent wedding posts. Thanks for letting me share some of my other creative avenues. Quilt posts coming up…

Love, L xx

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October works in progress

September into October sees the start of my busy period as the weeks begin to escalate towards Christmas. I’ve already shown you the twin Liberty quilts I finished up, but in recent weeks I’ve also made a bright and boyish quilt for a little chap named Ben, another commission for the fabulous Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine (under wraps for now, but keep an eye out for Issue 16…), reached my 100 sales milestone thanks to a NOTHS order, started two new baby quilts, a lap quilt too and worked on projects for three graphic design clients! Phew. As you can imagine, my workspace isn’t the tidiest ever right now…

My first work-in-progress is a baby quilt for a lovely repeat client of mine. As soon as she mentioned the words ‘woodland fabrics’, I was all over this project like cat hair on a black sweater.

Toadstools, birds, foxes and the most irresistible metallic deer & tree fabric is a recipe for a happy Laura. Muted, neutral and autumnal, I can’t wait to get this clamshell quilt finished up for one very lucky little boy.

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While waiting for some of the materials to arrive for the woodland quilt, I also cut into a gorgeous stack of fabrics which I’ve been collecting for some time. There are fabrics from all sorts of summer collections here; Grey Abbey by Elizabeth Olwen, Littlest from AGF Studio, September Blue by Susan Driscoll, Cotton+Steel basics, Arizona by April Rhodes (more metallic, yay!), Mormor by Lotta Jansdotter, the list goes on. The stack has been sitting and taunting me for weeks now, and I’d been dying to take my rotary cutter to it, but not without taking some lovely photos in the autumn sunlight first, of course.

DSC_0433CollageACollageBMmmmm, mustard, mint and grey – perfection! And this, my mostest favouritest, low-volume print ever (at least for the time being….). Yes I know, I’m so predictable…

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Liberty Twins

I know I say it a lot, but my goodness I’ve been busy lately. We’ve had a lot on our plate, both good and bad, but I’ve finally found a bit of time to catch you all up on some of the bits I’ve been working on.

These quilts have been a long time coming. I was first contacted by Heather over a year ago – she was collecting Liberty fabrics for her twin girls which she wanted turned into matching wall hangings to dress their bedroom with. Finally this summer she had collected enough fabric to make them and sent everything over to me to start work. And what a lovely selection it was…Collage4Collage5While the fabrics are more traditional than I’d usually choose, it was nice to do something out of the norm. Who can resist Liberty Tana Lawn anyway; it’s simply lovely and a dream to work with. Heather was taken with this Liberty quilt pattern, so I worked out my own pattern using this as a model, to ensure the finished quilts would meet Heather’s specific size requirements. For the first time I used the traditional technique of needle-turn applique to attach the hearts. While this was a very lengthy process (about 30mins per heart, x 18!! Yeah, I’m a slow hand-sewer…) I think it was worth it for the seamless look on these traditional quilts. I also quilted them using the stitch-in-the-ditch method, which meant all stitches were hidden from view.

Collage2 Collage1The end result was two, almost identical-twin quilts, which I very much hope were worth the wait. I believe these are now hanging above the beds of two little girls, how sweet!

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Scrappy squares in squares in squares…

I’ve been a busy bee this week. It’s been the first time in a long time that I’ve had a chance to make a new quilt for the shop as I’ve been so busy with commissions. This week I was lucky enough to have a little window between custom orders and managed to bash out this bad boy.

I wanted to make something stash-busting and had a lot of fun rediscovering some prints I had tucked away that hadn’t seen the light in a while. The more the merrier was my motto for this quilt, and I was pretty nondiscriminatory in choosing prints, only avoiding anything too gender or age specific.

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Cutting all the pieces took bloody ages – 48 squares, 192 small triangles and 192 large triangles! Phew. A bit of swamp-rock on the itunes and several hours and cups of tea later, I was ready to get sewing.Collage3Trimming blocks is my least favourite part of quilt-making, and when working with triangles, trimming is pretty key. This can be the point I lose interest and go and do something else but I pushed through – good thing this quilt made such pretty off-cuts!

Collage2I changed my mind three times(!) about how to quilt this one, which meant getting pretty friendly with my unpicker. In the end I decided to keep it simple by echoing the seams, as the pattern was busy enough as it was.

So, whaddya think? I’ve named it “Break The Night With Colour” and it measures 40″ x 55″ which is a pretty universal size – you can use it as a bay quilt, child playmat/end-of-bed quilt and even a little lap quilt for your favourite armchair.

This quilt is available in my shop now, claim it before the cats do!

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Three little quilts for three little angels

In the lead up to the wedding, I was also very busy with custom orders purchased through my Etsy shop. I am very fortunate to work with some truly lovely customers and as a result can get very emotionally involved in making a special quilt. A handmade gift is such a personal thing to give and all three of these customers wanted personalisation in one form or another.

The first, was a large hexies quilt for the arrival of a baby girl named Alba Rose (a beautiful name I’d not heard before). This was designed to be a play mat and blanket and the customer asked for it to be bright with minimal white to help disguise any stains from regular use and rough and tumble. She chose the popular colourway of turquoise, reds and pinks, and the result is a bold and fun little quilt, that should withstand all kinds of rough love and baby-related mess!

Duck and Cover:

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Next up was a quilt for a far more sensitive and heartbreaking occasion. This customer’s story touched me greatly and as a result making this quilt was a very emotional experience for me. More than ever I put my heart into making this little burial quilt perfect and I only wish I could have made something for this little angel under happier circumstances. This family will be in my thoughts for a long time.

Supernova:

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Finally is my personal favourite. This was pieced using the foundation paper piecing technique which I hadn’t tried before but actually really enjoyed. I used newspaper as the foundation which worked ok but wasn’t ideal (not to mention distracting!) so I’ll use proper paper the next time I do it. This customer came to me with three different colour schemes she liked, and we narrowed it down to a simple fuchsia and grey which is a classic combo that I love. This quilt now belongs to a baby girl named Ava, whom I hope will love it as much as I do!

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