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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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Non-secret sewing! Something for me (or rather, the cat…)

Hurrah! I’ve found something else I can show you which isn’t top secret!

Firstly, a little update on the chickens. The line-up has changed somewhat over recent months, we lost Priscilla (to a tumour) and Betty (fox) within a few weeks of another, which was really upsetting (softie over here shed a few tears…) and meant we were down to just two. It probably would have stayed that way – they were confined to their coop much more often due to fox-paranoia, and I didn’t want to cram more in and overcrowd them. However, a couple of weeks later my neighbour knocked on the door – “I can’t keep my hens anymore. I’ve found a home for two, please will you take the last one?”. Not being someone who could say no to a lonely, single hen in need, I took her in and Joan became the newest member of our family. Just a few days later the neighbour was at my door again with another chicken under her arm, saying the other person only took one, and just like that I was back up to four! Audrey, Myrtle, Joan and Beatrix.

Staying true to my plans of not overcrowding the ladies, we set about building them a new, larger run. Hubby indulged my mad idea of upcycling an old greenhouse, and thanks to friend’s dad donating one for free, we had a new weekend project. It took about 5 hours just to disassemble the bloody thing, and the whole project took about 3 weekends in the end, but I’m pleased to say my mad idea paid off and their new run is much larger, half of which is covered, and makes a lovely feature in the garden. Now I don’t feel so guilty if I can’t let them out to free range, and don’t have to panic when I see a fox in the garden (which is very regularly at the moment). Shout out to Jubilique and Louise who custom made the amazing sign which makes me chuckle every morning.

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Right, back to quilts!

It might surprise you to hear that in the years I have been quilting, I have never made a quilt for myself! Everything I make is commission based or goes into my Etsy or Not on the Highstreet shops. Although we had a guestbook quilt at the wedding – blocks for this are still (a year later!) in the hands of friends and family who didn’t sign it on the night (you know who you are!), so this remains a UFO/WIP for the foreseeable future. Actually, I started making the blocks for this so long ago that we’ve since changed the whole colour scheme of the house and it will no longer match anyway. Of course I’ll still finish it for sentimental reasons. Someday.

Earlier in the year we repainted our bedroom and I wanted to make something for the bed to bring in a splash of colour and cosiness. I had been hoarding quite a few of my favourite prints for a while, and back in June I had a spare couple of days before jetting off on holiday, and decided just to bash them all together into a super-quick (I literally pieced, quilted and bound this in a day and a half!) large-block quilt. Indigo and grey are my two colour obsessions so most of my favourite prints already coordinated, and thanks to a little bit of orange in our bed linen, I threw in some of that too for an extra pop of colour. There are a lot of Carolyn Friedlander prints in here, as well as Karen Lewis, some Cotton+Steel, Liberty and some random ikat and floral prints, to name just a few. A hodge podge of everything really. It’s not going to win any awards, but I am completely and utterly in love with it. Sometimes simple and easy is the best.

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Of course it never made it’s way onto the bed. After snuggling with it on the sofa one night, Kira claimed it as her own, and now it is rarely seen without a stripy cat atop it – she was quite put out to find it in the garden for photography so I couldn’t possibly move it up to the bedroom which is Norton’s territory (our cats are not buddies). At least my living room is indigo and grey too so it looks just fine there. And now I have an excuse to make us another!Collage3Collage4

Funny detail – I did a bit of a slap-dash job of basting this quilt and so the selvedge of the backing fabric made it through. Considered appliquéing over it, but I’m actually really amused by the irony of the ‘made by Ikea’ label on the back of my lovingly handcrafted item…!

L x

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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#ukminiswap – UK Mini Swap 2015

Just before Christmas I signed up for my first ever mini swap. I’d been thinking of joining one for a while and this one caught my eye as it was UK based. For those who don’t know, in a mini swap you are assigned a partner at random, and have to make a quilt especially for them, and in turn a secret-somebody will make one especially for you. A little like a handmade secret-Santa. It is a great way to connect with other people as you are encouraged to post progress on social media, (with the hope your partner unwittingly comments or ‘likes’ your post), and spy on others to guess which quilt may be coming your way.

I had so much fun being a part of this mini swap. It was great to challenge myself and try something new and enjoy sewing for the hobby (as opposed to for my business). What I love about the quilting community is that everyone is so encouraging – there is no sense of competition, all abilities are welcome so anyone can have a go, the diversity of ideas and skills is inspiring and everyone joins in chatting and commenting on each other’s work and offering advice or opinions when appropriate. I joined Instagram just before the UK Mini Swap and I’ve really taken to it over any other social media as people have been so welcoming and engaging there. You don’t just feel like you’re talking to yourself as I sometimes do on Twitter or on here, and you really do feel like you’re making virtual friends.

I was assigned to make a quilt for Mel, and now that she has received her package I can tell you all about it…

Firstly, my brief:

“Not fussy and I’m sure I will love anything you make for me! Up for the surprise!

I like modern quilts. I love bright colours…pinks, yellows, oranges, turquoise and my new favourite colour with bright colours is grey!

Favourite designers include Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Cotton & Steel, Liberty prints. Totally blown away by paper piecing @alexouq on Instagram is amazing!

I am happy with any shapes really, love stars.”

She also posted an inspiration board, which looked like this:

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I decided right away that I would do some sort of star shape inspired by the cogs from Alex Lunz’s (@alexouq) La Passacaglia quilt (top left), and that I would try to include the fussy cutting Mel liked so much. Not thinking I’d have the time to do an actual EPP La Passacaglia cog (sorry non-quilters for all the jargon!), I decided to make something with my current favourite technique – foundation paper piecing. I raided my stash for some Anna Maria Horner & Cotton + Steel prints in Mel’s favourite colours, and threw in some Denyse Schmidt and solid prints for good measure.

This was the result:3

The pattern is a New York Beauty block by PatternBrat on Etsy. It was so fun to make, working on sections in between other projects and obligation sewing. I’ve gotta tell you though, trying to fussy-cut fabrics and line them up perfectly using FPP was a total ball-ache! My un-picker and I became close friends and it was really fiddly to get right. I can see all the imperfections still, but I’m pretty pleased overall. I think the peeping lions and little bunny vignettes were worth a few red faces and bad language!

Quilting it was also a challenge as there are some really bulky needle-breaking seams in a design like this. I decided to keep it simple outlining a few bits with straight-line quilting and then free-motion quilting the background.

Kira took a liking to it, as she does most quilts, and I felt a little guilty prizing it out of her paws (especially as I found it quite hard to let go of too!)

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A handful of extra goodies including some hexagon paper pieces with some fabric scraps (so Mel can do her own EPP), some chocolate as she has a little boy, nail files and some notecards fit for a fellow cat-lover and my package was complete. I do hope Mel enjoys her mini as much as I did making it.

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With a knock at the door this morning, my own special package arrived. A big box filled with beautifully tissue-wrapped goodies in sugary-sweet colours – it honestly felt like my birthday had arrived and I may have made a few squeaks of excitement. Who doesn’t love receiving gifts jus’coz?!

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Turns out my swap partner was the lovely Kathleen, aka @mrs_clackers. She had sent a lovely card, and as she hadn’t revealed too much on Instagram I had no idea what to expect. I had sent her a really waffley brief, talking about all sorts of unrelated stuff in the ‘about me’ section and probably boring the pants of her (yep, I talk too much. Wouldn’t surprise me if y’all are just scrolling through the pictures right now…). So I carefully unwrapped it and hubby heard from the next room…

” OH MY GOD IT’S LOVELY!”

And it really, really is.

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Kathleen, has made something truly unique and personal to me. Some regular readers (and those who know me in the real world) will know that I made 1000 origami cranes for our wedding last summer. The ceremony was held in a Japanese inspired courtyard and we planted a tree to commemorate the occasion. I am touched that Kathleen incorporated all of this into a mini quilt for me, and the result is stunning. It really is better than I could have imagined and is something very special that I will treasure forever.

Also a happy coincidence, is that the cherry blossom tree in our garden is currently flowering, which made for a perfect photo-styling opportunity. kmini2kmini3kmini4

Don’t you just love the detail in her blossoms and the Katy Jones fabric she’s used for the tree? it’s perfect.

And in case I haven’t gushed enough about my parcel, here are some pics of the thoughtful little extras she sent me too. A gorgeous notebook (I LOVE elephants, I can’t even remember if I told her that or not), soap that looks and smells good enough to eat, and some fudge which the hubster has already made off with – “oh these must be for me?”. Amazing to be on the receiving end of such kindness from a ‘stranger’. Kathleen, I can’t thank you enough and hope something just as lovely is headed your way.

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Special thanks to Nina, aka @bossyoz for organising the swap, and to Alison, aka @patchworkalley who was a fab swap mama for our group. I definitely recommend a mini swap for anyone thinking about it – I’m already looking forward to joining another 🙂 xxx

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

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A few finished quilts!

If I’ve not already mentioned it, I’ve been busy really quite busy so far this year…actually I can’t quite believe we’re already a third of the way through it. I may have been quiet on here but at least I have a lot to show for my absence and the winter months which have mercifully come to and end.

I was gifted a huge stack of fabrics from my sister in law for Christmas (I know, what a lucky duck…) which helped immensely with my no-buying-fabrics New Year’s resolution (I have of course, since fell off the wagon numerous times, but I made it as far as March without spending unnecessarily!). One was a bundle of Tula Pink’s Saltwater…Tula Collage

…which, with an injection of linens from my stash, became a cute little boy-friendly baby quilt named ‘Wave Upon Wave Upon Wave’, available in my shop here.waveCollage

And another was a stack of Patty Sloniger’s Les Amis…amis Collage

…which I turned into this leafy medallion quilt named ‘Shenandoah’, also available for purchase in my shop. It’s fast become one of my favourite little-girl quilts so far, so I hope it find a new home soon.shenandoahCollage

Since then, it’s been all about the custom orders. Apparently it has been baby girl season as there has been a constant stream of pink round these parts. Here are just a couple of the recent commissions which have ended up in London and Texas, USA (I’m gradually collecting the US states but Texas seems to be keeping me in business with 5 quilts sent there so far. Missouri is in close second with 4…). I also sent a custom cat quilt to Canada and another to Portugal, so it’s been quite an international month or two!bente Collagekimcollage2

Finally, as a welcome break from all the pinks, was this vibrant yellow, black and white quilt for a little chap named Joseph. It’s so fun having the opportunity to work with different colours so I was thrilled when Joseph’s grandma asked for something a little different from the norm. This was a really easy, quick and enjoyable make, and I hope it will soon reach it’s new home in Utah (my 16th US state! Only 34 to go then…) making Collage joCollageThat’s not even it, I’m too embarrassed to show you how many WIPs I started amongst all this – but I’ll tell you it includes a couple of cushions for myself, several (!) baby quilts for the shop, and a mini for a swap :-/

If you like seeing in progress pictures, and for some more insight into what I’ve been up to, please check me out on Instagram – @lauradimplestitch

L xx

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Love Patchwork & Quilting Contributions – Catch up Part 2

I’m bloody useless at this blogging thing. It’s been another 8 weeks or so and now I have even more to show you and even less time to catch you all up on it! Instagram is my social media outlet of choice these days as it’s so quick and so much more interactive. Please follow me if you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to more regularly, I promise there aren’t too many cat-photos…. @lauradimplestitch.

Right where to start…?!

Well, I was featured in another two issues of Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine! But these were so long ago now that you can no longer buy them in the shops (boo!), however they are still available for download in their new app (yay!) here. Issues 16 and 18 were stellar as per usual, and my little contribution was a desk-tidy pin cushion and thread catcher in Issue 16 (holy cow it’s handy! I don’t know how I got by without it previously) and a groovy mid-century inspired table runner and matching wall hanging in issue 18, which may or may not have subconsciously led me to buy a mid-century sideboard and sofa for my home…! (shout out to the amazing Village Haberdashery for hooking me up with the fabrics for this project, I was in the shop for a good hour trying to choose colours – Thanks for your help Annie!)lpq1 lpq2 lpq3 lpq4 lpq5 lpq6 lpq7 lpq8

More recently, (yes you can still actually buy this one…) my Scrappy Diamonds tutorial was featured in the ‘Weekend Quilting’ bookazine also from the LP&Q team. This really is a feast for the eyes with a whole bunch of tutorials from the last 20-ish issues. Like their magazines, there are projects for all experience levels so do take a look if you’re in need of some inspiration. I had a lovely message from a lady last week saying she had actually made my quilt from this issue, that really made my day!  If there are any more of you out there I’d love to see what you make!

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That brings up up to date with press features. Stay tuned for some finished quilts! L x

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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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One for him and one for her – Patchwork cushions

I promised you pictures of a finished project this week and here it is…

This little cushion will be soon be sent off to its new home in a little baby boy’s nursery. I was given the brief that it should coordinate with a muted and neutral nursery, with little pops of red, blue, yellow and green. And foxes, lots of foxes. Because you can never have too many, can you? I am also sewing a quilt in matching fabrics for the crib, which is equally as adorable and I can’t wait to show you that as well. DSC_0374vik CollageThe hens fancied doing a spot of modelling for this one! Betty got in there, but what you can’t see is the other three swarming around the chair like sharks. They assume that whenever I’m in the garden they will benefit in the way of snacks if they stay close enough.

While I was jipping around the garden with my camera I took a moment to take a couple of pictures of my petal applique cushion featured in this month’s issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine (you’ve still got a week to get your paws on this issue if you’ve not had a chance yet). While my styling isn’t as beautiful as theirs, I now have some good shots that I can use when I list it in my Etsy shop. Keep an eye out folks, it will be up in the next couple of days.

DSC_0396petal CollageWill be a little sad to see both of these go, but if I kept everything I made my home would be ridiculous! Which is your favourite? L x

 

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Too many beautiful fabrics

Happy Monday everybody!

I hope your week has gotten off to a good start? Shame it’s a gloomy day 😦 Now the sun is slowly disappearing, it’s getting colder and the nights are soon going to be drawing in, perhaps you need a quilt to add a splash of colour to your home? You can never have too many soft furnishings!

Today I wanted to talk a little about choosing and buying fabrics from online shops as it is something I seriously struggle with. This is mainly because there are so many gorgeous prints out there and so many brilliant fabric shops that I find it to be a very overwhelming (although mostly fun) task! It takes me hours to browse through all the choices, compare different patterns, attempt to match colours, compare prices on different shops etc etc that sometimes I even give up empty-handed as I’m afraid to make the wrong decision, or buy too many! There are just too many lovely fabrics. Sometimes if I do finally make my decision and place an order, when the fabrics arrive they aren’t as I expected and not always a good match with one another. Fabric doesn’t always photograph well and colours look different on all computer screens, so sometimes it is hard to tell how a fabric will look in the flesh.

So, how do you make the right decision? Tree Fall Designs have an interesting post about how to build up a collection of fabrics and here are a couple of my tips that I can pass on from my most recent (and successful) shopping experience:

  • Try to have the product in mind so you can focus your search. Is it for a baby girl? A teenage boy? A pet? Is it a large lap quilt or small cushion? Do you want to create something modern and abstract or much more traditional? Do you have a central colour you want to use? I find if I am browsing with no starting point, there are too many fabrics that jump out at me and I end up with a cart full of higgledy-piggledy un-matching fabrics, and a dilemma in choosing which direction to go in.
  • Buy from fabric collections. If you are concerned about matching colours using thumbnails on a computer screen, there are hundreds of designer fabric collections available which have been designed specifically to compliment each other. Sometimes you can buy these in pre-cut bundles which is a great starting point for a new project.
  • When I am choosing fabric for a quilt, I try to get an even mix of light, medium and dark coloured fabrics, and also an even combination of small and large prints, or a mix of patterned and solid fabrics. This creates visual interest and texture.
  • Design your own! I eventually hope to design my own fabrics so that my quilts really are completely unique to me and one of a kind. There are plenty of places to go for this but Spoonflower seems to be one of the most popular and accessible.

So, after several hours of fabric shopping this morning here is what I settled on for my next three projects:

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one, two + three = Warm and wintery plaid. A mixed bag off tartan ‘oddments’ from Scotweb Tartan Mill. These are going to make a lovely festive and snuggly ‘hunting lodge’ style lap quilt for the winter. I can picture it on an armchair by the fire already.

four, five + six = Fresh Scandi style. Lotta Jansdotter’s ‘Bella’ range in the blue, teal and citrus colourways. I love all of her ranges as they are very clean and graphicy, but this new one is particularly fun and I like that it is gender neutral too. Have a read of her interesting blog post about developing the Bella range – I love that she doesn’t use a computer!

seven, eight + nine = Pretty, nature-inspired whimsical prints. Tula Pink’s ‘Birds and the Bees’ range in ‘Creek and ‘Wasp’ colourways. The colours and patterns of the prints are quite similar to some of the patterns that inspired me in the Drusilla Cole book I blogged about recently, so I was drawn to this collection as soon as I saw it. Also, anything with animals on catches my eye, so as soon as I saw the squirrels I was sold! I’m not yet settled on a design for this quilt, but I have a few ideas that I’m looking forward to developing.

I can’t wait for them to arrive! My next dilemma will be which quilt to start on first!

Which are you most drawn to?

L xx

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September 10, 2012 · 5:24 pm