Tag Archives: quilts

#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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My busy working week

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last blogged, the days are just whizzing by at the moment! To be honest I didn’t have much time to write any posts, and it was kind of a shitty week so any posts would have quite likely turned into a pity party anyway!

DSC_0142Some quilts seem to practically make themselves. It can be a total breeze and I can pretty much zone out and let my hands do the work. Other quilts just seem to simply not want to get finished and that was the case this week! My list of works-in-progress, and to-do quilts was already at 6 (!) and then I got three personalised NOTHS orders through, and these have to be turned around very quickly and so always end up jumping the queue. Usually they are very straightforward to make, but the quilting gods were against me this week and everything was going wrong. My needles kept falling out and breaking randomly, my sewing machine tension went crazy and was looping, and then I made the mistake of trying to make binding with a throbbing headache, and cut all of the fabric straight-of-grain instead of on the bias as I totally wasn’t thinking properly and wasted the whole lot and had to order some more. The list of issues I faced is as long as my arm! There was lots of swearing and and throwing things around and generally being a grumpy so-and-so which meant I didn’t get any pictures of the finished quilts or many good in-progress ones to show you either. Needless to say, it was a relief to get these orders sent off though!

DSC_0159This weekend has been much better though. I got my hair done for the first time in over a year and a half and now I feel all light and spring-like! I’ve also managed to make a start on some blocks for the next custom baby quilt, and am really pleased with how they are coming together. Don’t those foxes make the best print? Hard to stay grumpy when working with awesome fabrics like that. Plus, sewing in the sunshine next to an open window with a sunbathing cat on the window sill is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Very glad to have my mojo back after a bad week. Hurrah! L x

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Christmas Countdown

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We are snowballing towards Christmas at a frightening rate and the countdown is officially on. It is 6 weeks away today, so it really is time to start thinking about ordering your Christmas pressies and filling those Santa sacks!

Below are a few ideas from my shop to get you started, but first here are the Royal Mail First Class postage deadlines for delivery in time for Christmas, they aren’t far off….

Asia & Far East – Wednesday 5th December

South & Central America, and Africa – Friday 7th December

USA, Canada & Eastern Europe – Monday 10th December

Europe – Wednesday 12th December

UK – Thursday 20th December

Check out these Christmas gift ideas for your loved ones:

For Mums/Wives/Girlfriends

For Fathers/Husbands/Boyfriends

For Daughters/Sisters/Friends

For Sons/Brothers/Friends

For Baby Girls

For Baby Boys

For Furry Felines/Posh Pooches

Norton is feeling festive, isn’t it time you got in the mood too?

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😉

L x

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Product Photos Behind the Scenes – Meet the models….

Happy Friday everybody!

I hope you’ve had a good week. Mine has been a little more stressful than usual – my sewing machine and I had a pretty big falling out and I’m waiting for her to apologise so I can finish off my latest lap quilt. I think I’m going to have to make up for lost time over the weekend and try to get it done (if the machine will behave). What have you got planned?

Since it’s such a gloomy Friday, I thought I’d brighten it up a little with a fun post about three little friends of mine…

You may have spotted these ladies in the back of a couple of my quilt photos, so I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you to them properly. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to meet my three hens – Margo, Priscilla and Lulu!

These ladies have complete free range of our garden, and they like to have a chat and see what I’m doing whenever I go outside. Sometimes, they really like to get involved and have taken to getting in my pictures with sometimes amusing results. It’s very hard to actually get these divas to pose in your pictures when you want them to though, it always has to be on their terms, and with plenty of food provided (Priscilla in particular fully adopts the Naomi Campbell attitude!)

So for your amusement, here are a few ‘behind the scenes’ photos of the ladies strutting around my quilts….

Margo finding something of interest near ‘The Birds and The Bees’

Lulu and Margo admiring ‘Little Talks’

Stealing the limelight from ‘Lola’

Priscilla strikes her best pose in front of ‘Harvest Moon’ (Now Sold).

Lurking in the background behind ‘Head Over Heels’, shhh don’t tell them they are out of focus 😉

Hehe!

I hope you enjoyed meeting the girls. I’m sure they’ll make an appearance again soon, although I’m going to have to find a new photo location now that it’s getting rainy and grey outside.

Have a wonderful weekend!

L xx

 

 

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