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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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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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It’s all in the details part 1 – Personal

This weekend marks three months since our wedding day and that magical & balmy midsummer’s day seems like a lifetime ago already. I previously mentioned I’d share a few of the crafty handmade details from our day, just to show you what kept me busy over the last year and a half when I wasn’t quilting.

Some of you will have previously read that I used to work for an event planning company as a stationery designer. This paired with my love of crafting meant I was truly in my element when planning our wedding. While the logistics and politics of putting a wedding together was pretty stressful, working on all these bits and bobs kept me calm yet busy throughout the wedding lead up, and I truly enjoyed making it personal and handmade. Things that I didn’t make myself I bought from other small businesses wherever possible and would encourage any other brides-to-be to do the same as it feels so much more special knowing an individual has put their love into making something for you. All photos were taken by the simply wonderful Julie Anne Skelton, who I really can’t say enough lovely things about.

I’ll start at the very beginning, with our invitations. I am a MASSIVE stationery geek and had always dreamed of having letterpress invitations but was sure I’d never afford them. I scoured the net for affordable ones, and just as I was about to give up hope, I found a seller on Etsy who could do them within budget. The printing is beautiful and I’m so glad I had a few left over for us to treasure. I wanted the design to be classy and elegant so I kept them neutral and fairly minimalist with a touch of whimsy brought in with the typeface and leaf motif. I adorned them with a linen belly band, silky ribbon, handwritten name tags and white wax cat seals (which I would have continued to stamp on absolutely everything at the wedding, had they not taken so bloody long to do…) and overall, I was pretty darn chuffed with myself once I’d finished them!

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Choosing how to do the placement cards and table plan was one of the hardest decisions for me, as there were so many different ideas I’d seen on Pinterest and blogs that I adored, and I kept changing my mind. I knew I wanted to do individual escort cards rather than a table plan, and after seeing some name tags pinned up along a string, I was inspired to do something similar, tying in my love of fabric and the grey and linen colours and fonts from the invitation. So, I raided my fabric stash (which luckily has a rather large neutral collection – not sure what it says about me that my favourite colour is grey…) and started cutting the 80 squares with my pinking blade. I printed the names and tables onto a thick textured card and just glued them onto the fabric backing. I then placed my dad in charge on the day of finding a suitable pair of trees to string and peg them up on, and he did so right at the entrance of our venue, where they gently danced in the breeze. Not sure what plan B would have been if we hadn’t been blessed with a gorgeous sunny day…

Collage20040The placement cards were a hybrid of two ideas I’d seen. We’d already found a few ways to incorporate the cats into our day, but I also wanted a nod to our chickens as well. Years ago at my old job, we did an event where each guest had a gold painted hen’s egg with a Chinese fortune inside. My colleagues and I blew out 300+ eggs, spray painted them gold and rolled up a little fortune for each one that was pushed inside through the hole. Guests were encouraged to crack them open, and it was a real talking point among the tables and was a huge hit with all the guests at the party.  I thought it would be a memorable and quirky detail and that it would help tie together our very loose flora and fauna theme and hubby thought it was fun too. In researching inspiration pics, I fell in love with using quails eggs in table decor and thought they would be much prettier and daintier than using hens eggs. I bought some already blown-out shells for pennies online, but was then faced with how to make them stand up. I looked at mini nests and boxes and all kinds of crazy ideas but nothing was small enough for the tiny eggs. Eventually, I found a picture I’d pinned years ago before even being engaged of these wood-shaving flowers and had a ‘eureka’ moment. They were so delicate and pretty and although some of them were a bit on-the-wonk and wobbly on the day, but ya know, I think it added to the charm. I gave hubby the job of finding the fortunes to put inside, and the idea soon evolved into making them all cat-themed! Some were fortunes, but most were sayings and proverbs. Kind of a silly idea, but it was very ‘us’ and we had a lot of laughs putting them together. To finish, I hand stamped each name in gold ink onto grey card, and voila!

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We named each of our tables after animal and flower pairings – some of the animals had significance to us, others were chosen just because they’d be cute. Using stock images, I traced each one with gold ink onto grey card, and stood them on mini easels. They ended up being one of my favourite wedding details and I plan on framing them or something one day. Our 8 tables were – Leopards & Lavender, Bears & Buttercups, Elephants & Edelweiss, Foxes & Forget-me-nots, Hens & Hibiscus, Giraffes & Geraniums, Puddle-ducks & Peonies and Wolves & Wisteria 🙂Collage5The final wedding craft I want to show you today was my confetti bags. The venue requested we use real petal confetti, which is way more expensive than I ever could have imagined. I bid on some cheap stuff on ebay (meant I couldn’t choose colours, but that’s way to pernickety for me anyway) and then fancied it up with glassine bags (who doesn’t love glassine!?) stamped with gold stars, and little ‘throw me’ tags which I hand-calligraphed in gold ink. These were meant to be paired with order of the day timelines, which I’d had printed on grey textured card and spent ages designing, but the sodding things didn’t turn up in time.

Collage4It’s been fun sharing my handmade stationery elements of our wedding day with you. I’ll be back to show the flowers and other decorative details in another post. See ya soon! L x

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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!

Collage4Collage5L xx

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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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Love Patchwork & Quilting, Issue 11

My contributors copy of Love Patchwork & Quilting, Issue 11 arrived just before I left for the wedding and honeymoon and so I didn’t have a chance to sit down with a cup of tea and really enjoy it until this week. It’s another fabulous issue from the LP&Q team, I just love this mag and it never fails to get me ooh-ing and ahh-ing over delicious fabrics, cool new products and of course other quilters’ amazing work.

issue11Collage1July’s issue was all about summer daydreams and whimsy; simply lovely. It’s still on sale until Issue 12 comes out on Aug 20 – snatch it up quick! Here is a little sneak peek of what you’ll get…

The cover of this issue is super-eye-grabbing with Lynne Goldsworthy’s stunning bullseye quilt taking centre stage. It’s a great design, being graphic and grown-up yet playful at the same time and I can’t get enough of seeing the Cotton+Steel prints in use at the moment.

issue11Collage2Another favourite from the mag is Rebecca Bryan’s oh-so-pretty Wildflower cushion. I am already itching to make this and have been looking for a new EPP project to start on, as well as wanting to replace a lot of the cushions on our sofa. I love that this is somehow both delicate and bold, and modern and traditional all at the same time. Yum. Oh, and I had to flash a pic of the sweet little dolly by Jo Carter – she’s like a cute little Mary Portas, don’t you think?

issue11Collage3Among these lovely tutorials is my little patchwork gardener’s apron. I was dead chuffed to be asked to contribute again to Love Patchwork & Quilting and it was really nice using my skills to create something a little different. For this project I used Jeni Baker’s Dreamin Vintage line, which I LOVE and worked really well in creating that modern summer garden vibe. Shame the weather’s taken a bit of a dive this week, not the best for gardening! For the full-tutorial as well as a mini tutorial for fabric-embellished plant tags, grab your copy from any good newsagent now, or subscribe for future copies here.

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