Monday, 13 February 2012

When quilts end up in the right home

Last year was a massive denim quilt year for me. I made quite a few; the fact is, I love making them. It's like a love/hate tussle whilst they're in production, and I think the endless sewing and cutting and sewing will never end. But then it does and I fall  a little bit in love with each one. And then they get sold or given away. I always wonder what they end up looking like in their new homes - if they're used, or folded up and put away only to be brought out on the coldest days.

So, as a thank you to the many kindly souls who donated their old denim to me last year, I did a prize draw to win one such quilt.

The "Who is going to win a denim quilt" prize draw 01

Santa's Little Helper was the official responsible for a fair draw:

The "Who is going to win a denim quilt" prize draw 04

And thus it came to pass that Alex was the winner:

The "Who is going to win a denim quilt" prize draw 06

And so the denim quilt was dispatched to Suffolk to be enjoyed by Alex and his family. But I realised that I hadn't taken any photos of the quilt, and given my somewhat Virgoan obsession with cataloging everything I make, I asked if he could take a few snapshots of it when he had a sec.

And here they are. But of course, Alex didn't take a few snapshots did he? Oh no. He got his photographer mate to take some didn't he? Oh yes. So for once, I can offer some actual proper profesh photos for your delectation and delight:

Denim quilt
(Loving the blue tester patch on the wall, matches the quilt nicely, no?)

Denim quilt

Denim quilt detail

Denim quilt detail

Denim quilt detail

These are lovely photos indeed. But the best bit for me, are all the wrinkles and crinkles that show it is being used. I hear reports of it keeping poorly little boys nice and snuggly as they recouperate on the sofa, and helping knackered big boys recover from a hectic working week as they watch dvds with their beloveds. And there is nothing better than that in my book.

This quilt definitely found the right home.

(Images by James McDonald)

Sunday, 5 February 2012

"I like flowers and that"

So said Richard from work when he asked me to make him a quickie laptop sleeve. "I like that stuff where you put lots of material together in bits". Flowery patchwork do you mean, luv? About as far removed from my idea of fun as you can get. However, I figured if I mixed in a few bits of graphical print too then all was not lost. The fabric selection ended up as so:

Patchwork fabrics

We have a bit of Liberty print (6th from top, grey triangles) some Paul Smith cotton shirting (red and white stripe, grey and white stripe), some bits and pieces picked up from Ray Stitch from their sale section and some black needlecord.

It has been a while since I've done any patchwork and it was tricksy getting back amongst it. I found it incredibly difficult to sew straight lines - I mean, they were sort of roughly in the right place but were going slightly downhill at one end. It made me realise that my freeform denim quilts are very forgiving because wonkiness is part and parcel of their charm. I've really got to crack on and practice my technique.

Anyhoo, after many false starts and a bunch of practice pieces that drove me insane, I finally got something that I was OK with. Not perfectly happy with, but bearable. And it took me 3 whole weeks to get round to finishing it. So I ended up with a flowery side and then something a little more sensible and corporate.

Patchwork laptop cover

Patchwork laptop cover

I love this little bit of sass on the corporate side:

Patchwork detail

And Richard is very happy with it, and his favourite side? The one with 'flowers and that'.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Spring clean!

I've decided to get rid of my stock from 2011 in order to allow for new creative energy to enter my life! And possibly to allow for some space under my desk ;-)

Thus I have a number of 2nd generation Kindle sleeves and iPad sleeves (that fit both 1 and 2) that are looking for a new home, for FREE!

If you'd like one, then just email me your address (you can access my email from the right hand column labelled "Get in touch" on this page) and I will send you a random one in the post. Hurry, cos once they're gone, they're gone. Or whatever the adverts say.

The sleeves are made from natural materials where possible, using recycled fabrics and many of them are pure silk. There are more manly ones as well feminine ones.

Some sample silky numbers:
Silk kindle sleeves

Go on, you know you want one.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Time for a spot of reflection

At about this time last year I did a recap of everything I'd made in 2010. It involved listing out everything I'd made with some nice thumbnails from my Flickr stream. I do think it's quite important to reflect on what has gone before in order to decide where to head in the year to come.

But I don't think I could list everything I made in 2011; I've not kept count as I have done a mental amount of making. So instead I'm thinking about what I've learnt.

I'm proud that I took a massive leap into the unknown by deciding to try and sell some of my makes; I was so terrified at my first stall I had to pretend to myself I was selling for someone else in order to get over my very British embarrassment. I made a tiny weeny bit of money, yes, but more importantly I've had positive feedback about my work and met some excellent people - fellow crafters, interesting customers. Worth its weight in gold that is.

Cally Fest:
My stall at The Cally Fest

Burnham Market Craft Fair:
Burnham Market

Old Spitalfields Market:
Setting up

Old Spitalfields Market
(Attempting a "less is more" approach for my second stall at old Spitalfields Market. Alas, more is always more whenever I'm involved)

I've managed to get a lot better at different aspects of my craft: I'm all over zips now, feel much more confident with quilting larger size quilts due to my magnificent walking foot, can draft a pattern for simple objects with some zest, and have experimented with lots of different fabric types.

I have been incredibly lucky to get access to some wonderfully eclectic collections of fabric. Both my Mum and step Mum have helped to swell my stash with donations from their own attics as well as from their friends. I have run out of storage! Fortunately The HusWife and I came across a chest that someone had left at the side of the road the other day and we (he) managed to manhandle it home. But that's for another post.

I'm very much looking forward to another year of sewing. I'm going to do some playing around methinks. Try some techniques out, do some samples and try to find my textile voice. All I know is that learning the craft of sewing makes me very happy; a wonderfully hands on release after a day job spent at a computer. A great balance.

Happy New Year everyone :-)


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Good lord woman. What have you been up to?

Alas, things have been quiet in blog land for me. Work work has been mentalist in the run up to Christmas - sort of having to fit 2 weeks into 1 to get everything sorted, so defo running on empty.

However, found some time for a spot of crafting. For our Christmas party at work I got Matthew as my Secret Santa gift recipient. Now Matthew has spent the last month at the office playing LMFAO "I'm sexy and I know it" full screen on his computer, full blast, at least 3 times a day. Sometimes on loop.

So I made him his own outfit:


This is Matthew (on the left):

I did buy us some *special* outfits for the friday towers christmas party.

This is what the dude from LMFAO looks like in his outfit:


Yeah. You do the maths.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Capolana cloth... hanging on my line, drying in the winter sun. Actual capolana cloth from actual Mozambique. I am very excited about this.

Capolana cloth

My Aunt Pru (known henceforth as VAP - Venerable Aunt Prudence) is currently spending a year in Mozambique with VSO, having been given a sabbatical from Amnesty International. She is doing a spot of excellent blogging about her experiences there; I find it a fascinating read, not just because it's by VAP, but because it has real insight and describes a place and culture that is about as far removed from the rich hustle of London.

She wrote a brill piece back in July about Capolana cloth and me being me put in a cheeky request for some samples to play with back here in Londres. And VAP being VAP, she purchased some bits, dispatched them with a friend who was traveling back to the UK, organised for my cousin Omar to go and pick them up, and then got Omar to pop round to deliver them with a cheeky smile. Now that's what I call service!

Capolana cloth

I'm loving the colours and patterns; they are certainly brightening up a dull London winter. It seems a shame to chop them up as they work so well as large pieces, which of course is how they're designed; I'm going to hold onto them for a while and decide what to make with them after we've got to know each other a little better.

Thanks VAP, my dear. You totally rock. xxx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Designers Makers at Old Spitalfileds Market

Gosh, well, what can I say? A slow old day at Old Spitalfields I tell yee. Having never done a 'normal' market before I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. All raring to go, and having not slept the night before due to excitement/anxiety, my trusty slave labour for the day (Mrs Becci Augur, highlighted goddess, gossip merchant and all round good egg) picked me up early and we hotfooted it down there. It was bleedin' freezin', but we set to with great gusto.

My slave labour

Our stall always looks a little, er, over-egged compared to some of the clean-lined modernist splendour achieved on stalls nearby. I would like to think of it as welcoming and vibrant. Perhaps it just looks a tad rubbish. Hey ho.

Setting up

We met some lovely neighbours, and wiled away the hours catching up on gossip and making the odd sale here and there. I sort of managed to give quite a lot of stock away, in an effort get some good karma flowing around. Eventually, I got a bit grumpy and wanted to leave early but Becci made me stay, and by the packing up time of 5pm, we'd made enough sales to cover the cost of the stall, parking, lunch and a baby sitter for that evening. Not a resounding triumph, but better than nothing. So either my products are wrong, or wrongly priced, or it's the wrong location for me. I have one more go there before Christmas, 17 December, when I'm hoping that people will be panic buying pressies and thus will rid me of my stock. I'm going to drop my (already low) prices, as I have an overwhelming desire to clear the decks before the start of the next year of sewing.

Looking at all my products this weekend made me realise I need to have a good hard think about what direction I want to go in. And I cannot consider any direction while I have boxes of stock sitting under my desk reminding me that they are not sold. So, if you're in the market for a kindle or ipad sleeve, a cute coin purses or indeed a man quilt then give me a shout. I'm open to offers ;-)

In the meantime here are some of the cuties I showed this weekend:

Dupion silk coin purse

Dupion silk coin purse

Klimt style coin purse