Saturday, 23 October 2010

Denim goodness

So, exactly how many quilts can one person have on the go at any one time?! I've made this shift from doing reasonable quick one off projects (bags, ipad covers etc) to now having lots of really long term projects (3 quilts to date). I really should be getting on with the old Christmas present making (we have a mahoosive family and due to lack of funds we're on the make instead of buying anything). But I just can't stop cutting strips of material and sewing them together! My Gee's Bend tribute is coming on nicely and I've had some jean donations from all sorts of people (thank you, all). I love the freedom of just randomly sewing stuff together and not giving a monkies how it will all fit.

The beginnings of my denim quilt
And despite being somewhat biased I think it looks awesome - the textures and different tones of blue, the random shapes. I need to think of something to back it with - something very cuddly and soft to balance the workweary nature of denim. I reckon I'm a quarter of the way through, so if anyone has any spare jeans send 'em my way!

The beginnings of my denim quilt

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Getting obsessed with velvet

These days if I have time to myself, I mooch around fabric shops, touching everything and generally perving out on luscious colours and textures. I spend quite a bit of time doing such things in Berwick Street, so really I should don a mac to fit in with the locals! Anyhoo, I had been thinking about velvet quite a lot as this month's cover of Elle Deco has some sort of quilt type thing casually flung over an exquisite chair - it looks like there is plenty of velvet used. So I was thinking about where one might be able to buy velvet in lots of colours. I walked into the Cloth House on Berwick Street and the very very first display was this:

Silk Velvet at The Cloth House
Now, you may or may not believe in the power of the mind to summon up your desires, or in guardian angels that lead you towards greater things etc, but I ask you. I felt a bit spooked. I think I stood there for half an hour looking at the lovely colours and trying to work out what colours I would use. But look at that photo again and I dare you to disagree that the collection of colours on each shelf would make a perfect quilt in their own right. I then found out that it costs £28/metre. And I stood there a bit longer biting my nails trying to work out if I could afford any (I couldn't). And so I wait impatiently for pay day. I hope it's all still there. I think my angel would want that to be so.

I'm not mad for shoes

But I am mad for sewing. I went to see the new Shoe Galleries at Selfridges last week and was blown away by the sheer scale of the place. It all feels very opulent and a bit wierd given that we're all struggling to make ends meet. However, it was jam packed with ladies buying insanely priced shoes. Not the kind of place for me, but if you're into shoes, no doubt a mecca of sorts. What I did like however, were the window displays - functional everyday items turned into shoes, and this puppy caught my eye:

Sewing machine shoe at Selfridges
Ridiculous, good fun and it stopped me in my tracks. Now I'd buy a pair of those.

A very supportive family

I am fortunate enough to have a cracking family. We all have our own malfunctions and what have you but I dare you to show me a family that hasn't! They are supportive of all this mad sewing stuff and as such, have been known to pop by this blog from time to time. Hello there Mum, Georgie, Lucy, Emma, Gill! Whilst this is lovely, it means at certain key times I can't post here, because they then know what they're getting for their birthdays! So here is Gill's birthday shopper, made some time ago but now ready to see the light of day.

Gillian's birthday bag

I used three different upholstery weight fabrics on the outside (the black is LUSH) and the grosgrain is VV Rouleaux. You can't really see on the photo but the lining is a lovely Liberty print. Made my first zip pocket inside. I think it could have done with a solid bottom (couldn't we all), but you live and learn :-) Happy birthday Gill!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Gee's Bend

Oh my lord. This is it. This is what I've been looking for. After some random googling in a quiet moment I found the Gee's Bend quilts. They are a-mazing and just the sort of inspiration I've been after without knowing it. And I thought, "Oooh they're so modern and fresh." And it turns out they originated in Alabama around the ending of the slave trade - jaw drops to the ground - and it made me so much more respectful of why quilting exists. Born out of need and necessity, using only the materials available and not out of a "desire to be crafty" with access to a million types of cotton. I feel released from the pressures of perfection - straightness of lines, rightness of material choices. And I am going to use only what I have I. And so I am going to remember why I am so lucky to be able to make the choice to quilt, or not to quilt. And of course, I was wondering a bit why these quilts resonate with me so strongly and I remembered what I was up to at the beginning of the year when I was just playing around with fabric:

I'm making material. Sort of.

So there we are - I was Gee's Bend-ing without even knowing it :-)

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Drawing with the sewing machine

Thought I'd have a little go at making some birthday cards - first one ready! Maybe 300gsm card is a little on the heavy side but my machine coped OK; I hadn't really planned it and just went for it, but love the simplicity of it. The curves of the leaves were a bit stressful, but I'm definitely going to make some more. Too much fun :-)

Button birthday card