Monday, 29 August 2016

thoughts on blogging

The older I get the more life speeds up.  I am sure this is true for many of us, right?   Are we actually any busier than before?  Maybe the passage of time does actually, literally speed up as we grow older?  Maybe Mr Brian Cox has the answer to that mystery!

Social media is so instant nowadays.  It feels like a kind of "what have you done for me lately?" kind of vibe.  We all post photos of our projects,fabrics and daily lives and receive instant feedback but then I get a feeling of pressure to produce more glam bundles of fabric and works in progress!

Blogging, for me, is a slow, sometimes thoughtful, almost meditative process.  For a while there, it has been very much on the back burner (due to the summer holidays mostly).  However, I feel like I am rediscovering the process.

Blogging encourages me to slow down and think about where I am going, what I am producing and why.

In light of this I have been conjuring up a little mini series on the subject of "Creativity".  I am excited to have a guest post from a fellow creative lady who enjoys all different kinds of creative activity.  Lucy from Skinnymalinky Quilts will be sharing some of the ways she nurtures her creativity over the coming weeks, as will I.

This Thursday I will be sharing some of my creative process and the ups and downs involved.  Let's face it, there are always downs as well as the moments of inspiration!

In the coming weeks I would love for you to get involved.  This week I would love for you to share your creative process.  On Thursday I will leave a link up for the week on which you can share a blog post with a photo or a post on your process, what sparked your creativity off, or even a sewing/creating area photo.  Then we can all visit each other and get even more inspiration or find new things to try!

At the end of my little series I will have a little giveaway for everyone that has contributed via the link or on instagram (link in sidebar) #howtogrowyourcreativity  I am thinking of some fat quarters of fabric!

So join me on Thursday for my first post on how to grow and nurture our creativity!

Collette x

Thursday, 25 August 2016

How to grow your creativity

Does this seem familiar?

or this?

If so, then join me next week for my first blog post on how to grow your creativity.  I want to share with you how I grow and nurture my own personal creativity and how you can do the same.  Whether an enthusiastic beginner in your creative journey or a seasoned pro, I promise to share what keeps me going and creating and hope to help others flourish in the process! 
Next Thursday, it's a date! 
Collette x

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

knitting a hitchhiker shawl

I love quilting.  I do.  It is a huge part of my life.  However, sometimes we all need to switch gear a little and do something completely different.

I am not a "natural knitter" but I do love the rhythm and soul soothing nature of the craft.  I adore sheep's roving, spun and turned into yarn.  I love the colours and the feel of it.  I sometimes think I would be quite happy to just knit and knit giant squares ( but my elbows would protest I am sure!).

This is why I am loving the Hitchhiker Shawl pattern available on Ravelry.  It is well worth the money and if I can do it anyone can!  I love using this self striping yarn and the effects it creates keep it quite interesting and surprising.  It isn't a hard pattern at all and is great if you really are not a "pro knitter" like me and enjoy dabbling now and again.  If you are intrigued by the name of this pattern then check out the wonderful designer's story behind it on Ravelry.

my first attempt smaller due to heavier wool love it though!

Collette x

Monday, 22 August 2016

Modern double wedding ring mini quilt

Here is my double wedding ring mini quilt class sample!

My lovely Quilting class have a expressed a desire to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt as soon as possible.  I thought it may be better to give them an introduction to curved piecing and the basics of constructing the double wedding ring quilt before tackling such a huge, but fun, task!

Hence the mini quilt pictured! I used foundation paper piecing to make the Rugby ball shaped sections.  This was a fantastic scrap busting exercise and I used all scraps for those sections.  The middle of each Rugby ball and the centre section were all cut from one fat quarter of fabric.

I quilted with an all over grid design using Aurifil 50wt thread.  My go to thread for piecing and quilting.  This provided the texture I wanted. I then found some leftover binding from a previous quilt and thought the black and white was perfect for this mini.

My class are very excited about tackling this project and I am looking forward to seeing and sharing what they produce with you all! 
Collette x

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

sun, sea, sand and sewing

Our wee family were on holiday last week.  We visited a lovely cottage called Penkiln Cottage just outside the lovely (small) town of Newton Stewart.  It was the most relaxed I have felt in a loooong while and it was bliss. 

We did the usual trips to the local ( stunning) beach, a huge country walk around Knockmann Wood, lunches out, book shopping in Wigtown and barbecues back at the cottage.  The kids even saw the sheep on the farm and all the surrounding fields being sheared.

Mossyard Bay

sheep waiting for haircut
A coo

I have been sewing too and working on something just for myself.  I started this medallion quilt last year for my patchwork class students and I am finally adding some stars to it.

I also finished a Quilt for a magazine commission and can only show you the binding sadly but will give you the full run down once it is published.
So there you go! Sun, sea, sand and even sewing!  Oh and sheep shearing too!  That was fun to watch but hard work for the guys doing it.
Mucho love
Collette x

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

absolute beginners

I don't think I have ever shared my journey into quilting with you.  Please correct me if I am wrong!  I have been thinking about this recently and the creative process and journey in general.

My journey into the world of quilting began 9 years ago, while reading an American blog, and coming across beautiful patchwork quilts.  My wee girl, Emma was around 6 months old and Jacob, a toddler.  I needed other things to do like a hole in my head!  Yet I think quilting found me!  I think, with hindsight, I had a desire to recapture a part of myself that wasn't just 'mum' and all that entails ( you know the drill mums and dads).

My first proper big quilt with lots of non matching points
So I surfed the Interwebs ( this was before Pinterest, people!) and googled quilting and I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights.  No joke!  The fabrics, the colours, the patterns, the everything. 

There was just one thing - I couldn't sew!  I knew how to thread a needle and stitch a button on, you know the basic stuff, but I had never used a sewing machine since my mum tried to show me when I was about 12.
a very early quilt made with a layer cake(precut fabric)

During that time there wasn't such a great selection of fabric shops here in the UK.  Online or bricks and mortar. Or maybe I just hadn't discovered them all yet!  (There weren't many magazines around then either; that I knew of.  I did discover British Patchwork and Quilting which I still love and holds a special place in my heart).    So I bought my first Charm pack from Crosspatch (in Wales I think) online and eagerly awaited it's arrival.  I didn't have a machine but assured myself that I could hand sew the squares together, which I did!  Soon though, that wasn't moving fast enough for me and I "needed" to get a hold of machine to make my piecing faster.  Of course, I had no idea at this point that it was even called piecing! Lol. 

pssst.........I still feel like the little girl in the photo! (pinterest)

My first sewing machine was a mini Janome for around £50 quid.  It was slow as treacle, but that suited me perfectly because of my inexperience.   You tube and Google were indispensable to me to start with.  I had no time or money to go to a proper quilting class (there were none locally anyway).  So to be able to google questions and see videos of how to do things was amazing!  I quickly moved on to a full speed, proper, grown up machine.  I remember my excitement when the delivery came.  I was like a little kid waiting on Christmas day.  I could have kissed the delivery man!  The machine was fast!  To me it was like a formula 1 racing car fast.  It surprised me how quickly I got used to it though! And from there I just kept making, and making and making.

Now why the hell am I telling you all this I hear you ask?  If you have stuck with me so far then, hooray and thank you!!

I just want to say that we were all beginners at one time or another.  Yes, even those super famous quilters we all know and love who are all over Instagram, facebook, blogs and so on.  WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE!  I made mistakes!  Plenty of them!  I tried using polycotton for piecing, (didn't work out well at all), I used the cheap, fluffy, polyester wadding that is ok but nothing in comparison to proper quilt wadding be it poly or cotton or a mix, I used cheap as chips thread on my machine and wondered why does it keep breaking?!  I frequently did not sew a quarter inch seam allowance and then scratched my head when points wouldn't match.  Ten years on and I am still learning all the time!

What I am trying to say is that if you are a beginner quilter, if you have just started one of the many classes now available (thank goodness), or if you have picked up your first copy of one of the fabulous Quilting mags now available, do not be intimidated or overwhelmed!  I remember feeling like this at the beginning.  Many of my students did too when they were total beginners.  Do not let feelings of self doubt creep in or comparison.  I am still guilty of them, but I have learnt that we need to develop the attitude of "feel the fear and do it anyway" as Quilters.  It is how we learn and grow and gain that invalauble experience.  You can't buy it!  New Quilters today have the world at their feet and so many fabulous beginner friendly resources.  It is awesome!  Truly.  We are surrounded by some of the most amazing talent in the quilting world and sometimes this can be a bit scary and initimdating too.  Don't let it be!  Yes, admire and love the work of others on Instagram and facebook but do not think you lack anything because you do not produce the same work.  We are all at different stages on our journey as a quilter and it is good to make peace with that. 

Mucho love!
Collette x

Thursday, 9 June 2016

sun, horses and fabric

Well what a stunning spell of weather we have been getting here in Ayrshire.  We have had the hottest temperatures (for us) so far this year and even the kids Sport's day at school went ahead as scheduled with idyllic conditions!

So what have I been up to these last few weeks?  I have been out with Emma on the bike, soaking up some rays and meeting some new horses.

Making pouches with fancy pleats using this amazing video tutorial by Patty doo.

My Carkai Mini Quilt has been featured in the latest issue of Quilt Now, which is always exciting.  This is a fun project and teaches you how to tackle partial seams!

Staying with the Carolyn Friedlander fabric theme I even made myself a pencil case from this orphan block I used to experiment with Lu Summer's porthole technique.  I also experimented with some "bubbly" free motion quilting! I love it!
I treated myself to some fabric splurges too from The Village Haberdashery and Eclectic Maker.   
Aren't those mermaids and seahorses precious?
 Oh and I received two amazing blocks for #TheNoQuilt from an awesome IG friend called Miss Gerda.  The pink is NO in Hindi and the green is NO in a Japanese script.  These are just amazing and I will begin assembling the quilt really soon.  I am just waiting on a few more blocks from excellent quilters who have posted them off! We have Persian, Maori and Arabic to come!

So there you go!  Busy times but quilty times!  
Until next time 
Mucho love
Collette xx