28 March 2015

Millefiori Quilts 2 Book by Willyne Hammerstein

Willyne Hammerstein has been much talked about in recent years with the huge popularity of her 'La Passacaglia' quilt from her debut book Milleifiori Quilts. Her global-spanning fan-base will be delighted to hear of her brand new book for 2015, simply named; Millefiori Quilts 2. If you were in awe of her first book with the incredible array of kaleidoscope and geometric English Paper Pieced quilts you will be equally blown away - perhaps more so, by this new book. 

Willyne hails from the Netherlands, with a long-standing career in law. Like many of us can relate to, she picked up the quilt bug after visiting several quilt shows, markets and shops and found the time to English Paper Piece while travelling for work; it was in the evenings when she had the time to rest and reflect that she began making quilts with men's ties. Soon she had eight large quilt's that were exhibited at the white palace of the Council of State - I think in Turkey? and I guess the rest is what they call history! 

It was great to read about her reaction to all the La Passacaglia quilts that been inspiring quilter's worldwide, which spurred her on to design and create again. Though I was saddened to read that this might not have been the case as she suffered a cycling accident in 2013 and spent many months in rehabilitation with a shattered left hand and wrist. Very fortunately she recovered, and used her time wisely in-between her sewing hiatus to work on even more new patterns for the book. 

So, back to this new Millefiori Quilt's 2 book! It's really a delight. I have spent many hours pursuing the book and studying the blocks, while blurting out loud every so often, "Oh my gosh", "Wow!". Willyne enjoys studying Islamic patterns, which is so prevalent in her intricate designs. 

The cover star winner on this book is 'Ballet' - which I'm very pleased about as I find it a lot easier to pronounce than the previous 'La Passacaglia'. Pronounced - 'PAS-A-CAL-YA'. It's another stunning kaleidoscope pattern that will surely win the hearts again of quilters everywhere. Dare I say, I think I even prefer Ballet to La Passacaglia?! Yes. I think I do. It has beautiful harmony between the larger rosette's and those larger stars really stand out and bring it all together magnificently. 

There are 17 quilts to feast your eyes on in total, and even with a more expensive title price you certainly get you money's worth! I love the names she uses for the quilts; 'Staphoster Snotterkapjes', I'd love to know what that means? 'Be Calm And Count Up To Ten' … perhaps she named that one because she had a flustered creative moment, you know, like we all do ;-) Maybe she misplaced her stitch-ripper, oh, and every needle in the house and had to be calm and count to ten … These are all questions I will be asking her next month when I travel to see her at the Pour l'amour du fil show in France, of course! 

Ok so maybe this one is my favourite? Because I can imagine she's regular quilter like me and has these moments ;-) Ok probably not. Everything no doubt goes to plan and fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. 

With each quilt pattern, the blocks/rosettes/cogs are broken down section by section so you can digest these complicated looking designs down into manageable pieces. The tough part is not the tiny pieces I imagine, it's getting these larger pieces all joined together seamlessly. There are templates to trace the shapes at each chapter. 

People have asked me to comment on the skill level of these books though I'm reluctant in my advice as I haven't began to make any of them myself yet so I wouldn't be the best judge on that. However I wouldn't say the kaleidoscope quilts are for the faint hearted. 

Willyne also had more simple designs such as 'Old Dutch' which is simply an 8-pointed star set on point. 'Sunrise', which uses square and triangle variations - as well as others. I think the scary thing for a lot of people is scale. They are large quilts, which we all know is quite an undertaking using English Paper Piecing, though that's why we love it! So don't be put off, manage what you can and scale down the quilt size to make it more realistic to finish if that's what you need. I have my own long running 8-point diamond EPP quilt that's been in the works for a number of years! now, it get's picked up and dropped down again in between life, real-work, the shop, work sewing, the blog and other personal sewing projects, but it's always there when I need it. Good old reliable EPP. 

My head is filled to the brim with English paper piecing dreams and motivation now so I'm off to do some! I hope this has given you a little inspiration for the weekend. 

If you wanted a copy of the latest book you can find it here at Sew and Quilt. Though, be quick as we only have a handful of copies left! We also have the first book in stock if you need to get up to speed ;-) Leave me a comment below if you have any questions you would love to ask Willyne when I meet her next month! Don't forget as well, we have Sew and Quilt 'La Passacaglia' paper pieces, now arriving mid April - as there's been a delay - be sure to sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop!

25 March 2015

For The Love Of Thread (Fabric!)

A couple of weeks ago I booked myself a trip to Nantes for the Pour L'Amour Du Fil textile show and exhibition in France. I can't tell you how excited I am! (and nervous! I'll be travelling alone, which I've never done and I've never been to France before! - I know it's embarrassing.) It's a textile show to celebrate 'the love of thread', with a focus on patchwork and embroidery which is organised by Quiltmania annually. 

My main reason for attending this year is to see the incredible work of Willyne Hammerstein, a Dutch quilter now hugely popular worldwide from the success of her book Milleifori Quilts, and the now infamous quilt 'La Passacaglia'. She will be there promoting her new book; Millefiori Quilt's 2, which is in stock at Sew and Quilt now! I'm pretty sure I am the first shop to stock it! They are flying out at the moment so be quick if you want one. Oh and while we're on the topic, we will be stocking La Passacaglia paper pieces to match the templates from the Millefiori book, they'll be arriving with us within the next couple of weeks, so watch this space! But more on that another time! I'm also visiting, as I'm dying to see Bill Volckening's collection of New York Beauty Quilts, this will be the first time the whole collection will be shown! I'm a regular reader of Bill's blog, WonkyWorldQuilts so I've long admired his fantastic collection of vintage quilts, so it will be brilliant to see some in the flesh. You know me and vintage quilts ;-) I'm booked in for a couple of workshops too, annnnd I'll be doing a little 'roving reporter' work for Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine while I'm there, I'll keep you posted on that.

I feel like I have SO much to catch you all up on, but I can't even think where to start. There's alot of juggling at the moment! So here are some recent fabric eye candy purchases for you to enjoy while I sort myself out :-) These amazingly gorgeous bunch of fabrics above are from Fat Quarter Shop, a whole host of different one's I'll be mixing in with future quilty projects. 

Including this fun text fabric from a new Cotton and Steel collection with the U.S. states printed. I looove all things Americana, and state related things :-) so it goes great with my other American state printed fabric by Michael Miller, which I've got about 2 yards of and hoarding until I find the perfect sewing bag/organiser project AND when I find the time to make it?

I visited my sister in London a few weeks ago, and one of my first pit-stops was to Shaukat on Old Brompton Road. They have a huge selection of Liberty fabrics downstairs in their shop, so after a lot of open-mouthed gazing to the wares on offer, the staff pointed me in the direction of the off-cut piles - ideal for quilter's like us ;-) I also bought a 1/2m piece from the bolt of the top/left one above. I love the more muted colour's, so it was too good to miss.
Right, no more fabric buying for me. Hope you're all having a good week! xo

20 March 2015

Snapshots Quilt Along - Block 2: Put The Kettle On

Month 3 on the Fat Quarter Shop Snapshots quilt-a-long, that flew by!? This month is a fantastic little old-fashioned kettle, my new favourite block in the quilt! The pattern is called 'Put The Kettle On', or, if you're from some parts of the North of England this block should read "get tut kettle on!" as the local dialect might suggest ;-) hehe.

I used my new fabrics I got from FQS recently, and they work an absolute treat here - like the American Jane fussy cut floral handle! I would love to own a kettle like this one for real! So... since I love this one so much, I'm going to make another one for the quilt and turn this into a mini for my kitchen. We're in the midst of doing DIY work in there, adding some wood panelling to the back wall, and I think it would make a perfect addition once we're all painted and finished. I think I might even just frame the block and not quilt it? What do you reckon? 

Can you believe FQS have smashed through their $10,000 target already! They are just shy of $20,000 as of today, so please head over to their donation page if you want to contribute.   You can find this pattern for this kettle and all the others released so far here. Don't forget to stop by the other blogger's taking part in the quilt-a-long too. 

Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms
Bonnie Olaveson of Cotton Way
Pat Sloan of The Voice of Quilting
Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet
Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life
Melissa Corry of Happy Quilting
Thelma Childers of Cupcakes N' Daisies
Pam Viera-McGinnis of Pam Kitty Morning
Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs
Stephanie Kendron of The Modern Sewciety
Natalia Bonner of Piece N Quilt
Greg Jones of Grey Dogwood Studios
Sondra Davison of Out of the Blue Quilts
Angie Wilson of Gnome Angel

19 March 2015

Best Friends Signature Quilt

Scalloped edge quilts are officially my favourite way to finish a quilt! Really. Last week I made this sweet 'Best Friends Signature Quilt' by Darlene Zimmerman from her book Clothesline Quilts: Quilts and Small Projects with Vintage Appeal, and now I want to scallop everything!

It was was of those spur of the moment, I-have-to-make-this-now type projects, and I managed to get it done and dusted in just a few evenings - a quick finish is just what you need sometimes! I have too many long WIPs at the moment so it's the best feeling complete something small and have a finished article in less than a week. 

I think the scalloped edge adds the perfect finishing touch to this pretty quilt design. The pattern called for the EZ scalloping ruler, but I don't have one so I made use of a dinner plate and a tape measure ;-) (I'll have to post a tutorial on here when I next do one, it's really quite simple). I used a range of small-scale, dainty prints and coordinating pastel 1930's reproduction solids to create the 'flowers' for each block. In particular, I used a few prints from Elea Lutz's 'Milk, Flower & Sugar' collection which are the prettiest, ice-cream coloured palette and work so well with this 30's style. The green floral border and binding fabric is from the Simpler Sampler collection by Aunt Grace, unfortunately the photo's don't do that fabric and justice as it's much more vivid in real life. 

I love the styling used in Darlene's book, it all looks so fresh and inviting. The cover image was the main pull to make it, perfect right? I quilted it with stitch-in-the-ditch and even did some free-motion quilting in the borders! It surprisingly worked out well - although it's hardly noticeable, typical! 

Friendship or signature quilts like this design have a long standing history in the U.S., they were often accompanied with pioneer families as they made their journey to the West. Each block would be inscribed with a signature, making them poignant reminders of the loved ones they left behind. They were also made and presented to clergymen or important people in recognition of service, too. As well, they were used for fundraisers - each person would pay a small fee to have their name on the quilt in order to raise money for a worthy cause.

Pattern: Best Friends Signature Quilt by Darlene Zimmerman from Clothesline Quilts: Quilts and Small Projects with Vintage Appeal 
Finished size: 35" x 28" (6" block) 

16 March 2015

Sweetly Stitched Handmades by Amy Sinibaldi / NanaCompany

One of my dear blog friends Amy Sinibaldi of NanaCompany very kindly sent me a copy of her brand new book; Sweetly Stitched Handmades: 18 Projects to Sew for You and Your Loved Ones and it was about time I showed you a peek inside if you haven't got a copy yet (why not?). 

Amy has been such a huge source of inspiration for our quilty/blogging community for years now, I remember following her on Flickr before she ventured into the blogging world, just gazing at all her amazingly cute and detailed projects thinking "How on earth can one person be so talented?!", whether it's an embroidery pattern, a beautiful quilt, or something sweet for one of her adorable children, it's always impeccably made with such precision and style that's so unique to Amy. Not forgetting her flawless photography skills which makes everything shine. I think probably each and every one of us has made something from one of her tutorials or sewing project she's posted on her blog, in the hope "it might look NanaCompany style!?"

Well, guess what - now hopefully, we can! With Sweetly Stitched Handmade, Amy has compiled a book of 18 delightful projects that all have that enviable NanaCompany style. 

Everything from quilts, gifts for babies, and cute things for your sewing room and home is covered. I whipped up a ruffled baby bib as my first project from the book, for my new nephew (yes I said nephew, it could look girly I suppose ;-) but we'll ignore that…) There are patterns in the back of the book, and Amy goes through her favourite tools and how she goes about making her cute little appliqu├ęd patches that are often seen on her designs at the intro section. 

Thank you again Amy for sending me your wonderful book full of sewing eye-candy! It's a real gem, you should be very proud indeed. I know I'll be using this book a lot more! The 'many pockets house hanging' is calling my name next. 
What about you, which is your favourite from the book? 

11 March 2015

FQS Blogger's Choice Fabric Winner!

The lucky winner of the Fat Quarter Shop 'Jessie Fincham Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle' is ...

Congratulations Debbie! A fabric suprise that will certainly brighten up your day I'm sure. Your details have been passed on to the Fat Quarter Shop, who will be in touch with you soon. Many thanks to all those that entered.