i'm not a natural gardener but i know what i like & i like what i know...our fairly largish front garden has been left a bit wild & overgrown (except for the grass - but that's the hubs domain) but it is a project i'd really like to get stuck into so next summer (if we have one!) we can sit & relax & *not* be looking at a rather bland lawn...so yesterday i forced the family to go with me to an hidden gardens event in bury (st. edmunds, not lancashire!) for inspiration. it was a gorgeous day out, i'm nosy by nature & made the most of sitting in complete stranger's gardens eating ice-cream & admiring their dahlias.
Monday, 10 June 2013
hmm, so on saturday a package arrived from my publisher & at last i got a copy of my book, sew improv, in my hot little hands...and to say i was a *lettle* bit emotional is an understatement (but i held it together better than my mum who sobbed in the kitchen into the roast chicken.) i'm thrilled with every aspect of it, from the how it looks aesthetically to how it works as an actual how-to.
the book's broken down into two parts: 'the building blocks' & 'the quilts'. to begin with i show in the form of 13 mini-quilts how to create each technique - the theory being if you work your way through each method, you can create the quilts in the second section of the book if you so wish. you can also put the mini quilt blocks together in a really improv way to create your own 'improv sampler quilt' if you want! the second part of the book shows 12 quilts with the inspirations behind each one - from photo to sketch to more finished design. piecing maps and general instructions are given, but BIG emphasis is given to let your quilts evolve organically.
each quilt is inspired by random things i've come across in my everyday life - from the view outside my window, to a rope effect edging on a table in my parent's garden & manhole covers in the street. it was important to show inspiration really can strike anywhere - i don't go anywhere without my phone to quickly capture ideas to work on later. i've worked from these photos to create quick sketches which i've then recreated in fabric. many of the quilts are made using up scraps of fabric, so they're economical and (hopefully) fun to make - there are no hard and fast rules to follow with improv and definitely no mistakes to make! it's a looser way of working and i encourage you to work 'on the fly' - making design decisions as you go. many of you will work this way naturally - in which case you'll hopefully enjoy this book as eye-candy and to give you a few ideas and a sneak peak into the way i work. if you've never worked this way before, the mini quilts are a brilliant way to relax and try this way of creating without huge commitment.
if you're local(ish) to me in east anglia, (i in a village near newmarket, about an hour from east london, norwich & ipswich, 30 minutes from cambridge and 20 minutes in either direction from ely & bury st edmunds. i'm right on the border of suffolk, norfolk and cambridgeshire) you might be interested to know i shall be running workshops from 'the turkey shed' on the farm. i will be teaching a variety of workshops alongside other clever people and am hoping to get a workshop list together for autumn classes. at least one of these workshops will definitely be improv, so if you like the look of the book, i'd love to teach you the basics! if you *are* interested, please leave your name and email address in the comments, and i'll be sure to keep you updated on the workshops. don't worry, i won't deluge you with emails!)
i hope you've enjoyed a little explanation on what to expect from the book - & i hope you enjoy working from it as much as i've enjoyed creating it. it was a total joy from start to finish!
|mini quilts from 'the building blocks' section|
|simple easy-to-follow instructions|
|at the beginning of each quilt, there's a inspiration pinboard|
showing photos, magazine pics & fabric samples
|i'm so thrilled with all the photographs (this shows a tiny section)|
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
...so i'm celebrating with a stash builder listing in the shop! a random selection of 10 fat quarters of summersville fabrics for just £15 plus P&P...that's just £1.50 per FQ...go on, you know you want to! available right HERE!
Monday, 3 June 2013
last week we went to cornwall for a few days away & i spent the majority of the time snapping ideas for colour and pattern on my phone...
|boats at mevagissey|
|wallpaper at the lands end hotel restaurant|
|banners at the eden project|
|the rainforest biome at eden|
|love this hot pink leaf detail|
|door to a rainforest hut|
|at padstow crazy golf course|
Thursday, 16 May 2013
you might not be surprised to hear i love bright colours. i love looking at them and working with them. but just lately i find myself drawn to a much paler palette - more neutral tones paired with softer colours. like in this beautiful piece of work by matt connors. in all of the *stacks* of plains (solids) i've been collecting because of my improv obsession i just can't get the look i'm after for a new idea i have...the dyes are too saturated and too, i dunno, plain. i don't want to go down the 'batik-y plain' look, and i'm not especially interested in hand dyed fabrics, what i'm after is something more watercoloury. does that make sense? so this morning i painted my own. they aren't perfect flat colours, some areas are lighter than others and some darker, but they're just right. and they took nanoseconds to do which suited my terrible impatience...
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
...you missed out the second time around, i've listed a few more scrap bundles right here in the shop! three have gone already so get your skates on if you want to nab one! a couple of them contain some one off layered prints - like the one in the image below...
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
serendipity this evening when preparing dinner...first barbecue of this lovely weather we've been having...burgers, check. burger buns, check. salad? ummm...bugger. then up pipes frank, don't worry mum, i've grown some in my greenhouse...god love 10 year old eager gardeners, eh? it was blooming delicious, too.