Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Keep Calm Brit Hop


It's Day 12 (I think?) and it would appear to be my turn on the #KeepCalmBritHop organised by Jo Westfoot at The Crafty Nomad. The purpose of this little blog hop is to introduce you to British quilters, designers and shop owners who might, for one reason or another, not be within your radar. Times are hard for small businesses at the moment, but the quilt industry is one of the best at being supportive when the chips are down, so a big thank you to Jo for organising this.

So a little about me if we haven't crossed paths before. My name is Joanna and I've been quilting for over 30 years now. I'm a traditional quilter at heart with a nod to modern quilting. I'm a sucker for an ombre fabric and I think my favourite fabric collection ever is the original Ombres designed by Vanessa Christenson for Moda; they are my go to fabrics when I'm thinking of designing something new.

I've been running my online quilt shop, The Crafty Quilter, for over 20 years selling bright, exciting fabrics from Moda, Robert Kaufman and the like, King Tut and Bottom Line threads from Superior Threads and just recently, the wonderful applique patterns from Pattern Poole in Australia. I also attend various quilt shows around the country including Quilts UK in Malvern and the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingam. My 'day job' for the last 10 years has been Editor at British Patchwork & Quilting magazine, the oldest monthly magazine in the UK 

I also design a lot of patterns myself, although not all of them make it as far as a finished quilt. But that's ok; sometimes a design doesn't quite work out how I planned it or I go off on a complete tangent with it. My designs are definitely ones that evolve as I'm making them!

A couple of my popular ones have been the Ombre Squares quilt which uses my favourite ombres (of course!). You can buy the pattern and the kit here from my website.


The second one is my Strip Race Interrupted Quilt which is strip-roll friendly. It looks great made in batiks, don't you think?


To celebrate being part of this blog hop, I'm making my Strip Race Interrupted pattern free until 10pm on Monday 13 April 2020. To claim your copy of the pattern, email me here. I've also reduced the price of the last few Bali Pops I have in stock if you want to sew along with me while I make a new version of the quilt over the Easter weekend.

Thanks for reading and again to Jo for organising the blog hop. I'd love to have you follow me on Instagram, and who knows, maybe this is just the nudge I need to start blogging again. Stay tuned!

Next up on the blog hop tomorrow is Jo Avery, but below is the schedule and links to everyone in the hop. Do go and visit them all; there are patterns, tips and giveaways aplenty to keep you entertained during these difficult times.

Saturday, 28th March: Jo Westfoot | The Crafty Nomad Sunday, 29th March: Amy Ball | Coffee Rings Studio Monday, 30th March: Jo Hendy | Villavin Crafts Tuesday, 31st March: Nicola DoddCake Stand Quilts Wednesday, 1st April: Rachel Concannon | Rachel's Textiles Studio Thursday, 2nd April: Lou Orth |  Lou Orth Designs Friday, 3rd April: Sonia Spence | Fabric & Flowers Saturday, 4th April: Fi | Pins & Needles Grayshott Sunday, 5th April: Sarah Ashford | Sarah Ashford Studio Monday, 6th April: Abigail | Cut&Alter Tuesday, 7th April: Karen Lewis  | Karen Lewis Textiles Wednesday, 8th April: Joanna KentCrafty Quilter Thursday, 9th April: Jo AveryJo Avery Stitch Friday, 10th April: Round Up Post | The Crafty Nomad
Joanna

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Dusting Off the Blog...

So, it would appear that I haven’t written a blog post for a few years now. I’m sure I always mean to! In these days of ‘micro-blogging’ where you can reach people instantly on Instagram or Facebook etc, or where you can email your customers direct, finding the time to write a blog is not so easy. But here I am after a gap of almost three years dusting off my blog for a special reason and perhaps it will get me back into blogging regularly?

We are currently living in strange times as the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic threatens to take hold across the whole world. Here in the UK, we are currently on day 6 of a lockdown which means we can only go out for certain limited reasons, although as I work from home anyway, my daily routine isn’t that different just yet.

The quilting community always comes together in times of crisis and this pandemic is no different. Countless quilt designers and shops are running free quiltalongs and the like to inspire everyone while they are stuck at home. My friend Jo at The Crafty Nomad has organised a fun blog hop over the next couple of weeks with various British quilt shops and patterns designers all coming together to bring your stories, tips, tutorials and fun! These are tough times for everyone including small businesses so I hope you’ll enjoy what we all have to say. Watch out for my day on 8 April!



Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Quilt Show Recap - The Malvern Autumn Quilt Festival

Amazingly I am remembering to do this post shortly after the event itself and not months later when it's become a bit irrelevant!

The Autumn Quilt Festival in Malvern is held at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, the same location as Quilts UK in early summer (spring?). It's not a competition show as such like Quilts UK and as a result is a lot smaller. And because it's a smaller show, it isn't as busy. The weather is also mixed for this show; it's been really warm a couple of times and others, typical autumn weather.

This year was an autumn weather one I think you could say! The drive over on setting up day on Thursday was quite horrible with very heavy rain and poor visibility on the motorways. It was still raining when we arrived, so Tom and I had our lunch in the van first in the hope it might stop. Not quite the usual view of the hills though!

What hills?!

The unloading and setting up went fairly smoothly. This was the first time at the Malvern shows when we've had a smaller stand space as my mum wasn't trading there too, so it is always a bit of 'fun' working out if the tables and shelving will fit in the space as you had planned them in your head!


Friday was the first day of trading and as is usual was the best day for visitor numbers and sales. Storm Brian blew in Friday evening and Saturday which may have kept a few visitors away that day but overall it was a really good show for me; well up on last year!

And the show's bestsellers? Probably the shaded prints from the Effervescence collection from Robert Kaufman. I suspect a couple of these will sell out at this week's show at Duxford so you need to get in quick if you want some! They can be ordered from the website here if you aren't going to the show.


And so onto the last event of the year, the Quilt Festival at Duxford, my 'local' one. I can be home within half an hour which is great, although it does mean cooking dinners and washing up!
 

Friday, 29 September 2017

What's New at TCQ - The Claude Monet Collection

Taking a slight step back in time, shortly before the Effervescence collection was delivered, another digital print collection from Robert Kaufman arrived in stock.

Most of the fabrics I ordered arrived a few weeks ago but the last three prints arrived yesterday, so it's time to share a bit more about them with you. There are a couple of panel prints in the collection which I haven't ordered as I thought they would have limited appeal, but what I have ordered is this wonderful texture print in all twelve colours.


They're such a lovely rainbow selection, I think they are shouting out to be a fat quarter bundle don't you?

The print itself is reminiscent of Monet's brushstrokes

Meadow Monet Texture 17080-270

Pansy Monet Texture 17080-220

But the best thing about this print is this wonderful project  which is a free download from Kaufman's website, or it will be soon...

Rainbow Lily Petals Quilt

I'll keep checking the site and add it as a download to TCQ as soon as it's available as well as kitting the petals in a kit. The other fabrics needed are a sky fabric and solid white.

As the fabrics are a digital print it is priced at £19.50 a metre and can be ordered from the website here.





Tuesday, 12 September 2017

What's New at TCQ - Effervescence

Ok, so these posts were supposed to be a regular thing each time I upload a new collection to the website. And yes, they've kind of fallen by the wayside (again) but rather than go back and pick up where I *should* go back to, let's fast forward to last week's delivery of Robert Kaufman fabrics and the absolutely stunning Effervescence!

This collection first came out a couple of years ago and I meant to order it then, but never got around to it. Kaufman have recently added some new fabrics to the collection and they really are awesome. First up are three ombre prints which change colour across the width of the fabric.

Bright Ombre 17061-195

Here's a closer look at the print

Detail, Bright ombre

The remaining fabrics are smaller bubbles in a multitude of colours and combinations. Really can't decide which is my favourite! Today I'm feeling the love for the Mardi Gras colourway...

Mardi Gras Bubbles 17062-297

The fabrics are a digital print so they aren't cheap, but I think they're worth it. They've received a lot of love on social media so I don't think they'll be around for long.....

You can order them here.







Friday, 4 August 2017

The Importance of Auditioning Fabrics

A lot of quilters have design walls where they can lay their blocks out for the quilts they are working on. This has a dual purpose of inspiring (or nagging?) you whenever you go into your sewing room to carry on with your project, but it is also great for auditioning fabrics as it can be useful to be able to take a step back, not only to admire your work but also to see if a particular fabric combination is working. There are custom made design walls available on the market but a large piece of wadding pinned up works equally as well.

Unfortunately I don't have the room for a design wall so have to lay out my WIPs on the floor as best I can, and quite often that is a bit of a struggle, especially with three very inquisitive cats!


This last week I have been playing around with the new Sand in my Shoes fabric collection designed by McKenna Ryan. I just love her fabrics; subtle yet strong colours that blend so beautifully. Having made the quilt centre I was stuck about how to finish it off. I'd used a fat quarter bundle and had plenty of fabrics left so there was scope for adding a border.

First off, I thought about adding a simple pieced border

Excuse my little feet!

But felt this blended in too much so I wondered about adding a thin border of the ombre print in the collection instead....but which one?!


And then bingo! I could do both.....just needed to decide which colour worked best for me....

Green?
Turquoise?
or Purple?!

I went for the green option but I think all of them work well.

Ripples in the Sand Quilt

The fabrics will be at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham next week as well the finished quilt, well the top at least. Sadly I won't have time to quilt it beforehand. Kits will be available and the pattern will follow....both at the show and on the website.

Joanna


Monday, 29 May 2017

Quilt Show Recap - Quilts UK 2017

The first of the big, must-visit shows of the year is Quilts UK at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire. The showground has the wonderful Malvern Hills as it's backdrop. It's a beautiful setting and one of the reasons why the show is as popular as ever. And this year's show was no different.

My recap of the show is going to be a little sketchy though as I was only able to be there for a couple of days for personal reasons, namely my son starting his GCSEs. It's not easy knowing you need to be in two places at the same time when there is only you.

My parents did a great job as usual setting the stand up.


The quilts on display at the back were my Very Hungry Caterpillar and Galaxy Stars quilts, both of which have been projects in P&Q and my ever popular Ombre Squares quilt. The fabrics and kits for this quilt were probably the best sellers at the show, so much so that there are maybe only five or six kits left now.

So, for the days I was there; Thursday and Saturday, the show was very busy. Lots of visitors from near and far enjoying the lovely weather (in between the heavy showers) as well as the wonderful quilts on display. As my time at the show was brief and busy, I didn't get the chance to look at the quilts other than the Championship Quilt, 'Latin for Quilters' by Moira Neal. It was a quirky quilt but I loved some of the detail in it.


The quilt also won first place in the Theme category which this year was Gardener's World and the award for Fabric Painting

The only other quilt I managed to take a look at was 'Peony Ring' by Sally Bramald. This was stunningly quilted by Sally, as usual.


Peony Ring also came first in the Bed Quilt category.

Such was my time and the show so busy, that I didn't get the chance to go back to take flat shots of each quilt!

A week after the event now and I think I can say the show was my best ever at Quilts UK. Next up is the National Quilt Championships at the Sandown Racecourse in Esher, Surrey.

See you there?