Friday, 30 August 2013

...and then there was the fabric!

Sorry blog buddies, I've been rather remiss and not posted this week and I know you were beside yourselves with excitement/totally uninterested (tick whichever applies) to discover what treasures I bought at the quilt festival.

Just in case you are worried that you may not get your Literate Stitch fix I've got several half written posts in the pipeline. With a super, thrilling, not to be missed post all about buttonholes. Which reminds me of this hilarious typo by Craftsy - read it carefully it took me a minute...

Also in the mix, a post about a classic children's design that is as popular today as it was 50 years ago.

This was, in part, prompted by this fascinating series over at Sew Pony and in thinking about my style of design and where influences come from.

With this in mind I've had fun rifling through old photo albums and looking at things I've made over the years for my daughters who are now in their 20's, things my mother made for me in the 1960's and the clothes I make today.

However, for now, lets get back to this weeks post on the fluffy stuff.

You need to have a cast iron constitution and sharp elbows to run the gauntlet of quilters and sewers (as in a person who sews, not a conduit for waste matter!) at a show. These people are rude feisty when it comes to fabric. Go for the same fat quarter and it can be scissors at dawn. Apparently, and I really don't know how I missed this, Sewcalled received a kick on the shins when she picked up the same bolt as another insert appropriate adjective of your choice lady (although I use the term lady very loosely). And don't even get me started on those $£%^&* cabin sized suitcases on wheels (I'm ok with big ones in airports but that's it), they are lethal, and have absolutely NO PLACE ON THIS EARTH. They  should in fact be banned and the originator taken out back and stuffed in one of his own creations and yes it was definitely a him because no woman would be responsible for anything so stupid.
Do you get that I really don't like them.
I AM a nice person...

So where was I pre rant, ah yes, fluffy stuff.

The other thing, unless you earn pots of money or are married to a millionaire, is that you need to set yourself a budget and stick to it. This, readers, is almost impossible.

Setting the budget is incredibly straight forward.

1. How much spare cash do I have?
2. How much can I get away with spending without incurring the wrath of Khan?
3. What do I actually need (this is a tricky point and where you will tussle with the difference between want and need)?
4. Am I prepared to sell a kidney, cornea, leg, other non essential body part, to fund my fabric habit?

Now the, well nigh, impossible part is STICKING to your budget, because those naughty fabric purveyors are like drug pushers at a music festival. They tempt you in with all their gorgeousness until you are powerless to resist.

Go on, a little fat quarter won't hurt.

It's only £3, that's nothing.

Well I suppose one little fat quarter wouldn't hurt, but if I want to make something bigger I shall need more.

Better have a bit more to be on the safe side.

It's gorgeous and I don't want to miss out on it.


I'll take 2m.

Budget blown!

My biggest tip...

take cash and


It is incredible just how many fabric related emergencies there are!

There were a myriad of gorgeous shops represented at the show. Sewcalled and I were like kids in a sweet shop!

From the extensive riches of Barnyarns haberdashery and notions to Creative Grids awesome rulers. I even got a chance to say hello to Creative Grids, Youtube star, Rachel Cross #starstruck!

From whom I bought this -
The Piping Hot Binding tool as an aid to making the binding of which I am inordinately fond.

I have to say it was a great buy. I make A LOT of piping and this speeds up the process and makes it far more accurate.

Also represented were machine makers Bernina from Frank Nutt, Janome and Pfaff and there were some fun long arm machines to play on.

Some of the well know (in the UK fabric world) fabric purveyors such as Brenda Higgs, The Eternal Maker, The Cotton Patch and the reasonably local (an hours drive) to me Lady Sew and Sew in Henley were there with stands groaning under the weight of goodies.

There were also some of the smaller treasures including one of my personal favourites, Pin it and Stitch.

Check out the Pin it and Stitch Blog here and their Ebay shop here.

On the left of the photo is Tracey from Pin it and Stitch and on the right is Angela, who you can find blogging over at Heart of Charnwood here, who was helping out in place of Natalie who has just had a baby. Check out the Pin It and Stitch blog for a gorgeous photo of Natalie's little girl.

Pin it and Stitch may be relatively small but they are, oh so, perfectly formed and very photogenic  (thank you ladies). They are lovely, very,very friendly and helpful and  they have the most gorgeous fabrics. If I had the money I would buy ALL of their stock. Sadly my budget for the festival was very limited so I had to be content with these lovely pieces.

This first I bought to make my daughter a new cup cosy. Here's one I made earlier

It is part of the Lucy's Crab Shack range by Sweet Water for Moda and features names of various beaches that we have been to over the years when visiting the US. I made her one earlier in the year to protect her hands when holding hot or cold takeaway beverages. It was extremely successful... until she managed to dispose of one of the afore mentioned beverages with the cosy still attached, where it languished at the bottom of a city bin. She assures me she did look in to the bin and considered retrieving it but decided asking me to make a new one was a preferable option. I like to think that some down and out somewhere is sipping his tea from a cup encased in my warm cosy but I rather suspect as it couldn't be drunk, smoked or eaten it's probably at the bottom of the city tip rotting quietly, well at least it was biodegradable.

The second was this... just because. I love the colours and the simplicity of the design.

I shall most definately be back to see the lovely ladies as soon as budget allows. I need to sort out this years Christmas fabric before too much longer!

I'm lusting after these at the moment

Moda Cherry Christmas by Aneela Hoey
Merry Little Christmas by Riley Blake

I also couldn't resist calling into one of my other favourites, The Eternal Maker. Pleeeeeeease don't ask why I didn't get a photo although one reason was that the stand was just so darn popular you couldn't get near it.
1. they are just really lovely people, very calm, friendly and extremely helpful considering the madness that was going on around them.

2. why wouldn't they be when they had this, which I thought were sloths but are, in fact, monkeys. But definitely came home with me.

It is, gots certified, organic 100% cotton from Birch  and is called Monkey Swing from the Safari Soiree collection by Dan Stiles for  Birch Organic Fabrics available from The Eternal Maker

which is another from Birch
this time Soiree Teal from the  Safari Soiree collection by Dan Stiles. From The Eternal Maker on this page.

and this
another certified organic from Birch, this time Squirrels Sun from the Camp Sur collection.

and finally this.
Again from Birch and certified organic.
Meadow Friends  Shroom  in the Storyboek 2  collection again from The eternal Maker here.

They had all sorts of other lovelies and I've still got my eyes on some of their other sumptuous fabric but I've got to be patient! I'm trying to think of a good excuse for going to their bricks and mortar shop in Chichester but I can't quite justify it at the moment. I've got all sorts of plans for the  purchases I did make though, so watch this space.

And in case you were wondering, none of the shops featured had any idea I was going to write about them, except that I asked the Pin it and Stitch ladies if I could take their photograph for a blog post (but they didn't know what I was going to write. I did not receive any payment, freebies or discounts for including them and the opinions here are entirely my own based on experience.

Oh, and no small suitcases on wheels were harmed during the writing of this blog (but that's not to say they won't be in future, I have a seam ripper and I'm not afraid to use it!! Don't say you haven't been warned).

Kate (aka The Literate Stitch)