New quilt commission

New quilt commission

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It has been ages since I’ve been commissioned to make a new quilt and I’ve missed it. A lovely local woman who’s got 6 month old twins (as well as two older children) donated money to my crowdfunding campaign in exchange for two quilts for the babies.

We had a meeting and she showed me some lovely things she had collected for their room including the playmat above. I then went away and came up with a design and bought some fabric and now I’m working on them.

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I’m making a central panel for each with their name on it, and their twins name worked into it too, and I’m using scrappy log cabin blocks around the outside. They are big blocks, about 10″ square. So much fun to make!

I have lots of other work I should be getting on with but I’m addicted to these blocks and the yummy colours

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Watch this space for more and don’t forget there’s still time to get your own heavily discounted quilt, or sewing classes, by donating to the crowd funding cause for a new sewing studio here.

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So where do you buy your fabric? This is where I buy my fabric!

So where do you buy your fabric? This is where I buy my fabric!

I guess by now you may have figured out I have  huge fabric habit…

So I thought I would share with you my favourite fabric shops, especially as I get asked by my students quite often where I recommend buying fabric.

Now you can find lovely stuff at your local market if you are prepared to root around and ask the stall holders what fabric it is (as often it is polycotton which I personally detest and would not use for anything other than toiles or for learners to practice on). And you can unearth some amazing bargains that way (£1/ meter for funky florals and cool checks).
But for most of my fabrics I either venture further afield to proper brick and mortar shops or most often, I go no further than my sofa and shop with a cuppa in my hand (or a glass of red like I am now!).
So here goes then for a list of great online fabric shops:
@ Fabric Rehab, a fantastically addictive online fabric shop. Most fabrics are sold by the FQ (fat quarter, a quarter of a yard) but can be bought by the meter by adding 4 FQs to your basket. A veritable smorgasbord of yummy fabrics and great customer services.
I have just spotted some fab retro cassette fabric I will be buying as soon as I post this blog post http://fabricrehab.co.uk/fabrics/retro-cassettes/
@ Eclectic Maker, a delicious online shop selling fabric, patterns, haberdashery and more. Check out this stack of cuteness:

@ Fancy Moon, I so love this shop… it sells Mexican day of the dead, Hawaian prints, cowboy prints, and camp as Christmas pin up fabric as well as many many more amazing hard to get prints, as well as patterns and haberdashery. Contact me for a discount code too! We love the guys n gals at this online shop SO much… Check out this cute Hawaian pin up print:

@  Sew-la-la, a cute shop selling lots of vintage inspired florals and spots as well as pompom trims etc.
@ The Eternal Maker, a wonderful shop selling all the latest Japanese fabrics as well as trims and buttons and tools and hard to get Japanese craft books. Look at this lovely flowery bolt of happiness!
@ Then of course there is Etsy. There is so much gorgeous fabric on there you could lose whole days on there (look under supplies). And shipping from the US to the UK is supercheap and pretty fast. Of course you run the risk your parcel gets intercepted by customs and you have to pay import duty but this has only happened to me a few times when I had boxes sent over, not when I order a few yards here and there.
@ Last but not least there is of course Ebay. Some of my earliest purchases were from lovely Ebayers (the Felt Fairy, Favourite Fabrics (see bundle below) etc) and some I still return to over and over.

HAPPY SHOPPING!!

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Husqvarna Viking 875 review

Husqvarna Viking 875 review

I splashed out and treated myself to a new sewing machine. I really wanted a machine with a bigger throat (the area to the right of the machine) for bigger quilts, and this seemed like the ideal compromise between price (it was not £2500 like the equivalent Bernina) and features (it has one of the largest work areas of a domestic machine for example. So I sold my industrial machine and my Husqvarna Rose and ordered the Viking 875.

And boy am I glad I did! It is amazing.

Some of the features I like:
*Automatic fixing of stitches at the beginning and end of stitching. No more backtacking. Ever.
*It automatically cuts your threads, and pulls the top thread down to the bottom of the fabric. So handy when you are in the middle of a large piece of fabric, no more endlessly long bobbing threads pulled out. Also good if you don’t want to move your sewing too much. Really handy.
* It adjusts the pressure on the foot automatically depending on what you are stitching. And this is not just a gimmick. I accidentally stitched some fabric with buttons which went under the presser foot, and it just went over the buttons like they weren’t there. No hiccups, no stalling, no jamming. Like a tank over an ant’s nest. And buttons is about the most extreme thing I would ever throw at it, and it just adjusted itself easily. Update: I stitched over hems made up of four layers of tweed and lining and it stitched it beautifully!
* The functions are mostly very intuitive. Good thing too as my machine shipped without a manual so I am having to figure it all out without one. Maybe helped by the fact that I was so familiar with the other Husqvarna’s functions but it is easy peasy to find your way around.
* Two bright lights. It lights up the whole sewing area, no more shadows on your work.
* It remembers your settings. So even when you turn your machine off it will go back into the stitch tension and needle position you were using. Annoying when you were previously reverse stitching as I discovered today but otherwise amazing. On the old machine I often left it on for hours or even days so it wouldn’t lose my settings. Now I can just turn it off. 
* The machine tells you when the bobbin thread is low. You can ignore it but then at least you have been warned. Really helpful!!
* When you start stitching it lowers the foot for you, when you take your foot off the pedal it raises the foot a little so you can pivot your work, and when you are finished (and have fixed and cut your threads) I will move the foot up and the needle out of your work so you can take your work out. Lowering and raising the foot is done by button at the front, no longer with a lever. Other than me automatically moving my hand to the back to do this (I am learning not to now!), it is very useful. And most of the lowering and raising is done exactly when you need it to be done so you don’t really all that often have to use those buttons.
* It has so many cool stitches!! Bicycles, cars, sweeties, stars, cross stitches, letters, hearts and about 150 more.

I have for the first time in about a year shoved the Jones straight stitch only aside and this is now my new baby!

Sorry, no pictures (yet) as my photostream from iPhone to Mac takes ages to update and I want to get this posted…

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cheeky handmades