Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why a quilt isn't a blanket

Or a throw or a doona.
Tell a quilter that you like their 'blanket', and watch the steam come out of her ears. But why is it so insulting? It's a complex reason, but let me explain.

A quilt is composed of three layers. This is a woven cloth top, a layer of batting and a woven back. They are held together using the technique of quilting. A blanket is a large piece of cloth. 

For me, quilting is about many things. Friendship, legacy, creativity and skill come to mind. But, most importantly, quilting is about love. 
A quilt made for my good friend Gev, while he was undergoing treatment for cancer
I have friends through social media, bees and blogs and I have real life friends in my local quilt groups (some have started as online and turned into real life friends). My best friend and I love our sewing days, where we escape without the kids and sew together. We can chat about life, drink coffee, eat cake and sometimes we actually get some sewing done! Occasionally we get away together and retreat with a needle and thread or take classes as well. 

I am also lucky enough to be part of the most amazing quilt group. My guild friends are generous, warm and supportive. We can work through any problems together, drawing on our experience. We can learn together, attending classes and often teach each other new and exciting skills.  
The history of quilts began long, long ago. People in almost every part of the world have quilts in their history. It's a great tradition, passed down through generations and a skill mothers have taught their daughters (some of us more recently, however, have had to teach ourselves – that’s a whole other post). My mum taught me sewing, and now quilting. I know I am lucky to have a mother who knows how to sew and can teach me. Often, mothers of similar aged friends don't have this skill. It is certainly one I will pass to my children - even if they don’t want me too! 

Hours are spent sewing and researching, building a fabric stash, reading techniques and finding inspiration. Making a quilt takes many more hours than just the time actually sewing. It's a skill that I constantly work on and will forever improve upon. Quilting is my art, my creative outlet. It's where I imagine, play with colour and can create infinite possibilities.

Finally, quilts are about love. Quilters are some of the most generous people around. We make quilts for new babies, to celebrate marriages or say thank you. We make them for our children's beds, to warm a sick friend or just to say I love you. They might take hours, weeks, months or years to make. They are a labour of love and we usually give them away, no strings attached.

With all this in mind, quilts are amazing, complex and utilitarian. They can be beautiful and thought provoking. They are works of art that warm us on a cold night. They are a link to our past and our future. They are made with love.

This is why my quilts are so much more than blankets.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Polka Dot Tea fabric shop

I am pleased to announce Polka Dot Tea are my new blog sponsor!

Polka Dot Tea was started by two quilters with a love for modern, interesting and quirky fabrics. They have a beautiful selection of quality fabric from Japan and beyond, as well as a great selection of Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids. I have a rainbow bundle just waiting for a special project, keep your eye out on instagram for that one! They are so soft and the colours are amazingly vibrant! Take your pick from Liberty, Yuwa, Leicen and Michael Miller.

I have posted my three favourite bundles - you can visit their online store to see their complete range.

one: Liberty of London bundle

two: Cotton Couture rainbow bundle

three: Kei hexacomb print bundle

Thanks for stopping by. I know you will love Polka Dot Tea's fine fabrics as much as me. And, by supporting my sponsors, you are helping to support me too.

Crystal x

Sunday, March 23, 2014

But I’m not creative!

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people tell me 'but I'm not creative'... I always have the same answer. Rubbish! I truly believe everyone has creative in them. Sure, it's a skill that you have to dedicate time for, but we all start somewhere. If you want to sew, embroider, make something, please, give it a go! What's the worse that can happen?

Patterns and kits these days can help take all the guess work out of colour choices and design for a beginner. They are a great place to start. One of my first quilts was a kit. The fabric had been chosen and the pattern was all there, ready to go. When I look back at my beginner quilts I can see the mistakes I made. I remember a baby quilt I made, and when I cut the strips, I cut them along the selvedge, instead of across. I can't remember how I worked it out that I had cut it wrong, probably mum told me, but I grew from this mistake. Other quilts had questionable fabrics and colour choices. But, I learnt and grew again.

When my daughter gets frustrated at a new skill, I remind her that she needs to practise. I tell her – remember when you couldn’t whistle? Or when you were learning to ride your bike? Now look at you, how did you get good at those things? By practising. Well, I have the same advice for you.

If you want to be good at your craft and close the gap between where you are and where you want to be, you must practise. You must also practise being patient - which we could all use a little more of in our lives. The more I sew, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more challenges I take. The more challenges I take, the more I am inspired and the more I grow.

As we create, we learn, we grow. The use of our hands is very important for us and something we miss sitting on the computer all day (ironic as I type this post). The skill of making, of doing is lost when we do not do. Creating something from scratch can be complex
, meditative, difficult and enjoyable. And the best bit about creating something? You have something to show for your hard work at the end.

So, next time you think you aren't creative, or you could never make that, hear me reply, rubbish! Give it a go! Create something. Cook, plant, paint, knit, sew, draw, it really doesn’t matter what you choose. Try, practise, make mistakes and enjoy making. You never know what you will create next!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Retro space rocket quilt

I have listed my first quilt for sale on Etsy! I am planning on listing many more quilts and handmade items in the coming months. I also took the opportunity to take some photos of Archie! What a cutie! He would not sit down for a photo. Cest la vie, standing it is!

This boy's quilt is perfect for your little rocket man! A handmade quilt to cherish featuring a cute retro space panel and hand selected co-ordinating prints.

A variety of beautiful cotton fabric in blues, reds, yellows and olive. These bold colours are complimented by the large panels, showing off the great range of fabrics. Organic straight lines echo the panels and provide a functional and strong, yet stylish quilt. Handmade with 100% high quality cotton fabrics and batting, by machine (including the binding). The quilt measures 34 x 36 inches (86 x 91 centimetres).

Are you looking for a custom quilt? Please contact me and we can discuss your requirements!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A workshop with Helen Godden

On Friday I had a free motion quilting (FMQ) with Helen Godden. It was a great day and I learnt so much. Helen's background is art and as she had no experience sewing before she started FMQing, she had nothing to unlearn. She has won some amazing awards and many of them on a machine she borrowed from her mum!  She taught us the secrets about FMQing - its 'll about cleavage, swans and Hugh JackmanCheck out Helen's bling!

I still have a way to go, but I have begun. And you gotta start somewhere, right? I bought some grippy gloves (from Bunnings) and I'm going to have another crack today. I hope this is the start of something great. Like anything, practice makes perfect! I'll try to remember that when I'm having a bad day. Have you learnt something new lately? How do you keep motivated when you're not quite there yet?

I'm linking up with SEWjo (sewing mojo) today over on the My Go-Go Life blog