QuiltedBird on Tour – Frome & Amsterdam

The Quilted Bird is nothing, if not dedicated and a little sneaky!

Amsterdam

New KLM flights have been flying from Manston in Kent to Amsterdam this year, so Husband and I set off on a weekend away. We arrived in a very sunny Amsterdam, middle of a heatwave… and I’m still in quilting mode (never out of it really!). Having done a little sneaky bit of research online before we left, I suggested we take a walk around town…

What’s this I say… Why it’s a quilt shop… What are the odds?

Husband not impressed 🙂 sneak wife one… Husband nil!

BirdBlocks shop

Fortunately he was patient enough for me to have a look around, he is a quilter’s husband after all. Birdblocks was a shop crammed with vibrant fabrics! Too exciting for words! Alongside the beautiful Moda, Michael Miller and batiks, there were other more unusual fabrics including some with glitter.

I love the little block design on the shop’s labels.

The shop had some beautiful packs made up, so I selected one of these and some interesting looking batiks. They had a wonderful quilt hanging up that had a scene of Amsterdam on it… Was tempted to buy the pattern but you know I have more than enough quilts on the go already!!!

Birdblocks label

Happy with my purchases in my hand, we could move on 🙂 I am sure husband is plotting revenge… Maybe a sports museum somewhere??

The rest of the holiday passed with no other sneaky behaviour… Except maybe the purchase of a Dutch Miffy… Well when in the Netherlands….

Frome, Somerset

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege to visit friends in Wiltshire and thought we would spend Saturday afternoon in near by Frome. Frome is a beautiful town with little side streets hiding lots of interesting independent shops.

I had heard lots of exciting things about the town and was looking forward to nosing around the shops. Catherine Hill has lots of interesting shops, lots of arts and crafts, as well as vintage and independent clothes shops thrown into the mix.

Catherine HillFrome street

I popped into Millie Moon, a small haberdashery, with some quirky fabrics on sale. I purchased some bits and looked at their course list which had lots of interesting sessions coming up… Though a 6 hour round trip might be a bit extreme for me! But if you live in the area check it out!

Further up the road, Mary Kilvert has a shop selling her fantastic sheep design on mugs, tea towels and bags as well as many other of her own designs. The sheep design came from a children’s book Mary wrote.

Mary Kilvert Tote Bag, Copyright Mary Kilvert

Mary Kilvert Tote Bag, Copyright Mary Kilvert

I loved the shop, and couldn’t leave without a little purchase. My sheep tote bag has attracted lots of attention and I love telling the story about the sheep. You can buy Mary Kilvert goodies from her website http://www.marykilvert.com/

We then ventured to the other side of town which has lots of fantastic interior design shops giving us lots of ideas for the house. The independent clothes shops has some fantastic statement clothes, one particular dress I am still dreaming about today!

We finished the afternoon at the Black Swan Arts & Craft centre which again had lots of quirky pieces including lots of independent designers.

Independent shops seem to be making a comeback in recent years and I love getting presents (both for me and others 🙂 ) that might be a little different and not so easily found.

I would thoroughly recommend an afternoon spent in this town!

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My Hometown and Hometown my Local Fat Quarter Supplier!

All over the county independent shops are starting a revival; kitsch, quirky, interesting, unique and vibrant, Rochester High Street is almost entirely occupied by independent retailers. Twice a year an influx of visitors arrive from all over the world for the Dickens Festival, with the Christmas one being particularly manic!

Dickens Christmas Festival

My Hometown is also home to Hometown, the quilt shop the place where I first learnt the dark art of cutting fabric and piecing it all back together. And a name that appears all too frequently on my bank balance!! Full of bright and vibrant fabrics, the shop is a haven for local quilter and it is always busy with people stocking up on supplies, Hometown is one of my favourite places to go. It is the one shop where I am known by my name and I must admit that makes me feel part of the community.

Hometown

A frisson of excitement was greeted at the news that Hometown was on the move! After  5 years of occupying a wee space on Rochester High Street, Hometown would be moving! But breathe easy its only to a couple of doors up, to an even bigger space HURRAH!!! At the last course we all talked about what it would be like, how big the workshop space might be and obviously that there might be even more fabric!!

Last week was the grand opening, I popped down on the Saturday in desperate need of some wadding and some fabric that wasn’t quite so desperately needed 🙂 It was bright and early but the shop was already buzzing with lots of nosy quilters like me, eager to see the new digs! And we weren’t disappointed! The shop is huge with plenty of room for us to all move around without annoying each other and so light and bright!

Hometown Mark 2

Armed with my wadding and some new fabrics I really didn’t need, I chatted to fellow quilters who were equally enthralled with the new shop. Needless to say the new shop is a success and I can’t wait for the next course to see the new workshop space!!

Pesky Unfinished Craft Projects!

We all have those ‘Unfinished’ projects in all walks of life, but in crafts it is endemic! We always start off with the best intentions, make lavish purchases of fabric or other supplies and start all gung-ho!

This often happens when I decide to ‘branch out’ and make something ‘different’. For example the below bag, I had never made one before and I had lots of this really nice fabric with berries and strawberries which I thought would do nicely for the back and the inside. So I started with marked enthusiasm, getting to complete the inside and the outside sections in a couple of hours. I made one handle and then for some unknown reason got bored or scared and stopped!!

Unfinished project finally completed

Utter madness! I was so nearly there, anyway long story short, I found it this a couple of  weekends ago and the fabric I had cut for the second handle, so on my day off I set to finishing this ‘Unfinished Craft Project’ I had started 8 or so months ago!!

Though I have to point out that not all ‘Unfinished’ projects are so easy to complete!

Take that (stupid) cross stitch project I started which is on the smallest point you have ever seen, sewing 10 crosses takes an age and you cant even tell if you’ve actually put the thread through the right hole… so it wasn’t long till it was thrown on ‘that’ pile!

Patchwork Quilting, although easily my favourite craft, always seems to stop at the same point! The sandwiching and quilting bit! I love choosing fabrics, cutting them up and putting it all back together but I’m not a huge fan of the quilting bit (ironic I suppose!), which means I have about 4 quilts on the go! Well 5 if you count that one I started and then couldn’t be bothered to finish!! See it’s endemic!

A couple of weeks ago I went on a free motion quilting course and I think it might be my Salvation! When I was brave enough to actually do it on a quilt, it took no time at all to completely finish it! Now I have great plans for my other waiting quilts… shame about that sandwiching bit… Well there’s always something!!

The not so secret ‘Secret Fabric Stash’

I have a confession to make… I am addicted to buying fabric!

and I am sure I am not alone in this addiction. I have more fabric that I could ever possibly use yet this has not slowed purchasing down, for example last week I bought a further 6 fat quarters… and they weren’t even matching.

When I got home I wanted to start a new quilt, my husband pointed out the unfinished quilts in the corner…

There is something about starting a new project that is so much more attractive than finishing an old one. A few weeks ago I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace and there they had an exhibition of unfinished work which was amazing to see. They had asked people to send in projects they had started and not finished, there were half sewn tapestries,  bits of patchwork quilts and forlorn scarfs too short to wear. Basically it was an exhibition of good intentions. I am sure we can all relate!

Should I admit that more fabric was bought here too?

The thing about my secret stash of fabric, is that it is no longer secret as there are boxes of them! And then there are the bits that are randomly dotted around the house, craft corner is more like craft room -come- living room in my house.

I am a sucker for the idea of a new quilt and fabric picking is one of the best parts. Some manufacturers like ‘Moda’ tease you with fabric you need to buy there and then or miss out because once it is gone its gone. So there you go there is always an excuse, this will be perfect for so and so, I might not see it again, this is for the big project I have always been planning and so on! My husband has heard them all.

I probably shouldn’t mention the box of scraps I can’t bare to get rid of, well it might be useful for something… like a quilt for a hamster?