Some days I find that everything just kind of comes together as if it were meant to be, and yesterday was most definitely one of those days. Unexpectedly so, I might add!
It started off like a regular day, except I went to have my nails done. At the moment I seem to have temporarily escaped from my pink-and-purple rut, and am now in a most definitely blue-aqua-green frame of mind (I’m blaming the bad influence of Ms E and Ms JJ for this!). The weather here has been somewhat miserable these past few weeks – rainy, overcast, not much sun – and so I chose a glorious bluey-green colour polish, as it made me think of the colour of the sea in the Caribbean. I think it’s gorgeous, and I came home happy, admiring my nails all the way.
Imagine my surprise when, arriving home, I found not one, but 2 parcels waiting for me in my mailbox! Since I started my quilting-fabric fast back in January, parcels in mailboxes have become a rare occurrence chez LPC… Needless to say, I was suitably excited, and scurried up to the apartment to discover what was in them. And I was not disappointed!
The first parcel contained some Linton fabric I’d ordered a few weeks back to make a new cardigan jacket. Since my couture sewing class, I now understand what went wrong last time around, so I decided to put my new-found knowledge into practice by making a new, improved version of the sadly-flawed original. In a turquoise-green fabric with golden-yellow and blue flecked ribbons woven through it. All summery and fresh and beautiful. Mmmmmmm 🙂 I’d actually forgotten I’d ordered it, so it was a wonderful surprise.
The fabric actually came with a cute Linton label!
Close up of the Linton fabric
The second parcel was altogether more special, as it contained an adorable bag made for me by the wonderful Katy of The Littlest Thistle. Earlier this year, I participated in her sew-along to make a lovely messenger style bag. And for participating, I won a prize. And this was it…
My new little clutch bag!
Metallic gold flap and cute heart magnetic clasp
Botanics lining – I love that fabric!
What’s more, tucked inside as an extra surprise were 3 beautiful mini charm packs, which I have to admit I drooled over and petted (well, this was my first new quilting fabric in months!)
Katy had thoughtfully made this bag in green and gold chevrons fabric, which not only matches the green and gold in my jacket fabric to perfection…
… but also co-ordinates pretty darn well with my newly-painted nails! (Mr. Boy also seems to approve!)
All in all, a day of serendipitous surprises 🙂
In less than a month I will be at the next Patchwork in the Peaks!
Patchwork in the Peaks is a bi-annual quilt retreat, run by my wonderful friend, Ms E. In April and October each year, a group of lovely ladies gather in Morzine in the French Alps to quilt their hearts out for four days. I’ve gone to every retreat since the start, I’ve made some fantastic friends, and it’s a wonderful way to spend a long weekend. You can read all about October’s retreat here.
Quilting with a view!
(Incidentally, it seems that 2 spots have opened up on the upcoming retreat – if you’re at all interested, I’d hurry up and snap one of them up before someone else does, seeing as they were all taken within a week of registration opening back in December – click here to find out more…)
But I digress…
As always, we’ll all be working on the same project during the retreat, and this time around it’s going to be a Mystery Quilt. I’m really excited to see how it’s all going to turn out, but it’s also rather daunting to choose fabric when you have no idea what you’re making. Oh, and when you’re on a Fabric Fast and so have to use what you already have rather than jump in and use the lovely Fat Quarter Shop discount for Peaks participants…
So what to do?
Back in February, I read this post from Isisjem, and it really struck a chord. Isisjem is also on a Fabric Fast, and she writes about approaching her stash as if it were a fabric store, with the idea that anything can be used for any project, rather than seeing it as a precious hoard of beautiful fabric to be saved for something special. I’m totally guilty of doing this with certain Too-Beautiful-To-Cut-Into fabrics (you know the kind..), but if I’m brutally honest, this means they’ll likely never get used because a) I have so much fabric already and b) I already have so many projects and ideas in the pipeline.
So I have decided that as of now, any fabric in my stash should be fair game, and I have spent this morning ‘shopping’ for the Peaks Mystery Project – a throw sized quilt which will finish at 58″ x 74 1/2″.
Obviously, I need to start with the focus fabric. All I know is that it should ideally be a large scale print, and I will need 1 1/8 yards of it. This already takes a whole load of my stash out of the running, as I have a lot of fabric cuts of 1 yard or less. And so, after a hard morning’s work, I have narrowed down my choice to one of 11 different fabrics, all large-scale prints
Well, it’s a start, right?!
Amy Butler – Love – Cypress Paisley
P&B Textiles – Florentine
Michael Miller – Eiffel Tower
Holly Holderman – Jolie Jardin
Philip Jacobs – Trumpet Flower
Gift from the wonderful Ms JJ
Robert Kaufmann – Tuscan Wildflower
Kaffe Fassett – Dancing Leaves
Yuko Hasegawa for RJR Fabrics
Hoffman International – Indulgence
Philip Jacobs – Coleus
As you can see, I have a wide variety of colours and styles of fabric in my stash! Some of them have been in there for several years, waiting for the right project. Is this that project? Who knows!
I think I know which one I want to use, but I’m going to sleep on it for a few days before making a final decision.
And anyway, I’m interested – which one do you like best????
Linking up today with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday – because, hey, pulling fabric for a new quilt counts as a work in progress…
Over the years I’ve discovered the Caribbean from afar. I’ve read books and articles about the islands, seen documentaries, and drooled over friends’ holiday photos. I knew that all the islands have a different character, and were a riot of colours. That the flowers were hot pinks and reds, the foliage lush and green, the sands (generally speaking) almost white, soft and fine, and that the sea was a glorious, ever-changing shade of turquoise.
But it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that I finally made it here for the first time and the beautiful reality of it just blew me away.
As a quilter, I love colour, and so, naturally, I was in my element! And all I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks is how to capture the essence of the Caribbean in a quilt.
Or, indeed, in several 🙂
Blues, aquas, turquoises
Luscious shades of green
Yellows and oranges
Hot pinks, purples and reds
These photos may not even begin to do it justice, but hopefully will be enough to spark memories of the beautiful colours that we saw during our wonderful holiday.
I’m still not sure how I want to capture all this vibrancy in quilt form, but the Caribbean we saw was gloriously untamed and wild with colour, so I’m pretty sure it will be scrappy and probably quite improvisational. And thanks to an impromptu gift from the wonderful RR, I know what I’m going to use for the backing…
And one more thing I’m sure of is that I just can’t wait to get started!
Over the winter months, I tend to do less dressmaking. In the summer I love wearing flirty skirts and pretty sundresses, both of which are fun to make, but during the winter I usually feel less inspired. I’ve been working on the same dress for a couple of months now. It’s a simple shift dress, made from an off-cut of beautiful grey wool which I picked up for a song in New York back around Thanksgiving, and I’m lining it with a gorgeous turquoise coloured satin. The dress is coming along well – all that’s really left to do is line and hem it – and if I like the end result, I’m planning to use the same pattern to make a dress to wear to Miss S and Mr E’s wedding in May, using some glorious pale blue French linen I bought in Paris a few weeks back.
Shift dress Lining
But as February is coming to an end, my thoughts have once again been turning to the warmer months ahead, and, in particular, to our upcoming holiday. In two weeks’ time, RR and I are flying away for some summer sun in the Caribbean. We’ll be spending 3 days relaxing on Barbados, followed by a week-long cruise aboard a Clipper ship. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it immensely! We’ve never been to the Caribbean, and we’ve never been away in the winter to some place sunny, and we love Clipper cruising, so we’re both very excited! But what to take to wear??? Back in January, I had a massive re-organisation of my sewing room, and since then all my dressmaking fabric has been moved from the top shelf of the spare room wardrobe. It’s now temptingly on display in my glass-doored fabric cupboard, bang in the middle of my sewing room. I see it every time I’m in there or walk past it (which is most of the time, to be honest!) And sitting on the top of the stack of dressmaking fabric are some beautiful prints, ideal for making pretty, summery skirts and dresses. So the combination of our upcoming holiday and having all my fabric on view has got me inspired with my dressmaking again. So far, I’ve made two summery skirts, and I’ve earmarked some fabric to make a sundress to take with me on holiday (which is also turquoise – my new favourite colour, it seems!)
A-line skirt with wide yoke and box pleats Panelled straight skirt with flared hem
I’m back in the UK at the moment (hopefully the skirts will still fit by the time I get back home!), but now I’m absolutely raring to go with the sundress and my wedding outfit for May. And I’m pretty sure that when I do get started next week, I will have plenty of ‘help’ from my chief sewing assistant, Mr. Boy. Whilst Mimi Bubba likes to help me quilt, usually by plonking her not insubstantial bulk on top of whatever I happen to be piecing or quilting, Mr. Boy prefers to help out with dressmaking. And his favourite activities to help with are stealing tape measures and lying on top of crinkly-sounding pattern paper. What a helpful boy! It’s a good thing I love him, isn’t it?!