Monday, 28 November 2011

Charm pack quilting

We now have a nice selection of Moda Charm Packs in both Frome and Wells, so we thought we would show you a quilt that Jen A-C, one of our customers, recently completed.
This is a simple quilt, made using the Disappearing Nine Patch design (the link takes you to a basic tutorial on creating this design).

2 Moda Sophie Charm Packs (or 81 x 5" squares),
30cm of pale cream fabric for the framing border,
1m of brown spots for the main border and binding,
1.5m of wadding
1.5m of red gingham for the backing.

These materials make a finished quilt that is approx. 125cm square. This is a reasonable size to machine-quilt without needing a special long-arm quilting machine. Jen quilted hers using the shadow technique, with lines around each of the blocks in the centre panel. She quilted the border more densely, with parallel lines every cm or so. The finished quilt is already in much demand in her sitting room!
You can read more about Jen's quilt over on her blog: JenACKnitwear's Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt
Do call the shop if you would like the supplies to make your own quilt (01373 464650).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Introducing... Angela Lai Yen

This week we are delighted to tell you a bit more about Angela! We caught up with her at her studio at the Black Swan.

1) How did you learn to sew? Is it something that you've always done?
I really can't remember when I started sewing, it sounds like a cliché, but I've been sewing for as long as I can remember.  When I was little I didn't like hand-sewing as I couldn't stand the feel of felt! I do however remember doing lots of cross stitch and that was all self taught. I just muddled through it - you should have seen the backs of my stitching - it was a right old mess!

2) What is your favourite type of sewing project?
I love freehand embroidery. It's like drawing with the sewing machine. It's quite difficult to get to grips with but if you keep at it, the rewards are endless. I find I still stumble across new techniques and ways to create images. I love that you don't lose your individual style and messiness is good, as it all adds to it.

3) How did you come to work at Millie Moon? And what do you enjoy most about being part of team Millie Moon?
Becki and I we used to work together in a non-creative job. She would juggle that job with trade fairs and the beginnings of Millie Moon, whilst I would every so often dash off to do various workshops. Back then she would say to me, "So when are you going to do workshops for me". One day I pulled my finger out and the rest as they say is history. The best thing about being a part of the Millie Moon team is that because we all come from creative backgrounds, we are really supportive of each other. We bounce ideas off one another, and ideas of all sorts are continuely flowing. Becki and Rachel are great - they are not afraid to try new things and have interesting ideas of their own. They have such vision its really inspiring!

Angela runs classes to make freehand-embroidered plaques
4) What gadget or tool could you not live without for crafting?
Without a doubt it would be my silver stork scissors. They are small, sharp and really useful for snipping as you sew. Once I lost them, along with a lovely tin I had full of pins, I was devastated. Now I always store them somewhere safe.

5) Who inspires you? And why? - Tempting links ahead warning!
As well as textiles and sewing, I love printmaking and I'm forever finding new people who inspire me. At the moment I'm enjoying the work of printmaker Angie Lewin. I love the earthy colours in her work and she takes the floral theme and infuses it with a comtemporary aura. 
I also adore the intensely detailed and decorative screen prints of Clare Halifax, you have to see her work in the flesh to really appreciate it. Every so often I will wonder over the Rostra and Rooksmoor Gallery in Bath to gaze at them. Highly recommended. 
Laura Amiss is an illustrator and designer that I have newly discovered from Holland. Laura works with textiles to produce delicate handmade canvas inspired by the everyday.

Thanks so much for talking to us Angela! If you would like to see more of Angela's work, then you can visit her blog (Angela Lai Yen) or pop in to either the Frome or Wells branches of Millie Moon, and she also has a studio at The Black Swan in Frome. If you would like to try your hand at Freehand Embroidery, then Angela runs regular workshops in Frome. Do call the shop for more information, or to make a booking (01373 464650).

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Blog Review: I'm a Ginger Monkey

As we were updating our blog list (on the right of the main blog homepage), we thought we would explain what makes our favourite blogs so special.

First up is I'm a Ginger Monkey. Monkey Do (AKA I'm a Ginger Monkey) is a blog of pure quilting enthusiasm. Katy shares her projects and designs with a sense of joy that is dangerously infectious.

This recent quilt is particularly stunning, isn't it?
zombie constellation
Katy made it with her own adaptations, starting from a design in Issue 5 of Fat Quarterly.

There are many reasons for making I'm a Ginger Monkey a regular blog read, but over and above the regular posts, there is also a wealth of information in the tutorial section. It contains downloadable instructions for some lovely projects and techniques. The instructions on binding a quilt are among the clearest we've seen, and we're loving the quilt designs as well. The instructions and photography are clear, leaving no questions about how to carry out each step.

Katy also does regular reviews of the latest fabric lines and gadgets. Her posts regularly send us scurrying off to check out the newest arrivals from our suppliers. She visited Quilt Market in the States just last month, and her round-up of booths left us more impatient than ever for next season's fabrics to arrive.

Finally, Katy is part of the team at the modern quilting e-zine, Fat Quarterly. If you haven't heard of FQ, then, do head straight over and download an issue. It's a must-read for quilters wanting to try new ideas and hear about the latest products.

Which blogs to you read regularly? Please do let us know.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Introducing... Vickie Piper

Vickie is absolutely the newest member of the staff team at the Frome shop. She shares some of her crafting loves with us...
1) When did you first get bitten by the crafting bug?
I suffered through needlework classes at school, and it wasn't until I went to the local comprehensive school that we were allowed to design our own projects. I made a pink satin cushion in the shape of a scalloped shell. I loved it, and they put it in the cabinet in reception!

I then had a bit of a break until I became a Mum, and was inspired to start making things again. I wanted fun, funky things for my son, and decided the best way to do that was to make my own.

2) What sorts of things do you like to make?
I mostly make things for children, and particularly for boys. I love to make presents for friends and family - soft toys, dressing up outfits and all sorts really. I recently developed a bag to use on the front of my son's scooter. He uses it to keep things in while he is out and about. They have been really popular!

Vickie's Scooter bags have been a real hit!
3) Which tool is indispensable in your sewing kit?
I am completely in love with disappearing ink felt-tips. They are the most brilliant invention ever! We sell them in the shop, and I use them for marking out before I cut fabric, and particularly felt. They are super for small appliqué projects as well. You can use them for any type of marking on fabrics and I wouldn't want to be without mine.

4) Who inspires you creatively?
I really enjoy reading other people's blogs. Even if I don't do their craft, I love to see what people are up to. One of my favourites is Male Pattern Boldness. He's a New Yorker who sews up wonderful creations from vintage dress patterns - often for himself.

I also love Mollie Makes - the new craft magazine from Future Publishing. I find it really inspiring reading. It's like a blog digest, with ideas from all round the world.

If you want to keep abreast of Vickie's crafting adventures, then check out her blog: Fromemaid. Vickie also Tweets as Fromemaid. She is also booked to run some crafting workshops in the new year, so keep an eye out for the new season's workshop programme, or call the shop (01373 464650) for further information.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Introducing... Gaynor Ringland

Gaynor has been running workshops at Millie Moon for a couple of years, and has recently joined the team working in the Frome/Wells shop. We caught up with her to find out more about her sewing habits.

1) How did you learn to sew? Is it something that you've always done?
Ummm... I'm afraid that I taught myself the basics, but my Mum did show me how to do embroidery when I was a girl.

2) What is your favourite type of sewing project? Do you have a picture you could share with us?
I really like to make collages using paper and fabrics. I love the combinations and the different textures and messing around until they look good (see picture below).

3) How did you come to work at Millie Moon? And what do you enjoy most about being part of team Millie Moon?
I am the new girl! I have been running workshops for Rachel and Becki for a couple of years and I supply the shop with some of my goodies (finished collages as well as collage kits). I was so glad when they asked me to be part of the team, as I love spending time in the shop. It's very inspirational!

4) What gadget or tool could you not live without for crafting?
Well I suppose my main tool is my sewing machine. I'm not very good with gadgets as I am rubbish at reading instructions. I just want to get on with it!

5) Who is your favourite fabric designer/ textile artist/ sewing-related person? And why?
I love Abigail Brown's fabric birds (follow these links at your peril - this is a temptation warning!), they are gorgeous. Also, Tamar Mogendorff makes lovely birds and houses. Anyone that makes birds is a winner, oh and Poppy Treffry, I think her work is very distinctive and very English.

6) Where can we see more of your work?
You can find my work in Millie Moon shops in both Frome and Wells, and I shall be at the Christmas at the Barn in Mells at the end of November.

Finally, Gaynor runs workshops regularly, so keep an eye out for the new timetable and do call the shop (01373 464650) to find out more!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Introducing... Rachel Le Page

Have you wondered who makes the quilts? Which team member creates wonderful collages? And who loves nothing better than to bake cakes?
Each week we will be interviewing a member of Team Millie Moon, and all of the answers will be revealed!

Rachel will be a familiar face to most Millie Moon customers, as she owns the shop jointly with her sister, Becki. We caught up with Rachel in the Frome shop, and asked her about her sewing habits...

Rachel loves to bake... and quilt!
1) How did you learn to sew?
I had needlework lessons at school when I was growing up. They weren't very inspiring, and the projects were mostly pretty horrid. But it must have sparked something in me, as I started to make things at home. I borrowed my Mum's sewing machine, and made clothes. I remember, I must have been about 14, and I used to lay dresses onto fabric and cut out pieces. I didn't know what I was doing, but I enjoyed it.

I then had a break for quite a few years before picking up my sewing needle again, about 8 years ago, when I had my first child.

2) What sorts of things do you like to make?
Cakes! I adore baking... Oh, sorry, did you mean sewing?

I mostly make quilts. I love combining fabric for specific projects - making gifts for friends and family. I rarely sew for myself, and I lack the precision needed for dressmaking!

3) What gadget could you not live without having?
Rachel made this quilt for her niece
Undoubtably my rotary cutter. It's brilliant for cutting pieces for patchwork. It gives me precision. I love it!

4) Who inspires you to create?
At the moment I'm having a hard time holding myself back from the new Aneela Hoey Little Apples layer cakes. They are absolutely gorgeous! I think they would make a wonderful quilt for a child or an adult. I'm also a big fan of anything Scandinavian. I adore the Tilda fabric range - such simple beauty.

Rachel also looks after the Millie Moon Twitter account (@MillieMoonShop), so do say hello and share pictures of what you've been making either on our Facebook group, or on Twitter.