May 2018

May was a bit of a funny month as I struggled to get into a new routine. The backstory... early 2015, I closed my studio shop with the plan on doing more creative work (writing and designing). It had become quite adminy and if you ever want to know about the hard work vs margins that go into running a bricks and mortar fabric business I can let you know. However, as things happen, two months later I became Editor of the magazine Popular Patchwork. It was fab and I loved it, full-time and hard work though as we were on a four-week deadline, so in March 2017 I left and was looking forward to working on my own projects more. I hadn't picked up a needle for ages. The lovely new editor, Emma, asked me to stay on part-time as freelance technical editor which really suited me. I could work as and when I wanted (as long as I kept to deadlines) so it slotted in well between other work and projects. In April the team learned the issue we were working on would be our last. The company had several years back acquired another quilting magazine and the decision had been made to incorporate PP into the other mag. In some ways, it was a bit of a relief. The constant four-week deadlines meant my own work got pushed to the end of the to-do list, but I am going to miss the regular income and working with the team. So, much of May has been spent trying to adapt to a new cycle of my other part-time work, and trying to figure out what I really want to do with my creative stitch work. The result was quite a bit of sorting, thinking and going around in circles. You know how it is, if I have more time I will do x, x and x, but when you actually have the time you get distracted. I figured out I am much better when I have a deadline so have got on with writing some lists.
Here's the last issue on sale. I love Mandy Munroe's quilt on the front. I worked with her since the beginning at PP and she is one of the many designers I will miss the regular contact with. (One thing that does come from no longer working for a magazine is I can open say I do wish the craft mags would ditch the plastic - I don't think this packaging is good for the environment.)

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Anyway, it hasn't all been bad, just a bit of readjusting and there has been lots and lots of good stuff this month. Receiving a copy of this book was the highlight of my postbox. I did some editing work on it last year, so it was a bit of a surprise when I opened the jiffy bag to find the glossy cover looking back at me. The author is Janet Goddard, a designer of clever contemporary quilts and is on sale for £9.99 (so a bargain £1 per pattern). I have worked with Janet through Popular Patchwork for a few years and she always designs clever patterns and makes the kind of quilt you want for your bed, sofa or as a gift. Her projects use modern fabrics, but they all would translate well into traditional prints or children's novelty fabrics. This is her second book, the first is on bag making, and she also teaches quilt making at Liberty (jealous moi?!). 

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With the change of pace I have been trying to have a sort out. The stash and half-finished projects are a little out of control. This is a great example. It was a sample for a project in my book, which means it would have been made ooh, five years ago. The blocks are finished, a few rows are even sewn together, so it 'just' needs sewing together, quilting etc... 

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My monthly Sunday's have been ticking along. May's session was the day after the royal wedding so that was the basis of much of the conversation. Here is one of the projects being worked on. Hilary is a printed textile designer and sent off her designs to have these fabrics digitally printed. It is now at the hand quilting stage and looks beautiful. Janis also bought along a gift. She knows I love old books so I was thrilled with the 1940s sewing book.

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I went to some lovely Open Houses at part of the Brighton Festival which has spurred me on to get more tins made. They take ages though so I am trying to speed it up otherwise I will never get the the stage where I could sell them. I have a couple of new designs on the go which are for a friend's exhibition that has a Suffragette theme. Despite the stash I discovered I have a lack of purple. It is funny how we get attracted to certain colours and neglect others.

At the very end of May we went on a family holiday to Wales. We stayed this remote cottage in the mountains and had lovely weather for walks, the beach and sightseeing. It was not a coincidence we stayed near to the Welsh Quilt Centre... I took so many photos I will talk about that more in a post or two later this month.

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