Sunday, 4 October 2015

52 quilters - a social experiment in quilty communication

Phew, I have just signed off as the host for 52 Quilters, a social experiment in quilty communication. Each week of 2015 a new quilter takes over the account and can more or less post whatever he or she likes.

On Instagram, I currently have just over 600 followers, whereas the 52quilters account had almost 3,000 followers. No pressure there!

If you have followed the 52quilters account on Instagram you have seen quite a few photographs, whereas Twitter has been a bit more neglected. This is also typically the case for my own online presence. The ease of using Instagram has almost "killed" this blog and definitely my Twitter. It's hard to show quilting in only words and photos are so much easier on Instagram than on a blog.

During the week, I posted twelve photos on Instagram and below I'll tell you a bit more about some of them.

BossyOz as 52quilters on Instagram
Fabric and quilt shops:  I am fortunate to live in London (United Kingdom), which means I have lots of shops selling quilting fabrics and haberdashery around me.  For lists of quilt shops, check e.g. London Modern Quilt Guild (Poppy in Stitches), Needles and Lemons or Tilly and the Buttons.

UK fabric designer: I have been rather taken by Karen Lewis and her screen printing adventures! With excellent online work and always being super friendly, she has been asked by Robert Kaufman to design her own fabric line. The formal release is in November, but some shops are already stocking her fabrics. Click for the Blueberry Park collection. Karen also sells some other screen printed designs directly from her own shop, here.

Cornish Wonky Cross quilt
Quilt inspiration: The black and white wonky cross quilt was inspired by the Cornish flag. Cornwall is a county in the United Kingdom which is miles different from London. If London is stress, pollution and congestion; then Cornwall is relaxation, sailing, and peace (if you avoid the tourist spots!).

Improv mini for the Easy Swap UK #easyswapuk
Swaps and customs duty: Having taken part in a few international swaps, I decided to set up and run swaps for quilters in the United Kingdom. This way, we can keep postage costs down, and we avoid getting caught out by customs charges.

What many international swappers don't know is that items sent from outside the European Union are liable to customs duty and VAT if value is stated as over £15 (approx 23USD). If it is marked as a gift, then the charges hit over £36 (approx 55USD) if marked as gift. If a parcel is sent to the UK from, say the United States, and the value is set as 100USD, then we end up paying around £23 (35USD) to release it from the claws of UK customs. Not all parcels get checked, but many do. If you are sending internationally, please do your research, or ask you swap lead / organiser. Remember, all countries in Europe are not members of the European Union, and every country has their own thresholds!

ScandiBee - the blocks I have received
Quilting bees: I have been taking part in a few bees and so far I have been lucky that everyone has lasted for the full duration. I am still not sure if bees really are my thing. On the positive side, the friendship and inspiration they offer are fantastic. On the negative side, sometimes the blocks are not that exciting to make; it can be the pattern, the fabrics, the size or just the fact that I just made 20 of them for myself...

Finally: Next I have to make an 8"x8" quilt block for the project and I already have an idea on what to make!

Thank you to everyone who has liked or commented on my posts on Instagram/52quilters during this week. It was great hanging out with the "big crowd" but I'm happy to be back with more smaller group again.

/ Nina

(most of this was also posted on

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

UK Quilters United mini quilt swap

We are coming to an end in the mini swap for the Facebook group UK Quilters United.

Over 100 mini quilts are making their way to new homes at the moment.

I was very lucky and got my mini early on. It was made by Hilary R based on my love for red-blue-white. She used the Union Jack as a starting point and designed a paper piecing pattern to make this gorgeous mini for me.

Look at that centre!!

She also kindly sent some goodies, including spare fabric, paper clips and a note pad kit.

I am absolutely delighted with the mini and it goes perfectly with the other minis I have received in previous swaps.

Once all the other minis have arrived with their new owners, I'll add a collage. In the meantime, go and have a look in UK Quilters United to see them all; and to join in with a great quilting community for mainly UK based quilters. If you are not a member, feel free to request membership. We usually approve requests the same day. If you don't get approved, please leave a comment below as we may have thought your Facebook account was a spam / fake account (private accounts only please).

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Easy Swap UK - our playlist

Thanks to everyone who signed up for the Easy Swap UK.

As part of the sign-up everyone was asked which song they like listening to when sewing. It has been interesting reading all your answers!

Please find below the contents of an Easy Swap UK playlist.

N.B. Would anyone be able to create this as a proper playlist in Spotify (or some other place where public playlists are possible to create and share for free)??? Please let me know! Please see the first comment, as a playlist is being created!!

Spotify public playlist:

Songs included:
10,000 reasons by Matt Redman
All About That Bass
Beautiful Day, U2
Bellowhead: New York Girls
Black Betty
Call me by Blondie
Camille O Sullivan"
Cher: Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
Easy Silence - Dixie Chicks
Ed Sheeran- Kiss Me, Thinking Out Loud and Small Bump
Eliza Doolittle - Skinny Genes"
Ellie Golding - love me like you do
Everyone's Changing - Keane
First Aid Kit (lions roar album)
Free, by Beth Nielsen Chapman
George Ezra - Listen to the Man
Go your own way, Fleetwood Mac
Hall and Oates "You make my dreams come true"
House of Fun by madness
Journey - Don't stop believing
Lisa Hannigan Sea Sew album
Live and let die - the guns and roses version
London Grammar, Fleetwood Mac
Maps - maroon 5
Marcella by the Beach Boys (the live version by Brian Wilson is the best!)
Maroon 5- Sugar
May be My House
Megan Trainor is my current favourite album
Mr Blue Sky - ELO
Mumford and sons, the Babel album, especially I Will Wait
My Chemical Romance; Teenagers
Nashville and Pitch Perfect soundtracks
Nate Reuss- Nothing Without Love
Neil Diamond
Pavement, built to spill, Arthur Russell and bonnie prince billy!
Pink!'s Great Hits
Ship to Wreck by Florence and the Machine
Sia Elastic Heart
Something upbeat
Staying alive?? (just joking)
Stevie Wonder - If you really love me
Take That - The Flood
Taylor Swift  - currently Blank Space, 22 and Holy Ground
Taylor Swift- Bad Blood, Blank Space
The Cult - She sells sanctuary
The Lumineers - Ho hey
The new kodaline and james bay albums
The top 40 :)
This American Life Podcast
Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen
Tim McGraw especially "I like it I love it"
Twilight Saga soundtrack
When I Grow Up and Naughty from Matilda the Musical
1990s pop

Not everyone listens to only music! 
Here are the other answers: 
Anything on the TV
Audio books, current favourite is The Book of Souls.
BBC 6 Music
Crime dramas on radio 4!
I like it quiet with the window or outside doors open
My kids screaming.
Nothing so I don't wake up the toddler from his precious naps!
Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 4

Everyone has been given a partner to make for and emails with details should come out in the next few days!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Easy Swap UK ( #easyswapuk)

Sign-up has now closed

Back by popular demand! Slightly amended, but still hopefully lots of fun! This time you can select what you'd like to swap. The options are:
  • Mini quilt - 300 to 500 square inches, any shape!!!
  • Zippered pouch - any design but one zip must be at least 12" long. 
  • Tote bag - to fit at least an A4 note book and to have at least one pocket. 
To make this a stress free and fun swap, please select the item you are most comfortable making.

No matter which item you select to swap, please use quilting techniques to some extent. After all, most of us are quilters.

You agree that this is a swap for all abilities and that you are likely to be matched with someone less or more experienced than you.

To take part, and to remain in the swap, you commit to being active on Instagram. This includes posting inspiration photos/mosaics, progress photos and commenting on other swapper's pictures.

This is a secret swap.  You should not reveal who you are making for until in the package you send off. You know who you are making for, but not who is making for you. You agree not to tell anyone who you are making for.

Also, you agree to include only one extra item at a value of max £5 or something which took max 1 hour to make. It would also be great if you added a note or letter so your partner knows who made them the surprise.

I am hoping to allocate partners during the final week of July.

Send date is 20 to 24 October 2015.

Residential UK postal addresses only (no PO box please). 

Further information will be posted on and

Sign-up has now closed

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Modern Insta Bee - April (catch-up post)

April was our last month in the Modern Insta Bee, UK Hive 1. Queen Bee was Rosanne. She bravely asked us all to make the Baseball Curves in solids.

I guess I wasn't the only one who had looked at all the blocks in the book and slightly dreaded anyone picking this one.... Well, no one did, for eleven months....

I set off making a test block.

It got a bit too small, and a bit wonky.... Perhaps I should have ironed the fabrics beforehand...

Thanks to Google I found a brilliant tutorial by Fiona at Benidgolioness providing tips on how to get the block perfect.  She has some great pointers and advise. Saying that, I preferred cutting my blocks with the grain line, i.e. as stated in the book.

As I didn't have that many "sunglass worthy" colourful solids at home, I went to The Village Haberdashery for some shopping therapy...

Once I sussed the block, it was super fun to make. I had quickly made three blocks...

Three blocks laid out, didn't make any fun pattern, so I made another one which meant I could play a bit with the layout for the photos.

All four blocks were sent off to Rosanne. To see her work with the quilt, head over to Instagram or her blog.

Thanks Rosanne, for picking this block!!!