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 are applied if value is stated as over £36 (approx 55USD).

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 http://www.52quilters.com)