The cheaters guide to quilting.

I thought this would have been finished months ago. But as usual it sat on a chair without binding for months.


I got the idea for this at a stand at the knitting and quilting show. I had been looking for a throw for my sofa to replace the grubby brown blankets I’ve had for years.

So I bought some arrows by Melody Miller which is a massive beautiful print (I have a thing for arrows) But as usual messed up by buying at least half a meter less than I really needed ( I’m a tight arse, that top trumps basic mathamatical facts). You can still get some from M is for Make.http://

The beauty of all of this is that you can have a fantastic looking quilt with minimal effort. Awesome project if you were short of time or wanted a big bold image.

So just your basic quilt sandwich with super thick wadding..which was a mistake its horrible to stick through my machine.
Quilted lines to follow the arrow details, added the binding Bobs your uncle all done!!!

I have tried to take some good photos but this weather has been deadful for a whole week now.



You could free motion a quilt top like this easily but as usual I want a simple life and used my walking foot. I know Im boring.

Short and sweet today. I’m very tired I sat up all night ( till half 4) putting together hexi’s for the chevron quilt and watching a bollywood film (which I am still only half way through!!!@!)

Nothing of much note on the music front this week, we spent Saturdays craft club(paper piecing from the begining) had a Big Bang Theory marathon on in the background. Hexi chevron finally coming to its end more soon!

Swimming in the sea of unfinished symphonies…with sound.

Quilting can take you on a long road, In my case several at the same time. This has been an ongoing issue for me since I was 4 with kindergarten teachers complaining I would do a bit of this and move on then a bit of something else yah yah yah. I say it’s a restless creative mind. Here I am many moons later doing the same thing.

I’m annoyed at all of this stuff hanging around and I just want to get on, it’s not an excuse but doing this whole social media thing is taking up much more of my time than I ever expected, wish there were more hours in the day. I’ll post all the stuff in full when it’s completed.

Unfinished 1


Remember the chevrons hanging off the fence in the 2nd post? The main bit is almost done I just need to do ends. I had a really crappy week last week and when I feel down I hand quilt like I’m possessed. So what I thought I would have finished in about a year was whittled down to a week. I’m already itching to find a new one to start this week (see here I go again) But I like to just sit on the sofa and put it together instead of going into my dining room and using the machine.

Unfinished 2

rectangle quilt

I have had  this for almost a year, Its enormous! much too large for the Rockette she’s going to have to grow into it. Can you feel my pain when I think about having to quilt this thing with my normal sewing machine that’s bigger than the free space of my living room floor? I’m hoping to do this free motion with flowers, I say this all the time and then chicken out so I’ll see how I go. Plus when am I going to find the time????

Untitled 3


I spent the nights in the forest sewing bits of hexis together and cutting up hundreds of pieces for the Alison Glass Feathers quilt. Its machine pieced (bit exciting) but it took planning and concentration and I still messed it up by cutting prints the wrong way or not enough. My brain is bad at maths and this quilt is a bit more important than the others , so extra concentration needed! More as that progresses..too be honest I’m afraid to start it. But look at the organisation of lunch bags for each of the blocks!!! Be impressed I am, Impressed and surprised.


Unfinished 4 (kind of)


I’ve been working on test blocks and they have now ended up on the backing of the giant quilt. all sorts of proud of these as I had to reduce the size of these only using my math brain..and it worked out!

Also went over to Plush Addict over the weekend too one of their few open days. It was a long drive but great to touch and feel the fabric, it’s really difficult sometimes buying online especially if the print is larger or smaller than expected, and when your on a tight budget you dont want to mess up your purchases.

I was very good and restrained. Its July so it’s only logical to buy Xmas fabric (im buying that a bit at a time pacing myself it’s too expensive otherwise). What is happening to me? I’m turning into an organised human being? Then we found the Rockette some fabric we thought she would like (Halloween who would have thought??) so that’s another quilt to start…..

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Enough of that progress will be updated.



I’m still catching up on all the Glastonbury footage that’s sitting on my planner, I’ve watched loads but there is still stacks on there.

Not to sound like everyone else, but how great was Dolly Parton? I don’t care if she mimed the Sax she was amazing, hoping to be that cool when im that age.

Oh Metallica, I was looking forward to you. I had watched them in 1999 on the S&M tour and they were enjoyable, I’m not a fan really but hanging out with the metal heads at school and then going to metal clubs in my late teens I’m familiar with most of the “hits” so to speak but Im not going to be one of these stupid hipsters coming out saying, yeah big fan..

I digress, It was a mixed performance, I have no idea what they were doing just playing weird tracks and in between James Hetfield going on about random stuff. But as usual Kirk Hamett was king of cool. When they did play “hits” they sounded great I was air drumming to my heart’s content.

The house of the crafty mastermind was not appreciative of it (the music not my drumming), but Rockette decided that she did like the guitars and drums in the end. WTF was going on with the beach balls? Did you see the size of them??


Jack white was great surprisingly (I saw him at Reading in 200 and something) I was distracted by the Edward Scissorhands/Michael Jackson look his got going on.

Signs of getting old 1, I was so glad that I was sitting on the sofa, tea in hand blanket on lap and not there in the cold wet mud. standing next too some tiolets someone has set on fire. I don’t think I have much of a desire  go to something on such a massive scale (watch me slide into middle age comfortably before I’m due).

On the playlist this week? I loved the Arcade Fire performance especially Win Butlers shoes and his masked crusader look


So two tracks from different albums. I’ve put Jake Bugg I love him and his making skiffle music popular. Bit of Metronomy again, and some Dinosaur Jr. but not old school stuff.

The great thing about them is that as they keep on producing new albums, unlike the majority of most bands their quality has not slipped all of the new stuff if just as good. Still wish I had the t-shirt that I wore everyday when I was 16.

It’s all been about Gruff Rhys/Super Furry Animals this week I have had them on repeat. It was hard to choose between the SFA songs but one from their classic album “Fuzzy Logic” and the other from the not so classic “Phantom Power” (hey not everything can be classic). Cant wait to see him in September.

XTC for good old measure, and my sister recommended Agnes Obel, what an utterly beautiful album. If you like the track listen to the whole thing its brilliant.

That it all for this time round! Dismissed!

If you did like this post please share it and let the world know.

I’m over  the world cup (since Australia was knocked out) but Brazil v Germany is on at the moment and I feel so sorry for Brazil, you can see they have given up trying.

The death of the houses of rock n roll.

I am an anorak, I am a music nerd. I’m not complete devotee but when ever I go somewhere new I’m in the local record shop, i get a thrill when i see a sad teenager holding a sign for a record fair and i love a good rummage through a bargain bin. I’ve always been this way for as long as I can remember. From my dad taking me to my first record fair when I was 6 or 7 and buying me a copy of John Entwistle Whistling Rhymes thinking it was a kids album.
Shall I add a picture to show how inappropriate this was to buy a kid?

So being a music nerd it was the only thing I was interested in. In grade 6 I got into loads of trouble because the book smart nerds on my table didn’t like it that I wrote RunDMC and the Beastie Boys on my pencil case. Also when my mum sent me out to get some Maltese biscuits for my dad I came back with a Rebel MC 7″ instead…like she wasn’t going to notice! (She did as soon as I didn’t have the bag and I didn’t give back the cash). I dreamt of the albums i’d get, make long lists at Christmas and watch Video Hit’s from start to finish every Saturday morning.

All of this obsession isolated me from a large majority of fellow females everywhere..why is that???. Look if your going to be 14 and you want a hippy birthday party, don’t complain when I only bring hippy kind of music…

So at school I hung out with metal heads and the like. Being in the burbs in Australia there are not going to be stacks of people of either gender, who want to read your 4 month old copy of melody maker or NME. (That’s how long it took to get there).

Anyway I’m digressing as I do so well. This week I had gone to see chief mind messer Derren Brown, and in it he said the kids at school called him Dick Brain because he could memorize lots of stuff. When I was walking back home I said am I a music Dick Brain? You could be a dick brain about anything really couldn’t you?

The next morning a friend of mine had sent me a link to a collection of photos from the states of closing down and derelict record stores. This excited my dick brain but also made me sad about the demise of the once glorious and holy record store (its not all rose-tinted there was a lot of skanky ones about too)

I’ve worked at independent record stores, that was a good business but turned bad when the new owner’s only experience was how to work a petrol pump. It was still a nice job and I could go to work in a petticoat and jumper (it was the height of riot grrrl fashion!!!)

I moved to a chain where they originally only hired girls with big chest’s (I kid you not!) and another chain with a friendly dog (but hipster clicky staff) and one who was run for a time by a beardy man (with brilliant nerdy staff).

The thing about some of these places were was that they were about money than music, and more about being cool than living everyday with passion.

But the independent music store was my first taste and it made me feel like I was in a whole culture that understood me.  I was paid in CD’s most of the time unless we had a few sales but we would spend the day listening to UK imports and eating food behind the counter. I was a foundling and I was getting an education.

At this time I was heavy into Riot Grrl but things had been changing and I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin (2 mainly) and Big brother and the holding company and Janis Joplin, But this reignited my love for UK indie. I had been a shoegazer before grunge hit and it was here I was welcomed back into it’s arms, Pulp, Ash, Blur, Radiohead this was just before brit pop was massive in Australia but had already passed it’s used by date in the UK .

But as all good things this had to end and I went headlong into a world or corporate music retail, which a lot of people who used to work there really didn’t know a thing about music except that they liked Bon Jovi. But I was lucky because of my dick brain I had the free reign of stuff and my music knowledge grew. But it was still difficult as all my colleagues were 2pac and TLC fans so I was back on the outskirts with the odd person with similar tastes walk through the door. Here I was still a dick brain but I got alot of free tickets to shows because no one else wanted them.

Cut through this isn’t a CV. I finally worked in a store with more dick brains. Loads of nerds with amazing encyclopaedic knowledge about everything. The pay was crap , but that wasn’t the point. You could argue all day about the pop qualities in Roxette, drive people nuts if you wanted to play the new Joan as policewoman album on repeat, sit at lunchtime with people helping me with answers to the mojo crossword on or play Russian roulette with the cd’s. Our customers knew we were much nerdier than the listening dog store round the corner and come to us because we wouldn’t sneer when they asked for the X factor album or sigh when they were after was a rare classical recording. Even once a man bought the last Kula Shaker lp and I said I love them. He looked at me and said that’s not fair to joke. Joking I was not, I love Peasants, Pigs and astronauts. He was wrapt!

I’m sounding like a dinosaur I know. But for me it was never about being cool it was about where my obsession was and working with it everyday. I love Spotify and I like that if I want one song I don’t need to buy the whole album. It’s not all bad now.

I think what I’m getting at is It’s not being a woman or a dick brain really is it? it’s that with all stuff online there are not too many situations where older people can complain that they can’t find this rare pressing, or when they saw Bowie at Wembley or teenagers can go into to try to pinch stuff. There’s not many places where you can hold the prize in your hand.

Even when the record fair comes around there are less and less stall holders sometimes I’m amazed they still hold it. Once when I was into my 30s a stall holder once said to me if you need any help with what all the records and who’s who just ask me. I said I doubt I need help I’ve been doing these things since I was 6! Which was/ still is part of the problem isn’t it? Trying to buy albums with a pair of tits , I obviously have no idea what I’m looking for.. Scuse me sir do you have any Robbie Williams?

Apologies if this is indulgent….

Drinking beer in a church.


I have drunk beer in a church and it felt a bit weird. But I’m sure the priest is ok with it then so I am.

I was in St Mary the Virgin’s church in Ashford to see the amazing Cate Le Bon. Not only did she not disappoint but she completely surpassed my expectations. I wont write a load but you know what it’s like, you go and see a band you have wanted to see for ages, you get there and they sound terrible, just proving how much studio help they have had?

This was opposite all her songs sounded warm and fuzzy. I have been hooked on Mug museum since it was recommended to in back in March, so I’m a johnny come lately its true, but I’ve been catching up!

Live her voice was just as impressive hitting and holding high notes is always a good thing. All of the songs were performed with perfection.”Are you with me now”, “No God”, “Cyrk”,” I can’t help you” all sounded just amazing.That thrill that goes through you when your favorite song is played…4 in a row! (I say in a row, may not have techincally been in a row)

When she launched into “Wild” I couldn’t imagine what the elderly people in the front rows have thought. It was loud and raw and loud did I mention that?
2 encores of 1 song each.

The first song was a cover of I have no idea what but am willing to find out as it was brilliant. Nope it’s not on the set list website, someone, anyone know what it was?

The second was just Cate without her band singing “Frank Mills” from the Hair soundtrack. NOW let me just say I performed Hair in high school (under the name Aquarius as we were not allowed to use the name) and over time I have come to hate that soundtrack with a deep deep passion(I use to love it I went to see the stage production about 4 times as a teen) so when she began to sing something changed, it was haunting and lonely and wonderful all at the same time. It made me stop breathing for a second.

That was the end of it all. Short and sweet around an hours worth.

The venue was just beautiful. I cant wait to see Gruff Rhys in September! Some one needs to book Nick Cave into that place…could you imagine…..

Also the support act were Tender Prey, she was pretty darn good. Hoping to hear more stuff of her’s in the future.

Ms Le Bon at Glasto this weekend so hopefully the BBC will be showing it on TV check it out. Do I sound a bit girl crush gushing? Probably. Maybe I need to get out more.

Sorry about bit rubbish photo, I was trying to use it without a flash.

The consequences of being a bad cutter..and new sounds.

I am not great with a rotary blade or a pair of scissors and normally when I start a new project I just dive straight in, I am bad a measuring twice especially when I’m using an easy square with a quarter-inch added. I cut crooked even when using a massive quilting ruler.

So I have spent the last few months making a baby quilt for little Baby Mouse child of Book Mouse.  I had used the pattern from the book Liberty Love. The quilts in there are pretty straight forward  As I had already done a postage stamp block before with ease I was confident.

So I had used pink fabrics from my stash and bought a small Aneela Hoey hello petal fabric charm  pack from the Sewing shop in Canterbury to give me a better range across the whole piece. I’ll be honest when I did cut the squares and started to sew them together I did think “Crap this is a bit close to the edge..” But I’m not going to waste this fabric as you see before this problem even occurred I had read the pattern wrong (I do this a lot too) and over cut by something like 60 odd squares! So bad juju already.



But it will be alright in the end wont it? So I had sewn all the blocks together and they all looked ok. I had bought a couple of meters of a wee wander by Sarah Jane (Michael Miller)

I put it all together and Voila it looked amazing I was very pleased with the whole thing. The seam allowance issues were a distance memory and I was going to finish in good time.


Until the freaking machine decided to break when I knocked the needle knob from position one to position two making it smash straight into the walking foot and the whole thing sounded just horrible. So I waited.

I checked the machine again because you know sods law I’d take it and it would magically work..nope still broken. I took it back to the ladies at the sewing shop for a check and left it for a week. Phone call a week later lo and behold there is nothing wrong with it! I was so embarrassed.

I quilted the whole thing, it wasn’t a complicated design by any means. I do straight lines ,I am trying to do free motion but always chicken out and go back to old school. All done, all beautiful so I popped it in the washing machine 2 days before I was seeing Baby mouse it was all good.

As the whole point of this blog is to show that not everyone makes beautiful perfect things I’m going to share in the disaster and how I fixed it.

Hung it out on the line, freaking disaster!!! All of the seams in the blocks had come undone. Complete panic lots of colourful language, I didn’t have time to unpick the whole quilt as I was working the next day and wouldn’t have the time, I had to be creative.



So slowly with a kids knitting needle I had to turn all of the frayed stuff in and top stitch all the rows back into place. This was going ok, it just meant having to top stitch every single row of every block so it would look like that was the design I was going for.

I got to the last block and it was a complete mess, I though this is close to the edge I’ll just undo my binding, unpick the bit of quilting and repair by turning it inside out. This was my undoing and what sent me over the cliff. Once I unpicked it I couldn’t turn them inside out to stick it through the machine. Unless I unpicked a load more of it.


So I had to top stitch it all again. At this point it was the morning and I was all tizz. It was almost all done but re-doing the binding was giving me complete grief (I hate binding, I always buy it pre made and I hate putting it on, I really need to take a class on it) . Thankfully the brilliant Mrs MLP came to my rescue fixed my binding and any other bits all in time to see the lovely little baby mouse!

Sorry about the lack of pic’s we were running late and almost forgot to take any! All the close up ones turned out blurred.





A bit quilted out after that! So I had a break for a bit. I have a massive backing for another quilt that needs piecing which I’m dreading to put together, I think because I’ve been on that project for almost a year now and I’m a bit bored with it. Anyway details for another day on that.

Also after being on twitter for about a week I was awfully excited as I got a retweet from Katy Jones.



On the music side this week…

I have finally got around to listening fully to the new Matt Berry album “Music for Insomniacs”. I do love it. Well all of it except around 17.45 on the first track where there seems to be some horrific screaming, If i were falling asleep I would wake with a shot thinking it was coming from outside. No singing a few weird noises There was also a bit male yelling.

I did try part two while I couldn’t sleep. With headphones on at 2am, there are bits on it that could make you feel like your underwater, even drowning for a part, other parts in a submarine. Theres a crying baby and some people talking, the music in between is beautiful . I didn’t fall asleep but I think this was more due to me listening to the piece. That Matt Berry is a talented man!

Gum’s new album is out, Yay! it did not disappoint more psych rock meets shoegazer meets fuzz rock. I suppose like Tame Impala a lot, which makes sense.

Also on the same label is the new album from Shiny Joe Ryan called the Shiny Joe and the cosmic microwave background. Cant be bad with a title like that now can it? It has similarities to the sleepy Jackson (and I love the Sleepy Jackson much much better than Empire of the Sun). More acoustic than the Gum album  and I love the record cover.


I would expand more but this blog is getting long..

And some Kelis, Her new album Food is so far removed from Milkshake, its more rocky, popsy, soulsy.

I also bought some actual CD’s this week while in sunny Leicester over the weekend . The first Neon Neon album Stainless Steel which I have been meaning to buy for years. Its one of the side projects of the wonderful Gruff Rhys. I’ve added some old and some new!

Speaking of Welsh acts looking forward to seeing the amazing Cate Le Bon play in Ashford this Thursday night!

I also replaced some cassettes, remember them? They are popular again, I don’t know why they were a pain, revolutionary for the time there is no denying , they made music portable and recordable. But now you can buy the systems in Curry’s again, yes I suppose it looks cool but ist it quite novel?

Chewed tapes, re winding with a pencil, fast forwarding and re-winding to find the start of the track. Pain. I should lighten up it’s all a bit of fun isn’t it. It’s not as if I’m anti old tech either as I still buy vinyl (I love the crackle and warmth ), That started because vinyl was cheaper than CD’s in the early 90′s and with my weekend shop jobs/pocket-money it was all I could afford) I sound old…

Digressing or what????

R.E.M Automatic for the People and Out of Time were the replaced albums in question. I like Out of Time but I very much dislike Shiny Happy People, annoyingly positive song with a ridiculous video clip.


And while in the forest this week I have been reading Yeah yeah yeah, an incredibly through and well-informed history of pop. I’m up to Rock n Roll so not too far into it but it’s full of interesting bits such as Shake Rattle and Rolls lyrics were changed to make them more tame and less sexual for a white American music. They did keep one line which was “I’m like a one-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store”.

I’ll leave you with that.



The cushions finally get to grace the sofa together.


Well it was a mad dash to finish it but finally the first cushion would not look lonely by itself on the sofa (not that much else matches in the house).


They are both made using epp so all sewn by hand but quilted on my sewing machine. as I said I can not hand sitch neatly.. It took forever to do each one. I always go in to it really optimistic get half way through and think why have I started this? But im always happy with the results. using this technique means I can’t do any crooked lines on the machine and realise only when I’m quilting that there are gaping holes in the piece (More on that in the next entry).

As you can probably notice one looks more worn than the other, there is probably at least 6 months between them and someone like to sit on it to watch tv. Also I washed it in a 30 degree wash and was saddened to see that the beautiful deer Kokka fabric in the center had faded…lessons learnt.

They are easy to make. The pattern came from the first issue of Love quilting and patchwork and was designed by Katy Jones, I’ve no idea if it’s available elsewhere. But you could look at her website I’m a ginger monkey which is one of the websites I often frequent.

No music for this one. The next 1001 album was David Bowie’s Heroes. If you havent heard this, why the hell not? Go listen to it now! It’s not as good as Ziggy Stardust but it’s pretty darn fine and captures the feel of east/west Germany.

The painful earworm I’m having to deal with is I Alone by Live. I’m not putting it on my Spotify list, if you’re not aware of the song your probably very lucky. I’ve not heard it since 1994 and I didn’t like it then, But a few days ago there I was sitting on my living room floor minding my own business when it decided to invade my head…and it hasn’t left!!!! No matter how many times I listen to it. Whats even worse in this sad tale is that when I let the album play there were at least 4 other songs I knew all the words too…I promise I never owned it. The record store that I was working for at the time did heavily promote it so It must have slipped into my subconscious and stayed there just like Foster and Allen’s greatest hits and some terrible Van Morrison album he released in 2001.

If anyone else has had an embarrassing email this week or wish to defend Live (or in fact you are Live) leave a comment and we can discuss. (apologies if you are Live)


The first meeting of Craftwerk commences.

Well what I have discovered is that my name is a sham and a fraud. I’m not the crafty mastermind at all.  I have been conquered by crochet and in a grand way. I am CRAP at it,well and truly.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon the first meeting of Craftwerk began innocently we all sat outside to learn some crochet and hopefully learn how to make some granny squares. We had two of us (them not me) who were experienced crocheters who could knock up gloves within an hour, to teach the other three of us the art of the one needled stitch.


I have been trying to learn for about 2 years now how to do it but I just didn’t get it (Like swimming I don’t get that either) I couldn’t cast on.

On Saturday It appears that I was the only one with this problem, as we went on the others were onto layer 2, then layer 3 I was still stuck making very tight stitches on layer 1.

pathetic really this is as far as I got.

I  had finally got to a point where I thought woo hoo I’m doing it. I went to make cups of teas and rounds of toast came back and it was all over. My mind decided to discard it as unwanted information (it does the same things with maths and science but sadly retains useless stuff about music like all the song lyrics for every song ever recorded in the 90′s. Who even cares about that stuff??? I’m not saving lives with that little gem am I?)

All the stitches were on so tight I couldn’t move the needle through and then kept forgetting to count how many stitched i had looped through. Someone then gave me an already established bit to continue with and I messed that one up too!

So I admit I got grumpy and opted out for the rest of the afternoon so while everyone else crocheted happily I took off washing on the line.

crocheted goods


As you can see much good work was done that day so well done to the rest of the ladies who took to it like Jimi Hendrix to an electric guitar. Sadly this is not for me. Do try it though, I may be the only person anywhere who just can not crochet.

I wonder if anyone else wrote writes a blog feel like Dougie Howser M.D at the end of their entry?

As for the music today…

First Aid Kit’s new album is out. Im a big fan of their other albums and this one sounds the same. Theres no surprises here, if you haven’t liked them in the past I doubt you’re going to like them now. It is an enjoyable listen and It will be played quite a few more times in my house I’m sure.

The surprise of the day for me is the new Lykke Li album.  There is a fan of her’s residing in my house, I have had to see her live and listen to her records unconvinced. I was always sure that she had not found her own voice yet and just impersonated her influences. Harsh? Maybe so. That is why I was surprised when I listened to “I never learn” To her standards is it over produced but I like that. The songs are much more mature and have more depth. Its a really nice album, I like an album with strings.

On 6 music a Mick Ronson song came on which I haven’t heard before (To be honest I haven’t heard anything apart from his Bowie contributions). As I had no idea who it was it could have easily been contemporary in that “homage to the past”vibe. Its different a bit glam.

Bit of Blood Orange/ Lightspeed Champion. I know artists need to grow but I really loved Lightspeed Champion it will be sad if Dev Hynes leaves him in the past.

Before I go tonight I just wanted to pay a small tribute to Rik Mayall who passed away today.

I was obsessed with the Young Ones from about 14, going as far as ripping off whole episodes for a play I wrote in year 11. He was a big influence in my writing (when I thought I was a teen stand up) and was my introduction to Alternative comedy.  My sister and I use to spend hours reciting all of the lines from the episodes…which we still today.

So heres the episode Bambi which was the first thing I thought of when I got the text message. Goodnight Rik it’s sad to see you go.




Go forth to the south east fabric mecca….and some new music

Hello Again!

First things first I’d like to thank everyone who visited my site and read the first post. It was quite overwhelming, I thought I would be lucky to get 10 people but there you go! You’re all awesome and If I start to get boring please be honest and let me know. (As my nan would say in her broken English “Don’t be shy”)

I had a very crafty busy weekend thankyouverymuch. A few of us from Craftwerk (the new name for the craft club for now) bought the new Till Walnes book “Love at first stitch” which is a brilliant dress making book by the author of the blog Tilly and the buttons If you’re starting dress making for the first time I suggest that you visit her site for straightforward, practical advice for beginners.

So we needed fabric to make our beautiful creations so why not go to the mecca of fabric,  Walthamsow Market as we had heard fables of unbelievably cheap fabric and notions.

As we went on a Friday that may explain the lack of fabric stalls, but we had more than enough shops to keeps us occupied.


MLP & LE purchasing lace lace and more lace


In a lot of the stores you need to dig around and move stuff to find hidden gems. There is so much going on in some of these places that you could go a bit blind.

The first place we went to was the Textile House , we started strong as this was probably the best out of all the shops there for basic dressmaking fabric. When you walked in there was a table of fabric selling for an amazing £1.25 a meter. Most of the other fabric in there was between £1.45 and £2.75 and all of that at pretty good quality. We then moved onto several notion shops a few of them selling brilliant buttons at 20p each and coates moon cotton for 50p.

I won’t run you through every shop there. But as other blogs have said before there is a lot of sari type fabric and lots of poly cotton, polyester and nylons. Once we got to the 7th shop we thought we would have a break as all the fabric was starting to look the same.It was time for some food.

We found an amazing burger van called Aussie Burgers. My patriotic magpie eye spotted the flag swaying in the breeze from all the way down the other side of the street.

Richard the Queenslander chatted while I was waiting for my food informing us that all of the burgers were placed in a vacuum sealed water bath before cooking to speed up time. You could tell as the meat burgers were moist and generally amazing. It was reminiscent of eating a burger on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. Filings were minimal but less is more and anymore would have taken away from the flavour.

His menu was limited to 6 burgers 2 beef, 1 chicken and 3 vegetarian burgers (brave for a burger van) and all hand made. MLP later commented that her burger from there was better than the one she had later at Brew dog. Even better to top it off was the chips which were covered in roster salt (any aussie will know what I mean when I say Red Rooster chips)

I’m not a food writer (isn’t that obvious) But I know what I like and I said Id give him a good write up. Totally good if your around go and see him, there is no seating around him and don’t sit at the open seats next to him as that belongs to a narky cafe owner who will send you away mid food. I also do not know him personally or got any free food so its honest. you can find him here



Ready to continue on after that , we headed back around the end of the high street stores where the assistants were all generally very helpful (and sometimes a bit pushy) we found a great store that sold some nylon blouse fabric at 50p a meter! As I have never worked with this fabric before and I did want to make a blouse you couldn’t really get too upset if you completely messed it up. The ladies also picked up the black pattern flowers fabric for a quid a meter, I don’t think i had ever seen them so pleased with themselves.

The fabric in each store started to repeat itself and there was a lot of fabric I wouldn’t ever use. MLP then suggested that as we weren’t here for as long as we thought we would be why don’t we take the tube to Goldhawk road in Shepherd’s Bush as we had read there were more fabric dressmaking stores there.

As we left I forgot that I had seen not too shabby solid fabrics at £1.20 a meter. That stuff is great for backing cushions and other small craft projects, bits of test runs, even backs of pieced quilts (but not what I would use for the tops). So after a bit of a Doh moment we were on our way to Shepherds Bush.

After a 30 minute tube trip and a 10 minute walk up the right side of  Shepherds Bush Green we reached well a lot of stores. We were under the impression that there would only be about 4 there…there we more like 20!!! Already exhausted and wanting a shandy (oh yeah the hard stuff) we started in the first shop.

Its strange when I’m at home I would say £5.00 a meter that’s really cheap but after the onslaught of £1.00 fabric I went into cheapskate mode and just though oh £5.99 that’s expensive I’m going to need at least 2 meters that’s 12 quid, I dunno.

Now I’m going to have to go back in the summer as there was some lovely fabric there that I should have bought but my inherited tight arse gene would not let me.

Goldhawk Road is definitely much better for quality dressmaking fabric. They are more expensive at anywhere between £2.00 and £12.00 a meter. But if you’re standing in your local C&H fabrics looking at their prices you know that this is still bargain basement stuff. I did pick up a lovely denim look Chambray for £1.75 a meter bargain!

If you are planning a trip just pace yourself and wear a good pair of shoes as it is knackering.

To finish the day we did go to the brew dog pub in the same street, It was great, 30 odd different kinds of beer and probably some of the best onion rings I have ever tasted.Its pretty hip with the big bearded, thick rimmed glasses tribe so I was glad we got there around 5 and got a table.

So here is our haul

fabric from Walthamstow

fabric from Walthamstow

Green cotton £1.10 meter, Black flowers, £1.00 meter, polka dot £4.00 a meter

more fabric

more fabric

Denim look cotton £1.79 meter, Berries £1.20 (we all bought some of that) Teal fabric £1.10 meter (I bought all they had left)

and more fabric

and more fabric

Spotty fabric £1.75 meter, floral lawn £1.10, stripes fabric 50p meter

and some notions for good measure

and some notions for good measure

I know its obviously not easy to get to London and as I do quilting, which there was no fabric about for. I went back and ordered stuff online, so as a few people have asked where I shop so here are the main places I buy my fabric from.

and if your government does not tax the crap out of you when you order stuff from overseas, or you find the shipping isn’t too bad then from the U.S.A

etsy is generally very good for fabric from the states.

If you know of or can recommend any other let me know!

…phew exhausted!

I’m going to do a separate entry about Craftwerk (craft club) as this is a very long post.

On the music side…

My spotify playlist this week is a bit all over the place but before that , I discovered an amazing band from Melbourne called Bombay Royale.

its a mix of Bollywood, disco, funk rock and everything else. A great music to put on and summer afternoon or to perk you up when your in a funk. The new album “The Island of Dr Electro” has been playing loudly in my house. (please anything to give me a break from Frozen!). If you only want to listen to one song give Henna Henna a whirl.

Ive also listened to the new side project from Jay Watson of Tame Impala. I’m always envious of multi instrumentalists, especially when it sounds this amazing. Its in keeping with the dream sounds from Matt Berry last week.

Well at the start of the week I was in quite a mellow mood hence Shadowboxer by Fiona Apple I haven’t heard it in donkeys. I’ve put in some brilliant Bowie. (Is he ever not brilliant?) .The radio had played the Verve song History I had forgotten what a brilliant song it was. The rest is the ipod on shuffle and other bits I’ve found over the week.

I have finally got around to watching a Gene Clark documentary. Gene Clark was the singer and songwriter for the Byrds but left at their height to make solo projects. I haven’t finished watching it yet but It would be wrong to not add something off his amazing album “Like no Other”. I found this album while I was working At Virgin Megastore. We would get boxes full of back catalogue and would play Russian roulette and play the first thing that came out, on this occasion it was Gene Clark and I was so glad it did, Its brilliant. It reminds me a bit of Dennis Wilson’s album “Pacific Ocean Blue” which is another great great album. Listen to both if you have never heard them.

The new Sebastien Tellier album will be out shortly which looks like its a concept album based on Brazil. I think his an amazing artist and does not receive the recognition that he deserves outside of France. I’ve put the new single on but If you like that try his album “Politics”

I’ve also added a track off the new Neil Young album Letters home. I not really a Neil Young fan. But he has recorded the album on some old 1947 voice- o-graph booth at Jack White’s studio and it sound like it could have come directly of that era. It really is amazing, crackling , muffled , worn like a well played piece of vinyl. So I included his version of Dylan’s North Country Girl.

Does anyone else think War on drugs sounds like Bryan Adams?

Its late so no 1001 album in this post. Ill pop it in the next one.

Thanks for reading to the very end!

We have lift off!!

Its here the maiden voyage. I have been putting this off for two weeks worrying about templates but now its here!

How are we all? I’m nervous but i’m going to try to get past that and let you know what I have been up to in the last few weeks craft wise and then a bit later on what I have been listening too. This sounds like music to quilt by! But that sounds a bit boring.

This will also be a place where I will update on what the Saturday craft collective are doing .We need a better name than that (and stitch n bitch was taken years ago) Suggestions on the back of an envelope.

Where to start?

A few weeks ago I completed the first quilt I embarked on (I had completed a few more in-between). If anyone had seen me around a year ago they would have remembered me surrounded by hundreds of hexagons. The quilt has all been pieced by hand using EPP (English paper piecing) with the back, binding and quilting finished on machine (I’m not that good or patient!)

Hexigon Quilt

Hexigon Quilt


The back with lovely smores fabric and Riley Blake houses

P1000742   P1000740

EPP is great if your not home a lot. I was taking these pieces with me everywhere! If you are interested in starting EPP I learned from two great books. The first beng  Quilting on the go by Jessica Alexandrakis and the other being Hex a-go-go by Tacha Brurcher.

In the end I just made up my own pattern. It’s by no means perfect but I’m happy with it.

Apologies for the photos they are dark but I did  them while we still had a bit of sun before UK was hit with this ghastly weather.

In the works is another quilt from Hex a-go-go but this will take forever to put together, it is so time consuming!!!!

Really i’m not joking its really slow paced but here is where I’m up to. I just stick the whole thing in my coffee table and just pretend its not there most of the time.

EPP in progress

EPP in progress


still to go!

still to go!


After my machine decided once it got to the sewing shop that there was nothing wrong with it. (This always happens..i’m not very tech friendly) I’ve been able to start the test blocks for Alison glass Feathers quilt.

This is machine paper piecing which I have never done before. So far not as obviously easy as I thought (of course!) its quite difficult to piece light pieces after dark. More on that in later weeks as it progresses.

.feathers construction

There lots of other stuff on the go, i wont bore you with all the details.


On the music side this week

On the side there is  Spotify playlist with all the kinds of stuff I’ve been listening to this week feel free to love it or hate it.

There’s a few Welsh artist in there (I do love Welsh music) some other brilliant bits and bobs and old Midnight Juggernauts track. You see I was going to include the new Midnight Juggernauts track but, and i’m very sad to say this, it’s just not all that good think 90′s hip cafe music.

Of late I’ve been a bit behind on Australian music lately ,but discovered the Blackeyed Susan’s cover of Private Dancer. They have truly made it their own. It has the feel that I’m in a pub in the remote Australian bush and the band are playing in the corner. If you like what you hear take a listen to either  Welcome Stranger or All souls alive, both beautiful albums.

I’ve also put up a wonderful piece of music from the multi-talented Matt Berry (yep from IT crowd etc). His last two albums Witch hazel and Kill the Wolf were  brilliant folksy English  albums. Sometimes with a feel of Wicker man to them (you know what I mean). So this is different, But I’m open minded.

This track does sound like my dreams ethereal and angelic. Its a work of art.

The last link I’m going to add is a brilliant song by Teleman, The album isn’t out to June 2nd, which isn’t very far away but I feel like I’ve been waiting ages now. It has a a 90′s britpop cast off feel to it (think Rialto but much better .That is an unfair description but it just reminds me of them). But it sounds big very big, just play it quite loud it’s lush.


Over Christmas I was given a hefty book titled 1001 albums to listen to before you die. What a challenge! Flicking through it I reckon Ive already listened to about half of them during some part of my life but what the hell lets revisit them….Not all at once but once a week Ill pop a random one up. Flicking through the heavy tome of the 1001 book I cant see Please Hammer don’t hurt them by MC hammer or say Velveteen by Transvision Vamp, which is sad.

So I will start of page 2, just because I couldn’t contain my excitement, sorry ol’ blue eyes you will have to wait till another time.


Elvis Presley- Elvis Presley 13th March 1956

The Album opens with Blue suede shoes, what a song to announce your arrival. Imagine your a teenager in 1956 you have already been drawn in with that amazing album artwork and then you hear that song. Exhilarating!

The next song” Im counting on you” is not so much, but its not crap either just a nice little slow dance ditty. Then “I’ve got a woman comes on” I just wanna dance all over the place, maybe I love this because my Dad always sung it but that great double bass ripping through it and the guitar solo in the middle how could you not??

The rest of the album is a mix of  jive hopping rockabilly (Just Because),12 bar blues and smooth ballads. “I love you because” sounds uncannily like Blue Hawaii and his cover of Tutti Frutti is justified but still cant touch Little Richards version. “Trying to get to you” is as bluesy as Elvis gets, it makes me want to listen to the same song on the ’68 Comeback Special which is a much raunchier version.  Finally “Blue Moon” could have appeared in any David Lynch film.

This is the birth of rock n roll,  you cant under sell it.


That’s it for today, Hope I didn’t bore the Bejesus out of you!





We have lift off!!!