Darling, I’m in the Bath

Handmade in Britain

I’ve relocated to one of these cities – check out my ‘Who’s the fox’ page to find out which one!

Just a quick post to say HELLO and wow, haven’t I been away for a while again!

I’ve been rather busy of late, some of which meant have no internet connection, time or energy (usually all three at once though!). A new job and a relocation to go with it means I’ve been distracted to the max. Check out Who’s the fox for more details :0)

So I’m off to have new adventures, see new things, meet new people and generally have a crafty, fun and colourful time, then come back here to tell you all about them.

Next week I’m off to Handmade in Britain, billed as ‘The Contemporary Crafts & Design Fair’.

I can’t wait – the list of exhibitors is eclectic yet feels very coherent and carefully curated. With me will be my handy iphone to tweet and take photos.  I’ll tell you all about it, how I’ve been inspired, and if I buy anything (OK – there’s no ‘if’ – I’ll share my haul with ya!).

So see you here again soon!

Jen xxx

ps to keep you entertained until then, here’s a cute video I wanted to share – more on this later…

Solid as a (fabric) rock

Hold the front page – SewCraftyFox has discovered that not all fabric has to be patterned!

Does my bum look big on this?
You mean this beach towel has NO PATTERN? Not even a little polka dot?!

One look at my fabric stash will confirm my adoration of bright, loud, retro and sometimes frankly bonkers prints. Lately I’ve started to find myself drawn to the fabrics of Kaffe Fassett, known for his amazingly bright, jewel-tone colours and deep, textured prints. His low-contrast patchwork is so effective because those amazing prints do all the work, actually adding very satisfying contrast and movement where otherwise the overall effect could be confusing to the eye. I’ve recently been reading up more on colour theory for quilters, and how carefully selecting and mixing different patterns, tones and shades can take a quilt from ‘meh’ to marvelous.

But recently I’ve started to become intrigued by solids. Solid, plain, block – whatever you call it, I never really understood the point of these rather flat looking fabrics. I mean, white and cream – yes – useful for adding ‘white space’ to a quilt, but if you’re gonna use colour, why not to go wild in the aisles with prints at the same time?!

So what’s changed my mind? Well, a few things:

Now I’m not saying that I’d only use a fabric if it’s ‘designer’ (I’m not a label snob – my wardrobe proves it!) but what I’ve noticed is that designers such as my fabric heroine Amy Butler, and the aforementioned Kaffe, have introduced ranges of solids to complement their printed lines.

This means that they have to go beyond the basic colour wheel to create shades that blend with the many colours in their collections. As a result, we have a mega-rainbow to choose from, with hundreds of opportunities to find the perfect pink, green or blue.

Amy Butler solids
Subtle solid shades from Amy Butler that are a far cry from the basic ‘colour wheel’ shades we normally see

All I’ll say is that it’s only when you see solids used in a clever and creative way that you begin to appreciate the beauty of them all the more.

Strata – a beautiful quilt by Helen Howes showing how even the tiniest change of tone and intensity can create dimension and movement. You can buy this as a kit from Oakshott Fabrics – click the pic to see more.

You can do things with solids that would lose impact and effect when done with prints.

Twelve Trees
Another striking quilt from Helen Howes (click the pic to visit her) – I saw this on the Oakshott stand at Stitches in March, and it literally stopped me in my tracks.

Another ‘solids’ quilt is from Quilts Made Modern, the latest book of solid- and patterned-fabric quilts from clever colour-wranglers Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. I couldn’t take my eyes off this design when I first saw it. (Having said that, check out their funky fabric line – is it available in the UK?)

Called ‘Transparency’, there is nothing solid about this quilt from ‘Quilts Made Modern’ – like gazing into a gently rippling lake

Do great minds think alike? I wouldn’t know, being a bear of very little brain, but I was certainly heartened to see the latest edition of Fat Quarterly – issue 4 – Solids. I really admire Fat Quarterly, so was thrilled when twitter-pal and good-taste-guru Manda gave this very edition a glowing review over on her blog, TreeFall Design. This confirmed that my new love isn’t a passing whim, but instead has great potential.

Fat Quarterly issue 4
One of the world’s best patchwork and quilting magazines – fresh, contemporary, simple and inspirational.

I’ll never end my love affair with patterns and prints, but maybe my growing fondness for solids is a sign that my tastes are evolving and MAYBE I’m almost a grown-up. (But will definitely need more space for the ever growing fabric stash…)