23 August 2017

Thank you!!

I just wanted to pop in and say a huge thank you to you all following on from my last post.  Mum and I have been so touched by all your comments that we received on here, Instagram and Facebook and by the number of emails that you sent to us......thank you!!!

I thought I should also share the answers to a few questions that we have been asked....

  • Mum and I are absolutely fine... thank you.... a few tears were shed whilst making the decision, but we know that we have done the right thing for us, our families and for Pretty Fabrics and Trims. 

  • Whilst our Ruskington shop will no longer be open on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning, we are not moving out of our lovely premises......goodness knows where all the fabric and loveliness would go!

  • We are therefore still at the end of an email or telephone call should you need to speak to us and we are always happy to help.  All our contact information can be found HERE.

  • We are not down sizing Pretty Fabrics and Trims in any way, purely focusing 100% of our efforts in to growing the business via our website.  We have lots of pretty new fabrics on order and new arrivals happening on a daily/weekly basis.  Find out what's coming soon HERE.

  • We are considering having the occasional open days and also the possibility of standing at Quilt shows...... but just for now we're going to catch our breath.

We had an absolutely lovely holiday, although the days just whizzed by.   I had all good intentions of getting lots of sewing done and went appropriately prepared, although mostly I ended up simply watching the world go by.......

The little sneaky peeks are in preparation for some fun future projects here on the blog .... hopefully if all goes according to plan, you won't have to wait to long for them!

Something that has been said often to us in the last few days is "that you work to live and not the other way round", what sound advice.  Thanks again for being the best readers, customers and friends possible!

Happy Stitches!

18 August 2017

Important Announcement re Ruskington Bricks and Mortar Shop

We're back from a much needed family week away.  Before we left it is fair to say that both mum and I were completely shattered. We have been extremely lucky to see our online business grow at a pace over the last few years.  Along side this we have juggled our bricks and mortar Ruskington Shop opening hours, plus lots of behind the scenes sewing and fabric club preparation.  At all times trying to give an outstanding service to everyone.....but here's the thing..... in recent months there simply haven't been enough hours in the day to do everything....and what is more upsetting to both of us is that we do not feel that we have given our best to you our fabulous customers and that makes us very sad!  We're certainly not complaining, we are very thankful for all your support, but despite us thinking we were invincible.... it was inevitable that we couldn't keep working all the hours indefinitely.

We've been aware that something needed to change, our husbands have been telling us something needed to change, but in all honesty the holiday has given us breathing space to think about the right course of action for us to take.....for the business, for our health and for our families.   We  have already tried shortening our Ruskington shop opening hours and have toyed with various other possible solutions.  We have thought about employing staff, but our premises are simply not big enough for us to fit in another member of staff with another cutting table or packing station, alongside all our beautiful fabrics.  So it is with regret that we have come to the very difficult decision to revert back to our roots and become an online only retailer and close our Ruskington bricks and mortar shop.

We appreciate that this news will not affect the majority of our customers who are scattered across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world...although hopefully you will see our prompt turnaround time from ordering to receiving your parcels full of loveliness continue.  Plus we have lots of exciting new fabric arrivals, quilt packs and much promised projects and sew alongs in the pipeline that hopefully we will now find a moment to share!

For those of you who did come in to Ruskington, we know that this news will be disappointing and we are very sorry!  We would like to make it very clear that it has been a complete joy meeting each and everyone of you.  We have loved our quilty talks and seeing your fabulous projects!  Thank you for having taken the time to come and visit us!

Our Ruskington shop's last day opening will be Saturday 26th August.

Our website remains open as always 24 hours a day 365 days a year!

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of this, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Thank you again for supporting us!

7 August 2017

Introducing our NEW Block of the Month Club ~ The Potager Medallion Quilt

I'm am super excited today to share my finished 'Potager Medallion' quilt, which is our BRAND NEW Block of the Month quilt, starting this October!  Here's some more pictures of the finished quilt....

I started sewing the quilt back in early spring and it has pretty much been my constant companion ever since....I've enjoyed every little happy stitch!  As with my previous Block of the Month designs, it incorporates a variety of techniques..... from machine pieced curves (don't be scared, I'll share how I do it!)...... 

applique....I used my favourite interfacing method.....

English Paper Piecing.......
and general machine piecing ......   I carefully cherry picked a mix of fabrics from a variety of manufacturers including some Tilda, Moda, Lecien and Sevenberry.  The colours are soft and gentle..... delicate pinks, sage green, custard yellow, mustard, duck egg, ice blue and little touches of warm red, all set against a scrappy mix of low volumes including text, blender prints and Moda Bella solids.  I gave a customer in the shop a little sneaky peek the other day (thank you...you know who you are!) and she said that it was me all over...I hope that you agree!

I've been busy hand quilting mine using Aurifil 12wt, but there's lots of opportunities for some pretty special machine quilting should you prefer!

As I have done with our precious Block of the Month clubs, I thought it would be useful to share some general Q&A.......

What is a Block Of The Month (BOM) Club and how does it work?

A block of the month is a parcel full of loveliness that you will receive directly through your letterbox each month for a year. It will include all the fabrics* and if required, English Paper Pieces required for you to sew that months section of the quilt, plus of course, detailed instructions for how to piece each block will also be included. 

At the end of the year you will have received enough pretty fabric and instructions to make your very own 'Potager Medallion' Quilt Top.

*The quilt has has a very scrappy feel with lots of different fabrics used. Each month, you will receive all the fabrics that you need to complete that months block. These will be received as small strips and little pieces ready for you to accurately subcut as per the cutting instructions that will also be enclosed.

How big is the finished Quilt?

The Quilt measures 64" x 64"

How long will the Club run for?

The club will run for 12 months commencing in October 2017 and will run through to and including September 2018.

What techniques will be used?

The quilt combines a mix of Machine Piecing, English Paper Piecing and Applique*.

*Sarah used the Turn Through Interfacing method for the applique, but you could use Needle Turn or Raw Edge.... it is entirely up to you.

To assist with the different techniques throughout the year you will find a whole host of tutorials on our Blog HERE.

Will I receive exactly the same fabrics as used in the Sarah's quilt?

We will as far as possible send the same fabrics as Sarah used, if this is not possible then rest assured we will send something equally as scrumptious!

What threads did Sarah use?

Sarah used Aurifil 50wt thread, both on the machine and for all the hand stitching. These are not included. However a thread pack to co-ordinate will be made available.  More information on this soon!

What other supplies will I need?

Applique supplies depending on your chosen method, EPP supplies again depending upon your chosen method (but the papers will be supplied when needed), a 1/4" Bias Binding maker plus your usual patchwork and sewing related tools.

Will there be a Facebook group for Club members?

Yes......... we have a dedicated Facebook Group for our Block of the Month Club members! It is a private forum only open to Pretty Fabrics and Trims Block of the Month club members, somewhere where you could share your progress month by month, ask for advice from fellow club members, to share helpful tips and to make quilty friends.

Can I purchase the pattern on its own?

No, not at this moment in time......many hours have been spent designing this quilt specifically for our Block of the Month Club......Sorry!


Places for the club are limited and all our friends and customers from across the world are invited. 

If you would like to join, you can do so on the website HERE.

We will be asking participants to pay a £1 non refundable commitment fee to book your spot.

PLEASE NOTE ~ By signing up to the BOM club you agree to take part in the 12 month program and it is non cancelable.

How much will it cost?

The Monthly Club cost including postage is:

UK Club Price ~ £18.50 (Via 1st Class Mail)

EU Club Price ~ £21.50 (Via Standard Airmail*)

International Club Price ~ £23.00 (Via Standard Airmail*)

*Should you wish to upgrade to Priority Mail please do get in touch.

How will I make my payment?

The first months payment will be due on the 1st October 2017 and subsequent payments will be due on the 1st of each Month. Parcels full of loveliness will be posted within 2 working days of payments being safely received.

Payments will be made by a monthly subscription service via your Paypal account to us, for those of you already in our Flirty 30's Club or our previous Block of the Month Clubs will be familiar with this. By setting up a Paypal subscription to us your monthly payments will automatically be debited from your Paypal account each month. Once it is in place you do not need to do anything, with the exception of cancelling the subscription at the end of the Block of the Month. Don't worry we will remind you and should you inadvertently forget, we will obviously refund any over-payment without hesitation!

We will contact Club members to arrange this, nearer the time.

We are also more than happy for you to make your monthly payment to us from your Bank Account directly into our Bank Account, should you prefer this method, simply get in touch once you have signed up and we will provide you with all the required information.

I hope this pretty much covers all the questions that you may have, but obviously please do GET IN TOUCH if you have any questions at all, mum and I are here to help!

Andy, Poppy and I went to one of our favourite spots for a walk to take photo's of the quilt.  I must admit we did get some very strange looks from dog walkers and a man on his tractor!  We were also followed around by the most beautiful horse.....

So I think that pretty much covers it all.  Mum and I hope that you will join us in stitching along!

Happy Stitches!

28 July 2017

Faded Red, White and Blue Log Cabin Quilt

Last week our delivery of Snowberry by 3 Sisters for Moda Fabrics arrived.  I have been waiting with baited breath for this beautiful collection, as I've been planning a red, white and blue quilt for my conservatory.  I've also been saving fabrics from my stash and cutting snippets from the shop, in readiness for the project.  

I wanted my quilt to have an aged, antique feel, so I've gone for faded reds, cool blues, duck egg blue and soft ivory and I've picked fabrics from across makers and collections.  So in addition to the Snowberry, I've added in some French General and Minick and Simpson all by Moda, plus a healthy dose of Lecien from the Durham Quilt Collection and Kate Greenaway and some pretty duck egg blues from Elm Cottage by Windham.  From my stash again there's a mix of Moda and Lecien from collections dating back quite a few years.  I don't know about you, but it's so easy to hang on to your favourite fabrics and be reluctant to cut in to them isn't it, but this project is just a perfect opportunity and I will get to enjoy them for many years to come!  Whilst I'm aiming for an aged, antique feel, I still wanted to keep the quilt feeling fresh so I've also included some sweet red text prints I'm loving the edge that they give to the quilt!
Each log cabin is made up of a traditional light and dark side, but by the very nature of the fabrics I've chosen it's not one of high contrast, but when there's a few blocks together I think this will show up nicely.  I've also decided to have a red centre to each of my blocks, which symbolises the hearth of home and for this I've chosen Faded Red by French General...it's absolutely one of my favourites ever!

Each of the log cabins starts of with a centre square and I have chosen to then construct my log cabin blocks using the same method as I did HERE, rather than pre-cutting the pieces for each block to size prior to sewing.  There is something very liberating to this process!  So effectively what this means is, that other than cutting the centre square (a) to size at 1 1/2" square, the remaining fabrics were simply all cut into strips measuring 1 1/2" wide by the length of the piece of fabric.  I then divided them in to lights and darks. Than at random, I chose a dark fabric strip (b) which I sewed using a 1/4" seam allowance to one side of the fabric square (a), then trimmed away the excess and then finger pressed the seam towards the dark strip away from the centre square.  Then rotating clockwise, I added a second dark fabric strip (c) followed by a fabric (d) light strip, then a second fabric (e) light strip and carried on as shown in the picture below.... repeating two darks, followed by two lights.  The finished block measures 9 1/2" square.  Once I sewn the whole block I then gave it a good press.

This is what the back of the block looks like....

To help with the randomness, because actually I find doing random really hard.....I found it useful to put the remainder of the strips that I cut off as had sewn them in to two new piles (one dark and one light) and kept sewing log cabins blocks until I had used all my fabrics and then I started again.

As to how big the quilt be.... at this point I don't really know.  I'm just going to keep sewing for the time being as and when I have a moment, in between other projects.  It really envisage this project being good for when I want to sew, but I don't really have the brain power or energy to sew a project that needs a great deal of concentration...do you know what I mean?

I shared my completed blocks earlier this week on my Instagram and Facebook feeds and I was completely blown away by the response ..thank you so much!  I then had quite a few emails asking if there would be quilt packs...thank you again!!  So, as I am unable to do exact replicas, I had great fun creating an 'inspired by' bundle, which are always so much fun to do....... here's what it looks like.....

Mum and I decided rather than fat quarter bundles we would cut them as fat eighths, so if you love the fabrics but don't fancy making the log cabin quilt, this would give you more flexibility.  Just thinking...they would make a stunning 'Half Square Triangle Quilt', 'Brick Quilt' or 'Patchy Heart' for which tutorials can be found HERE!!

Anyway, here's a recap of the Scrummy Supplies I've talked about...

Snowberry by 3 Sisters for Moda, can be found HERE
'Make it' Sarah's Faded Red, White and Blue Log Cabin Quilt Bundle, can be found HERE
I've been using my favourite shade of Aurifil 50wt #2311 to piece my log cabin blocks, it can be found HERE

Thank you again for all you lovely comments, it really is a complete joy to be able to share my creative endeavours with you and also to receive your orders at Pretty Fabrics and Trims.  Thank you so much!!  

Have a super weekend and Happy Stitches!

18 July 2017

A Hexie a Day Update

As promised last time here's an update of where Mum and I are with our 'a hexie a day' project....did you see what I did there.........this has now become a joint project, which is rather good fun!  Despite my very good intentions, with so many projects on the go, this poor little work in progress kept getting placed to the bottom of the list.  So when mum mentioned that she would like to sew some hexies, I very quickly put together a bundle of fabrics and EPP papers for her to get stitching, which she has been doing so now for the last few weeks!

As you can see whilst we've not managed a complete hexie flower a day, we do have a very lovely stack of flowers..nearly 80 and there is something very satisfying when you lay out the flowers on mass like this.....

I'm so pleased with the pretty colour scheme and fabrics, which are all Lecien fabrics from a variety of collections..... Durham Quilt Collection, Rococo and Sweet, Quilters Basics, High Tea, Mrs March etc.

You may remember, my initial plan, had been to sew the hexie flowers together with no path, but as the project has progressed, mum and I have decided to add a round of Bella Solid Porcelain. I think this will allow the fabrics in each of the flowers to sing.  The plan then, is to possibly add a second path using a contrasting colour to join the flowers together..maybe diamonds (6 point diamonds work with hexagons) combined with equilateral triangles rather than more hexies...but that's a long way off, so hold that thought!
The next round, which will involve in the region of 960 further hexies and a fair few glue sticks, which means this will be an ongoing project for quite some time.........

However...I think without a doubt, the end result is going to be worth all those many happy hours of stitching.

If you fancy a go at Engish Paper Piecing, you can find my little happy tutorial for how to make the hexie flowers HERE.  Honestly give it a go, it's the perfect project to take with you when you're out and about and for evening stitches whilst watching tv! And here's a list of all the Scrummy Supplies that we've been using for this project.

Lecien Fabrics can be found HERE
Paper Pieces can be found HERE
Glue Pens and Refills can be found HERE
Aurifil Thread can be found HERE

See you again soon and Happy Stitches!

11 July 2017

Catch up Time!

As always, at this time of year the weeks are flying by with the usual end of term activities..... sports days, summer fairs plus the general day to day antics of being a self employed, quilt shop and website owning Mum.  It's always a bit of a juggling act to keep all the plates spinning, but at this time of year it's even more of a struggle......thank goodness so far I've remembered to be in the right place at the right time......but oh my it is fun, and I wouldn't change it for the world!

In addition, last weekend we celebrated Mum and Dad's (Penny and Ian's) Golden Wedding Anniversary...what a milestone and my nephews 2nd Birthday.  So go and grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake, I've have got lots to share with you!

We're not a huge family, in fact, there is just my family of four, my brother's family of four and mum and dad!  We had lunch out and then returned to mum and dad's house for cake and present opening.  The sun was shining all day and we all had a fantastic time, so much so, I failed on the blog front and didn't take a single photo!  Sorry!

I did however manage some before photo's of the cakes Poppy and I made.....

For the Golden Wedding cake we used Peggy Porshen Lemon Limoncello Cake from her Boutique Baking book, but we substituted the buttercream for a swiss meringue butter cream, flavoured with lemoncurd.   We also added a drizzle of crushed raspberries from Mum and Dad's garden between the layers.  It was decorated with lavender, herbs and berries from the garden and to add a golden touch a sparkly 50 and a spritz of gold lustre.

Poppy was in charge of my nephews cake, a delicious chocolate cake (and cupcakes, which we forgot to photograph!)  She used our 'go to' cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery.  These were also topped with the swiss meringue butter cream that we flavoured with vanilla and as you can see she went for sprinkle, sprinkles and more sprinkles!

For a little present, I made another Heart Mini Quilt.... you can find the 'a little happy tutorial' for this HERE.

This time for the heart, I used a mix of Durham Quilt collection fabrics in the Natural colourway, with a pretty Lecien dot and a tiny pin dot from the Kate Greenaway collection.  The binding is the text print from Poetry.  The eagle eyed will notice the change of background dimension...I forgot to bring some Essex Linen home with me so I used a smaller piece of Putty, that I had to hand.  This measured 8 1/2" x 12 inches.  I also added the extra cotton label using some pretty tape I had in my stash.

If you would like to make one or simply love the fabrics, we've put together FQ bundle of the fabrics I used HERE.

In other Shop News...we've had some fabulous new arrivals......

Lori Holts Bee Backgrounds for Riley Blake..... these really are lovely low volumes, a must for any stash and obviously fabulous to use in any of Lori's own quilt patterns, including the BEE Happy Quilt....the sew along for which is due to start on the 28th August. (Lori's Bee Happy templates can be pre-ordered from us HERE...)   Find Bee Backgrounds HERE.

Nadra Ridgeway's much anticipated third collection Arbor Blossom for Riley Blake Designs arrived late last week.  It is extremely pretty and what a bonus....the fabrics all blend and work perfectly with Nadra's previous collections 'Bloom and Bliss' and 'Backyard Roses'.  Find all Nadra's pretty fabrics HERE.

Christmas has definitely arrived at Pretty Fabrics and Trims ( Don't be cross, I know it's only July!) and I'm busy adding all the new collections to the website, here's a little taster.....

Merrily by Gingiber for Moda Fabrics...just look at those fabby panels..... Find it HERE.

Sugar Plum Christmas by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda Fabrics... I love the Christmas colours and the sweet small scale prints...there are also some really good Christmassy blenders... find it HERE.

All our cherry picked selection of Christmas Fabrics can be found on the website HERE and as new collections arrive I'll add them to this section, so make sure you keep returning and taking a peek!

....and there's more.... (she says making a mental note not to leave it so long in between blog posts!)

We've also had several requests for restocks of both my Tilda Brick quilt packs, you can read all about my original version HERE and the second version (pictured below) HERE .....

and the A Little Happy Sew Along Merry Christmas Mini Quilt, which you can read all about HERE

As you can see,  both restocked packs are slightly different from the originals, but rest assured, both have the flavour of the previous and will make absolutely gorgeous new versions.  The NEW Tilda Brick Quilt Pack can be found HERE and the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt Pack can be found HERE.

Right I think that's all for today and I promise to be back soon...for those of you who follow me on Social Media will know, I've got a new Block of the Month quilt that I'll be sharing soon plus a pretty Tilda Dresden plate quilt that is nearing completion.  Mum has also been working behind the scenes on the Flirty 30's Dresdens and the 'a hexie a day' hexies...so LOTS to share.

In the meanwhile......Happy Stitches!