Wednesday, November 4, 2015


That was bizarre! There really is no other way to describe quilt market. I feel like I spent longer on the various flights than I did in America ! The trip was nothing like the leisurely Spring market trip to Minneapolis.

Houston was hot, smelly and busy and we had the most spectacular tropical storm ( a downgraded hurricane) that saw half of quilt market holed up in the Hilton bar for hours. I saw nothing but the convention center, Ikea and my motel room until the day we were leaving - it really was bonkers. (oh and the Hilton bar maybe more than once -networking folks, networking)

This time, Ella Blue had a schoolhouse, where each designer had a short time to speak about their fabric range. I had never seen schoolhouse before and not only was I jet lagged, I was suffering a most explosive tummy bug at the time, so I was talking and clenching both ends at the same time ! I am sure I seemed completely erratic.

I have been home a week tomorrow morning and am back at work and feeding the cats and brushing the dog and every now and again I wonder if it really happened;  the child centre of screaming babies that was the first flight, followed by the incredibly drunken man ejected on the second flight ( along with hymn singing nervous flyer woman and vomiting woman). The crazy speed walking through LAX, the sweet gentleman from Alabama with the best accent ever who helped me schlep all my stuff to the Convention centre and all the crazy wonderful friends and conversations and drop dead hilarious moments. 

I have a bag full of American 'candy' that I am working my way through and a  whole bunch of friends I need to thank for helping me pull all this off, but right now on Wednesday night at 8:30PM - I feel like it is the early hours of the yestermorrow morning. I have dropped my phone in a drain and walked quite painfully into a random thing poking out of the school garden. From this side of the screen things are feeling pretty ragged. 
Goodnight for now blogfriends - and thanks, as always for making all this crazy happen.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Needles down

 I have been especially absent lately and I am sorry. Please don't take it personally, I have been just as absent everywhere. It has been three weeks of "no thank you "and "I'm sorry I can't make it" and "I really don't think I'll have the time". I am forever grateful that the people in my real life are so understanding because basically I have been a shut in for three solid weeks.

I have been sewing before work and after work, and even at work (lunchtime library club). I have been sewing late into the night and at every chance. Dinner guests were fed pizza from the box (no wasting time on pesky dishes). The to-do list has been consulted and rewritten and typed and re-categorised at every juncture.  

About an hour ago I turned off my sewing machine. There are still one or two things on my wish list that I would have liked to finish for quilt market but the world won't end if they aren't made. I have a load of hand sewing to finish, suitcases to pack tomorrow, a day at the real job on Monday and then off to the airport on Tuesday morning. 
This is The Cat's Pyjamas . 
I want to tell you how much I love it without sounding like a dick. I want to tell you how much I love that a little bit of my cats Jude & Eloise are in there, I want to tell you that those toothbrushes crack me up every time I look at them and how happy I am with those little cat faces - but that all sounds a bit Mrs Big-Head so I'll just say thanks for popping in, it's been a crazy few weeks so don't mind the dressing gown. I'll put the kettle on and just sew up a few turning gaps while we chat.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A post for Senior Management

Yep, truly ! I got to have another go at this fabric designing stuff. My new range will debut at quilt market in Houston at the end of October. I can't believe I will be heading off to America again. Who am I ? How did I become this traveler ? 

All of this crazy wonderful stuff has come from you guys, every single member of Senior Management, whether you are a brand new lurker or a real life long time reading friend - because you bother to pop in and read my irregular ramblings and you stop and say Hi and you encourage me and you make me laugh. 
I know I have said it before, but look what we have done folks. 
You , me and a blog , un-bloody-believable !

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I am giving you the side eye blogger

Blogger is being a bit of an arse lately , but that's not the reason I haven't been posting.
I have been feeling a bit hamstered and over-doctored and generally out-of-sorts but it is all OK and I have given myself a sound talking to!
When I am not here, chatting to you guys I am usually floating about at the day job, or hopefully farting about in the sewing room. Sometimes I am teaching, sometimes I am up to my ears in secret stuffs and sometimes (though not often) I am just having a cuppa and a bit of zombie killing time.
I am (very often) on Instagram posting pictures without the blog-need to stop and chat.

There have been some birthdays which meant I made a wool version of my Circus tuffet pattern - and I LOVE IT ! But 'cause I am an awesome mum I gave it away to my TWENTY-FOUR year old daughter. (I know, how is that even possible?)

 I made a new creative card pattern : This is Karma Chameleon and he can be made in either cotton (degree of difficulty quite painful) or felt (super easy). It is the ear worm that will get you with this one !

I made him with hand dyed felt from Winterwood and seriously wanted to make a whole mountain of them

 but this little fellow needed some time as well.

This is P is for Pig , my newest friend in the Alphabet animal series. He is number seven so there are only 19 more letters to go.
Do you all get the newsletter ? It's kinda boring but it does give you shop discounts - current discount uses the code BLOGLOVE for 25% off all the stuffs until Tuesday midnight.

So stakeholders, we have 19 letters to go, having used D E F G H P T - what do you suggest ?
(and no you can't make rude words out of it yet - you know I have tried !)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to sew a fabric rug : Tutorial

how to sew a fabric rug
I started this rug as a bit of an experiment and with no plan to create a tutorial so please forgive me if the photos are a little cobbled together.

OK guys, now this is more of a marathon than a sprint (although it is super quick) so I think we need to organise ourselves before we start. Why ? because of course I jumped in feet first and fluffed up a few things and could have done them better so you guys get the benefit of my experience.

You will need :

  • Cotton sashing cord: I started with 8mm and had to really squeeze it under my presser foot. Once I ran out of 8mm I had to use 7mm - and it was much easier. You may need to see what your own machine is happy to cope with. My finished rug measures approx 47 inches across and I used 125 metres  (almost 400 feet) of cotton sashing.

  • Fabric strips: Any length x 1 1/4 inches wide. (Depending on my mood, I ripped some and cut some.) My strips varied between 1 and 2 inches but I found the narrower ones easiest to wrap. I have no idea how much fabric I used but my scraps are once more actually fitting in the scrap basket.
  • Polyester Thread : Lots of thread - more thread than you can imagine. It is a good idea to pre-wind a stack of bobbins as well, because once you get started you are going to want to keep on going - it is highly addictive!
  • Jeans needle: I started with a regular needle and broke one before commonsense kicked in and I switched to a jeans needle.
Set Up:

OK guys, this is the secret to success. You need to be able to sew somewhere that your machine will be at the same level as a flat surface roughly the size of the rug you want to make. You cannot fudge this step or you will end up making a basket. 
I started by putting the weird little plastic table on my sewing machine (I have never used it) but in the early stages the rug grows so quickly that it outgrew that little table in no time.
In the end, my kitchen table, butted up against the kitchen bench (With the Guinness book of records under my machine to raise it) was the perfect workstation. There is a box, also on a book behind my machine and once the rug got wider than this arrangement I put chairs next to the bench. Yep, home beautiful all the way.
You really need to be able to sort this out, if you don't have a flat surface it is impossible to keep your rug flat.

fabric rug by ric rac

Machine settings:
I set my machine at the widest zigzag stitch possible and the stitch length at roughly the midpoint of what my machine offers.

Getting started:

Simply wrap one of the strips around the end of your sashing, making sure you have covered the end. 

If you look closely you can see, not only the zigzag stitch but also a straight stitch running the length of the cord. I began by stitching the length of the cord after I had wrapped it. I soon realised this was double handling and it wasn't really needed.
Wind your covered sashing into a circle and sew. It could not be simpler.


Simply tuck the next fabric strip into the one previous and keep wrapping.

You will most likely get little bits hanging out - it is no problem at all, they get hidden as you add the next row around the rug.

I began by sewing the ends of the sashing cord together but that meant taking the rug out of the machine each time. The sashing cord had tape on each end to stop fraying, so in the end I just taped them together - woohoo !! Easy !!
As the rug grows it is going to get heavier - a lot heavier ! It will then become harder for your machine to 'pull' the rug through. Once the rug became very large, I would sew about 20 cm and then pull the rug around, constantly readjusting it so I was doing the heavy work not the machine.

fabric rug by ricrac

Tips: if you have a needle up/needle down function on your machine set it at needle up. Once your rug gets large and heavy and you start shoving it around a bit,you are less likely to break a needle if you leave it up. 


I took this photo late at night so please excuse it.

fabric rug by ric rac

I wrapped the end of the sashing in sticky tape (just one layer) and then cut it, tapering it to a kind of point. I covered the raw cut edge with a bit more tape and then wrapped it and sewed. A little spot of backtacking and the rug is done!

Note : My machine collected an amazing amount of lint during this project. I am not sure if it was the hours of sewing in one sitting, or something to do with the cotton sashing but it is worth your while to stop every few hours and remove the lint build up.

fabric rug by ric rac

fabric rug by ricrac

If you have any questions I will answer them in the comments so everyone can read them, so make sure you pop back to get your answer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A slight diversion

 I started an experiment - something that had been niggling away at the back of my mind. Would it work? How hard would it be?

Tonight after work is the last night I'll be working on this - It is taking over the whole kitchen. I'll post a tutorial as soon as possible - I  just need to start a new one so I can get some photos of the beginning stage. Gotta run folks - realwork is calling.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Holiday Boss

So whilst the holiday boss might not have been thrilled with last weeks performance, quite a lot happened. I finished up a stack of shop samples including Circus Skittles and Tuffets.

I visited Kellie's new shop in Fairfield called Cutting Cloth. The shop is stunning and full of Kellie's wonderful quilts. You can follow her on facebook to see some of her wonderful range.

Still in Fairfield , it was off to visit G.J's. Having recently moved, the G.J's store is enormous with a huge amount of quilting fabric as well as everything strecthy and sparkly and sequinny that any dancer could want. (I find myself so drawn to all that sparkle.)  

While I was there I saw my fabric in the wild for the very fist time. It was a bit weird, I didn't want to stand near it in case someone said something awful about it.

I made a new friend (almost but not quite),

and I celebrated the birthday of our slightly older friend, Annie flowergarden.
I look forward to all the adventures you have planned Annie, it is going to be some ride !