I’m not buying anything…

That’s what I said to myself when arriving at the Festival of Quilts last week. I was going to see my ex-work-experience student Siobhan Lawson who recently graduated First Class – well done! I love her aprons, particularly.

Tea towel and collar details

Sauce Apron
Collars

I loved the exhibition of African American quilts. I messed up the photos so I don’ t have anything decent to share, although I have some poor-quality ones of the very high quality work of Quilter’s Guild student award winner Julie Bunter. Work very much after my own heart. There seems to be nothing about her online, so I hope she will pop up again soon.

The shopping: There were no stalls specialising in anything eco, though there were a good few small producers and importers like Kekfesto Cotton who sell lovely blue and white Hungarian printed cotton. I just fell in love with these peacocks. I’m a sucker for folk art and had to have them. The piece is actually a pair of peacocks facing each other and is simply lovely.

Entirely contrary to my intentions, some modern Japanese prints jumped into my bag (well I did pay for them). I’ve decided on balance (in the calm that followed the end-of-the-show-bargain-sale) that I was over excited and wont use two of them, so will be ebaying them shortly. The one I am keeping:

A bag maybe, and probably an apron as well. It’s a half-metre piece.

I was delighted to get some organic cotton quilt wadding – I haven’t previously found it in the UK, although it is an American import.

I bought a copy of Fashion DIY at one of the many bookstalls (the shop I bought it from don’t have it listed on their website, or I would have linked to them instead of Amazon…). It’s research, not a working tool. It’s beautifully styled and photographed, and has got some really great creative ideas in it. However, it feels like some of the projects were padding and bring down the general level of quality. I’m frustrated by it’s lack of eco-awareness, which in a book about restyling rather than buying new seems very back-to-front. (There are a lot of chemical-based ideas such as devore and bleaching.) I don’t like the way the instructions (for things like making bias tape) are interspersed with the project instructions. It slows things down and leads to repetition. I don’t see why it can’t just have a techniques sections?

Its very short on diagrams and very heavy on text, which is a hard way to understand instructions, and sometimes the garment photos are so styled you can’t really see what’s going on. I think it would be quite hard to actually use. I love the way the graphic designer has used images of vintage sewing tools on many of the pages, it’s a nice stylistic touch. On the whole, though, I think it’s a good book, with a handful of stunning pieces and plenty of ok ones and lots of inspiration and ideas for beginners and intermediates.

Maybe I am a little jaded about this book, as I read it, very tired, on the rail-replacement bus service coming home – it is not a mode of transport for inducing happy thoughts. I’d be interested in what anyone else thinks of this book, particularly non-professionals who have a different perspective than my picky self.

Let me know what you think

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