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Editorial blog

Focus on Fat Quarters

15 May 2020

The response to the first book I wrote, Fun with Fat Quarters, has been phenomenally successful, with lots of sales in Russia, China, USA and of course the UK. This then prompted the two new books Take Two Fat Quarters: Gifts and Take Two Fat Quarters: Home. By their very nature, fat quarters are cost-conscious to buy fabric as they are small pieces and all the projects in both books use just that – two fat quarters. In fact, many of them use only a portion of a fat quarter, such as the Sleep Eye Mask, Tea Cup Pincushion and Cosmetic Caddy in Gifts and the Cafetiere Cosy, Hanging Hoop Organiser and Dotty Notebook cover in Home.

Any of the projects would be ideal to start during this lockdown period as they use minimum haberdashery and of course, very little fabric! They will make great gifts for friends – readers could make up a stash of presents to give when you can meet again! The reversible placemats in Home is a great example – take time to play with different decorative stitches, use up those little bits and pieces of ribbon and trims you keep because ‘they might be useful one day’ and create personal placemats. The reverse is a simple patchwork, so if you are new to this technique it is also a great chance to have a go. In Gifts I must admit my favourite is Two Tone Teddy – if you have two coordinating fat quarters, a length of ribbon and toy stuffing you can make one easily (and if you don’t have toy stuffing, wash an old cushion and use that instead!).

The books are aimed at anyone with a stash of fat quarters and fabric remnants. Each title includes 16 easyto- follow projects, with clear instructions, illustrated with step-by-step photography.

There is also a pattern sheet in the back of each with full size patterns making it super easy to follow the projects.

I have tried to make sure there is something for everyone in each book. I’ve also used fabrics from Visage Textiles and the Craft Cotton Club which are vibrant and colourful. In Gifts, the Cosmetic Caddy and Brush Roll will probably appeal to younger crafters, the Two Tone Teddy, Super Summer Shorts, Tots Trapeze Dress to young mums or grandparents making for their grandchildren. In Home, the Cafetiere, Oven Glove and Two Bottle Bag will appeal to all ages while the Cable Tidy Roll and Top Tech pillows should appeal to younger crafters.

I come up with different ideas for projects all the time, by seeing what is in the shops and what I then think is, “I could make something like that!” I also teach regular workshops and so need to create projects for them – I am constantly developing ideas. For instance, my niece had a cable roll she’d bought for quite a lot of money. My cables were all scrambled together! I then saw several versions and thought, I can design one that has the benefits of others I’ve seen, plus the pockets to keep cable ends in place and the detachable zipped purse that can be used separately. The slippers in Home came about as a result of having those hotel/spa slippers that actually never really fit. I decided to use the sole as a base for my pretty home-made version.

I haven’t got another book on the go just yet (the two Take Two books were my 20th and 21st books!). But I do have one or two I’d like to do in the future which focus more on dressmaking. I am also busy organising workshops for the Autumn Knitting & Stitching Shows – we have over 220 workshops at each and I organise them all, working with so many very talented tutors from around the country. I also work as Brand Ambassador for McCalls Pattern Company, writing articles for a couple of magazines each month and answering any pattern queries, and then I am a consultant for Hemline on their product ranges, testing them out and making suggestions for additional instructions etc. I have also just bought myself some studio lighting and intend to do some videos for YouTube. I have done many already for Hemline, Simplicity, Makower Fabrics but would like to do some for myself. And finally, I need, and intend to, update my website!

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