State of the Union 2018

No, not the Donald Trump speech mutterings of a madman but an idea of were Little Hippo Sews one year on.

Finished projects – Since this time last year….
The Crazy Ticket Quilt (that made it to the Scottish Quilt Show just last week)


2 Baby Quilts
My recycled hoodie quilt
A remake of my Harry Potter cloak for Halloween complete with a Liberty fabric lined hood.


…and I did enter Festival of Quilts but the less said about that the better probably. I do love my quilted frame but it wasn’t up to quality and it wasn’t displayed correctly.

Current projects –
The Quilter’s Planner Sampler Quilt – although I’m currently a month behind on my miniaturised edition. At the piecing stage.
My miniature bookcase quilt – now being hand quilted. It might go to competition or I might just pet it.
Grace’s Tree of Paradise – I’ve developed an obsession with Alias Grace (book by Margaret Atwood, TV show by Netflix; read it, watch it, you WILL love it). It has many quilt references including a tree of paradise at the very end which I’ve sketched out as a mini.
Tree of Life – An experiment with acrylic paint and quilting. Not sure where this one is going but it’s quite large scale and I would need to paint outside since I’ve discovered that a meter and a half square board is too big for the sewing room.

You have maybe noticed a trend there. (Not trees, that’s just a coincidence) I have developed a bit of love for the smallest of the quilt groups. This might be where my quilting goes for awhile. It’s actually quite exciting because I’ve been all over the place after my 3D creation ideas dried up a little. Sadly 3D creations can’t go very far and the world of quilting is so vast.

Social Media – Instagram isn’t so bad I’m trying to keep up with everything. Facebook is a little sparse but I’m working on that too.
Blog – Well that has been dire. I apologise. I will try harder this year.
Etsy – 1 sale. Shop in holiday mode. I’m going to bring it back to life this year by adding patterns for the baby quilts that I have made recently.

Apologies For The Radio Silence

I’ve been a bad blogger for the last 2 months (when I went off on a rant about craft fairs). It’s not an excuse but I have been busy…

My 2 Festival of Quilts entries for this year have consumed my time and as usual I have nothing to publicly show for it. Also I may actually be mad for attempting 2 – one for Quilt Creations and 1 for… well actually I can’t quite figure out what class this one will end up in. It’s either meant to be “art quilt” or “contemporary”. Mostly it’s a Claire special and has no real category. But it is flat so that’s a new one.

However something else has consumed my time – 

I took the plunge and have started Little Hippo Sews properly. The local agricultural show had space for more stands and I got in. It’s all very official now – I have insurance and everything. 

So I am available to teach sewing machine basics, hand embroidery and quilting. 

Hopefully you’ll see me out and about. I’m thinking of doing ‘make and takes’ next time.

Craft Fair Haul

For all I moaned yesterday I did do some spending today. Some things I actually needed for once… The fabric will probably be used for my ticket stub quilt. I wanted something that would offer colour without drowning the embroidery that will create most of the surface decoration and texture. The awesome grey Wonderfil threads are hopefully to inspire me to do more with the photos that I’m so scared to touch. Originally I dreamed of only using the “off black” and “off white” threads I have but maybe I need more subtle options. Ooh shiny beads for my luneville work, hopefully coming to a familiar Etsy shop near you soon. A Twizzler for tightening the frame and stand wing nuts. Total bargain at only £2! And finally a book from the Needlework Archive stand, they probably have the original edition, published in 1870 and not this (almost as old as me) 1986 reprint. I never knew Mrs Beeton created a needlework book. Although I’ve heard she wasn’t really the author of her famous cook book. It is rather awesome. Perhaps it will teach me some more about the old Victorian pockets…

And what have you achieved this week?

Um… nothing. Well the start and end of the month is a bit frantic usually in the old 9-5 but this time it had some additional complications. It was all early starts, working flat out and my easily confuddled brain was all taxed out in the evening. 

However it is Craft Fair season again!! The quilting/sewing/papercraft… oh let’s just call it the SEC show is on this weekend. It’s a confused show in my eyes. A couple of years ago there were massive complaints about how cramped it was when they had 2 halls to use. Back then it was merely sewing and hobbycrafts. That was fixed, mostly, over the next few shows. Then it evolved and developed a quilting side. Again that seemed ok but last year a rival craft fair staging company brought an English show (or a Scottish cousin) to Edinburgh and turn out for the SEC appeared low. In fact I wasn’t the only one to think that. 

However we are in 2017 now… Some of the traders have disappeared this year including “the book guy” (I’ve never remembered his company name and I regret this now). And it’s all in one massive hall, I believe that the SEC in its great rebrand from SECC (well it will save on the signwriting at least) has melded a couple of the halls together permanently. That massive hall is only about halfway full, there’s a good 20 meters of hall at the back that’s not in use. Worse of all it is becoming very, very confused as a show. It has 3 names – the sewing one, the quilting one and hobbycrafts. Can’t it just have one? Sewing, with all the amazing facets it contains – dressmaking, embroidery, toy/bag making and even quilting – can all live under one loving roof. The related textile arts – knitting, crochet, felting, tatting, lace making and the rest could be happy here too…. Oh wait we have a name for all of these – TEXTILE ARTS!! And they grow in popularity with every breath I take.

I’m not grumpy. The traders go where their time and efforts will make the most money and if that’s not the SEC this time then maybe we will see them at Christmas. (Now that’s a show with 2 names but it has 2 distinct areas to cover and it does.) BUT things could be done differently to help folk out. I might travel to Edinburgh but lots won’t. Things could be simplified and given one name. The stalls could be mixed up a little. I realised that maybe this is actually favoured by the traders and the organisations that attend these shows but having all the guilds and groups “hang out” in one area sometimes makes the footfall uneven. They might get more uptake if they were split up and mixed with the traders (of their supplies) to increase the footfall across the entire hall. (Side note – the only show that gets away with an artist’s area is Festival of Quilts but that is specialist so those going will know and interact with these celebrities of the craft world [or gawp at them from a safe distance because I’m too chicken to talk to my idols])

Sigh. That was a long one. Before anyone takes a crack at me this is just my observations of 7 years of SEC, SECC, Festival of Quilts, Knitting and Stitching show attendance. I often go on more than one day so get a chance to see the busy and the quiet. I also love them all in their own ways and this was the first of the shows I ever went to so I’m extra sad to see it get into trouble. The potential is huge and I don’t want it disappear altogether someday.