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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Things I learned from Nicole

Yesterday I got a lovely parcel in the post.  It was 2 layer cakes of Curio, one of those curious collections that I liked when I first saw it but didn't feel I really "needed".  Then I started seeing quilts made out of it.  Like this one over at the Fat Quarterly flickr gallery.  Oh!  Now I needed Curio.

Happily, every so often, Nicole over at Sister's Choice has a stash sale.  And happily, she agreed to go through the trauma of international posting to get these 2 Curio babies over the pond to me.  Yay!

Now, Nicole is the first blogger I ever started to follow.  I chanced upon her blog in 2008 having typed "What the heck is a Jelly Roll?" into Google.  I then had to add the word "quilt" as it quickly became clear to me that a jelly roll, outside of the fabric world, is what we in the UK are more inclined to call a jam roly poly:

Photo courtesy of Robert's Recipes

I started following Nicole's blog because she always seemed to be doing something interesting, sometimes quilty, sometimes not, and because I genuinely learned a great deal of new things from her.  My background is from hand embroidery and so a lot of quilty stuff that now seems really obvious to me - from Fat Quarters to FMQ to Flying Geese - were then very new to me.

So, here are a few random things I have learned over the years from Nicole's blog along with her many photos:

(1) Finish what you start - goodness me if I were as good at finishing projects as I am at starting them, I would have a thousand quilts by now.  Nicole has shown me numerous times that an hour here and there soon gets a quilt finished:

(2) Let's do it together - it is a lot more fun seeing quilts progress alongside other people's work, and it certainly keeps the pressure on.  This Snowball quilt-a-long was the first quilt-a-long that really caught my eye:
By coincidence, this quilt-a-long also brought my attention to another great blogging quilter, Thelma of Cupcakes 'n' Daisies.  She probably deserves her own post on this blog too! 

(3) Don't be afraid to try new things.  For example, Nicole did a very helpful post on curved piecing which looks fabulous.  This might help me in my Groove quilt if I can finally choose my colours!

(4) Keep your stash under control ... perhaps an ironic tip for me to share given that this entire post kicked off with me buying 2 Layer Cakes on a whim:

I am pleased that Nicole is a "backing matching the front" stickler like me - if I've spent hours on the front of a quilt I am not backing it with a bedsheet!  This doesn't help my fabric levels unfortunately.

(5) The importance of trimming - this was a step I was happy to skip on my first quilt, which is probably why it came out a bit wonky.

(6) Always use a colour catcher when washing a quilt for the first time.  I have been known to throw 5 or 6 in when there are reds involved.  The colour of my post-wash colour catchers terrifies me.  I am so pleased Nicole posted this before I managed to wreck any quilts.

(7) Contrast is key.  Showing the lovely block v the ugly block demonstrated this very well in this post:

(8) Tools aplenty - it is from Nicole that I discovered Spray Starch, the Angler 2, Basting SprayU-shaped pins, Easy Angle ruler,  and various ways to make Flying Geese and HSTs - some easier than others.  I am happy that I won't be trying Triangle Papers any time soon.

(9) Ask others - like Nicole, I have Long Arm Machine envy and sometimes wonder if one day I might get one.  The many comments Nicole got back on her Long Arm query were very helpful to me too and made me realise that, at least now, there is no way I can do piecing and learn Long Arm quilting at the same time.  Happily this means I don't need to have the conversation with my husband as to why I want to spend more than I spent on my car on a sewing machine.

and lastly, and slightly OT, make sure you check out Nicole's blog around Hallowe'en, because:

(10) Americans do Hallowe'en SO much better than we do:

G x


  1. hahahahaa! those halloween costumes are fantastic! I love the milk carton especially! Thanks for the introduction - it's always great to find new blogs!

  2. What Charlotte said - only I like the Taco costume better ;-)

  3. That is the beauty of the blogging world. You have plenty of peeps on hand to help you out when you get stuck. I love it. Di xo

  4. You are too much! I am blushing! Thanks so much for the tribute, I am honored. How wonderful to have met you through blogging!

  5. I agree! I've picked up so many tips from Nicole's blog! Thelma's tools Tuesdays this summer has been a great feature, as well! Jan

  6. Enjoyed reading your post!

  7. Great post, I love the pics of Nicole! Funny, she was the first blog I followed I'm hooked on her adventures, especially when Thelma is involved! Lucky you got some of her stash...I was too slow :(