Monday, 24 November 2014

30 Totes and Bags to Sew - my new book!

30 Totes and Bags to Sew

Well finally, and undeniably, it seems I have written a book! Not being a great counter of chickens, I haven't particularly announced this to anyone beyond close friends and family -  those who were close enough to spot the eye bags, and the trail of loose threads I left in my wake over those frantic months of stitching and writing. And having sent off those final drafts and stitched samples back in February of this year, all of a sudden I am a bona fide published author! It started to feel a bit more real when I took delivery of my author samples, then came the extra copies I had ordered to sell in my shop. Today though, reality really hit home when I popped into Waterstone's in Cardiff and found my book on the shelves (I used to work for Waterstone's, so it's particularly nice to find my book there)!

my new book
I didn't realise when my husband was taking this photo that I had positioned myself right next to Gyles Brandreth in his novelty jumper.
Obviously, this is entirely the kind of authorial image I aim to project.

The book focuses on the Tote bag, that's to say a bag with two handles, and I really wanted to include as broad a range of designs as possible, so inside you'll find projects ranging from a teddy bed tote for young children, to an oilcloth car caddy, to a velveteen evening bag. There are also lots of techniques covered such as reverse appliqué, kanzashi flowers, embroidery and freezer-paper stencilling. I'm so pleased with the final appearance of the book; the team at Quintet and my editor Julie Brooke have done an amazing job with beautiful photography and layouts - it has a spiral binding with hardback cover which has to be my favourite thing as a consumer of craft books as it means you can have the book open flat in front of you whilst working through a pattern. There are also plentiful colour photographs to illustrate the steps, as well as full-size pattern pieces in an envelope at the front of the book.

projects from my book, 30 Totes and Bags to Sew

a few snaps of the projects from the book

I am selling the book through my new online shop over at www.angharadhandmade.co.uk (thanks to my talented web-designer brother, the brains behind Rootsy) and signed copies are available on request (I find it frankly hilarious to be saying that!). You can also buy from the usual places like Amazon: 30 Totes & Bags to Sew: Quick & Easy Bags for All Occasions (this is an affiliate link so I will be paid a 5% commission for any orders made by clicking here), and Waterstone's, as well as independent bookshops.

There is also a US edition of the book for any readers who live across the pond - it's called Tote-ally Amazing Bags in its American incarnation, and is published by St Martin's Press, who have kindly featured me as their author of the month over on the SMP blog.

For a sneak preview of the book, I've posted a video thumb-through on youtube, and you can also see a few images of the inside in my online shop.



I would love to see any photos of anything anyone makes using the patterns from my book, so please do get in touch if you have any to share and I'll put together a blog feature in due course!




Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Tiny paper pieces

I was in need of a nice evening sewing project for all those blanket-on-knees evenings now that it's getting a bit more Autumnal, so this ferris wheel mini quilt tutorial from Sew Scatterbrained was just the thing. It's an English paper piecing project, which is my favourite kind of hand-sewing, with truly tiny pieces, triangles, hexagons and squares with each face measuring only 1". I've been tempted to do a ferris wheel quilt before after seeing Katy's Spring Carnival quilt, and love her take on this traditional block with the fractured pieces falling away at the bottom. It's a really versatile design with plenty of potential for changing the pattern the eye focuses on by bringing different pieces into the background and foreground with contrasting solids and prints.

I've always fancied making a mini quilt, and goodness knows the study-o could do with a bit of brightening up! The Sew Scatterbrained tutorial is made up of 'circles' in 7 different colours on a backdrop of neutral hexagons in low-volume prints.

patchwork pieces

The best thing about this project for me is that it has been an opportunity to rummage through my scraps bin and actually use some of the tiniest of offcuts I've been saving for a rainy day. There is something very pleasing about those multi-coloured stacks of squares and triangles.

English paper piecing

It's taking shape pretty quickly, even though I'm only spending half an hour stitching here and there. I do like to have a project that I can just pick up and put down when time allows without any setting up or clearing away needed.

paper piecing

The cat is my constant companion; she loves it when I'm working on hand-stitching as it offers her an opportunity to cosy herself up in the lovely Welsh wool blanket my sister gave me. She hasn't made herself particularly useful as yet, other than keeping my feet warm and enabling me to stave off putting the heating on for that little bit longer.

black cat in a blanket
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