Such a miserable day today - it has rained non-stop and is cold too - so it is a pleasure to be writing about a much more colourful world than the one outside my window: the world of Tula Pink!
I am sure lots of you will know all about Tula already, after all she has been designing fabric for twelve years and has just brought out her 25th fabric collection. Ask me how I know this, and I will tell you that ten days ago I attended a lecture by Tula at Denbies Wine Estate which was organised by The Quilt Room in Dorking.
I didn't know at all what to expect as I knew something of Tula's fabrics but wouldn't have classed myself as a fan particularly. However I was completely won over by Tula's warm personality and sense of humour, and the generous way in which she shared some of her history, process and approach to designing fabric and making quilts.
Actually that's what won me over right from the start - the fact that she told us she sews every day, often for 6-8 hours, and that she makes all her own quilts, partly because she loves to sew, but also because she then knows how the fabric works when it is cut up. The whole room responded to this - we were clearly all quilting addicts and recognised a kindred spirit!
It is this information feedback loop wh Tula gets through sewing which she feels makes her a better designer, so we get even better fabric to use ourselves as a result of her dedication to her craft. She also knows that, although she makes quilts which use a single fabric collection, we make our quilts from older stashed fabrics as well as new, so she takes care to ensure that fabrics from all her collections work together.
Another other useful design tip, which I shall be passing on to my perfectionist students, is that you are allowed to have bad ideas when you are trying to create. Allow yourself time to get all the bad ideas out of the way (scribble all over the first page of your brand new sketchbook, so you don't have designer's block) and then the good ideas can come to the surface.
We learned so much about many aspects of the quilting industry as well as Tula's unique style. If you ever get the chance to hear Tula speak or to take a class with her, I would urge you to sign up immediately. It was a privilege to have been there and I would definitely call myself a fan now!
I am looking forward to buying Tula's new book which is a collaboration with Angela Walters: the piecing and the machine quilting look sublime! So I have laid in a supply of Tula's new line called All Stars which includes 22 fabulous solids, and some glorious spots and stripes as well as some of the detailed prints for which she is famous.
Many thanks to Pam and Nicky at The Quilt Room for organising a great morning which had me buzzing with inspiring ideas all weekend. And if you want to get your All Stars fabric in advance of everyone else, have a look on the Quilt Room's website or pop into the shop. You won't be disappointed!
Wednesday 14 Feb: So sad, and rather shocked, to learn today (see this announcement) that Free Spirit Fabrics is ceasing to exist with pretty much immediate effect.
I really hope that the talented designers including Tula Pink, but also Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett, Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt, who have been with the company for a long time and who have produced such interesting, innovative and unusual fabrics over the years, find a new home so that they can continue to create and make their marvellous designs available to us.
Meanwhile, The Quilt Room does have bolts of All Stars and other Tula fabrics, buy now while stocks last!