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Main image: rug, £52,

I love my fellow columnist’s new book, Stretch! Well done, Tilly! £22.50, shop

I can’t wait to reveal my kimono to you, using Simplicity’s 4080 pattern. £6.95,

I have always loved being outside!

At home with...

© Photographed by Rachel Whiting.

STUART HILLARD Just like buses, all of my sewing plans have come at once!

When I was a primary school teacher, like many of my colleagues, I lived for the summer. Whilst the children generally

counted the days till the six-week holiday, I loved the time leading up to it for the chances it gave us to work with the children outside under the shade of a tree... or use the bribe of an afternoon’s cricket tournament to propel them through a morning of maths! Even in Britain’s unpredictable climate, summer is all about swapping the four walls for the endless sky. I have a very busy season ahead of me as I’m currently working on some super-exciting new projects... IN THE SEWING ZONE Yes, I’m just putting the finishing touches to my third book, hurrah! After the success of Use Scraps, Sew Blocks, Make 100 Quilts last year, I’m excited to announce it will be another quilting title. I’ve always loved using the simplest of shapes to create exciting, dynamic and beautiful quilts and textiles, and I’ve poured all of that love into my newest tome. When I’m in the sewing zone I exclude all other distractions. Music, TV and conversation all fall by the wayside. I get my head down and I sew until the job is done. I have a very low boredom threshold and I’ve always cited this as my key motivation in getting things finished quickly. If anything takes me

too long (a quilt typically takes me no more than three days, from start to finish), I grow weary and start thinking of my next, more exciting make. This serves me well, as I have had a huge pile of quilts to make for the new book and time is not my friend! As I write, I’m thinking about packing my bags for a week of photoshoots in London with my publishers. Every shot takes an age to set up and light – sometimes as much as an hour for a single photograph. I remember shooting my last book, where we spent the hottest few days of summer spent inside with all the windows shut and absolutely no fans to prevent the quilts blowing in the breeze and causing blurry images. We found a local shop with ice cream and raided their freezers daily. Because of this, I can’t help but pray that the upcoming weather is unseasonably cold… please don’t hate me!

“I have always loved being outside and taking my work out there with me” AND MORE NEWS… I’m also busily making projects to showcase my new fabric line for The Craft Cotton Company. Eeek! It’s called Kimono and I was inspired by the indigo garments worn by the working men of yesteryear Japan. My new range has more than a dozen cotton prints in various shades of indigo, cyan blue and white – perfect for quilting, crafts

Charlie (my husband!) has decided to learn how to bake. Just a large slice for me, please.

and home decor projects – plus, a further five prints will be available in jersey for dressmaking! I’ve long been fascinated by the East, having first read a book about China and Japan when I was around eight years old. The culture, architecture, food and of course, art, have always been a great source of inspiration to me and I’ve visited China many times. Japan is still on my to-do list and I’m desperate to visit the famous quilting expo in Tokyo. My last book, Make 100 Quilts, comes out in Spanish very soon and I’ll be visiting Spain to promote it in the late summer. I just need a Japanese edition and I’ll have the perfect excuse to visit the land of the rising sun! With my new fabrics I’m planning on making a kimono using Simplicity’s 4080 pattern, and in anticipation have been reading up on the traditions of this unique garment. Kimonos are always wrapped around the body, left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial) and are secured by a sash or Obi… Simplicity’s pattern includes these details and so I can’t wait to reveal it to you! I’m also making lots of projects with the cotton prints and perhaps a garment or two in jersey. My fellow Sew columnist and Sewing Bee alumni, Tilly, may well be called upon for advice on sewing with jersey. I love her new book, Stretch – if you haven’t got your copy yet, snap one up!

Stuart x

You can check in with Stuart on channels Virgin 748, Freeview 23, Freesat 813 and Sky 674, or visit 58

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