I love seeing our quilty friends do new and exciting things, so when our good friend Sarah Ashford shared with me about her new craft collection in collaboration with Home Bargains in the UK, I just had to get some questions answered… how did the collection come about? What sort of craft supplies does it contain? And what are her top picks?
Keep reading for her answers to these questions and more!
First of all, congratulations on creating such a beautiful collection for Home Bargains! For us US-based quilters, can you tell us more about Home Bargains?
Thank you so much, I’m thrilled that you like it! Yes of course. Home Bargains is a discount store, with over 500 stores nationwide. I think it is similar to Target in the US. It stocks many household goods, clothes, homewares and arts and crafts of course!
I imagine creating all of this took a long time. How long has the collection been in the works? And to follow up, how hard was it to keep it a secret all this time?!
I have been working with Home Bargains for well over a year now on developing the range. It’s been a true collaboration, where we have talked extensively about what we would like to see in the collection and once samples were made they were checked, tweaked and checked again, until we had a product range that we were happy with. There are 40 products in the collection so it’s taken a long time. I tried to think about every detail and we’ve developed a collection I’m really proud of.
For a long time I didn’t tell anyone at all, apart from my husband! I knew it was going to be a while in the making, so I just kept it to myself, quietly working on it in the background while I got on with everything else. It has been so wonderful to finally share the news, first with my close friends and then with the world.
The pink and blue branding is adorable and fits your personality so well. Tell me about the process of creating that branding.
In the early stages we spent a lot of time talking about colours and branding, looking at colours I liked and that reflected my personality, as well as what was going to look aesthetically pleasing across the whole range. I love that pink (my favourite colour) is included, but it’s not all pink, the blue is a beautiful shade too. I also love the touch of silver, it makes the collection look really classy! Some of the products such as the sewing kits, tape measures and marker pencils feature a jungle print and an animal print. I think this a really fun element of the collection, and the best news is there are fabric bundles that include these prints too!
Looking through the collection, I see items for several different types of crafts. How did you choose what to include?
It’s a really comprehensive collection, covering a variety of sewing and crafts. Being a quilter I made sure we covered all the quilting essentials, so there’s fabric, a rotary cutter, rulers, a mat, acrylic templates, pre-cut fabrics and patchwork cushion kits. Then there are small cross stitch kits for beginners, and small wooden bumble bee and rainbow cross stitch kits for kids. There are a also a couple of advanced cross stitch kits which are so beautiful, I can’t wait to stitch them! The wool selection is lovely, including the softest, gorgeous chunky wool. Then there are latch hook kits, and the cutest cat and dog needle felting kits. There are also many tools and notions. From fabric scissors, pins, pincushions, tape measures, fabric pencils, embroidery scissors, circular ruler, quilting pins, there’s literally everything. Decorative accessories include ribbon packs, pom pom trim and labels. There are also plastic storage boxes to help you keep everything organised. Finally, how could I forget the fantastic enamel pin badges and iron on patches. They feature motivational and inspiring quotes, which was something that was important to me to include to make it really uplifting.
Can you tell us if there are plans for more products in the future?
Not as yet but it would be wonderful to have a Christmas and holidays collection!
We know you can’t name favorites, but if you could give only 5 items to a crafty friend, which would you choose?
Oh wow, this is a tough question! After a lot of thought it would have to be:
- The jungle/animal print fat quarter bundle
- ‘It’s good to be Home’ cross stitch kit
- Pink pom pom trim
- Rose gold fabric scissors
- ‘Shine Bright’ ‘Smile’ and Rainbow pin badges set of three.
What was it like seeing the products for the first time?
I went to the head office in Liverpool mid way through the process and there was a mock display stand with some sample products on it. They weren’t finished at that stage but it was the first time we had an idea of what the collection would look like all together. I felt that ‘wow, this is really happening’ moment, it was incredible! Before everything hit the stores, I was sent one of each item. Seeing everything so beautifully packaged, coordinating and colourful was a very proud moment indeed. Now all that’s left for me to do is go in store and see it for real. After so long in the planning, I literally cannot wait!
I know the whole Quilter’s Planner community is so proud of you, Sarah! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the collection?
Thank you so much Lorinda, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that! I’d like to say that there really is something for everyone in this range. There’s fabric if you’re an experienced quilter, and many other different crafts to try. Lots of products are also aimed at complete beginners. There’s kits, badges and patches for the kids too, and it’s all very affordable. I truly believe sewing and craft is a great way to support mental health and wellness, and I really hope that with this collection I can encourage someone who’s never done anything like this before to have a go. It could be the start of a whole new hobby.
Follow Home Bargains on Instagram @homebargains
Follow Sarah on Instagram @sarahashfordstudio
Thanks you so much, Sarah, for taking the time to answer my questions!