Bobbin along nicely

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We really enjoyed putting together this week's issue of House & Home. As the brilliant cover announces, it's

a craft special issue

- all about sewing, knitting and all things pins and needle related. (Special thanks go to our designer,

Marin Devine

, who cross-stitched the cover herself!)

For one of the articles I spent the day at

, a fantastic fibrecraft shop in the Town Centre mall in Jumeira. In addition to selling a dazzling range of fabrics, trimmings and other habadashery supplies, at the back of the room is a room where magic happens.

2149-PS0929- SEWING01-thumb-500x333-2147.jpg Photo by Pawan Singh/The National

In here you can learn to sew, knit, embroider from scratch, improve existing skills, or work on a project alongside like-minded people at one of Craft Land's project clinics. And why do I say magic? Because since entering there, I've started to make



I'm more surprised than anyone at this development. I have little or no patience for fiddly stuff, but after a day in that room I discovered that quilting is far, far less fiddly and far easier and quicker than you'd think. And it's brilliant.

As one quilting blogger says: "if you can sew two pieces of fabric together, you can quilt". And she's right. You can make something that's essentially very simple but looks way more complicated and impressive just buy sewing together squares, strips and triangles. There's also lots of secret ways of cheating.

The best bit is planning out your blocks using squares or triangles (at it's most basic) and discovering that the possibilites of geometry are boundless. Far from being just 'folksy' pieces of patchwork, you can make a stunning design which can resemble an abstract work of art.

Here's an basic example using just two fabrics. I like this because it uses fabric

, which is cheap (Dh35 per metre) and easy to come by.

From cutting triangles like this...
2155-1-thumb-400x184-2150-thumb-300x138-2151.jpg...then the same with a matching red and white fabric


You can make this...
2157-4-thumb-300x146-2156.jpg...or this

2159-5-thumb-300x223-2158.jpg... or these!
2163-7-thumb-400x124-2162.jpgImages courtesy of Geta's Quilting Studio 

See what I mean?

Two weeks ago I knew next to nothing about quilting, but now I can totally understand why people get so obsessed with it. I'm not sure if I'm going to need many quilts to keep me warm out here in the desert, but then, as I discovered from asking the women I met why they sew, it isn't just about what you make, but the satisfaction and pleasure you get from doing so.

I really enjoyed my time in Craft Land. The staff were helpful and patient (especially if like me, your skills verge on unskilled), plus I met some incredibly nice students and clinic regulars. I also spent a very long time browsing the lovely printed fabrics on sale (before leaving with an armful). If you'd like to find out more about the classes and clinics,


As a side note: Ellie Tennant's round-up of the best craft blogs on the web, also in this week's section, led me to discover the fantastic

Purl Bee

site, which features lots of basic but amazing quilt patterns like these...

2176-march-mini-masking-tape-qui-thumb-200x240-2175.jpg(Photos courtesy of Purl Bee)

... along with a huge archive of other sewing and craft projects to follow.

It's the website/blog of Purl Soho, a fabric and sewing supply shop which, as its name suggests, is located in a very hip district of New York. So there you go: if you didn't know it already, sewing (and quilting!) is officially cool.

Anyone for a layer cake?