I like a little ‘hexie action’ in the evenings, and over Christmas I enjoyed working my Tilda scraps into 1.25″ EPP hexies.
As they grew I thought I would make a cover for my soft cover Bible. But then I keep a journal with my Bible, as well as Bible Study books!!!
So a cover grew into a bag!
I remembered many years ago I had designed and taught a boxy bag class (my mum uses hers for keeping books in). So I blew the cobwebs off my pattern and set to!
There is so much I love about this new boxy bag.
Firstly, it has plenty of room for my Bible and study books and a separate pocket for my A4 journal. And because it is made from flex foam it sits squat and open giving me visible and easy access to the contents.
I also love the combo of Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) with the Tilda Hexies and a little vintage lace.
I even included some hexies inside.
Also inside is handbag mesh in the base, to ensure the shape of the bag is maintained while carrying around heavy books.
Now that I can keep my Bible books together in one place, I’m super organised whether reading at home or at Bible Study group!
I have another round of hexies being made at the moment!
Yesterday was our charity sewing day in support of Shared Threads.
Shared Threads is a Belfast based charity that makes cloth sanitary pads & hygiene packs, and in doing so seeks to “remove some of the limitations that menstruation puts on so many women and girls across the world, replacing it with dignity and the freedom to get an education and live their lives.
We also believe in making a positive impact on our environment by using secondhand cotton and towels. We love that we can gather makers together around a creative project with the common purpose of helping women.”
These ladies willingly gave up their time and talent to learn how to make reusable sanitary pads, holders and drawstring bags for Shared Threads.
And what a productive day it was! Just look at all this …
Almost all of the materials used are repurposed or donated. Cotton fabrics make the pad holders and drawstring bags. Brushed Cotton and old towels make the pads. The only item to be purchased is a waterproof layer called P.U.L. (Polyurethane Laminate) which is sewn into the pads.
P.U.L. was originally designed for use in the medical industry to withstand repeated washing as well as a high heat steam sterilising clean system. It is durable, it doesn’t crease, doesn’t fray and doesn’t stain easily and has the wonderful properties of being both waterproof as well as breathable which means it will keep moisture from passing through and yet heat is able to escape.
P.U.L. is now widely available online.
Our sanitary haul and donated fabric and towels have already been handed over to Shared Threads with grateful thanks.
If you would like to make the pads, holders or bags you can find the templates and tutorials here.
A big thank you to the ladies who made it to the workshop yesterday and your eagerness to continue making for Shared Threads.
I’ve recently gifted a selection of ‘cork pouches’.
I love working with cork! It goes with just about everything, comes in lots of different colours (including sparkly!) can be rotary cut, pieced, quilted, ironed (medium-cool heat setting) and is 3d friendly! Did you know it’s vegan too (though I don’t recommend eating it!).
Here’s the first cork pouch:
This was made for a friend of my daughter who has been through a tough time lately.
I had a very small offcut of this gorgeous animal fabric (Echino, I think!) and managed (just about) to fussy cut the animals. I particularly like the zebras as my daughter’s friend is a young mum and it reminded me of the lovely bond she has with her son.
The pouch was sent off with an inspirational notebook and lots of love!
Pouch no. 2 was made as an ‘end of year’ thank you gift.
As with most of my pouches, I make them up as I go along! I’d seen some lovely curved pouches on Pinterest and thought I’d have a go!
The 2nd side of the zipper is a little tricky as you are sewing against the curve, but completely manageable with patience and deft fingers!
All of the fabrics in this pouch are available to purchase in my studio.
And last but not least, a geographical pouch for a special girl!
My middle daughter has already left for a 3 month missions trip, so I thought a useful but easy to pack pouch would come in handy.
With another offcut of map fabric I managed to include 2 countries that hold significance for my daughter, Brazil (a country she would love to visit one day) and Japan, where she will be spending the first 2 months of 2020.
I quilted both sides of the pouch along the longitude and latitude lines that were already printed on this ‘old style’ map!
So that’s my round up of cork pouches gifted this Christmas.
If you’ve never sewn with cork before give it a try! You’ll soon discover how versatile and user friendly it is!
Today I handed over 2 more pressies to my monthly breakfast buddies!
You may remember I ran my Robin Hoop Art workshop last month. Robins are so iconic at this time of year and I thought these sketchy hoops would make the perfect handmade gifts for my craft-loving friends.
While the theme is the same, each hoop has subtle differences. The background fabrics are different and the character of each robin is different.
Also, for the first time I’ve introduced (tea stained) paper to my textile pictures. The quote for each friend is different and personal.
These 8″ hoops are the perfect size for gifting, and are such fun to make, especially if you love free motion sketching!
Well it’s hard to believe that we only have 1 more week of classes left for 2019! Where on earth did that year go!!
I can’t wait to show you the beautiful wreaths folks have been making as part of our (optional) class project this term. They’re stunning!
But before one term is out I always present to my classes what the next term’s (optional) class project will be.
Our technique focus next term will be Pleats & Tucks.
The main difference between pleats and tucks is that pleats are formed by folding the same length of fabric into folds which are only stitched down at the top and bottom ends, whereas tucks are constructed separately and then sewn into the project.
You will of course be more familiar with seeing pleats and tucks in clothing and apparel, but I love how different techniques in textiles can cross over into other disciplines, usually with a little creative tweaking!
So far I have 2 class samples made (both tucks!), but I hope to have one more pleated sample completed before the start of term!
Cushion with Tucks:
There are many different effects you can achieve by manipulating tucks.
I really like the ‘spread’ effect you get from this variation of the Wave Tuck. You can see each of the feature fabrics standing out nicely against the black Essex Yarn Dyed Linen.
Zippy Pouch with Tucks
This is an example of Twisted Tucks. Before sewing along the bottom edge of the pouch, the tucks are twisted back, revealing the secondary colour. This effect adds a lovely decorative touch to bags and pouches.
So that’s us (almost) ready for next term. If you would like to join us for some creative sewing fun, you can see all the available classes here.
In the meantime I have a few Christmas presents to make, and the small matter of workshops for February’s Retreat to make too!
So what have we been up to this week in class? Well, as our class project this term has been the Folded Double Wreath, I thought I would do a quick demo on another type of wreath – the simple plaited wreath!
This wreath uses much less fabric and is quicker to make! Win, win!
To make this wreath you will need:
3 x 3″ strips cut width of fabric
1 x 5″ strip cut width of fabric (bow)
Large Safety Pin
Wooden skewer or knitting needle
Method: Use 1/4″ seam allowance
1 Fold each 3″ strip in half lengthways, right sides together, and sew down the long side. Leave the short ends open.
2 Use a large safety pin to turn the tubes right sides out. Do not press.
3 Stuff the tubes from each open end towards the middle. I used a wooden skewer for this. Make sure the tubes aren’t so well stuffed that they can’t be plaited.
4 At one end of each tube, tuck under the raw edges and pin and sew together across the top (I hand sewed a whip stitch here). Make sure the seams are all facing the back of the tubes.
5 Plait the wreath tightly ensuring no gaps between the tubes.
6 When you get to the end, trim the tubes to the same length, tuck under the raw edges and whip stitch them together as with the other end.
7 Neatly join both ends of the wreath, trying to continue the plaiting order.
8 To make the bow, fold the strip in half lengthways, right sides together, and sew down the long side, leaving a 3″ gap half way down.
9 Angle the ends of the bow by drawing a diagonal line a few inches in from one corner and down to the adjacent corner. Sew along this line. Cut away the excess leaving 1/4″ seam allowance. Make sure the angled ends of the bow are pointing in opposite directions.
10 Turn the bow right sides out, push the points out with the skewer or knitting needle and press, making sure to tuck in the raw edges of the gap.
11 Stitch the gap closed and tie the bow to the wreath, covering the join.
Tip: Tying the perfect bow – after the first tie, turn the wreath upside down and complete the bow. The pointed ends of the bow will hang down towards the bottom of the wreath!
3 and leave a comment here or on FB or IG telling me what’s your favourite textile to work with.
You have until Monday 18th November to enter, when I will announce the winner (international entries welcome). (Please ensure you leave your email address with your comment if you are a ‘no reply blogger’.)
For the past few years, an annual tradition has started among 3 of my long time quilty friends and myself.
2 of us live in N.Ireland and the other 2 in England. We try to meet up each year to sew, taking it in turns to meet on either side of the Irish Sea! And that’s why we call ourselves #Threads Across the Sea!
This year, Trudi and Di came to not so sunny Belfast and spent a weekend of chatter, natter, lots of eating (delicious home baked yummies by Trudi and Sarah!) and of course some sewing in my studio!
One of our traditions is to gift handmade items to each other! This is like Christmas come early!!
From Sarah we each received these personalised Arm Chair Caddies (pattern from the book ‘Zakka Home’). Aren’t they cool! And Sarah got me spot on with my love of denim and all things ditsy!
I will definitely be using mine when hand stitching in the evenings in front of the telly!
Trudi is an amazing hand stitcher and quilter, and being recently laid up with injured ankles facilitated the huge amount of time she invested in these pouches.
I particularly love the sashiko stitching on Art Gallery Denim! Yum!
And from Di we each got a treat bag of goodies!
Di lives in the Lake District and the particular area she lives in is known as the Cake District!!! Fab or what!
Included in the bag were thread snips, mobile thread cutter/needle threader and wood turned items made by Di’s uber talented hubby! Check out the gorgeously tactile needle holder and Christmas Tree decoration!
See what I mean by Christmas come early! I’m so blessed to call these talented women my friends.
And if you want to know what I made for my 3 friends, you’ll have to tune in again to find out (and there might be a wee giveaway too! wink wink!).
Having a sew-social with like minded creatives and wonderful friends is one of my favourite things! Already looking forward to TATS20!
Sorry it has taken me so long to post about our first Quilting Retreat (last weekend). I’ve had some very special visitors this week (which I’ll tell you all about soon).
It’s hard to believe that a week ago today we were heading home after a wonderful weekend of sewing, eating, fun and games!
Murlough house is a 150 year old stately house situated only 5 minutes walk from the beach and surrounded by beautiful and calming gardens. The staff that run the house were so accommodating and friendly and the meals ……. oh my! We were spoiled! Their generous and servant heartedness combined with this beautiful setting established our retreat vibe from the first day.
There was of course lots of independent sewing time in the big hall. I have lots of photos of fabulous finished projects, but here are just a few!
After dinner in the evenings, we had a few fun games like a our pincushion swap, sewing bingo and the postage stamp charity block race, before getting down to more serious sewing time. (The hard core stitchers were still in the Hall to the wee hours of the morning!!)
In addition to all of this I ran 2 workshops:
Sashiko cushion (Saturday afternoon) ……
….and selvedge projects (Sunday morning).
A few folks also managed to fit in some walks (& runs) around the bay!
Phew! What a lot we managed to pack in!
From the feedback forms I can safely say that everyone had a fabulously relaxing and productive weekend.
A huge thank you to everyone who came and participated in all the activities so eagerly and to all the staff at Murlough House for spoiling us.
Thank you too to my 2 lovely friends, Ruth and Barbara, who valiantly helped and supported me from conception to conclusion (they are 2nd and 3rd from the right in the photo above). I couldn’t have done this without you!
I already have Murlough House booked for 2 more retreats in 2020! So watch this space!
I have used 3 fabrics in my double wreath. I like the versions which have a 3rd fabric peeping out at the edges of the folds. I’m a bit fussy when it comes to Christmas fabrics so I chose 2 Tilda fabrics (a Christmas red and a non-Christmas pink) and a non-Christmas cream by Lewis & Irene.
While the construction of this wreath may look complicated, let me assure you that it isn’t (I love it when patchwork deceptively portrays complexity!).
Each row is made the same way. The repetitve nature of making square ‘coasters’ and cleverly joining them into a circle means you can stop at a single wreath (as a candle mat or door-hanging) or keep going and make additional rounds.
I stopped at 2 rounds and decorated the centre with a Scandi birdhouse. But at the class you will have the option of making a single, double or triple wreath.
And if you like your bling, you’ll love decorating your wreath! Metallic threads, beads, bells and baubles are all up for grabs! Let your Christmas creativity go wild!
And of course, if you’re not a Christmas fan, why not make a beautiful autumnal or winter wreath!
Lots of options and variations are open to you with this optional class project.
The new block kicks of w/c 5th November and runs for 6 weeks. Booking available here.
You need one pair of socks to make 1 monkey. The pattern suggests using crew length socks (approx 8″ from heel to cuff) however I adapted knee length socks for my large monkey and used a pair of ladies ankle socks (approx 5″ from heel to cuff) for the medium monkey.
I found these monkeys surprisingly easy to sew, especially as the pattern directs you to mark and sew the limbs and features on the complete sock first, before cutting out! Genuis!
And there is a nifty way of getting stuffing into that narrow channel of a tail!! (It’s so clever!)
The toys we have been making in class require lots and lots of stuffing, really well packed in to achieve the finished shape. However, that is not the case with these little fellows!
Because socks are made from a stretchy knit fabric, the more you stuff, the more it will stretch! So my advice is not to over stuff, just enough for maximum cuddle factor!
A little hand sewing brings all the features together. Don’t worry if you’re not that neat a hand sewer like me. The stitches just seem to get absorbed into the knit fabric! Magic!
Aren’t they cute! And great gift ideas for little (& big) kids (I recommend using safety eyes instead of buttons if gifting to small children).
So no need to discard those old or odd socks! Get sewing your very own troop of monkeys!
Our studio in August looked a little bit like a jeans factory, as many pairs of jeans were massacred in the honourable pursuit of making my Boro Denim Bag pattern.
Repurposing projects are among my favourites, and it was exciting to see the ladies’ bags grow in a very organic, non-prescriptive way.
While some of the techniques are the same e.g. ‘quilt as you go’ and measured bag construction, each bag looks uniquely different because of the different denim placements and features used.
Like an archeological dig, there was much excavating through the pile of jeans for pockets, loops, leather labels and interesting design features which were rescued and treasured for embellishing the bags!
Doesn’t Glenda looked pleased with her finished bag!
There are a few more bags that are still in the making, but to all my ‘bag ladies’ I’d like to say a big well done on your repurposing and bag making skills! The variety and creativity you showed in the hand and machine quilting of your bags was inspiring!
If you would like to have a go at your own Denim Boro bag, you can find the pattern here.
(Newsletter subscribers will have received a 50% off coupon code for this pattern in the Autumn ’19 edition – expires 25th Sept.)
It was a milestone weekend in the Hollies’ household!
I dropped my baby off at University of Liverpool to start her 3 year degree, and came back to an empty nest.
I’ve had children at home for the past 24 years, so not having ‘on hand’ mummy duties and living alone for the first time (ever) will be quite an adjustment. But I know that once the grieving ends I will learn how to grow a new set of wings and step into new rhythms and adventures.
In the meantime I have lots of exciting work ventures to focus on, one being our inaugural Quilting Retreat next month.
In addition to oodles of time to sew, chat and relax, there are also 2 optional workshops to choose from.
Saturday Afternoon: Sashiko Cushion
The Japanese sashiko stitching trend has swept through the quilting world in recent years.
This is my simplified take on what can be beautifully intricate hand stitched Japanese designs, often based on themes of nature and geometric patterns.
At this workshop you will learn how to trace patterns onto traditional indigo backgrounds and how to make the sashiko stitches and designs.
Sunday Morning: Selvedge Projects
Quilters are a frugal lot, and we don’t like throwing away even small pieces of fabric!
So when it comes to selvedges, the edges of fabric that prevent it from fraying, to me they aren’t the pieces you trim off and throw in the bin, but rather the unsung treasures of your yardage!
Selvedges not only display the colourful dye shades used in the print, but also the manufacturer and designer’s names and the name of the pattern.
It can take a while to save up enough selvedges to make something from them, but don’t worry, at this workshop I will have lots of selvedges available.
At the workshop you will learn how to cut and sew selvedges with finished edges and how to stabilise them into a new piece of fabric for project making.
And you can choose to make a small basket, pencil case or project pouch.
So start looking at those selvedges differently and hoard them like precious treasure!
Those are the workshops taking place at our Quilting Retreat in October. It’s going to be one fun and creative weekend!
Once again the studio was filled with generous ladies donating their time, talent and fabric to make syringe driver bags for Macmillan Cancer Care and N.I. Children’s Hospice.
It was lovely meeting old friends and new, and at least one bag was completed by all!
I’d like to thank everyone who has beavered away making bags for our 2nd appeal, the total of which is now over 350 (and they’re still coming!).
For many of the contributors to our Syringe Driver Bags appeal, it is a very personal and heartfelt gesture of giving back. These bags will be winging their way to palliative care units and hopefully bringing a little cheer to an otherwise dark corner.
By way of introduction, I’m Judith of Just Jude Designs. I’m a Patchwork & Quilting Designer and Tutor working from my spacious studio in a beautifully converted Victorian linen mill in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
I’ve been teaching now for 12 years, not only designing projects to teach but also designing quilting projects for magazines and a UK based fabric distributor.
I’m particularly fond of sewing with scraps (I generate a lot of them in my line of work!) and this is reflected in many of my designs.
I wouldn’t say I have a particular ‘style’ to my quilts. Sometimes I take inspiration from the fabrics themselves, or a themed brief from an editor, nostalgia or patterns I see in nature and objects around me.
Some of my best work comes from not having a design brief, and simply grabbing a handful of fabric or scraps and just allowing an organic creative process to develop!
I don’t always know what I’m going to end up with, but when I mix a little courage with an open mind, I’m rarely disappointed!
I’m also fond of recycling textiles in patchwork and quilting – linen, denim, tweed, wool and vintage sheets are particular favourites!
So that’s a little flavour of my patchwork & quilting life. You can read more about me here, and see more of my patterns here.
And if you would like to enter Benita’s Grand Prize Draw (4 pre-cut bundles, 3 Aurifil thread sets, Warm & Natural Batting, 2 Sewline Start sets & lifetime membership to Victoriana Quilt Designs) then just click on the button below to enter your details. Winners will be announced by Benita on 1st October.
The 2nd of my gifts being handed out this week is this English Paper Pieced (EPP) Hexie Pillow.
This gift is actually a ‘thank you’ from my daughter to a family who’ve been like a 2nd family to her for many years, and have faithfully supported her missionary training!
The family in question love the North Coast of Ireland, and holiday there every year (with my daughter included!).
They have a particular affection for The Giants Causeway, a geological phenomenon of mostly hexagonal shaped basalt stones, created from volcanic movement 50-60 million years ago.
But despite what Wikipedia and National Heritage say, we all know it was in fact built by the Irish Giant, Finn MacCool! Of course!
So this coastal coloured pillow with it’s columns of ombre hexies is my textile ode to The Giant’s Causeway and our legendary and affectionate giant, Finn MacCool!
This is my first time appliquing EPP hexies in this way. It’s important to draw your placement grid first onto the background (Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in this instance), before bondawebbing the starched hexies in place.
I’m delighted to say the pillow was very well received and the recipients immediately got the inferences to their favourite little corner of the world.
I love making cushions (well they’re just mini quilts really aren’t they!) and trying out new things. I’ll definitely chalk this one up as a success (especially as I would like to have one in my own home!)!
Hello everyone, I hope you’ve been getting some gorgeous summer weather like we have been here!
We’ve enjoyed being day tourists in our homeland, visiting some of our favourite spots!
My middle daughter is only home for a few more days, so it’s been lovely spending quality time with her in our green and pleasant land!
So, on to more quilty things!
In 2014 our Brit Bee Quilting group designed a medallion quilt as our year long project. This meant we would all end up with our own quilt, identical in design and made by the same 12 people, but different in choice of fabrics.
I’m sheepishly delighted to announce, ahem, that I have finally finished my R3 Brit Bee Medallion quilt (only 4 years after the round finished!!).
I chose a soft ‘ditsy’ type palette, pastel pinks, warm neutrals, clear aquas and raspberry reds and my Brit Bee mates (who had to make each round from their own stash) didn’t disappoint!
We started by making our own centre block, I chose a foundation pieced star variation. This was month 1.
Then we posted it to the next person on the list! We then all made & attached the next set of borders on the centre block we had received (in the owner’s chosen colour palette of course) before posting it to the next person on the list. This completed month 2.
And so it went on for a whole year, with the final posting being a completed flimsy back to the original maker!
It was so exciting opening my medallion! We had somehow managed to keep the progress on the quilts a secret until the final reveal!
It was love at first sight!
And then, I’m ashamed to say, I parked it! I knew I had to add a final border and didn’t know what to put on it, so I stalled ……….. for 4 years!!
A recent flurry of Brit Bee activity on our outstanding projects on Instagram got me motivated again to get this medallion finished. I owed it to the 11 other contributors of it.
A month ago I added the final border and got my friend to quilt it on her long arm machine (I didn’t want another 4 year hiatus!).
And today I finally got around to attaching the binding and getting it photographed!
Oh how satisfying to move this long standing UFO (unfinished object) onto the Completed list!!
Now to get Brit Bee R4 quilt finished (it started in 2015!!!! Yikes!).
Almost 2 years ago I launched our first appeal for Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Care in Antrim Hospital.
As the name suggests, the bags carry Syringe Drivers, the vehicle for administering pain or sickness medication. The patient receives the meds via a tube, which means they have to carry the Syringe Drivers around with them all the time. Sometimes they have one syringe driver, sometimes 2.
Providing bright and colourful bags instead of the standard issue grey ones is a small way of bringing a little cheeriness to the patient, especially when they get to choose one they like!
For our first appeal we had a brilliant response from generous sewists across Northern Ireland. So much so, we were able to pass on some bags to other palliative care units.
These bags can’t be reused, and the supply of bags from the first appeal has been exhausted.
Macmillan have asked us for more, so we are launching our 2nd Syringe Driver Bag Appeal!
If you have some sewing machine experience and cotton fabric, would you consider making one or two bags for those receiving palliative care or cancer treatment? You can find the tutorial here.
Previously we have only made for adult males and females, but now we also have a request from The Children’s Hospice, N.I., so we can receive bags in child-friendly fabrics too!
I launched the 2nd appeal on Facebook 10 days ago and we’ve already received 25 bags! THANK YOU!
I’ve always known how generous our sewing community is! Please, please help us to make many more bags! The bags can be posted or delivered to me at home. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my address.
And if you live locally to Belfast, keep your eyes and ears open for an announcement about a free Syringe Driver Bag Workshop at our studio in Conway Mill!
This project was all about accuracy, both in cutting and piecing lots of triangles (with pesky bias edges). Everyone found it a little tricky at one stage or another, learning how to create pointy points, correct fabric placement or bringing the blocks in on size.
But I’m so proud of my ladies for rising to the challenge and pushing through their comfort zones to accomplish a more advanced pattern.
Here are a few finishes and progress shots, but there are quite a few more still in the ‘Work In Progress’ category!
I’m hoping with the summer recess I’ll see a few more Monsoon and Frost finishes by September!
If you would like to make your own version of Monsoon or Frost, the pattern is available here.
Wow! How did that happen! I’m now the proud new owner of 3 adults!
I’ve made all my girls quilts for their 18th birthdays, and I try to reflect something of their personalities in the quilts.
My youngest daughter has a sunny nature, loves colour, texture and random things! So her quilt has lots of colour, random prints and non-geometric design, sunny blues and mustard and the cosiest fleecy backing!
Despite having our warmest days of the year this week, she has very much enjoyed snuggling under her new quilt!
(A big thank you to my friend Hilary for quilting this quilt on her long arm.)
So that’s another family milestone and another milestone quilt!
This is my last week of classes before the summer break. The sun is finally shining and I will have a few more photos to show you from this term’s project focus.
In the meantime, I can show you some stunning bags from our Beach Bag Workshop last Saturday.
It was a warm and clammy day in the studio, perfect weather for thinking about holidays by the beach!
All the ladies beavered away on their bags, and just look at their results!
Such classy and colourful bags! The webbing handles are sewn onto the exterior and base of the bag, making them nice and strong for all your beach or picnic gear.
The bags are lined with Rip Stop Nylon, a water resistant and washable fabric, which is really easy to sew with too!
And you can see a few examples of the additional ‘wet bag’ above, which is included in the pattern. This is also lined with Rip Stop Nyon, the perfect place for wet swimwear or drippy sun lotion bottles!
Well done ladies on your hard work. I hope you get many opportunities to use your bag this summer!
And if you would like to make your own roomy beach bag, you can get the pattern here.
I’m ridiculously excited to tell you all about a new Just Jude Designs venture!
Retreat from the stresses of life for a weekend of relaxation, creativity and great food in the spacious and comfortable Murlough House, surrounded by the beautiful Murlough Bay Nature Reserve!
Let me tell you all about it!
Your weekend retreat experience will include:
Time away to indulge your stitching passion, progress your projects or start something new
Fun meeting and connecting with other like-minded quilting enthusiasts
Support from your friendly, experienced tutor
Two optional project workshops (Sashiko Cushion / Selvedge Projects)
Light-hearted sewing games
Pop-up shop for fabric and haberdashery supplies
Comfortable accommodation in single, twin, shared and en-suite rooms
Ground floor ‘Less Abled’ accommodation available
All meals provided – no cooking means more time to sew! Special dietary requirements catered for.
Beautiful, extensive gardens and grounds within walking distance of stunning golden beach to enjoy some fresh air and stretch your legs
5 large cutting mats, rotary cutters, irons/boards & rulers will be available
Free Tea & Coffee available throughout the day
5pm: Arrive, settle in
7pm – bedtime: Free sewing time / Sewing Games
10am- 1pm: Free Sewing time
1pm – 2pm: Lunch
2pm – 5pm: Free sewing time or Sashiko Cushion Workshop
7pm – bedtime: Free sewing time / Sewing Games
10am – 1pm: Free sewing time or Selvedge Pouch Workshop
1pm – 2pm: Lunch
2pm – 4pm: Free sewing time & pack up
The prices for full board accommodation at our Retreat range from Single En Suite (£160) through to a Shared Room for 5 (£120 pp). (A full list of rooms and prices available on request to email@example.com.)
(only shared rooms remaining at time of writing)
I’ve attended several retreats in the past, and know first hand how relaxing and fun they are! It’s so wonderful getting alongside other sewists, chatting, sharing and getting inspired by the plethora of creative projects being worked on. Not to mention getting away from cooking and other family responsibilities for a few days!
So if you would like to join us for some serious sewing time and lots of craic, or to enquire more about room availability, drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(All sample blocks were made using Handmade fabrics by Makower)
Now in my introduction to this series, I described this part as the Mystery section!
That’s because this post is all about Partial Seams!
Just like the other Log Cabin Family members, in these examples fabric is pieced around a central shape.
1 Log Cabin
You may have noticed that the ‘logs’ in the Log Cabin block above are equal length in each round, unlike the Log Cabin Block from Part 1.
This is made possible by starting each round with a partial seam (denoted here with the number 0.5 instead of 1!).
The first ‘log’ being attached is stitched only half way along the seam. It is then pressed out allowing the 2nd ‘log’ to be fully attached. This one is then pressed out before attaching log 3 and the same for log 4. Now you can bring the unsewn section of log 1 right sides together to log 4 and finish sewing the starting (partial) seam.
I love how clever this technique is. Without prior knowledge of partial seams, it would be difficult to work out how to construct this block. Therein lies the mystery!!
2. Rail Fence
In this example, the ‘rail fence’ sections are pieced separately, before being attached to the centre square.
Welcome to part 3 of my series on Log Cabin blocks (part 1 available here; part 2 available here).
So far we’ve looked at the variations within Log Cabin and Courthouse Steps blocks.
This post is all about the Pineapple Block.
Like me, you may be surprised that the Pineapple block is included in the Log Cabin family of blocks.
But there are definite similarities. Fabric strips of equal width are added in rounds from the centre square outwards (just like Log Cabin or Courthouse Steps).
The main difference this time is each round is trimmed ‘on point’ to create a diamond shape, before the next round is added. By alternating the background and main fabrics each round, pineapple shapes start to emerge.
There are several ways to create the Pineapple Block:
1 Foundation Pieced:
For my block (above) I printed and enlarged a paper template and sewed directly onto the paper, only removing the paper on completion of the block.
While this is a time consuming method (especially for a full quilt!) it results in precision piecing and accurate points and edges.
Welcome back to my Log Cabin Blocks series (part 1 available here).
In part 1 we looked at a range of Log Cabin blocks, from Traditional to Wonky!
In part 2, we are going to look at the 2nd category in this family of blocks.
(All sample blocks are made using fabrics from ‘Handmade’ by Makower)
Part 2: Courthouse Steps
Similar to the traditional Log Cabin Block, ‘steps’ are added in rounds to the centre square, this time attaching to two opposite edges first before adding steps to the remaining 2 edges. The ‘steps’ are the same width.
Here is one of my traditional Courthouse Steps Quilts, this time starting with a background square (I’ve marked the block to make it easier for you to identify).
I love how the secondary pattern from the Courthouse Steps blocks dominates in this design!
You can find a traditional Courthouse Steps block tutorial here.
2. Colour Rounds:
As with the Log Cabin Colour Rounds variation, the same fabric is used in each round, but sticking with the same traditional Courthouse Steps construction.
By adding squares (cornerstones) to the ends of the ‘steps’ you will add an Irish Chain secondary pattern to your quilt.
You can change the starting shape of a Courthouse Steps Block to any 4 sided shape (like Log Cabin) but not a triangle.
As I mentioned in my last post, there are lots more great Courthouse steps variations available. Like this ‘sliced’ Courthouse Steps:
In this version, you make two blocks in two fabrics, one positive, one negative.
Slice them in half diagonally, switch them over and sew back together!
Now the point of doing this lies in the secondary patterns you can achieve from Sliced Courthouse Steps.
Aren’t they cool!
A video tutorial of Sliced Courthouse Steps is available here.
You can find more inspiring Courthouse Steps examples on my Pinterest board here.
And I’ll leave you with a picture of a Courthouse Steps block I’m currently working on, using vintage sheets.
I hope you’ll come back soon for part 3 of our Log Cabin Family series.
Last week in classes I taught a short lesson on the Log Cabin Family of blocks!
I’m going to take you through the 3 main categories in a series of posts, with a mystery post to finish the series!
Part 1: Log Cabin
Part 2: Courthouse Steps
Part 3: Pineapple
Part 4: Watch this space!
I demonstrated a few variations within each category, but there are many more than what I can show you here (follow the Pinterest links for lots more inspiration!).
(All the sample blocks have been made using Handmade by Makower)
Part 1: Log Cabin
The standard log cabin block starts with a square centre (traditionally this would have been red) adding ‘logs’ around the centre square (either clockwise or anti-clockwise) in rounds. All the logs are the same width.
The traditional log cabin block was the first block I learned, and made a little quilt for my young daughter using chopped up clothes and linens!
You can find a tutorial on how to make a 12″ traditional block here.
2 Colour Rounds:
This variation of Log Cabin follows exactly the same construction as the traditional version, but keeping the fabric choice of each round the same.
Just a change of fabric placement dramatically changes the look of this block. Here’s another similar example, the back of quilt I made several years ago.
If you enjoy a little ‘improv’ piecing then how about a Wonky Log Cabin!
Again the logs are added in rounds, but this time, the sides are sliced at irregular angles before adding the next log.
While strips are useful to start with here, the width of the finished logs will be varied. No two blocks will be the same!
This can be a really fun block to make if you like a little more ‘freedom’ in your piecing. Just keep adding rounds until your block is a little bigger than you need, then square it off to the required size.
Here’s an example of a Wonky Log Cabin Quilt I made for Quilt Now Magazine several years ago.
To achieve a curved effect in a Log Cabin block, the background logs must be thinner than the coloured logs.
The curved effect becomes more obvious when you put 4 blocks together to create a ‘circle’:
The bigger the difference between the widths of the background and coloured logs, the greater the curve!
There are lots more variations of Log Cabin, like the Quarter Log Cabin (adding logs to the same two adjacent sides each round, rather than to all four sides) ….
(Quarter Log Cabin Cushion tutorial available here.)
….. or how about starting your Log Cabin block with a different shape!!
This is the final item on my table to tell you about and will be a Saturday workshop in June.
These cute and practical zippy pouches are great for summer holidays, or just keeping your bits and bobs organised. The handy see-through vinyl means you know exactly which pouch to reach for, and sewing with vinyl isn’t as tricky as you might think.
At the workshop I will be showing some clever ways to sew with vinyl (vinyl available to purchase in class).
There are a few places still available so why not join us for some vinyl fun!
Welcome to part 3 of my Spring into Summer ’19 series, looking at the items on display in our classroom (part 1 available here; part 2 available here).
Part 3 continues the Lori Holt theme, this time looking at her book ‘Quilty Fun’.
7 Lori Holt’s Quilty Fun Book:
I adore ‘row by row’ quilts and Lori’s quilt design is full of cute and adaptable blocks. Here is my version of her quilt, hanging up in class.
I’ve used lots of scraps in this quilt, but for the bigger pieces I used Lori’s Bee Basics range of fabrics, which co-ordinate with all her other fabric collections.
There’s so much to look at in this quilt, and as always the book includes many more ideas on how to use the motifs in different ways for a whole range of projects.
All bar 1 of the books have now sold in class, which I’ll be listing soon in my shop (watch this space!).
8 Quilty Fun Mugs (Tea Cups) Cushion
One of the additional projects in the book is a Mugs (Tea Cups) Cushion (I omitted the border included in the pattern). Isn’t this fun! The piecing is really easy and I had a ball picking the colours I wanted all my mugs to be!
I went for my favourite zippered cushion back to finish off this 20″ cushion.
9 Quilty Fun Leaf Mat:
This is a smaller version of a table topper project in Quilty Fun. The leaves are the same size as those in the original quilt, and I thought this would make a pretty addition to my kitchen table.
And finally, a Lori Holt inspired cushion, which is on our display shelf:
I made this cushion from Lori’s free ‘Scrappy Cross Roads Block’ tutorial, available here.
Using a small pack of ‘Something Blue’ by Makower, I followed Lori’s tutorial to make the block, and then brought it up to a 20″ cushion size with borders.
I had a lot of fun quilting this one!
The back was pieced with leftovers and my trademark ‘feature zipper’ closure.
And that brings part 3 of my Spring into Summer ’19 series to a close.
Just 3 more quilts and some holiday style pouches to show you in our final post.
Welcome back to my Spring into Summer ’19 series of posts.
In part 1 (available here) we’ve covered items 1, 2, 10 & 12 on our display table.
Today it’s all about one of my favourite quilt and fabric designers, Lori Holt.
3 Farm Girl Vintage Book, by Lori Holt:
This is Lori’s first Farm Girl Vintage book of blocks which is no longer available in the UK (FGV2 is just about to hit the shops!). I have sold quite a few in class already, and any that are left will be listed in our shop next week.
FGV shows you how to make all of the blocks shown on the front cover quilt, in both 6″ and 12″ size options.
The instructions and illustrations are really clear. And at the back of the book there are several larger blocks & lots more patterns & ideas on how to use the blocks to make other projects like cushions and table runners.
4 Farm Girl Vintage inspired Table Runner:
I made a table runner using 5 x 12″ blocks from the FGV book. I chose blocks that followed a food/kitchen theme, and they were such fun to make.
The pears are one of my favourite blocks in the book, and I’m working them into another bee quilt (a UFO Brit Bee quilt).
5 Farm Girl Vintage Chick Cushion:
I first made this cushion for my Easter table display last year. I turned a 12″ Chick block from the book into a quilted cushion. Isn’t he cute!
You may remember seeing my aprons on display last term. I decided to leave my dressed mannequin again this term because we are running our 3rd Apron workshop in August (booking available here). In this workshop you can choose from either a tie back apron (pictured) or the Japanese style cross back apron (see here).
2 Kids Tote Bags:
These simple and fun makes are samples for my upcoming children’s workshop.
I have 4 girls and 2 boys registered to learn how to use a sewing machine and let their textile creativity loose!
Children are a joy to teach because they don’t overthink it and are so creatively uninhibited! We adults could learn alot from them!
This is my big and roomy beach bag (first featured in Pretty Patches magazine). It features water resistant Rip-Stop Nylon lining, mesh or cotton exterior pockets and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your soggy bikini, or drippy sun lotion bottles!
I’ve made a few of these practical bags over the years, and they’ve even been road tested by my girls on their holiday!
If you’d like to join us at our Beach Bag workshop, you can book in here.
As a self-confessed workaholic I have to really focus on ‘not working’ and allowing my mind some down time (not easy for a self-employed sole trader!).
As part of my ‘word for the year’ – CULTIVATE, I’ve been working on cultivating rest and regeneration, not just physically but creatively and spiritually too.
I’m still learning how to do this well, and am very much a work in progress! One way I’ve been doing this is by reading inspiring authors on personal leadership, like Brene Brown.
In her book ‘Daring Greatly’, Brene talks about the importance of being our vulnerable and authentic selves, not bowing to the ‘never (good, thin, happy, wealthy, successful ….) enough’ culture but instead resting in the knowledge that our best effort is always enough; we are enough. The strive for perfectionism and the glorification of busyness erodes the mental health of individuals, families, societies, nations. I know this to be true because I’ve seen it and I’ve felt it.
So if, like me, you want to learn how to cultivate authenticity, self-compassion, a resilient spirit, gratitude and joy, intuition and trust, meaningful work, creativity (yes!), and play and rest (yes, yes!) then I highly recommend to you Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Her honesty is refreshing and her professional research in vulnerabililty, shame and wholeheartedness eye opening!
“Dare to be the adults we want our children to be.” Brene Brown
Another opportunity for me to cultivate rest and regeneration comes with good weather, a beautiful location and a camera!
We were blessed over Easter with some cracking weather, which meant I could get out and about a bit with my camera.
Taking pictures enables me to notice details, to stay in the present, to connect my surroundings with those I’m with, to stop and smell the roses (sometimes literally!).
If you’ve never tried it, next time you go out to a beautiful park, garden, beach, woodland walk, bring a camera. You don’t have to be skilled at taking the photos. But I guarantee your mental and emotional health will benefit greatly!
(All the photos I took are available here in my Facebook Albums)