During the 5 Wednesday evenings in August I will be running my ‘Machine Sewing for Beginners’ Course.
I have run this course many times in the past, and it has always proven popular. The course is designed for folks who want to learn how to use a sewing machine, or refresh their machine sewing skills from long ago!
Here’s a run down of the topics we cover:
threading the machine
filling a bobbin
understanding the various buttons, dials & stitches
practising the different stitches
understanding tension & troubleshooting
how to change needles and feet
understanding uses of different feet
sewing control skills
understanding fabric (warp, weft, bias)
measuring & cutting fabric
seams (1/4”; 3/8”; 5/8”, overlocking; french)
Project: Single skein cushion cover with a zippered back
Cost: £45 (includes a non-refundable deposit of £20)
Course in Conway Mill (2nd Floor), Conway Street, Belfast, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Disabled Parking and Access available
Places are limited so book early
Limited number of machines available to hire (pre-booking required)
Full list of materials/requirements emailed in July
So if you fancy learning a new skill, or brushing up on an old one, just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes are fun and relaxed!
Our 5 minute demo in class this month was all about the different ways to bind or finish a quilt.
I had lots of samples to show the variety of techniques and finishes, but it was by no means an exhaustive list! Creativity abounds when it comes to ways to finish a quilt!
Here is a run down of the examples we looked at:
1 Double Fold (French) Binding:
Using 2.5″ wide strips, this is one of the most common binding types. Usually stitched to the front of a quilt (using 3/8″ seam allowance) with mitred corners. Then stitched down at the back, either by hand (using the Invisible Applique Stitch) or by machine*.
A tutorial on making and attaching Double Fold Binding available here.
*To machine stitch down the binding, ‘stitch in the ditch’ from the front side. A tutorial on stitching in the the ditch is available here.
2 Square Set Binding:
With square set binding, each edge of the quilt is bound separately, with the corners being ‘wrapped around’ and overlapped by the binding of the adjacent edge. This results in much thicker corners, with a less professional finish than a double fold mitred corner. For this reason, square set binding isn’t often used.
3 Single Fold Binding:
This technique is similar to Double Fold binding, but this time using a 1.75″ wide strip and left unironed. The binding is attached in exactly the same way as Double Fold Binding.
The main difference in the 2 techniques happens at the back! When the strip is folded over to the backside, first it is folded down to the edge of the quilt, then folded over again.
The binding is then either hand or machine stitched down to finish. You can get an excellent Single Fold Binding tutorial here.
4 Flanged Binding:
A ‘flange’ is an inset piece of fabric (or lace, ric rac etc.) which enhances the main binding.
To achieve a 1/4″ flange (as shown above), cut the main binding strips 1.5″ and the flange strips 2″. Join them right sides together along the long edge using 1/4″ seam allowance. Then bring both long edges wrong sides together and press. This allows the excess flange fabric to show at the top edge.
The binding is then attached using the double fold binding technique, but this time sewn first to the back of the quilt. Bring the binding round to the front, and stitch in the ditch between the main binding and the flange. You can get a step by step tutorial here for a narrower flange.
5 Backing to Front:
If you don’t have suitable fabric to use as the binding, why not bring the backing fabric around the edges to the front!
The key to this technique is in the careful trimming of the wadding (level with the quilt top) and the backing fabric (left 1″ wider).
The backing is then folded in to the edge of the quilt and then over once more. You can then top stitch the binding down or use a decorative stitch.
A great tutorial on this technique is available here.
6 Quilt Front to the Back:
This is the reverse of no.5! Trim the backing and wadding level, leaving the quilt front 1″ wider. Fold round to the back in the same way and stitch it down.
7 Rounded Corners:
Sometimes a quilt or wallhanging needs the softer look of rounded corners. Make and trim your quilt in the usual way, then place a bowl or dinner plate at the corners and cut away the excess.
For wide corners like these, I still apply the usual double fold binding from straight cut strips (no bias cuts). For a more curvier edge, you may need to use bias binding.
8 Rattail Binding:
Rattail, or Satin Cord Binding, is more commonly used to finish the edges of art quilts. The quilt is trimmed and the edges top stitched or zigzagged, before the satin ‘rattail’ cord is zigzagged to the edges. You can see a great tutorial on this technique here.
9 Prairie Points (& other inserts!):
If you’re not one for a traditional binding finish, how about inserts! These can be prairie points, scallops, half hexies, ric rac or lace (to name a few!).
I’m not a fan of ‘bagging’ a quilt, so try this instead. Plan ahead – don’t take your chosen quilting design right to the edges, leave half an inch unquilted around all edges. Trim the wadding (only) back to the quilting, and then fold under the raw edges of the front and back fabrics.
This is where you place the inserts before stitching the edges closed. Just make sure you have worked out your maths for prairie points, scallops or half hexies, so they are the right size to fit exactly into each edge.
10 Crochet Edging:
If you are a dab hand with a crochet hook, you can finish the edges of your quilt or cushions with a delicate crochet trim.
Finish your quilt as per example 9 (for cushions, simply turn them right sides out). Then hand sew a blanket stitch around all edges. Crochet into the blanket stitch using 4ply cotton yarn. Your first row will be chain stitches, followed by a row of double crochets and trebles. Add as many rows as you wish!
And there we have it!
10 different ways to finish your quilts and projects.
There are of course many more, just have a look in Pinterest! The possibilities are endless!
I’m sure you are more than familiar now with the changes to our General Data Protection Rules here in the UK and EU.
For small business holders like me, it’s been a time consuming and expensive exercise in trying to figure out a way through the ‘grey areas’ to make sure we are complying with the new rules.
I have just sent out my summer newsletter, which covers the latest information on upcoming classes, new pattern releases and free tutorials.
If you would like to receive my termly newsletter in future and get regular updates and subscriber discounts, then just type in your email address on the right hand side of this page.
For the third installment in my series of summer workshops, we will be looking at what we can do with cotton clothesline rope and a zig-zag stitch!
The rope bowl making phenomenon hit the online quilting community about 2 years ago, and is still going strong!
When I started making these, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to achieve the variety of 3d shapes. The fiddliest part is getting the rope wound tightly enough at the start, but after that, it’s a doddle!
I experimented with a couple of different ropes, one softer and one coarser. While my machine still coped ok with the coarser rope, it had to work a little harder, and cheaper threads broke more often. However, the softer rope was much more maliable and took both the Aurifil and cheaper threads with ease. I will be supplying the softer rope to the workshops.
There are many different ways to add colour to your baskets – dip-dyeing, painting, coloured thread or adding scraps. Check out my Kitchen Pinterest Board for many more examples of this versatile craft.
Due to the popularity of this project, I am running 2 workshop dates, 18th August and 8th September. All workshops are £30 (includes a non-refundable £15 deposit). Just drop me an email to email@example.com for more information or to register.
How is your week going? We are (still) basking in the most gorgeous sunny weather here, leaving us with stunning, glorious sunsets!
This week in my classes I am presenting my summer Saturday Workshops. The 4 Saturdays in August will all be workshops, and I will be posting about them here, starting with ……
If you’ve been sewing for any length of time, you may have a huge healthy stock of scraps, leftovers from previous quilting projects. These pieces might just be too sizeable, pretty or meaningful to throw away, leftover binding or jelly roll strips, or perhaps frugality gets the better of you!
Either way, there are many, many ways to put those ever growing scraps to good use!
Here are just a few examples of what you can make on Scrap Buster Saturday.
Stacked Coins Cushion: (pattern available at workshop)
If you have a plentiful supply of scraps, you may be able to group them into colourways like I’ve done here.
Let your scraps dictate how wide your stacks can be! The only preparation here is some pressing and making sure the sides are straight.
Equally you can go completely random, and sew a variety of scraps together in the same ‘stacked coins’ way!
French Braid Handbag: (pattern available at workshop)
This is another example of grouping scraps into colourways. The French Braid piecing technique is super easy, and you don’t even need the pieces to be of equal width.
I’ve quilted the bag exterior onto bosal (flex foam) which gives it lovely texture and structure without losing softness.
(Hinged Faux Leather Handles available from Fabric Yard)
Strip Pieced Quilt: (pattern available at workshop)
My technique for making strip pieced blocks doesn’t involve a foundation layer.
I added a little ‘organisation’ to lots of random strips by making the central strip in each block white. The white strips are of uniform width, but that’s were the uniformity ends! All other strips are random widths and lengths. I even used ‘ugly’ fabrics I still had, but I totally love the finished quilt! That’s the magic of using scraps.
Autumn Rail Fence Quilt(pattern available at workshop)
The simple sewing together of strips means you can easily make up this quilt top in a day.
Once again, I dove into my scrap drawers for specific colours – golds, oranges, pinks and teals, all of different widths and lengths. Some donated yardage of a brown stripe gives flow and order to the scraps.
But equally, this quilt would look fabulous made in random coloured scraps with a uniform ‘fence’ fabric.
‘Birch’ Quilt (in progress):
I took inspiration from this quilt and decided to make a grey and low volume version (given that I have an overflowing drawer of LV scraps!).
I plan on using up my stash of Kona Greys to make this into a bigger ‘man’ quilt. Somehow, I think it will take me a lot longer to use up my LV scraps!
So there you have it! A little inspiration on how to use your scraps, and a date for your diary on how to have a day of fun turning them into something wonderful!
Mental Health Awareness Week is 14th – 20th May here in the UK (photos explained at the end of the post!).
Did you know that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health issue and 5% of the world’s population currently suffer from depression? That’s 350 million people!
I’m sure, like me, you have either experienced some form of mental illness in your life, or know someone you care about who has.
During a particularly low point in my life, I started seeing a counsellor, who recognised that after seeing to my husband, my children, my home etc. I did nothing for myself. She introduced me to the notion of ‘play’ and asked me to name one thing that I used to enjoy doing when I was younger. I said sewing!
She encouraged me to reclaim this activity that gave me so much fulfillment and joy, and so I enrolled in my local college to study in City & Guilds Textile & Design.
I can honestly say that getting back into a creative environment and learning how to ‘play’ again, was instrumental in my recovery from depression.
That was 12 years ago, and little did I know then, that I would be teaching others how to release their creativity and learn how to ‘play’ and enjoy life again.
My first experience of teaching patchwork and quilting was to a group of women with various mental health needs (depression, self-harm, addiction, domestic violence, grief, bi-polar disorder, cancer survivors, eating disorders to name but a few). For 2 years I saw first-hand the therapeutic benefits they experienced after only a few short weeks of sewing. One lady in particular, old before her time, stooped with low self worth and heavily reliant on a walking stick, made her first patchwork cushion and within 6 weeks was coming to class without her stick and walking tall!! Like many others, learning a new skill within a caring community, and having something to show and be proud of, elevated her self-esteem and ignited hope and positivity in many areas of her life.
Seeing the wonderful benefits sewing was having on these ladies’ lives ignited a passion in me to encourage others to let go of negativity, worry, anxiety & perfectionism, even if only for a few hours a week, and discover the healing and therapeutic powers of sewing.
It’s encouraging now to see emerging evidence from neuroscientists and doctors that support what we sewists already know – that sewing (& crafting) is good for our brains and mental health!
The authors of the ‘Sew Your Blues Away’ blog have written an informative article about this here. They say:
“In short, mentally engaging movement (sewing) helps to break the cycle of negative thoughts, as well as allowing the brain to recover and improve by generating newer, healthier brain cells. Specialists state that an engaging hobby is often more effective than just taking an antidepressant, which typically targets only one neurotransmitter. While sewing not only heals, it also improves the brain’s resistance to future bouts of depression by reminding our brains that we have an impact on the world around us.”
So not only is sewing mentally good for us, it is helping our brains physically too! How cool is that!
This article from 2014 explains not only why crafting like knitting and sewing are good for our brains, but why crafting with others is so important too. Check it out!
And I’m sure the ladies who come to my classes will testify to many of these benefits (& more!) too! We certainly have a lot of fun together!
Now my work as a sewing tutor is my passion, my calling and it has gotten me through some of the toughest periods of my life. I’m so privileged to get to ‘play’ everyday as my day job. But of course, turning a hobby into a business means I needed to find a new hobby!
At the moment I’m learning about photography, and I enjoy getting out into nature and noticing details that I would otherwise miss had I not brought my camera along. In the busyness of this modern world I’m trying to literally ‘stop and smell the roses’! (I hope you have enjoyed the pics I’ve shared here.)
So as we focus on Mental Health this week and bring this once taboo subject into the open, let me encourage you to find something that returns to you the same enjoyment, fulfillment and escapism that playtime once did. Let yourself be absorbed by creativity and fun, and released from the stresses and demands of life!
We have just had a wonderful bank holiday weekend here in UK. And what made it so wonderful? The beautiful sunny weather!
I spent the bank holiday Monday in Florence Court, Enniskillen, with 2 of my girls, having lots of photo fun, and enjoying this wonderful National Trust house.
It was a beautiful day, learning all about the women (upstairs and downstairs) in Florence Court’s history.
Also this week, the current issue of Quilt Now hit the shops, and in it you can find my Octosaurus Rex Quilt, designed for Makower using their Rex Collection of fabrics.
This quilt design is full of secondary patterns, and the larger Placement print is perfect for fussy cutting.
Here’s what I wrote as my source of inspiration:
“I live not far from the Giant’s Causeway, a 60 million year old formation of multi-sided volcanic stones. So I thought it would be fun to design Jurassic sized shapes around these cute dinosaur fussy cuts and fabrics. The Octagon blocks slot neatly side by side just like the stones at the Giant’s Causeway!”
There is a lot of piecing in this quilt, and it is a decent size at 60″ x 72″. However you could easily reduce the number of blocks and make a smaller quilt for a younger dinosaur lover!
So if you have a little one who is mad about all things Jurassic, then these fabrics are your perfect choice!
You can see the full collection here, and my Octosaurus Rex Quilt pattern is also available via the Makower UK website.
In keeping with our ‘curves’ theme this term, my monthly ‘5 minute lesson’ in classes this week was all about Improv. (improvisational) curves.
As the name suggests ‘improv.’ means you pretty much go with the flow and make up the curves as you go. No two curves are the same, and there are much fewer rules to abide by than with standard pieced curves. You don’t even have to worry about an even seam allowance (gasp!).
You can imagine how well this technique went down with all my rebellious non-conformists (you know who you are!!).
There are many examples of improv. curves on Pinterest (see my Curves Pinterest Board here). And to give an example of these in class, I made some improv. curved placemats, in the lovely coastal Beachcomber fabrics by Makower.
Here is the tutorial on how to make my Improv. Curved Placemats (makes 4 x 15 1/4″ diameter mats).
You will need:
Between Nine and Twelve 10″ squares (I used Beachcomber by Makower)
50cm of Wadding or Insul Bright Heat Resistant Wadding
50cm of calico
1 metre of Heat Resistant Non-Slip Table Protector (at least 35″ wide)
4.5 metres of 3/4″ wide bias binding
505 Basting Spray
Method:Assume 1/4″ seams
1 Place 2 squares of fabric on the cutting mat, right sides facing up, and overlapping. The wider the overlap, the deeper the curves can be. I usually overlap by 2-3″ (I am using up a smaller piece of fabric here to overlap the 10″ square).
2 Using a rotary cutter, cut a curve up through the overlapped section.
3 Remove the excess pieces (this will be the smaller piece of the right hand fabric and the smaller/underneath piece of the left hand fabric). The remaining pieces should fit neatly together.
4 Sew the 2 pieces right sides together. It is easier to do this by straightening the underneath piece with your right hand and lifting up the top piece with your left hand. Don’t worry if your seam allowance isn’t even the whole way down, just make sure there are no tucks.
5 Press the seam to the darkest fabric.
6 Repeat steps 2-5 for a third piece of fabric, over lapping the left hand edge of the first piece.
7 Spray baste the curved pieces, wadding and calico together (tutorial on spray basting available here).
8 Quilt the mats, starting centrally and working towards the outer edges. I quilted in the ditches and then’echo’ quilted the curved seams 1/2″ apart.
9 Place a round plate or bowl on top and draw around it. Cut along the line and remove the excess. Put to one side.
10 Place the same plate/bowl onto the felted side of the non-slip table protector. Draw around it and cut out.
11 Machine tack the table protector to the wrong side of the mat, making sure the felted side is on the inside. Machine tacking means using a large stitch on your machine, and stitching close to the edges. If you find the rubberised table protector resisting or sticking to your sewing machine, make sure the rubberised side is facing up and engage the dual feed/walking foot on your machine. If you don’t have these, stick some matt scotch tape to the underside of your presser foot keeping clear of the needle opening.
12 Open out the bias binding, and leaving a few inches unsewn at the start, attach the binding around the edge of the mat using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, stopping a few inches short at the end (remember to use a quilting size stitch length here, not a tacking stitch).
13 Place the end of the bias binding over the start and measure and mark 1/2″ overlap. Trim off the excess.
14 Open out the binding and sew the short ends together using 1/4″ seam allowance.
15 Finger press the seam open and finish sewing down the remaining binding to the mat.
16 Snip all around the edge of the mat at 1cm intervals, taking care not to cut the stitches.
17 Push the binding over to the back of the mat. Pin in the ditch from the front, making sure the binding is caught at the back.
18 Stitch in the ditch from the front side finishing with a reverse stitch.
And you’re finished!
Adorn your table with your beautiful mats and wait for the compliments!
So why not have a go at this organic and fun technique!
I hope you enjoy your venture into improv. curves!
I promised to post this week about the projects on my ‘Spring into Summer’ Table.
Never one to break a promise, I’m starting with my Denim Applique Sailboat Cushion.
I originally designed this cushion for a summer edition of Pretty Patches Magazine.
I loved re-purposing some denim and scraps for this nautical cushion. My recent discovery of Aurifil 12wt wool thread also made a significant contribution! You can read more about my designing process here.
The great news is that I’ll be teaching a workshop on this cushion on Saturday 19th May at my classroom in Conway Mill.
And not only that, kits will be available with everything you need to make the cushion, including lush Essex Yarn Dyed Linen, denim pieces, stripey binding and a bright red button for the back!
How cool is that!
So if you would like to spend a fun Saturday with other like minded creatives learning new skills like appli-quilting and free motion sketching, then just drop me an email to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying some glorious sunshine in your part of the world!
We have had several beautiful days here. Doesn’t a sunny day just lift one’s spirits!!
Time got away from me a bit this week, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten to bring you the posts on my Spring into Summer projects. I will get those posted this week.
In the meantime, I have a few pics to share with you from our Applique workshop yesterday!
8 courageous ladies decided to put their ‘big girl’ pants on and tackle satin stitch applique head on! And not just satin stitch applique, but ‘appli-quilting’ – combining the techniques of applique and quilting into one step.
If you are a regular subscriber to Quilt Now magazine, you may recognise someone in the ‘Designer Spotlight’ this month.
It was a privilege to be asked by Quilt Now to feature my new classroom and classes in the latest copy of their magazine (issue 48).
I have very much enjoyed working with Katy and designing for Quilt Now in recent years, but now I’m giving almost all of my design attention to my classes.
I’m nearly 4 months into running Patchwork & Quilting classes here at Conway Mill, and I’m delighted with the response and feedback so far.
My ladies are loving the wonderful light and space in the room, and I try to keep them inspired with themed quilts and project displays.
One of the things I love about working here is being surrounded by the wonderful story of what it used to be, a 19th Century Flax Mill.
Some of the original features of the Mill have survived, even through the Belfast blitz of 1941 and being set on fire during our political troubles here in the 1970’s.
How serendipitous to be bringing the art and love of textiles back into this beautiful Victorian Mill!
If you would like to know more about my classes, click here, or pop in to see us on the 2nd floor, grab a coffee (or lunch) in the Little Mill Bistro, or come see the many other businesses, trades, creatives and artists who work here!
I have two more quilt examples of drunkard’s path variations, the patterns for which I hope to be able to make available soon.
Wow! That was a long post! Thank you for sticking with all my ‘curves’!
If you would like to learn how to make drunkard’s path units (& all of these projects) & have a lot of fun along the way, then why not join in with our other crazy creatives and register for our class starting w/c 9th April. More details on classes available here.
For the past 6 weeks some very talented ladies in my classes have been beavering away on my Denim Hexie Bag Pattern.
This pattern combines techniques such as English Paper Piecing (EPP Hexies), eyelet holes, zippered pocket, handbag construction as well as some serious denim upcycling!
At times it looked like a missile had gone off in a jeans factory in my classroom, as scissors and blades feverishly amputated legs, pockets and loops! While denim is one of my favourite textiles to work with, it doesn’t half shed!
But oh boy, the results of this serious crafting were so worth it!
Not all the bags being made are represented here, a few are still being finished off.
But aren’t they brilliant! Sturdy, stylish practical bags that I know will get lots of use!
And I also know that the bags still being finished are equally as fabulous!
I haven’t been able to capture all the individual details in the bags here, but trust me when I tell you that each bag has it’s own unique characteristics.
Details like repurposed loops, tabs and pockets from the jeans, as well as complimentary fabrics like cotton and tweed, buttons, badges and even embroidery and printing.
A huge ‘well done’ to all my wonderful ‘Bag Ladies’!
I also have 3 part-kits available in my shop, which include the pattern, pre-cut hexie papers, various coloured denim squares (for the hexie panels) , 1 metre of heavy weight sew-in vilene and 4 eyelet rings.
Have you ever wanted to master satin stitch applique, but are too afraid to try on your own?
Why not surround yourself with like minded creatives and spend a Saturday learning this technique with all the help and support you need!
At the workshop you will not only learn how to set up your machine for satin stitch applique, you can also make one of two projects:
Family Tree Wallhanging:
This pretty wallhanging can be made with your favourite treasured scraps, seasonal fabrics, or how about embroidering the names of family members onto the leaves!
This type of applique is called ‘appli-quilting’. The leaves will be appliqued onto an already quilted background. The process of stitching the leaves down combines both techniques of applique and quilting (appli-quilting).
Applique Leaf Cushion:
The same leaf motif can have many applications. How about a pretty cushion in fabrics that co-ordinate with your home!
Once again, we are using the appli-quilting technique here, applique and quilting all in one go! Simples!
And how about making a pretty feature of your zipper closure!
So the choice is yours! Join us for lots of coffee, chat and craic in a fun and safe learning environment at Conway Mill.
Just drop me an email to book a place: email@example.com
So, I’m going to completely ignore the impending snow forecast and pretend it is spring and enjoy my narcissus and daffs and the blissfulness of denial!
With just over 2 weeks to Easter, let’s crack on with part 2 of my classroom Easter table.
At the top right hand side of the picture, you will see my Garden Shed Tidy.
This was made for the May ’16 issue of Pretty Patches magazine. As the garden starts to come to life again, I get sporadic urges to amble down the ‘garden’ isles of my local homeware shop, buying packets of seeds with renewed vigor that this year I will plant them (!!)
And if (like me) you aren’t much of a gardener, you could easily use this cute tidy in your bathroom, the teenagers room, or in the study keeping stamps, envelopes and stationery organised (people do still write letters, right?).
Hanging on my diy Easter tree are my Easter Egg Zippy Pouches, made with older children in mind who might prefer money or vouchers for Easter! You can get the free tutorial here.
Also hanging on my Easter tree are some crochet bunnies. I followed this tutorial, however mine seem to resemble some kind of dysmorphic bat!
Now one of the cushions on my table is an old friend. You may recognise her from this quilt!
My trusty Woodland Hare, Harriet, has been enlarged and appliqued onto a bespoke cushion cover. She’s been stuffed and in the absence of piping cord, I top-stitched the side seams.
Seeing Harriet’s endearing smile always brings me joy!
Finally, for part 2, all of these items are sitting on my Picnic Bobble Blanket.
This was another magazine commission, this time the August ’16 issue of Popular Patchwork.
It’s a great pattern for showing off a larger scale print.
It is double backed, the outer layer being a machine washable shower curtain (we don’t want any soggy bottoms!).
This is another pattern I will commit to re-write for general sale!
There is a lot of work involved in converting a pattern from a magazine template to one of my own formatted patterns. I have a long ‘to do’ list and will be announcing some new releases soon! Thank you for your patience.
There are still 2 projects left on the table to tell you about. But I will give them a post all of their own!
When I was at Primary School we had a ‘Nature Table’, decorated according to the seasons, with items mucky hands would triumphantly find and trophy into class the next day!
The Autumn Table was my favourite. I can still see the bright orangey-red ovals of rosehips, shining like jewels among the tattered leaves and empty conker casings.
Well I may be all grown up now (sort of!), but in the childhood-spirit of celebrating the season, I thought it would be nice to have an ‘Easter Table’ in class!
Not all of these items are strictly ‘Easter’ related – I’m using a little Spring inspiration (& a lot of creative license!) too.
So over the next 2 posts, let me talk you through my table and I’ll give you the links to the free tutorials too!
We’ll start with the left hand side of the table. The items are sitting on my blue chenille mat. If you’ve never tried chenilling before, I highly recommend it. Great fun and super easy too!
Chenille involves lots of layers of fabric, sewn together on the bias in half inch channels. The fabric between the channels is then cut, through all layers except the bottom one. Give it a rigorous wash and tumble dry, and hey presto, you have the fluffiest fabric which you can then turn into anything you like!
So far, I’ve chenilled a baby play mat, a bath mat (below) and a heart cushion!
As a single mum to 3 gorgeous girls, her strength, courage and love for life has been (& will continue to be) my inspiration. Over the past 13 years we have laughed and cried together, prayed and worked together, and sewed together (Heather was a very talented quilter).
3 weeks ago, she had her last birthday, in hospital sadly. I had made her a quilt, which she got to see. It made her smile!
I wanted a bright, colourful and happy quilt for Heather, to reflect her sunny personality. These fabrics are called Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler, and the symbolic cream motifs are Friendship Stars.
She had a great sense of humour and was selflessly devoted to her girls. I’m blessed to have had many opportunities to spend with Heather these past 18 months during her illness.
We loved a good rummage in charity shops (she knew all the best ones), hours and hours in coffee shops (she was the best listener) and nights out at the flicks (even if she did nod off occasionally!). And of course, we both shared a love of fabric and sewing. She was even attending my classes until a few weeks ago (I finished the quilt she was working on and it was on her bed when she passed).
I will miss my lovely friend, and my heart is breaking for the 3 beautiful girls she leaves behind, on the eve of Mothers Day.
But we share the same faith, and while we said ‘goodbye’ on Monday, through love and tears, we both know that it is only ‘farewell’ until we see each other again in heaven. And then we will have endless years of fun, frolics and friendship together!
Goodbye my friend. You had courage, grace and dignity right to the very end. See you on the other side.
Today is the day we are delighted to announce the winners for Q4 of the 2017 Finish-A-Long, thus bringing the 2017 Finish-A-Long to an official close.
If you are low on inspiration or maybe your sewing mojo has been missing lately, we highly recommend you visit some of the finishes from the last quarter of the year. There are a lot of beauties linked up and ready to inspire you!
Thank you again to our generous sponsors. Without further ado, the winners – each picked by the random number generator – of the Q4 FAL prizes are:
The Q4 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Just Jude Designs goes to Kristin, she blogs at Gumdrops and made this really pretty colorful scrappy quilt:
The Q4 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Tartankiwi goes to Chiska who blogs at Muddy Spring and she finished this adorable little baby turtle quilt:
The Q4 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Blossom Heart Quilts goes to Mary who blogs at Mary Emmens and she finished this handy fold up pouch (along with a ton of other projects from Aneela Hoey’s book):
The Q4 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Studio 39 Fabrics goes to Anja who blogs at Anja Quilts and she finished a mini letter A quilt:
Congratulations to all the winners!! Thank you for joining us in 2017, we truly hope the Finish-A-Long has helped you finish up those works in progress this last year.
A special thank you to our hosts this past year for all of their hard work and time. A big thank you the sponsors for 2017. Last but not least thanks to those of you that have played along with us during this past year and previous years, the Finish-A-Long wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all of you and your WIP’s and finishes!
We hope that you are joining us in 2018, the first quarter is about half-way through so you still have plenty of time to finish up those projects. If you missed the first quarter link up, please consider joining us in April when the second link up opens.
How is your week going so far? I hope you are getting time to fit in a little sewing therapy!
My eldest daughter has recently started to work for me on a part-time basis, which frees me up to attend to pressing deadlines! Oh how I love having a creatively talented assistant!!
Last summer I was asked by the fabric distributor Makower UK if I would consider coming on board as one of their designers!
I said yes straight away, and my first design for them is not only available for free on their website, but is also featured in the current issue of Quilt Now magazine.
Not only that, if you are a regular watcher of Sewing Quarter (Freeview channel 78) you may have seen Kitty featured! It gets a mention in the programme introduction, and then has a much lengthier feature with sections of the quilt demonstrated here.
This medallion quilt is based around a panel, which I chopped up and spaced out with sashing.
Simple checkboards and drunkard’s path scallops create the feature borders.
So if you love your feline friends, I know you’ll fall in love with this fabric collection.
And if you didn’t want to make a big quilt, why not make the central panelled section as a cute baby quilt instead! Purrrrrrfect!
Last November I became a Great Auntie for the first time! Can you believe it!
Sweet baby Rose was born and of course I wanted to make her a quilt!
Now it took me until the Christmas holidays (and then some!) to get going on this quilt.
Firstly I was stuck for inspiration, and then my quilty friend Geraldine of SophieBelleDesigns over on IG gave me the perfect idea! Hearts! (Thank you G!).
I had already picked up a girly bundle of floral fabrics from the quilting shop where I used to work, some ‘Fleurs Petite Bouquet’ (Brenda Riddle Acorn Quilts) and with the odd Tilda print thrown in I now knew what to do with them!
This wallhanging covers quilting and applique techniques. You can make it seasonal e.g. an Autumn tree, a Spring tree or perhaps a ‘Christmas Tree’! Or turn it into your Family Tree and embroidery names on the leaves!
Denim Sailboat Cushion:
If you like a spot of up-cycling, then why not turn some of your unwanted denim into this nautical themed cushion!
Have fun with ‘appli-quilting’, feature quilting and a little free motion sketching!
Kits will be available to purchase at the workshop.
Large Toiletry Bag:
This is a sizeable pouch, with room for all your bottles and toiletries!
There’s even a handy toothbrush and toothpaste bag, with wipeable rip-stop lining.
And don’t worry about that zipper! It’s easy peasy to put in!
So those are the fun workshops up for grabs! Places are limited, and a few of the workshops are already half booked, so please don’t leave it too long to sign up! Again, just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In quilt design, the terms ‘advanced’ or ‘technical’ can be quite subjective, depending on which part of the quilt the term refers to.
For example, a quilt can look ‘uncomplicated’ due to the fabrics used, but the piecing technique may require complete accuracy or many instructions.
At the other end of the spectrum, a quilt can look cleverly complicated with really straightforward piecing.
Crossed Paths falls somewhere in between! The repeating 15″ blocks are based around 2 elements: (1) Foundation pieced quadrants are made separately, papers removed then pieced around the central square using (2) a partial seam (tutorial on partial seams coming soon!).
However, close attention must be paid to the cutting instructions and fabric placement, to achieve the gradation of background from dark to light and the reverse gradation of the ‘crossed paths’.
This is a quilt where lots of labels and plastic bags are recommended to keep yourself organised!
So if you like making quilts with a little more ‘bite’ then this one’s for you!
In class this week, our ‘5 minute lesson’ was all about HSTs (Half Square Triangles), QSTs (Quarter Square Triangles) and HRTs (no not that type of HRT! Half Rectangle Triangles!).
These versatile and clever units form the many building blocks of quilt and quilt block design!
They are component parts that follow the same construction principles but with their many design possibilities, they just keep on giving!
Sewing with triangles can be tricky, especially as those naughty bias edges can flex and stretch! But despite the word ‘triangle’ being mentioned in the names of all of these techniques, at no point are individual triangles sewn together! How cool is that!
Let’s start with the humble Half Square Triangle.
Half Square Triangles (HSTs):
Method 1 (yields 2 identical hsts):
Start off by putting 2 squares right sides together.
Draw a pencil line corner to corner on the wrong side of one of the squares and sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to create 2 identical half square triangle units. Press the seams open (always press bias seams open where possible).
How easy was that!
Method 2 (yields 4 identical hsts):
Place 2 squares right sides together and sew 1/4″ around all four sides.
Cut in half from corner to corner, and then into quarters through the opposite corners.
As before, press the seams open.
And now that you have cracked hsts, the design possibilities are endless! Here are a couple of my own HST quilts, but for lots more variations, including sizing charts, check out my HST Pinterest Board!
Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs):
This time you need 2 lots of half square triangles. You can work with 2 fabrics, or like I’m doing here, 4 different fabrics.
Now take 1 hst from each pair and place them right sides together so that their seams are lying on top of each other.
Draw a line corner to corner perpendicular to the existing seam. Sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to separate and press the seams open. Now you have 2 identical QST blocks, with each of the 4 fabrics in each unit.
See if you can spot the QSTs in my friend Susan’s gorgeous ‘Blue Moon’ quilt.
I have a little QST quilt in the works, but I can only show you this sneaky peak for now ……..
So when Popular Patchwork said they were going for a colourful and cheery February issue, I had an idea!
This is Log Cabin Bouquet!
With a few adjustments, the log cabin block can be turned into a heart shape. And when you put the hearts together, you get a flower shape! Neat!
If, like me, you have a ‘Fabric Bucket List’ it’s always a joy when you finally get the opportunity to work with some long desired collection or fabric line.
When Art Gallery launched their Denim Studio, I swooned! Already a long time lover of all things denim, my heart skipped a beat when I saw how creative Art Gallery got with this unassuming textile. Oh boy! The different weights, patterns and textures – so many to choose from.
Imagine my delight when the Editor of Popular Patchwork approved my design! I stuck to denims that were 4oz or 5oz and I thought I’d go braver with the background this time.
The background is Painterly Wash and the backing Ragged Daisies. Wouldn’t these make beautiful tunic dresses (that’ll be another addition to the bucket list then!).
If you are considering Denim Studio, I recommend using the 4-5 oz ones for quilting and the 10 oz ones for bag making and soft furnishings.
So that’s another fabric itch scratched! I definitely see more Denim Studio in my future!
How would you fancy another Just Jude Designs tutorial! It’s been a while so I thought it was time to share one of my handy pouch patterns!
If you attend regular sewing classes, a Quilting Guild or charity sewing groups, you will know there’s a lot of stuff to remember to bring with you each time!
So a travel sewing pouch might be just the thing you need to keep your essentials compact and portable.
And there’s a handy little zippered pocket in the back!
So before we get started, here are a few essential points:
Use quarter inch seams throughout
Avoid directional prints for the main/outer fabric (it will be upside down when the flap folds over – ask me how I know!!)
All cutting instructions are shown width x height
Right, let’s go!
For main/outer/flap cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
For front/small pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 10”/25.5cm)
For lining cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
For medium pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 13”/33cm)
For large pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 16”/40.5cm)
For zippered pocket lining cut: 2 x (8”/20cm x 9”/23cm)
From sew-in vilene cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
You will also need:
Elastic hair bobble
Basting Spray (505)
5” plastic zipper
Non-permanent marking pen/tool
1 Spray baste the vilene to the wrong side of the main/outer fabric.
2 Iron all 3 pockets in half widthways, wrong sides together. Top stitch along top/folded edges.
3 Place the small and medium pockets together (aligned at the bottom & side edges). Chalk & sew lines onto the small pocket to create dividers as required. Use a reverse stitch at the top/folded edge. Do not sew a central line through all layers as this will be sewn in the next step.
4 Place the small and medium pockets on top of the large pocket, again aligning bottom and side edges. Mark a line that runs vertically through the middle of the small and medium pockets only. Sew on this line, through all layers, again using a reverse stitch at the top edge.
5 Place the pocket section on top of the lining (right side facing) aligning the bottom and side edges. Machine tack together. Put to one side.
6 Make the back/zippered pocket: Hand or machine stitch the open end of the zipper closed to hold in place.
7 Place one of the zippered pocket linings right sides together with the outer fabric, aligning the bottom and side edges.
Draw a line on the pocket fabric, 2” (5cm) down from the top and 1.5” (4cm) in from each side.
8 Next draw a line ¼” (6mm) above and below the first line. Join up the sides and draw > shapes ¼” (6mm) in from each side.
9 Pin the layers together and sew on the outer lines only through both layers. Do not sew on the centre line.
10 Carefully cut along the centre line and > lines into the corners. You need to cut right into the corners without snipping the stitches. A small pair of embroidery stitches are useful here.
11 Push the pocket fabric through the letterbox opening to the back. Press well so no pocket fabric is seen.
12 Place the zipper into the letterbox opening, so that the ‘teeth’ are showing on the right side. Pin and carefully sew around the opening using 1/8” (3mm) seam allowance.
13 Pin the remaining pocket lining piece right sides together with the first pocket lining piece. Do not pin through to the main/outer fabric.
14 Clip or pin the outer fabric back out of the way before sewing around all sides of the pocket linings.
15 Complete the pouch: Machine or hand tack an elastic hair bobble to the top edge of the outer fabric, centred and with the main loop pointing down.
16 Place the outer piece right sides together with the lining/pockets. Pin and sew around all edges, leaving a 3” (8cm) gap in the top of one of the sides. Carefully snip the corners at an angle to remove the bulk.
17 Turn the pouch right sides out, push the corners well out and press well.
18 Hand stitch the gap closed and sew on a button 2” (5cm) up from the bottom edge and centred.
I spent a lovely afternoon sewing today, with my fellow Bee Blessed buddies. The room was a hive of activity as we kicked off the new year getting more quilts ready to gift to those in need of comfort.
A few months back I made a quilt for Popular Patchwork. They sent me a lovely collection of fabrics called Japanese Garden by Makower.
When I first saw the fabrics I was a little unsure what to do with them. There are many motifs and shapes in the fabrics to draw from, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies.
But I have a bit of a thing about curves (!!) and just had to scratch that itch!
As a patchwork and quilting tutor I often come across a fearful response to the mention of curved piecing!
But the bigger the curves, the easier the piecing!
So if you haven’t tried making a drunkard’s path block before, these large scale ones are a great place to start. I use a ‘no pin’ method, which means you get quickly into a repetitive rhythm piecing the curves.
This quilt is currently in the January issue of Popular Patchwork …..
…. and it is also hanging up in my new classroom.
So my new students had better beware! I’m hatching a plan that involves ‘curves’! After all, real women have curves!
Last day to enter my celebration giveaway. Enter here.
How is your new year going so far?
I’m trying to get back into running (been soaked twice!) and eat healthier (took 4 days to get through a sweet potato & carrot salad…… yawn!).
I’m a little behind in blogging about my January magazine commissions, so I’d better get a shimmy on!
This is ‘Snow Stars’, my quilty ballad to the wintery wonder of snow!
We don’t often get significant snow here, and I have a paradoxical relationship with it when it does show up! The romantic in me loves the peaceful stillness of a virginal snow fall, but the damp practicalities of travelling and trying to do life in it, well it’s ……. trying!
I’ve represented these stark contrasts in Snow Stars by using Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) as the background, allowing the low volume stars to pop out.
The half square triangle technique for making the blocks means you get 2 identical star blocks at a time!
A friend of mine quilted Snow Stars on her frame, using the perfect snowflake pantograph.
Isn’t it perfect! And trusty Ikea ‘Numbers’ on the back completes my ‘Ode to Snow’!
I love new year, even more than Christmas. A fresh start, a clean page, renewed focus and motivation. And of course, a little stretch more light in the day!
I don’t set new year resolutions, but I do choose a word for the year, a kind of theme to keep me on track.
This year my word is RHYTHM.
After a momentous year of change in 2017, it’s time to start a new rhythm, in work, at home, in life. I love the organic nature of this word, and I think that’s how I’ll find my new rhythm, gradually, naturally, organically. I’m so looking forward to settling into all the new things that 2017 brought, like breaking in a fabulous new pair of shoes!
There may be more change, I may trip and wobble a little along the way, but each day that God grants me I will put on my new shoes and stride my best stride. I hope you’ll journey with me through 2018.
As is now tradition in blogland, I’ll leave you with my Year in Quilts and a selection of other projects.
I hope as you look back at all you’ve achieved in 2017, it fills you with hope, inspiration and dreams of even more creative pursuits in 2018!
The 2017 Q4 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs – you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog.Link-up “rules”:
Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter). Feel free to tag your photos #2017FALQ4yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your list.
Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let’s applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishalong.
Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q4 Finishes link will stay open from now thru January 6 at 11 pm EST – link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don’t miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts’ blog.
And don’t forget to start making your 2018 Q1 lists as the Q1 list link opens on January 7, 2018.
More details about next year’s Finish A Long will be announced soon. Hope you will join us.
How did your Christmas go over? Mine was a peaceful and relaxing time spent with family…. the best kind (though eating my body weight in mince pieces and festive fayre is perhaps overdoing it, a tad!).
In all the pre-Christmas madness busyness I past my 7th year blogiversary (20th) and on 10th December I reached 1000 followers on Instagram! Quite the milestone!
Now that is call for celebration! I’m hatching a giveaway plan, so watch this space – details will be coming soon.
But for today I’ll show you 2 more gifts I managed to squeeze in before the big day!
These are Lola pouches, designed by my very talented friend Svetlana.
I had the privilege of testing the Lola Pouch for Svetlana a couple of years ago, when I made the larger size (which I use to store all my EPP papers and templates).
This time, I needed a small zippy pouch to ‘carry’ some little gifts, and I immediately thought of the small Lola pouch.
Because of Svetlana’s brilliantly written pattern, I had these two run up in no time at all (it took longer choosing fabrics!).
I love how Svetlana puts fabrics together. Going for black and white binding may seem like a brave option given the floral Amy Butler fabrics, but I love how Svetlana has used it in the past and I just knew it would work (any excuse to use stripey binding!).
I can think of a million uses for these cute little pouches! And so quick and easy to make too!
If you fancy having a go yourself, you can get both sizes in the one pattern here.
Well with only a few more days to go, I hope you are not too stressed!
I have only one more commission to complete (tomorrow) and then I am officially off work! Yay!
Despite the busyness this week, I did manage to get 2 presents made. One is a secret santa (which has already been gifted) and one is a thank you gift.
It’s always ‘playtime’ for me when it comes to re-purposing my denim hoard stash! But this was my first time trying denim half square triangles.
I kept the half square triangles fairly big (by patchwork standards) and they worked like a dream. The bags are approximately 11.5″ wide by 9″ tall, lots of room for all the accessories us ladies seem to accumulate!
I love the finish of Aurifil 12wt wool thread on denim.
And some tabs saved from a beloved denim shirt add the perfect finishing touches.
And remember, never throw away those broken or unwanted pendants or charms! You never know when they’ll come in handy!
I’m happy to see the actual frost (& snow) on the ground disappear this week! And instead show you my scrappy quilt in icy blues, which is featured in the January issue of Quilt Now.
As you know, I LOVE using scraps. Sticking to a particular colourway while just using scraps is a little more challenging than just using a random selection of colours. Scraptastic challenge accepted!
I started with a spikey block (my trust Sizzix helped me out with the cutting), then dropped the pale aqua and soft blues into it. I only needed to beg a small amount of blue from a willing friend!
You can get a better idea of the block from the cushion above. Katy the editor asked for a cushion of the same block, but in a different colourway. I used Kona solids for the cushion, and went for a more masculine vibe. This is to give the readers an alternative way of seeing the versatility of the block.
My background & binding is Kiss Dot by Michael Miller, and the backing is Vintage Market by Lori Holt.
The weather never matches the quilts when I’m photographing them!
So that’s Frost. I hope you like my scrappy quilt.
I’m in the process of making my very last quilt of 2017. Sadly you won’t get to see it until March ’18.
And with less than one week until the ‘big day’ I hope you are a lot more organised than me!
Today is the day we are privileged to announce the winners for Q3 of the 2017 Finish-Along.
If you are low on inspiration or maybe your sewing mojo has been missing lately, we highly recommend you visit some of the finishes from the third quarter of the year. There are a lot of beauties linked up and ready to inspire you!
Thank you again to our generous sponsors. Without further ado, the winners – each picked by the random number generator – of the Q3 FAL prizes are:
I’m so looking forward to getting started with my new classes in January. There aren’t many places left, so if you would like to join us for some creative craic, then please drop me an email to email@example.com.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the wonderful response to my new venture! It’s been so lovely to be ‘cheered on’ from all my friends here, on FB and Instagram. Thank you, it means a lot!
I’ve barely had time to think about other projects lately, but I can show you a Christmas quilt I made back in the summer!
This is called ‘Starry Christmas Night’ using the evocative ‘Countryside Christmas’ collection from Lewis & Irene.
When Popular Patchwork sent me the fabrics, I immediately thought of cosy winter evenings snuggled up by the fire!
The night before Christmas in the Hollies Household involves a carol service at my church, followed by a Baileys on ice, warm mince pies and wrapping presents!
I don’t have an open fire yet in my new house (I’m saving up for a rustic cast iron stove!) but I can just visualise me one Christmas eve sitting next to the stove, drinking my Baileys and snuggling under this lap quilt watching a cheesy Christmas movie!
The Countryside Christmas fabrics have beautiful motifs of cute robins, night owls, foxes, deer and winter scenes.
And of course, when there’s a stripe, there will be stripey binding!
The astute among you will notice an imposter in this quilt! I didn’t quite have enough of Countryside Christmas for the design I was after, so I added some Tilda Candy Bloom (skinny border and backing). It goes quite well with Lewis and Irene, don’t you think!
This quilt came together really quickly. So if you like a little bit of piecing, and a little bit of applique, then why not pick up the November issue of Popular Patchwork.
Hi there! I’m Karen and blog at CapitolaQuilter . I’ve been participating since the beginning of Finish-A-Long and am honored to have joined in as one of the International Hosts this year. It’s hard to believe we are already wrapping up 2017.
Pre-QCon Selfie 2017
Have you enjoyed reading the FAL Meet the Host monthly guest blogger posts? Well, now it’s my turn to to be featured in the series! Here goes a picture filled post starting with most importantly, my beautiful family.
I am married to a wonderful guy and we have two grown boys. We are incredibly proud of the men they have become and adore the women they have chosen to spend their lives with. Enjoying time with our granddaughter and watching her reach milestones that we remember when our kids were young like it was yesterday and yet a lifetime ago is quite the mind game.
Look how cute and little they were!!! My oversized glasses and shoulder pads date our family portrait and the “Big Hair-Skinny Tie” picture was the perfect share for my first ever swap called I heart the 80’s a Flickr group. I wish I still had that hand-dyed silk dress although in reality, we prefer jeans and a t-shirt. This summer marks our 35th anniversary.
Flashback Family Photos
In 2002 we adopted two German Shorthair pointers. Always underfoot, Dottie’s trick was to step on my foot pedal (until I upgraded my sewing machine with a start/stop button) and innocently walk in the way of photos. Chase perfected the skill of lying on a quilt if I glanced away – for a minute – while basting.
Sadly, we recently lost them both to sudden illness after long full lives and have no animals at the moment. Pets are considered family members to us and Hubby wants a puppy but I am not ready.
Frequently mistaken for “Capitol, a Quilter” or “capital A quilter” , my blog name is easily misunderstood if you don’t happen to be familiar with the small town on the coast of California USA where I live, Capitola. Spanning less than 2 square mile with a population of about 10K, it isn’t a big city but is rich in history and a constant source of inspiration.
BeeSewcial “Reflections” Capitola Photoshoot
Although our house is not one of the big beautiful oceanfront ones you see in the picturesque backdrops when I take my quilts on a photoshoot, we’re still pretty lucky to be able to walk to the beach and enjoy mild weather.
Santa Cruz quilt photoshoot by Anne Sullivan
Thanks for indulging me – now on to the QUILTS!
The Early Years – Quilts from Patterns
Among the first quilts I made was a gift for my mother-in-law that included a picture of her seven grandkids. It is sweet with coordinating prints, fussy cornerstones, sashing and a border. Image transfer was high-tech at the time but peeling their faces off to iron down was totally creepy. Thank goodness Spoonflower came along!
1998-1999 one of my first quilts
My Scrappy Maximalist style had a kickstart when my friends brought fabric to a surprise Quilt-themed birthday party in my honor. The assortment received did NOT go together so I used black and white with uniform shapes to bring order and incorporated quote blocks. It is one of my most sentimental quilts and the beginning of my desire to create original works.
My Birthday Quilt-themed party Quilt
Following patterns from books, I made these wedding quilts out of batiks, traditional and modern stash. I had the chance to meet Anita Grossman Solomon at Quilt Festival Houston 2014 and see her Old Italian Block quilt in the exhibit. I subtitled my blog SecondHandScraps because I eagerly accept leftovers from friends who know my reputation for scrappiness.
Old Italian Block 2012 and Split Nine-Patch 2011
In 2013 local quilt store SueDee’s featured my quilts on display in a solo show. Using the MoStash and Friends+Fabric =AMSB bee blocks that I received and adding my own enlarged blocks, the Giant xPlus was a hit and is what I keep on our bed.
It didn’t seem like an ambitious task when I set out to make each of my nieces, nephews and my own kids a 21st Birthday quilt. I stayed on track until the final three and thankfully all twelve are finally delivered. Among the tardy is this Full size quilt that rolled over from quarter to quarter on my FAL list frequently. I included a jumbo delectable mountain for the backing and two matching shams.
a rare “Guy” quilt
Early on I only sewed for gifts and charity giving away all of my quilts. I didn’t have a single one in my house! Since then I’ve kept a few – as evident by this adorable photo:
More than Quilts
Quilting came into my life as an adult but I grew up wearing handmade and learned to sew clothes in 4-H as a kid excelling in HomeEc in Jr. High and High School. Somewhere along the way I misplaced the confidence and skills and have had little success making myself garments. I’ve dabbled with clothes for my granddaughter since she’s much easier to please and fit than I am.
Hart’s Fabric, a family owned independent brick and mortar fabric store since 1969 (a rarity these days) is still the same place I go to shop. My improv seagull, poppy field and mountains design was chosen for their 2016 Row by Row Experience pattern.
Bags are quick and rewarding makes. I enjoy browsing thrift stores for handwork and feel compelled to rescue the abandoned treasures like the patchwork cat needlework used in The Wasted Swap tote (lower right).
Original Designs and Influences
Most of what I make now are original or modified designs rather than from patterns. Perspective was designed using Play Crafts tool Equal, made in a whirlwind 10 days and displayed at Hart’s to show off the Loominous fabric line. An edgy improv butterfly seemed fitting use of the Sweet Rebellion fabric line for Ink & Arrow’s blog hop.Goats Askew pushed a lot of technical boundaries. I loved being one of the Score for Bias Strip Petals testers and part of Sherri Lynn Wood’s gallery here even though it was not published in her book. I’ve taken two workshops with her and got to show and tell in person at the last one.
I didn’t make an All-Solids quilt until 2014 which seems crazy since that is the majority of what I work in now. Capitola Crossing was directly inspired by an antique quilt, details blogged here. It was displayed at Amish: the Modern Muse, a juried exhibit representing three Modern Guilds in the FiberSpace section of the San Jose Museum of Quilt and Textiles.
Perspective, Dare to Fly, Goats Askew and Capitola Crossing
My style has expanded to include Improvisation with Meaning in the Make since joining BeeSewcial. The Graphic and Minimalistic focus also comes from Quilt Design A Day, QDAD a Facebook group that I am admin for. Both encourage exploration and push me beyond boundaries more than I’d ever imagined.
The transformation of a design mock up to a finished quilt is a process I highly recommend trying. Here are four samples: Two challenges for our local show, “Resonate” for the AGF Heartland Tour Blog Hop, and Castle in The Sand a collaborative quilt with valued mentor Pam Rocco. As you can see I’ve deviated from he original design but have captured the essence which is more my goal.
Examples of #QDAD2Reality
Contributing blocks for QuiltCon First Place group bee winners: 2016 Debbie Jeske’s Mod Mood and 2017 Stephanie Ruyle’s Direction Optional was such an honor. Fortunately I had the opportunity to be there to see the quilts up close in person and help celebrate. Thanks to the QDAD Showcase and Quilt of the Month Special Exhibit, my own quilts hung in Savannah at QuiltCon East.
Left: Me & my Quilts, Right: BeeSewcial at QuiltCon
QDADers being silly
This year I’m going to enter my absoulutely stunning Reflections BeeSewcial quilt and hope, hope, hope it is accepted. Now that I’ve puzzled this one together I should have no trouble with the next two, right?
Reflections BeeSewcial Quilt
Here are just a few of my favorite BeeSewcial blocks that I’ve made and a mosaic from 2015:
I was diligent about documenting blocks back in the Flickr days and am sentimentally fond of them despite how different in style they are.
2012 Flickr Group Bee Blocks
Quilting with friends is really special to me. Fortunately this happens on a regular basis with a small local group and annually with our guild. I’ve also managed to crash a couple of sister guild retreats too! My wish is to have a larger Multi-Chapter or Regional sewing meet up, a casual no frills opportunity to hang out with nearby peeps that I “know” from social media someday.
Local Friends, Sew and Stroll
SBAMQG Annual Fall Retreat 2012-2017
I’m also lucky to meet up with my sis who lives far away at quilty events like QuiltCon, Quilt Festival and Empty Spools. For the 90’s themed party at Glamp Stitchalot we had fun dressing up and although my closet may still have authentic garments from the era, I repurposed a plaid blazer into a skirt.
We’ll be together at another QuiltCon in February – say “hi” if you see us. She’ll be the one perfecting her skills in back to back workshops and I’ll be the one striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger, embarrassing myself with fangirl selfies and sporting a blue volunteer t-shirt.
Looking Back and Moving Forward
Being part of our MQG guild chapter South Bay Area MQG from the beginning, serving as VP and chairing committees has made a huge impact. Learning from one another and being part of something bigger holds a special place in my heart.
QuiltCon Charity blocks 2013
I never would have guessed the first tutorial as a brand new blogger, Polaroids Chain Pieced would generate the highest traffic to date and show up on tons of Pinterest boards. A special shout out to my blog followers!
This summer I had the pleasure of teaching my first workshop, a technique and design rather than project based class. Students did great playing with parts and possibilities and their enthusiasm made for a fun time. I hope to have more opportunities in the future and am developing a spin off class that I’m excited about.
Last but not least, My Workspace
Once upon a time, I had an organized sewing space in a small L-shaped room of our house as a legit place to create. Yardage stored on comic boards in bookshelves and FQ-ish bundles kept in an antique cabinet with scrap tubs lining the perimeter of the ceiling on a shelf. Some weekends I would rarely step away and loose all track of time. It was all inclusive but a little lonely and cramped.
To be more centrally located I temporarily put up a portable design wall, sewing and cutting table in the living room only I have never moved back. My old room is now a glorified closet, piled high with projects in buckets and bags waiting to be put back where they belong – or better yet, finished.
Sewing in the Living Room
When I get in the productive zone, I just push aside what’s in my way or brush it to the floor and keep going. I may be sewing fewer scrappy quilts these days but I am certainly not making less scraps!
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about me and the creative frenzy that has been my journey so far. I wish you all the best of luck with your FAL goals and hope you continue to carve out a quilty path that brings you joy.
Thank you for your patience in waiting until today for my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
Well I can finally reveal that I will be starting up again my own programme of patchwork and quilting classes! Woohoo!
For the past 3 years I have been teaching in Quilter’s Quest, Belfast. But their announcement at the end of October to close gave me the push opportunity I needed to look elsewhere for premises.
Before I joined Quilter’s Quest, I had taught my own programme of classes for 5 years. A sudden change in personal circumstances meant I had to stop, but it was always my dream to one day return to inspiring and motivating others into Quilting through my own programme.
And now that dream is coming true!
Conway Mill is a beautifully converted Linen and Flax Mill (you can read more about their history and ethos here). It is jammed packed with lots of other creative enterprises, from artists, to architects, hairdressers, dressmakers, media tech, charities and much more! It also has the most gorgeous coffee shop & bistro too (that’s lunchtimes sorted then!). I’m on the 2nd floor, but don’t worry there are lifts and lots of convenient parking.
I acquired the last available unit, all 525 square feet of it! No pictures just yet as it needs painted and fitted out. But don’t worry, I’ll give you the obligatory before and after shots!
I will finish out the current term at Quilter’s Quest in December, and start my new programme w/c 8th January (get more details here).
But before that, I will be having an open day on Saturday 9th December, 10am -4pm. This is your opportunity to come and see the newly fitted out premises, get more info on the classes, have a cuppa, chat and a traybake (or two!) and smooch around the room and the Mill.
I hope you can come and share this exciting new adventure with me!
Didn’t that week go quickly? My feet have hardly touched the ground it’s been so busy here! I’m getting ready to make an important announcement next Tuesday, so it’s full steam ahead here.
In the meantime I can show you a quilt I made for British Patchwork & Quilting, using Tilda’s beautiful Cabbage Rose collection:
The Tilda Cabbage Rose collection is one of my favourites so far. In fact, I’ve thrown in a couple of greens from their Memory Lane collection too!
I’ve called this quilt ‘Garden Steps’, because of the combination of pretty floral prints and the Courthouse Steps quilt block.
The Courthouse Steps block works a little like a Log Cabin block. Cleverly, it’s the main block design which becomes the secondary pattern here.
Can you spot the blocks?
The backing and binding are more Tilda prints from other collections.
This was the first quilt I made in my new Sewing Room. It’s been an interesting journey re-orientating myself to a much smaller space. For example, learning the best way to photograph items and discovering where the light is best.
It was lovely working with pretty, colourful fabrics on a dull day!
Happy November to you all! Aren’t the weeks just flying in!
There have been a few exciting developments in the Hollies Household, which I will be able to tell you all about in 2 weeks time (can’t wait!!).
In the meantime, I can tell you about a quilt I made earlier in the year, which was featured in the September issue of Quilt Now (apologies for the late posting).
This is another scrap-busting project, using medium to low volume prints which have a ‘vintagey’ vibe (‘volume’ refers to the ‘loudness’ or brightness of the fabric).
I had a ball dipping in and out of my scraps drawers, using wee pieces, leftover jelly roll strips and scraps of vintage sheets.
And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!
This improvisational style of piecing is quite addictive! You just start with a few small pieces, keep adding and trimming as you go, and before you know it, your scraps have grown into a sizeable panel.
I got so carried away that I made too many sections! Not wanting to waste them, I sewed them altogether and used them as a central panel in the back, pieced between 2 vintage sheets!
Even the binding is another vintage sheet!
I appreciate that maintaining a healthy ‘scrap stash’ takes organisation and space, but here are a few advantages you get from it:
You can make an entire quilt using just scraps!
Make your scraps go further using yardage for the background.
Enjoy the satisfaction & frugality of turning leftovers into many wonderful and new projects.
Put them to good use in charity bee blocks, like Bee Blessed.
Use scraps to ‘test’ blocks or measurements when resizing a block
I’m sure you can think of lots more advantages to keeping your fabric leftovers. And you can be even more creative thinking up genius ways to store them!
Despite this being a sizeable quilt (72″ x 82.5″) I wish I could tell you I made a significant dent in my scraps stash making it!!
But that just means I have lots of lovely gems waiting for another chance to be transformed!