Starry Christmas Night Quilt


By Judith on November 16, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

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!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
50″ x 60″

 

This is called ‘Starry Christmas Night’ using the evocative ‘Countryside Christmas’ collection from Lewis & Irene.

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Perfect ‘fussy cut’ fabrics!

 

When Popular Patchwork sent me the fabrics, I immediately thought of cosy winter evenings snuggled up by the fire!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Applique Stars

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 Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Background: Kona Shadow

The Countryside Christmas fabrics have beautiful motifs of cute robins, night owls, foxes, deer and winter scenes.

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)

 

And of course, when there’s a stripe, there will be stripey binding!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)

 

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!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Ah, the blue skies of summer!

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.

 

It’s really easy to spot because I’m cover girl!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)

 

Happy sewing!

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Capitola Quilter


By Judith on November 15, 2017
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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.

Family

Summer 2016

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.

Capitola Quilter

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.

Opening Reception
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.

Sewing Sisters

 

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.
Happy Stitching, Karen aka CapitolaQuilter

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New Quilting Classes!


By Judith on November 14, 2017
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Hello everyone!

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!

 

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Tilda Garden Steps Quilt


By Judith on November 10, 2017
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Well hello there!

 

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:

 

Garden Steps Quilt (British P&Q magazine Nov17)

 

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!

 

Cabbage Rose (photo courtesy of Tilda Fabrics)

I’ve called this quilt ‘Garden Steps’, because of the combination of pretty floral prints and the Courthouse Steps quilt block.

 

Garden Steps Quilt (British P&Q magazine Nov17)

 

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?

 

Garden Steps Quilt (British P&Q magazine Nov17)

 

The backing and binding are more Tilda prints from other collections.

 

Garden Steps Quilt (British P&Q magazine Nov17)

 

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.

 

Garden Steps Quilt (British P&Q magazine Nov17)

 

It was lovely working with pretty, colourful fabrics on a dull day!

 

Garden Steps Quilt (British P&Q magazine Nov17)

 

I hope this has brightened up your day!

 

Happy sewing!

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Apples!


By Judith on November 5, 2017
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Happy Sunday to you all!

 

I had a lovely, relaxing day today. And that included some fun sewing time!

 

Apples

 

These cute little apples are from the genius creativity of Kim Kruzich aka Retro Mama.

She designs the cutest patterns, and her book is called ‘Scrap Happy Sewing’ – ahhhh, a girl after my own heart!

 

Apples

 

I’d seen these adorable apples (& pears) on Instagram, and found the pattern in Retro Mama’s Etsy shop.

 

Apples

 

There are 2 sizes included in the pattern.  I’ve made the ‘ornament’ size, finishing at only 3.75″ tall (including stem). The larger ‘pincushion’ apple finishes at 4.5″ tall (including stem).

 

Apples

 

I made these all from small scraps, and the smallest pieces of felt. It took longer to blanket stitch the stem and leaves than it did to sew up the apples!

 

Apples

 

It’s a really clever pattern – just look at those dimply bottoms!

As a pattern writer, I appreciate and enjoy using a well written pattern, especially when it produces the same results as the picture (wish I could say the same for my baking!!).

 

Apples

 

 

So if you need a new pincushion, teacher’s gift, or an adorable apple ornament, then this is the pattern for you!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Vintage Improv Quilt


By Judith on November 3, 2017
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Hello my friends!

 

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).

 

Vintage Improv Quilt (Quilt Now September17)

 

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.

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

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!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

Even the binding is another vintage sheet!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

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!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

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!

 

I wonder what my next scrappy project will be?

 

Happy scrapping!

 

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Applique Robin Cushion Pattern


By Judith on October 19, 2017
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Hi there!  How’s your week going so far?

 

I hope you are managing to fit in some sewing time.

 

This week has had a few twists and turns for me.  The Quilting shop where I teach announced they are closing down.  Sad news for staff and customers alike.

 

In better news, I launched my Applique Robin Cushion pattern this week!

 

 

A few weekends a go I taught my first ‘Rockin’ Robin’ workshop at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild.

 

 

The ladies were a joy to teach and totally embraced the ‘mixed textiles’ vibe.  12 cute Robins adorned the table at the end of the workshop!

 

I’ll also be teaching this project in my weekly classes, in the run up to Christmas.

 

 

I can’t wait to see many more versions of my Robin cushion appearing here, there and everywhere!

 

I’ve put together some Robin Cushion kits, using my wonderful collection of tweeds, flannel, linen and vintage cotton. The kits include everything you need to make the cushion front, including the pompom berries, pattern and already enlarged template.

 

 

Stuck for a gift idea or fancy having a go yourself? You can get your hands on one of my Robin kits here, but be quick – they are flying out the door fast!

Happy sewing!

 

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Mats!


By Judith on October 16, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

I hope you are all safe after storm Ophelia made her presence known here today!  Perhaps you got to stay inside and sew!

 

Yesterday I had a little free time and got to play with some scraps.

 

Scrappy Tilda Mat

 

I define scraps as leftovers from another project.  These Tilda strips were the leftover cuts from a quilt I made recently.  Waaaaay to pretty to chuck!

 

I had no real plan, other than my need for a couple of mats for my new kitchen.

 

Scrappy Tilda Mat

 

There’s something so satisfying about sewing strips together and just seeing where they take you.

 

Scrappy Tilda Mat

 

A little addition of Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) and ‘Oven Glove’ wadding turned this mat into a trivet style hot pad.  I love the texture the extra thick wadding gives when quilted!

 

Scrappy Tilda Mat

 

With the leftover strips I had pieced, I just quilted them in the same way with standard wadding and voila!  I now have a handy mat for my Tea, Coffee and Sugar canisters to sit on.

 

Scrappy Tilda Mat

Scrappy Tilda Mat

 

Oh and there’s one more to show you!

 

EPP Mat

 

I turned a little EPP (English Paper Piecing) class sample into another hot mat (there’s oven glove wadding inside this one too!).

 

EPP Mat

 

A mixture of Tilda and non-Tilda scraps in this one, on a background of more Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).

 

So now I have a choice of pretty mats to choose from!

 

No better way to spend a relaxing few hours!

 

Happy quilting!

 

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FAL 2017 Meet the Host – Felicity Quilts


By Judith on October 15, 2017
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Helloooo!

I’m Felicity

and this is my family – Husband of 17 years K and our nearly-10-year-old daughter G:

being silly, something we do very well

I am lucky enough to live in Naramata, British Columbia. It’s a village of fewer than 2,000 people nestled on the Naramata Bench in one of Canada’s fruit- and wine-producing regions, the Okanagan Valley.

As you can see, we’re on the side of a lake, and it’s a big tourist destination because our summer weather is hot and dry.

We moved to Naramata from Vancouver just over a year ago. After living for nearly 25 years in Vancouver, we grew tired of the traffic and the astronomical cost of living and decided to take a different approach to life. We couldn’t be happier.

I quit my job in the financial services industry and now I work part time in a local quilt shop as a designer, teacher and retail associate. I also work from home as a training and development consultant. My husband was a stay at home dad in Vancouver and he also works part time here in the area.

I began quilting in 2000, shortly after I got married. My husband is the one who encouraged me to look for a beginner’s class because I spent a lot of time looking at and admiring quilts in museums and at shows but I was too intimidated to try it myself. But boy am I glad I did. I knew from the first minute of that first class that this was going to be my thing.

This is my first quilt – the classic beginner’s sampler with one large scale fabric plus some blenders.

I even free motion quilted it all by myself on my tiny Bernina 145.

 

Yikes, amirite? But you know what? That was the start of something, and you gotta start somewhere.

Baby quilts for nieces and nephews happened in due course, as did a quilt for my husband’s 40th birthday (2 years late).

I subscribed to quilting magazines, I read books about quilting, I could spend a whole weekend at a quilt retreat and come home and sew some more. It consumed all of my free time! Eventually, though, I got to the point where I was reading about quilting but becoming overwhelmed by all the projects I wanted to do so I didn’t start anything.

Thankfully, I was able to give myself a good talking to, and came to my senses. Every quilt is just a whole bunch of seams that are sewn one at a time, right? Well, I said to myself, just commit to 20 minutes a day of sewing something. Anything. But sew. Eventually you’ll get something done.

One of my first modern quilts

I was right! I did get lots done, aided as well by the explosion of the online world of modern quilting. I found Flickr and the myriad active quilt groups it hosted (RIP, old Flickr). I also found quilt blogs and started my own as a way to keep myself accountable by journalling my progress.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that blogging and sharing online changed my life! I found Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild online and attended the first meeting in mid-2010. I met dear friends in person and via blogging (and blogging friends became in-person friends too). I participated in Flickr quilt swaps, virtual bees and met many of my online friends at the inaugural QuiltCon in Austin.

 

 

These two quilts won honourable mention at QuiltCon 2013.

Though  I don’t do many swaps anymore and online bees have fallen a little out of fashion, I still belong to a virtual quilt bee with 9 other incredible quilters, called Bee Sewcial. We work in solids only and we piece improvisationally based on that month’s prompt and colour story.

Winter is my first quilt finished with Bee Sewcial blocks. The prompt was “abstract minimalist winter landscapes in shades of grey.” Did my bee mates deliver or what? I love this quilt, and I will be submitting it to QuiltCon 2018 show.

Winter, a Bee Sewcial Collaboration

I like to have lots of projects on the go, in varying degrees of complexity because I never know what I want to work on at any given time.

Here’s a sampling of some of my favourite quilts from over the years:

 
In a (Solid) Pickle, 2011 (swap quilt)

Burst of Colour, 2013

 

Helen Keller Wisdom, 2011


Selfie, 2015


Naramata Summer, 2014 (made after a visit and before we knew we’d be moving here!)


Modern Stripes, 2016 (accepted to QuiltCon 2017)

I’m extremely fortunate to be able to have a completely separate studio to work in – we finished the 450 square foot space over our detached 2-car garage just for my quilting. (Truth be told that space was what sold us on this house. Good thing we like the rest of it!)

 
Before

 

After

I love participating in the Finish A Long, and I’m so happy to be a host as well. We motivate each other to get our beautiful projects finished so we can move along to the next thing that makes us happy, yes? Yes.

Thanks for visiting with me!

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‘Thank You’ from Macmillan Cancer Support


By Judith on October 3, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

Happy October to you all!  The beauty of Autumn has arrived here in N.Ireland.  Aren’t the leaves just gorgeous this time of year!

 

 

Many of you have been beavering away making Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Support.

 

 

I want to say a huge thank you for your contributions so far!  More are needed on an ongoing basis, so if you get a spare 5 minutes to rustle up another one, we’d much appreciate it (you can get the tutorial here).

 

And here’s a thank you from the staff at Macmillan (modelling some of your bags!):

 

 

“Hi Judith, just to say a big thank you for the syringe driver bags we’re getting at the Macmillan unit. This is a few of the staff modelling them!!! They’re amazing! The workmanship is incredible! You have some very talented connections! Please pass on our thanks… so nice to offer something cheery and have a bit of choice when you have an attachment to carry around that you’re not that excited about!! BIG THANK YOU!!!! X”

 

What a great way to make a small difference in someone’s life.

 

Happy sewing!

 

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FAL 2107: Q4 Proposed Finishes Linky Open!


By Judith on October 1, 2017
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It’s time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q4 of the FAL. We are hoping that the FAL community will be finishing a lot of projects as we move into the last quarter of the year.
The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland

For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors.

There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish.

The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q4 of the FAL – you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):


It’s time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects – pulled fabric with a pattern is considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the “finish” is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ4yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly – especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q4 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog – and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

 

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others – visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too.

When creating your list there is one thing to remember….No deductions for not completing something so ….. Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!
Well Now….. Get those lists together and get linked up. 

The Q4 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, October 7, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs. 


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Sunburst Diamonds Quilt


By Judith on September 29, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

How has your week been?

 

I’ve had a great week, especially as my builder finished all his amazing work in my house on Monday.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting out treasured trinkets, favourite cushions, putting up pictures, and finally making this new space feel more like home.

 

It seems like an age since I made my first magazine commission in this house, back in July!

 

Sunburst Diamonds Quilt (Pretty Patches Sept17)

 

The lovely Editor of Pretty Patches magazine sent me some Alison Glass Sun Print fabrics (you can see the full collection here).

 

What a wonderful explosion of colour! I kept the design simple with half square triangle diamonds in the wonderful rainbow rounds of the prints.

 

Sadly I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the quilt on completion (due to the building site that surrounded me!) but I promise I will when it is returned to me.

 

In the meantime, I will leave you with the wonderful pictures in Pretty Patches magazine.

 

Sunburst Diamonds Quilt (Pretty Patches Sept17)

 

Happy quilting!

 

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FAL 2017: Q3 Proposed Finishes Linkup is Open!


By Judith on September 24, 2017
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It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the third quarter of the 2017 FAL and it’s time to link up your Q3 finishes!


The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:

  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland
  • Sandra – Sew of Course – Ireland (also Social Media Director)

 

Before you link up, let’s give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:

 




For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule of fantastic tutorials, so you can visit them all:

The 2017 Q3 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 and tag your photos #2017FALQ3yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
 
  • 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 Q3 Finishes link will stay open from now thru September 30 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 Q4 lists as the Q4 list link opens on October 1.


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Wonky Log Cabin Quilt


By Judith on September 20, 2017
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I’ve been hearing the christmas ‘C’ word a lot round here lately!

 

It seems the madness of the ‘silly season’ starts earlier and earlier (or am I just getting older and more ‘Scrooge-like’?).

 

Anyway, when it comes to quilting magazines there’s no such thing as too early for Christmas!

 

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt (Quilt Now October17)

 

This is my Wonky Log Cabin Christmas quilt in the October issue of Quilt Now magazine.

 

 

These wonky blocks are so much fun to make.  There’s really no accurate measuring, just improv slicing and dicing!  So liberating!

 

Sometimes inspiration for quilt design comes quick and easy, and sometimes it’s more like the slow, patient percolation of a good coffee!

 

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt (Quilt Now Magazine Sept17)

 

Initially I had pulled some Kona greens and scrappy greens, a little sprinkle of Kona Pomegranate (an all time favourite) and a sharp black and white stripe to contrast.

 

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt (Quilt Now Magazine Sept17)

 

I liked where this was going, but still nothing came to mind.  A few days later, I grabbed some low volume prints and soft Kona greys and I had the balance I needed.

 

Log cabin blocks are some of my favourites, so I started to play and thought I’d push the boundaries a little.  I usually reserve my supply of black and white stripe for binding quilts. This time I let the black and white stripe take more of a starring role, connecting the blocks in each quadrant.

 

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt (Quilt Now Magazine Sept17)

 

I had so much fun playing, I just kept going, and that’s how this quilt came to be! A very organic design process this time!

 

I have the best job!

 

Happy quilting!

 

 

 

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FAL 2017: Q1 and Q2 Winners!


By Judith on September 19, 2017
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Today is the day we are privileged to announce the winners for Q1 and Q2 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 first half 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 Q1 and Q2 FAL prizes are:

The Q1 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Just Jude Designs goes to Laura who blogs at Scraps of Life for finishing this beautiful quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Just Jude Designs goes to Vicki who blogs at Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting and made this lovely quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop goes to Kirsten who blogs at Gemini Stitches who made this lovely dress:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop goes to Julie (@julieschloemer) who made this cheery quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Charm About You goes to Shady on instagram (@shadylynnb) who made this pretty quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Charm About You goes to Karen who blogs at Weekend Textiles who made this gorgeous quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop goes to Mandy on instagram (@burbankquilts) for finishing this lovely quilt:


The Q2 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop goes to Pippa (@pippaspatch) who made this fantastic Amethyst project bag:


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The Q1 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Elven Garden Quilts goes to Sue who blogs at Sue W Sews for knitting this cute doll:

The Q2 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Elven Garden Quilts goes to Anita who blogs at Quilts in a Not-Shell and she made this lovely quilt runner:

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The Q1 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Tartankiwi goes to Aimee on instagram (@aimeeturd) for this fun quilt: 




The Q2 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Tartankiwi goes to Karin (@kpud) who made this adorable quilt (don’t you just love the little car on the bottom left!):

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The Q1 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Blossom Heart Quilts goes to Pamela on instagram (@pamelajoyce84) for making this wonderful wallet:

The Q2 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Blossom Heart Quilts goes to Heather who blogs at Quilting and Beyond and made this great baby quilt:

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The Q1 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Mad About Patchwork goes to Jennie at Jennie’s Threads for finishing this special quilt: 





The Q2 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Mad About Patchwork goes to Amy who blogs at Swimming in a Sea of Estrogen and she made this super cute knit shirt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from During Quiet Time goes to Said with Love for finishing this beauty: 

 

The Q2 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from During Quiet Time goes to Kirsten who blogs at Gemini Stitches and made this pretty crochet shawl:

 

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The Q1 Winner of your choice of 3 individual patterns from Happy Quilting goes to Diane who blogs at Random Thoughts,… do or di for finishing this faux cactus:

 

The Q2 Winner of your choice of 3 individual patterns from Happy Quilting goes to Katy (@pudgypenguincrafts) who made this fantastic sewing date traveler bag:

 

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The Q1 Winner of 2 PDF patterns from Cooking Up Quilts goes to Audrey who blogs at Hot Pink Quilts for making this stunning pillow:

 

The Q2 Winner of 2 PDF patterns from Cooking Up Quilts goes to Laura (@drlbennett) who made this cute quilt and has an even cuter helper:

 

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The Q1 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Sew Sweetness goes to Ann who blogs at Brown Paws Quilting for finishing this bright quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Sew Sweetness goes to Pondering It All who made this pretty quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Knotted Thread goes to Heather who blogs at Quilting and Beyond for finishing this fun present for her nephew:

 

The Q2 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Knotted Thread goes to Kristin who blogs at Gumdrops and she made this super sweet triangle baby quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the Camp Bag Pattern Pack from The Littlest Thistle goes to Magdalena, on instagram (@magdalenadetz) for finishing this beauty:

The Q2 Winner of the Camp Bag Pattern Pack from The Littlest Thistle goes to Jennifer (@crimsonconfection) who made this adorable dress for her Niece:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $15 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Judy who blogs at Sew Some Sunshine for making this bold quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $15 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Katie Mae Quilts who made this lovely log cabin quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Quilting Jet Girl goes to Helen, (@archiewonderdog) on Instagram for making this beautiful cushion:

 

The Q2 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Quilting Jet Girl goes to Linda who blogs at The Pieceful Kingdom and she made this lovely winter themed quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $30 gift certificate from Sunny Day Supply goes to Swooze who blogs at Swooze’s Quilts and Tall Tales for making this lovely charity quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $30 gift certificate from Sunny Day Supply goes to Jenna who blogs at The Thorned Rose Sews and she made this holiday Marcelle Medallion pillow cover:

 

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The Q1 Winners (3) of a six month subscription each to Make Modern Magazine goes to

1. Veronica, (@vdizzledazzle) on Instagram, for finishing this lovely mini quilt:

 

2. Teresa who blogs at Aurea’s Kitchen for finishing this adorable mini quilt:

 

3. Saskia, on Instagram (@saskia253) for this finishing this amazing blanket:

The Q2 Winners (3) of a six month subscription each to Make Modern Magazine goes to:

1.   Teresa who blogs at Aurea’s Kitchen and she made this lovely (with cute details) pouch:

 

2.  Christina who blogs at Christina’s Handicrafts and she made this great table runner:

 

3.  Audrey who blogs at Hot Pink Quilts and she made this precious knit Geranium dress:

 

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The Q1 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Clover & Violet goes to Ellyn who blogs at Ellyn’s Place for making this lovely shirt:

 

The Q2 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Clover & Violet goes to Beth who blogs at The Anonymous Blueberry Muffin Thief Sews and she knitted this amazing shawl:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $20 gift certificate from Sew Me A Song goes to The Running Hare for finishing this beautiful quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $20 gift certificate from Sew Me A Song goes to Beth (@blue_dragonfly5) and she finished this lovely seat cushion:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $40 gift certificate from Imagine Gnats goes to  Melinda, on Instagram (@mamasan_gerber) for finishing this stunning quilt:

The Q2 Winner of the $40 gift certificate from Imagine Gnats goes to Rachel (@intelligenceatplay) and she made this unique baby quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of a $25 gift certificate from Studio 39 Fabrics goes to Staci who blogs at The Confused Quilter for finishing this amazing quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of a $25 gift certificate from Studio 39 Fabrics goes to Brown Paws Quilting who made this great quilt and honestly you should look it up because the back is just as fantastic as the front:

 

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The Q1 Winner of two pin bowls from Laurel Bee Designs goes to Cathy who blogs at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting for finishing this beauty:

 

The Q2 Winner of two pin bowls from Laurel Bee Designs goes to Terry who blogs at On Going Projects and she made all of these fabric stars for her retreat mates (how nice):

 

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The Q1 Winner of $25 gift card from Frangipani Fabrics goes to Crystal who blogs at Crystal’s Creations for making this cute baby quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of $25 gift card from Frangipani Fabrics goes to Dianne (@quiltova) who made this beautiful quilt:

 

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Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the sponsors!!  I hope you are having a successful Q3. Be prepared to start linking up those finishes starting September 24, 2017.

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Selvedge Bookmark Tutorial


By Judith on September 17, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

How are you doing?

 

I haven’t done a tutorial here in a long while, so I thought it was time to rectify that.

 

 

You know how I’m always saving fabric scraps? Well I even keep the part of the fabric most people chuck away!

 

If like me you love to read, or know an avid reader, how about a selvedge bookmark? The perfect fabric/book loving combo!!

 

The key to keeping usable selvedges is to allow at least a quarter of an inch of fabric above the text (the edge below the text is a sealed edge, not a raw edge).

 

 

Here’s the tutorial:

 

Materials:

 

A selection of selvedges (with at least 6mm/0.25” above the text)

4” x 10” piece of heavy sew-in vilene (or wadding)

4” x 10” piece of cotton fabric (back)

1 x 10mm eyelet

12” length of narrow ribbon

 

Method:

Assume ¼” seam allowance unless advised otherwise

 

  1. Angle the top corners of the vilene/wadding by measuring 1” from each corner along the top edge and 2” down from each corner along the sides

 

 

2. Place your first selvedge level with the bottom edge of the vilene/wadding (remember ¼” will be absorbed by the seam allowance).

 

 

3. Place the next selvedge on top, with the sealed edge covering the raw edge of the first selvedge. Stitch close to the sealed edge.

 

 

4. Continue adding selvedges in this way until all of the vilene/wadding is covered.

 

 

5. Flip the bookmark over to reveal the original shape of the vilene/wadding. Trim away the excess selvedges.

 

 

6. Place the backing fabric right sides together with the bookmark and sew around all sides, leaving a 2” gap in the middle of the bottom edge. Trim away the corners.

 

 

7.  Turn the bookmark right sides out through the gap in the lining. Push the corners well out and press.  Press under the raw edges of the gap.

 

8. Top stitch 1/8” from the edges on all sides, closing the gap as you go.

 

 

9. Insert an eyelet at the top of the bookmark, using the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 

10. Thread the ribbon through the eyelet and knot to secure.

 

And you’re done!

 

 

Time to curl up in a squishy sofa, with a snuggly quilt and hot chocolate, and allow a good book to take you and your imagination to far flung places!

 

Happy selvedging!

 

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Sew Me


By Judith on September 15, 2017
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“So, tell us a bit about yourself.”

Aren’t those fearsome words?  I get all a bit tongue tied, don’t know where to start and wonder how on earth to make myself sound even mildly interesting.  Sweat beads form, my voice wobbles a little and 20 seconds later I’ve usually run out of things to add!  But, one of things I love about meeting people in a sewing context is that already we have something in common.  I find it’s great ice breaker and conversation flows much more naturally.  So, here goes for my 2017 FAL ‘Meet The Host’ post.

Hi everyone!

I’m Sarah

 

 

and this is my family.

The handsome one and the mischief maker!

 

I’m wife to my hubby (first love and childhood sweetheart) and mum to our two children – a teenage boy, who has long since passed me in height, intelligence and wisdom too it seems (what do mothers know?) and my Cutesy Tootsie daughter who is now two years old.  Yes, big age gap, long story and no, I am not the older, wiser and more mellow mother people kindly assured me I would be during my second pregnancy.  Well, older yes, but not the other two.

We live our hectic daily routines out here in a tiny little crossroads of a place called Annahilt in Northern Ireland, where it rains a lot I’ll admit, but oh my, is it beautifully green when we are lucky enough to have sunshine to appreciate it!

I prefer tea to coffee, chocolate or cake before crisps, suburbs rather than city, white wine not beer, Buble rather than Bieber, (don’t judge).  I cannot dance but I make a great chocolate cake!  I don’t seem to choose favourites easily which makes me feel a bit odd when I can’t answer what my favourite book or movie or colour is.  Colour might be red, but a good pink is in contention too.

 

I work to feed my fabric habit!

Sadly, there is a day job – how else could I afford to keep those fabric orders coming?  I work in finance and administration from home for the company my hubby and his business partner own.  There’s a knack to working and living with your spouse. Since we haven’t strangled each other yet we must be getting the hang of it reasonably well.  Of course, I’d love to “retire” and sew all day but really, it might get dull if my WIPs actually made it from beginning to end with no 10 month lulls and 3 more projects started in the meantime, right?

Oh yes, I dream of stitching more, much more, because I love it.  Knitting needles, crochet hooks, binca and floss, cross-stitch – they have all been part of my journey with stitching and getting creative.  I look back very fondly, though with cringing embarrassment, at having tortured my Aunt every Christmas first to teach me and then to help me with my knitting.  I remember getting excited in the senior primary school classes when Friday afternoon needlework came around and, as I got older there always seemed to be some kind of needlecraft project on the go at our house.  It fell by the wayside a little when I started working and had my son, but it wasn’t too long before I was looking for some crafty outlet in my life.  I tried a few things that I thought might work for me.  Soap making, and card making were fun for a while but they weren’t quite the long-term fit I was after.  I enjoyed them but they weren’t quite “me”.

In the summer of 2010 I pulled out some fabric I’d bought 9 years earlier (!) and started making a hexagon EPP quilt (pic above).  As I stitched and stitched that summer I knew I’d found my creative, soul-feeding hobby and if that wasn’t enough of a sign, just before I went on my summer hols armed with pre-cut hexies and papers, an email dropped into my inbox telling me that my lovely friend, Judith was just about to start teaching classes.  Patchwork on a sewing machine?  Was I up for it?  Well, I’d try it and if it was a disaster I could always stick with EPP .  Fair to say, I’ve not looked back since that first night at quillow class.  My creative spark was fully alight and soon my cup and house began to overflow with fabric and spools and ribbons and I even learned a few designers names and could tell you what that fabric line was!

 

 

Discovering blogs was a MASSIVE game changer of course, because there was so much out there to learn, and generous and talented people were willing to share.  Blogging myself was another epic  moment in my stitchy life.  I joined the online community at just the right time (2010) I think, to catch a wave of flickr groups, online bees, swaps and general bloggy interaction with other people who share my passion.  It has been amazing!  And, of course the FAL is all part of that.  Sharing the journey of project finishes and having virtual cheerleaders is definitely better than sitting at home talking to a pile of UFOs alone!

Most of all, I love to make quilts.  Simple quilts, tricky quilts.  Big quilts, small quilts, mini quilts.  Machine piecing, hand-piecing, embroidery, EPP.  All have their place in singing to my heart. I enjoy bag making and crocheting and making small items too, though I need to draw myself away from the quilts to do them.  I think I have quite a broad range of tastes and likes when it comes to designs and fabrics but will admit to a particular penchant for Bonnie & Camille fabrics and colours (which I’m sure is no surprise to regular readers).

I love that when I sew I can switch off from the world for a while and just focus on what I’m doing.  I love that I can choose, depending on my mood, to sew intricate and brain-fuddling foundation pieced blocks or just simple squares and the results of each will be equally pleasing to me.  I take pleasure  that in my sewing, the creative and the intellectual come together (quilt maths, anyone?) and I adore that I have a hobby that the internet has allowed me to share and make friends through.  This is much more “me” than soaps and cards, it’s “Sew Me”.  See?

Anyway, my lovely readers and FAL friends, I hope you feel you know me a little bit better now after all that. And remember, tea or white wine when we meet, ok?

Now, I’ve kept you back from your stitching for long enough, so off you go and keep making progress towards those finishes!! I’ll be cheering you on from here.

Sarah Elwood

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Autumn Boho Quilt


By Judith on September 1, 2017
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Happy first of September!

 

I’m always a little conflicted when we enter a new season and a new term.  I love the colours and smells of Autumn, a feast for the senses, but I always grieve a little for the ending of another brief summer.

 

So continuing the Autumnal theme, I can show you my Autumn Boho Quilt.

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)

 

This is a bigger quilt than I usually make, at 72″ x 89.5″.

 

For a while now I’ve been wanting to use my stash of large scale prints. I have a number of fat quarters and half metres from wonderful designers like Sandi Henderson, Anna-Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Amy Butler to name a few.

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)

 

What these designers have in common is their courage to use colour and pattern, even when it ‘clashes’.

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)

 

So I kept the design large and simple – 17″ half square triangles with navy feature diamonds.

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)

 

This is a great beginner friendly project.  You can work from 20 fat quarters and a little yardage for the contrasting diamonds.  The diamonds are important as it gives the eye somewhere to land among the busyness of the prints.

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)

 

If you are a regular visitor to my blog then you will know how much I love scrappy quilts.  I appreciate they are not to everyone’s taste, but if you like using up fabric, then why not have a go!

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)
The back, pieced using more fat quarters and leftovers

 

My advice is to be brave.  Don’t worry when you look at a couple of fabrics together and think ‘they don’t go’.  If you can push pass the ‘over-thinking’ & ‘trying to match fabrics’ stage you won’t be disappointed – the magic happens when you step back and look at the finished quilt.  I even use fabrics that I’ve fallen out of love with!

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)

 

I totally love the ‘boho vibe’ these loud and crazy fabrics give the quilt!

 

And you can find it in the September issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)
Photo courtesy of BPQ magazine

Happy quilting!

 

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Irish Chain Reversed


By Judith on August 26, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

Firstly a big THANK YOU to the brilliant response I’ve had to my shout out for help in my last post.  I knew this amazing community of sewers wouldn’t let me down!

 

 

Thank you for offering to make Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Support.  If you missed the post and would like to be involved in this worthy cause, you can read more about it here.

 

If you are noticing the evenings getting shorter, you’re not alone!  Sadly, summer seems to be waning and the first signs of Autumn are sneaking in.

 

Especially when the ‘Autumn’ issues of quilting magazines are already hitting the shops!

 

Autumn Irish Chain (Pretty Patches Sept17)

 

 

This is my ‘reverse’ Autumn Irish Chain quilt on the front cover of the September issue of Pretty Patches.

 

 

Autumn Irish Chain (Pretty Patches Sept17)
62″ x 74″

 

 

Scrappy quilts are my favourite kind to make.  I wanted to stick to autumnal shades but thought I could switch things up a little.  So I flipped a traditional Irish chain around, making the large negative spaces the colourful feature of the design.

 

Autumn Irish Chain (Pretty Patches Sept17)
The quilt back

 

Deep purples and aubergine tones are my favourite autumnal colours. They remind me of blackberry picking and harvest time! In fact I’ve got blackberry bushes in my new house producing fruit right now!

 

I went with a soft grey dotty background, and of course we can’t have autumn without the warm yellows and oranges of crisp falling leaves.

 

Autumn Irish Chain (Pretty Patches Sept17)

 

This pattern is perfect for beginner quilters, basically you are just sewing squares together in a particular order, or for folks like me with a overflowing healthy scrap stash!

 

Autumn Irish Chain (Pretty Patches Sept17)

 

I hope you like my first quilty step into Autumn.  I love the season of Autumn, but I’m not quite ready to give up on summer just yet!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

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Syringe Driver Bags Tutorial


By Judith on August 23, 2017
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Hi everyone!  How are you doing this week?

 

Summer seems to have left us here!  But I have some good news!  My sewing room is finished and I’m fully operational once more!

 

And what better project to christen my new creative space than sewing for a good cause.

 

 

These are Syringe Driver Bags, used by patients to keep essential medication on their person as they move around. Earlier this year we received a request from Marie Curie Cancer Care to make Syringe Driver Bags for their unit in Belfast.  The response from the sewing community was incredible, and we donated enough bags for the hospice and a local hospital cancer unit.

 

Well I’m putting out a call to all generous and creative sewers, to make more Syringe Driver Bags, this time for Macmillan Cancer Support unit in Antrim hospital.

 

I have been approached to make these bags, for current and future patients in the unit, and any bags donated over and above what is needed will be shared around the other cancer units too.

 

The bags required this time around are for adult males and females, in bright, cheery fabrics, and come in 2 sizes.  The small bag takes a single syringe driver and the large bag takes 2 drivers.  Both sizes have a velcro flap, and while the dimensions vary, the construction method is the same for each.

 

I do hope I can count on your generous spirit to support brave patients in this small way.

 

Here is the tutorial:

Measurements listed are width x height

Use 1/4″ seam allowance

Use reverse stitch to start and finish each seam

 

 

  1. Make the Handle:  Iron under 1/4″ along each long edge.

 

 

2. Now bring both long (folded) edges together and press. Top stitch 1/8″ from the edge down both long sides, starting with the open side. No need to top stitch the short ends. Put the handle to one side.

 

 

3. Make the Flap: Place the outer and lining flaps right sides together. Sew around 3 sides, leaving one short side open.

 

 

4. Carefully snip the corners at an angle (to reduce bulk) before turning right side out.  Push the corners well out and press.

 

5. Sew the soft side of the velcro to the lining side of the flap, 1/4″ away from the closed end of the flap.  Put to one side.

 

 

6. Make the main bag: Attach the remaining piece of velcro to the front bag piece. The top of the velcro should be 1.5″ down from the top edge (or 2″ for the large bag).

 

 

7. Join the front and back pieces and the sides, right sides together (as shown) stopping 1/4″ short at the bottom of each seam.

 

 

8. Join the remaining edges together to create a box (remember to stop 1/4″ short at the bottom).

 

 

9. Insert the base: Pin the base to the bottom of the outer bag, right sides together.

 

 

10. Sew the base in place, stopping 1/4″ short at each corner to pivot & turn (leave the needle down in the fabric and lift up the presser foot).  As you pivot the corners, flip the underside of the bag away from you (see below).

 

 

Stop 1/4″ short at the corner, leave needle down, lift up presser foot and turn.
While presser foot is raised, flip underside of fabric away from you. Return presser foot and continue sewing next side.

11. Turn the bag right side out. Push the corners out and press the seams into a nice box shape.

 

 

12. Machine tack the flap onto the back of the bag, right sides together.

 

 

13. Machine tack the handle onto the sides of the bag (take care not to get a twist in your handle). Put to one side.

 

 

14. Make the lining: Repeat steps 7-10 for the lining, leaving a 2″ gap in a long side seam. Do not turn right side out.

 

 

15. Insert the outer bag into the lining, tucking the flap and handle inside between the layers. Align & pin the side seams and top edge.

 

 

16. Sew around the top edge (you may find it easier to remove the accessories tray on your machine here).

 

 

17. Pull the outer bag through the gap in the lining, and hand or machine stitch the gap closed.

 

 

18. Press the bag before pushing the lining into the outer bag. Sew around the top edge again, making sure to keep the flap and handle well out of the way.

 

 

And you’re done!

 

 

It would be wonderful if you could help me with this small measure of kindness.  The 2  bags I’ve made have already brought smiles to the faces of the 2 recipients!

 

I will be the collection point for any donated bags, so please get in touch with me directly and I’ll give you my address (justjudedesigns@hotmail.co.uk)

 

Thanking you all in advance of your support and generosity.

 

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Sun, Sea & Sky Quilt


By Judith on August 15, 2017
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Hello there!

 

I’m getting a little behind schedule in showing you my recent magazine commissions.

 

The September issue of Quilt Now will be released very soon, but first I need to show you what made front cover of their August issue.

 

Sun, Sea and Sky Quilt (Quilt Now Aug17)

 

This is my Sun, Sea and Sky scrap buster quilt.  I had so much fun making this, and rummaging through scraps and fat quarters to get a colour scheme that evoked the warm aquas and teals of the summer sea and sky, with little hits of bright sunshiney yellow!

 

Sun, Sea and Sky Quilt (Quilt Now Aug17)

 

I designed a pieced block, which would give me a connecting secondary pattern (not unlike my daughter’s Around the World quilt).

 

Sun, Sea and Sky Quilt (Quilt Now Magazine August17)

 

If you look closely, you will see an alternating colour pattern, between the placement of the aqua and teal fabrics in each block, rather like the way the sea reflects the sky and vice versa.

 

Sun, Sea and Sky Quilt (Quilt Now Magazine August17)

 

Small scale prints or tone-on-tone fabrics will work best here. That meant I had to discount one or two of my scraps and ‘borrow’ a couple from a fellow fabric addict quilter!

 

Sun, Sea and Sky Quilt (Quilt Now Magazine August17)

 

I decided on organic wavy lines for the quilting, to create some movement through the blocks and maintain a fluid theme.

 

Sun, Sea and Sky Quilt (Quilt Now Magazine August17)

 

The quilt finishes at 61″ x 73″ and is backed with a fresh aqua polka dot. A blue and white striped binding finished off the coastal feel.

 

Sun, Sea and Sky Quilt (Quilt Now Aug17)
Photo courtesy of Quilt Now

 

So that finishes my July round up of magazine commissions.  The September issues are being released in the next week or so and I will have 3 more exciting quilts to show you!

 

In the meantime, my sewing room is almost finished, so I might actually be able to show you some photos soon!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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‘Around the World’ Birthday Quilt


By Judith on August 10, 2017
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Happy Thursday everyone!

 

It’s a happy day here at the Hollies Household because not only is the sun shining, we have just had gas installed in our new home! This means we now have long awaited hot water, cooking facilities and a little heat on chilly evenings!  #livinglikekings

 

The quilt I’d like to show you today is long overdue its reveal!

 

Around the World Quilt (Pretty Patches Magazine Aug17)

 

My middle daughter turned 18 last February, and I got her birthday quilt started at Brit Bee Retreat.

 

My daughter loves travel/world themes as well as old style items, images and graphics.  Also, she isn’t into pink or girly colours so much, so I knew I had to get the fabrics and colours just right.

 

Purchased from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics

 

I was browsing travel themed fabrics online and came across this Makower fabric called ‘Airmail Travel Stamp, Special Delivery!’  It was my perfect starting point and this became my ‘headline’ print.  I used the colours in this print to guide me through the rest of my stash and scrap boxes.

 

 

I didn’t want to chop the Airmail print up too small, so designed an ‘on point’ block where large sections of the headline print would appear in the secondary pattern, with scrappy pieced dividers.  A little white on white to separate the busyness and it all came together beautifully.

 

Around the World Quilt (Pretty Patches Magazine Aug17)

 

Keeping the scrappy prints to softer tones and small scale prints helped create an overall calm feel to the quilt.  My daughter’s bedroom is mostly neutral creams and greys so I didn’t want the overall look of the quilt to be too bright.

 

Around the World Quilt (Pretty Patches Magazine Aug17)

 

I managed to get the quilt almost completed by the end of February, just a few weeks late of the birth date.  And then a request came in from a magazine editor requesting a quilt for a summer edition!

 

Around the World Quilt (Pretty Patches Magazine Aug17)

 

This was the only quilt I had available in the tight timescale, so off it went to England, with an apology to my daughter for yet another delay on her quilt (she was most forgiving)!

 

The quilt was published in the August issue of Pretty Patches (still in the shops now) and it was returned to me yesterday!

 

Lucy's 18th Birthday Quilt (Around the World, Pretty Patches Aug17)

 

I could finally present it to my girl, who I’m pleased to say, loves it!

 

She travels to Norway in September for 6 months and only wishes she had room in her luggage to take it with her (she might well be needing it over there!).

 

So that is the story behind ‘Around the World’ Birthday Quilt.  Always a special make when it’s for a loved one, and only 6 months late!!

 

Happy travels!

 

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Charm About You


By Judith on August 9, 2017
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Hello! I am Lucy, Charm About You blogger and one of the Finish-A-Long hosts, here to share a little more about myself.

 

I come from a creative family, everyone is an artist or crafty type – whether it’s by profession or a hobby. My creativity and love of art was encouraged as I was growing up but it wasn’t until I was at university when I made my first quilt. It was really, really bad. I used the type of wadding meant for furniture, it was nearly impossible to quilt and it put me off for a long time. Fast forward and after breaking my elbow in a roller derby accident, with two small children to look after at home, I needed a safer hobby and I returned to quilting.

Eager to learn, I got some great advice and support from the two women in my family that quilt, I read lots of blogs, tutorials and quilt books and then went for it. I made simple quilts and a sampler quilt, building up my skills trying out new patterns and techniques. The addiction gripped me and the more quilts I made the more I discovered which elements I was good at, enjoyed and wanted to do more of!

I live in Manchester, UK with my husband and our three kids. They are wonderfully supportive of me and put up with the piles of fabric and works in progress that have filled the house. During the evening I love to do hand sewing, whether that be English Paper Piecing, hand piecing or quilting. It’s my time to relax and I find it really hard to sit without sewing now!

I was lucky enough to get a job at Patchfinders, a local quilt shop, where I also began teach quilting classes (and still do!). It was brilliant to be able to ‘talk fabric’ with so many people – I learnt a lot about style, colour, print etc. from being in the shop and witnessing the whole process of how people chose fabrics for their quilts. The same sort of inspiration and delightful insight into creativity comes from the people in my classes and is one of the many reasons I enjoy teaching.

Then this year I also started doing demonstrations on the Sewing Quarter shopping channel. It involves travelling to work and train journeys equal sewing time! One of my recent finishes was the Everything In It’s Place Bag, which I wanted to make to hold all the sewing ‘stuff’ I can’t live without. It feels so good having my supplies with me and there’s such a buzz that comes with using handmade.

The tangible products we create, the snuggly comfort of quilts and the fact that they are enjoyed and used is a big part of the joy of making. I am also drawn to all the possibilities of patchwork and quilting, the various techniques you can use, the choice of fabric – prints / solids / colours and all the patterns. Machine sewing is my choice for quick sews, the precision of foundation paper piecing and meditative chain piecing. More recently I have had to hone my skills at machine binding because I just don’t have the time to hand sew binding on the quilts I make for work. Hand sewing would generally be my preference for patchwork and quilting, though I really love being able to switch between the two and do machine sewing when I have that need for speed.

Having insatiably explored various patchwork and quilting methods I share tutorials and tips on my blog, from cross hatch quilting to cleaning your cutting mat;  free patterns and fun things to make.

Visit my Etsy shop for patterns like the popular Stitchy Pie needle case and my most recent A Piece of Me pouch. Later this year I will be adding quilt patterns too, all being well!

I have a ‘to sew’ list, along with a notebook of design ideas – making them into patterns is my intention and my goal for the next few months is to make time to do that. I would love for you to come and visit me at Charm About You or jump over to Instagram and follow me there, I share all my finishes and everything I’m working on.

So how is everyone getting on with their Finish-A-Long list? Any finishes checked off yet? If not, don’t fret – there’s still about 7 weeks before the link opens… just remember that time flies when you don’t stick to one project!

Hope you all have a great week!

Lucy

 

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Lotus Flower Quilt


By Judith on August 3, 2017
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Hi there,

How is your week going so far?  I hope you are getting some creative summer sewing time!

 

The sewing space in my new house still resembles a building site at the moment.  I can’t wait to get all my fabric out on display again!

 

In the meantime, I can show you another of my summer magazine makes.

 

Boho Lotus Flower Quilt (Popular Patchwork Magazine August 17)

 

This is Lotus Flower Quilt, made using fabrics from the delicious Art Gallery Boho Fusions and Abloom ranges.

 

I instantly fell in love with these fabrics – they speak to my closet hippy/bohemian side!

 

Boho Lotus Flower Quilt (Popular Patchwork Magazine August 17)

 

The colours are saturated and intense, and the strong mix of floral and graphic patterns make this a vibrant collection.  In fact, it was a lotus flower shape in one of the prints that inspired my design.

 

Boho Lotus Flower Quilt (Popular Patchwork Magazine August 17)

 

The fabrics lent themselves to a bold, large scale design, so I drew a large lotus flower and created a positive/negative effect by switching up the prints.

 

Lotus Flower Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug17)

 

 

The quilt finishes at 72″ x 91″, a great single bed size.  In fact, it is on my daughter’s bed in her new bedroom, serving as the design inspiration for the rest of her room!

 

Lotus Flower Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug17)

 

Lotus Flower Quilt is in the August issue of Popular Patchwork, out now!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Blue Lagoon Quilt


By Judith on July 28, 2017
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Hi everyone!

 

How is your summer going so far?

 

We have had some decent summer weather here in Belfast recently, but alas I’m still surrounded in plaster dust and paint in my new house. So time out to enjoy the sunshine is rare!

 

In the meantime I’ll have to make do with dreaming of lazy days by the beach and paddling in refreshing tides.

 

So how about we transport ourselves to an exotic, pacific island and dream of soft white sands and azure blue lagoons!!

 

Blue Lagoon Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine Aug17)

 

This is where my creative inspiration came from for my Blue Lagoon ombre quilt, in the August issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

 

This quilt is made almost completely from Kaufman Kona solids – always a dream to work with!  There are 6 shades of aqua blues set against a crisp white background.

 

Blue Lagoon Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine Aug17)

 

The block is an ‘easy to piece’ snowball or bow-tie block, and I used a coastal themed blue and white stripe from my stash for the binding.

 

Blue Lagoon Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine Aug17)

 

There are so many Kona solids to choose from (their colour card is pure eye candy!) it was relatively easy choosing colours that would graduate from dark to light.

 

Blue Lagoon Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine Aug17)

 

As always, I’m photographing my quilts out of season.  Oh how I wish I could take my quilt to the clear blue ocean, squish my toes in the sand and take photos of my quilt against a more appropriate backdrop!

 

Blue Lagoon Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine Aug17)

 

Perhaps when the quilt is sent back to me and sunny blue skies return, I will escape to my nearest beach (only 10 minutes away!) for a quilty photo shoot!

 

Well, a girl can dream!

 

 

 

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Saying Goodbye!


By Judith on July 22, 2017
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Hello everyone, sorry about the radio silence.

 

It has been a momentous and significant few weeks here.  After 15 years raising my children in a beloved family home, we have finally had to say goodbye to our home.

 

 

It has been a difficult few years for me and my girls, and now the door to one chapter has closed.  Letting go is hard, but on 17th July we moved into our new building site home and into a new chapter.

 

There are immediate challenges in front of us, as we learn to adapt to a much smaller space in need of renovation and decoration. But in time, it will feel like home as we step into new territory, new beginnings and new opportunities.

 

Occasionally I like to write poems when I need to express deep emotion.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing one with you today:

 

“Goodbye Old Girl”

Tall and serene you have stood,

Through decades of change, trouble and peace.

Never flinching;

Loyal to your heritage.

 

It was love at first sight;

Your rustic beauty drawing us in.

A little neglected, worse for the wear

Of many noisy, boisterous families

Taking you for granted.

 

Your faithfulness to yet more change was steadfast

As we moved in and embraced your protective air.

Your return to us was ten-fold what we gave to you.

Fresh paint and paper for security and stability.

Even when we extended your boundary, you didn’t fight or resist.

Your breath moved through the space,

Affirming

Nurturing.

 

And what an experienced nurturer you are.

You have seen the best of us,

And the worst.

Watched us thrive, succeed, fail and overcome.

And still you remained

Faithful,

Unwavering,

Unconditional.

 

Like a beacon in the night,

You guided us, anchored us

So we could return to you time and again,

Comforted and calmed by your ethereal essence,

HOME.

 

These Victorian roots are resolute

In your mission to care.

To safeguard those entrusted to you,

Harboured from the elements of time and tide.

And so you will continue, long after we have gone,

Embracing the next family with your ageless arms.

For you are eternal,

Immoveable

Tenacious.

 

Our short 15 years in your presence

Will be treasured and stored.

Immortalised in pictures and memories which can never fade.

We say thank you, a thousand thank you’s,

As we empty your rooms and close your indomitable door for the final time.

We will not be sad.

To mourn is to betray you,

To deny the depths of good you bestowed in us.

 

So we say ‘Thank you old girl’.

Thank you for the life and joy and triumphs you embraced in us.

Grant us your blessing as we move on

And start afresh with a little piece of you always with us.

You will be forever in our hearts.

 

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Dizzy Quilts


By Judith on July 15, 2017
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Hi – I’m Izzy from Dizzy Quilts and it’s my turn to tell you a little about myself!

I’m a mother, step-mother and foster mother to six children, grand-mother to one gorgeous little girl and wife to my soul mate. During the day, I manage a team of e-Learning designers/developers at a global financial company.

All of this keeps me pretty busy, but I’ve always made time to be crafty – when I was a little girl, my mom taught me how to knit and I made all my teddy bears knitted sweaters!

During my teenage years, I was a little too busy with school (and with boys!) to craft, but a few years later, when I had my first child, I started sewing.  I made some baby clothes and I made curtains mostly. I even took a sewing class to learn how to make garments for myself, but I never got the hang of that – nothing ever really fit right.

About 9 years ago, I walked into JoAnn’s to get fabric for new curtains and spotted the cutest little quilt kits. I bought one, put it together and haven’t looked back since! I was completely and totally hooked.

The first few quilts I made were very traditional – lots of small pieces, small florals, etc. I really had no clue what I was doing, but learned so much with the making of these quilts.

A lap size log cabin quilt made for my step-mom

I started making these quilts for pretty much everyone in my family.  And pretty soon, every bed in the house had a quilt on it.

Quilt I made for my sister-in-law – this is Bronx testing it.

 

I even made quilts as curtains!!

Around 2010, I discovered quilt blogs and the online quilting community.  That literally changed my quilting life!!  I started my own blog, met some amazing people and a couple of years later, found the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild.

Through the members of this guild, I learned about modern quilting and I fell in love with quilting all over again.

I started making modern quilts and building a stash of really colourful fabrics and solid neutrals.

 

When I first started quilting, my least favourite part of the whole thing was the actual quilting. My sewing machine was pretty small and wrestling with a big quilt in that tiny little space was painful and I very often ended up with puckers on the back of my quilts.  And then I changed two things: my sewing machine and my basting method.

I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q. It is literally a dream to quilt with. Lots of room to the right of the needle and super consistent, fast stitching.

I also learned how to board baste my quilts – which has saved my knees, my back and to a certain extent, my sanity!  🙂

And now quilting is actually my favourite part. I look forward to finishing a top just so I can get to the quilting. My dream is to some day own a long-arm machine, but I would need to get a much bigger house before that could happen!

 

Last year, I became the Vice-President of the Montreal MQG and that has been a lot of fun. The group is growing and we have such amazing people and quilters.  Each meeting is a great source of inspiration and I’m learning so much.

When I was approached to become a FAL host last year, I was so flattered and so happy. I love hosting these link-ups – so much inspiration and so much talent every quarter.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions, please leave a comment!  🙂

Izzy

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FAL 2017 Q3 Proposed Finishes


By Judith on July 2, 2017
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It’s time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q3 of the FAL. I am looking forward to seeing what you are planning to be working on over the next quarter.
The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland

Social Media Director

For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors.

There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish.

The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q3 of the FAL – you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):

 

 


As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them.
If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It’s time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects – pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the “finish” is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ3yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly – especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q3 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog – and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

 

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others – visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too.

When creating your list there is one thing to remember….No deductions for not completing something so ….. Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!
Well Now….. Get those lists together and get linked up. 

The Q3 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, July 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.



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Liberty Summer Tunic


By Judith on June 26, 2017
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Hi everyone, how was your weekend?

 

It was a jubilant weekend in the Hollies’ house, with my eldest daughter home for the weekend, and as we celebrated mine and my youngest daughter’s birthday!

 

Sweet 16 – The birthday girl on the left!
Fooling around with my Mum, sister and 3 daughters!

 

What a fun time we had with our crazy family!

 

Sadly the sun wasn’t around much over the weekend, but I did manage a wee photo shoot last week when the sun was out.

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

This is my Liberty summer tunic.  Approx. 6 years ago I found some yardage of liberty cotton in a vintage shop.  It was so reasonably priced I snapped it up!

 

Then in April 2015 I made a basic tunic with it, using a New Look pattern 6068. I wasn’t so happy with the fit and finish of it back then, so parked it (for several years!).

 

 

The recent glorious sunny weather recently motivated me to unearth the tunic, fix the fit and add some finishing touches.

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

The simple additions of vintage lacey trim and patch pockets have transformed the tunic, and now I totally love it!

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

It has been a joy to wear it recently, and I’m pleased to report it has withstood the washing machine too!

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

I would love to make more of these simple tunics, but my sewing room is all packed up and won’t be unpacked until August!  Let’s hope the sun is still shining then!

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

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FAL Q2 Linky Open


By Judith on June 25, 2017
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It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the second quarter of the 2017 FAL and it’s time to link up your Q2 finishes!

The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:

  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland

Social Media Director

 

Before you link up, let’s give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:

 


For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:

The 2017 Q2 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).
  • 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 @finishlong and tag your photos #2017FALQ2yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q2 Finishes link will stay open from now thru July 1, 2017 – 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 Q3 lists as the Q3 list link opens on July 2nd.


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Ebb and Flow Quilt


By Judith on June 21, 2017
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Happy Wednesday everyone!

 

The gorgeous weather continues here!  Such a treat!

 

When I make a quilt I always photograph it before I send it off to the magazine.   However, doing commission work at least one season ahead means the weather and season at time of photographing doesn’t match the theme of the quilt!

 

Ebb & Flow quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)
Finished quilt 64″ x 76″

 

Take for example my Ebb and Flow quilt!  This is the photograph I took of it on completion in April.  Drab and dreary right?

 

 

And ironic too because the fabrics used in this quilt are called ‘Blue Sky’ by Laundry Basket Quilts (background is Linen Texture, both by Makower). Oh how I wish there were blue skies when I photographed this quilt!

 

Ebb & Flow Quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)

 

I went for simple mitred piecing in columns to give a contemporary twist to these classic prints.

 

Ebb & Flow quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)

 

I knew there had to be organic wavy quilting vertically through the columns to enhance the ‘ebb and flow’ movement in the quilt. Aurifil 50wt is my ‘go to’ thread for quilting.

 

Ebb & Flow quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)

 

So there you have my blue sky Ebb and Flow summer quilt, fulfilling the Editor’s brief of soft summer blues with an organic design. The pattern is in the July issue of Popular Patchwork, out now.

 

May the wonderful weather continue!

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Denim Maker’s Tote


By Judith on June 18, 2017
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Hi everyone!

 

It’s getting pretty hot around here!

 

As I enjoy the wide open windows and the washing on the line, I’m also progressing well with packing up ready for moving house at the end of this month.  A small challenge when there’s 15 years worth of ‘stuff’ to thin out ready for our down-size!

 

I have also packed up my sewing room, but not before I got a class sample finished for classes in the new term.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

I’m a great admirer of Anna’s fabulous bag designs and patterns, and her Maker’s Tote is a particular favourite of mine.  I’ve had it bookmarked for a while, but am only now getting around to making it!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

I thought this would be a good bag pattern to teach in class because of the variety of bag construction elements and skills involved.

 

But of course I couldn’t just stick to the pattern, could I!

 

I love using denim for bags, it makes them more durable and useable in my view.  And besides, I already had 2 ‘uneven brick’ panels sewn together for another project long forgotten!  They were the perfect size, so I got to *quilting them, first in the ditches, and then some feature quilting using Aurifil 12wt wool thread.

 

*the original pattern uses a foam interfacing like Bosal to give structure and reinforcement to the bag.  I wasn’t able to get any in time, so substituted with a layer of wadding and heavy weight sew-in vilene spray basted together.

 

I used a size 100 Jeans needle for the quilting and construction

 

 

The front and back of my bag are slightly different.  I didn’t think the prescribed front pocket would work on my version of this bag, but I did include the zippered back pocket.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

One of the joys of working with recycled denim is thinking of ways to use the loops, tabs and unusual features attached to a pair of jeans.

 

Self-covered button with vintage chintz

 

 

I decided my Maker’s Tote could be used as my everyday bag, not just a class sample, so I incorporated another one of my favourite textiles, vintage chintz linen.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

A few vintage style Lecien prints coordinated beautifully for the internal pockets and facings.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The handles are made from a re-purposed denim belt, reinforced with webbing and lined with more of the chintz linen.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The belt was a little on the wide side, so by cinching in the edges along the top section, they are now the perfect fit for my hands and have lovely structure too!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The bag is finished off with self-made bias binding, another great skill to have under your belt.  If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that the first lot of bias binding I made is different to the one on the finished bag!

 

 

I decided I didn’t like choice no.1 (after I had attached it!). In my opinion the chintz linen binding works much better, even though it was a little trickier to attach.

 

So there we have my version of Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote!  A fabulously roomy bag, gorgeous shape, and versatile elements.

 

And I’ll leave you with an ‘out take’ of the ‘helper’ on my photo-shoot!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

Linking up to Nicky & Leanne’s Scraptastic Tuesday!

 

Happy Sewing!

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Marci Girl Designs


By Judith on June 15, 2017
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Hello!  My name is Marci Debetaz and I blog over at Marci Girl Designs and this month it is my turn to share all about myself as one of the 2017 Global Finish-A-Long hosts.  So here it goes…

Here I am, 4′ 11.5″ tall, so yeah I’m short and this photo was taken a little over a year ago but I mostly look the same, or at least I like to think so.  I am currently 36 years old in case any of you were wondering because I know I have somewhat of a baby face.  I was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA but have lived most of my life now in Louisiana.  My family moved a lot when I was growing up, back and forth between Florida and Louisiana to finally settle in Louisiana much to my disliking, because honestly who wants to leave the beach for swampland?  Not me.  Anyways I went to Middle and High School in New Iberia, Louisiana and then attended College in Lafayette, Louisiana (about a 40 minute drive.)  I met my husband in my second year of College, we both were majoring in Industrial Design and we fell in love.  (Oh so sweet!)  So we dated a few years, got engaged and then married all before we finished College.  We graduated College together a semester after the wedding, both with degrees in Industrial Design.  We found jobs, worked, you know, regular married life and then a few years later we bought our first house.
Here is our MAJOR fixer upper 13 years ago when we bought it (though this photo was taken after some serious cleaning up of the yard.)
 Here is our home today, and what you can’t see on the back corner of this house is the major addition we are adding and have been working on since February of this year, doing ALL of the work ourselves.  We are hoping to be finished by Christmas, but who knows,  fingers crossed.  I had to mention our house because it has been a major focus of all my free time this year, which stinks because I miss sewing and quilting but will totally be worth it when we are done.
 
Ok, I got off track.  So after we bought our house we had three kids, two boys, 9 and 5 and our little girl who just turned 2.  I don’t post about them directly on social media for their privacy but I promise they are super cute.  It was after my first child was born that I really picked up the sewing/quilting bug again.  I say “again” because I grew up sewing and quilting.  My mom did both and taught me.  I started by making Barbie doll clothing, then that turned into small quilts and sewing my own clothes through High School.  Then when I was in College (and falling in love) I didn’t have much time for those hobbies and they fell by the wayside.  After my first was born I became a stay at home mom and discovered I had lots of free time during naps.  Thus my hobbies began anew!
 
 
I started up my hobby again making handbags and pouches which I quickly realized I had way too many handbags and pouches, so I opened up an Etsy shop.  I had my shop open for a few years until I closed it at the end of 2011 right before my second son was born.  I always had intentions of opening again after his birth but alas it never happened.  I do hope to one day open up my shop but for now I am enjoying sewing for my family and friends.

 

It wasn’t long after I started sewing again that I discovered the world of blogs and designer fabric.  Let’s just say that was a total game changer for me and the true obsession began.  I decided to start my own blog in February of 2010 and have been doing so on and off ever since.  I use my blog as a form of diary or portfolio of things I have made through the years and though I find the writing difficult I am glad that I push myself to do so because it is so nice to go back and read about my own projects, many of which I have already forgotten about.
 I love participating in Quilt and Sew Alongs and the occasional competition (for fun, I don’t want to stress about it.)  The above quilt was created for the Emerald Pantone Quilt Challenge (I can’t remember the year.)  It currently hangs in my bedroom.  This quilt is my original design and entitled, “Emerald Cut.”
I will still occasionally make handbags and pouches, I design my own patterns plus make them from independent pattern designers.  The pouch above is one of my designs.
I make way more quilt tops than finished quilts, sadly I have a huge WIP pile.  The photos above and below are examples of two of these quilt tops awaiting quilting.  The top is a One Block Wonder quilt created from just one large scaled print fabric. The quilt below is another Pantone Quilt Challenge, the color that year was Radiant Orchid, this quilt is also my own design.  It is one of my personal favorites.
In 2014 I was chosen to be a contestant in an online sewing challenge called “Sewvivor.”  The bag below was my entry for the very first round, which was nautically themed.  Though I didn’t make it past the first round, I made a great new set of online sewing friends and had a ton of fun in the process.
Within the first year or so of blogging I also found Flickr and through Flickr I found out about online Quilting Bee’s.  I quickly joined several and have never looked back.  I made friends in those first groups, that I still have today and we are still sewing bee blocks for each other.  Though Flickr isn’t as predominant these days, things have shifted over to Instagram and the fun continues.  A few years ago most of my quilting bees were coming to a finish and two of my fellow bee mates decided to create a new hand picked group that they named Bee Sewcial.  The concept of the group is that we stay connected and in touch, use only solids and work in improv.  This is our third year together and honestly one of my favorite things to do every month.  The creativity involved and the friendship is just so fantastic.  At the end of our first year together we opened up the sewing prompts to everyone interested and anyone can now sew along with us using the hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial.
 I guess that about sums of my life.  Stay at home mom to three, in between running the kids to school and nap times I sew and quilt.  I have tried crochet, knitting, tatting, beading and about every other craft you can think of but in the end I always return to sewing and quilting.  I love improv but I also love traditional quilt blocks.  I love to sew clothes, handbags and pouches.  Don’t ask me to alter your clothes or to iron like normal people.  It isn’t going to happen.  I have a huge pile of WIP’s and have been participating in the Finish-A-Long since its inception.  I was thrilled to be asked to host this year and I have been slowly working through that pile.  I do so hope you join us this year!
 
I’ll end my post
reminding everyone that in 10 days the second quarter finishes link up
opens, you still have time to finish those projects so get to work!
Thank you for joining me today, Marci

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Another Sew Together Bag


By Judith on June 12, 2017
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Happy Monday to you all!

 

It’s almost the end of my teaching term here in Belfast.  There has been a hive of activity across my 4 classes and it’s always a joy seeing completed quilts, bags, wallhangings and more.

 

This term, a number of my ladies have been making the Sew Together Bag, by Sew Demented.

 

The first Sew Together Bag I made at Brit Bee Retreat.  While there were a few sections of the pattern which could have been better illustrated, I was able to independently complete the bag (with only a couple of peeks at my friend’s pouch!).

 

 

I’ve designed and made many pouches and bags, but my classes are mixed abilities.  So by way of preparation for teaching this pattern, I knew I needed to make another bag, taking additional notes, tips and improvements for my ladies.

 

 

A while  ago a good friend bought me the cutest little fat quarter bundle from Pretty Fabrics and Trims.

 

I’ve been saving them for just the right project and knew they would work well with some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Flax.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

However, I didn’t have quite the right quantities for the Sew Together Bag, but some Tilda prints married beautifully with them.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

Now I may have a not so secret stash of vintage lace and trims!

 

Vintage lace & trim

 

What better time to use a delicate piece of textile history to finish off the patchwork panel on my bag.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

Never one to miss a recycling opportunity, the charm from a broken bracelet became my zipper pull.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

So that’s my 2nd Sew Together Bag!

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

But I wish you could see the amazing bags my ladies have made!  They are all so different and all beautiful!

 

A satisfying end to the summer term.

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spots ‘n Squares Quilt


By Judith on June 7, 2017
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Happy Wednesday to you all!

 

Question: Do you have a favourite fabric designer?

 

Most quilters who are engaged with an online community of sewers have designers or fabric lines that they just seem to fall in love with.

 

Perhaps it’s the preferred colour palette, story telling patterns, geometric patterns or ditsy themes that become as familiar in each designer’s collection as a favoured jumper!

 

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you will know that fabrics with a ditsy or vintage vibe rank highly on my list of favourite fabrics.

 

Among these are Fig Tree Quilts and their ‘fresh vintage style’.

 

 

Last year I purchased a fat quarter bundle of Farmhouse Petite from Fat Quarter Shop (USA) and designed a beginner friendly ‘Spots and Squares’ quilt for the June issue of Popular Patchwork magazine.

 

Fig Tree Spots n Dots Quilt (Popular Patchwork June17)

 

The observant among you will notice that I didn’t include 2 of the prints from the original bundle, and in fact purchased a couple more Farmhouse prints from Pretty Fabrics and Trims (UK).

 

Fig Tree Spots n Dots Quilt (Popular Patchwork June17)

 

So for this pattern, you need 13 fat quarters in total and yardage of Kona Snow for the background.

 

Fig Tree Spots n Dots Quilt (Popular Patchwork June17)

 

Simple piecing and gentle applique bring this single bed quilt together in no time at all.

 

Fig Tree Spots n Dots Quilt (Popular Patchwork June17)

 

I happened to have the perfect fabric for the back (Momo Freebird) and a good friend kindly quilted it for me on her long-arm frame.

 

Fig Tree Spots n Dots Quilt (Popular Patchwork June17)

 

So that’s the last of my June issue magazine makes to show you.

 

Fig Tree Spots n Dots Quilt (Popular Patchwork June17)

 

Next week the July issues will be released!  Exciting!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Garden Trellis Cushions


By Judith on June 3, 2017
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Hello everyone, how is your weekend going?

 

We are slowly getting outnumbered by cardboard boxes here, as we prepare to move house later this month!

 

So as a little distraction from all the packing, I thought I would tell you about 2 pretty little cushions I made for Pretty Patches magazine.

 

 

Back in 2013 I made my daughter these cushions for her birthday. I thought I would have another go using my design, but this time with the summery fabrics from Lewis and Irene, called Flo’s Little Garden.

 

Garden Trellis Cushions (Pretty Patches June17)

 

I’ve called them Garden Trellis.  The Kona Snow trellis in one cushion provides little windows to view the pretty flowers, while in the other cushion, the ditsy florals are climbing up the trellis.

 

 

Simple ‘echo’ quilting make this a beginner friendly project, with an easy envelope closure at the back.

 

 

I finished the cushions with a crochet trim.  To do this, hand sew a blanket stitch first with the crochet cotton (I used DMC Natura Just Cotton in Ivory).  You will need a sharp darning needle with a big enough eye to take the crochet cotton.

 

The blanket stitches act like a foundation row to start crocheting into. Work 3 double crochet into each blanket stitch, then 3 chain loops into every 3rd double crochet.  Finally, work 1 double crochet, 4 treble crochet, 1 double crochet into each chain loop.

 

Garden Trellis Cushions (Pretty Patches June17)

 

Don’t worry if you aren’t a crocheter.  The cushions are complete without adding a crochet trim.  Alternatively, sew a ready-made crochet trim into the seams between the front and back of the cushion before the final assembly.

 

 

So there we have it!  2 pretty, summery cushions, sadly ready for the packing boxes!

 

Enjoy your weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet the Maker: A Canadian Abroad


By Judith on June 1, 2017
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Welcome June! My favourite month of the year!

 

It’s going to be a very significant month for me, the start of a new chapter.  But more on that when the time comes!

 

My ‘Meet the Maker’ interview this month is a lady who is special to me from when we both joined Brit Bee in 2011.

 

Susan is not only an incredibly talented quilter and designer (you will see her amazing work in leading quilting magazines such as Love Patchwork and Quilting and Quilt Now), she also has a wicked sense of humour and is an incredible cook and baker!  I’ll let her do the talking!

 

 

1. Introduction: 

 
I’m Susan Standen, a Canadian living in the middle of England. I used to blog at candianabroad-susan.blogspot.com but as I haven’t posted in a year it is uncertain whether I will resurrect the blog or not. Time constraints and demands of life meant something had to give and my blog was that something. But I am very active on IG as canadianabroad. I can also be found on Pinterest as Susan Standen – though you are as likely to find recipes pinned there as quilting inspiration!

 

 

2. What is your craft/s? When did you start? Who/what inspired you to get started?


 
I am a quilter. I have two teenage daughters and I was a stay at home mum. When they were younger I searched for a hobby that would be something just for me. I tried beading – seriously no patience for that, card making – bored me (sorry to all those card makers out there, no offence meant) and then I bought a cheap sewing machine. I made a Halloween costume, and then a friend fell pregnant with her second child and I decided I would make a quilt. I had no family history of sewing, let alone quilting. I had never made a quilt. I did not know anyone who quilted. But I made a quilt. I was hooked!

 

 

3. What do you most enjoy about your craft? Where do you find your inspiration? Who inspires you?

 

I love coming up with a new idea. Even when I started quilting I never used patterns. I would look for inspiration on the internet and when I found something I liked I would work out the quilt maths for myself, changing up the design to suit my needs. Now I sketch all the time on my tablet, twisting ideas around until they suddenly take a form that makes my heart sing. I don’t get pattern inspiration so much as colour combinations that inspire me from the amazing and prolific quilters that are online. Just a few people that I follow who have an amazing eye for colour are (these are all ig names) fionapoppymakes, sewgoclimbing, littleislandquilting, fabricmutt, slostudio, lizfromshush

 

 

4. What are your thoughts on the online quilting community, locally and internationally?

 

I wouldn’t be quilting the way I do if it was not for the online community. I quilted in a wilderness of my own until I found the incredible online community that is out there. I have never found it any less than inspirational, supportive, educational and fun. Happily I have never experienced any controversy personally, though I know it does exist at times. The very best thing that came out of connecting with people online is the bees I have joined and the closer friendships that I have made via these bees. The best bee, Brit Bee, has resulted in life long friendships that I treasure and have made my life a better place to be.

 

 

5. In your opinion, is there still a place for bricks and mortar quilting shops, or is shopping for fabric online the future? Which do you prefer?

 

While I shop mostly online, and am also in the enviable position that I get a great deal of the fabric I use given to me by manufacturers, I don’t think anything can beat a good bricks and mortar shop. Many fabrics that have not appealed to me online I have instantly fallen in love with when seeing them in person. Buying fabric in a shop is a tactile, and often out of control, experience that I would not want to live without.

 

 

6. What are your creative goals for 2017? Are there new things you would like to try; projects you would like to get finished; competitions to enter etc.?

 

2017 is turning out to be my busiest quilting year ever and the flow of commission work has been so constant that I haven’t been able to turn my mind to goals or WIPs. That being said, as I get to make my own designs, usually in the fabrics of my choosing, I’m pretty much living the dream here. I have found the past couple of years I have not participated in online swaps due to a combination of time constraints and past disappointments (as shallow as that sounds, sorry) and I have never really entered competitions.

 

 

7. If a fairy godmother could grant you one creative wish, what would it be?

 

If a fairy godmother could be so kind as to provide me a quilting space of my own that would be awesome. Seeing as this is the stuff of dreams the new space would be very spacious, allow for copious fabric storage, another machine for quilting with a throat space that makes quilting far easier, and room for friends to join me in there when the opportunity allowed. I’m not asking much but I may have to move to achieve this dream space!

 

 

Thank you Susie for sharing your amazing work!

 

I always look forward to seeing Susan’s next quilt design. I hope you have enjoyed reading a little about my lovely friend.

 

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Tilda Table Cloth


By Judith on May 29, 2017
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Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!

 

I had a fun few days with my best quilty buddies, up a mountain, with glorious sunshine and sheep for company (there may also have been lots of cake and buns)!

 

Threads Across the Sea Retreat May17
L-R: Me, Trudi, Sarah, Di aka ‘Threads Across the Sea’ 

 

Threads Across the Sea Retreat May17

Threads Across the Sea Retreat May17

Threads Across the Sea Retreat May17

 

There was lots of sewing done too, but alas I can’t show you that just yet.

 

What I can show you is a summery table cloth I made for the May issue of Pretty Patches magazine.

 

P1130492

 

The clever peeps at Tilda Fabrics came up with a beautiful collection earlier this year called Bumblebee.

 

 

If you are a regular visitor here, you will know how much I adore Tilda fabrics.  And this collection is no exception. Ditsy flowers and some of my all time favourite colours together – what’s not to love!

 

Tilda Table Cloth (Pretty Patches May17)

 

So when Pretty Patches offered me a bundle of Bumblebee to work with, I jumped at the chance!

 

I wanted to keep the design large scale to let the fabrics do all the talking.

 

Tilda Table Cloth (Pretty Patches May17)

 

Also, to maintain some drape, I didn’t use wadding, but simply ‘bagged’ the top and backing together.

 

One of the reasons why I love Tilda fabrics so much is because of their vintage vibe (and I love all things vintagey!).  So a lacey trim around the edge seemed a fitting finish.

 

P1130343

 

All I need now is for the summer sunshine to return for a little al fresco dining on my new table cloth!

 

Tilda Table Cloth (Pretty Patches May17)

 

Happy sewing!

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Lullaby Bricks Quilt


By Judith on May 23, 2017
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Hi everyone, are you getting some wonderful sunshine in your part of the world?

 

It’s exam season in my house at the moment, so of course the sun will be shining!!

 

Two days a week I teach in a local Quilting shop.  Despite being surrounded by tempting fabric and patterns every week, I usually manage to restrain myself!!

 

However one day, my eye caught the sweetest Jelly roll and I caved!

 

 

This is ‘Lullaby’ by Kate and Birdie.  It has the softest palette of coral, aqua and taupe and the sweetest prints of cute animals, birds, sprigs and stars.

 

I decided to design a quilt around the jelly roll and pitch it to British Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  They loved the idea, and ‘Lullaby Bricks Quilt’ it is now in print in the June issue.

 

 

There was just the right amount of graduating ‘bricks’ from the palest neutrals through taupe and aqua to the coral centre.

 

Lullaby Cot Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting June17)

 

I went for a crisp ‘white on white’ for the skinny sashing, making sure the low volume prints could still hold their own in the design.

 

Lullaby Cot Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting June17)

 

I quilted in organic wavy lines running across the width of the quilt and through the bricks, just to give some gentle movement and contrast to the structured, geometric design.

 

And for the back, I kept the pale theme using ‘Tiny Houndstooth’ by Michael Miller and bound with one of the pale ‘Lullaby’ prints.

 

 

This generous single bed quilt finishes at 63″ x 68″, perfect for lulling you into the land of nod!

 

Lullaby Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting June17)
Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

 

Happy snoozing!

 

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Clamshells Handbag


By Judith on May 19, 2017
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Hello everyone!  How has your week been?

It’s been another busy week here in the Hollies’ household – lots more sewing to share with you in the coming weeks.

 

A wee while ago I was prepping for an English Paper Piecing class and brought in some of my sample projects.

 

 

I had diamonds, hexies, kites and coffins to show in a variety of projects, but there was one shape I was missing………. Clamshells (scallops).

 

Clamshells are a great example of curved EPP.  I often get free pre-cut EPP papers with quilting magazines.  Which is where I got these clamshells!

 

 

The little project book that came with the papers was helpful too!  It gave me an idea for a sample.

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

I decided to make this little bag using some Tilda leftovers teamed with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).

 

Joining curved EPP shapes is a little different from straight edge shapes. Shapes like hexies and diamonds can be sewn right sides together using a whip stitch along the straight edges.  Because there are no straight edges on curved shapes, the pieces are appliqued down onto a background instead.

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

A little note on basting clamshells – snip into the fabric along the curves, approx. 1cm intervals before folding the fabric over the paper.  I’m a fan of hand tacking/basting the fabric to the papers, but I know some of you are big into the convenience of the glue basting pen.  However, the glue pen doesn’t work so well here because the papers have to be removed before they are appliqued down.

 

I sourced some vintage wooden handles on Etsy that were just the right size.

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

So now I have a sweet little Clamshells Handbag to keep all my English Paper Piecing papers and wips in!  Great for sewing ‘on the go’!

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

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Flex Frame Sunglasses Case Tutorial


By Judith on May 15, 2017
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Hello everyone!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend.

 

With all the sunshine we’ve been having lately, I thought it was time I shared my Sunglasses Case pattern with you.

 

 

If you are new to the world of ‘flex frames’ don’t worry, they are really easy to insert, and there are lots of pictures to help you along.

 

Of course you can use these handy cases for regular spectacles, they make lovely gifts too!

 

 

But a sunnies case is embracing of the imminent summer season and will get us all in the mood for when the sun comes out again!

 

Good To Know:

There are 2 sizes available.  This is because not all sunglasses fold flat.  If they do, like normal glasses then you need to make the narrower case using a 3.5″ flex frame (available from here).

 

 

However, if your sunglasses are wrap around ones (like mine), you will need to make the wider case using a 5″ flex frame. Now it’s a little more tricky to get hold of these within the UK.  However they are widely available from Hong Kong and China via Ebay (remember, Hong Kong is a country with a pre-paid Import charge agreement with the UK, so no customs charges will apply on your parcel).

The construction method is the same for both sizes.

 

 

So let’s get started.

 

You will need:

First of all, you will need to download the applique glasses template here.

3.5″ or 5″ Flex Frame

Narrow case: 2 x (4″ x 9″) each from outer fabric, lining fabric & sew-in vilene (heavy weight)

Wider case: 2 x (5.5″ x 9″) each from outer fabric, lining fabric & sew-in vilene (heavy weight)

Fabric for applique sunglasses (2.5″ x 5″)

Bondaweb (2.5″ x 5″)

Jewellery pliers or similar

Adjustable zipper foot (this makes sewing in the flex frame easier)

505 Basting spray (optional)

 

Method:

Assume 1/4″ seam allowances 

 

1. Spray baste the vilene to the wrong sides of the outer fabric pieces.  Using the template provided, trace onto the papery side of the bondaweb.

 

2. Iron the bondaweb to the wrong side of the applique glasses fabric. When cooled, cut out on the line.

 

 

3. Remove the paper backing and carefully iron the glasses to the right side of the outer fabric, centred and approx. 2.5cm (1”) up from the bottom edge.

 

 

4. Applique the glasses according to your preferred method. I used raw edge ‘sketch’ applique – for this you need to drop the feed dogs and attach a free motion/darning foot to your machine (you can get more information on how to do this & other machine applique techniques here.)

 

 

5. Put the 2 outer pieces right sides together and mark 6.75cm (2 5/8″) down from both top corners. Sew down both sides and the bottom edge from marker to marker, leaving the top open (this is the flex frame section).

 

 

6. Repeat step 5 for both lining pieces, leaving a 5cm (2”) gap in the middle of the bottom edge (for turning).

 

7. With right sides together, match the outer flaps to the lining flaps.

 

 

8. Carefully pin these sections as shown below, making sure to match the side seams.

 

 

9. Sew around the top unsewn section from pin to pin.  Use a reverse stitch to start and finish and take care not to sew into the existing seams.  Repeat for the other flap.

 

 

10. Carefully snip the corners at an angle to lessen the bulk.

 

 

11. Turn the pouch right side out through the gap in the lining. Push the corners well out and press flat. Hand or machine stitch the gap closed.

 

 

12. Push the lining down into the case. Fold back one of the ‘flaps’, pin and sew close to the outer edge to create a channel (an adjustable zipper foot is useful here).  Start and finish with a reverse stitch. Repeat for the other ‘flap’.

 

 

13. Insert the flex frame into the channels.

 

 

14. Push back the fabric to expose the open ends of the flex frame.  Slot the hinge together, insert the bar fully into the hinge, and then close the ends of the hinge using jewellery pliers.  Resettle the fabric along the flex frame.

 

 

Simples!

 

Pop in your sunglasses and enjoy!

 

 

Happy sewing!

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FAL 2017 Meet the Host: Just Jude Designs


By Judith on
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Hi everyone, my name is Judith of Just Jude Designs and it’s my turn this month to tell you a little about myself as one of the 2017 Finish-A-Long hosts.

 

 

I was born in Northern Ireland, and apart from 7 years living in England, I have lived here all my life. I currently live 5 minutes away from where the famous RMS Titanic was built in Belfast 1911.

 

 

I started sewing when I inherited my Nanny Maud’s singer treadle sewing machine at the age of 11.  I had already been crocheting clothes for my dolls from the age of 9, but now I could sew them blankets too!

 

 

When I started high school (11) I took Needlework.  On my first day, I walked into the Needlework room and saw it was filled with electric sewing machines, but tucked away in the corner was a Singer Treadle machine!  I pleaded with the teacher to let me use it, and then spent the next 3 years making garments on it!  The start of my happy place!

 

 

I continued sewing on my Singer Treadle, teaching myself naive patchwork from recycled clothes, curtains and scraps.  (I still love working with recycled textiles today!) I made my first little quilt, a pram quilt, when I was pregnant with my first daughter (1995).

 

 

2 days before my 3rd daughter was born, I turned 30, and my family bought me my first electric sewing machine.  I’d been sewing for 20 years and had never used an electric machine!  I fell in love with my Brother machine, and then upgraded to a Pfaff Quilt Expression a few years later, which I still use today.

 

 

When my youngest daughter started school, I went ‘back to school’ myself, studying City & Guilds Textile and Design.  I thought it was time I learned how to sew and quilt properly!  My motivation for taking this 2 year course was therapeutic, a kind of ‘play therapy’, recommended by my counsellor to overcome depression.  It worked!

 

 

I finished and passed my course and was invited to teach patchwork to a group of women with mental health issues at a local community centre.   I didn’t even know how to teach patchwork, but I overcame my nerves and quickly started on a new passion for teaching and inspiring others to love patchwork too.

 

 

For 2 years I taught women suffering from a wide range of mental health problems and 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.

 

 

Over the past 10 years I have continued teaching in different venues, running my own programme of classes and also teaching for others. I also design quilts, cushions and bags for a number of UK based quilting magazines, and sell my patterns via my website, Etsy and Craftsy.

 

 

As a sole trader it is important for me to connect with other creatives, both professionally and personally.  Being part of the quilting blogging community for the past 6 and a half years has been a hugely positive and affirming experience for me, and it has been my privilege to be a part of many bees, swaps and charity groups.

 

Brit Bee 2012

If you have made it this far, thank you! Thank you for taking the time to read this and being part of Finish-A-Long 2017.

 

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Mini Baby Basket & Bibs


By Judith on May 10, 2017
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My colleague in work had a bonny baby girl last week!

 

As we both work in a Quilting shop, it seemed only fitting to make her a quilted baby gift!

 

Baby basket & Bibs

 

I have loved Ayumi’s fabric basket pattern since she released it in 2008, and have made many in a variety of sizes as gifts for recipients of all ages!

 

The original size makes for an adorably cute baby gift, especially when it gets stuffed full of treats for mummy and baby!

 

Baby basket & Bibs

 

I recently blogged about my Ditsy Daisy Quilt, which used an uber cute collection by Lewis & Irene called Flos Little Flowers.

 

I had some leftover scraps from this quilt which I used to make the pretty girly mini basket and matching bibs.  Some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen for the base and a little crochet trim finished off the basket perfectly!

 

Baby basket & Bibs

 

For the bibs, I kept the patchwork simple, with a little panel of squares and ribbon trim.

 
Baby basket & Bibs

 

The bibs are backed with towelling, making them soft and absorbent for dribbly little mouths!  Using my own template I can get 5 bibs from one hand towel!  This time I stitched on little velcro circles for the fasteners.

 

Baby basket & Bibs

 

I like how the bibs make sweet little roll-ups to fit neatly into the basket!

 

Baby basket & Bibs

 

This is a sweet collection of prints I have very much enjoyed sewing with.  I hope you like them too!

 

Linking up with the fabulous ladies of Scraptastic Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FAL 2017 Meet The Host: Sew of Course


By Judith on May 8, 2017
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This month in FAL we get to hear from 2 hosts.  The first is from Sandra of Sew of Course.

“The 2017 Finishalong has a global team of hosts, and one by one they are introducing themselves in the “Meet the Host” posts throughout the year.

Now I am NOT a Finishalong host, but I have the honour (!) of being the person behind the Finishalong Instagram and Facebook accounts (Social Media Director). And in that role I have been asked to introduce myself, too.

If you are here for the first time, you are very welcome!

Who am I?

I was born and raised in The Netherlands. And before you think, “tulips, clogs, and windmills” that is not quite how it is living there. I never lived in a windmill, for one, though I lived in many places!

However, I did cycle every day to school at the other end of town – yes, everyone does cycle in The Netherlands! As a student I even went on a cycling/camping holiday to England with friends.

 

And I did not wear clogs… until I started doing a lot of
gardening in our first proper “adult” house in Kent (UK). They do take
some getting used to, but are perfectly warm and dry, and so easy to
slip in and out of!

 

I also LOVE cheese, any cheese! And nowhere can you find such a wide selection of cheese as in The Netherlands, I think.

I studied at the Agricultural University in Wageningen, and thoroughly enjoyed living in this small university town. I spent a half year doing my internship in New Zealand, and eventually ended up with a MSc degree, and a future husband just months before he finished his studies and left to do a PhD abroad.

And so started my international life… Following my heart, and his work opportunities, we lived in many countries for relatively short periods of time. From three months to five years in one place, we lived in many different countries, in between coming back in The Netherlands for a while as well. And now we have ended up in Ireland, and have lived in this house longer than anywhere I have ever lived…

 

my first quilt, completely hand stitched

 

Growing up, I was often crafting, learning crochet and dress making from my mother, knitting from a neighbour, and many other crafts from magazines and books.
In England I came across my first patchwork quilt, and from then on I needed to learn how to make them. Beginner’s classes started me of with drafting blocks, making templates and hand sewing (no rulers and rotary cutters at first!), followed by more classes, workshops, books and magazines, always wanting to learn more. A visit to a quilt exhibition has me peering closely at the way certain effects have been achieved, even now, so many years later. I just LOVE to learn new things!

 

Moving so often, quilt making also gave me an opportunity to find new people and make friends wherever I went. In some places it took a while to find out about them, but always I did find some group or other of friendly and welcoming quilters. And soon enough I was teaching quilt making, too.

 

Then in 2012, I started a City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate course, and as part of that we set up a (private) blog to share notes and work between us students. Which led me to start reading blogs, and starting my own blog soon after. Since I have a compulsion to stitch and sew (I sew, of course!), and fill the blog with my creative works, its inspiration and anything that takes my fancy, I named it Studio Sew of Course, and followed by being “sewofcourse” for all social media. I am very active especially on Instagram, but can be found elsewhere as well if you are so inclined.

Of course, I learned so much again in the course! The range of techniques covered in City & Guilds is enormous, and the design process poses challenges of its own. The course includes many, many samples and small projects, as well as five main items to be made, see my City & Guilds page for some of it.
Since the course my way of quilt making has changed, too. I have always been easily tempted to try something new, but now I’d try anything. And of course I made the most wonderful friends!!

 

In all those years I mainly hand quilted my quilts, not having a lot of confidence to use my domestic machine for quilting. This has led to a rather large number of half-quilted quilts, and unquilted quilt tops! Then I discovered the Finishalong a couple of years ago, and joining in has helped me to reduce the number of WIPs to a more acceptable amount. I also got a lot of practice in machine quilting as part of the City & Guilds course, so my confidence has grown somewhat. Now I have to just put it into practice some more… and remember to quilt with a less stops and starts – I hate tying in a million threads! I may be finishing some of my projects a bit quicker.

 

 

 

What’s next?

My current Finishalong list contains some rather varied projects, and is not in danger of being finished very soon. Besides, there are more projects in the house that haven’t even made it on the list (yet). I can see my list grow longer before it will get any smaller!

I still teach a weekly quilt group in our local library, and we hold a yearly exhibition of our work there, too.
I am also working on another pattern or two (my few available patterns can be found on the Patterns page), I have plans to improve and extend the blog/website, and ideas for several quilts are being turned over in my head…

Besides that, I have a part-time job, and we have three boys, and a large (and rather unconventional) garden:

 

And I love going on walks and taking photographs:

 

 

One thing is for sure: I won’t be bored for a long time yet!!”

Sandra
I hope you can call back on the 15th when ‘yours truly’ will be the featured host.

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Ditsy Daisy Quilt


By Judith on May 6, 2017
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Hello everyone!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful Saturday!

 

I’d like to show you the first of 2 of my magazine commissions this month.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

The lovely peeps at Popular Patchwork sent me the cutest fat quarter bundle of Flo’s Little Flowers, by Lewis and Irene.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

The ditsy prints and soft colours are adorable (if a little tricky to photograph!), and I knew I had to design something floral for these fabrics.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

Now daisies are one of my favourite flowers (as Meg Ryan would say ‘they’re so friendly!’ You’ve Got Mail).  I sketched a daisy and thought it might work as a stitched outline on some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

But I didn’t want anyone freaking out thinking they had to free motion stitch these, so I purposely top stitched all the petals and blanket stitched the centres.

 

 

While this technique may be a little slower than free motion stitching, I think it gives much smoother lines and makes it possible for people who haven’t yet tried free motion stitching.

 

So that was the first part of my idea working out.

 

But I needed another flower, this time as an alternating block with the daisies.

 

Source: Pinterest

 

A little Pinterest search revealed the seasonal hydrangea, a flower head made up of lots of little flowers!  When I saw a close up of the little flowers, I knew I had my 2nd block.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

The piecing involved in the Hydrangea blocks is really easy. I like how big they are in contrast to the daisies and how they show off the Lewis and Irene fabrics so well.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

I hope you like my Ditsy Daisy quilt, in the May issue of Popular Patchwork (out now!).

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Meet The Maker: Charm About You


By Judith on May 2, 2017
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May here has got off to a fabulous sunny start!  I’ve even ventured out with no socks on!!!

 

A new month means we get to meet another wonderful ‘Maker’.

 

 

This month’s Meet the Maker interview is with Lucy Brennan (Charm About You) one of the demonstrators on the new sewing channel ‘Sewing Quarter’ (Freeview 78) and fellow Finish-A-Long host.

 

  1. Introduction:

Hello! I am Lucy Brennan from Manchester, UK. I blog at www.charmaboutyou.com and you can find me on social media as @charmaboutyou.

 

 

2. What is your craft/s? When did you start? Who/what inspired you to get started?

I am a quilter and maker of sewn projects. Whenever I can I like to do hand sewing, whether that be piecing, quilting or embroidery. I made my first quilt while I was at university, which was a bit of a disaster! I began sewing obsessively in 2011. With two small children at home I was looking for a hobby that would allow me to be creative and making sewn projects fulfilled that desire. I enjoyed making tangible things that are used and loved around our home. I began making quilts for friends and family, then started an Etsy shop and sold at craft fairs. I found I enjoyed the process of making and designing more than selling finished projects, so gradually that became my focus.

 

 

My cousin Jackie and my Auntie Barbara were both a big influence on me. Jackie runs a long arm quilt business in California and my Auntie is an avid crafter and creates beautiful English Paper Pieced quilts. I learnt a lot from them both and they always inspire me.

 

 

I was also influenced by the online quilting community. There are so many wonderful blogs full of great tutorials and advice. Writing my blog and engaging with other bloggers is a fun way to document progress and share finished projects. I learn a lot from reading about creative processes, following the journeys of crafters and quilters through their blogs.

 

 

 

3. What do you most enjoy about your craft? Where do you find your inspiration? 

 

Quilting really is my therapy. Having that time to make something, work with my hands, using colour and beautiful fabrics, creating interesting combinations and patterns; every aspect is both exciting and soothing to me.

 

 

I am often inspired by fabric and enjoy playing with texture and prints. Sometimes it can be shapes or techniques that spark an idea. I like to challenge myself by learning different skills and there are so many methods in patchwork and quilting, there is always something more to try!

 

 

Other quilters and crafters are always inspiring me and I really like seeing the range of styles and approaches that different people have. Social media, particularly instagram, is a great way of seeing lots of projects and discovering new makers. Seeing who I follow on instagram will give you a glimpse of the people that inspire me!

 

4. Tell me about your experience on The Sewing Quarter?  

 

I was asked mid 2016 to become part of the design team at The Sewing Quarter, at the time it was all very secretive and it was really hard not to tell anyone. There were rehearsals, thank goodness, but it was still terrifying to go on live television! I was nervous, mostly about making mistakes or saying something silly but it didn’t take long for me to get more comfortable and it helps to realise we are all only human – it would be stranger if everything was perfect!

 

 

I used to lecture in Sociology, then later began teaching quilting classes, so I have been a teacher since 2002. Speaking in front of people doesn’t scare me but the strange thing about television is that there are only a couple of people in the studio and the people watching are ‘out there’! It always relaxes me when people message in and I enjoy that responsiveness. For me, as a designer and demonstrator, the fun is in the engagement with the sewing community. Getting messages from people who have been inspired to start quilting or return to sewing is so wonderful!

 

 
5. What are your creative goals for 2017? Are there new things you would like to try; projects you would like to get finished?

 

I feel like I have been brave over the past year and I would really like to continue to push myself creatively. I have some exciting projects in the works and I hope to be able to do some collaborations with other quilters, which is really inspiring and fab!

 

 

Finishing some wips would be wonderful, I am plodding away on a few projects but work keeps me busy so I am trying not to put extra pressure on myself and just enjoy some quiet sewing time for myself.

 

 

6. If a fairy godmother could grant you one creative wish, what would it be?

 

More space! It would be so lovely to have a sewing room rather than the corner of our dining room. I would enjoy being able to spread out and not have to tidy things away (or add to the big messy pile of stuff on my desk!). If anyone has good tips for streamlining stash and notions etc. or storage ideas for small craft areas I would love to hear them!

 

 

Wow!  What a talented lady!  I hope you have enjoyed reading more about Lucy, and don’t forget to look out for her on The Sewing Quarter!

 

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Tweed Hare Cushion


By Judith on April 30, 2017
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Hi everyone, can you believe we are through April already!!

 

It’s been an eventful month for me, especially this past week (more on that another day). But as always, there has been lots of sewing!

 

I have two great friends that I regularly breakfast with.  They have birthdays 2 months apart, and you may remember ‘Vi in Tweed’ made an appearance as one of these birthday gifts.

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed, Wool & Linen

 

For my other friend, I made ‘Harriet in Tweed’!  I recently inherited a lovely bag of tweed and wool, which set my heartbeat racing!!  I couldn’t wait to use them and immediately new a Tweed Hare Cushion was on the cards.

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed, Wool & Linen

 

I made the background in the same way as before, piecing strips of tweed and then quilting the seams onto wadding.

 

The main inspiration for this version of Harriet was a piece of vintage chintz linen.  It went perfectly with a piece of green tweed I found in the bag.

 

Harriet is my favourite of my Woodland Friends.  I used Irish linen for her face, ears, feet and tail.  There’s just something about her sweet, friendly smile that gets me every time!

 

This time, I satin stitch appliqued the pieces to the background (bondawebbing them first of course)!  I used Aurifil 12wt wool threads for the satin stitching, with a size 100 needle (just use your normal thread in the bobbin).

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed, Wool & Linen

 

It’s soooooo satisfying when you have just the right coloured threads!

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed

 

The back is an open weave tweed, trimmed with the chintz linen and a recycled duffle coat button to finish.

 

My breakfast friend is chuffed with Harriet.  So that’s two happy breakfast friends, with new Woodland Friends of their own!

 

 

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new month!

 

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Crochet Daisy Chain


By Judith on April 21, 2017
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I have been a crocheter since the age of 8, two years before I started to sew.

 

I’m eternally grateful to a great-aunt who took the time and patience with me all those years ago.

 

While I don’t often get the time to crochet, it’s nice to have an easy ‘pick-up-put-down’ project on the go when I’m not in the sewing room.

 

Crochet Daisy Chain

 

One such project was this spring garland.  My uni-daughter loves seasonal garlands and I thought this would make a sweet addition to her ‘Easter goodies’ parcel from home.

 

Crochet Daisy Chain

 

I didn’t have a pattern to work from, so after a few attempts, I got to the right size and shape I was after.

 

Crochet Daisy Chain

 

Daisies are my favourite flower!  And to coin a phrase from one of my favourite movies ‘they’re such a friendly flower’!  (Meg Ryan, You’ve Got Mail)

 

Daisy chains remind me of a time when I was a girl, making chains from daisies on long summer days playing out the fields near where I lived.

 

My uni-daughter is delighted with her spring garland!  And I’m so pleased with how it turned out, I made one for myself too!

 

Crochet Daisy Chain

 

So despite the rather dull weather here this week, my daisy chain is bringing some spring brightness into my home!

 

Crochet Daisy Chain

 

Happy crafting!

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Siblings Together Wonky Star Quilt


By Judith on April 18, 2017
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In the Siblings Together Quilting Bee (2) I took a 2nd turn at Queen Bee for February.

 

STB2 February '17 Block

 

Spurred on by Sue’s donated wonky star blocks, we all embraced our inner ‘wonk’ and made lots more bright and beautiful star blocks.

 

And here is the finished quilt:

 

STB2 Wonky Star Quilt

 

What a blast of colour!

 

I’ve a few thank you’s to mention with regards to this quilt.

 

STB2 Wonky Star Quilt

 

Firstly a big thank you goes out to Sue and my bee mates for contributing lots of blocks to make this colourful quilt a possibility.

 

And also thanks to a good friend for quilting it so beautifully too!

 

STB2 Wonky Star Quilt

 

Finally, thank you to Sarah (Narcoleptic in a Cupboard) for contributing the Ikea backing.  It was the perfect backing for the scrappy mix of colours in the front!

 

STB2 Wonky Star Quilt

 

Measuring 60″ x 72″, this quilt will be going in the post this week well in time for this year’s summer camps.  It is sent with our love and blessings, knowing that it will bring comfort to a young person separated from her siblings by the care system.

 

You can read more about Siblings Together here.

 

And if you’d like to have a go at making your own wonky star blocks, you can get the tutorial here.

 

Happy sewing!

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FAL 2017 Meet the Host: Throw A Wench In The Works


By Judith on April 15, 2017
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We are now into the 2nd quarter of the 2017 Finish-a-long.  I hope you are getting some time to sew and tick off those Q2 finishes.

 

As you know we introduce a FAL host every month, and this month it’s the turn of Ella from Throw A Wench in the Works.

Hi, I’m Ella, here at throwawenchintheworks. *waves hello* Welcome to a Meet the Maker Finish-A-Long installment, featuring me!


If you’re new to the my blog, let me tell you a bit about me.
I’m a teacher in Atlanta. (Still trying to wrap my head around the recent bridge collapse on I-85.) I’ve moved around a lot in my life, but I think Atlanta is home now. (I do miss the fall in Upstate NY, but I don’t miss the winters.) I love Atlanta. It’s extremely diverse. I love the blend of big city and neighborhoods. I love The Center for Puppetry Arts (and its huge Henson collection).
IMG_8435



I love the Botanical Gardens.

 

IMG_8269




I LOVE Dragoncon!

 

IMG_8552


I live here with my husband (commonly referred to by me as The Pirate…because Pirates are awesome), a smooshy senior cocker spaniel (who has ruined me for all other dogs and who I need to clone into an army of lovey dogs), and a slightly evil tuxedo kitty (think Brain from “Pinky and the Brain”).


Obligatory animal pictures:

IMG_0282      IMG_0298

(Sorry, the tongue is a bit disturbing, but I still find her forcible grooming, usually limited to his floofy hair, HILARIOUS.)


I’m new to hosting the Finish-a-Long, but I’ve been a long time participant (and long time overachieving list maker). I started blogging back in 2011. A bit of trivia about my blog name. I’m also a bellydancer (although my knee issue has me a bit sidelined right now), hence the wench part. I tend to throw myself into things whole-heartedly, but I’m also a klutz…so, um, the wench in the works. I didn’t think about how often folks would read it as “wrench” and have trouble finding my blog. Ah well.


Ironically, I used to teach photography and now most of my pictures tend to be taken in my poorly lit living room at odd hours of the night. I *can* take better pictures; I *should* take better pictures; I’m just mostly working on things in the night-time. I apologize for that.



I started blogging the summer I decided to officially learn how to quilt. I’ve been sewing and knitting since I was little. (My mom taught me how to sew, by hand and by machine. My aunt taught me to knit when I was in third grade.) I made a quilt for my dorm room in college, but I don’t count it as a quilt that was completely mine because my mom hand tied it. It didn’t survive many washings.



I don’t actually have most of my first quilts any more from back in 2011.
When I started sewing again back in 2011, after many years of hiatus, I was initially obsessed with disappearing nine patches. I gave most of them away. The one below went to a friend going through chemo.

batik quilt



In my first foray into non disappearing 9 patch quilts, I made a HORRIBLE quilt. I used crappy fabric that did NOT stand up to being washed, which was probably also a product of my seams being totally inconsistent. Ahem, I was in a horrible Hawaiian shirt theme for the quilts.

Rockin Robin completed top!






It was part of a Row Robin that was launched online. I loved the community that I found there. Folks were supportive and kind. That led to swaps and lots of groups on Flickr. (Remember when Flickr was awesome? *Sigh.*) I did a ton of block swaps, even ran the 4×6 for a while. I admit, I have not been blogging as much as I did in the past. Now, I tend to spend time over on Instagram, but the online community is still HUGELY important to me.


I felt like, as I had with the bellydance community, I found a “tribe” to which I belonged.  I had space to learn, people were so generous with their knowledge, and I could let my geek flag fly.  I got to meet folks in real life from my first do.good.stitches group visiting Atlanta, Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, Sewtopia here in Atlanta, Sisters in Oregon, and many years of The Stash Bash.  I’m kind of a spazz and feel incredibly awkward in big social groups.  Going to new places feels like a big deal.  (If you ever meet me, this won’t necessarily feel true.  I TALK A LOT.  I TALK MORE when I’m nervous.)  I feel lucky to have met so many awesome, amazing women who remain important to me.  



Charity is still a fundamental part of my sewing.  I run the Serenity Circle as part of do.good.stitches.  My circle makes quilts for hospice.  I do this to honor my grandmother.  She was a maker her whole life, making dresses for mission work, mittens in the winter, newborn items for hospitals.  When she died, I saw how much the crochet blanket a stranger made impacted my mother.  I’d love to do that for someone I will never meet with my quilts, to give some comfort in a really difficult time.  I try to make as many as I can each year.  



I’ve started doing a kindness project this year.  I was feeling overwhelmed by how mean the world was seeming.  I was constantly stressed.  Sewing helped me deal with that.  So far, I made over 40 infinity scarves to give to women I know to let them know they are amazing and loved and seen.  My next project is pincushions.  This lets me do at least something small to impact others, to spread a bit of love.



I’ve grown a lot as a quilter in the last 7 years.  I still have a long way to go.  (I still mostly straight-line.  FMQ is still my nemesis.)  I’m still addicted to QALs.  I seem to have to have AT LEAST a dozen things spinning at a time.  I can’t seem to walk away from a challenge.  I have only put 2 quilts in shows (the poppy below and the hexy garden).  I’m trying to get braver about that.  Quilting is still my least favorite part.  I want to learn how to use a long arm this year.  Goals!



Here are some of my favorite finishes:


batik challengeBubbles
 
quilt show!Zelda quilt
 
Death Star

 

 
I have another mahoosive finish-a-long list for Quarter 2 (I’m a card carrying member of Archie the Wonder Dog‘s #ridiculouslylongFAList)!  
 
Here are a couple of WIPs that I will hopefully complete this quarter:
 

sugar skull topViolet Craft lion

 
 
I’m looking forward to cheerleading this year. Y’all are amazing!  Thank you to the phenomenal women of the Finish-A-Long for letting me join in the fun.
 

 

 


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Tilda Circus Table Topper


By Judith on April 14, 2017
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Hello to everyone tuning in for the final stop on the Tilda Circus blog hop.

 

 

To say I love Tilda fabrics is a huge understatement!  The vintagey feel I get from their collections and the cute and ditsy prints just make my heart flutter!  And as for their colours – simply delicious!

They have a beautiful way of styling their collections too!

 

 

I received 5 gorgeous fat quarters from Sew and So from the new Circus collection.  How did they know elephants are my favourite animal (and if you read through to the end of this post, you’ll see proof of that!).

 

So what did I decide to make with this lovely fabric?

 

 

 

I teamed the Tilda fabrics with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) to make this quilted table topper.   I quilted the background first before appliqueing on the petals and flowers.

 

But I had a little help!

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

My trusty Sizzix Big Shot helped me cut out all the petals and flowers.  It even cut out the bondaweb too!

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

I satin stitched the petals and flowers into place (one of my favourite applique techniques!).

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

And with all the leftovers and a little other Tilda stripe thrown in, I had enough to make the backing and binding.

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

The finished topper measures 21.5″ x 44.5″ and I love how it looks on my table.

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

Thank you for tuning into the Tilda Circus Blog Hop!

 

Oh and just to prove that I am a bona fide elephant lover, check out my awesome mother’s day present from my amazing girls.

 

 

Cool or what!  My very own sweet Flora!

 

Happy sewing!

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Mother’s Day Pot Holder!


By Judith on April 11, 2017
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I realise Mother’s Day is a while ago now, but I haven’t told you about a wee make I made my mum!

 

Pot Holder
I have made mum pot holders before, and was pleased to see them put to good use in her kitchen recently.

 

But continuous use means they get a little ‘worse for wear’ over time. So I thought a replacement was in order.

 

I mainly store my scraps in colour order, in a tall drawer stacker! But when I have leftovers from a particular collection, I will keep them together.

 

I had one such little bag of small 2″ squares leftover from a quilt project a few years ago. I can’t remember which fabric collection these are from, but I had just enough to create 9″ square pot holder.

 

 

Instead of using Insul Bright Heat Resistant wadding, I tried an extra thick compressed wadding (sold in the shop where I teach as ‘oven glove wadding’!).

 

I increased the stitch length and was able to quilt through it no problem.  I love the firmness and texture from the thicker wadding.

 

Pot Holder

 

Curving the corners and adding co-ordinating bias binding & a loop finished this quick little gift.  It only took an afternoon!

 

Pot Holder

 

I love how this pot holder has turned out!  Can you believe I don’t have a single one in my own kitchen!  I really must make myself a few, especially as they don’t take long, and let’s face it, I have oodles of scraps to choose from!

 

Linking up this hot pot holder with the Scraptastic Tuesday queens, Nicky and Leanne!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Tilda Circus Blog Hop


By Judith on April 9, 2017
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I recently got the opportunity to sign up to a Tilda Blog Hop, hosted by Nadine at Sew and So, celebrating the launch of their new collection, Circus.

 

 

This is my first blog hop (squeeee!) and I feel privileged to be joining 5 other talented, Tilda loving, sewers.

 

I love all the Tilda collections released so far, and this one is no exception.  Here are the fat quarters I received, to turn into something wonderful for the blog hop.

 

 

And here is the blog hop schedule:

 

Saturday 8th April – SewandSo

Sunday 9th April – Bakes, Books & My Boys

Monday 10th April – Littlest Sweet Shop

Tuesday 11th April – The Yorkshire Sewist

Wednesday 12th April – Starting Stitch

Thursday 13th April – Just Sew Sue

Friday 14th April – Just Jude Designs

 

Yes that’s me on 14th April!  Come back then to see what I made!

 

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Chevron Heaven Quilt


By Judith on April 7, 2017
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I love Chevron quilts! They are simple to make and are so versatile in providing many different designs.

 

One of the simplest ways to make chevrons is using half square triangles, and with clever fabric placement, or mixing up your fabric ‘values’ (low volume, high volume) you can achieve all sorts of wonderful patterns.

 

 

When the editor of Popular Patchwork sent me her mood board for the April issue, the colours were earthy and saturated and I saw a glimpse of a chevron pattern in there.

 

So I pulled out all my Kona solids that fit the brief and went to work designing a chevron inspired quilt.

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
12 shades of Kona made it into the final quilt!

 

For me these colours represent transition – moving out of a long dark winter and into the new life of spring. Little hits of prints mixed in with the solids are like those glimpses of colour and growth you see coming out in the garden at this time of year.

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
I wanted to break up the continuity of the half square triangle chevrons with narrower rows, and so designed a simple foundation pieced template for these.  If you’ve never tried foundation piecing before, this would be a great, non-threatening project to start with!

 

 

Foundation piecing is a little more time consuming than normal piecing, but it’s definitely worth it to get those crisp, sharp points!

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The organic wavy quilting lines create a sense of movement through the angular peaks and troughs of the chevrons.  And I backed it with trusty Ikea Numbers cotton.

 

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The magazine also includes a double page feature on how to style a room around Chevron Heaven!  What a neat idea!

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The April issue of Popular Patchwork is in the shops now!

And Chevron Heaven is now listed in my shop for sale!

Happy sewing!

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Meet The Maker: Quilting Prolifically


By Judith on April 4, 2017
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Welcome everyone!  And happy April to you all!

 

We have had a sunny start to the new month – doesn’t the sunshine make everything seem much better!

 

 

Well a new month means a new ‘Meet the Maker’ interview, and it is my delight to introduce you to a very special lady!

 

 

This is Trudi, aka Quilting Prolifically.  Trudi is a fellow Brit Bee member and an astoundingly talented long arm quilter.  She is known for her ‘feather’ work, which are all ‘free hand’ quilted.  Enjoy!

 

  1. Introduction: Who are you? Where do you live? Where do you blog?

 

Hi, I’m Trudi, I live in Lincolnshire and quilt in a very posh shed at the bottom of my garden.  I can be found at my very neglected blog Quilting Prolifically and more visibly on Intagram as @trudi­­_wood

 

 

2. What is your craft/s? When did you start? Who/what inspired you to get started?

 

I am a professional Longarm quilter, designer and patchwork and quilting teacher.   I learned to sew when I was about six from my mum, piecing scraps from her basket into clothes for my dolls.  My mum taught me to make my own clothes, and so for many years I was a dress maker, making my own clothes and bridesmaids dresses and ball gowns for others.  I was introduced to quilting by a colleague when I was working in Belgium.  They gave me a catalogue for an American quilting shop, and my eyes were opened to so many more possibilities.   This was back in the day when machine quilting was regarded as a dirty word and cheating, so I hand quilted all my quilts because that’s what everyone did.  There came a point when there were more tops than I could ever dream of hand quilting in a traditional way, so I taught myself to free motion quilt on my very old domestic machine that didn’t even drop the feed dogs.  In 2007 I bought a table top frame and soon learnt my Bernina was not up to the job so added a Juki 98P and learned how to quilt on a frame.  In 2014 My Innova Long arm arrived and I love it!  Last year I took the leap and left my day job and now quilt full time.  I’ve also been teaching Patchwork and quilting, free motion quilting, and designing quilt patterns for magazine commissions.

 

 

3. What do you most enjoy about your craft? Where do you find your inspiration? Who inspires you?

 

I love the creativity, I have always created, loved colour, and sewing,  so to be able to inspire others, help people see more than they thought about for quilting and to work on so many different quilts is a real joy.    Inspiration can strike from almost anywhere,  from the fabric itself, the design of the quilt or even the purpose of the quilt.  I love my customers to be involved in the process as much as possible, as they will usually have a good strong idea and starting point .    I have my feet firmly set in the traditional field from the word go, inspired by UK quilters like Barbara Chainey  and Amy Emms, US quilters like Daine Gaudinski and Karen McTavish.   I do love to mix in the traditional with a more modern feel to the quilting.

 

 

4. Why did you start a blog? What do enjoy most about blogging? Do you see a future in blogging with the rise of other social mediums?

 

I started reading blogs back in 2008/09,  and just figured, you know what, I could do that!  I set up a blog and posted wondering who would read it, and people did.  I was quite shocked.  My blog has been neglected over the last year or two, as the time required to dedicate to it became more than I could muster, and Instagram seemed so much easier with the demise of Flickr also.  Its quick, its a snapshot of time.  Its a really great community.  Yes I’d love to get back into some regular blogging, because I still think there is a place for it.  Sometimes there is so much more to that snap in time than a few words can express, quilts have stories, and its always worth recording those stories and sharing with other.  You never know who you might inspire.

 

 

5. What are your creative goals for 2017? Are there new things you would like to try; projects you would like to get finished; competitions to enter etc.?

 

I strive to grow creatively each year, and this year is no different, my words for this year are to Shine and Adventure, so to use those as inspiration for the work I do makes a great focus.  I really want to get back to the traditional patterns and see what I could bring to them with a modern slant using today’s quilting techniques.   I have so many ideas in my head, I need to get them into my notebook and pick just one for the Festival of Quilts.

 

 

6. If a fairy godmother could grant you one creative wish, what would it be?

 

Oh that would be easy, more time!  Time to create, time to play, time to just see where ideas take me.  To be able to do all that and still work a full week with time for a weekend would be just grand.

 

Isn’t Trudi’s quilting amazing!  Hard not to be inspired under her tutelage.

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this month’s Maker!

 

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Finish-A-Long’17: Q2 Open!


By Judith on April 2, 2017
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As one quarter closes (well done everyone on your amazing finishes) another one opens.
It’s time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q2 of the FAL. I truly hope you are facing a new quarter with a brand new list – because you finished so many UFOs in Q1!
The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland

Social Media Director

 

For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

 

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors.

 

There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish.

 

The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

 

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q2 of the FAL – you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):

 


As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them.
If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

 

It’s time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects – pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the “finish” is when they are a completed, usable project.

 

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ2yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly – especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

 

The 2017 Q2 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog – and that link will show up on all of the blogs.

If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

 

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others – visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too.

 

When creating your list there is one thing to remember….No deductions for not completing something so ….. Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!

 

Well Now….. Get those lists together and get linked up.

 

The Q2 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, April 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.

 


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Easter Bunny Bags Tutorial


By Judith on March 29, 2017
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Hello and welcome to Just Jude Designs, especially if you are here as one of the 2017 Finish-a-long participants.

 

As one of the new hosts this year, it’s is my privilege to share with you a tutorial to keep you inspired during our first Tutorial Week!

 

With Easter not too far away, I thought you might like a quick make that oozes cuteness and gives you nifty way to gift to your ‘chocolate loving’ friends and family!

 

 

Finishing at 4″ wide by 7″ tall (incl. ears!), they are the perfect size for filling with small chocolates and eggs!

 

Here’s how to make them:

You will need:

Outer Fabric: 2 x (6″ wide by 8″ tall)
Lining Fabric: 2 x (6″ wide by 8″ tall)
Ears front: 2 x (2.5″ wide by 4.5″ tall)
Ears back: 2 x (2.5″ wide by 4.5″ tall)
Lightweight iron-on vilene: 1 x (2.5″ x 9″)
0.5″ wide ribbon: 2 x 17″
small safety pin

 

Assume 1/4″ seams

Download ‘Ear’ template here.

 

1. Iron the vilene onto the wrong sides of 2 matching ear fabrics. Cut the 2 pieces apart. Using the ears template, draw an ‘ear’ onto the wrong sides of the other ear fabrics.

 

2. Place (different) ear fabrics right sides together and sew on pencil line (use a reverse stitch to start and finish). Trim away excess fabric, leaving 1/8″ seam allowance.

 

3. Turn the ears right sides out, press and turn under the open ends. Sew across the ends as close to the edges as you can.  Put to one side.

 

4. Place the outer fabrics right sides together.  Mark 2″ down from both top corners.

 

5. Sew around sides and bottom from marker to marker.  Repeat for the 2 lining pieces, but leave a 2″ gap in the bottom edge.

 

6. Pull the corners apart and place the side seam on top of the bottom seam. Measure 1″ along the seam from the point (this will give you 2″ vertically).  Mark the vertical line and sew along this line. Repeat for both corners on outer bag and lining.

 

7. Place the top ‘flaps’ right sides together, outer fabric with lining. Pin at the point where the side seams meet.

 

8. Sew around both ‘flaps’ between pins at both sides. Use a reverse stitch to start and finish, and take care not to sew into the existing seam.

 

9. Turn bag right side out through the gap in the lining. Hand or machine stitch the gap closed and press well.

 

10. Press the flaps under by approx. 0.5″ or until they reach the side seams. Pin and sew one flap down (as close to the edge as possible).  Use a reverse stitch to start and finish.

 

11. Pin the ears onto the remaining (turned under) flap leaving approx. 1″ between the ears at the bottom. Sew along the edge of the flap and along the bottom of the ears. Use a reverse stitch to start and finish.

 

12. Attach the safety pin to one end of the ribbon and pass through both channels until it comes out the same side where you started.

 

13. Knot the ribbon ends together and repeat for the other piece of ribbon from the opposite side.

 

And you’re finished!
Fill up the bag with chocolate goodies and pull the drawstrings to close!
(I guarantee you it won’t stay closed for long!!)
And for more fantastic tutorials this week, check out this list:

 

Don’t forget to link up your Q1 finishes here, before 1st April.

 

Happy (Easter) sewing!

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Finish-A-Long ’17: Quarter 1 Open!


By Judith on March 26, 2017
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It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the first quarter of the 2017 FAL and it’s time to link up your Q1 finishes! In addition to completing all those UFOs on your lists, we hope you have taken the first 3 months of 2017 to get to know all of our new hosts!

 

The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:

 

  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland

Social Media Director

 

Before you link up, let’s give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:

 


For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:

 

The 2017 Q1 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).
  • 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 @finishlong and tag your photos #2017FALQ1yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.

 

  • The Q1 Finishes link will stay open from now thru April 1, 2017 – 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 Q2 lists as the Q2 list link opens on April 2nd.

 


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Home Sweet Home Wallhanging


By Judith on March 20, 2017
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Hello everyone, we are well into Spring here, and the April issues of quilting magazines are hitting the shops!

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

In keeping with the Spring theme, I designed a birdhouse wallhanging for British Patchwork & Quilting (April issue).

 

 

One of the things I love about Spring is the sound of chirping birds in my garden. I had this cute birdhouse fabric in my stash, (Sugar Hill ‘Birdy in Pink’ by Tanya Whelan) and I drew inspiration from there.  Can you see little birdhouses in the fabric?  That got me thinking about the little birdhouses in my Woodland Friends quilt.

 

So a few template alterations later, and I had the basis of a spring-time wallhanging.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

Before fusing any of the shapes to the Essex linen background, I quilted the background in a grid pattern, with calico behind the wadding. (The finished wallhanging is double backed, which means after all the other applique is complete, a pretty back of more cute ‘Sugar Hill’ fabric is attached.)

 

 

Satin stitch applique is one of my favourite ways to applique, and luckily I had a fat quarter of fabric with love birds printed on it.  I simply cut these out, bondawebbed them to the birdhouses and stitched round them.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

The lettering required a little more thought.  I enlarged a cursive font of the word ‘sweet’, transferred it to fabric and got it satin stitched in place. I knew I wanted a contrast in the lettering of ‘home’ so I drew the words on with a water soluble pen and free motion sketched over them.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

I’m really digging curvy corners at the moment, and shaping the top corners on this wallhanging removed some excess negative space which better balanced out the proportions of the design.

 

 

Some standard quilt binding and a few hanging tabs later and voila!  A Birdhouse wallhanging to welcome Spring into your home!

 

The wallhanging measures 19.75″ x 16.5″ and it made front cover of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  Woohoo!

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

Happy chirping!

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Schoolhouse Cushion


By Judith on March 17, 2017
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Happy Friday!  Doesn’t the working week just fly by!

 

One of my favourite gifts to make friends are cushions.  Don’t you think cushion fronts are just like mini quilts (another fun make!)?  Creativity knows no bounds with mini quilts and cushions.

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

This is my schoolhouse cushion. I developed this pattern a few years back and have taught it several times in classes.

 

 

The technique for making the schoolhouse is called Foundation Paper Piecing.  It’s a great technique for achieving precise lines and points. If you’ve never tried it before I’d highly recommend it. There are several different ways to foundation paper piece, but I prefer the ‘fold and cut as you go’ method. I feel it’s an easier technique for beginners to learn.

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

This particular cushion was made as a birthday gift for a friend.  I know her interiors have the same lush purples that are found in Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee range.  I think they go perfectly with Irish Linen.

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

A few free motion sketched flowers and a feature zip closure to finish. (This is one of my favourite ways to close a cushion back, which helps the cushion keep its shape and avoid any gaping when the filler is inserted.)

 
DSC_0013

 

I’m delighted to report that the cushion has been delivered and well received!

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

And I’m just as delighted to announce that I’m releasing the Schoolhouse cushion pattern for general sale as from today!

 

 

This step-by-step pattern has lots of photos to guide you through all the paper piecing and cushion construction.

 

But if you are still nervous about trying foundation paper piecing, you could give this beginner friendly, pieced schoolhouse cushion pattern a go instead.

 

So what technique have you been too nervous to try yet?

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FAL Meet the Host: Cut and Alter


By Judith on March 15, 2017
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Can you believe the first quarter of the Finish-A-Long 2017 is almost up! I’m seeing lots of great progress on Instagram! Keep up the good work.

 

The latest in our Meet The Host series is the very talented Abigail, from Cut and Alter. I enjoyed reading about Abigail’s global adventures and influences.  I know you will too!

 

******************

Back in November I was surprised and delighted to open an email from Rhonda inviting me to become one of the global host of the 2017 Finish-A-Long. There are 13 of us in all and over the course of the year we’ll be introducing ourselves. Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow started off in January followed by Jess from Elven Garden Quilts in February and now in March it’s my turn.
Hello, my name is Abigail and I blog here at cut&alter. I found the FAL late on in 2015 and couldn’t believe how it motivated me to get things finished. I have always been a list maker and the FAL is no exception. My lists are somewhat larger then most people’s, although I have certainly seen longer as well! I know that I will never get everything ticked off within the current Quarter but it does give me 1) accountability 2) a reason to tidy up and reorganise my studio each quarter to find those projects which have been languishing on shelves and at the bottom of boxes 3) it brings projects to the front of my mind and a lot of work goes on in my mind even before I get in the studio 4) if a project has been rolled over just one too many times I can then see that it’s probably never going to get finished and I can pass it on (does that count as a finish?!!). Last quarter I had a particularly low completion rate and this one is shaping up to be the same but I have a few finishes and some projects are considerably further on!
A current quarter finish
I live in Stratford upon Avon with my husband, who is from New Zealand, our two daughters and a black and white cat. We have been back in the UK for just over 4 years and prior to that we lived in Otaki, New Zealand. We have been called gypsies before now due to our constant moving, and usually not within the same area. This is the longest time I have ever lived anywhere! (Can you keep a secret? Maybe, just maybe, my feet are itching again!) Some of the other places I have lived are: Nottingham, Leamington Spa, Sydney, Wellington, London, Waihi Beach, Cambridge, Tauranga, Rowington, Shirley, Waitarere Beach and Feilding. The whole idea of living here (the UK) or there (NZ) was the inspiration for this quilt. I was delighted when Should I Stay or Should I Go? was awarded Best Piecing in Show last November in Bristol!
Up until January this year I home educated the girls, which was brilliant. I always felt honoured to have as much time with them as I did and whilst it certainly was tiring and had its moments we had a lot of fun along the way. They have now started school, primary and secondary, and have settled in really well. We have a new rhythm in our lives which, for me, is taking some getting used to. I thought I would have all the time in the world, that I would have time to sew, quilt, go to the gym, make lovely healthy food …… oh silly, silly me!! You don’t actually get much done in the six hours between 9am and 3pm do you?!! One thing I have done is learn to do improv curves – I love them!!!!
I have been sewing since a child but, like a lot of women, I came back to sewing when my first child was born, although I had been making curtains for our houses every time we moved! Little children’s clothes are such a pleasure to make – fitting is not important, they don’t use much material and they are quick (although when sleep deprived they sometimes didn’t seem to be that quick). I had made a puff patchwork quilt for my eldest soon after she was born and then made a simple square quilt from vintage Laura Ashley soft furnishing fabric from our various childhood houses. These two quilts are well loved and well worn!
It wasn’t until 2010 that I ‘learnt’ to quilt. I took a 6 week night class in NZ and a passion was born. I joined my local quilt club and I listened to the other ladies of my group talking about all their WIPs. I was horrified! I vowed that I would never have projects sitting on my shelf – I would start and finish one before embarking on another. Oh how naive I was! Needless to say I have lots of projects on the go all of differing ages. Last year I finished my most long standing project – ANZAC Hearts, it was on my FAL2016 Quarter 2 list! This was a Bee quilt and I love it – luckily as much now as when I started it in 2010!
Back in 2015 I made the decision to purchase a longarm quilting machine and I totally love it!!! I bought a Handi Quilter Avante and it brings me a lot of joy. With the girls at home I did not have the time I would have liked for learning and practising but I am getting there. I have done a few customer quilts and hope to do more this coming year. Before then I have a backlog of my own tops that are waiting to be done. This was the first quilt I quilted on my machine ….
Wow – this has become a longer post than I thought. When I first sat down to write this I did wonder what I would write! So, here’s a quick 10 9 other things about me to finish (I got stuck on No 10!):
1. I make quilts for Project Linus
2. I am a member of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild
3. I am left handed
4. At 25 I spent a week in Coober Pedy, having read about it as child of 12 – it was awesome!
5. I love salads
6. I have only ever spent one night in hospital and that was with my daughter when she was 3 and had to have her tonsils out
7. Both my children were born at home – one in NZ and one in UK
8. I will go to QuiltCon ….. one day!
9. I would love to go to Alaska
There you have it! Remember there’s just a couple of weeks left for you to get your Quarter 1 list project finished. The link up opens on 26 March and will remain open until 01 April. Be sure to link up because there are amazing prizes to won (and I should know because I have won twice before!!) I look forward to seeing all the finished projects this quarter. Abigail x

 

What a great read!  I hope this spurs you on to get a few more finishes ticked off the list in time for our Q1 finishes.

 

Keeeeep sewing!

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Tweed Fox Cushion


By Judith on March 13, 2017
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Do you love to recycle?

 

I try to do my bit for the environment, but one thing I love to recycle most are textiles.

 

A selection of my healthy hoard!

 

I’ve had to curtail my fabric hoarding over the years (!!) but tactile textiles like tweed, wool, linen and corduroy I’ll never be without! A donated coat here, outgrown trousers there, and before you know it, I’ve accumulated a healthy stash with more ideas than time!

 

Once upon a time we had a thriving linen and textile industry here.

 

It’s always a joy working with these materials, but especially when making a gift for a fellow ‘tweed’ loving friend.

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

Last year I made a Woodland Friends quilt, a cute clan of friends who just keep giving.

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

I enlarged the template for Vi Vixen and bondawebbed the pieces onto a background of patchwork tweed.  Then I free motion sketched all the shapes in place.  I think the rustic and naive effect of raw edge applique suits this version of Vi perfectly!

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

In this cushion are offcuts from a pair of my daughter’s trousers (don’t worry, she outgrew them a long time ago!), pieces of Irish linen, a tweed coat, and many other off-cuts I’ve been donated or gathered up.  Even the button is from an old duffle coat!

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

So my Tweed Fox cushion has been gifted and extremely well received. There is so much joy in the making and giving of something already loved. And I know this particular fox will continue to be greatly loved.

 

Happy sewing!

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Sewing For Charity!


By Judith on March 9, 2017
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Quilters are among the most generous, big-hearted humans I know! Always quick to respond to the needs of others in the ways they know best, quilting!

 

Recently on my Facebook Group, The Sewing Surgery, a request for sewers to make Syringe Driver Bags came through from Marie Curie Cancer Care, via a group member.

 

Folks in the group immediately responded, and pictures of syringe driver bags started appearing!  Big pat on the back TSS members!

 

2 Syringe Driver Bags I made

 

These bags are in constant need by Marie Curie, so if you would like to make one to send to them, you can get the pattern and details here.

 

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Another brilliant UK charity supported by quilters is Siblings Together. Each year, we try to make 100 quilts to give to children at summer camps. These kids are separated from their siblings by the care system.  They join up with their siblings at camp and the quilts are given out at the end of the camp, as a comforting reminder of their time together.

 

In addition to individuals making quilts for ST, there are also several quilting bees supporting ST.  I’m in one of them (Siblings Together Bee 2) and, with the help of my bee mates, I’ve managed to complete 1 quilt so far.

STB2 Canvas Quilt 2017

 

This is Canvas quilt (named after the Canvas blocks we made). As you can see it’s a colourful, scrappy quilt, and at 60″ x 72″, will make a great big quilty hug for a child at ST.

 

 

The quilt has been beautifully quilted by a good friend, bound in my trusty black and white stripe fabric and labelled ready to be posted to ST.

 

My 2nd ST quilt isn’t too far away from completion either! A big thank you to my ST bee mates for their contributions to these quilts.

 

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And finally, another charity quilting bee close to my heart is Bee Blessed. A Belfast based group of ladies meet once a month to make quilts for those in need. This group is brilliantly supported by quilting bloggers too!

You can read all about the quilt donations and monthly blocks here. (There’s a particularly adorable recipient enjoying her new quilt here!)

Giving a little time and fabric in this way is so rewarding! So if you have been inspired to help any of these worthwhile causes in any way, please let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

Happy giving!

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Sew Together Bag


By Judith on March 4, 2017
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I’m always a little reluctant to jump on band wagons!  Preferring to watch from the sidelines for a bit!

 

When the ‘Sew Together Bag’ band wagon rolled into blog-town I admired the many versions of the pouch that were being created! I got to see some in real life too, and was surprised by how big and roomy they were.

 

Sew Together Bag

 

So the pattern went on the very long ‘bucket list’, that ‘one day I’ll get around to it’ invisible list!

 

Sew Together Bag

 

That ‘one day’ was last weekend at Brit Bee Retreat. I had already prepped various sections of the bag, using some favourite Liberty scraps and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen.

 

Despite the odd head scratching moment, and a puzzled brow or two with the pattern, I finally got it finished.  (I only broke one needle, not bad eh?)

 

Sew Together Bag

 

I decided not to make the pin cushion and needle holder. This bag is so roomy, and is now filled with almost the entire contents of my sewing box.  Much easier to transport to sewing ‘together’ venues!

 

Sew Together Bag

 

You can get the pattern here if you fancy having a go.  However I would not grade this as beginner friendly (some experience of sewing zippered pouches (and a healthy dose of patience!) is recommended).

Happy sewing!

 

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Meet The Maker: My Bearpaw


By Judith on March 1, 2017
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Happy March everyone!  It’s officially the start of spring! Yippee!

 

A new month means a new Meet the Maker Interview.  This month, the lovely Jo Avery from My Bearpaw brings you a visual feast for the eyes!  Jo and I first met in a pyjama bottoms class, sitting next to each other! She is a multi-talented quilter, embroiderer, knitter and crocheter! Enjoy!

 

 

Introduction: 

My name is Jo Avery, I blog at myBearpaw and I am a quilt designer and teacher based in Scotland. I have a shop and teaching studio, myBearpaw, in Edinburgh where I teach a range of crafts. I organise an annual one-day sewing retreat, the Stitch Gathering, and I am one third of The Thread House (alongside Karen Lewis and Lynne Goldsworthy), a pattern publishing and retreat organising venture.

 

 

What is your craft/s? When did you start? Who/what inspired you to get started?

My big sister, Jane, taught me to sew when I was 6 and and I spent a large part of my childhood making things and generally sewing, knitting and drawing. When I was 10 Jane taught me how to make EPP hexies and I made my mum a reversible clutch bag from them (I bet it was just lovely!). Fast forward to me moving in with my boyfriend (now husband) aged 21 and the first thing I did was rush out and buy a hexagon template and some fabric off-cuts and started to make a quilt! I quilted on and off through my twenties and thirties while my kids were growing up and then got really interested again about 10 years ago.

 

 

What do you most enjoy about your craft? Where do you find your inspiration? Who inspires you?

I really just love to make stuff. I really need to be creative all the time. I have run my own business since I was 21 and there has always been a creative element to my work, whether it was writing, designing, visual merchandising or actual making as I do now. I am so happy and thankful that I get to be creative every day for a living, but really I don’t think I could actually live any other way.

 

 

I am inspired by absolutely everything and constantly! I never lack for ideas, they just pop into my head all the time, especially in the shower for some reason! I live in the countryside and so nature constantly inspires me but also seeing what everyone else is making on blogs, instagram and in magazines and books. I also like to partake in a wide variety of crafts like crochet, knitting and embroidery as well as general sewing, like bags and pouches (but not dressmaking!), and I think I get a lot of ideas from this ‘cross-pollination’. 

 

 

Why did you start a blog? Do you see a future in blogging with the rise of other social mediums?

I had tried quilting groups back in my twenties (and they had been invaluable for getting me started and teaching me skills), but we had moved around a bit and so I was very much quilting in isolation when I finally stumbled on to a craft blog in 2009. I immediately realised I had to start my own and got my (then) teenage sons to help me set it up. I just loved the idea that I could share what I was making with others and communicate my thoughts and feelings about crafting, even if no one was actually reading it! Eventually people did start to read it and soon there was a whole community of quilting bloggers congregating on Flickr and in real life at the Fat Quarterly Retreat (where I met the lovely Judith!). I just love being part of this friendly, supportive, international community, it is a very special thing.

 

 

 

I think there was such a huge proliferation of blogs a few years back that it got too much for people to keep up with them all. So when Instagram came along everyone stopped reading and writing blog posts as it was so much quicker and easier to post on there. I love IG but I still like to write my blog, and for the same reasons as at the start – the ability to share and communicate with others. Plus it is a great archive of all my work, and almost like an online diary! I see myself always writing it no matter what happens, it is a good discipline to keep up and I love to write.

 

 

What are your creative goals for 2017? Are there new things you would like to try; projects you would like to get finished; competitions to enter etc.?

I really want to make time to work on competition quilts, or just the sort of quilts I want to make. I have been very busy with magazine commissions over the last three years and have made A LOT of quilts! At the end of last year I felt a little burnt out so am taking a bit of a step back this year and so far have only been doing commissions for small projects. I really don’t want to turn myself off making quilts by over doing it! 

 

 

I am very obsessed by needle turn applique at the moment and want to do a lot more of that, but I have to be careful not to over do hand work as my poor old hands aren’t up to it anymore. My main goals are just to be a bit more relaxed this year and not to take so much on!

 

 

If a fairy godmother could grant you one creative wish, what would it be?

Could I have a time-turner like Hermione had in one of the Harry Potter books? There are so many things I want to make and so many ideas I’d like to pursue but I never have enough time!  I am loving the BOM for Today’s Quilter that I am designing at present. It is all about my life in the country and I get to write a little piece about my inspirations every month and the blocks are a nice mix of different techniques, so I would love to be asked do another project like this please!

 

 

Didn’t I tell you you were in for a treat! Thank you Jo for sharing your amazing talent.

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Brit Bee Retreat 2017


By Judith on February 27, 2017
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It has been my absolute joy and privilege to be part of an amazingly talented, caring and funny group of quilters called ‘Brit Bee’.

 

We formed in 2011 from the ‘Brit Quilt’ Flickr Group, and despite 3 member changes, we haven’t stopped sewing for each other since!

 

Our very first ‘meet up’ at Fat Quarterly Retreat, London, 2012. (I’m on top of a table, just in case you thought I was freakishly tall!) 

 

Although we are spread across the UK, we try to meet up at least once a year (more if we can!).  I have missed out on the last 2 retreats, and so was determined to make it to Bedfordshire for our 2017 retreat.

 

 

This year, 9 Brit Bee-ers and Cindy (a special friend of Brit Bee) spent the last weekend eating, chatting, sewing, eating, more sewing, considerably more eating, minimal sleeping and lots more sewing!

 

Brit Bee Retreat Feb17

 

We may not see each other more than once or twice a year, but we fit so easily together again, like a well worn pair of much loved slippers!

 

 

It was such an easy atmosphere, we could wake up, grab a cuppa, and head straight to the sewing machines in our pjs, bleary eyes and dishevelled hair!

 

 

We also inspired and ‘nutured’ each other’s creativity, getting caught up on bee blocks, consulting on quilt design, helping out with tricky paper piecing.  All the while getting caught up on life, our hopes, dreams, struggles and triumphs.

 

Fiona’s R4 blocks so far
Susan’s R4 blocks so far
Trudi’s R4 blocks so far

 

As always, the weekend goes too quickly, but the inspiration and refreshment from our time together lasts much longer.

 

I got lots of sewing done too, and will blog about these projects separately.

 

In the meantime, I will leave you with a picture of the Brit Bee R4 blocks I have received so far.

 

Brit Bee R4 blocks so far!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Buying Fabric from outside UK


By Judith on February 21, 2017
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If you aren’t a regular at buying fabric from non-UK online fabric stores, you may get a shock when you place an order, and then take delivery of a grey Customs Card from the Royal Mail, instead of your much anticipated bundle of fabric goodness!

 

 

And to add insult to injury, not only have you been hit with a customs charge, but another £8 Royal Mail handling charge on top!

 

That great deal you thought you got on your fabric doesn’t taste so sweet all of a sudden!

 

I’ve purchased fabric from America approx. 10 times and I’ve never incurred a customs charge.  But I’ve been lucky.  Your expectation should be that a charge will be incurred, and here’s why:

 

Anything that is ‘imported’ into the UK is subject to Border Force checks, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

 

Those checks may result in the following charges being applied:

 

Customs charge (based on the value of the item, where the value is over £135)

VAT (a consumption tax applied to EU countries)

Excise tax (a tax applied to purchases of alcohol or tobacco)

Some products are ‘duty free’ but fabric isn’t one of them!

 

 

There is excellent information on both the Royal Mail and HMRC websites but here are the rules in a nutshell:

 

Buying fabric from inside the EU: no charges

 

Buying fabric from outside the EU:

If the total value* of your package is less than £15, there are no charges.

 

If the total value* of your package is between £15 – £135, there will be Import VAT to pay. This is calculated as a percentage of the total value of your package.

 

If the total value* of your package is over £135: Import VAT and Customs Duty is charged

 

*this includes cost of the items, shipping and any insurance costs.

 

For example, if you purchased 5m of fabric from America totalling $40 ($8 per metre) and the shipping costs you $25, Customs calculate the total value of the package as £51.89 and the import VAT as £10.35. Royal Mail will then apply a handling fee of £8 on top of this, bringing the total cost of your fabric parcel to £70.24. This makes my fabric cost just over £14 per metre, which is an average price in a UK store.

 

So while you might think you are bagging an $8 per metre bargain, unless it is a design or collection you can’t get in the UK, it might be worth trying to purchase it locally.

 

If you want to find out how much customs duty you might pay, before making your purchase, use this nifty calculator.

 

 

All the above information is based on non-gift purchases.  The ‘no charge’ threshold for gifts are higher,  but there are clear and definite boundaries on what can be considered a gift. If you are making a private purchase from a fabric store, this is not considered a gift.

 

There are a few non-EU countries who have an ‘Import VAT Pre-paid’ arrangement with HMRC, which means you won’t incur any additional charges on delivery of your package. These countries are Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and The Channel Islands.

 

I hope this article has better informed you about purchasing fabric from other countries.  It is not my desire to put you off purchasing from abroad in any way. However, with adjusted expectations and informed choices, you can still enjoy your purchases without those nasty shocks!

 

I would love to hear about your ‘purchasing experiences’. Drop me a comment below!

 

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A Family of Owls!


By Judith on February 19, 2017
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A lovely ‘owl loving’ friend of mine had her birthday this weekend!

 

Family of Owls Wallhanging

 

‘Olive Owl’ first made an appearance in my Woodland Friends quilt last year.  (And I’m currently teaching this quilt in my classes – it’s been so lovely watching a beautiful ‘Parliament of Owls’ appear!)

 

I adapted the pattern to create mummy owl, and her 3 babies on this Essex Linen wallhanging.

 

Family of Owls Wallhanging

 

I love satin stitch applique, scraps and mini quilts wallhangings! And I’m pleased to say that my friend (a talented quilter herself) does too!

I managed to source an Owl wire hanger too (no pics sorry!).

 

Family of Owls Wallhanging

 

So these cute birds are now too-wit too-woo-ing their way into their new home!

 

It’s a while since I’ve linked up to Nicky and Leanne’s Scraptastic Tuesday!  Great to be checking in again with the many other talented scrap-busters out there!

 

Happy tweeting!

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FAL 2017: Meet The Host – Elven Garden Quilts


By Judith on February 15, 2017
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We are well into our first quarter of the 2017 Finish-a-long.  I hope you are progressing well with your proposed finishes for Q1.

 

It’s time to meet another one of the talented international hosts of FAL17.  Here is Jess of The Elven Garden to tell you more!

 

 

Hi, I’m Jess, otherwise known as Elven Garden Quilts. This is my second year as a FAL host, and although I’m not great at actually participating in the FAL (I have a pretty bad history of not finishing anything on my list!), it’s great to be back to cheer you all along for a second year. I thought this was going to be a really hard post to write – but once I got started it was surprisingly easy. So I’ve inserted photos of some of my favorite quilts in amongst the text – feel free to skim the words if you’d rather just look at quilts ;o).

 

I’m a 36 year old mum of three not-so-small people – my eldest son (12 year old) started high school this year (grade 7), and I have a 9 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. Needless to say, moments of sewing have been few and far between over the last few months while they’ve had their summer holidays – but they went back to school last week, so there is some semblance of normality in our household again :o). I have an incredible partner too, who encourages me in all my quilty endeavours and listens patiently when I ramble on about my current projects. We also have two fur babies – Shadow and Pepper, our little quilt-cats, who spend at least 90% of their time asleep on various quilts and cushions around the house! I’ll often go back to hand stitch binding and find my quilt has been invaded by cats ;o).

 

 

We live in Tasmania, Australia – that little island that sits off the southern coast of mainland Australia. It’s a beautiful place to live – we don’t have a huge population and we are surrounded by some of the most gorgeous wilderness in the world (in my humble opinion!). I grew up in a pretty arty/crafty family – my Dad studied ceramics at Art School and is an art teacher at a college, and my mum has always been involved with some sort of textile art. She made most of our clothes as kids, and is now obsessed with spinning and knitting all kinds of gorgeous yarn. So it’s kinda unsurprising that I’ve grown up to be a maker.

 

 

Although I have a science degree (and work as a lab technician part time), I’ve always enjoyed making stuff. I started cross stitching when I was quite young, and continued that hobby right through to my university years. It wasn’t until I had my youngest child that I decided to get a sewing machine – with the intention of making clothes and toys for my kids. I had fun doing this for a while, but then on a whim I bought a beginner’s quilting magazine and that was the beginning of a true obsession. For me, quilting is the perfect marriage of maths and art – I love numbers and I love working with colour, so it’s not surprising it has overtaken all of my spare time!

 

 

I started quilting around 5 or 6 years ago – and back when I started, my tiny sewing room overlooked the garden – so Elven Garden Quilts was born! After a few years, I outgrew that little room, so my ‘studio’ is now our garage – not the prettiest location, but I can be as messy as I want (and believe me, the term creative chaos fits me perfectly!) and close the door on it so no one else has to be subjected to it ;o).

 

I first started blogging for a few reasons. Mainly because I didn’t actually know anyone who quilted and I didn’t want to bore my family and friends to tears constantly talking about my quilts, and blogging was the perfect way to share what I was making. But it quickly became a way to connect with people all over the world who shared my passion. I’m ever in awe of how supportive and wonderful the online quilting community is, and my life would be very different if I hadn’t started blogging. I am a self-taught quilter, thanks to the enormous generosity of so many people in sharing tutorials and ideas, and a love of trying to figure out how to make things work!

 

 

I loosely call myself a modern quilter – although I’ve made plenty of quilts that are far more traditional than modern! I think I’m probably best known for my love of free motion quilting – everything I piece is quilted to death on my domestic Bernina. About three years ago, I was actually invited to become a Bernina Ambassador here in Australia, which is an incredible honour :o). I have several free motion quilting tutorials available on my YouTube channel – and I plan on doing a lot more of these this year! I’ve been teaching patchwork and quilting classes on a weekly basis for the last three years (although I’m currently having a break, after burning out from a pretty hefty teaching load last year), which is something I absolutely love.

 

 

Last year was a big year for me as a quilter, both on a professional and personal level. I won several awards for my quilts at some of our national quilt shows (the Australian Modern Quilt Show and the Australian Machine Quilting Festival), and I taught a lot of classes – both patchwork and free motion quitling. On the personal side of things, I feel like I really grew as a quilter. Although I’ve always loved making quilts and been happy with the finished product, I’ve struggled to find my style. But in the last half of last year I feel like I started to find my voice, and started making quilts that are more ‘me’ than ever before. Although I’ve always used and loved my design wall, I now rely on it constantly as a tool to design my quilts. Aviatrix is one of the last quilts I made using someone else’s pattern – and I think it will be the last for a fairly long time. I’m enjoying doing my own thing so much right now!

 

 

The last few quilts I’ve made (and my current work in progress) all started as a vague idea and a giant pile of fabric, and relied on my design wall to figure out what they would become. You can read all about the process I went through when making Scattered (shown below) herehere, here and here. And if you’re attending QuiltCon this year, please go say hi to her – she was juried into the show which is enormously exciting!

 

 

I recently wrote about the process of making one of my recent finishes, Flow. Again this quilt started as a pile of fabric and a very vague idea (as in, I knew I wanted to use improv curves), but the design came together through trial and error.

 

 

Although I’m much better at starting and finishing projects than I used to be (which isn’t to say I don’t have any WIPs – there are lots of those!), I work best when don’t feel like I *have* to work on a particular project. Which is probably why I make FAL lists and then largely ignore them… Having said that, I have several projects that have been ignored for far too long that I do want to finish this year, so next quarter you can expect me to fully participate and knock over some very long term WIPs!

 

Thanks for letting me introduce myself (and my quilts!), and I look forward to cheering you all on this year as you work through your FAL lists!

xx Jess

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Birthday Girl!


By Judith on February 12, 2017
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This amazing individual is 18 today!

 

 

This is my no.2 daughter, who inspires me beyond words.

 

 

Happy birthday my sweet!

 

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Hugs & Kisses Quilt


By Judith on February 8, 2017
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I often end my texts and emails with ‘Jxo’, my affectionate way of signing off with my initial followed by ‘kiss, hug’.

And this is how it translates into a bright and happy quilt!

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

I submitted this to the February issue of Pretty Patches magazine, who wanted to brighten the dreary dark days of winter with a colourful and cheery issue.

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

This is a great scrap buster project, or you could run with a specific colourway e.g. summery pinks and yellows for a little girl ….

 

 

 

 

…. soft modern greys and blues for a boy!

 

 

 

 

The blocks are simple to piece together, and you could easily size the quilt up or down to suit.

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

 

So however you plan to celebrate your Valentines day this month, make sure it involves a cosy quilt made with love!

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

Happy sewing

 

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Meet The Maker: She Can Quilt


By Judith on February 2, 2017
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Happy February everyone!

 

Isn’t it great to leave January behind?

 

Another month means another ‘Meet the Maker’ interview, this time with an amazingly talented quilter called Leanne Chahley.

 

I have had the privilege of meeting Leanne in person, at Fat Quarterly Retreat in London 2012.  But we had already become firm blogging friends before then.

 

I am in awe of Leanne’s work, and I know you will be too!

 

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Introduction

“My name is Leanne Chahley and I live in Alberta, Canada. I am a quilter, a knitter, and I also sew garments, weave, spin, crochet, and do needlework, cross stitch and petit point. I blog at she can quilt. I also write quilting patterns, love teaching, and quilt freehand without computers or pantographs on a long arm quilting machine. I have been knitting and sewing since I was 5 years old, and cannot imagine not having several creative projects on the go. For the last several years, I have focused on quilting, while always having a bit of knitting in my bag too.



Why I quilt, where I find inspiration

“I quilt for fun. I love playing with colours, patterns and designs. My favourite work is improv, and I love designing my own quilts so that they are one of a kind. Having said that, I also like to revisit an idea and work in a series, so that I can explore variations on each inspiration. I also love to explore traditional quilting patterns and working to perfect techniques. 


I find inspiration everywhere. From historic quilters, quilting teachers and quilting friends. From nature, architecture, flooring, and tiles. From emotions and feelings. From the colours and textures I see at the beach, in forests, in the city or indoors. I try to look at things from all angles, from near and far, and from all perspectives. And then I follow where the inspiration leads me.”



My blog

“I started my blog, she can quilt, on March 12, 2011. Judith was one of my very first followers and we started being friends when she commented on my third ever blog post. I started the blog to share my quilting journey with quilting friends. It has brought me many friends, a great number of whom I have met in person at quilting events. In fact I have met Judith in person and spent time with her at quilting retreats in London, England.


I use my blog to share my work, tutorials, patterns and ideas. I work to create community for quilters all over the world with sharing events like Scraptastic Tuesday and the Finish A Long. My blog also helps to remind me of where I have been and where I might want to go next with my quilting. And occasionally some knitting is featured too.


In addition to my blog, I am active on Instagram as @shecanquilt. I do have a Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook presence too, but I barely use them.”



Creative Goals for 2017

“I am hoping to use the coming year to make more quilts. I especially want to explore improv and my own designs. I hope to publish a lot of new pdf patterns and explore the feasibility of paper printed patterns too. I am looking forward to continuing being part of the blogging community as well. Finally I hope to enter a few quilt shows – as although I do not make quilts especially for shows, I enjoy the opportunity to share my work in person with people and it is fun to win the odd ribbon too.”



A special creative wish

“I would wish for a time turner so that I could fit more creative time into my days.”
Leanne

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I hope you have enjoyed this month’s Meet the Maker and Leanne’s beautiful work.

 

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Wonky Star Block Tutorial


By Judith on January 31, 2017
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I get to be ‘Queen Bee’ again for February in Siblings Together Bee 2.

 

And thanks to Sue (a fellow bee mate), I hit on the perfect idea for which block to set.

 

 

A while a go Sue offered up her UFO (unfinished objects) pile of wonky star blocks, some made and some still in pieces.

 

I happily relieved them from her as a potential Siblings Together quilt!

 

 

These are super quick and easy blocks to make.  And here is the tutorial for my ST peeps and anyone else who fancies making this scrappy block.

 

Makes 1 x 12.5″ unfinished block

Use 1/4″ seam allowance

Cut out:

4 x 4.5″ squares of dark fabrics

4 x 4.5″ squares of light fabrics (same colourway as dark fabrics)

1 x 4.5″ square of white fabric (centre square)

4 x 4.5″ squares of white fabric, cut in half diagonally (star points)

Method:

1. Put the 4 light squares to one side. These will become the 4 corners.

2. Take a dark square and position a white triangle on it as shown (doesn’t have to be exact positioning). Sew along the diagonal edge of the white triangle, taking care not to stretch the bias edge.

 

 

3. Cut away the excess dark fabric at the corner, level with the white fabric.

 

 

4. Press the seam towards the dark fabric.

 

 

5. Position the 2nd white triangle diagonally across the first white triangle as shown (make sure the lower tip of the 2nd triangle extends past the bottom edge of the dark square). Again sew along the diagonal edge of the 2nd triangle.

 

 

6. Cut away the excess of both dark and white fabrics at the corner, level with the 2nd triangle.

 

 

7. Press the seam towards the dark fabric.

 

 

8. Place the unit onto your cutting mat, with the white triangles positioned at the top. Place a small square ruler on top, aligning the bottom & right hand edges of the block with the 4.5″ lines on the ruler. Trim the top and right hand edges of the block.

 

 

9. Turn the unit 180 degrees and repeat the trimming for the ‘new’ right hand edge. The unit should now measure 4.5″ square.

 

 

10. Repeat steps 2 – 9 3 more times.

11. Layout the block units in 3 rows as shown. Sew the units right sides together in each row.

 

 

12. Press the seams of rows 1 and 3 AWAY from the centre. Press the seams of row 2 TOWARDS the centre.

 

 

13. Join the rows right sides together, taking care to butt/nest the intersecting seams. Press all new seams open.  The block should measure 12.5″ square.

 

 

Thanking my ST buddies in advance!  Looking forward to receiving these colourful scrappy blocks.

Happy sewing!

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Warning! Fabric Marking Pens


By Judith on January 29, 2017
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As a Quilting tutor I’m often asked what is the best way to mark the right side of a project ready for quilting.

 

I’ve learned that when sewists hit on a reliable product they like, they tend to stick to it!  Afterall, when so much money, time and effort is put into quilt making, having a reliable tool to avoid a devastating ‘marking accident’ is crucial!

 

 

But recently I’ve become more and more concerned about a pen that is widely sold in Quilting and Fabric shops as a non-permanent fabric marker.

 

 

The Frixion Pilot Pen is like a gel pen, which disappears when heat is applied to it, either from ironing or through friction from a ‘rubbing out’ action using the eraser at the end of the pen.  It has a fine tip and comes in a range of strong colours, which shows up on almost all fabrics.

 

 

HOWEVER what is most concerning is this pen will cause bleaching or ‘ghosting’ when ironed off darker fabrics (see the lines above right).  Also, under cold temperatures the ink will reappear!

 

This is because the Frixion pen is not designed for use on fabric (and most definitely not the RIGHT SIDE of fabric!).  One of the main features highlighted on the Product website is that you can rub or iron off a secret message, put the paper into the freezer, and voila, the ink magically returns.

 

In my view, these features make this an unsuitable tool for quilters, who are often marking on the right sides of fabric.

 

Thankfully, there are other products out there which are much safer to use.

 

I have 2 ‘go to’ pens I like to use:

 

The Chalk Pen:

 

 

The white Clover chalk pen (left) or Prym Chalk Pen (right) are great for marking the right side of fabric e.g. quilting lines.  The loose chalk comes through a little wheel creating fine, accurate lines.  And you can buy refills too!

 

 

However I never use coloured chalks because they contain dye and can stain light fabrics.

 

A soft white chalk pencil is a good substitute as long as it is kept sharpened to produce fine lines.

 

Water Erasable Pen:

 

 

My 2nd ‘go to’ pen is a water erasable pen which I mostly use for drawing more intricate designs like lettering or when I need to create measurement markings for things like applique projects.

 

The water erasable pen markings come out in the wash, or with a damp cloth or water spritzer. Sometimes if I dry the marked section too quickly, or don’t use enough water, a 2nd application of water is needed to remove all the blue marks.

 

However you must remember not to iron your work before you remove the blue marks otherwise they may ‘fix’ to your fabric.

 

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The other 2 main products on the market for quilters are air erasable pens and Hera Markers.

 

I haven’t heard of a good review for Air Erasable Pens, mainly because the ink disappears too quickly, much more quickly than the 12-24 hours stated.

 

 

I have a Hera Marker which I have used to mark light fabrics. It is a molded piece of plastic which creates indentations when pressed onto the fabric. I recommend only using the curved section of the hera marker in case you ‘scratch’ the surface of the fabric. The indentations are removed through ironing or washing.

 

The Hera Marker is fine for larger sections of lines, but not so good for intricate designs.

 

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This is by no means an exhaustive list of fabric marking tools, and the recommendations for all of them are to try them out on a spare piece of fabric first.

But here is my summary of the pros and cons of those I have covered in this post.

 

I have been asking folks in the Sewing Surgery Facebook Group what their experiences have been on the Frixion Pilot pen in particular.

 

If you haven’t already commented, I would love to hear your feedback on what marking tools you use and the positive and negative experiences you have had.

But whatever fabric marking tool you choose to use, mark safely!

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Bee Blocks & Secret Santa!


By Judith on January 22, 2017
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After a wee break in December, we were back making bee blocks in January for Siblings Together (Bee 2).

 

STB2 Blocks for Sue

 

Sue was queen bee for January, and set this Tic Tac Toe block, with black on white backgrounds and colourful prints for the rest. (here is the tutorial if you fancy having a go at this easy block)

 

I was queen bee in September, and set the Canvas block.  Last week I managed to get them all sewn together into a sizeable flimsy!

 

Siblings Together Bee 2 (Canvas blocks) Quilt top Jan17

 

I’m taking a 2nd stint as Queen bee, so its my turn again in February!  Watch this space!

 

In September 2015, Brit Bee started our 4th round. If you’ve been keeping up with us, you will know we never stick to the annual schedule! But we are a forgiving and patient lot, forged by longevity and great friendships!

 

By some miracle I have managed to keep up with the schedule (ish!) and earlier this month I made the last block!  Woohoo!

 

Brit Bee R4 block for Katy Jan17

 

This one is for Katy, in her chosen solids, and the block was designed by Hadley.

 

As the first one finished, I’ll try hard not to capitalise on bragging rights at our Brit Bee retreat next month!

 

One of our traditions in Brit Bee is to exchange Secret Santa gifts at Christmas.  In previous years we’ve done things like, cushions, decorations, pin-cushions.

 

This year we went for zippy pouches – you can see what I made for Katy here.

 

And what did I get?

 

My Brit Bee Secret Santa gift!

 

Only this gorgeous package of cuteness from Ange!

 

My Brit Bee Secret Santa gift!

 

Isn’t it adorable!  And I have a feeling it will come in handy for travelling to our retreat!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Pinwheel Fun Baby Quilt!


By Judith on January 18, 2017
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Hi everyone, how is your week going so far?

Isn’t January zooming in so quickly – half way through already!  Yikes!

I’d better get my skates on then to tell you about my other magazine entry this month!.

 

Fun with Pinwheels Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Jan17)
Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

 

This is my Pinwheel Fun baby quilt.

 

I’ve wanted to make a baby quilt with a more modern feel, so I used Moda’s Dottie in grey for the background, to unify the bright colours of the pinwheels.

 
Fun with Pinwheels baby quilt for British Patchwork & Quilting (Jan17)

 
At 50″ x 50″ this wee quilt could easily double up as a playmat.

 

Fun with Pinwheels baby quilt for British Patchwork & Quilting (Jan17)

 

Currently in the January issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.

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FAL Meet The Host – Nicky


By Judith on January 15, 2017
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The 2017 Finish-A-Long Q1 link up is now closed!

Throughout the year, FAL is going to introduce you to each of the crew of international hosts.  Kicking us off is Nicky, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several times!


Hi!  My name is Nicky Eglinton and I’m one of the global 2017 Finish-A-Along hosts.  This is my second year as co-host so I should know what I’m doing.  
I live in the South of England but was born in bonnie Scotland and after a few years studying in Aberdeen and Glasgow, I came to London to get my first job!   I loved the theatres, cinema, restaurants, walking across Waterloo Bridge and looking one way at the Houses of Parliament and the other way at St Paul’s.  Life was good!

Houses of Parliament to the left, the dome of St. Paul's to the right

 

Since then I have moved even further south and out of the hubbub of the City to the quiet more rural life of Sussex to raise a family with hubby.   It has suited us well and we have three lovely children and a cat and a dog!   Here are the pets in portrait and ‘helping’ me quilt!

Saffy and Maddie

In my childhood I learnt to stitch from my mother – first toys, and cross stitch, then clothes in my teens and twenties (back then it was actually cheaper to do that). 

  
Meet Dandelion - I still have him!
She also taught me knitting and crochet.  She loved passing on her skills though we struggled at times as she was right handed and I was left handed.  Every thing I did looked wrong to her as I was doing it in what seemed an awkward way….and there were very few left-handed tools to help!  So I now prefer right handed scissors – in fact I cannot use left-handed ones!!

Jumping forward a bit, to maintain my sanity after kid no 1, I went to an evening class about patchwork and quilting.  My chance to talk with grown ups!   I was completely in love with applique!   It was all I did!  And then I ended up on a course at  The Quilt Room to make this quilt in 2005!  

 

Friendship's Garden Quilt by Alma Allen & Cherie Ralston

 

The applique was easy for me but would you believe I was terrified of the HST border round each block and the quilt remained in pieces, and on several FAL lists.

Carolyn Forster taught me piecing and introduced me to blogging!   Wow has she got a lot to answer for!   I started blogging as I wanted to record my stitching and gardening – hence my blog name Mrs Sew and Sow!
 
The sewing has taken over somewhat but this year I will be back in my garden and bringing lots of flowers into the house!  Wonder if a flower bed can count as a WIP or UFO??   What do you think?
Well back to that quilt I started in 2005 I kept moving it from one FAL list to the next!  I have joined up with the FAL since the beginning – though I may have missed a few quarters – and it has helped enormously – mainly from all the encouragement I received from commenters who have become friends.  

Suddenly it became the time to finish that quilt!  I even had to learn FMQ in order to do it !   

And here it is!  So all of you who have longterm WIPs/UFOs do not despair!

 



Finishing that longstanding UFO was like a release – it had been a block hanging over me!   I started actually finishing more stuff.   

Since 2012 I have been keen to meet up with people, and join in the quilting  community.  I went to the Fat Quarterly Retreats in London and learnt about the Siblings Together charity.  I have been making quilts for the charity since then – one or two to begin with, then I joined a bee to make more, helped others finish quilts and finally last year Maria and I were leading the campaign to make 100 quilts for the charity.  

 

The charity helps children in the UK social care system retain bonds with their siblings at holiday camps.  They are given a quilt to remind them of the fun times together.  

 

We will be aiming to make another 100 quilts in 2017 with help from a generous community of quilters !   Would you like to join us?  You can find more information here and here!

 

I love scraps and have been running a monthly link up, #Scraptastictuesday, on the second Tuesday of every month, with my co host Leanne (who also hosts FAL).  We like to celebrate the origins of patchwork, though Leanne uses scraps in more of an improv way than I do but you will find all sorts of inspiration there! 

 

I am a scrappy quilter for ecological and economical reasons!  I like to hang onto those pounds and pence and keep my scraps out of the landfill sites!    And I just love cramming as many different fabrics as possible into one quilt.  

 

We would love you to join us with your scrappy projects (they don’t need to be finished), plans, and storage systems.

 

I try to make a scrappy sampler quilt each year with tutorials showing you how to make your own!  2015 is finished and 2016 is basted ready for a finish this quarter I hope!

 

Liberty Sampler 2015 & Karen Lewis Sampler 2016
 
And now I’m setting up a local group of stitchers in Sussex with my friends and co-founders Kelly and Jane and we are actually going to meet up and stitch together in a room!   And eat cake!   With no children !  It is starting this month !

 


I seem to have made lots of quilts.  I find the creative process both stimulating and therapeutic.  I do tend to make up my own patterns though on occasion if I love something I will try to make my own version of it.

Here are some of my favourite quilt finishes

Top Left : Nordik Quilt; Top Right & Clockwise: Double Sided Welsh Blanket Quilt in Karen Lewis Textiles, pattern by Mary Emmens; Hand stitched and quilted scrappy clamshell quilt; Vintage Squares quilt; Stingy Bee Row Quilt (both this and Nordik were made with help from members of Bee a Brit Stingy)

And here is one I hope to finish this coming quarter!  It is my take on the traditional Double Wedding Ring (my own variation) – a lot of it stitched by hand!  I used acryllic templates made by Marti Michell to help with the cutting and designing of these blocks.

Hoopla! Quilt

 My FAL list is always a long one (yes I am a member of Archie the Wonder Dog‘s #ridiculouslylongFAList ) as when I used to choose a few items for my list I always wanted to work on something else!  Much easier to keep everything out in the open I found!

 

I hope you will join us on our journey to complete those listed projects and I look forward to seeing your finishes!  Remember to cheer on the rest of the community – it really does make a difference!

 

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Rolling Stones Cot Quilt


By Judith on January 13, 2017
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A few months back when I was planning a commission for the January issue of Popular Patchwork, I knew I wanted to use cool, icey colours.

 

Rolling Stones Quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan17)
(And wouldn’t you know it, just when I post about this little quilt, it starts snowing outside!!  Brrrrr!)

 

This block is called The Rolling Stone block (or Broken Wheel).

 

Rolling Stones baby quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan17)

 

My icey colours of choice are ‘Littlest’ by Art Gallery, ‘Oh Boy’ Swirls in Aqua by Riley Blake & Kiss Dot Snow by Michael Miller (background), but despite their coolness, there’s also a cute warmth about them too.

 

 

Cot quilts should be rectangular in my opinion, so little 1″ square inserts top and bottom soon sorted that out.

 

Rolling Stones baby quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan17)

 

 

This little quilt comes in at 50″ x 56″ and is in the January issue of Popular Patchwork.

 

 

Keep warm!

 

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Another Denim Pouch!


By Judith on January 11, 2017
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I hope you aren’t tired of seeing my denim pouches!

 

Denim EPP pouch

 

I was woefully late getting a birthday present to my friend, but now that she has it I can show it to you!

 

Denim EPP pouch

 

This one is a little different from my other denim pouches.  I thought I would keep hexies as the dominant theme this time.

 

Denim EPP pouch
the back

My Sizzix cutting machine makes light work cutting through the denim. And because I enjoying EPP-ing hexies so much, there are more hexies on the back, with just a hint of Aurifil Wool thread featuring in the base (couldn’t resist)!

 

Denim EPP pouch

 

Sometimes denim can feel a little masculine, so I made sure to add some feminine touches with the floral lining and pink zip!

 

Denim EPP pouch

 

While this pouch has been made from recycled textiles, I haven’t even made a dent in my hoard!

I guess I’ll just have to think up a few more ways to use denim!

Linking up with Nicky and Leanne’s Scraptastic Tuesday!

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Finish-A-Long 2017 Quarter 1


By Judith on January 8, 2017
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2017…are you ready for a new year? A new year – a new list!

As you are probably aware, the 2017 FAL is remaining global – a community of bloggers across the world, jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:

  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland

For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors.

There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish.

The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q1 of the FAL – you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):

 


As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them.
If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It’s time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. In order for your projects to be eligible, they must at least be a tangible project at the start of the quarter.  That means, at the very least, a fabric pull matched to a pattern, a quilt top needing to be quilted, or a half knit jumper. I love seeing your bee blocks, but they won’t count unless you happen to be turning them all into a fully completed quilt!

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ1yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly – especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

 

The 2017 Q1 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog – and that link will show up on all of the blogs.

If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others – visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too.

When creating your list there is one thing to remember….No deductions for not completing something so ….. Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!
Well Now….. Get those lists together and get linked up.

The Q1 linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, January 14, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.


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Feedback Survey Results


By Judith on January 4, 2017
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As part of my 6 year blogiversary giveaway in December, I asked you to complete a simple survey about what your struggles are in quilting and what you would most like available to help.

 

 

The first 2 questions were

What are your biggest struggles when it comes to Patchwork and Quilting?

 

and

 

What are your biggest struggles when following/using patterns?

 

But we’ll get to those in a minute!

 

Let’s jump first to the graded questions, where you gave a value of 0-5 for each answer (0 = not interested 5 = very interested). You can get a refresher on the 7 questions here.

[visualizer id=”46935″]

 

You can see from the pie chart that the highest scoring question was “Patterns with lots of photos and well explained steps”!

 

Your frustrations with poorly worded and illustrated patterns came through loud and clear, and you further backed this up with your ‘suggestions’ comments.

 

As a pattern writer this is a topic close to my heart, not only through my own struggles in following patterns, but also as a Quilting tutor, seeing first hand how much even experienced learners can feel defeated by a pattern.

 

But you can see through the close percentages that ‘up there’ among your top interests are informative and topical articles and discussions (16.9%) and a ‘Sewing Surgery’ where you can ask questions and engage with a community of like minded sewists (15.7%).

 

On the latter, you are most welcome to join my ‘Sewing Surgery’ Facebook group.  

 

 

Here we can ask for help, talk about swaps, sales, events, ‘show and tell’ and more!  And a growing membership means a wider community with a wealth of shared knowledge, experience and inspiration to draw from.

 

I know how important ‘community’ is to creatives. It’s affirming, healing and uplifting when we can share a little of ourselves and connect through what we make. But if you aren’t on Facebook, please feel free to leave me a comment, use my contact form, or chat to me on Instagram.

 

Now back to the first set of questions.  Your answers were wide and varied, and in addition to ‘any other comments’ I’ve grouped your feedback into 5 main categories: Patterns, Fabrics, Cutting, Techniques, Personal.

[visualizer id=”46947″]

As I mentioned previously, your concerns around using ‘Patterns’ was the front runner. From ‘patterns making assumptions’ to ‘not understanding jargon/abbreviations’. But once again, the complaint that surfaced more than any others was ‘insufficient pictures and diagrams’.

 

‘Techniques’ covered issues such as accurate seams & matching points, fixing common errors, basting, sewing curves, maths, scaling patterns up and down, machine quilting and free motion quilting, paper piecing & inserting zips.

 

In the ‘Fabrics’ category, the most common struggle was putting fabrics and colours together for projects.

 

Under ‘Personal’ I included feedback about your lack of time to sew, self doubt and lack of confidence, narrowing down ideas, working in a small space & fear of your sewing machine!

 

Last but not least, we have the ‘Cutting’ department – how to cut accurately, how to gain the best yield from the fabric, squaring half square triangles and corners, cutting angles, making accurate templates among others!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your informative and honest feedback.  I will be using these results to shape what I deliver through my website and how best to serve you.

(And if you would like to have your say, complete the quick survey here).

 

One thing I know in reading your responses, is that you aren’t alone in your struggles. We all have struggles in one area or another, even experienced sewists! So let’s try and help each other make this year a positive creative experience!

Keeping sewing!

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