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).
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I love the Botanical Gardens.

 

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I LOVE Dragoncon!

 

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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.)

 
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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!

 

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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.

 

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.

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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An Interview with Svetlana


By Judith on January 2, 2017
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A friend and quilter whom I greatly admire is Svetlana (SOTAK Handmade).

 

 

I adore her clean and simple contemporary style of quilting and she also designs and prints her own fabric!

 

 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Svetlana to kick start our new year.

 

Introduce yourself! 

 

“My name is Svetlana Sotak. I am a pattern designer, sewist, quilter, and an occasional screen printer and I blog over at Sotak Handmade. I love using simple fabric designs and creating uncomplicated, useful, everyday projects.”

 

 

Creatively speaking, what was your proudest achievement in 2016 and why?

 

“My proudest achievement would have to be learning to screen print on fabric and designing my very own sewing kits. It was definitely a challenging task of constant trial and error learning, but so worth all the effort. I’m hoping to build on the skills I learned and produce more kits in the coming year.

 

 

I also did quite a bit of hand quilting this past year. I must admit, I didn’t really expect to like it very much when I first started, but I found it incredibly relaxing and meditative and I’m definitely going to incorporate more hand quilting in my projects.”

 

 

What are your creative goals for 2017? 

 

“I’m excited to keep creating and publishing more pdf patterns and kits. I’m also hoping to work more with leather, wool, and waxed canvas as I think they add an extra touch of polish and finesse to finished bags and pouches.”

 

 

If your fairy godmother could grant you a wish for 2017, what would it be?

 

“More time, definitely more time to create. And to read. And maybe learn some weaving. I even started pinning some of my favorite weavings to my Pinterest board so in case fairy godmother does show up, she’ll have some reference to go by :).”

 
What philosophy/inspiring quote will you live by in 2017?

 

“Lately I’ve been really intrigued with the idea of rational minimalism (you can find more about it here). I love the idea of having just enough, not too little, not too much. And I’m hoping that conscious reduction of clutter all around me will free me to enjoy my life and explore new opportunities more.”

 

 

Isn’t Svetlana’s work inspirational? Please hop on over to her blog and check out her many creations!

 

I hope you have enjoyed my first interview of 2017.

 

And here’s a question for you:

 

What new skill do you want to learn in 2017?

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2016 in Quilts


By Judith on December 31, 2016
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Another year has flown by!

But what a busy one it has been!

 

2016 in Quilts

 

This is what my year in quilts looks like, 17 of which have been published in magazines.

 

2016 in cushions & bags

 

And of course there were many more makes in 2016 – bags, pouches, cushions, bee blocks and more!  This is just a sample – phew, I think I need a lie down!

 

One of my highlights this year has been getting my new website up and running!

 

And to celebrate a great creative year, I’m launching my New Year Sale today!

 

 

Get 20% off EVERYTHING in my web shop and Etsy shop using coupon code newyearsale17.

 

 

That’s 20% off patterns, fabric, pre-cuts, haberdashery, kits, including 20% off my new stock of Kaufman Indigo Denim.

 

 

This soft denim is 60″ wide, and perfect for dressmaking, bag making and soft furnishings.

 

So why not celebrate the new year with a bargain! The coupon is valid until Sunday 8th January.

 

Happy New Year to you all!

 

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Denim Pouches


By Judith on December 30, 2016
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Some much needed time off in December meant ‘play time’!

And for me, playtime usually involves denim!!

 

 

I love the many different tones that exist in this durable form.

 

 

I started my ‘playtime’ with a little denim EPP (English Paper Piecing) in front of the open fire on chilly December evenings.

 

Pretty soon I had 2 EPP panels made, and before I knew it I had 2 sizeable pouches made!  I even employed The Beast for those particularly thicker features!

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

I was loosely basing these pouches on my denim washbag. I love how Aurifil wool thread holds its own on the thicker textiles.

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

I had 2 people in mind as the recipients for these pouches.

 

Brit Bee Secret Santa Denim Pouch

 

This one went to Katy, who I was making for in our Brit Bee Secret Santa.

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

And this one went to a good friend on her birthday – can you guess what her name is?

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

And I might just have a 3rd EPP Denim project on the go!

 

My name is Judith and I’m addicted to denim!

 

Happy sewing!

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Giveaway Winner!


By Judith on December 27, 2016
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Well that’s Christmas over for another year! Phew!

 

I hope you all had fun and didn’t eat too much!

 

 

Thank you so much everyone for entering my giveaway and filling out my little questionnaire.  It has been a wonderful 6 year celebration!

 

Your feedback and suggestions are enlightening and valuable, and I will use them to shape how and what I blog about to best meet your needs.

 

And on to the important business of who has won my Joel Dewberry blogiversary giveaway.

 

 

I’m delighted to announce that the winner is …………..

LEIGH MORGAN

 

Congratulations Leigh!  I have emailed you directly!  Your winnings will be en route to you very soon.

 

Thank you all for taking part!

 

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Fussy Cut Coasters


By Judith on December 22, 2016
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(Don’t forget to enter my Joel Dewberry Giveaway here.)

 

 

It seems like ages ago when my Fussy Cut Christmas Coasters appeared in the November issue of Quilt Now.

 
Fussy Cut Christmas Coasters (Quilt Now Nov16)
This ‘Chalkboard Snowman’ fabric by Studio E was perfect for fussy cutting.

 

 

And if you make your templates from see-through plastic, then cutting them out is a doddle!

 

 

Some simple quilting and a bias trim makes these cute 4.5″ coasters a quick little stocking filler or secret santa gift!

 

 

There’s still time!  Only 3 more sleeps!

 

Fussy Cut Christmas Coasters (Quilt Now Nov16)

 

Happy Sewing!

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Blogiversary Giveaway


By Judith on December 20, 2016
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On this day 6 years ago I started blogging!  My how time flies!

 

It has been such a wonderfully positive experience, and I love every aspect of blogging!

 

So how would you like to celebrate with me?

 

 

I’m giving away this 12 fat quarter bundle of Joel Dewberry’s Wander and 2 co-ordinating spools of Aurifil 50wt.

 

Joel Dewberry 12 FQ Giveaway

 

Wander has the most gorgeous shades of soft grey, mustard and magenta, balancing pretty florals and geometrics perfectly.

 

Joel Dewberry 12 FQ Giveaway

 

If you would like a chance to win this bundle of loveliness, just complete my quick little survey here.

 

The givewaway will run for 1 week and is open to international entries too! I will announce the winner on Tuesday 27th December.

 

Thanking you in advance for your valued feedback.

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Gingerbread Men Garland


By Judith on December 17, 2016
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My uni daughter loves Gingerbread men biscuits, Gingerbread houses, Gingerbread scented candles – just about everything Gingerbread!!

 

So I knew the perfect gift to make for her ‘room away from home’.

 

 

I sourced some brown felt online and fiddled about with the size of the template until I was happy! I cut out 12 men.

 

Then I fixed some heavy weight sew-in vilene to the wrong sides of the front men, and sewed on the ric rac trim.

 

Buttons and embroidered faces finished the fronts.

 

Gingerbread Men Garland

 

A long time ago a good friend bought me a spool of Liberty of London twine, and I knew it would be perfect to string up these gingers!

 

Not wanting to have loops coming out of the tops of the heads, I machine tacked a continuous length of twine onto the wrong sides of the ‘back men’.

 


Then I sewed the fronts and backs together, at first with a top stitch on the machine, close to the edge, and then I blanket stitched the edges by hand using Aurifil Wool 12wt.

 

 

 

I’m really pleased with how these cute fellas turned out!  And so is Uni daughter! It will be so lovely having her home for a few days at Christmas.

 

 

If you’d like to have a go yourself at some gingerbread men ornaments, you can get my free template here.

 

Gingerbread Men Garland

 

 

Along with my Tipsy Santas, this has been one of my favourite Christmas makes this year!

I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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6 Christmas Stocking Filler Tutorials


By Judith on December 14, 2016
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Often the smallest and quickest sewing projects can bring the most pleasure.

 

I’ve curated some of my free tutorials for you, in a ‘Stocking Filler’ collection!

 

 

Who wouldn’t love a framed purse in their stocking, or a handy little glasses case?

 

Framed Purses (2.5″ x 6″)
Flex Frame Pouches

 

Keyfobs are such a useful accessory, as our my stacking nesting boxes (you can use these on desks for stationery or for keeping those beauty essentials organised on a dressing table!).

 

 

My towel backed bibs make sure the youngest members aren’t excluded (yes of course they have their own stocking!). Make them in cute Christmas fabrics for ‘baby’s first Christmas’!

 

Baby Bibs
Use 2.5″ squares for these festive patchwork bibs

 

And if you need to create a little more intrigue for a small gift, pop it into one of my gift bags! Isn’t the opening of presents just as much fun as the presents themselves?

 

 

Christmas Gift Bags

 

You can find even more Christmas themed tutorials here on my tutorials page.

 

And check out my new Christmas tutorials Pinterest board for more ideas from around the web!

 

Now you’ll never be stuck for super seasonal sewing stocking stuffers! (try saying that after a few Baileys!)

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Christmas Baubles Quilt


By Judith on December 11, 2016
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Popular Patchwork very kindly sent me a gorgeous bundle of ‘Wrap it Up’ fabrics by Makower with a ‘festive quilt’ remit for their December issue.

 

 

I took inspiration from the baubles shapes in the fabrics and designed this applique baubles Christmas quilt.

 

 

These fabrics were lovely to work with, and I teamed them with Makower’s Pindot (white) for the background.

 

Christmas Baubles quilt (Popular Patchwork Dec16)

 

The quilt comes in at a roomy 61″ x 64″, perfect for snuggling under and watching all those festive movies!

 

 

And if you think this contemporay quilt would look good next to your Christmas decorations, you can purchase it here.

 

 

Or for this and lots more Christmas Patchwork patterns, pick up your December copy of Popular Patchwork!

 

Happy decorating!

 

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Mixed Textiles Robin Cushion


By Judith on December 7, 2016
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In the December issue of Pretty Patches magazine, you might find this cheeky chappie making a song and dance of things!

 

Christmas Robin (mixed textiles) for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

Many of you will know that my first love in ‘all things fabric’ are recycled textiles.  I have a particular obsession fondess for tweed, linen, wool and corduroy.

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

The only items officially ‘purchased’ in this cushion are the background (Tilda) and the berries!

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

I love mixing textures and textiles!  Here we have sumptuous tweed, soft red wool, tactile cord, a vintage curtain remnant and a few scraps of good old fashioned quilting cotton. Oh what fun I had playing putting these together.

 

I also love satin stitch applique, but I knew with these thicker fabrics standard thread would disappear into the nap.

 

 

So out come the 12wt Aurifil wool threads! These are thick enough to use for hand embroidery, but not too thick to put through the eye of a size 90 machine needle. Win, win! (You can find a great selection here.)

 

As the design came together, I knew I wanted ‘berries’ in the corners.  I scratched my head for a few minutes, and then came up with a plan!

 

 

I un-threaded some jumbo pompom trim I had leftover from another project.  Then I ‘couched’ or satin stitched 3 thread stems together to create a little cluster of berries.  This made it super easy to sew them into the corners of the cushion.

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

A simple envelope backing and you have the perfect gift for all bird and nature lovers everywhere (not forgetting all the tweed & corduroy lovers too!).

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

My recycled, chirping Robin may be in the Christmas issue, but like the loyal and territorial real birds, I think he’ll stick around all year long!

 

So what type of fabrics make your heart skip a beat?

 

Happy bird watching!

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KITS!


By Judith on December 5, 2016
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I don’t mean to worry you, but Christmas is less than 3 weeks away!

 

Eeeeekkkkk!

 

I need to get my ‘Christmas shopping skates’ on!

 

But if you need a few ideas for what to buy a fellow sewist (or yourself!!) then how about a kit?

 

p1130091

 

This is an exciting new feature of my shop and I currently have 2 types to choose from:

 

Hexie Framed Purse Kit:

 

p1080104

 

Framed purses are so versatile and make great gifts.  These hexie purses mean you can indulge in a little hand sewing (English Paper Piecing) as well as machine quilting and construction.

 

p1120850

 

You can choose from a ‘Mixed’ Kit in bright rainbow colours, or a ‘Tilda’ Kit (4 ranges to choose from). Everything you need to make the purse is in the kit, including the pattern and templates. You can see a full list of the kit contents here.

 

Hexie Notebook Cover Kit:

p1120644

 

If you know someone who enjoys journalling, keeping recipes, class notes etc. then a removeable A5 notebook cover could be the perfect gift!

 

Again the techniques combine pre-cut hexies with machine quilting and construction, and you can add in some embroidery details too.

 

p1120732

 

The kits are available as ‘Brights’ (multi coloured hexies with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Denim) or ‘Tilda’ (with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Flax).

 

The kit includes everything you need to make the notebook cover, all pre-cut and ready to sew.  You also get the pattern and an A5 spiral notebook.

 

p1130093

 

So that could be one less pressie to think of, right?

 

Happy shopping!

 

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Tipsy Tomte Santas!


By Judith on December 3, 2016
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The December issue of Pretty Patches included a complimentary booklet called ‘Easy Christmas Gifts’.

 

p1130122

 

 

I fancied having a go at the cute Swedish Santas. However it took me 3 goes to get them right!

 

Tipsy Santas

 

A few ‘bottom’ issues meant my Santas weren’t sitting completely upright. And so they were affectionately named ‘Tipsy Santas’!  (I think they got to the sherry a little too early!)

 

Tipsy Santas

 

I also had a few ‘glue’ issues first time around, so I exchanged gluing the ribbon on with self-adhesive crochet trim. Oh how I love this stuff!

 

Tipsy Santas

 

But despite the issues, I’m pleased with how they turned out, and have gifted 2 of them.

 

Tipsy Santas

 

 

So if you would like to have a go at making some Swedish ‘Tipsy Santas’ my advice is to cut out the circle base a few inches smaller, go carefully with the glue and stay well away from the Sherry!

 

Tipsy Santas

 

Happy sewing!

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Giveaway Winner!


By Judith on December 1, 2016
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Thank you to everyone for entering my Tula Pink Giveaway here and on Facebook.

 

p1130050

 

I’m delighted to announce that the winner is ……………

Sandra Jansen

Congratulations Sandra.  I hope you enjoy your winnings!

And for everyone else, don’t be sad!  I will be running another giveaway very soon!

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Free Storage Caddy Pattern


By Judith on November 30, 2016
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Hi everyone, I hope your week is going well.  Can you believe it’s December tomorrow?!

 

And you know what that means!!

 

p1130050

 

Giveaway time!  I’ll be announcing the winner of my Tula Pink giveaway tomorrow evening, so if you haven’t already entered, just sign up for my newsletter (right) and/or like my Facebook page here.

And 18 fat quarters aren’t the only free items I’m giving away!

How about a free pattern?

 

p1090379

 

This is my Storage Caddy, as seen in Pretty Patches Magazine.

 

It is 7″ tall with 7″ diameter and can be used to keep lots of bits and bobs in order.  You could use it in the sewing room, the nursery, the bathroom, even on your bedroom dressing table!

 

P1030831

 

This pattern will give you a flavour of how I structure and present all my patterns.

 

So if you fancy having a go at this ‘beginner friendly’ pattern it is available for free download here.

 

(If you have trouble downloading the pattern, please let me know and I will email the pattern to you.  We have been having a few teething problems on the new site, but are working hard to get you a fully functional service!)

 

At the start of my patterns, you get a ‘Good to Know’ section (you can see this section before purchasing). This is where you can get all the essential information e.g. if a zipper foot is required, main techniques, best fabrics to use etc.

 

presentation2

 

The rest of the pattern is then made up of the following headings:

 

presentation1

 

There are step by step colour photos throughout the Make It section, and all templates have been professionally art-worked.

 

I have worked hard to ensure that my patterns are as easy to follow as I can make them.  It is my desire that you can use a pattern confidently at home, without needing a teacher on hand to make sense of it!!

 

 

But I’m always up for constructive feedback!  Let me know what you think of the Storage Caddy pattern, or any others.

 

Happy Sewing!

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Gift Bag Tutorial


By Judith on November 26, 2016
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It’s wonderful to see so many folks entering my Tula Pink giveaway.

 

p1130050

 

If you haven’t already entered, just sign up for my newsletter (right) and/or like my Facebook page here.

 

So Christmas is sneaking up quickly, and I thought you might like a quick and easy Christmas tutorial.

 

christmas-gift-bag-tutorial-jpg

 

 

How cute are these gift bags?

They are fully lined and stand at 7″ tall. Perfect for jazzing up those smaller (but no less important) gifts!

 

So let’s get started.  Here’s what you need:

 

Outside: 2 x (7.5″ wide x 10.5″ tall)

Lining: 2 x (7.5″ wide x 10.5″ tall)

Channel: 2 x (2″ wide x 8″ tall) or use 1″ wide ribbon

Drawstring: 2 x 20″ lengths of narrow ribbon

Safety pin

Small square ruler

 

p1130021

 

Method:

Assume 1/4″ seam allowances

 

1  Place both outside pieces right sides together. Sew around the side and bottom edges. Repeat for the 2 lining pieces, but this time leave a 2″ gap in the middle of the bottom edge.

 

presentation1

 

2  Make box corners: Pull the corners apart and place the side seam on top of the bottom seam. Place the ruler on top of the corner and measure and mark 3″ vertically (or 1.5″ from tip horizontally).

 

p1130025

 

3  Sew along the line, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch. Repeat for all 4 corners. (I like to trim off the excess from the lining, but leave the corners on the outers for a ‘stronger bottom’!)

 

p1130027

 

4  Turn the outer bag right side out (leave the lining inside out).

 

5  Place the outer bag inside the lining. Match and pin the side seams and top edges.

 

p1130028

 

6  Sew around the top edge (you will find this easier if you remove the accessory tray). Start and finish with a reverse stitch.

 

p1130029

 

7  Turn the bag right side out through the gap in the lining.  Push the corners out and stitch the gap in the lining closed.

 

p1130031

 

8  Push the lining into the bag and press the top edge to neaten.

 

p1130032

 

9  Make the Channel: Press under the short ends of each piece by 1/4″. Also press under both long sides by 0.5″.

 

p1130034

 

10  Pin the channels to the bag. The top edge of the channel will be 1.5″ down from the top of the bag.  Don’t worry if there is a little gap at the sides.

 

p1130036

 

p1130037

 

11  Slide the bag into your machine (without the accessory tray) and sew around the top and bottom edges of the channel, 1/8″ seam away from the edge.  Rather than stopping at the sides, just continue sewing onto the next channel. Start and finish with a reverse stitch.

 

p1130038

 

12  Finishing: Attach the safety pin to one end of a piece of ribbon. Thread the pin into the channel at one side, all the way around and out the same side.  Knot the ends of the ribbon together.

 

p1130040

 

p1130041

 

13  Thread the other piece of ribbon in the same way, this time from the opposite side.

 

p1130042

 

14  And you’re done!  Fill with goodies and make lots more!

 

p1130048

 

 

Happy sewing!

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Tula Pink Giveaway!


By Judith on November 23, 2016
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Welcome everyone to my new website!

Thank you to those of you have already given me great feedback and left comments – your opinions matter to me and I will continue updating and improving the website to make it as user friendly and desirable as I can.

I would love for you to join in the celebrations with me, and so I am launching my first ever Just Jude Designs giveaway!

Tula Pink & Aurifil giveaway

How would you like to win this 18 fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink’s ‘Chipper’ AND 3 spools of co-ordinating Aurifil 50wt?

Tula Pink & Aurifil giveaway

This designer collection has the cutest little foxes and squirrels, in saturated tones of soft green, purples, pinks and oranges.

Tula Pink & Aurifil giveaway

You have 2 chances of winning this lush bundle!

  1. Register your email address for future Just Jude Designs Newsletters (sign up box is on the right hand side).
  2. Like my Just Jude Designs Facebook page (click here) and leave me a comment here saying you’ve done so.

The giveaway will be open until Thursday 1st December, and international entries are welcome.

Best of luck everyone!

Let the celebrations begin!

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Houndstooth Quilt


By Judith on November 18, 2016
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The design process can be an interesting one!

 
I remember one time in Bee Blessed we decided to make arrowhead blocks. For some reason, when I looked at that block I saw different patterns, and filed those ideas away!
Earlier this year I made this Starburst quilt, for a summer issue of Popular Patchwork, and realised one of those arrowhead ideas!

 

Popular Patchwork cover.July

 

But I needed to ‘scratch the itch’ a little more, and so my modern Houndstooth Quilt came into being (in fact there were 4 other variations of this one!).

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)

 
Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine fell in love with it and commissioned it for their November issue, which is in the shops now!

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)
Photo courtesy of LPQ

 

They also asked for a matching cushion:

 

P1110795

I’ll admit that this quilt is a little more modern than my usual style, but I love the 9 steps of gradation in the Kona solids from Black to Silver.
Kona Pomegranate has been one of my favourite colours since I discovered Kona solids – I love how it completely interrupts all that grey!

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)

 
And just look at that bright canary yellow on the back!

 
It’s a bad habit of mine not to look at blocks at face value! You never know what you might discover!

 
Happy sewing!

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Blocks-a-plenty!


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Hi everyone, I hope you are having a great November so far!

Outside of my normal teaching, sewing and pattern writing hours, I’ve been keeping up with my bee block commitments.

In Siblings Together this month, we have been making ‘boy’ blocks for Doti:

 

STB2 blocks for Dorfymid
Also for Siblings Together, I made 4 more canvas blocks.  It was my month in September, where I set the Canvas block. I was only 4 blcoks short and now that I have 30 blocks, I can get the quilt completed.
Canvas blocks for STB2
For Brit Bee this month, I had to make a block for Jo, which was designed by Angie!  These are the colours Jo has chosen for her quilt – I hope she likes it!
Brit Bee R4 block for Jo
So that’s my block round-up for November.
And I hope to have some really exciting news to announce here soon! Watch this space!
Happy sewing!
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Hexie Stars Quilt


By Judith on November 10, 2016
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I’m one of hundreds of quilters who love hexies!

I’ve even got a Pinterest board dedicated to them!

And machine sewing hexies isn’t as tricky as you might think (and no, I’m not talking about Y seams!).

One way to make machine sewing hexies easier is to use pre-cut fabric like a layer cake, and create star points in the spaces between the hexies.
p1040637

 

The hexies and their star points are then sewn together in rows – Simples!

 

step-1

 

And there are great templates out there that make cutting the hexies super quick and easy.  I particularly like these ones from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Here are 2 Hexie Star Quilts I’ve made in the last 2 years ….

 

Autumn Hexie Stars Quilt
Autumn Hexies with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax)

 

Hexie Stars Quilt class sample
Sweetwater’s ‘Noteworthy’ with Navy solid

… and here is the one in the current issue of British Patchwork & Quilting:

 

P1100277

 

I made this one as a ‘man quilt’ with Sweetwater’s ‘Elementary’ and Essex Yard Dyed Linen. And they put it on the front cover!!

 

Hexie Stars Quilt (BPQ Nov16)

 

So if you like hexies as much as me, why not have a go!
And if you are looking for a gift, both my Essex Linen Hexie Stars Quilts will soon be for sale (watch this space!).
Happy Hexing!
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Autumn Garden Quilt


By Judith on November 3, 2016
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I spent the weekend in Derby with my 3 favourite girls!

Derby Oct16
My eldest daughter turned 21 at the end of October and it was so lovely celebrating with her in the most inspiring surroundings!
Derby Oct16
Derby Oct16
Derby Oct16

Derby Oct16

 

Derby Oct16
Derby Oct16

Autumn is such a beautiful season. But it’s time to put on an extra layer, turn the thermostat up another few notches, and bring out the cosy quilts.

The November issue of Popular Patchwork is in the shops, and in it you’ll find my Autumn Garden Quilt.

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

This is a small quilt (53″ square), but I’m a little bit in love with it (I love curvilicious quilts)!!

For a while now I’ve been wanting to make the ‘drunkard’s path’ flower, and I think the saturated tones of Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee and Shelburne Falls give these flowers a cosy autumnal feel.

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

I’ve used my trusty Essex Yarn Dyed linen (black) for the background and whizzed the fabrics through my Sizzix Drunkard’s Path dies (657168 fan background & 657169 quarter circle).

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

And this quilt could easily translate into another season (think fresh Spring fabrics!).
I hope you are keeping warm and cosy this Autumn!
Happy sewing!
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Hearts & Patches Quilt


By Judith on October 20, 2016
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p1120878
I have a particular soft spot for Tilda fabrics.  I love the calming colours and the vintagey feel the ditsy florals and spots evoke.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
‘Autumn Tree’ is a collection that came out last year, and is still available to purchase.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
I went with simple 16 patch ‘on point’ blocks with appliqued hearts for my autumn quilt submission to Pretty Patches magazine.

And they put it on the front cover!  Woohoo!
Hearts & Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
I definitely think there will be more Tilda quilts in my future!
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
Happy sewing!

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Bee Block Bonanza!


By Judith on
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I support 2 charity quilting groups – Bee Blessed and Siblings Together.

This means making different blocks for them each month, which is a non-demanding way of supporting these wonderful causes.

Here is a wee round up of my recent bee blocks.

In Bee Blessed, we were making Woven blocks in pastels for September …..

Bee Blessed Blocks (Sept16)

…. and Wonky Cross blocks in ‘male appropriate’ colours for October.

Bee Blessed blocks (Oct16)

In Siblings Together Bee 2 I got to set the block for September, and requested Canvas blocks, in any 2 colour-ways. Here are what I have received from the other ladies in the bee:

Canvas blocks for STB2 Sept16

I only need to make 5 more blocks, and after putting it out for consultation (asking a few sewing friends on FB!) it was decided that I should make the remaining blocks in purple, yellow, pink & green!

Oct16 STB2 blocks for Jenny/Lilac Cat

October’s blocks in STB2 are these fabulously scrappy 16″ blocks. These were so much fun to make, because they were scrappy (my fav) and the irregular improv angles meant they were super quick too!

So that’s me up-to-date with my bee commitments!

And it’s half-way through October already! So I’ll leave you with a few of my recent Autumn pics!

Autumn Oct16
Autumn Oct16
Autumn Oct16
Autumn Oct16

Happy scrunching!

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Folksy Tea Cosy


By Judith on September 23, 2016
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Sewing World asked me to make a Scandi inspired Tea Cosy for their October issue.

After much deliberation I broke with tradition and chose felt to best illustrate my design.

Folksy Tea Cosy

I used my trusty Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) for the background.  I think the rustic linen gives a lovely foundation for the tactile felt.

I bondawebbed the shapes down (took quite a bit of heat to adhere) and then had to decide on how to applique them.

Folksy Tea Cosy

 

I haven’t free motion sketched on felt before so wasn’t sure if my risky decision would pay off.  But I’m really pleased with the added texture it gives to the felt.

Folksy Tea Cosy

I hope you like my cute cosy, and my nod to all things Folksy!

(The October issue of Sewing World is in the shops now.)
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Woodland Friends Quilt


By Judith on September 21, 2016
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Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’m super excited to be able to show you some of my new friends!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork, Oct issue)

This is my Woodland Friends quilt, made with Aneela Hoey’s ‘Foxgloves’ & ‘Vignette’ collections on an Essex linen background.
It all started with a commission from Popular Patchwork to make an Autumnal/Woodland quilt.

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

I found a picture of a fox and started drawing over it! And so ‘Vi’ Vixen was born!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

But Vi needed a friend to play with, so ‘Rusty Red’ came out to play!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

Now Rusty is a cheeky chappie, and he and Vi get up to all sorts of mischief. Especially when sleepy ‘Flora’ Fawn is trying to nap ….

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

…. and ‘Boris’ is busy sniffing and rustling out tasty treats on the forest floor!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

‘Olive’, the great and wise overseer of the Woodland is tut tutting at Vi and Rusty!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

She sends in ‘Harriet’ Hare, the only sensible fur in the whole forest, to keep harmony between the rascals, the nappers and the rustlers!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

 

Order once again is restored and all the friends can enjoy the treats of the forest!
Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)
Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

I so enjoyed designing and making this quilt. The characters evolved organically, and they have become like little characters to me!
I chose satin stitch applique for this quilt, using ‘stitch n tear’ behind the bondawebbed shapes.

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

Next came the tricky decision on how to quilt it!  I couldn’t bring myself to sew through my cute new friends (I tried, honestly!).  So in the end I went for ‘interrupted’ vertical lines.
And to top it all off, Popular Patchwork put my Woodland Friends on the front cover of the October issue!  Weehee!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork, Oct issue)

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed meeting my new pals.
And what would you think to me running this as an applique Quilt-Along next year?
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Autumn Tree Wallhanging


By Judith on September 18, 2016
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Now that I am embracing Autumn, I can show you one of my favourite makes of this year!

 

Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issues)
This is ‘Autumn Tree’, an applique wallhanging measuring 27″ x 30″, which I will definitely be displaying in my home.
Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issues)

 

I adore the warm autumnal purples and pinks in Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee range, especially on a Kona Bone background.  In fact, the leaf shapes are the by-product of the Sizzix Drunkard’s Path Fan die!!  I always keep these shapely leftovers, and was so pleased to be able to turn some of them into a seasonal project.

Useful tip:  Quilt your background first before appliquing on the shapes.  This means you don’t have those head-scratching moments when trying to decide how to quilt around the shapes.

 

 

Satin stitch is my favourite applique technique, and I think it suits the clean lines of the leaves and trunk.

Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issue)

The pattern for this wallhanging is in the October issue of Pretty Patches Magazine.

And maybe one day I will make Spring, Summer & Winter/Christmas versions to hang up with each changing season!!

Hope you are off to a great Autumn!

Jude xo

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Scrappy Strips Quilt


By Judith on September 15, 2016
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I think it’s time I said farewell to summer!

My first ever harvest of apples!

 

We have enjoyed an Indian summer here, but temperatures are starting to drop and I’m feeling the need for an extra layer!

So just enough time to show you my last ‘summer’ quilt.

Scrappy Strips Quilt (British P&Q Sept16)
Photo: British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

This is imaginatively called the ‘Scrappy Strips Quilt’ (‘it does exactly what it says on the tin!’). Scrappy quilts are my all time favourite, and I had so much fun one weekend delving into a pile of scrappy strips and sewing them together.

 

Scrappy Strips Quilt (British P&Q Sept16)
Photo: British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine


The coloured strips are of varying widths and very little thought went into what strip got sewed on next.  I don’t even like all of the fabrics in this quilt, but I LOVE the finished look.  That’s the magic which happens when a little bit of courage and random fabrics get mixed together.I love making strip pieced blocks.  I used 2″ white strips through each block, but that’s pretty much where the uniformity ends!
Scrappy Strips Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept16)


The quilt is currently in the September issue of British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, and measures a decent 66″ x 77″.  I could easily have gone bigger, I hardly made a dent in my scraps!
Scrappy Strips Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept16)

So it’s goodbye summer, and hello beautiful Autumn!
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Hexie Notebook Cover


By Judith on
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Today is the 2nd Tuesday of the month!  And that means Scraptastic Tuesday!

It’s a while since I’ve linked up with Nicky and Leanne. But I’ve actually had some time recently to play with hexie scraps!
Hexie Notebook Cover

 

This notebook cover fits an A5 spiral notebook and uses 36 English Paper Pieced 1″ hexies, the perfect size for using up those smaller scraps.
Hexie Notebook cover

 

I also experimented a little with some Aurifil 12wt wool thread.  I like the way these thicker threads sit proud on the Essex Yarn Dyed Linen.
Hexie Notebook Cover
Hexie Notebook Cover
These notebook covers come together really quickly once the hexie panel is made. And they are a ‘go to present’ when one of the kids needs a last minute gift for a friend.
Hexie Notebook Cover
So what are you making with your scraps?
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6 Free Back to School Tutorials


By Judith on September 1, 2016
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School’s back in session! (I can hear all the parents cheering from here!)
When my kids were younger, we all enjoyed the ‘stationery shop’, filling up new pencil cases with brightly coloured pencils, funky shaped sharpeners and rubbers, new files and bendy rulers!
But most of all I enjoyed making them items they could use for school.
 6 Free Back to School Tutorials

Here are 6 of my ‘back to school’ projects to keep your kids equipped (& the envy of their friends!).

And there’s even more temptation inspiration here on my ‘Back to School’ Pinterest board.

Happy sewing!

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Almost Autumn!


By Judith on August 28, 2016
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It would seem that Autumn is just around the corner!

Crawfordsburn Aug16


Lots of evidence of it today on our lovely picnic and walk around Crawfordsburn Country Park.

Crawfordsburn Aug16
Crawfordsburn Aug16
Crawfordsburn Aug16
Crawfordsburn Aug16
Crawfordsburn Aug16
Crawfordsburn Aug16

Of course that means a new term of sewing projects for me.  Can you guess what type of projects I’ve started working on?

I’m not even going to mention the ‘C’ word, but that’s how I’ll be spending my last few days of summer!
Happy sewing!
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‘Back to School’ Pouch


By Judith on August 6, 2016
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Here in N.Ireland we have really loooooooong school summer holidays.  They start off slowly at the end of June, but seem to really speed up in August as we hurtle towards September!

We are already in the throws of school uniform buying in the Hollies’ household!

So my ‘Back to School’ Pencil case in this month’s issue of Quilt Now is quite timely!

Back to School Pouch (Quilt Now)
I love these colours on the Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (denim).
And on the other side ……
Back to School Pouch (Quilt Now)
If you want to banish your fear of zippers, this is a lovely project to get in some practise. The pattern will talk you through how to insert the zipper, and how to make covered zip ends to get a lovely finish to your pouch.
ABC Pouch for Quilt Now (Aug16)

 

This is a really roomy pouch, so no excuses for forgetting school supplies!!
And if you’d like to get some of this quality linen/cotton mix, you can find it here in my shop.
Happy sewing!
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Bobbles Picnic Quilt


By Judith on July 29, 2016
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Happy Friday to you all!

We had gorgeous blue skies today!

Lighthouse, Donaghadee
Donaghadee Lighthouse

 

The perfect day for a picnic perhaps?

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

This is my Bobbles Picnic Quilt, currently featured in the August issue of Popular Patchwork.
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)
I love jumbo pompoms (these ones are 20mm, available from Frumble Fabrics).
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

This pattern starts off with 36 x 10″ squares, so you could easily use a layer cake here.
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

I’ve quilted the quilt with a calico backing first, then added the pompom trim and a water resistant back (washable shower curtain) using the ‘bagging out’ method. A few extra stitches in the centre of the blocks keeps all the layers neatly together.
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get lots more ‘blue sky’ days so I can christen my picnic quilt!
Happy picnic-ing!
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Retro Beach Bag


By Judith on July 24, 2016
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I have a confession to make!

I’m a closet hippy!  Born a decade too late, I’ve been repressed ever since!!

So nothing delights me more than sewing with retro, funky fabric!

 

Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)
Fabric is ‘Linen Cupboard’ by Emma Jean Jansen for Ella Blue

 

This is my Retro Beach Bag in the August issue of Pretty Patches.

Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)

I love the simplicity of beach bags – roomy, sturdy and with ‘make it easier’ features like webbing for handles and mesh for outside pockets.

 

 

I also love projects that are functional and practical, so I’ve made the lining with wipeable Rip-Stop nylon, and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your swimming costume and drippy sun lotions.

 

Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)

 

I know some of you have a ‘zip phobia’, but trust me when I say this is one of the easiest ways to insert a zipper.  The entire bag is made first, and then the zip is top stitched onto the top of the bag.

Simples!

Here’s the same pattern done in Ikea ‘deco’ weight fabrics (unquilted).

 

Bethany's Beach Bag

 

So if you don’t want an over-complicated, summer bag, have a go at this beginner friendly pattern and get in touch with your inner hippy!

Peace man!

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Summer Rail Fence Quilt


By Judith on July 21, 2016
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We’ve been experiencing something of a mini heatwave here in the UK this week!

Almost too hot to get out and enjoy some local delights (well, I did say almost!).

Castle Ward July16
view from Castle Ward
Castle Ward July16
Castle Ward July16

 

Bangor Walled Gardens July16
Bangor Walled Gardens

 

Bangor Walled Gardens July16
Bangor Walled Gardens July16


While my sewing room has been ‘closed’ for 2 weeks, it’s the perfect time of year to show you my Summer Rail Fence quilt!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


This pattern is in the August issue of Pretty Patches (out now) and was the result of a fun weekend earlier in the year playing with scrappy strips!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


I love the summery combo of oranges, soft yellows, pinks and teals, combined with the earthy brown stripe. Just look at the lovely styling it gets on the coordinated orange front cover!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


The rail fence design is a classic, but there are many ways to give it a modern twist! And it is beginner friendly piecing too!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)

This would be an easy quilt to make for other seasons (think fresh Spring greens and yellows, warm Autumnal plums and browns) or even a Christmas version!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


And of course, a great scrap buster project too!

Wishing you all some fun in the sun!signature

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Mori Girl Travel Pouch


By Judith on July 11, 2016
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Travel Washbag

If you are lucky enough to be heading off on your travels this summer, you might need a giant pouch to keep all those toiletries and suncreams in!!

Travel Washbag

The lovely peeps at Quilt Now sent me the cutest fabrics by Dashwood Studios called Mori Girl!

Travel Washbag
As you can see, this pouch has stacks of room, with a zipper inserted along the top finished edge.
Additional features are a narrow piping trim on the outside and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your toothbrush and cloth.
Travel Washbag
The ‘wet bag’ is lined with Rip-stop nylon, a sturdy wipeable and machine washable fabric. You could easily line the travel pouch with Rip-stop too and turn it into a wash bag.
The pattern for this travel pouch is in the July issue of Quilt Now, in the shops now!
Happy travels!
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‘Summer Soft’


By Judith on July 4, 2016
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Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!!

The weather here has been rubbish, so I’m just going to pretend it is summer, that it’s 28 degrees outside, and that I’m still sitting in my garden with a cold pear cider in hand!! (indulge me!)

'Summer Soft' Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)
Photo by British Patchwork & Quilting

This is ‘Summer Soft’.

She is made from the sumptuously soft ‘feel the difference’ fabrics by Art Gallery (Bazaar Style, Paradise & Dreaming in French collections).

Summer Soft Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)
Finished size 62″ x 62″

Perfect for long summer evenings in the garden! (still dreaming!)
Summer Soft Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)

This is a great ‘beginner friendly’ project with simple piecing and repeating blocks, and you can find the pattern in the July issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

'Summer Soft' Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)

I hope you are enjoying some sunshine wherever you are!

Happy sunning!

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Not For Wimps!


By Judith on June 29, 2016
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Today saw the end of another year of teaching my Patchwork and Quilting classes!

I teach 4 (sometimes 5) classes a week and the topics of conversation that take place are varied and entertaining!

To give you an idea, here are a few of my favourites:

English football (the less said the better!)
The Great British Sewing Bee (and the ‘unique’ dress code of one of the judges!)
How hot and wrinkled Egyptian cotton sheets can get (don’t ask!)
How to treat achne!
How to get rid of garden snails!
How to disable your hockey opponent!
Birthing calves and lambs (& babies!)
50 ways to deal with an unhelpful doctor (un-printable!)

Of course there are many serious and thought-provoking conversations too!

Today one lady said ‘getting old isn’t for wimps’, which was swiftly followed by murmurs of agreement from around the room.

I’ve just had another birthday, and while ‘half way to 90’ isn’t old, neither am I young.

My daughter and nephew also celebrating birthdays this month!

In truth this statement could apply to life – ‘doing life isn’t for wimps’. Among the 48 ladies I have the privilege of teaching each week, some are battling cancer or illness, divorce and loss, children with special needs, caring for elderly parents, teenagers, anxiety, worry and fear and many more life challenges.

One of our recent chats in class was about how to get through life with a positive attitude, seeing good and bad times as an opportunity to grow and learn, and how to have courage to live life with intention and purpose. How inspiring!

Doing life, and doing it well, isn’t for whimps!  But each week my ladies turn up to class with a smile; they laugh, chatter, encourage, cajole, drink tea, eat biscuits and even sew a little!

They are choosing to do life, and do it well. There are certainly no wimps in my classes!!

Thank you ladies for sharing your thoughts, talents, hearts and authenticity each week.

Wishing you all a creative summer break!

Jude xo

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Travel Sewing Pouch


By Judith on June 26, 2016
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A few years ago I made a travel sewing pouch and ran a class teaching it. It proved really popular because a) it was easy to make and b) people saw a variety of uses for it!

Travel Sewing Pouch (Pretty Patches July16)


Pretty Patches Magazine really liked it too, and have published it in their July issue!

Travel Sewing Pouch (Pretty Patches July16)


This is a great pouch for bringing all your essential sewing equipment away on holiday.

Travel Sewing Pouch (Pretty Patches July16)
The pockets can be customised to suit your equipment, and there’s a handy zippered pocket in the back too!
Of course, you could translate this pouch into a travel art supplies case, beauty supplies, or for keeping electronic devises safe.

Travel Sewing Pouch (Pretty Patches July16)

They also make great presents for sewing buddies!
So where are you heading off to this summer?

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Summer Starburst Quilt


By Judith on June 23, 2016
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Happy Thursday everyone!

Summer seems to have relocated around these parts, so in an attempt to bring you lots of summer colour and happiness, check out my Summer Starburst Quilt!

Summer Starburst Quilt (Popular Patchwork July16)


This started out as a ‘scrap buster’ project, after I got enquiries on how to use larger pieces of scraps (less than a fat quarter metre).

Summer Starburst Quilt (Popular Patchwork July16)


The design is based on the arrow-head block (half square triangles and squares), and you could easily change the colourways to suit whatever you have in your stash.

Summer Starburst Quilt (Popular Patchwork July16)
I really love the ‘colour splat’ effect from the rounds of colour – it makes me smile and think of a warm, hot summer (a girl can dream)!
This pattern is available in the July issue of Popular Patchwork, and it made front cover!! Woohoo!
Popular Patchwork cover.July

 

Isn’t the styling gorgeous!  Loving the cute bike!
So what I want to know is, do you like scrappy projects? How do you use your scraps?  And what’s the smallest size you keep?
Looking forward to hearing from you,

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Denim Sail Boat Cushion


By Judith on June 19, 2016
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Hello everyone!  My that’s another week gone!

How has your week been?

My June is always a little crazy, but exams are over, Uni daughter comes home for a visit on Thursday, so all is right with the world!

Did I ever tell you that I love recycling denim (only once or twice right! Wink! Wink!).

Sometimes an idea just comes on me and I have to run with it.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)


This started out as a little denim ‘play therapy’!  I had a clutch of Aurifil 12wt wool threads which I knew would marry the denim perfectly!

And so a little fun applique project turned into a cushion commission for Pretty Patches Magazine.

This was my first time using Aurifil 12wt threads in my machine.  I used them for some of the details, but not the main satin stitch applique.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)

I had used Coats Creative thread before in this way, and really liked the effect. But it’s difficult getting a wide range of shades in Coats Creative thread.  Aurifil however have a lovely range of 12wt colours, and with a size 100 needle, it ran through my machine like a dream (I used normal cotton thread in the bobbin).

My favourite bit is the uniquely worn part of the ‘sea’ – can you guess which part of the jeans this came from!!

You could easily substitute the denim for quilting cotton if you don’t have spare jeans lying around!!

So if you fancy dreaming of sailing away on the summer seas, then pick up a copy of Pretty Patches (July) today!

Happy Sailing!

 

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S.H.O.P. Tote Bag


By Judith on June 11, 2016
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It’s been a crazy busy week here!

But the sun has been shining and my friendly flowers are making an appearance once again.

 

 

 

I haven’t even had time to tell you about the rest of my magazine entries this month!

SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)


Quilt Now sent me some lush Alison Glass fabrics (Endpaper) for a ‘WORD’ themed bag.

The design for the letters came together surprisingly easily – straightforward piecing (there will definitely be more pieced letters in my design future).

I love how the colours really stand out against the Essex Linen (Flax).

SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)
Lining by Michael Miller Mini Chic Chevron


There’s also a sneaky little pop of colour behind the straps.

SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)
So for all you shopaholics out there, this one is for you!
SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)

 

The June issue of Quilt Now is Out Now!
Happy Shopping!

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Sketchbook Mini!


By Judith on May 31, 2016
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Popular Patchwork are currently running a mini quilt competition.

You design and make a 10.5″ x 15″ mini quilt based around your favourite colour, send it to PP and they will display the entries at their Festival of Quilts stand in August.

Liz (editor) has asked some of the magazine’s regular contributors to make a Sketchbook Mini to inspire others to enter.

So here is mine:

Popular Patchwork Sketchbook Mini (Log Cabin Love)

This mini quilt tells the story of 3 of my favourites in quilting:

Purple! My favourite colour, perhaps something to do with growing up in a 1970’s purple bedroom!!

Scraps! I love working with scraps, and yes I keep even 1.5″ wide pieces!

Log Cabins! The first patchwork block I ever made and I fell in love. This is a log cabin heart, but there are so many wonderful variations to the humble log cabin block (see my pinterest board here).

Log Cabin Love (Popular Patchwork June16)


There are some amazing prizes to be won (check them out here) and the closing date is 11th July.

So, what’s your favourite colour?

Jude xo

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Bee-utiful!


By Judith on May 29, 2016
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I knew summer was just around the corner!

Rowallane National Trust House & Gardens May16


The particular corner today was Rowallane House and Gardens, owned by National Trust.

Rowallane National Trust May16
Rowallane National Trust May16
Rowallane National Trust May16

A truly inspiring place with the ‘all time’ best climbing tree ever!

Not too many bees around yet, but here are some ‘bee’ blocks I’ve been making.

Quarter Log Cabin blocks for STB2


First up, Corner Log Cabin blocks for Siblings Together Bee 2. The special request from Charlo on these blocks were reds, blues and greys. Another boy quilt perhaps?

June blocks for Bee Blessed


And the Bee Blessed Blocks for May are Sarah’s Frame Box Blocks (try saying all of that after a glass of wine!).

Sarah has written a brill tutorial for these super quick and scrappy friendly blocks here.  And to see more about the wonderful ladies behind Bee Blessed, see some rare footage here.  They are doing an amazing job, and blessing so many people and families.  If you can support this great work by making a block or two I know they would love to hear from you.

Happy sewing!

Jude xo

 

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Beach Ball Bag


By Judith on May 27, 2016
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Ok, so I’m pretty sure summer is just around the corner (or maybe the next corner!).

Can you believe that May is nearly through?  But then comes one of my all time favourite months!

And no better time to start prepping for all this amazing weather we will be having this year (wink!).

When I think of warm sunshiney days, I think of fun at the beach, picnics and long, lazy, unhurried days out.

Beach Ball Bag (Sewing World June16)
Photo courtesy of Sewing World


I designed this roomy bag to suit any kind of summery day out.

As you can see, I had me some more porthole fun, making a simple half square triangle block to slip in behind the porthole.

I love how useful curtain eyelets can be for adding features to a bag. Super easy to put in (though still not a great range of colours in them yet).

The bag also features a spacious back pocket so no excuses for losing keys, sunnies, or any other essential sunny day out equipment (umbrella?).

So if you’re as deluded hopeful as me that summer will make an appearance this year, grab your copy of Sewing World now, for lots of great summer makes.

Happy sewing!

Jude xo

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Attic Crosses Quilt


By Judith on May 25, 2016
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Hello everyone!

How are you all doing? Every now and then we get a glimpse of summer here, and my garden is loving it (that of course means my grass is growing faster than the weeds!!).

My garden May16


I’ve been beavering away on some secret squirrel stuff, can’t wait to tell you all about it soon!

In the meantime, I’m so excited to share with you my modern Attic Crosses Quilt, commissioned by Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine (my first with LPQ).

Attic Crosses Quilt (LPQ June16)
Photo courtesy of LPQ

This is also my first quilt made entirely of Kona Solids. 

 

The talented peeps at LPQ had a hand in choosing the solids.  They are Iron, Dusty Blue, Wasabi, Silver, White and Dusty Peach on the back.
I forgot to take my own pics of the quilt before sending it off, so that’s another photo-shoot I need to do when I get the quilt back!
The June issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting is jammed packed with trendy designs, including a stunning hexie quilt by my super-talented friend, Svetlana.
Grab your copy in the shops now (but pay for it first!).
Happy reading!

 

P.s. thank you to everyone for joining the discussion about pattern gradings in my last post. I have enjoyed all your comments and am taking your feedback on board. If you didn’t get a reply from me, it means you are a ‘no reply comment blogger’ and your email address doesn’t register with your comment.

Jude xo

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Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?


By Judith on May 15, 2016
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As a pattern writer, I’m always interested in how other designers and companies rate their patterns according to ability levels.

Until now, I have been reserved about ‘grading’ my patterns.

You see, unless I know your background and attitude to sewing, it would be hard to recommend to you a ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ quilting pattern.

I’ve been teaching people to sew and quilt for nearly 8 years.  I’ve seen complete beginners take on technical patterns with a ‘bring it on’ attitude and totally nail it.  I’ve seen seasoned sewists attempt beginner level techniques for the first time and have near nervous break-downs!  And I’ve seen everything in between.

One thing I’ve learned is that your APPROACH and ATTITUDE to your learning is key!

Yes of course we have different learning styles; yes of course we have our preferred techniques and comfort zones. Sometimes additional support or explanation is needed from others, and of course experience can count for something. But never underestimate the power of a mind that is open and teachable to new things. (I also find a healthy dose of patience and determination go a long way too!)

Old Spools clothed in Liberty scraps


No matter how long I’ve been sewing for, I still have much to learn.  When I try out a new technique for the first time, I become a beginner all over again!

We all have different perspectives of what these terms mean. I get ‘beginners’ in my classes who have never used a rotary cutter before, and some who have; some already know how to use a sewing machine and some don’t! Some know what quarter inch seams and fat quarters are, and others look at me like I’ve got 2 heads!  The term ‘beginner’ can be quite a broad umbrella!

Trying to define such subjective terms as ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ within nebulus parameters isn’t always helpful.  For instance, a pattern marketed as ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ may put off someone who has been sewing for only a short time (and yet would be more than able to complete it), or someone who has been sewing for years but hasn’t tried much variety in their sewing. Equally, a ‘beginner’ graded pattern may rob a veteran sewer of the joy of a satisfyingly quick and uncomplicated make (my favourite kind!).

I appreciate that guidelines are sometimes needed, even if they are out in the ball park somewhere! I’m not against patterns being graded (though perhaps a more informative explanation should be given about the techniques involved, rather than just the typical 2 out of 5 stars/spools/scissors rating for example.)

What I’m not keen on is someone else, like me, or any other pattern writer, telling YOU what you are capable of achieving or not achieving. YOU are in charge of your learning.

So my questions to you are these?

How helpful are pattern gradings to you?
Do you pay much attention to them?
Would you like to see more of them?
Do you find a disparity between the levels across different pattern producers?
Do you define your sewing ability by one of these categories?

I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this.  At the moment I”m reviewing some of my existing patterns and writing new ones! Your comments will help me enormously.

Thank you,


Jude xo 

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Pinwheels for Siblings Together


By Judith on May 8, 2016
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Happy weekend everyone!

I hope you got to enjoy some lush sunshine today!

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16
66″ x 77″

This quilt is called Pinwheels and Prairies!

A couple of years ago, my daughter was pattern testing for me and made this quilt top.

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16


During a recent re-structuring clear out of my quilt cupboard I re-discovered this flimsy.  A good friend quilted it up in the cutest hearts, and I bound and labelled it!

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16

So that’s another quilt off to Siblings Together.  We are just over the half way mark, with lots more quilts being worked on!  You can see them all here.

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16


Happy sewing!

Jude xo

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Bags & Crutches!


By Judith on May 5, 2016
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Apologies for the radio silence!
It’s been over a week since I last blogged and in that time, we have entered into a new month (and hopefully a new season!).
Also since I last blogged, I’ve had car trouble, teeth trouble, and now ankle trouble!
Crutches ..... again!

My 2nd bad sprain in 10 months! Boo!
But I’m getting better at hobbling faster, and can even manage the foot pedal on my sewing machine!
Win, win!
So onto to much more fun stuff like sewing!
Popular Patchwork release 13 issues per year.  Their extra issue is a bag special, which comes out today!
Guess who made the front cover?

 

Lunchbags (Popular Patchwork Bag Special May16)


My fun appliqued lunchbags are insulated with heat resistant wadding (Insul Bright) and have wipeable and washable linings (rip-stop).

Lunch Bag Class samples


There’s also a handy elastic bottle holder to stop your drink from squishing your sarnies!

Lunch bag

And another of my bags features in this issue!

Summer Flowers Bag (Popular Patchwork Bag special May16)
This is my Summer Flowers Handbag, using pretty fabrics from the aptly named Pretty Fabrics and Trims, made into Economy squares, with Essex linen and faux leather handles from Fabric Yard.
 
Summer Flowers Handbag (Popular Patchwork Bag Special May16)
 
Features include an zippered pocket at the back and a magnetic closure.  You can also learn how to mitre a striped border.
 
This is a roomy bag, which could easily take a towel for fun days at the beach!
 
So that’s me up to date!
I will try to stay out of trouble, for a few days anyway!
Happy sewing!
Jude xo

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Beauty and The Beast!


By Judith on April 27, 2016
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A few weeks back I was offered an industrial Singer Sewing machine!

The Beast

 


She was originally a factory girl, retired long ago!

I call her ‘The Beast’!

She weighs an absolute tonne (it took 3 men to carry her upstairs!) and sounds like a jumbo jet taking off (I hope the neighbours don’t mind)!

The Beast

But boy can she sew, through super thick layers like denim!  And she’s fast too, so I’d better keep my fingers well out of the way!

And the latest Brit Bee block I’ve been working on, was a complete Beast to make (!) but turns out is a Beauty for who I was making it for.

Brit Bee R4 Block for Fiona
30″ x 15″

 


This block was designed by our Brit Bee Mama Laura Jane (who has just recently become a mama herself!!) and took a lot of patience, unpicking and even more patience! It is by far the most involved block we have made in Brit Bee so far and my attempt is perfectly imperfect!

Brit Bee R4 Block for Fiona
Love these wee doggies!

I was making for Fiona, in her choice of colours, and I’ve had the thumbs up from Fi (phew!).

So it looks like my ‘beasts’ have inner beauty after all!!

Jude xo

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Garden Shed Tidy!


By Judith on April 26, 2016
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Despite the chill factor, the sunny skies we’ve been having recently mean it is gardening weather once again!

Have you got your summer seeds ready yet?  I’ve already planted some beetroot and sunflowers, and am trying purple carrots for the first time this year!

So here’s a wee project for all you keen gardeners (& sewers) out there!

Garden Shed Tidy (Pretty Patches May16)
Photo courtesy of Pretty Patches


This is my Garden Shed Tidy, in the May issue of Pretty Patches.

Garden Shed Tidy

Handy see through pockets mean you can easily keep an eye on all those seed packets and smaller knick-knacks!  Don’t worry, sewing with pvc isn’t as tricky as you might think!

Garden Shed Tidy

 

And you can keep your scissors and string handy on the clip-on key fobs!

You could easily adapt this tidy to suit a bathroom or bedroom, or even keeping stray envelopes and stamps in order!

Whatever you decide to tidy, enjoy the process and the results!

Happy gardening!

Jude xo

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Light And Leaves!


By Judith on April 20, 2016
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We had the most gloriously sunny day today!

I tried to capture the light on the limited features in my small garden.

Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Isn’t light so inspiring, and seems to make everyone feel much more positive! One of my daughter’s names means ‘bringer of light’ and she does just that, every day!
And here are a few more leaves to tell you about!
Applique Leaf Cushion (Sewing World May16)
Photo courtesy of Sewing World Magazine

This is my Applique Leaves Cushion in the current (May) issue of Sewing World, out now!
Applique can be a little intimidating for novices, especially when thinking of satin or blanket stitching the edges.
‘Raw edge applique’ is a great way to introduce new shapes and pictures to your quilting.

 

This pattern uses bondaweb to fix the stem and leaves in place, and simple top stitching close to the raw edges completes the picture. No special foot needed, no changing the stitch settings on your machine.  Simple, fun and quick!
So if you’ve never tried applique yet, why not have a go at raw edge applique!  The possibilities are endless!
Happy sewing!
Jude xo

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Siblings Together Quilted Blocks


By Judith on April 15, 2016
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Since I started blogging over 5 years ago, I quickly became part of a wonderfully giving and generous community of quilters.

I have made friends with folks around the world, we have laughed and cried together, shared our achievements, disasters, tips and tricks!

And now and again I get to meet some of these wonderful people in the flesh!

This is an old pic of me and Marie, who comes to Belfast each year, all the way from Oz!
I’m so privileged to call Marie a friend, she is a talented quilter and a truly generous and inspirational person. Today we met again for coffee, and our short time together always goes too quickly!

And she ALWAYS has a gift for me!

Roses from Marie
Thank you Marie for my pretty roses, and your smiling and passionate heart!
Another way to be a part of this amazing online quilting community is to donate blocks.
QAYG Blocks for Siblings Together

Over on the Siblings Together blog, they have put out the call for quilted 20.5″ blocks, following this tutorial.
These are super quick and easy to make, and if you want to practise your patchwork and especially your quilting, then what better way than on these ‘mini quilts’.
QAYG Blocks for Siblings Together

The tutorial says you can either ‘quilt in the ditch’ (see my tips on ditch quilting here) or quilt them another way.
Here are some examples:
Echo quilting the seams (sewing at least 1/4″ either side of the seams) …
Diagonal lines (mark these out first with chalk or non-permanent fabric marker) …
Free motion squiggles (you need to drop your feed dogs and attach a darning foot to do this).
Whatever way you decide to make your blocks, have fun with them, and know they will be made up into a quilt for a sibling separated by the care system.
Happy quilting!
Jude xo

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Spring Rain Quilt!


By Judith on April 14, 2016
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Spring rain is something we get lots of here in N.Ireland!!  In fact we also get lots of Summer, Autumn and Winter rain too!

But I’m hoping you could live with this kind of spring rain all year round!!

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)
63″ x 63″

 


This is my ‘Spring Rain’ quilt, as seen in the April issue of Pretty Patches.

Pretty Patches very kindly sent me the cutest bundle of fabrics called ‘Spring Walk’ by Little Cube.

Spring Walk

While spring can inspire many images, I immediately thought of raindrops (I wonder why!!) and showcased the fabrics in raindrop shaped portholes.

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)
I really enjoyed making this quilt and it was such a lovely bonus to see it on the front cover!
Spring Rain Quilt (April issue Pretty Patches)
One of the many things I love about spring is that it is the season of growth!  I have been doing a lot of personal growing lately, getting fitter physically and mentally.
And all the new growth in my little garden is a lovely reminder that no matter what is going on in our lives, there are always new opportunities to grow!
My garden (spring)
My garden (spring)
My garden (spring)

Happy growing!
Jude xo

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Mama Hen Quilt Complete!


By Judith on April 13, 2016
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The drive to make 100 quilts for Siblings Together summer camps 2016 continues.

The lovely ladies in the Siblings Together Bee 2 have been helping me put together a quilt full of hens!

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

 


11 Mama Hens flew back to Belfast to join my blue Mama Hen!

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

Aren’t they sweet!  And the backing was donated by Sarah (love this generous quilting community).

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

 

So that’s my ST quilt all labelled and ready to be posted.

The siblings who receive these quilts have been separated by the care system, and get to spend 2 weeks together each summer. The feedback from the charity is that these quilts mean so much to the children who receive them, especially when they realise they get to keep them!

You can read more here about Siblings Together and the stories behind the quilts.

And I’ll have another post later this week on how you can help with the ST quilt drive in a super easy and quick way!

Happy Sewing!

Jude xo

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Dog Gone Cute!


By Judith on April 10, 2016
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This month in Siblings Together Bee 2 we were making doggie blocks.

Dog Block for STB2/April16
18″ x 14″

 
This is the large block pattern by Sew Fresh Quilts, as chosen by Sally.
Sally gave us free reign regarding colour, as long as the background was bright! I really love how these blocks turn out, but be warned, they are stitch-ripper friendly!!
In other bee news, Bee Blessed are asking for Modified Bento Blocks this month, untrimmed and unquartered:
Bee Blessed blocks April16

At this stage the blocks are 16″ square, but the talented ladies at Bee Blessed will work their magic on them to turn them into something like this.
If you would like to make a small dent in your scraps box, and contribute to a very worthy charity group, Bee Blessed would love to receive a few blocks.  You can get all the details and tutorial here.
And before I go, I’ll leave you with a few pics of my own cute doggy, Poppy.
Poppy
Poppy
Happy sewing!
Jude xo

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‘Nicey Jane’ Birthday Quilt


By Judith on April 7, 2016
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On 3rd April 2015, I photographed this flimsy:

'Nicey Jane' quilt top

 


I had acquired some ‘Nicey Jane’ squares by Heather Bailey, an old line which has long since been discontinued.

I sewed the squares together, with no purpose in mind.  Then folded it away, out of sight, out of mind!

But I’m happy to say, exactly 1 year later (spookey eh?) I finished the binding and it now looks like this:

(Heather Bailey) 18th Birthday Quilt
A friend very kindly quilted this for me on her domestic frame, which enabled me to get it bound, finished and posted to my ‘pink loving’ niece for her 18th birthday!

(Heather Bailey) 18th Birthday Quilt

I love how pretty these fabrics are.  And did you know that ‘Nicey Jane’ has been reprinted and is currently available in The Fat Quarter Shop!
(Heather Bailey) 18th Birthday Quilt

I guess if you hold on to something long enough it all comes around again!
Happy hoarding!
Jude xo

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Another Runner!


By Judith on April 4, 2016
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In Sewing World this month, I submitted my Half Hexie Table Runner!

Half Hexie Table Runner - Sewing World (April16)
Photo courtesy of Sewing World Magazine
If you have a cute charm pack and 2 long quarter metres you can have this runner top made in no time!

Don’t worry, there are no tricky ‘Y’ seams in this pattern. I used the 5″ half hexie ruler to chop up my charm squares (Marmalade, by Bonnie and Camille). (Sizzix also sell a 5″ half hexie cutting die).

I love this runner and it sits proudly on my dining room table now!

Half Hexie Table runner / Sewing World April16

And if you like your hexies a little bigger, try the 10″ half hexie ruler and you can make a quilt using the same construction method.
Rosie's 50th Quilt: Scrumptuous Half Hexie
April issue of Sewing World is in the shops now!
Happy ‘running’!
Jude xo

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Back In The Saddle!


By Judith on April 1, 2016
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(Message for Rosemary/Nellieduclos: I’m unable to reply to you directly as your email address doesn’t register with your comment.  The tutorial you are looking for is here on my Tutorials page.)

We’ve had some beautiful sunny days here this week!  And March seemed to go out like a lamb yesterday!  A perfect end to the Easter holidays.

But the Lion seemed to come back today! Boo!

Nevermind, it’s a new month, which means new seasons to come! Yay!

Here is my round up mosaic for March:

March16 Roundup

 


I also got these bee blocks done for Siblings Together Bee 2 …

Siblings Together Bee2 blocks for Theresa

…and some scrappy rail-fence blocks for Bee Blessed.

Bee Blessed Rail Fence blocks March16
Bee Blessed is back at the production wheel tomorrow!  You can keep up to date with all our progress and monthly block requests over on the Bee Blessed Blog!  And check out the 2 quilts Bee Blessed are donating to Siblings Together this year!
Happy sewing!
Jude xo

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Table Runner & Mats!


By Judith on March 28, 2016
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Seapark, Holywood

It was a typical spring day here today!  Sunshine and showers!

 

Seapark, Holywood

 

Our walk along the beach was what you would call ‘bracing’! But no matter the season, there is always beauty to be found.

 

Seapark, Holywood

 

Back in the warmth of the indoors, let’s talk table runners!

 

DP Table Runner & Mats (British Patchwork & Quilting, April'16)
Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting

 

This is my Drunkard’s Path Table Runner and Mats set, as featured in the April issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.

 

DP Table Runner & Placemats - British Patchwork & Quilting (April16)

The inspiration for this design came from the lovely Aylin, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person (love our blogging community!).  Aylin very kindly gave me permission to develop this design further, following the beautiful cushion she made.

 

DP Table Runner & Placemats - British Patchwork & Quilting (April16)
The curves are achieved by using an age old patchwork technique called ‘drunkard’s path’.  This is a modern twist, and I love the many variations the Drunkard’s Path units can create.
It is important to cut out the templates accurately when tackling curved piecing, but if you have a Sizzix cutting machine, you are guaranteed speed and accuracy! The Drunkard’s Patch Sizzix dies don’t come cheap, (you need 2 dies to make up the DP unit) but in my opinion they are well worth the money.
DP Table Runner & Placemats - British Patchwork & Quilting (April16)

There are several ways to sew curves, and as with any technique you haven’t tried before, I recommend practicing on some fabric scraps first. This pattern explains the ‘no pin’ method of sewing curves, which may seem daunting at first, but it is much quicker than traditional methods and you quickly get into a rhythm with it.

 

So if you love sewing curves as much as me, pick up a copy of BPQ today!

Edited: This pattern is now available to purchase from here.

 

Keep warm!

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Happy Easter!


By Judith on March 26, 2016
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Here in the UK, the clocks go forward an hour.  That means 1 hour less sleep tonight (boo!).

But it also means 1 hour closer to Easter Day (yay!).
Easter Day is a very important day to me and my faith.  I hope you enjoy your day, how ever you celebrate it.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite pics from our recent visit to Mounstewart, Co. Down.

My Girls
Mountstewart March16

Mountstewart March16

Mountstewart March16

My Girls

Happy Easter!

Jude xo

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Staggered Strips Cushion


By Judith on March 23, 2016
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Are you a ditch quilter?

Ditch quilting is when you quilt in the seams of your patchwork, so that it won’t be seen! This secures all 3 layers (top, wadding, backing).

Traditionally, quilts and other quilted projects were always ditch quilted first, before any decorative quilting was added.

However, as with most things, attitudes and trends have changed. No longer do we have to try to ‘stay in the ditch’ and hold our breath as we try to get from one end of a seam to the other!  (Imagine how nerve wracking that is for a beginner!).

As long as you quilt sufficiently (manufacturers state the minimum intervals on wadding packaging) so that there is no bagging between layers, then ditch quilting isn’t always required.

However, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be used as a quilting technique in its own right.
Sometimes when you have pretty fabrics and an effective design, decorative quilting isn’t required.

Simple Strips Cushion

 


This is my Staggered Strips Cushion.  Hopefully you can tell that it is quilted without seeing the quilting!

Simple Strips Cushion

I have quilted in all the vertical seams using my ditch quilting foot.  If you don’t have a ditch foot, use an applique or open foot to maximise your view of the seams and ditches!

If you would like to learn more about ditch quilting, get my step by step guide in the current issue of Popular Patchwork (pg 34).  You can also get the pattern for my Staggered Strips Cushion.

Staggered Strips Cushion / Popular Patchwork (April)


Happy Ditching!

Jude xo

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Mini Easter Baskets Tutorial (& more)!


By Judith on March 22, 2016
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It’s so lovely having my ‘Uni daughter’ back home for a wee while.

Fun with Family
We visited one of our all time favourite places (Mountstewart, Co.Down) today, and took some wonderful pics.  But more on that another day!
Today’s post is all about this wee bundle of goodness:
Easter Basket
Now I can’t take credit for this basket pattern, the original tutorial is here. It is quick and easy to make and great for using up tiny scraps.
Easter Basket

And if you don’t want to work with 2″ squares, you could vary the pattern using 6 x 3.5″ squares, or no squares at all!

And here are more free Easter tutorials from Blogland you might enjoy!

Felt Daffodils by Abby Glassenberg (While She Naps)
Applique Easter Basket by Peta (She Quilts A lot)
Fabric Basket and Eggs by Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter)
Bunny Face Bag by Veronica (Sew Very)
Scrap Fabric Bunny Softie by Kim (Seven Thirty Three)
Fabric Birds by Hobbycraft

And as if that’s not enough, there are lot’s more tutorials on my Easter Pinterest Board – as well as my previous Easter tutorials. Go check them out!  There’s something for everyone!

So that marks the end of my mini Easter series of tutorials.

I hope you have enjoyed them! You still have a few days left before Easter to make them, so don’t panic!

Happy Sewing!

Jude xo

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The Best Model Ever!


By Judith on March 20, 2016
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It so hard to get good models these days!  They can be so fickle and demanding!!

But not this one!

Easter Bib as modelled by Cutesie Tootsie!
How adorable is this wee lady, modelling one of my Easter bibs!
Easter Bib as modelled by Cutesie Tootsie!
So obliging, especially when it came to cuddles and playtime! I think I’ll be hiring her again for sure!
If you would like to make one of these easy peasy bibs, you can get the free tutorial here.
And talking of small and cute, I had a little play with my collection of vintage wooden spools and some Liberty scraps.
Old Spools clothed in Liberty scraps

Old Spools clothed in Liberty scraps

So nice to finally have these out on display instead of hidden away in a drawer!
Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!
(No. 1 daughter comes home tomorrow!  Yippee!)
Jude xo

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Easter Egg Zippy Pouches Tutorial!


By Judith on March 18, 2016
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Thank you to everyone who has been following along with my Easter mini series!

You can find previous tutorials here:

Easter Bunny Bags
Easter Baby Bibs
Carrot Cornets

Apologies if you have had trouble downloading the PDF templates.  I have amended the ‘sharing’ settings within GoogleDocs so I hope from now on you will find it a little easier.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch otherwise.

One final bit of housekeeping before we move on to another Easter tutorial.  I’m always grateful to folks who take the time to leave a comment here on my blog.  I will ALWAYS reply to comments, so if you don’t get a response from me, it’s because your email address doesn’t register with your comment.  In blogging terms you are known as a ‘no reply comment’ blogger. If this is you, I would love to be able to connect and chat with you more, so here and here are some tips you can try to fix your settings.  Alternatively, just leave me your email address with your comment (especially important when entering giveaways!).

On to our next Easter Tutorial!

Easter Egg Zippy pouches tutorial

Easter Egg Zippy Pouches!

This one is for older (or grown up) kids! As you can see, this is a fun way to gift money or vouchers!

And here’s how to make them:

What you need:

Front:
From outer and lining fabrics & sew-in vilene (med/heavy) cut 2 x (5″ wide by 3.5″ tall)
Back:
From outer and lining fabrics & sew-in vilene (med/heavy) cut 2 x (5″ wide by 6″ tall)
5″ plastic zipper (or longer)
1.25″ wide key fob
Basting spray 505
Zipper foot

Assume 1/4″ seams

Download the ‘Egg’ template here.

1. Spray baste the vilene to the wrong sides of the corresponding outer pieces.

2. Place the zipper right sides together along the top edge of a 5″  x  3.5″ outer/front piece.

3. Pin a corresponding lining piece on top, right sides together with the outer fabric.

4. Using the zipper foot, sew through all layers.

5. Flip the lining over to the back and press away from the zipper.  From the front side, sew 1/8″ finishing seam beside the zipper.

6. Now lay the other outer (front) piece on the table, right side facing.  Place the zippered piece right sides together with the zipper aligned at the top edge.

7. Pin the remaining corresponding lining piece on top, right sides together with the attached lining piece.  Sew through all layers as before.

8. Again flip the lining to the back side, press and sew a finishing seam 1/8″ away from the zipper.  Your pouch front should look something like this.

9. Place the template onto the lining side and draw around with a pencil.  Before cutting out on the line, bring the zipper pull inside the pouch and sew a few stitches across the zipper (just inside the line) to secure.

10. Place the outer/vilene back piece WRONG sides together with the corresponding lining piece.

11.  Place right sides together with the egg front.  Pin and sew 1/4″ inside the edge.

12. Trim away the excess and zigzag the raw edges.

13. Turn the pouch right side out through the zipper and press well.

14. Attach the keyfob & ring to the top of the ‘egg’.

Stuff with money, goodies (or diamonds!) and gift to your favourite big person!!

Easter Egg Zippy pouches tutorial

Happy Zipping!

Jude xo

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Carrot Cornets!


By Judith on March 17, 2016
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Ready for another Easter Tutorial?

Easter Carrot Cornets tutorial

 


Today we are making Carrot Cornets!

Aren’t they cute, and perfect for little chocolate eggs (& fingers!).

Here’s what you need for 1 cornet:

Outer:
2 x (6.5″ wide by 8″ tall) orange fabric
2 x (6.5″ wide by 3.5″ tall) green fabric

Lining:
2 x (6.5″ wide by 10.5″ tall)

Ribbon:
1 x (0.25″ wide by 18″)

Assume 1/4″ seams

1. Join the green tops to each piece of orange fabric. Press the seams open.

2. Sew the mid-way point of the ribbon to the centre of the seam.

3. Keeping the ribbon out of the way, trim the sides at an angle, from the top corners to the centre of the bottom edge.  Do this to both outer pieces and the 2 lining pieces.

4. Place both outer pieces right sides together and sew down both sides (use a reverse stitch at the start and finish).

5. Carefully trim the bulk out of the point before turning right sides out and press.

6. Sew the 2 lining pieces right sides together (same as for the outer) leaving a 2″ gap in one side, near to the top. Do not turn right sides out.

7. Pop the outer cornet inside the lining so that right sides are together. Line up the side seams, pin and sew around the top edge.

8.  Pull the outer cornet through the gap in the lining.  Hand or machine stitch the gap closed.  Push the lining down inside the cornet, and press well around the top edge.

Stuff full of mini treats and tie closed with the ribbon!

Easter Carrot Cornets tutorial

Wouldn’t these be great fun to discover in the garden at an ‘Easter Egg Hunt’!

Wishing you lots of carrot fun!

And if you missed previous tutorials in my Easter series here are the links:

Easter Bunny Bags
Easter Bibs

Happy carrots!

Jude xo

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Shape Sorter Street Quilt


By Judith on March 15, 2016
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Popular Patchwork asked me to design a ‘houses’ quilt!

Quite a few wonderful houses quilts have already been designed over the years so it was a tough challenge to come up with something ‘original’!

But the creative juices started flowing and I came up with this:

Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)
65″ x 64″

I knew I wanted a modern, simple design, and as I started thinking of bringing in porthole shapes to the houses, they reminded me of the wooden shape sorter toy that my kids used to play with when they were small!

And so ‘Shape Sorter Street’ was born.
Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)
It was a lot of fun to make, matching up the shape of the trees with their corresponding houses!
Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)

Apologies for the poor indoor pics! It was a dreadfully dull day when I finished this quilt.  When I get the quilt back from Popular Patchwork I’ll take some better, outdoor pics!
The April issue of Popular Patchwork is out now!
Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)

 
Jude xo

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