My daughter needed a secret Santa gift for a female work colleague so I offered to make her a pouch!
With no information about the likes or dislikes of the recipient, I had free reign to come up with whatever I wanted! Yay! Let the playtime commence!
I had recently been pinning some mixed textile pouches on Pinterest with sashiko and boro stitching, and loved how cohesive they looked, despite the variety of patches and textures!
So I thought I’d have a go and see where this organic process would take me!
You already know I love recycling textiles and I also love mixing my textiles. Here I have used repurposed jeans with lush Italian wool, Irish linen & jersy suiting, ditsy and vintage cottons with sample book tweed.
I didn’t want a particularly ‘quilted’ look to this pouch but knew I needed to stabilise all the different fabrics. So I quilted in the ditches onto wadding and heavy sew-in vilene.
I then boro quilted over 2 bondawebbed patches, giving the pouch a relaxed Japanese feel.
The addition of fusible lightweight stabiliser to the lining enhances the structure and body of the clutch. It feels substantial and very tactile!
I had a lot of fun re-imagining the textiles for this clutch! Even the duffle coat button and leather tab & label are recycled!!
I will definitely make another!
In the meantime, I’ve got everything crossed that the recipient loves her foldover clutch as much as I do!!
The easy sewing of pockets on these panels means you still have time to get them made and filled with sweets and treats in time for 1st December!
And new to our shop this year are these gorgeous Scandi Placemats Panels, great value at only £6.50 each for 8 placemats!
Simply fussy cut the motifs, add some Heat Resistant Wadding, backing and bias binding and you’ll soon have your table looking suitably festive for the big day!
The mats finish at 10″ diameter (26cm) including binding, the perfect size for a dinner plate.
The 8 folksy designs of deer, birds and rustic landscapes are typical of the annual Scandi collections in rich reds and soft greys.
I quilted the mats in concentric circles using my quilting bar positioned 1″ from the needle and using Aurifil 50wt in Dove Grey.
The pretty decorative bias binding adds a folksy finishing touch to the mats.
I’m really pleased with how they turned out.
And if you would like to make your own set of Scandi mats or a gift set for a friend, you can find the panels and co-ordinating Scandi backing fabrics in the Fabric section of our online shop, and the Heat Resistant Wadding and Aurifil thread (Dove) in the Haberdashery section of our online shop.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! Apologies!
Nothing to do with the current pandemic. I got creatively and mentally very tired after a busy first quarter, but I’m pleased to report that life is settling down for me (ironically, as Covid-19 causes chaos!) and I’m back at the sewing machine!
If you know me at all you will know my love of scraps and Tilda! Put them both together and you get lots of EPP (English Paper Piecing) projects using even the littlest pieces (see some past examples here and here)!
I had been keeping my precious Tilda scraps in an unattractive plastic bag!
But now look what I’m keeping them in!
These are 1″ hexies, hand stitched together and quilted onto heavy sew-in vilene, then magically turned into a cute basket to perfectly house my pretty scraps!
I wanted a defined cylindrical shape so added some piping to the base and narrow binding at the top.
I’m hoping you can’t see where the short sides of the panel are joined together to make the cylinder! With EPP, the shapes at opposite sides will slot together (like a jigsaw) so trim away the excess stabiliser before joining the hexies with some discreet whip or ladder stitches.
My chosen lining isn’t Tilda but a pretty Lecien floral. But as a lover of all things ‘ditsy’ I’m confident it blends beautifully with the Tilda prints.
Now, what will I make next with my favourite scraps!!
We have just had a wonderful bank holiday weekend here in UK. And what made it so wonderful? The beautiful sunny weather!
I spent the bank holiday Monday in Florence Court, Enniskillen, with 2 of my girls, having lots of photo fun, and enjoying this wonderful National Trust house.
It was a beautiful day, learning all about the women (upstairs and downstairs) in Florence Court’s history.
Also this week, the current issue of Quilt Now hit the shops, and in it you can find my Octosaurus Rex Quilt, designed for Makower using their Rex Collection of fabrics.
This quilt design is full of secondary patterns, and the larger Placement print is perfect for fussy cutting.
Here’s what I wrote as my source of inspiration:
“I live not far from the Giant’s Causeway, a 60 million year old formation of multi-sided volcanic stones. So I thought it would be fun to design Jurassic sized shapes around these cute dinosaur fussy cuts and fabrics. The Octagon blocks slot neatly side by side just like the stones at the Giant’s Causeway!”
There is a lot of piecing in this quilt, and it is a decent size at 60″ x 72″. However you could easily reduce the number of blocks and make a smaller quilt for a younger dinosaur lover!
So if you have a little one who is mad about all things Jurassic, then these fabrics are your perfect choice!
You can see the full collection here, and my Octosaurus Rex Quilt pattern is also available via the Makower UK website.
I have two more quilt examples of drunkard’s path variations, the patterns for which I hope to be able to make available soon.
Wow! That was a long post! Thank you for sticking with all my ‘curves’!
If you would like to learn how to make drunkard’s path units (& all of these projects) & have a lot of fun along the way, then why not join in with our other crazy creatives and register for our class starting w/c 9th April. More details on classes available here.
Didn’t that week go quickly? My feet have hardly touched the ground it’s been so busy here! I’m getting ready to make an important announcement next Tuesday, so it’s full steam ahead here.
In the meantime I can show you a quilt I made for British Patchwork & Quilting, using Tilda’s beautiful Cabbage Rose collection:
The Tilda Cabbage Rose collection is one of my favourites so far. In fact, I’ve thrown in a couple of greens from their Memory Lane collection too!
I’ve called this quilt ‘Garden Steps’, because of the combination of pretty floral prints and the Courthouse Steps quilt block.
The Courthouse Steps block works a little like a Log Cabin block. Cleverly, it’s the main block design which becomes the secondary pattern here.
Can you spot the blocks?
The backing and binding are more Tilda prints from other collections.
This was the first quilt I made in my new Sewing Room. It’s been an interesting journey re-orientating myself to a much smaller space. For example, learning the best way to photograph items and discovering where the light is best.
It was lovely working with pretty, colourful fabrics on a dull day!
Happy November to you all! Aren’t the weeks just flying in!
There have been a few exciting developments in the Hollies Household, which I will be able to tell you all about in 2 weeks time (can’t wait!!).
In the meantime, I can tell you about a quilt I made earlier in the year, which was featured in the September issue of Quilt Now (apologies for the late posting).
This is another scrap-busting project, using medium to low volume prints which have a ‘vintagey’ vibe (‘volume’ refers to the ‘loudness’ or brightness of the fabric).
I had a ball dipping in and out of my scraps drawers, using wee pieces, leftover jelly roll strips and scraps of vintage sheets.
And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!
This improvisational style of piecing is quite addictive! You just start with a few small pieces, keep adding and trimming as you go, and before you know it, your scraps have grown into a sizeable panel.
I got so carried away that I made too many sections! Not wanting to waste them, I sewed them altogether and used them as a central panel in the back, pieced between 2 vintage sheets!
Even the binding is another vintage sheet!
I appreciate that maintaining a healthy ‘scrap stash’ takes organisation and space, but here are a few advantages you get from it:
You can make an entire quilt using just scraps!
Make your scraps go further using yardage for the background.
Enjoy the satisfaction & frugality of turning leftovers into many wonderful and new projects.
Put them to good use in charity bee blocks, like Bee Blessed.
Use scraps to ‘test’ blocks or measurements when resizing a block
I’m sure you can think of lots more advantages to keeping your fabric leftovers. And you can be even more creative thinking up genius ways to store them!
Despite this being a sizeable quilt (72″ x 82.5″) I wish I could tell you I made a significant dent in my scraps stash making it!!
But that just means I have lots of lovely gems waiting for another chance to be transformed!
A few weekends a go I taught my first ‘Rockin’ Robin’ workshop at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild.
The ladies were a joy to teach and totally embraced the ‘mixed textiles’ vibe. 12 cute Robins adorned the table at the end of the workshop!
I’ll also be teaching this project in my weekly classes, in the run up to Christmas.
I can’t wait to see many more versions of my Robin cushion appearing here, there and everywhere!
I’ve put together some Robin Cushion kits, using my wonderful collection of tweeds, flannel, linen and vintage cotton. The kits include everything you need to make the cushion front, including the pompom berries, pattern and already enlarged template.
Stuck for a gift idea or fancy having a go yourself? You can get your hands on one of my Robin kits here, but be quick – they are flying out the door fast!
I’ve had a great week, especially as my builder finished all his amazing work in my house on Monday. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting out treasured trinkets, favourite cushions, putting up pictures, and finally making this new space feel more like home.
It seems like an age since I made my first magazine commission in this house, back in July!
The lovely Editor of Pretty Patches magazine sent me some Alison Glass Sun Print fabrics (you can see the full collection here).
What a wonderful explosion of colour! I kept the design simple with half square triangle diamonds in the wonderful rainbow rounds of the prints.
Sadly I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the quilt on completion (due to the building site that surrounded me!) but I promise I will when it is returned to me.
In the meantime, I will leave you with the wonderful pictures in Pretty Patches magazine.
I’m always a little conflicted when we enter a new season and a new term. I love the colours and smells of Autumn, a feast for the senses, but I always grieve a little for the ending of another brief summer.
So continuing the Autumnal theme, I can show you my Autumn Boho Quilt.
This is a bigger quilt than I usually make, at 72″ x 89.5″.
For a while now I’ve been wanting to use my stash of large scale prints. I have a number of fat quarters and half metres from wonderful designers like Sandi Henderson, Anna-Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Amy Butler to name a few.
What these designers have in common is their courage to use colour and pattern, even when it ‘clashes’.
So I kept the design large and simple – 17″ half square triangles with navy feature diamonds.
This is a great beginner friendly project. You can work from 20 fat quarters and a little yardage for the contrasting diamonds. The diamonds are important as it gives the eye somewhere to land among the busyness of the prints.
If you are a regular visitor to my blog then you will know how much I love scrappy quilts. I appreciate they are not to everyone’s taste, but if you like using up fabric, then why not have a go!
My advice is to be brave. Don’t worry when you look at a couple of fabrics together and think ‘they don’t go’. If you can push pass the ‘over-thinking’ & ‘trying to match fabrics’ stage you won’t be disappointed – the magic happens when you step back and look at the finished quilt. I even use fabrics that I’ve fallen out of love with!
I totally love the ‘boho vibe’ these loud and crazy fabrics give the quilt!
And you can find it in the September issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.
It’s a happy day here at the Hollies Household because not only is the sun shining, we have just had gas installed in our new home! This means we now have long awaited hot water, cooking facilities and a little heat on chilly evenings! #livinglikekings
The quilt I’d like to show you today is long overdue its reveal!
My middle daughter turned 18 last February, and I got her birthday quilt started at Brit Bee Retreat.
My daughter loves travel/world themes as well as old style items, images and graphics. Also, she isn’t into pink or girly colours so much, so I knew I had to get the fabrics and colours just right.
I was browsing travel themed fabrics online and came across this Makower fabric called ‘Airmail Travel Stamp, Special Delivery!’ It was my perfect starting point and this became my ‘headline’ print. I used the colours in this print to guide me through the rest of my stash and scrap boxes.
I didn’t want to chop the Airmail print up too small, so designed an ‘on point’ block where large sections of the headline print would appear in the secondary pattern, with scrappy pieced dividers. A little white on white to separate the busyness and it all came together beautifully.
Keeping the scrappy prints to softer tones and small scale prints helped create an overall calm feel to the quilt. My daughter’s bedroom is mostly neutral creams and greys so I didn’t want the overall look of the quilt to be too bright.
I managed to get the quilt almost completed by the end of February, just a few weeks late of the birth date. And then a request came in from a magazine editor requesting a quilt for a summer edition!
This was the only quilt I had available in the tight timescale, so off it went to England, with an apology to my daughter for yet another delay on her quilt (she was most forgiving)!
The quilt was published in the August issue of Pretty Patches (still in the shops now) and it was returned to me yesterday!
I could finally present it to my girl, who I’m pleased to say, loves it!
She travels to Norway in September for 6 months and only wishes she had room in her luggage to take it with her (she might well be needing it over there!).
So that is the story behind ‘Around the World’ Birthday Quilt. Always a special make when it’s for a loved one, and only 6 months late!!
How is your week going so far? I hope you are getting some creative summer sewing time!
The sewing space in my new house still resembles a building site at the moment. I can’t wait to get all my fabric out on display again!
In the meantime, I can show you another of my summer magazine makes.
This is Lotus Flower Quilt, made using fabrics from the delicious Art Gallery Boho Fusions and Abloom ranges.
I instantly fell in love with these fabrics – they speak to my closet hippy/bohemian side!
The colours are saturated and intense, and the strong mix of floral and graphic patterns make this a vibrant collection. In fact, it was a lotus flower shape in one of the prints that inspired my design.
The fabrics lent themselves to a bold, large scale design, so I drew a large lotus flower and created a positive/negative effect by switching up the prints.
The quilt finishes at 72″ x 91″, a great single bed size. In fact, it is on my daughter’s bed in her new bedroom, serving as the design inspiration for the rest of her room!
Lotus Flower Quilt is in the August issue of Popular Patchwork, out now!
We have had some decent summer weather here in Belfast recently, but alas I’m still surrounded in plaster dust and paint in my new house. So time out to enjoy the sunshine is rare!
In the meantime I’ll have to make do with dreaming of lazy days by the beach and paddling in refreshing tides.
So how about we transport ourselves to an exotic, pacific island and dream of soft white sands and azure blue lagoons!!
This is where my creative inspiration came from for my Blue Lagoon ombre quilt, in the August issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine.
This quilt is made almost completely from Kaufman Kona solids – always a dream to work with! There are 6 shades of aqua blues set against a crisp white background.
The block is an ‘easy to piece’ snowball or bow-tie block, and I used a coastal themed blue and white stripe from my stash for the binding.
There are so many Kona solids to choose from (their colour card is pure eye candy!) it was relatively easy choosing colours that would graduate from dark to light.
As always, I’m photographing my quilts out of season. Oh how I wish I could take my quilt to the clear blue ocean, squish my toes in the sand and take photos of my quilt against a more appropriate backdrop!
Perhaps when the quilt is sent back to me and sunny blue skies return, I will escape to my nearest beach (only 10 minutes away!) for a quilty photo shoot!
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!
I had a fun few days with my best quilty buddies, up a mountain, with glorious sunshine and sheep for company (there may also have been lots of cake and buns)!
There was lots of sewing done too, but alas I can’t show you that just yet.
What I can show you is a summery table cloth I made for the May issue of Pretty Patches magazine.
The clever peeps at Tilda Fabrics came up with a beautiful collection earlier this year called Bumblebee.
If you are a regular visitor here, you will know how much I adore Tilda fabrics. And this collection is no exception. Ditsy flowers and some of my all time favourite colours together – what’s not to love!
So when Pretty Patches offered me a bundle of Bumblebee to work with, I jumped at the chance!
I wanted to keep the design large scale to let the fabrics do all the talking.
Also, to maintain some drape, I didn’t use wadding, but simply ‘bagged’ the top and backing together.
One of the reasons why I love Tilda fabrics so much is because of their vintage vibe (and I love all things vintagey!). So a lacey trim around the edge seemed a fitting finish.
All I need now is for the summer sunshine to return for a little al fresco dining on my new table cloth!
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful Saturday!
I’d like to show you the first of 2 of my magazine commissions this month.
The lovely peeps at Popular Patchwork sent me the cutest fat quarter bundle of Flo’s Little Flowers, by Lewis and Irene.
The ditsy prints and soft colours are adorable (if a little tricky to photograph!), and I knew I had to design something floral for these fabrics.
Now daisies are one of my favourite flowers (as Meg Ryan would say ‘they’re so friendly!’ You’ve Got Mail). I sketched a daisy and thought it might work as a stitched outline on some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).
But I didn’t want anyone freaking out thinking they had to free motion stitch these, so I purposely top stitched all the petals and blanket stitched the centres.
While this technique may be a little slower than free motion stitching, I think it gives much smoother lines and makes it possible for people who haven’t yet tried free motion stitching.
So that was the first part of my idea working out.
But I needed another flower, this time as an alternating block with the daisies.
A little Pinterest search revealed the seasonal hydrangea, a flower head made up of lots of little flowers! When I saw a close up of the little flowers, I knew I had my 2nd block.
The piecing involved in the Hydrangea blocks is really easy. I like how big they are in contrast to the daisies and how they show off the Lewis and Irene fabrics so well.
I hope you like my Ditsy Daisy quilt, in the May issue of Popular Patchwork (out now!).
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!
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!
My trusty Sizzix Big Shot helped me cut out all the petals and flowers. It even cut out the bondaweb too!
I satin stitched the petals and flowers into place (one of my favourite applique techniques!).
And with all the leftovers and a little other Tilda stripe thrown in, I had enough to make the backing and binding.
The finished topper measures 21.5″ x 44.5″ and I love how it looks on my table.
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.
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.
Curving the corners and adding co-ordinating bias binding & a loop finished this quick little gift. It only took an afternoon!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
The magazine also includes a double page feature on how to style a room around Chevron Heaven! What a neat idea!
The April issue of Popular Patchwork is in the shops now!
I try to do my bit for the environment, but one thing I love to recycle most are textiles.
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!
It’s always a joy working with these materials, but especially when making a gift for a fellow ‘tweed’ loving friend.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
In the December issue of Pretty Patches magazine, you might find this cheeky chappie making a song and dance of things!
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.
The only items officially ‘purchased’ in this cushion are the background (Tilda) and the berries!
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.
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!).
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?
Hi everyone, I hope your week is going well. Can you believe it’s December tomorrow?!
And you know what that means!!
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?
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!
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.
The rest of the pattern is then made up of the following headings:
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.
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!
How would you like to win this 18 fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink’s ‘Chipper’ AND 3 spools of co-ordinating Aurifil 50wt?
This designer collection has the cutest little foxes and squirrels, in saturated tones of soft green, purples, pinks and oranges.
You have 2 chances of winning this lush bundle!
Register your email address for future Just Jude Designs Newsletters (sign up box is on the right hand side).
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.
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!
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!).
Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine fell in love with it and commissioned it for their November issue, which is in the shops now!
Photo courtesy of LPQ
They also asked for a matching cushion:
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!
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!
I have a particular soft spot for Tilda fabrics. I love the calming colours and the vintagey feel the ditsy florals and spots evoke. ‘Autumn Tree’ is a collection that came out last year, and is still available to purchase. 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! I definitely think there will be more Tilda quilts in my future! Happy sewing!