February is the month of love, and no better way to celebrate than with a free patchwork heart tutorial!
I first created a placemat size Log Cabin Heart a few years ago for Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, when they asked their contributors to design a mini quilt that represented 3 favourite things.
For me it was Log Cabins (my first love in quilt blocks!), scraps (of course!) and the colour purple (my favourite colour since childhood!).
But now I can add a 4th favourite element – piecing!
I love piecing much more than quilting, and the thought of downsizing my Heart block (while dialing up the cuteness!) thrilled me no end!
So my free YouTube tutorial means you can choose from the large (original) size – which makes a 14″ square unfinished block, the medium size – which makes a 10″ square unfinished block and the baby of the family – which makes a 6.5″ square unfinished block.
Perfect for using even the smallest of prettiest scraps!
But of course, why stick with squares!!
You can turn your blocks into anything you like. How do you like my trio of mats, made with my favourite Tilda scraps and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim)?
The large size would be perfect as a table centre.
Or how about the medium one as a candle or potholder mat.
And the mini mat is the perfect coaster size for your co-ordinating mug!
At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks and her 3 bears, there’s a size perfect for everyone!!
I love cross-hatch quilting, and it’s the perfect design for ditching through the ‘logs’ of these hearts.
And despite having a drawer full of pretty pre-made bias bindings, I didn’t have just the right colour for my trio, so I made my own!!
I also made a little gift bag with the small size heart pieced into the front and another one on the back.
This is filled with goodies for my friend’s birthday!
So if you love piecing, log cabins or cute hearts as much as me, why not check out my free YouTube tutorial. A link to the accompanying PDF Cutting and Measurements chart is in the description.
I originally designed and taught this Free Motion Embroidery hoop last year and had many requests for the pattern!
And then last Friday night I taught my Robin Hoop as a live Zoom Crafty Monkies workshop to 16 ladies! What a great time we had (and a very different teaching experience for me)!
So it was time Mr Robin was made available to the rest of the world in the form of a comprehensive step by step pattern!
The pattern includes notes on this fun and creative sketching technique including how to set up your machine for Free Motion Sketching.
This hoop is a little slice of textile art, perfect for using lots of little scraps! The background is a collage of low volume scraps which gives texture and the perfect backdrop for the brightly bondawebbed Robin scraps on top!
In true textile art style there are many ways you can embellish the composition, with vintage lace and trim, text (printed on tea stained paper or fabric), buttons, hand embroidery etc.
There is no end to fun you can have decorating and personalising your Robin hoop! And what a perfect gift for the many Robin lovers out there!
The pattern is available here, and is included in our 20% off Black Weekend Sale using code blackfriday20 (ends tonight).
Some were for my next free tutorial (remember my Scrappy Hexie Basket? Well I’ll be releasing the pattern for this one as a free tutorial very soon).
And some were just an excuse to have fun with teeny pieces of fabric!
These baskets are only 4.5″ and 6″ tall and are ‘improv. pieced’. This means your pieces of fabric aren’t pre-cut to a specific size, rather you just keep adding pieces until you have a section that can be joined to another section.
Improv. piecing for small projects is the perfect way to use up tiny pieces that are too small for English Paper Piecing or regular piecing patterns.
To give you a sense of scale, my smaller basket is holding large spools of 50wt Aurifil thread.
I create my baskets with an inset base with piping. I think the piping gives the basket more definition and shape.
And the structure is provided by the heavy sew-in vilene that the exterior is quilted on to.
I can think of a tonne of uses for these cute baskets, not least filled with goodies and gifted to loved ones!
Tune back soon to hear all about my free Hexie Basket YouTube Tutorial!
(And now there’s a mini tutorial on how to make these improv.pieced versions of my Hexie Baskets here.)
The tutorial will take you through how to make the stacked coin columns – they can be any size you wish, maximising the size of scraps you have.
You will also see how to quilt the topper using a quilting bar – that weird looking ‘allen key’ type bar that languishes in your accessories tray! It’s a really handy little gadget, and will save you lots of marking out time!
I also show you how to make and finish off the binding by ‘stitching in the ditch’ from the front side.
This is a really quick little project, and you can make these pretty and functional mats any size you like! I now have several of them dotted around my house, bringing me joy each time my eye catches some of my favourite fabrics.
I hope you enjoy the tutorial. We are getting better with each one that we make, and we have more planned!
I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these strange days. With much more time available to us, I guess you are all making lots of headway with all your WIPs and UFOs!!!!! (wink, wink!)
With no classes to teach, I thought I’d have a go at teaching online!! With essential tech support from my daughter, we spent 6 days filming, editing, cringing, re-filming and editing some more to finally produce our first video tutorial!
It’s far from perfect and we still have lots to learn (not sure I’ll ever get used to seeing & hearing myself on video!), but we are really pleased overall and the initial feedback is positive.
So if you have lots of scraps you would like to turn into something practical and pretty, then our free tutorial might just be what you’re looking for!
These scrappy pouches can be made to any size, so you can cater for the scraps you have.
The strips are sewn down onto a foundation layer (either sew-in interlining, baking paper or wadding) and no matter the size of the pouch (or textile you use) the technique is the same.
I’ve made a cutesy pencil case size pouch ….
…. as well as medium sized project or toiletry pouches.
And then I went large with my denim scraps, making this extra-large pouch, perfect for a laptop, files or even a knitting project!!
The tutorial takes you step by step through making the strippy panels, creating zipper tabs, inserting the zipper and assembling and finishing the pouch.
And you also get the measurements for all the sizes shown here.
So with all this time on our hands, there’s really no excuse for not diminishing those scraps!
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!!
This is my Autumn Rail Fence Quilt (as featured in August ’17 issue of Pretty Patches magazine).
If, like me, you have a healthy supply of scraps, then this is a great scrap buster project for you!
In August I am hosting a Scrap Buster Saturday, and this is one of the many quick and easy ideas folks can use to dig in to those overflowing scrap boxes!
Here’s how to make the Scrappy Rail Fence Block (12.5″ unfinished):
1 You will need a variety of scrappy strips, at least 13″ long and of varying widths (don’t go wider than 3″). Press them and make sure they have straight parallel sides. Don’t worry about trimming the lengths, you get a more accurate block if you leave the trimming to the end.
2 I went for a ‘late summer’ colour theme of teals, oranges, pinks and golds. But you could easily use whatever colours you have for a more ‘random’ rail fence.
3 You will notice I have included a brown striped fabric at the edge of each block. These strips are cut 2″ wide and give a little uniformity to the scrappiness of the blocks. If you are going for random and bright colours, try a narrow black and white stripe here.
4 If you are working to a colour theme, try to get an even number of colours per block. The order doesn’t matter, just sew enough together using a 1/4″ seam, not forgetting the stripey fabric on the end, until you can get at least 12.5″ wide. Set the seams (pressing the seam as you have sewn it) before pressing the seams to the darkest fabric.
5 Trim the block to 12.5″ square. If there is excess on the width make sure you don’t take any off the stripey/end fabric. You want these end strips to be of uniform width. I used my 12.5″ square ruler for easy trimming, but you can trim these blocks to any size, just make sure they are square!
6 Make lots more blocks until you have enough for your quilt (or until you have used up all your scraps!). I laid out my blocks in a 5 x 6 formation (5 blocks across by 6 rows down) alternating the direction of every other block to achieve the rail fence design. Join the blocks right sides together in rows and press the seams of each row in alternate directions. Join the rows together making sure to butt/nest the intersecting seams.
7 Spray baste your quilt top, wadding and backing (Spray basting tutorial available here) before quilting as desired (I quilted in a free motion meander all over). Trim off the excess wadding and backing and attach the quilt binding (tutorial available here).
Now you’ll always be warm and toasty on chilly Autumn evenings!
How is your week going? We are (still) basking in the most gorgeous sunny weather here, leaving us with stunning, glorious sunsets!
This week in my classes I am presenting my summer Saturday Workshops. The 4 Saturdays in August will all be workshops, and I will be posting about them here, starting with ……
If you’ve been sewing for any length of time, you may have a huge healthy stock of scraps, leftovers from previous quilting projects. These pieces might just be too sizeable, pretty or meaningful to throw away, leftover binding or jelly roll strips, or perhaps frugality gets the better of you!
Either way, there are many, many ways to put those ever growing scraps to good use!
Here are just a few examples of what you can make on Scrap Buster Saturday.
My technique for making strip pieced blocks doesn’t involve a foundation layer.
I added a little ‘organisation’ to lots of random strips by making the central strip in each block white. The white strips are of uniform width, but that’s were the uniformity ends! All other strips are random widths and lengths. I even used ‘ugly’ fabrics I still had, but I totally love the finished quilt! That’s the magic of using scraps.
Autumn Rail Fence Quilt(block tutorial available here)
The simple sewing together of strips means you can easily make up this quilt top in a day.
Once again, I dove into my scrap drawers for specific colours – golds, oranges, pinks and teals, all of different widths and lengths. Some donated yardage of a brown stripe gives flow and order to the scraps.
But equally, this quilt would look fabulous made in random coloured scraps with a uniform ‘fence’ fabric.
‘Quilt As You Go’ Handbag: (pattern available here)
Here’s another roomy handbag idea for all those colourful scraps!
This ‘quilt as you go’ method involves the quilting of each individual piece of fabric onto a larger piece of wadding. There are no raw edges, and the condense quilting gives the bag lots of structure.
The pattern also includes this secure recessed zipper closure.
‘Birch’ Quilt (in progress):
I took inspiration from this quilt and decided to make a grey and low volume version (given that I have an overflowing drawer of LV scraps!).
I plan on using up my stash of Kona Greys to make this into a bigger ‘man’ quilt. Somehow, I think it will take me a lot longer to use up my LV scraps!
So there you have it! A little inspiration on how to use your scraps, and a date for your diary on how to have a day of fun turning them into something wonderful!
I promised to post this week about the projects on my ‘Spring into Summer’ Table.
Never one to break a promise, I’m starting with my Denim Applique Sailboat Cushion.
I originally designed this cushion for a summer edition of Pretty Patches Magazine.
I loved re-purposing some denim and scraps for this nautical cushion. My recent discovery of Aurifil 12wt wool thread also made a significant contribution! You can read more about my designing process here.
The great news is that I’ll be teaching a workshop on this cushion on Saturday 19th May at my classroom in Conway Mill.
And not only that, kits will be available with everything you need to make the cushion, including lush Essex Yarn Dyed Linen, denim pieces, stripey binding and a bright red button for the back!
How cool is that!
So if you would like to spend a fun Saturday with other like minded creatives learning new skills like appli-quilting and free motion sketching, then just drop me an email to register: email@example.com
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!