This week in The Kindred Spirits Quilt-Along we are making Dresdens!
During the 1920’s and 30’s, Dresden, Germany produced porcelain plates decorated with elaborate designs using flowers, fruits and foliage. These plates became the inspiration for the Dresden Plate quilt block throughout Europe and beyond. While some Dresden blades can have smooth ends, often the blades are finished with a point or curve.
Typically dresden blocks have even numbered blades. We are making a large 12 bladed dresden for our sampler quilt, but you can make them any size and get creative with how they are pieced and finished.
This week in our Kindred Spirits Quilt-Along we are making the Sunflower block.
Our technique focus this time is curved piecing using the humble drunkard’s Path unit (Quarter Circle and Background Fan).
I love curved piecing and the endless variety this little quilt block offers.
With the templates my ladies received this week in the QAL, and the trimming technique they learned in the teaching video, they could not only make the pretty Sunflower Block but they could make all of these 13″ quilt blocks too ……
…. and all of these 19.5″ Cushion Panels!!
How cool is that! There are endless curvy possibilities with a drunkard’s path block!
During the earlier months of lockdown I was able to get back into running, after a year of not running due to injury.
It feels great to be running again! I run twice a week, 3 laps (5k) each time around the most beautiful park that is right on my doorstep.
But it’s hard!
It’s hard getting up and out before breakfast, sleep still in my eyes, stretching out muscles that don’t want stretched, getting out that front door to run in the rain, or worse, the wind!
Now of all the laps that I run, which do think is the hardest? No, not the last lap.
The first lap is the hardest. Everything in my body is yelling “What are you doing? Are you crazy? This hurts! It’s way too hard! There’s no way you’ll make 3 laps! You may as well give up now!”
This is the first of 2 voices that join me in my run – let’s call her Debbie Down-er (apologies to all Debbies out there!). My Debbie Down-er voice loves to remind me just how hard running is for me, she’s a real whinge, a nay-sayer who doesn’t like being pushed to do anything hard or out of her comfort zone! She’s the voice of my body reminding me that I used to have M.E., that I’ve fractured my back twice, that I’ve busted my ankle 3 times, that I’m nearly 50 (oooh she’s close to the bone on that one!), not to mention how ridiculous I must look running like a deranged tortoise! What on earth do I think I’m doing!
Cue the 2nd voice in my head – let’s call her Determined Deirdre!
Determined Deirdre is the only reason I make it through that first lap, because she starts chirping “we can make 3 laps because we’ve done it before!” I can’t tell you the profound impact that statement of truth can have on a body and mind that is screaming the complete opposite!
And so ensues the argument of my (unusual) internal dialogue, the voice of my body trying to shout louder than the voice of my mind, each one vying for attention over the other! Over time I got better at choosing the right voice to listen to, and so long as Determined Deirdre’s voice is louder, I make it round lap 1 into lap 2. Victory no.1.
Lap 2 is where I settle into a rhythm and focus on my breathing. It’s still hard, and a niggly voice pops up again nearing the end of lap 2 “sure you’ve done 2 laps, that’s enough, quit now, the car’s right there”.
But I’ve come to learn about myself that if I even take 1 step over the threshold between laps 2 and 3, I’ve made it! There’s absolutely no way I’m quitting now that I’ve committed to lap 3, even if I have to drag myself across the finish line (glad to say that has only happened once!). Victory no.2.
And from the start of lap 3 it’s in the bag! I’ve still 1 mile to go, but I may as well be running on air! Why?
You see, the finish line is in sight, the hardest work (the mental battle) is done and behind me, and the expectancy of victory no.3 (crossing the finishing line) energises my brain and fuels my tired body.
I’m also energised by the wildlife as I run round the lake in this beautiful park, imagining that they’ve come out specially to cheer me on! Running in isolation is a completely different experience to running in a group, it’s much tougher mentally to be your own motivator, coach and cheerleader!
So as I run past them, I thank the amazingly tame squirrels, the shy little birds that jump back into the hedges, Bob and Bertha, the swans who sit at exactly the same spot at the edge of the path, for cheering me on.
I translate Bob’s protective hisses (!!) as ‘you’re doing great, keep going’, the regal stares and nods of the parliamentary island herons as ‘on course for a PB this week’, the many ducks toasting my efforts with their ‘bottoms up’ and the multi-talented seaguls performing their bread catching aerobatics and screaming for delight as I turn the corner into their view!
Well before you get really concerned about me (!!) let me explain why all this imagining is so important to me.
You see, in the 4 years I’ve been running I’ve learned something amazing! The mind is stronger than the body! A strong and determined mind can make a body go much further than it wants to (just watch the triathalete Jonny Brownlee here for an extreme example of what this looks like)!
Running has given me mental resilience (fitness).
“When our minds are strong, we will be able to handle whatever life throws our way; we will go from just surviving to thriving!” Dr. Caroline Leaf
I believe our thought life & health is as important as our physical health, and yet it’s perhaps not something we choose to put much effort into. Research shows that 75-98% of mental, physical & behavioural illness comes from one’s thought life (Dr. C Leaf ‘Switch on Your Brain’).
“Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate. Moment by moment, every day, you are changing the structure of your brain through your thinking. When we hope, it is an activity of the mind that changes the structure of our brain in a positive and normal direction.” Dr. Caroline Leaf “Switch on Your Brain”
Toxic thinking and negative stress wears down the brain, but I’m happy to report that the damage caused is reversible! Neuroscientists have proven this and many inspiring testimonies and evidences are recorded in Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book ‘Switch on Your Brain’. We actually can ‘be transformed by the renewing of our minds’ Romans 12:2.
So if you would like an active and growing brain, increased intelligence & wisdom, peacefulness, increased immune and cardiovascular health, why not take stock of your thought life. Not everything that is hard is bad for us!
For you it might not be running, but maybe you could start with meditating, or praying, or practising gratitude, stepping a little out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Start the processes of strengthening your Mind (brain/spirit) over Matter (body)!
You can do way more than you think you can.
And if there’s no-one there to cheer you on, be your own cheerleader, set your imagination to work, record the many little victories that happen in a day, and you’ll soon start to grow mental resilience.
I’ve still got lots of work to do on my thought life, it will be a life-time committment. But I’m not the same person I was 6 years ago when I made a decision to get healthy inside and out. Life is rarely easy, but we have a power-pack of resources available to us every single day to help us through it. We just need to learn how to use it!
I’m happy to report the sun is shining (for a change). Not been the best summer for warm sunny weather here this year, but today I am thankful for (a little) heat and light!
And that makes it the perfect day to tell you that our Betty Bag class is now available for general release! Hooray! Click here to access.
The ladies from my regular classes have been beavering away on their Betty Bags these past 3 weeks, and it was so lovely to see some finished bags yesterday on our zoom call.
I’m just waiting on a few more photos to come in and then I can show you their amazing results!
So far I have made 5 Betty Bags, the most recent one as part of a secret swap between me and my ‘Threads Across the Sea’ quilting buddies! (tune in to the hashtag #justjudebettybag over on instagram this week to see the Betty Bags of my swap buddies!).
This class is made up of 1 pre-recorded YouTube video and a PDF document.
In your order confirmation email (& when you complete the order at checkout) you will receive a link to a PDF document. This document lists the full list of materials needed, the cutting out instructions and the link to the YouTube video. To access the YouTube video, copy and paste this link into your internet browser to access the video.
In this class you will learn:
How to use metal or plastic zippers
How to insert zippers 2 ways
How to quilt panels using a quilting bar
Bag construction using interfacing
How to make a removeable strap
How to insert a magnetic clasp
So if you would like a compact and slimline pouch to keep all your travel or night-out essentials safe and sound, then why not make your own!
And as my ladies have discovered, they also make for great gifts too!
To get a flavour of what my video classes look like, checkout the free tutorials on my YouTube channel.
In 2017 my Ditsy Daisy quilt pattern was published in Popular Patchwork Magazine.
My inspiration for this quilt was the bundle of fabrics the editor sent me, from Lewis & Irene, called Flo’s Little Flowers.
This collection was all about cute ditsy prints with a retro vibe in a contemporary colour palette. So in keeping with the floral theme, I designed a hydrangea block and a daisy block to capture the soft, summery feel of these fabrics.
Hydrangeas are fascinating flowers because each ‘head’ is made up of lots of little flowers, each with 4 petals and a tiny centre.
That’s where the design for my Hydrangea block came from.
The background fabric is Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) which you can purchase here.
This pattern will cover the piecing technique for the hydrangea block and how to machine applique the daisies with lots of photos to support you each step of the way.
You will also learn how to assemble the quilt top with borders, joining the backing & curving the corners of your quilt. Additional free tutorials on spray basting and making and attaching binding are available here.
This quilt is definitely for all lovers of florals and summer!! Just like me!
Firstly, apologies for forgetting to announce here the winner of my last giveaway (my bad)! The lucky winner was Michelle Green @elsie_and_alice and was announced on Instagram & Facebook. Thank you to everyone here who entered. Fingers crossed you will be luckier with my next giveaway.
This is a foundation paper pieced pattern which makes either a 20″ cushion or wallhanging. I love foundation paper piecing for the accuracy and pointy points you can achieve!
I decided to make another pillow for my sofa and of course, I chose Tilda Fabrics!!
I wanted to create a secondary pattern that became the centre feature of the cushion so I vered slightly from Lucy’s original colour placement.
The cushion is actually made in 4 quadrants – you could keep the colourway in each quadrant the same colour/fabrics (like Lucy’s original pattern). Alternatively, by changing the fabric in one point in each quadrant you get a new secondary pattern when each of the those points face towards the centre.
When it came to the quilting, I decided to quilt in the ditches first, to bed down a few of those lumpier seams.
I knew the Kona Snow would look too stark by itself so a little running stitch brings interest to these plainer sections and a little more quilted texture.
My points were pretty well matched in the middle, despite the bulk of the intersecting seam, but it just didn’t feel right not to highlight the centre with a vintage button!
The back of the cushion has my ‘go to’ feature zip, and a stripey Tilda binding frames the finished cushion.
I’m really pleased with how this cushion has turned out and love how it looks with my other handmade cushions.
Not only will you receive everything you need to make our drawstring bag, fully pre-cut, but we are also throwing in a half metre of Retro 30’s Apples & Strawberries (Green) by Lecien and a spool of Aurifil 50wt Quilting Thread.
The giveaway opens today 3rd July and you have 4 different ways to enter:
* subscribe to our YouTube Channel * follow us on Instagram (@justjudebelfast) & tag someone in our giveaway post * like our Facebook page and leave a comment on our giveaway FB post * leave a comment here with your email address
The giveaway is open to international entries and we’ll announce the winner on 11th July!
We will be kicking off our first week by making Svetlana’s Lola Pouch.
Lucy is a British quilter and blogger who designs & sells her own patterns and regularly teaches quilting classes. Lucy worked for two years as a designer and demonstrator on TV and often has projects featured in magazines.
Lucy describes her style as ‘miscellaneous’, enjoying mixing modern and traditional elements in her designs. She also co-hosts #saturdaynightcraftalong on Instagram, a weekly global crafting initiative.
We are still very much in lockdown here, so ‘teaching’ has had to look very different for me.
Aside from my free video tutorials on YouTube, I trialled an online class last month with my ladies – the Causeway Hexie Cushion.
Feedback from the ladies was really positive and I’m looking forward to showing you their results!
Spurred on by their brilliant results and encouragement, I’m making another class available – the Applique Hearts Boxy Bag.
This class will be available first to my ladies from 8th June, and then to the general public from 6th July.
As before, the class will consist of 4 weekly YouTube videos, with an optional zoom session at the end of each session (existing class members only). This is when we check in with each other, talk about any issues, swoon over our progress and fabric choices etc. and generally stay connected (as best we can!).
This boxy bag design is a variation on my original Boxy Bag class I designed and taught way back in 2011!
I often call it my book bag, because the short handles and sturdy body really lend themselves to carrying heavy books and files, to work, college, church or the library!
However, I also think it would be a great project bag. There is a handy divider pocket which could keep a pattern book with lots of room in the main bag for a knitting or crafting project.
I chose to needleturn my hearts onto the bag, but as you will see in the ‘what we cover’ section below, I also show you how to machine applique too!
So here’s what we will cover in this class:
*hand applique (Needleturn)
*machine applique (Satin and blanket stitch)
*suitable materials for the bag
*reinforced divider pocket
*snap fasteners for divider pocket
Many of the materials I have used in this bag are available in my shop.
So if you need another practical and sturdy bag in your life, or can think of someone who would love one, why not join us on either 8th June or 6th July for some step by step handbag making fun!
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.)
Once upon a time, in the days before lockdown, I visited an Irish linen factory and purchased some small offcuts of charcoal blue medium weight linen (among other things, ahem!).
I immediately fell in love with the muted tones of this linen and thought a striking white thread would contrast beautifully with it!
And that started my pursuit of a series of small sashiko designs which I could stitch and frame as a set.
I found a few free designs I liked on Pinterest and played around printing out various sizes. I settled for 6″ designs and cut out my linens at 7.5″.
Then came the problems!!
Trying to transfer the designs onto this medium weight linen proved tricky! First I tried my lightbox, but the linen was too dense to allow the design to show through enough to trace!
My pattern transfer pen is dark purple and wouldn’t show up on the linen.
So after watching a few YouTube tutorials I ordered some yellow carbon paper. I traced the design through the carbon paper onto the right side of the linen. But the yellow pigment barely left a mark!
So the only option I felt I had left was to trace the design onto baking paper, sew through the paper, and then tear the paper away at the end. I wasn’t too keen on this idea because hand sewn stitches are much less secure than machine sewn stitches and could get pulled out of shape.
So I fused some woven interlining onto the back of the linen and tried one design to see if I could get away with it, and bar one or two stitches that needed ‘settled down’ again after removing the paper, it worked relatively well.
I didn’t have sashiko thread so used an old spool of fine crochet cotton instead!!
And the 7.5″ box frames came from Hobbycraft today, so I wasted no time getting them framed and photographed (I took out the glass for the photoshoot!).
All I need to do now is decide where to hang them!!
Our 2nd quilting retreat at Murlough House, Co.Down was at the weekend, and just like our first retreat last October, it didn’t disappoint!
There were 18 of us, sewing, laughing, eating, playing and having some much needed chill out time!
And like last time, the sun shone which meant the fitter few got to enjoy some scenic walks down to the beach!
Our swap/ice-breaker project was the humble mug-rug. Nothing humble about these beauties!
The workshops this time around were Foundation Pieced Spools on Saturday (later turned into cute wallhangings) and some relaxing hand sewing on Sunday making brooches.
Last year our charity quilt block drive involved lots and lots of scrappy 2.5″ squares, all sewn together to make a postage stamp quilt for Siblings Together. Here is the recently finished quilt, made by 23 people!
Inspired by our efforts, a small group of ladies from retreat organised themselves to make more postage stamp blocks and brought their finished quilt at the weekend to show us.
Our charity quilt block drive this year was all about half square triangles.
The ladies each brought 5 colourful squares and 5 low volume squares with them to retreat, we mixed them up and then gave them back pairs of squares to sew, chop, press and rejoin into blocks of 9 half square triangles.
And just look what 18 people achieved!
And when this quilt is pieced, quilted and bound, that will be another one off to Siblings Together!
And there were many other quilts in the making too this weekend. Here are just a few!
Phew! What a wonderfully creative time we had!
A huge thank you to the wonderful staff at Murlough House, and of course to this crazy lot for making it a very special quilting retreat!
At the end of February we will be having a half term break from classes.
Which means, a new block of classes kicks off in March up until Easter.
And a new block of classes means a new (optional) class project.
We’re going to dip our creative toes into some textile art this term, having unadulterated play-time with mixed textiles and medium.
I’ve 2 class samples to showcase several fun techniques.
This is a 12″ picture in a box frame.
The background can be made with strips of torn linens, cottons, lace, voile, broderie anglaise and anything else light weight which is textured or can fray well. I even included fine strands of felting wool!
We then use a water-soluble fabric to matchstick quilt the background before adding our composition on top.
I’ve chosen some flowers and seed heads, but you could quite easily go with a bird, meadow or beach theme. Let your creativity run wild!
In the making of my picture I used the following techniques:
free motion embroidery
I also included some cut out some embroidered yellow flowers from an old duvet cover!!
What a lot of fun! You’ll never look at textured fabrics, bedding and apparel in the same way again!
I love word art! There’s nothing quite like the perfectly spoken word at exactly the right time to create profound impact and legacy.
If you enjoy poetry and literature you can have so much fun with your composition here. Or how about the name and meaning of a loved one? What a special gift.
The background is made in the same way as picture 1. I’ve also included free motion sketching and printed text here. This time though, I’ve embellished my picture with text printed onto fabric. You need an inket jet printer and freezer paper do to this.
I’m so looking forward to seeing what artistic impressions are released when this class starts in March!
If you would like to join us for some textile creativity, check out all the classes and vacancies here.
I’ve recently gifted a selection of ‘cork pouches’.
I love working with cork! It goes with just about everything, comes in lots of different colours (including sparkly!) can be rotary cut, pieced, quilted, ironed (medium-cool heat setting) and is 3d friendly! Did you know it’s vegan too (though I don’t recommend eating it!).
Here’s the first cork pouch:
This was made for a friend of my daughter who has been through a tough time lately.
I had a very small offcut of this gorgeous animal fabric (Echino, I think!) and managed (just about) to fussy cut the animals. I particularly like the zebras as my daughter’s friend is a young mum and it reminded me of the lovely bond she has with her son.
The pouch was sent off with an inspirational notebook and lots of love!
Pouch no. 2 was made as an ‘end of year’ thank you gift.
As with most of my pouches, I make them up as I go along! I’d seen some lovely curved pouches on Pinterest and thought I’d have a go!
The 2nd side of the zipper is a little tricky as you are sewing against the curve, but completely manageable with patience and deft fingers!
All of the fabrics in this pouch are available to purchase in my studio.
And last but not least, a geographical pouch for a special girl!
My middle daughter has already left for a 3 month missions trip, so I thought a useful but easy to pack pouch would come in handy.
With another offcut of map fabric I managed to include 2 countries that hold significance for my daughter, Brazil (a country she would love to visit one day) and Japan, where she will be spending the first 2 months of 2020.
I quilted both sides of the pouch along the longitude and latitude lines that were already printed on this ‘old style’ map!
So that’s my round up of cork pouches gifted this Christmas.
If you’ve never sewn with cork before give it a try! You’ll soon discover how versatile and user friendly it is!
Well it’s hard to believe that we only have 1 more week of classes left for 2019! Where on earth did that year go!!
I can’t wait to show you the beautiful wreaths folks have been making as part of our (optional) class project this term. They’re stunning!
But before one term is out I always present to my classes what the next term’s (optional) class project will be.
Our technique focus next term will be Pleats & Tucks.
The main difference between pleats and tucks is that pleats are formed by folding the same length of fabric into folds which are only stitched down at the top and bottom ends, whereas tucks are constructed separately and then sewn into the project.
You will of course be more familiar with seeing pleats and tucks in clothing and apparel, but I love how different techniques in textiles can cross over into other disciplines, usually with a little creative tweaking!
So far I have 2 class samples made (both tucks!), but I hope to have one more pleated sample completed before the start of term!
Cushion with Tucks:
There are many different effects you can achieve by manipulating tucks.
I really like the ‘spread’ effect you get from this variation of the Wave Tuck. You can see each of the feature fabrics standing out nicely against the black Essex Yarn Dyed Linen.
Zippy Pouch with Tucks
This is an example of Twisted Tucks. Before sewing along the bottom edge of the pouch, the tucks are twisted back, revealing the secondary colour. This effect adds a lovely decorative touch to bags and pouches.
So that’s us (almost) ready for next term. If you would like to join us for some creative sewing fun, you can see all the available classes here.
In the meantime I have a few Christmas presents to make, and the small matter of workshops for February’s Retreat to make too!
3 and leave a comment here or on FB or IG telling me what’s your favourite textile to work with.
You have until Monday 18th November to enter, when I will announce the winner (international entries welcome). (Please ensure you leave your email address with your comment if you are a ‘no reply blogger’.)
For the past few years, an annual tradition has started among 3 of my long time quilty friends and myself.
2 of us live in N.Ireland and the other 2 in England. We try to meet up each year to sew, taking it in turns to meet on either side of the Irish Sea! And that’s why we call ourselves #Threads Across the Sea!
This year, Trudi and Di came to not so sunny Belfast and spent a weekend of chatter, natter, lots of eating (delicious home baked yummies by Trudi and Sarah!) and of course some sewing in my studio!
One of our traditions is to gift handmade items to each other! This is like Christmas come early!!
From Sarah we each received these personalised Arm Chair Caddies (pattern from the book ‘Zakka Home’). Aren’t they cool! And Sarah got me spot on with my love of denim and all things ditsy!
I will definitely be using mine when hand stitching in the evenings in front of the telly!
Trudi is an amazing hand stitcher and quilter, and being recently laid up with injured ankles facilitated the huge amount of time she invested in these pouches.
I particularly love the sashiko stitching on Art Gallery Denim! Yum!
And from Di we each got a treat bag of goodies!
Di lives in the Lake District and the particular area she lives in is known as the Cake District!!! Fab or what!
Included in the bag were thread snips, mobile thread cutter/needle threader and wood turned items made by Di’s uber talented hubby! Check out the gorgeously tactile needle holder and Christmas Tree decoration!
See what I mean by Christmas come early! I’m so blessed to call these talented women my friends.
And if you want to know what I made for my 3 friends, you’ll have to tune in again to find out (and there might be a wee giveaway too! wink wink!).
Having a sew-social with like minded creatives and wonderful friends is one of my favourite things! Already looking forward to TATS20!
Sorry it has taken me so long to post about our first Quilting Retreat (last weekend). I’ve had some very special visitors this week (which I’ll tell you all about soon).
It’s hard to believe that a week ago today we were heading home after a wonderful weekend of sewing, eating, fun and games!
Murlough house is a 150 year old stately house situated only 5 minutes walk from the beach and surrounded by beautiful and calming gardens. The staff that run the house were so accommodating and friendly and the meals ……. oh my! We were spoiled! Their generous and servant heartedness combined with this beautiful setting established our retreat vibe from the first day.
There was of course lots of independent sewing time in the big hall. I have lots of photos of fabulous finished projects, but here are just a few!
After dinner in the evenings, we had a few fun games like a our pincushion swap, sewing bingo and the postage stamp charity block race, before getting down to more serious sewing time. (The hard core stitchers were still in the Hall to the wee hours of the morning!!)
In addition to all of this I ran 2 workshops:
Sashiko cushion (Saturday afternoon) ……
….and selvedge projects (Sunday morning).
A few folks also managed to fit in some walks (& runs) around the bay!
Phew! What a lot we managed to pack in!
From the feedback forms I can safely say that everyone had a fabulously relaxing and productive weekend.
A huge thank you to everyone who came and participated in all the activities so eagerly and to all the staff at Murlough House for spoiling us.
Thank you too to my 2 lovely friends, Ruth and Barbara, who valiantly helped and supported me from conception to conclusion (they are 2nd and 3rd from the right in the photo above). I couldn’t have done this without you!
I already have Murlough House booked for 2 more retreats in 2020! So watch this space!
It was a milestone weekend in the Hollies’ household!
I dropped my baby off at University of Liverpool to start her 3 year degree, and came back to an empty nest.
I’ve had children at home for the past 24 years, so not having ‘on hand’ mummy duties and living alone for the first time (ever) will be quite an adjustment. But I know that once the grieving ends I will learn how to grow a new set of wings and step into new rhythms and adventures.
In the meantime I have lots of exciting work ventures to focus on, one being our inaugural Quilting Retreat next month.
In addition to oodles of time to sew, chat and relax, there are also 2 optional workshops to choose from.
Saturday Afternoon: Sashiko Cushion
The Japanese sashiko stitching trend has swept through the quilting world in recent years.
This is my simplified take on what can be beautifully intricate hand stitched Japanese designs, often based on themes of nature and geometric patterns.
At this workshop you will learn how to trace patterns onto traditional indigo backgrounds and how to make the sashiko stitches and designs.
Sunday Morning: Selvedge Projects
Quilters are a frugal lot, and we don’t like throwing away even small pieces of fabric!
So when it comes to selvedges, the edges of fabric that prevent it from fraying, to me they aren’t the pieces you trim off and throw in the bin, but rather the unsung treasures of your yardage!
Selvedges not only display the colourful dye shades used in the print, but also the manufacturer and designer’s names and the name of the pattern.
It can take a while to save up enough selvedges to make something from them, but don’t worry, at this workshop I will have lots of selvedges available.
At the workshop you will learn how to cut and sew selvedges with finished edges and how to stabilise them into a new piece of fabric for project making.
And you can choose to make a small basket, pencil case or project pouch.
So start looking at those selvedges differently and hoard them like precious treasure!
Those are the workshops taking place at our Quilting Retreat in October. It’s going to be one fun and creative weekend!
By way of introduction, I’m Judith of Just Jude Designs. I’m a Patchwork & Quilting Designer and Tutor working from my spacious studio in a beautifully converted Victorian linen mill in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
I’ve been teaching now for 12 years, not only designing projects to teach but also designing quilting projects for magazines and a UK based fabric distributor.
I’m particularly fond of sewing with scraps (I generate a lot of them in my line of work!) and this is reflected in many of my designs.
I wouldn’t say I have a particular ‘style’ to my quilts. Sometimes I take inspiration from the fabrics themselves, or a themed brief from an editor, nostalgia or patterns I see in nature and objects around me.
Some of my best work comes from not having a design brief, and simply grabbing a handful of fabric or scraps and just allowing an organic creative process to develop!
I don’t always know what I’m going to end up with, but when I mix a little courage with an open mind, I’m rarely disappointed!
I’m also fond of recycling textiles in patchwork and quilting – linen, denim, tweed, wool and vintage sheets are particular favourites!
So that’s a little flavour of my patchwork & quilting life. You can read more about me here, and see more of my patterns here.
And if you would like to enter Benita’s Grand Prize Draw (4 pre-cut bundles, 3 Aurifil thread sets, Warm & Natural Batting, 2 Sewline Start sets & lifetime membership to Victoriana Quilt Designs) then just click on the button below to enter your details. Winners will be announced by Benita on 1st October.
Almost 2 years ago I launched our first appeal for Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Care in Antrim Hospital.
As the name suggests, the bags carry Syringe Drivers, the vehicle for administering pain or sickness medication. The patient receives the meds via a tube, which means they have to carry the Syringe Drivers around with them all the time. Sometimes they have one syringe driver, sometimes 2.
Providing bright and colourful bags instead of the standard issue grey ones is a small way of bringing a little cheeriness to the patient, especially when they get to choose one they like!
For our first appeal we had a brilliant response from generous sewists across Northern Ireland. So much so, we were able to pass on some bags to other palliative care units.
These bags can’t be reused, and the supply of bags from the first appeal has been exhausted.
Macmillan have asked us for more, so we are launching our 2nd Syringe Driver Bag Appeal!
If you have some sewing machine experience and cotton fabric, would you consider making one or two bags for those receiving palliative care or cancer treatment? You can find the tutorial here.
Previously we have only made for adult males and females, but now we also have a request from The Children’s Hospice, N.I., so we can receive bags in child-friendly fabrics too!
I launched the 2nd appeal on Facebook 10 days ago and we’ve already received 25 bags! THANK YOU!
I’ve always known how generous our sewing community is! Please, please help us to make many more bags! The bags can be posted or delivered to me at home. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my address.
And if you live locally to Belfast, keep your eyes and ears open for an announcement about a free Syringe Driver Bag Workshop at our studio in Conway Mill!
(All sample blocks were made using Handmade fabrics by Makower)
Now in my introduction to this series, I described this part as the Mystery section!
That’s because this post is all about Partial Seams!
Just like the other Log Cabin Family members, in these examples fabric is pieced around a central shape.
1 Log Cabin
You may have noticed that the ‘logs’ in the Log Cabin block above are equal length in each round, unlike the Log Cabin Block from Part 1.
This is made possible by starting each round with a partial seam (denoted here with the number 0.5 instead of 1!).
The first ‘log’ being attached is stitched only half way along the seam. It is then pressed out allowing the 2nd ‘log’ to be fully attached. This one is then pressed out before attaching log 3 and the same for log 4. Now you can bring the unsewn section of log 1 right sides together to log 4 and finish sewing the starting (partial) seam.
I love how clever this technique is. Without prior knowledge of partial seams, it would be difficult to work out how to construct this block. Therein lies the mystery!!
2. Rail Fence
In this example, the ‘rail fence’ sections are pieced separately, before being attached to the centre square.
Welcome to part 3 of my series on Log Cabin blocks (part 1 available here; part 2 available here).
So far we’ve looked at the variations within Log Cabin and Courthouse Steps blocks.
This post is all about the Pineapple Block.
Like me, you may be surprised that the Pineapple block is included in the Log Cabin family of blocks.
But there are definite similarities. Fabric strips of equal width are added in rounds from the centre square outwards (just like Log Cabin or Courthouse Steps).
The main difference this time is each round is trimmed ‘on point’ to create a diamond shape, before the next round is added. By alternating the background and main fabrics each round, pineapple shapes start to emerge.
There are several ways to create the Pineapple Block:
1 Foundation Pieced:
For my block (above) I printed and enlarged a paper template and sewed directly onto the paper, only removing the paper on completion of the block.
While this is a time consuming method (especially for a full quilt!) it results in precision piecing and accurate points and edges.