The 2nd of my gifts being handed out this week is this English Paper Pieced (EPP) Hexie Pillow.
This gift is actually a ‘thank you’ from my daughter to a family who’ve been like a 2nd family to her for many years, and have faithfully supported her missionary training!
The family in question love the North Coast of Ireland, and holiday there every year (with my daughter included!).
They have a particular affection for The Giants Causeway, a geological phenomenon of mostly hexagonal shaped basalt stones, created from volcanic movement 50-60 million years ago.
But despite what Wikipedia and National Heritage say, we all know it was in fact built by the Irish Giant, Finn MacCool! Of course!
So this coastal coloured pillow with it’s columns of ombre hexies is my textile ode to The Giant’s Causeway and our legendary and affectionate giant, Finn MacCool!
This is my first time appliquing EPP hexies in this way. It’s important to draw your placement grid first onto the background (Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in this instance), before bondawebbing the starched hexies in place.
I’m delighted to say the pillow was very well received and the recipients immediately got the inferences to their favourite little corner of the world.
I love making cushions (well they’re just mini quilts really aren’t they!) and trying out new things. I’ll definitely chalk this one up as a success (especially as I would like to have one in my own home!)!
A good friend of mine recently celebrated a milestone birthday.
Now this friend is uber creative and talented, especially when it comes to ceramics.
Rachel has a workshop in Conway Mill, just 2 floors above me, and makes the most stunning ceramic house pictures and brooches #weecolouredhouses
I’m lucky to be the proud owner of 2 such creations!
So from one maker to another, I knew my gift had to be handmade!
My ‘Wee Coloured Houses’ pouch is inspired by Rachel’s adorable little houses. They have been free motion sketched onto Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax). Those tiny windows were a challenge!!
I know Rachel loves colour, so I went with a patchworked back and a bright, funky lining.
So here’s to many more creative years Rachel!
And if you would like to purchase one of Rachel’s pictures or commission her for a custom order, you can contact her here.
Also, keep an eye out for her at Frock Around the Clock Fares and the Fine & Dandy Markets, as well as seeing her stock in The Designerie (Bushmills), Belfast City Airport, The Crafty Barn (Carlingford) and Klover (Hillsborough) to name a few!
It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost through, and attention is quickly turning to the new term of classes starting in September.
This term our (optional) class project will be Twin Needling with Fusible Bias (incorporating Stained Glass Windows).
As you can see above, there are a range of makes to choose from. Let’s look at them:
Mosaic Cushion (Beginner Friendly):
This 18″ cushion is a great starter project if you are new to fusible bias and twin needling.
Simple piecing creates the mosaic background, with the twin needled bias creating a dramatic (and quilted) finish!
I’ve made a feature of the zipper closure in the back of the cushion, but you could easily have an envelope or button closure here.
The digital pattern is available here (hard copies are available to purchase in class).
Mackintosh Flower Cushion (Intermediate):
This is another 18″ cushion, this time inspired by Charles Renee Mackintosh’s iconic design.
Shapes are bondawebbed onto background fabric, and the fusible bias then curved and twin needled down.
Again I’ve made a feature of the cushion back.
The digital Mackintosh Flower Cushion Pattern is available here (hard copies and full size templates are available to purchase in classs).
Applique Leaf Denim Bag (Advanced):
This project not only incorporates twin-needling (stems) and satin stitch applique (leaves), but also re-purposing textiles, zippered pocket and handbag construction.
The digital Applique Leaf Denim Bag Pattern is available here (hard copies and full size templates are available to purchase in class).
Mackintosh Rose Wallhanging (Advanced):
If you love wallhangings and aren’t afraid of something a little more challenging, you could try your hand at this Mackintosh inspired ‘Stained Glass Window’.
I’m in the progress of making up this wallhanging in a different colourway, and hope to show you the finished wallhanging soon! The finished size will be approx. 14″ x 21″ and full size templates will be available to purchase in class.
Each pattern lists the materials you will need.
However, I will have the following available to purchase in class:
black 6mm fusible bias
4mm twin needles
pattern transfer pens
hinged faux leather handbag handles
full size templates
So I hope you are inspired to perhaps try something different this term. You will have 7 weeks to make one of these projects, or a project of your own choosing!
And there are still a few spaces left across all the classes (more info here), so why not join us for some creative fun!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying some glorious sunshine in your part of the world!
We have had several beautiful days here. Doesn’t a sunny day just lift one’s spirits!!
Time got away from me a bit this week, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten to bring you the posts on my Spring into Summer projects. I will get those posted this week.
In the meantime, I have a few pics to share with you from our Applique workshop yesterday!
8 courageous ladies decided to put their ‘big girl’ pants on and tackle satin stitch applique head on! And not just satin stitch applique, but ‘appli-quilting’ – combining the techniques of applique and quilting into one step.
Have you ever wanted to master satin stitch applique, but are too afraid to try on your own?
Why not surround yourself with like minded creatives and spend a Saturday learning this technique with all the help and support you need!
At the workshop you will not only learn how to set up your machine for satin stitch applique, you can also make one of two projects:
Family Tree Wallhanging:
This pretty wallhanging can be made with your favourite treasured scraps, seasonal fabrics, or how about embroidering the names of family members onto the leaves!
This type of applique is called ‘appli-quilting’. The leaves will be appliqued onto an already quilted background. The process of stitching the leaves down combines both techniques of applique and quilting (appli-quilting).
Applique Leaf Cushion:
The same leaf motif can have many applications. How about a pretty cushion in fabrics that co-ordinate with your home!
Once again, we are using the appli-quilting technique here, applique and quilting all in one go! Simples!
And how about making a pretty feature of your zipper closure!
So the choice is yours! Join us for lots of coffee, chat and craic in a fun and safe learning environment at Conway Mill.
Just drop me an email to book a place: email@example.com
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!
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!
It’s been another busy week here in the Hollies’ household – lots more sewing to share with you in the coming weeks.
A wee while ago I was prepping for an English Paper Piecing class and brought in some of my sample projects.
I had diamonds, hexies, kites and coffins to show in a variety of projects, but there was one shape I was missing………. Clamshells (scallops).
Clamshells are a great example of curved EPP. I often get free pre-cut EPP papers with quilting magazines. Which is where I got these clamshells!
The little project book that came with the papers was helpful too! It gave me an idea for a sample.
I decided to make this little bag using some Tilda leftovers teamed with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).
Joining curved EPP shapes is a little different from straight edge shapes. Shapes like hexies and diamonds can be sewn right sides together using a whip stitch along the straight edges. Because there are no straight edges on curved shapes, the pieces are appliqued down onto a background instead.
A little note on basting clamshells – snip into the fabric along the curves, approx. 1cm intervals before folding the fabric over the paper. I’m a fan of hand tacking/basting the fabric to the papers, but I know some of you are big into the convenience of the glue basting pen. However, the glue pen doesn’t work so well here because the papers have to be removed before they are appliqued down.
I sourced some vintage wooden handles on Etsy that were just the right size.
So now I have a sweet little Clamshells Handbag to keep all my English Paper Piecing papers and wips in! Great for sewing ‘on the go’!
The construction method is the same for both sizes.
So let’s get started.
You will need:
First of all, you will need to download the applique glasses template here.
3.5″ or 5″ Flex Frame
Narrow case: 2 x (4″ x 9″) each from outer fabric, lining fabric & sew-in vilene (heavy weight)
Wider case: 2 x (5.5″ x 9″) each from outer fabric, lining fabric & sew-in vilene (heavy weight)
Fabric for applique sunglasses (2.5″ x 5″)
Bondaweb (2.5″ x 5″)
Jewellery pliers or similar
Adjustable zipper foot (this makes sewing in the flex frame easier)
505 Basting spray (optional)
Assume 1/4″ seam allowances
1. Spray baste the vilene to the wrong sides of the outer fabric pieces. Using the template provided, trace onto the papery side of the bondaweb.
2. Iron the bondaweb to the wrong side of the applique glasses fabric. When cooled, cut out on the line.
3. Remove the paper backing and carefully iron the glasses to the right side of the outer fabric, centred and approx. 2.5cm (1”) up from the bottom edge.
4. Applique the glasses according to your preferred method. I used raw edge ‘sketch’ applique – for this you need to drop the feed dogs and attach a free motion/darning foot to your machine (you can get more information on how to do this & other machine applique techniques here.)
5. Put the 2 outer pieces right sides together and mark 6.75cm (2 5/8″) down from both top corners. Sew down both sides and the bottom edge from marker to marker, leaving the top open (this is the flex frame section).
6. Repeat step 5 for both lining pieces, leaving a 5cm (2”) gap in the middle of the bottom edge (for turning).
7. With right sides together, match the outer flaps to the lining flaps.
8. Carefully pin these sections as shown below, making sure to match the side seams.
9. Sew around the top unsewn section from pin to pin. Use a reverse stitch to start and finish and take care not to sew into the existing seams. Repeat for the other flap.
10. Carefully snip the corners at an angle to lessen the bulk.
11. Turn the pouch right side out through the gap in the lining. Push the corners well out and press flat. Hand or machine stitch the gap closed.
12. Push the lining down into the case. Fold back one of the ‘flaps’, pin and sew close to the outer edge to create a channel (an adjustable zipper foot is useful here). Start and finish with a reverse stitch. Repeat for the other ‘flap’.
13. Insert the flex frame into the channels.
14. Push back the fabric to expose the open ends of the flex frame. Slot the hinge together, insert the bar fully into the hinge, and then close the ends of the hinge using jewellery pliers. Resettle the fabric along the flex frame.
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!).
Hi everyone, can you believe we are through April already!!
It’s been an eventful month for me, especially this past week (more on that another day). But as always, there has been lots of sewing!
I have two great friends that I regularly breakfast with. They have birthdays 2 months apart, and you may remember ‘Vi in Tweed’ made an appearance as one of these birthday gifts.
For my other friend, I made ‘Harriet in Tweed’! I recently inherited a lovely bag of tweed and wool, which set my heartbeat racing!! I couldn’t wait to use them and immediately new a Tweed Hare Cushion was on the cards.
I made the background in the same way as before, piecing strips of tweed and then quilting the seams onto wadding.
The main inspiration for this version of Harriet was a piece of vintage chintz linen. It went perfectly with a piece of green tweed I found in the bag.
Harriet is my favourite of my Woodland Friends. I used Irish linen for her face, ears, feet and tail. There’s just something about her sweet, friendly smile that gets me every time!
This time, I satin stitch appliqued the pieces to the background (bondawebbing them first of course)! I used Aurifil 12wt wool threads for the satin stitching, with a size 100 needle (just use your normal thread in the bobbin).
It’s soooooo satisfying when you have just the right coloured threads!
The back is an open weave tweed, trimmed with the chintz linen and a recycled duffle coat button to finish.
My breakfast friend is chuffed with Harriet. So that’s two happy breakfast friends, with new Woodland Friends of their own!
Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new month!
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.
Hello everyone, we are well into Spring here, and the April issues of quilting magazines are hitting the shops!
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.
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.
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.
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!
A lovely ‘owl loving’ friend of mine had her birthday this weekend!
‘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.
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!).
So these cute birds are now too-wit too-woo-ing their way into their new home!
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!
Now that I am embracing Autumn, I can show you one of my favourite makes of this year!
This is ‘Autumn Tree’, an applique wallhanging measuring 27″ x 30″, which I will definitely be displaying in my home.
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.
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!!
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!
I love these colours on the Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (denim).
And on the other side ……
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I tried to capture the light on the limited features in my small 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!
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!