I’m so proud of all my ladies, not just those who tackle the class project, but also those who work continuously on their generous gift making, charitable fund raisers, sharing inspiring new projects and continuing to fuel and feed their creativity.
And I get to call this my day job!! #lovemyjob
We are taking a one week break, and when we return it will be the last block of classes of 2018!
Tune in again soon to find out what our new class project will be.
Yesterday was my Chenille Workshop, and I’ve been beavering away this past week getting samples ready.
My ladies learned how to make a fluffy, tactile texture in their fabrics, and turn it into a snuggly cushion or a soft and useful bathmat.
We learned about how cutting across the bias can create a very different effect from cutting in line with the warp and weft (straight grain).
And how some fabrics will fray better than others, and where some will reveal little surprises after washing and drying (a frayed selvage will give a clue to secondary coloured threads).
The best way to chenille fabric is to cut across the bias, but that in no way limits the different effects you can achieve.
Check out some of these examples:
Applique Bias Strips:
You don’t need any special equipment for this technique. The clever peeps at Olfa have made the Chenille cutter, but you can get the same results from sharp scissors (recommended for smaller projects).
And if you don’t have a Chenille brush to help with the fluffing-up, just use a regular hairbrush (the washing and tumble drying are usually sufficient, but brushing the chenille can help with those fabrics that are a little more fray resistant!).
So huge well done to my ladies for a great day’s work sewing and chenilling (& chatting too!).
And if you haven’t tried chenilling yet, why not give it a whirl! You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
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!
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
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
I love new year, even more than Christmas. A fresh start, a clean page, renewed focus and motivation. And of course, a little stretch more light in the day!
I don’t set new year resolutions, but I do choose a word for the year, a kind of theme to keep me on track.
This year my word is RHYTHM.
After a momentous year of change in 2017, it’s time to start a new rhythm, in work, at home, in life. I love the organic nature of this word, and I think that’s how I’ll find my new rhythm, gradually, naturally, organically. I’m so looking forward to settling into all the new things that 2017 brought, like breaking in a fabulous new pair of shoes!
There may be more change, I may trip and wobble a little along the way, but each day that God grants me I will put on my new shoes and stride my best stride. I hope you’ll journey with me through 2018.
As is now tradition in blogland, I’ll leave you with my Year in Quilts and a selection of other projects.
I hope as you look back at all you’ve achieved in 2017, it fills you with hope, inspiration and dreams of even more creative pursuits in 2018!
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!
We are slowly getting outnumbered by cardboard boxes here, as we prepare to move house later this month!
So as a little distraction from all the packing, I thought I would tell you about 2 pretty little cushions I made for Pretty Patches magazine.
Back in 2013 I made my daughter these cushions for her birthday. I thought I would have another go using my design, but this time with the summery fabrics from Lewis and Irene, called Flo’s Little Garden.
I’ve called them Garden Trellis. The Kona Snow trellis in one cushion provides little windows to view the pretty flowers, while in the other cushion, the ditsy florals are climbing up the trellis.
Simple ‘echo’ quilting make this a beginner friendly project, with an easy envelope closure at the back.
I finished the cushions with a crochet trim. To do this, hand sew a blanket stitch first with the crochet cotton (I used DMC Natura Just Cotton in Ivory). You will need a sharp darning needle with a big enough eye to take the crochet cotton.
The blanket stitches act like a foundation row to start crocheting into. Work 3 double crochet into each blanket stitch, then 3 chain loops into every 3rd double crochet. Finally, work 1 double crochet, 4 treble crochet, 1 double crochet into each chain loop.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a crocheter. The cushions are complete without adding a crochet trim. Alternatively, sew a ready-made crochet trim into the seams between the front and back of the cushion before the final assembly.
So there we have it! 2 pretty, summery cushions, sadly ready for the packing boxes!
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!
Happy Friday! Doesn’t the working week just fly by!
One of my favourite gifts to make friends are cushions. Don’t you think cushion fronts are just like mini quilts (another fun make!)? Creativity knows no bounds with mini quilts and cushions.
This is my schoolhouse cushion. I developed this pattern a few years back and have taught it several times in classes.
The technique for making the schoolhouse is called Foundation Paper Piecing. It’s a great technique for achieving precise lines and points. If you’ve never tried it before I’d highly recommend it. There are several different ways to foundation paper piece, but I prefer the ‘fold and cut as you go’ method. I feel it’s an easier technique for beginners to learn.
This particular cushion was made as a birthday gift for a friend. I know her interiors have the same lush purples that are found in Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee range. I think they go perfectly with Irish Linen.
A few free motion sketched flowers and a feature zip closure to finish. (This is one of my favourite ways to close a cushion back, which helps the cushion keep its shape and avoid any gaping when the filler is inserted.)
I’m delighted to report that the cushion has been delivered and well received!
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.
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?
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!
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!
Ditch quilting is when you quilt in the seams of your patchwork, so that it won’t be seen! This secures all 3 layers (top, wadding, backing).
Traditionally, quilts and other quilted projects were always ditch quilted first, before any decorative quilting was added.
However, as with most things, attitudes and trends have changed. No longer do we have to try to ‘stay in the ditch’ and hold our breath as we try to get from one end of a seam to the other! (Imagine how nerve wracking that is for a beginner!).
As long as you quilt sufficiently (manufacturers state the minimum intervals on wadding packaging) so that there is no bagging between layers, then ditch quilting isn’t always required.
However, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be used as a quilting technique in its own right.
Sometimes when you have pretty fabrics and an effective design, decorative quilting isn’t required.
This is my Staggered Strips Cushion. Hopefully you can tell that it is quilted without seeing the quilting!
I have quilted in all the vertical seams using my ditch quilting foot. If you don’t have a ditch foot, use an applique or open foot to maximise your view of the seams and ditches!
If you would like to learn more about ditch quilting, get my step by step guide in the current issue of Popular Patchwork (pg 34). You can also get the pattern for my Staggered Strips Cushion.