Schoolhouse Cushion


By Judith on March 17, 2017
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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.

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

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.

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

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.

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

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.)

 
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I’m delighted to report that the cushion has been delivered and well received!

 

Schoolhouse Cushion

 

And I’m just as delighted to announce that I’m releasing the Schoolhouse cushion pattern for general sale as from today!

 

 

This step-by-step pattern has lots of photos to guide you through all the paper piecing and cushion construction.

 

But if you are still nervous about trying foundation paper piecing, you could give this beginner friendly, pieced schoolhouse cushion pattern a go instead.

 

So what technique have you been too nervous to try yet?

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Tweed Fox Cushion


By Judith on March 13, 2017
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Do you love to recycle?

 

I try to do my bit for the environment, but one thing I love to recycle most are textiles.

 

A selection of my healthy hoard!

 

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!

 

Once upon a time we had a thriving linen and textile industry here.

 

It’s always a joy working with these materials, but especially when making a gift for a fellow ‘tweed’ loving friend.

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

Last year I made a Woodland Friends quilt, a cute clan of friends who just keep giving.

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

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!

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

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!

 

Vi Vixen in tweed

 

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.

 

Happy sewing!

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2016 in Quilts


By Judith on December 31, 2016
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Another year has flown by!

But what a busy one it has been!

 

2016 in Quilts

 

This is what my year in quilts looks like, 17 of which have been published in magazines.

 

2016 in cushions & bags

 

And of course there were many more makes in 2016 – bags, pouches, cushions, bee blocks and more!  This is just a sample – phew, I think I need a lie down!

 

One of my highlights this year has been getting my new website up and running!

 

And to celebrate a great creative year, I’m launching my New Year Sale today!

 

 

Get 20% off EVERYTHING in my web shop and Etsy shop using coupon code newyearsale17.

 

 

That’s 20% off patterns, fabric, pre-cuts, haberdashery, kits, including 20% off my new stock of Kaufman Indigo Denim.

 

 

This soft denim is 60″ wide, and perfect for dressmaking, bag making and soft furnishings.

 

So why not celebrate the new year with a bargain! The coupon is valid until Sunday 8th January.

 

Happy New Year to you all!

 

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Mixed Textiles Robin Cushion


By Judith on December 7, 2016
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In the December issue of Pretty Patches magazine, you might find this cheeky chappie making a song and dance of things!

 

Christmas Robin (mixed textiles) for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

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.

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

The only items officially ‘purchased’ in this cushion are the background (Tilda) and the berries!

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

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.

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

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!).

 

Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)

 

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?

 

Happy bird watching!

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Houndstooth Quilt


By Judith on November 18, 2016
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The design process can be an interesting one!

 
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!

 

Popular Patchwork cover.July

 

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!).

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)

 
Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine fell in love with it and commissioned it for their November issue, which is in the shops now!

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)
Photo courtesy of LPQ

 

They also asked for a matching cushion:

 

P1110795

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!

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)

 
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!

 
Happy sewing!

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Denim Sail Boat Cushion


By Judith on June 19, 2016
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Hello everyone!  My that’s another week gone!

How has your week been?

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.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)


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.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)

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!

Happy Sailing!

 

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Light And Leaves!


By Judith on April 20, 2016
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We had the most gloriously sunny day today!

I tried to capture the light on the limited features in my small garden.

Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Light in my 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!
Applique Leaf Cushion (Sewing World May16)
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!
Happy sewing!
Jude xo

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Staggered Strips Cushion


By Judith on March 23, 2016
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Are you a ditch quilter?

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.

Simple Strips Cushion

 


This is my Staggered Strips Cushion.  Hopefully you can tell that it is quilted without seeing the quilting!

Simple Strips Cushion

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.

Staggered Strips Cushion / Popular Patchwork (April)


Happy Ditching!

Jude xo

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