I’ve been overwhelmed by the wonderful response to my new venture! It’s been so lovely to be ‘cheered on’ from all my friends here, on FB and Instagram. Thank you, it means a lot!
I’ve barely had time to think about other projects lately, but I can show you a Christmas quilt I made back in the summer!
This is called ‘Starry Christmas Night’ using the evocative ‘Countryside Christmas’ collection from Lewis & Irene.
When Popular Patchwork sent me the fabrics, I immediately thought of cosy winter evenings snuggled up by the fire!
The night before Christmas in the Hollies Household involves a carol service at my church, followed by a Baileys on ice, warm mince pies and wrapping presents!
I don’t have an open fire yet in my new house (I’m saving up for a rustic cast iron stove!) but I can just visualise me one Christmas eve sitting next to the stove, drinking my Baileys and snuggling under this lap quilt watching a cheesy Christmas movie!
The Countryside Christmas fabrics have beautiful motifs of cute robins, night owls, foxes, deer and winter scenes.
And of course, when there’s a stripe, there will be stripey binding!
The astute among you will notice an imposter in this quilt! I didn’t quite have enough of Countryside Christmas for the design I was after, so I added some Tilda Candy Bloom (skinny border and backing). It goes quite well with Lewis and Irene, don’t you think!
This quilt came together really quickly. So if you like a little bit of piecing, and a little bit of applique, then why not pick up the November issue of Popular Patchwork.
Didn’t that week go quickly? My feet have hardly touched the ground it’s been so busy here! I’m getting ready to make an important announcement next Tuesday, so it’s full steam ahead here.
In the meantime I can show you a quilt I made for British Patchwork & Quilting, using Tilda’s beautiful Cabbage Rose collection:
The Tilda Cabbage Rose collection is one of my favourites so far. In fact, I’ve thrown in a couple of greens from their Memory Lane collection too!
I’ve called this quilt ‘Garden Steps’, because of the combination of pretty floral prints and the Courthouse Steps quilt block.
The Courthouse Steps block works a little like a Log Cabin block. Cleverly, it’s the main block design which becomes the secondary pattern here.
Can you spot the blocks?
The backing and binding are more Tilda prints from other collections.
This was the first quilt I made in my new Sewing Room. It’s been an interesting journey re-orientating myself to a much smaller space. For example, learning the best way to photograph items and discovering where the light is best.
It was lovely working with pretty, colourful fabrics on a dull day!
I’ve had a great week, especially as my builder finished all his amazing work in my house on Monday. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting out treasured trinkets, favourite cushions, putting up pictures, and finally making this new space feel more like home.
It seems like an age since I made my first magazine commission in this house, back in July!
The lovely Editor of Pretty Patches magazine sent me some Alison Glass Sun Print fabrics (you can see the full collection here).
What a wonderful explosion of colour! I kept the design simple with half square triangle diamonds in the wonderful rainbow rounds of the prints.
Sadly I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the quilt on completion (due to the building site that surrounded me!) but I promise I will when it is returned to me.
In the meantime, I will leave you with the wonderful pictures in Pretty Patches magazine.
I’ve been hearing the christmas ‘C’ word a lot round here lately!
It seems the madness of the ‘silly season’ starts earlier and earlier (or am I just getting older and more ‘Scrooge-like’?).
Anyway, when it comes to quilting magazines there’s no such thing as too early for Christmas!
This is my Wonky Log Cabin Christmas quilt in the October issue of Quilt Now magazine.
These wonky blocks are so much fun to make. There’s really no accurate measuring, just improv slicing and dicing! So liberating!
Sometimes inspiration for quilt design comes quick and easy, and sometimes it’s more like the slow, patient percolation of a good coffee!
Initially I had pulled some Kona greens and scrappy greens, a little sprinkle of Kona Pomegranate (an all time favourite) and a sharp black and white stripe to contrast.
I liked where this was going, but still nothing came to mind. A few days later, I grabbed some low volume prints and soft Kona greys and I had the balance I needed.
Log cabin blocks are some of my favourites, so I started to play and thought I’d push the boundaries a little. I usually reserve my supply of black and white stripe for binding quilts. This time I let the black and white stripe take more of a starring role, connecting the blocks in each quadrant.
I had so much fun playing, I just kept going, and that’s how this quilt came to be! A very organic design process this time!
I’m always a little conflicted when we enter a new season and a new term. I love the colours and smells of Autumn, a feast for the senses, but I always grieve a little for the ending of another brief summer.
So continuing the Autumnal theme, I can show you my Autumn Boho Quilt.
This is a bigger quilt than I usually make, at 72″ x 89.5″.
For a while now I’ve been wanting to use my stash of large scale prints. I have a number of fat quarters and half metres from wonderful designers like Sandi Henderson, Anna-Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Amy Butler to name a few.
What these designers have in common is their courage to use colour and pattern, even when it ‘clashes’.
So I kept the design large and simple – 17″ half square triangles with navy feature diamonds.
This is a great beginner friendly project. You can work from 20 fat quarters and a little yardage for the contrasting diamonds. The diamonds are important as it gives the eye somewhere to land among the busyness of the prints.
If you are a regular visitor to my blog then you will know how much I love scrappy quilts. I appreciate they are not to everyone’s taste, but if you like using up fabric, then why not have a go!
My advice is to be brave. Don’t worry when you look at a couple of fabrics together and think ‘they don’t go’. If you can push pass the ‘over-thinking’ & ‘trying to match fabrics’ stage you won’t be disappointed – the magic happens when you step back and look at the finished quilt. I even use fabrics that I’ve fallen out of love with!
I totally love the ‘boho vibe’ these loud and crazy fabrics give the quilt!
And you can find it in the September issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.
Thank you for offering to make Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you missed the post and would like to be involved in this worthy cause, you can read more about it here.
If you are noticing the evenings getting shorter, you’re not alone! Sadly, summer seems to be waning and the first signs of Autumn are sneaking in.
Especially when the ‘Autumn’ issues of quilting magazines are already hitting the shops!
This is my ‘reverse’ Autumn Irish Chain quilt on the front cover of the September issue of Pretty Patches.
Scrappy quilts are my favourite kind to make. I wanted to stick to autumnal shades but thought I could switch things up a little. So I flipped a traditional Irish chain around, making the large negative spaces the colourful feature of the design.
Deep purples and aubergine tones are my favourite autumnal colours. They remind me of blackberry picking and harvest time! In fact I’ve got blackberry bushes in my new house producing fruit right now!
I went with a soft grey dotty background, and of course we can’t have autumn without the warm yellows and oranges of crisp falling leaves.
This pattern is perfect for beginner quilters, basically you are just sewing squares together in a particular order, or for folks like me with a overflowing healthy scrap stash!
I hope you like my first quilty step into Autumn. I love the season of Autumn, but I’m not quite ready to give up on summer just yet!
I’m getting a little behind schedule in showing you my recent magazine commissions.
The September issue of Quilt Now will be released very soon, but first I need to show you what made front cover of their August issue.
This is my Sun, Sea and Sky scrap buster quilt. I had so much fun making this, and rummaging through scraps and fat quarters to get a colour scheme that evoked the warm aquas and teals of the summer sea and sky, with little hits of bright sunshiney yellow!
I designed a pieced block, which would give me a connecting secondary pattern (not unlike my daughter’s Around the World quilt).
If you look closely, you will see an alternating colour pattern, between the placement of the aqua and teal fabrics in each block, rather like the way the sea reflects the sky and vice versa.
Small scale prints or tone-on-tone fabrics will work best here. That meant I had to discount one or two of my scraps and ‘borrow’ a couple from a fellow fabric addict quilter!
I decided on organic wavy lines for the quilting, to create some movement through the blocks and maintain a fluid theme.
The quilt finishes at 61″ x 73″ and is backed with a fresh aqua polka dot. A blue and white striped binding finished off the coastal feel.
So that finishes my July round up of magazine commissions. The September issues are being released in the next week or so and I will have 3 more exciting quilts to show you!
In the meantime, my sewing room is almost finished, so I might actually be able to show you some photos soon!
It’s a happy day here at the Hollies Household because not only is the sun shining, we have just had gas installed in our new home! This means we now have long awaited hot water, cooking facilities and a little heat on chilly evenings! #livinglikekings
The quilt I’d like to show you today is long overdue its reveal!
My middle daughter turned 18 last February, and I got her birthday quilt started at Brit Bee Retreat.
My daughter loves travel/world themes as well as old style items, images and graphics. Also, she isn’t into pink or girly colours so much, so I knew I had to get the fabrics and colours just right.
I was browsing travel themed fabrics online and came across this Makower fabric called ‘Airmail Travel Stamp, Special Delivery!’ It was my perfect starting point and this became my ‘headline’ print. I used the colours in this print to guide me through the rest of my stash and scrap boxes.
I didn’t want to chop the Airmail print up too small, so designed an ‘on point’ block where large sections of the headline print would appear in the secondary pattern, with scrappy pieced dividers. A little white on white to separate the busyness and it all came together beautifully.
Keeping the scrappy prints to softer tones and small scale prints helped create an overall calm feel to the quilt. My daughter’s bedroom is mostly neutral creams and greys so I didn’t want the overall look of the quilt to be too bright.
I managed to get the quilt almost completed by the end of February, just a few weeks late of the birth date. And then a request came in from a magazine editor requesting a quilt for a summer edition!
This was the only quilt I had available in the tight timescale, so off it went to England, with an apology to my daughter for yet another delay on her quilt (she was most forgiving)!
The quilt was published in the August issue of Pretty Patches (still in the shops now) and it was returned to me yesterday!
I could finally present it to my girl, who I’m pleased to say, loves it!
She travels to Norway in September for 6 months and only wishes she had room in her luggage to take it with her (she might well be needing it over there!).
So that is the story behind ‘Around the World’ Birthday Quilt. Always a special make when it’s for a loved one, and only 6 months late!!
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!
We have had some decent summer weather here in Belfast recently, but alas I’m still surrounded in plaster dust and paint in my new house. So time out to enjoy the sunshine is rare!
In the meantime I’ll have to make do with dreaming of lazy days by the beach and paddling in refreshing tides.
So how about we transport ourselves to an exotic, pacific island and dream of soft white sands and azure blue lagoons!!
This is where my creative inspiration came from for my Blue Lagoon ombre quilt, in the August issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine.
This quilt is made almost completely from Kaufman Kona solids – always a dream to work with! There are 6 shades of aqua blues set against a crisp white background.
The block is an ‘easy to piece’ snowball or bow-tie block, and I used a coastal themed blue and white stripe from my stash for the binding.
There are so many Kona solids to choose from (their colour card is pure eye candy!) it was relatively easy choosing colours that would graduate from dark to light.
As always, I’m photographing my quilts out of season. Oh how I wish I could take my quilt to the clear blue ocean, squish my toes in the sand and take photos of my quilt against a more appropriate backdrop!
Perhaps when the quilt is sent back to me and sunny blue skies return, I will escape to my nearest beach (only 10 minutes away!) for a quilty photo shoot!
The gorgeous weather continues here! Such a treat!
When I make a quilt I always photograph it before I send it off to the magazine. However, doing commission work at least one season ahead means the weather and season at time of photographing doesn’t match the theme of the quilt!
Take for example my Ebb and Flow quilt! This is the photograph I took of it on completion in April. Drab and dreary right?
And ironic too because the fabrics used in this quilt are called ‘Blue Sky’ by Laundry Basket Quilts (background is Linen Texture, both by Makower). Oh how I wish there were blue skies when I photographed this quilt!
I went for simple mitred piecing in columns to give a contemporary twist to these classic prints.
I knew there had to be organic wavy quilting vertically through the columns to enhance the ‘ebb and flow’ movement in the quilt. Aurifil 50wt is my ‘go to’ thread for quilting.
So there you have my blue sky Ebb and Flow summer quilt, fulfilling the Editor’s brief of soft summer blues with an organic design. The pattern is in the July issue of Popular Patchwork, out now.
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!
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!
I had a fun few days with my best quilty buddies, up a mountain, with glorious sunshine and sheep for company (there may also have been lots of cake and buns)!
There was lots of sewing done too, but alas I can’t show you that just yet.
What I can show you is a summery table cloth I made for the May issue of Pretty Patches magazine.
The clever peeps at Tilda Fabrics came up with a beautiful collection earlier this year called Bumblebee.
If you are a regular visitor here, you will know how much I adore Tilda fabrics. And this collection is no exception. Ditsy flowers and some of my all time favourite colours together – what’s not to love!
So when Pretty Patches offered me a bundle of Bumblebee to work with, I jumped at the chance!
I wanted to keep the design large scale to let the fabrics do all the talking.
Also, to maintain some drape, I didn’t use wadding, but simply ‘bagged’ the top and backing together.
One of the reasons why I love Tilda fabrics so much is because of their vintage vibe (and I love all things vintagey!). So a lacey trim around the edge seemed a fitting finish.
All I need now is for the summer sunshine to return for a little al fresco dining on my new table cloth!
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!).
I love Chevron quilts! They are simple to make and are so versatile in providing many different designs.
One of the simplest ways to make chevrons is using half square triangles, and with clever fabric placement, or mixing up your fabric ‘values’ (low volume, high volume) you can achieve all sorts of wonderful patterns.
When the editor of Popular Patchwork sent me her mood board for the April issue, the colours were earthy and saturated and I saw a glimpse of a chevron pattern in there.
So I pulled out all my Kona solids that fit the brief and went to work designing a chevron inspired quilt.
For me these colours represent transition – moving out of a long dark winter and into the new life of spring. Little hits of prints mixed in with the solids are like those glimpses of colour and growth you see coming out in the garden at this time of year.
I wanted to break up the continuity of the half square triangle chevrons with narrower rows, and so designed a simple foundation pieced template for these. If you’ve never tried foundation piecing before, this would be a great, non-threatening project to start with!
Foundation piecing is a little more time consuming than normal piecing, but it’s definitely worth it to get those crisp, sharp points!
The organic wavy quilting lines create a sense of movement through the angular peaks and troughs of the chevrons. And I backed it with trusty Ikea Numbers cotton.
The magazine also includes a double page feature on how to style a room around Chevron Heaven! What a neat idea!
The April issue of Popular Patchwork is in the shops now!
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!