FAL Meet the Host: Cut and Alter


By Judith on March 15, 2017
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Can you believe the first quarter of the Finish-A-Long 2017 is almost up! I’m seeing lots of great progress on Instagram! Keep up the good work.

 

The latest in our Meet The Host series is the very talented Abigail, from Cut and Alter. I enjoyed reading about Abigail’s global adventures and influences.  I know you will too!

 

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Back in November I was surprised and delighted to open an email from Rhonda inviting me to become one of the global host of the 2017 Finish-A-Long. There are 13 of us in all and over the course of the year we’ll be introducing ourselves. Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow started off in January followed by Jess from Elven Garden Quilts in February and now in March it’s my turn.
Hello, my name is Abigail and I blog here at cut&alter. I found the FAL late on in 2015 and couldn’t believe how it motivated me to get things finished. I have always been a list maker and the FAL is no exception. My lists are somewhat larger then most people’s, although I have certainly seen longer as well! I know that I will never get everything ticked off within the current Quarter but it does give me 1) accountability 2) a reason to tidy up and reorganise my studio each quarter to find those projects which have been languishing on shelves and at the bottom of boxes 3) it brings projects to the front of my mind and a lot of work goes on in my mind even before I get in the studio 4) if a project has been rolled over just one too many times I can then see that it’s probably never going to get finished and I can pass it on (does that count as a finish?!!). Last quarter I had a particularly low completion rate and this one is shaping up to be the same but I have a few finishes and some projects are considerably further on!
A current quarter finish
I live in Stratford upon Avon with my husband, who is from New Zealand, our two daughters and a black and white cat. We have been back in the UK for just over 4 years and prior to that we lived in Otaki, New Zealand. We have been called gypsies before now due to our constant moving, and usually not within the same area. This is the longest time I have ever lived anywhere! (Can you keep a secret? Maybe, just maybe, my feet are itching again!) Some of the other places I have lived are: Nottingham, Leamington Spa, Sydney, Wellington, London, Waihi Beach, Cambridge, Tauranga, Rowington, Shirley, Waitarere Beach and Feilding. The whole idea of living here (the UK) or there (NZ) was the inspiration for this quilt. I was delighted when Should I Stay or Should I Go? was awarded Best Piecing in Show last November in Bristol!
Up until January this year I home educated the girls, which was brilliant. I always felt honoured to have as much time with them as I did and whilst it certainly was tiring and had its moments we had a lot of fun along the way. They have now started school, primary and secondary, and have settled in really well. We have a new rhythm in our lives which, for me, is taking some getting used to. I thought I would have all the time in the world, that I would have time to sew, quilt, go to the gym, make lovely healthy food …… oh silly, silly me!! You don’t actually get much done in the six hours between 9am and 3pm do you?!! One thing I have done is learn to do improv curves – I love them!!!!
I have been sewing since a child but, like a lot of women, I came back to sewing when my first child was born, although I had been making curtains for our houses every time we moved! Little children’s clothes are such a pleasure to make – fitting is not important, they don’t use much material and they are quick (although when sleep deprived they sometimes didn’t seem to be that quick). I had made a puff patchwork quilt for my eldest soon after she was born and then made a simple square quilt from vintage Laura Ashley soft furnishing fabric from our various childhood houses. These two quilts are well loved and well worn!
It wasn’t until 2010 that I ‘learnt’ to quilt. I took a 6 week night class in NZ and a passion was born. I joined my local quilt club and I listened to the other ladies of my group talking about all their WIPs. I was horrified! I vowed that I would never have projects sitting on my shelf – I would start and finish one before embarking on another. Oh how naive I was! Needless to say I have lots of projects on the go all of differing ages. Last year I finished my most long standing project – ANZAC Hearts, it was on my FAL2016 Quarter 2 list! This was a Bee quilt and I love it – luckily as much now as when I started it in 2010!
Back in 2015 I made the decision to purchase a longarm quilting machine and I totally love it!!! I bought a Handi Quilter Avante and it brings me a lot of joy. With the girls at home I did not have the time I would have liked for learning and practising but I am getting there. I have done a few customer quilts and hope to do more this coming year. Before then I have a backlog of my own tops that are waiting to be done. This was the first quilt I quilted on my machine ….
Wow – this has become a longer post than I thought. When I first sat down to write this I did wonder what I would write! So, here’s a quick 10 9 other things about me to finish (I got stuck on No 10!):
1. I make quilts for Project Linus
2. I am a member of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild
3. I am left handed
4. At 25 I spent a week in Coober Pedy, having read about it as child of 12 – it was awesome!
5. I love salads
6. I have only ever spent one night in hospital and that was with my daughter when she was 3 and had to have her tonsils out
7. Both my children were born at home – one in NZ and one in UK
8. I will go to QuiltCon ….. one day!
9. I would love to go to Alaska
There you have it! Remember there’s just a couple of weeks left for you to get your Quarter 1 list project finished. The link up opens on 26 March and will remain open until 01 April. Be sure to link up because there are amazing prizes to won (and I should know because I have won twice before!!) I look forward to seeing all the finished projects this quarter. Abigail x

 

What a great read!  I hope this spurs you on to get a few more finishes ticked off the list in time for our Q1 finishes.

 

Keeeeep sewing!

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Brit Bee Retreat 2017


By Judith on February 27, 2017
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It has been my absolute joy and privilege to be part of an amazingly talented, caring and funny group of quilters called ‘Brit Bee’.

 

We formed in 2011 from the ‘Brit Quilt’ Flickr Group, and despite 3 member changes, we haven’t stopped sewing for each other since!

 

Our very first ‘meet up’ at Fat Quarterly Retreat, London, 2012. (I’m on top of a table, just in case you thought I was freakishly tall!) 

 

Although we are spread across the UK, we try to meet up at least once a year (more if we can!).  I have missed out on the last 2 retreats, and so was determined to make it to Bedfordshire for our 2017 retreat.

 

 

This year, 9 Brit Bee-ers and Cindy (a special friend of Brit Bee) spent the last weekend eating, chatting, sewing, eating, more sewing, considerably more eating, minimal sleeping and lots more sewing!

 

Brit Bee Retreat Feb17

 

We may not see each other more than once or twice a year, but we fit so easily together again, like a well worn pair of much loved slippers!

 

 

It was such an easy atmosphere, we could wake up, grab a cuppa, and head straight to the sewing machines in our pjs, bleary eyes and dishevelled hair!

 

 

We also inspired and ‘nutured’ each other’s creativity, getting caught up on bee blocks, consulting on quilt design, helping out with tricky paper piecing.  All the while getting caught up on life, our hopes, dreams, struggles and triumphs.

 

Fiona’s R4 blocks so far
Susan’s R4 blocks so far
Trudi’s R4 blocks so far

 

As always, the weekend goes too quickly, but the inspiration and refreshment from our time together lasts much longer.

 

I got lots of sewing done too, and will blog about these projects separately.

 

In the meantime, I will leave you with a picture of the Brit Bee R4 blocks I have received so far.

 

Brit Bee R4 blocks so far!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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FAL 2017: Meet The Host – Elven Garden Quilts


By Judith on February 15, 2017
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We are well into our first quarter of the 2017 Finish-a-long.  I hope you are progressing well with your proposed finishes for Q1.

 

It’s time to meet another one of the talented international hosts of FAL17.  Here is Jess of The Elven Garden to tell you more!

 

 

Hi, I’m Jess, otherwise known as Elven Garden Quilts. This is my second year as a FAL host, and although I’m not great at actually participating in the FAL (I have a pretty bad history of not finishing anything on my list!), it’s great to be back to cheer you all along for a second year. I thought this was going to be a really hard post to write – but once I got started it was surprisingly easy. So I’ve inserted photos of some of my favorite quilts in amongst the text – feel free to skim the words if you’d rather just look at quilts ;o).

 

I’m a 36 year old mum of three not-so-small people – my eldest son (12 year old) started high school this year (grade 7), and I have a 9 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. Needless to say, moments of sewing have been few and far between over the last few months while they’ve had their summer holidays – but they went back to school last week, so there is some semblance of normality in our household again :o). I have an incredible partner too, who encourages me in all my quilty endeavours and listens patiently when I ramble on about my current projects. We also have two fur babies – Shadow and Pepper, our little quilt-cats, who spend at least 90% of their time asleep on various quilts and cushions around the house! I’ll often go back to hand stitch binding and find my quilt has been invaded by cats ;o).

 

 

We live in Tasmania, Australia – that little island that sits off the southern coast of mainland Australia. It’s a beautiful place to live – we don’t have a huge population and we are surrounded by some of the most gorgeous wilderness in the world (in my humble opinion!). I grew up in a pretty arty/crafty family – my Dad studied ceramics at Art School and is an art teacher at a college, and my mum has always been involved with some sort of textile art. She made most of our clothes as kids, and is now obsessed with spinning and knitting all kinds of gorgeous yarn. So it’s kinda unsurprising that I’ve grown up to be a maker.

 

 

Although I have a science degree (and work as a lab technician part time), I’ve always enjoyed making stuff. I started cross stitching when I was quite young, and continued that hobby right through to my university years. It wasn’t until I had my youngest child that I decided to get a sewing machine – with the intention of making clothes and toys for my kids. I had fun doing this for a while, but then on a whim I bought a beginner’s quilting magazine and that was the beginning of a true obsession. For me, quilting is the perfect marriage of maths and art – I love numbers and I love working with colour, so it’s not surprising it has overtaken all of my spare time!

 

 

I started quilting around 5 or 6 years ago – and back when I started, my tiny sewing room overlooked the garden – so Elven Garden Quilts was born! After a few years, I outgrew that little room, so my ‘studio’ is now our garage – not the prettiest location, but I can be as messy as I want (and believe me, the term creative chaos fits me perfectly!) and close the door on it so no one else has to be subjected to it ;o).

 

I first started blogging for a few reasons. Mainly because I didn’t actually know anyone who quilted and I didn’t want to bore my family and friends to tears constantly talking about my quilts, and blogging was the perfect way to share what I was making. But it quickly became a way to connect with people all over the world who shared my passion. I’m ever in awe of how supportive and wonderful the online quilting community is, and my life would be very different if I hadn’t started blogging. I am a self-taught quilter, thanks to the enormous generosity of so many people in sharing tutorials and ideas, and a love of trying to figure out how to make things work!

 

 

I loosely call myself a modern quilter – although I’ve made plenty of quilts that are far more traditional than modern! I think I’m probably best known for my love of free motion quilting – everything I piece is quilted to death on my domestic Bernina. About three years ago, I was actually invited to become a Bernina Ambassador here in Australia, which is an incredible honour :o). I have several free motion quilting tutorials available on my YouTube channel – and I plan on doing a lot more of these this year! I’ve been teaching patchwork and quilting classes on a weekly basis for the last three years (although I’m currently having a break, after burning out from a pretty hefty teaching load last year), which is something I absolutely love.

 

 

Last year was a big year for me as a quilter, both on a professional and personal level. I won several awards for my quilts at some of our national quilt shows (the Australian Modern Quilt Show and the Australian Machine Quilting Festival), and I taught a lot of classes – both patchwork and free motion quitling. On the personal side of things, I feel like I really grew as a quilter. Although I’ve always loved making quilts and been happy with the finished product, I’ve struggled to find my style. But in the last half of last year I feel like I started to find my voice, and started making quilts that are more ‘me’ than ever before. Although I’ve always used and loved my design wall, I now rely on it constantly as a tool to design my quilts. Aviatrix is one of the last quilts I made using someone else’s pattern – and I think it will be the last for a fairly long time. I’m enjoying doing my own thing so much right now!

 

 

The last few quilts I’ve made (and my current work in progress) all started as a vague idea and a giant pile of fabric, and relied on my design wall to figure out what they would become. You can read all about the process I went through when making Scattered (shown below) herehere, here and here. And if you’re attending QuiltCon this year, please go say hi to her – she was juried into the show which is enormously exciting!

 

 

I recently wrote about the process of making one of my recent finishes, Flow. Again this quilt started as a pile of fabric and a very vague idea (as in, I knew I wanted to use improv curves), but the design came together through trial and error.

 

 

Although I’m much better at starting and finishing projects than I used to be (which isn’t to say I don’t have any WIPs – there are lots of those!), I work best when don’t feel like I *have* to work on a particular project. Which is probably why I make FAL lists and then largely ignore them… Having said that, I have several projects that have been ignored for far too long that I do want to finish this year, so next quarter you can expect me to fully participate and knock over some very long term WIPs!

 

Thanks for letting me introduce myself (and my quilts!), and I look forward to cheering you all on this year as you work through your FAL lists!

xx Jess

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Hugs & Kisses Quilt


By Judith on February 8, 2017
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I often end my texts and emails with ‘Jxo’, my affectionate way of signing off with my initial followed by ‘kiss, hug’.

And this is how it translates into a bright and happy quilt!

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

I submitted this to the February issue of Pretty Patches magazine, who wanted to brighten the dreary dark days of winter with a colourful and cheery issue.

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

This is a great scrap buster project, or you could run with a specific colourway e.g. summery pinks and yellows for a little girl ….

 

 

 

 

…. soft modern greys and blues for a boy!

 

 

 

 

The blocks are simple to piece together, and you could easily size the quilt up or down to suit.

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

 

So however you plan to celebrate your Valentines day this month, make sure it involves a cosy quilt made with love!

 

 

Hugs & Kisses Quilt (Pretty Patches Feb17)

 

 

Happy sewing

 

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Warning! Fabric Marking Pens


By Judith on January 29, 2017
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As a Quilting tutor I’m often asked what is the best way to mark the right side of a project ready for quilting.

 

I’ve learned that when sewists hit on a reliable product they like, they tend to stick to it!  Afterall, when so much money, time and effort is put into quilt making, having a reliable tool to avoid a devastating ‘marking accident’ is crucial!

 

 

But recently I’ve become more and more concerned about a pen that is widely sold in Quilting and Fabric shops as a non-permanent fabric marker.

 

 

The Frixion Pilot Pen is like a gel pen, which disappears when heat is applied to it, either from ironing or through friction from a ‘rubbing out’ action using the eraser at the end of the pen.  It has a fine tip and comes in a range of strong colours, which shows up on almost all fabrics.

 

 

HOWEVER what is most concerning is this pen will cause bleaching or ‘ghosting’ when ironed off darker fabrics (see the lines above right).  Also, under cold temperatures the ink will reappear!

 

This is because the Frixion pen is not designed for use on fabric (and most definitely not the RIGHT SIDE of fabric!).  One of the main features highlighted on the Product website is that you can rub or iron off a secret message, put the paper into the freezer, and voila, the ink magically returns.

 

In my view, these features make this an unsuitable tool for quilters, who are often marking on the right sides of fabric.

 

Thankfully, there are other products out there which are much safer to use.

 

I have 2 ‘go to’ pens I like to use:

 

The Chalk Pen:

 

 

The white Clover chalk pen (left) or Prym Chalk Pen (right) are great for marking the right side of fabric e.g. quilting lines.  The loose chalk comes through a little wheel creating fine, accurate lines.  And you can buy refills too!

 

 

However I never use coloured chalks because they contain dye and can stain light fabrics.

 

A soft white chalk pencil is a good substitute as long as it is kept sharpened to produce fine lines.

 

Water Erasable Pen:

 

 

My 2nd ‘go to’ pen is a water erasable pen which I mostly use for drawing more intricate designs like lettering or when I need to create measurement markings for things like applique projects.

 

The water erasable pen markings come out in the wash, or with a damp cloth or water spritzer. Sometimes if I dry the marked section too quickly, or don’t use enough water, a 2nd application of water is needed to remove all the blue marks.

 

However you must remember not to iron your work before you remove the blue marks otherwise they may ‘fix’ to your fabric.

 

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The other 2 main products on the market for quilters are air erasable pens and Hera Markers.

 

I haven’t heard of a good review for Air Erasable Pens, mainly because the ink disappears too quickly, much more quickly than the 12-24 hours stated.

 

 

I have a Hera Marker which I have used to mark light fabrics. It is a molded piece of plastic which creates indentations when pressed onto the fabric. I recommend only using the curved section of the hera marker in case you ‘scratch’ the surface of the fabric. The indentations are removed through ironing or washing.

 

The Hera Marker is fine for larger sections of lines, but not so good for intricate designs.

 

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This is by no means an exhaustive list of fabric marking tools, and the recommendations for all of them are to try them out on a spare piece of fabric first.

But here is my summary of the pros and cons of those I have covered in this post.

 

I have been asking folks in the Sewing Surgery Facebook Group what their experiences have been on the Frixion Pilot pen in particular.

 

If you haven’t already commented, I would love to hear your feedback on what marking tools you use and the positive and negative experiences you have had.

But whatever fabric marking tool you choose to use, mark safely!

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Bee Blocks & Secret Santa!


By Judith on January 22, 2017
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After a wee break in December, we were back making bee blocks in January for Siblings Together (Bee 2).

 

STB2 Blocks for Sue

 

Sue was queen bee for January, and set this Tic Tac Toe block, with black on white backgrounds and colourful prints for the rest. (here is the tutorial if you fancy having a go at this easy block)

 

I was queen bee in September, and set the Canvas block.  Last week I managed to get them all sewn together into a sizeable flimsy!

 

Siblings Together Bee 2 (Canvas blocks) Quilt top Jan17

 

I’m taking a 2nd stint as Queen bee, so its my turn again in February!  Watch this space!

 

In September 2015, Brit Bee started our 4th round. If you’ve been keeping up with us, you will know we never stick to the annual schedule! But we are a forgiving and patient lot, forged by longevity and great friendships!

 

By some miracle I have managed to keep up with the schedule (ish!) and earlier this month I made the last block!  Woohoo!

 

Brit Bee R4 block for Katy Jan17

 

This one is for Katy, in her chosen solids, and the block was designed by Hadley.

 

As the first one finished, I’ll try hard not to capitalise on bragging rights at our Brit Bee retreat next month!

 

One of our traditions in Brit Bee is to exchange Secret Santa gifts at Christmas.  In previous years we’ve done things like, cushions, decorations, pin-cushions.

 

This year we went for zippy pouches – you can see what I made for Katy here.

 

And what did I get?

 

My Brit Bee Secret Santa gift!

 

Only this gorgeous package of cuteness from Ange!

 

My Brit Bee Secret Santa gift!

 

Isn’t it adorable!  And I have a feeling it will come in handy for travelling to our retreat!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Pinwheel Fun Baby Quilt!


By Judith on January 18, 2017
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Hi everyone, how is your week going so far?

Isn’t January zooming in so quickly – half way through already!  Yikes!

I’d better get my skates on then to tell you about my other magazine entry this month!.

 

Fun with Pinwheels Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Jan17)
Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

 

This is my Pinwheel Fun baby quilt.

 

I’ve wanted to make a baby quilt with a more modern feel, so I used Moda’s Dottie in grey for the background, to unify the bright colours of the pinwheels.

 
Fun with Pinwheels baby quilt for British Patchwork & Quilting (Jan17)

 
At 50″ x 50″ this wee quilt could easily double up as a playmat.

 

Fun with Pinwheels baby quilt for British Patchwork & Quilting (Jan17)

 

Currently in the January issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.

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Rolling Stones Cot Quilt


By Judith on January 13, 2017
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A few months back when I was planning a commission for the January issue of Popular Patchwork, I knew I wanted to use cool, icey colours.

 

Rolling Stones Quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan17)
(And wouldn’t you know it, just when I post about this little quilt, it starts snowing outside!!  Brrrrr!)

 

This block is called The Rolling Stone block (or Broken Wheel).

 

Rolling Stones baby quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan17)

 

My icey colours of choice are ‘Littlest’ by Art Gallery, ‘Oh Boy’ Swirls in Aqua by Riley Blake & Kiss Dot Snow by Michael Miller (background), but despite their coolness, there’s also a cute warmth about them too.

 

 

Cot quilts should be rectangular in my opinion, so little 1″ square inserts top and bottom soon sorted that out.

 

Rolling Stones baby quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan17)

 

 

This little quilt comes in at 50″ x 56″ and is in the January issue of Popular Patchwork.

 

 

Keep warm!

 

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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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Christmas Baubles Quilt


By Judith on December 11, 2016
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Popular Patchwork very kindly sent me a gorgeous bundle of ‘Wrap it Up’ fabrics by Makower with a ‘festive quilt’ remit for their December issue.

 

 

I took inspiration from the baubles shapes in the fabrics and designed this applique baubles Christmas quilt.

 

 

These fabrics were lovely to work with, and I teamed them with Makower’s Pindot (white) for the background.

 

Christmas Baubles quilt (Popular Patchwork Dec16)

 

The quilt comes in at a roomy 61″ x 64″, perfect for snuggling under and watching all those festive movies!

 

 

And if you think this contemporay quilt would look good next to your Christmas decorations, you can purchase it here.

 

 

Or for this and lots more Christmas Patchwork patterns, pick up your December copy of Popular Patchwork!

 

Happy decorating!

 

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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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Hexie Stars Quilt


By Judith on November 10, 2016
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I’m one of hundreds of quilters who love hexies!

I’ve even got a Pinterest board dedicated to them!

And machine sewing hexies isn’t as tricky as you might think (and no, I’m not talking about Y seams!).

One way to make machine sewing hexies easier is to use pre-cut fabric like a layer cake, and create star points in the spaces between the hexies.
p1040637

 

The hexies and their star points are then sewn together in rows – Simples!

 

step-1

 

And there are great templates out there that make cutting the hexies super quick and easy.  I particularly like these ones from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Here are 2 Hexie Star Quilts I’ve made in the last 2 years ….

 

Autumn Hexie Stars Quilt
Autumn Hexies with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax)

 

Hexie Stars Quilt class sample
Sweetwater’s ‘Noteworthy’ with Navy solid

… and here is the one in the current issue of British Patchwork & Quilting:

 

P1100277

 

I made this one as a ‘man quilt’ with Sweetwater’s ‘Elementary’ and Essex Yard Dyed Linen. And they put it on the front cover!!

 

Hexie Stars Quilt (BPQ Nov16)

 

So if you like hexies as much as me, why not have a go!
And if you are looking for a gift, both my Essex Linen Hexie Stars Quilts will soon be for sale (watch this space!).
Happy Hexing!
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Autumn Garden Quilt


By Judith on November 3, 2016
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I spent the weekend in Derby with my 3 favourite girls!

Derby Oct16
My eldest daughter turned 21 at the end of October and it was so lovely celebrating with her in the most inspiring surroundings!
Derby Oct16
Derby Oct16
Derby Oct16

Derby Oct16

 

Derby Oct16
Derby Oct16

Autumn is such a beautiful season. But it’s time to put on an extra layer, turn the thermostat up another few notches, and bring out the cosy quilts.

The November issue of Popular Patchwork is in the shops, and in it you’ll find my Autumn Garden Quilt.

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

This is a small quilt (53″ square), but I’m a little bit in love with it (I love curvilicious quilts)!!

For a while now I’ve been wanting to make the ‘drunkard’s path’ flower, and I think the saturated tones of Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee and Shelburne Falls give these flowers a cosy autumnal feel.

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

I’ve used my trusty Essex Yarn Dyed linen (black) for the background and whizzed the fabrics through my Sizzix Drunkard’s Path dies (657168 fan background & 657169 quarter circle).

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

And this quilt could easily translate into another season (think fresh Spring fabrics!).
I hope you are keeping warm and cosy this Autumn!
Happy sewing!
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Hearts & Patches Quilt


By Judith on October 20, 2016
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p1120878
I have a particular soft spot for Tilda fabrics.  I love the calming colours and the vintagey feel the ditsy florals and spots evoke.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
‘Autumn Tree’ is a collection that came out last year, and is still available to purchase.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
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!
Hearts & Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
I definitely think there will be more Tilda quilts in my future!
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
Happy sewing!

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Woodland Friends Quilt


By Judith on September 21, 2016
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Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’m super excited to be able to show you some of my new friends!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork, Oct issue)

This is my Woodland Friends quilt, made with Aneela Hoey’s ‘Foxgloves’ & ‘Vignette’ collections on an Essex linen background.
It all started with a commission from Popular Patchwork to make an Autumnal/Woodland quilt.

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

I found a picture of a fox and started drawing over it! And so ‘Vi’ Vixen was born!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

But Vi needed a friend to play with, so ‘Rusty Red’ came out to play!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

Now Rusty is a cheeky chappie, and he and Vi get up to all sorts of mischief. Especially when sleepy ‘Flora’ Fawn is trying to nap ….

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

…. and ‘Boris’ is busy sniffing and rustling out tasty treats on the forest floor!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

‘Olive’, the great and wise overseer of the Woodland is tut tutting at Vi and Rusty!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

She sends in ‘Harriet’ Hare, the only sensible fur in the whole forest, to keep harmony between the rascals, the nappers and the rustlers!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

 

Order once again is restored and all the friends can enjoy the treats of the forest!
Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)
Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

I so enjoyed designing and making this quilt. The characters evolved organically, and they have become like little characters to me!
I chose satin stitch applique for this quilt, using ‘stitch n tear’ behind the bondawebbed shapes.

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

Next came the tricky decision on how to quilt it!  I couldn’t bring myself to sew through my cute new friends (I tried, honestly!).  So in the end I went for ‘interrupted’ vertical lines.
And to top it all off, Popular Patchwork put my Woodland Friends on the front cover of the October issue!  Weehee!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork, Oct issue)

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed meeting my new pals.
And what would you think to me running this as an applique Quilt-Along next year?
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Scrappy Strips Quilt


By Judith on September 15, 2016
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I think it’s time I said farewell to summer!

My first ever harvest of apples!

 

We have enjoyed an Indian summer here, but temperatures are starting to drop and I’m feeling the need for an extra layer!

So just enough time to show you my last ‘summer’ quilt.

Scrappy Strips Quilt (British P&Q Sept16)
Photo: British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

This is imaginatively called the ‘Scrappy Strips Quilt’ (‘it does exactly what it says on the tin!’). Scrappy quilts are my all time favourite, and I had so much fun one weekend delving into a pile of scrappy strips and sewing them together.

 

Scrappy Strips Quilt (British P&Q Sept16)
Photo: British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine


The coloured strips are of varying widths and very little thought went into what strip got sewed on next.  I don’t even like all of the fabrics in this quilt, but I LOVE the finished look.  That’s the magic which happens when a little bit of courage and random fabrics get mixed together.I love making strip pieced blocks.  I used 2″ white strips through each block, but that’s pretty much where the uniformity ends!
Scrappy Strips Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept16)


The quilt is currently in the September issue of British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, and measures a decent 66″ x 77″.  I could easily have gone bigger, I hardly made a dent in my scraps!
Scrappy Strips Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept16)

So it’s goodbye summer, and hello beautiful Autumn!
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Bobbles Picnic Quilt


By Judith on July 29, 2016
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Happy Friday to you all!

We had gorgeous blue skies today!

Lighthouse, Donaghadee
Donaghadee Lighthouse

 

The perfect day for a picnic perhaps?

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

This is my Bobbles Picnic Quilt, currently featured in the August issue of Popular Patchwork.
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)
I love jumbo pompoms (these ones are 20mm, available from Frumble Fabrics).
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

This pattern starts off with 36 x 10″ squares, so you could easily use a layer cake here.
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

I’ve quilted the quilt with a calico backing first, then added the pompom trim and a water resistant back (washable shower curtain) using the ‘bagging out’ method. A few extra stitches in the centre of the blocks keeps all the layers neatly together.
Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get lots more ‘blue sky’ days so I can christen my picnic quilt!
Happy picnic-ing!
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Summer Rail Fence Quilt


By Judith on July 21, 2016
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We’ve been experiencing something of a mini heatwave here in the UK this week!

Almost too hot to get out and enjoy some local delights (well, I did say almost!).

Castle Ward July16
view from Castle Ward
Castle Ward July16
Castle Ward July16

 

Bangor Walled Gardens July16
Bangor Walled Gardens

 

Bangor Walled Gardens July16
Bangor Walled Gardens July16


While my sewing room has been ‘closed’ for 2 weeks, it’s the perfect time of year to show you my Summer Rail Fence quilt!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


This pattern is in the August issue of Pretty Patches (out now) and was the result of a fun weekend earlier in the year playing with scrappy strips!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


I love the summery combo of oranges, soft yellows, pinks and teals, combined with the earthy brown stripe. Just look at the lovely styling it gets on the coordinated orange front cover!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


The rail fence design is a classic, but there are many ways to give it a modern twist! And it is beginner friendly piecing too!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)

This would be an easy quilt to make for other seasons (think fresh Spring greens and yellows, warm Autumnal plums and browns) or even a Christmas version!

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)


And of course, a great scrap buster project too!

Wishing you all some fun in the sun!signature

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‘Summer Soft’


By Judith on July 4, 2016
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Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!!

The weather here has been rubbish, so I’m just going to pretend it is summer, that it’s 28 degrees outside, and that I’m still sitting in my garden with a cold pear cider in hand!! (indulge me!)

'Summer Soft' Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)
Photo by British Patchwork & Quilting

This is ‘Summer Soft’.

She is made from the sumptuously soft ‘feel the difference’ fabrics by Art Gallery (Bazaar Style, Paradise & Dreaming in French collections).

Summer Soft Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)
Finished size 62″ x 62″

Perfect for long summer evenings in the garden! (still dreaming!)
Summer Soft Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)

This is a great ‘beginner friendly’ project with simple piecing and repeating blocks, and you can find the pattern in the July issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

'Summer Soft' Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting July16)

I hope you are enjoying some sunshine wherever you are!

Happy sunning!

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Summer Starburst Quilt


By Judith on June 23, 2016
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Happy Thursday everyone!

Summer seems to have relocated around these parts, so in an attempt to bring you lots of summer colour and happiness, check out my Summer Starburst Quilt!

Summer Starburst Quilt (Popular Patchwork July16)


This started out as a ‘scrap buster’ project, after I got enquiries on how to use larger pieces of scraps (less than a fat quarter metre).

Summer Starburst Quilt (Popular Patchwork July16)


The design is based on the arrow-head block (half square triangles and squares), and you could easily change the colourways to suit whatever you have in your stash.

Summer Starburst Quilt (Popular Patchwork July16)
I really love the ‘colour splat’ effect from the rounds of colour – it makes me smile and think of a warm, hot summer (a girl can dream)!
This pattern is available in the July issue of Popular Patchwork, and it made front cover!! Woohoo!
Popular Patchwork cover.July

 

Isn’t the styling gorgeous!  Loving the cute bike!
So what I want to know is, do you like scrappy projects? How do you use your scraps?  And what’s the smallest size you keep?
Looking forward to hearing from you,

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Attic Crosses Quilt


By Judith on May 25, 2016
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Hello everyone!

How are you all doing? Every now and then we get a glimpse of summer here, and my garden is loving it (that of course means my grass is growing faster than the weeds!!).

My garden May16


I’ve been beavering away on some secret squirrel stuff, can’t wait to tell you all about it soon!

In the meantime, I’m so excited to share with you my modern Attic Crosses Quilt, commissioned by Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine (my first with LPQ).

Attic Crosses Quilt (LPQ June16)
Photo courtesy of LPQ

This is also my first quilt made entirely of Kona Solids. 

 

The talented peeps at LPQ had a hand in choosing the solids.  They are Iron, Dusty Blue, Wasabi, Silver, White and Dusty Peach on the back.
I forgot to take my own pics of the quilt before sending it off, so that’s another photo-shoot I need to do when I get the quilt back!
The June issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting is jammed packed with trendy designs, including a stunning hexie quilt by my super-talented friend, Svetlana.
Grab your copy in the shops now (but pay for it first!).
Happy reading!

 

P.s. thank you to everyone for joining the discussion about pattern gradings in my last post. I have enjoyed all your comments and am taking your feedback on board. If you didn’t get a reply from me, it means you are a ‘no reply comment blogger’ and your email address doesn’t register with your comment.

Jude xo

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Pinwheels for Siblings Together


By Judith on May 8, 2016
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Happy weekend everyone!

I hope you got to enjoy some lush sunshine today!

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16
66″ x 77″

This quilt is called Pinwheels and Prairies!

A couple of years ago, my daughter was pattern testing for me and made this quilt top.

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16


During a recent re-structuring clear out of my quilt cupboard I re-discovered this flimsy.  A good friend quilted it up in the cutest hearts, and I bound and labelled it!

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16

So that’s another quilt off to Siblings Together.  We are just over the half way mark, with lots more quilts being worked on!  You can see them all here.

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16


Happy sewing!

Jude xo

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Spring Rain Quilt!


By Judith on April 14, 2016
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Spring rain is something we get lots of here in N.Ireland!!  In fact we also get lots of Summer, Autumn and Winter rain too!

But I’m hoping you could live with this kind of spring rain all year round!!

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)
63″ x 63″

 


This is my ‘Spring Rain’ quilt, as seen in the April issue of Pretty Patches.

Pretty Patches very kindly sent me the cutest bundle of fabrics called ‘Spring Walk’ by Little Cube.

Spring Walk

While spring can inspire many images, I immediately thought of raindrops (I wonder why!!) and showcased the fabrics in raindrop shaped portholes.

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)
I really enjoyed making this quilt and it was such a lovely bonus to see it on the front cover!
Spring Rain Quilt (April issue Pretty Patches)
One of the many things I love about spring is that it is the season of growth!  I have been doing a lot of personal growing lately, getting fitter physically and mentally.
And all the new growth in my little garden is a lovely reminder that no matter what is going on in our lives, there are always new opportunities to grow!
My garden (spring)
My garden (spring)
My garden (spring)

Happy growing!
Jude xo

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Mama Hen Quilt Complete!


By Judith on April 13, 2016
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The drive to make 100 quilts for Siblings Together summer camps 2016 continues.

The lovely ladies in the Siblings Together Bee 2 have been helping me put together a quilt full of hens!

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

 


11 Mama Hens flew back to Belfast to join my blue Mama Hen!

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

Aren’t they sweet!  And the backing was donated by Sarah (love this generous quilting community).

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

 

So that’s my ST quilt all labelled and ready to be posted.

The siblings who receive these quilts have been separated by the care system, and get to spend 2 weeks together each summer. The feedback from the charity is that these quilts mean so much to the children who receive them, especially when they realise they get to keep them!

You can read more here about Siblings Together and the stories behind the quilts.

And I’ll have another post later this week on how you can help with the ST quilt drive in a super easy and quick way!

Happy Sewing!

Jude xo

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‘Nicey Jane’ Birthday Quilt


By Judith on April 7, 2016
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On 3rd April 2015, I photographed this flimsy:

'Nicey Jane' quilt top

 


I had acquired some ‘Nicey Jane’ squares by Heather Bailey, an old line which has long since been discontinued.

I sewed the squares together, with no purpose in mind.  Then folded it away, out of sight, out of mind!

But I’m happy to say, exactly 1 year later (spookey eh?) I finished the binding and it now looks like this:

(Heather Bailey) 18th Birthday Quilt
A friend very kindly quilted this for me on her domestic frame, which enabled me to get it bound, finished and posted to my ‘pink loving’ niece for her 18th birthday!

(Heather Bailey) 18th Birthday Quilt

I love how pretty these fabrics are.  And did you know that ‘Nicey Jane’ has been reprinted and is currently available in The Fat Quarter Shop!
(Heather Bailey) 18th Birthday Quilt

I guess if you hold on to something long enough it all comes around again!
Happy hoarding!
Jude xo

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Shape Sorter Street Quilt


By Judith on March 15, 2016
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Popular Patchwork asked me to design a ‘houses’ quilt!

Quite a few wonderful houses quilts have already been designed over the years so it was a tough challenge to come up with something ‘original’!

But the creative juices started flowing and I came up with this:

Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)
65″ x 64″

I knew I wanted a modern, simple design, and as I started thinking of bringing in porthole shapes to the houses, they reminded me of the wooden shape sorter toy that my kids used to play with when they were small!

And so ‘Shape Sorter Street’ was born.
Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)
It was a lot of fun to make, matching up the shape of the trees with their corresponding houses!
Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)

Apologies for the poor indoor pics! It was a dreadfully dull day when I finished this quilt.  When I get the quilt back from Popular Patchwork I’ll take some better, outdoor pics!
The April issue of Popular Patchwork is out now!
Shape Sorter Street Quilt / Popular Patchwork (April'16)

 
Jude xo

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Selvedges, Discounted Fabrics and More!


By Judith on March 5, 2016
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We had some beautiful sunny days recently!

Mama Hen Quilt Top for Siblings Together

 


Just look at that blue sky!

This is my Siblings Together Bee 2 quilt top – borders are on and all ready to be quilted.

Siblings Together Bee2 blocks for Theresa

 
And these 8″ Disappearing 4 Patch blocks are on their way to Theresa/Hilly Filly as Miss March in Siblings Together Bee 2.

I had a little sort through my selvedges the other day.  These are my selvedge jars AFTER I have sorted through them and eliminated those I can’t use!!

Sorting Selvedges!

 


As you can see, it’s quite a squeeze!!  I hope I get some play-time soon with these lovelies.

And speaking of lovelies, have a look at these!

Discounted Fabrics in my Etsy shop

 
These fabrics (& more) are now listed in my Etsy shop at silly prices!  Designers like Amy Butler, Valori Wells, Tanya Whelan, starting at £4 per metre.

So if you want to bag a bargain, be quick as stock is limited.

Happy shopping!

Jude xo

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Tumbler Stacks Baby Quilt


By Judith on March 3, 2016
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Earlier this year, Quilt Now sent me a few fat quarters from the ‘Pitter Patter’ collection by Michael Miller, and asked me to come up with something for their March issue.

The fabrics have adorable little clouds, raindrops and stars! So I thought a baby quilt was in order.

 

I decided on a tumbler quilt, mainly because I could whizz the fabrics quick smart through my Sizzix (don’t worry, templates are provided by the magazine)! But also because the tumbler shape would lend itself nicely to these cute directional prints.

Tumbler Stacks Cot Quilt for Quilt Now
Approx. 37″ x 45″

If using directional prints like me, you will need to alternate the direction of your prints when cutting out the tumbler shapes. As you can see, they get stacked top to toe!

Tumbler Stacks Cot Quilt for Quilt Now
I decided to keep the zigzagged edges, and it wasn’t difficult at all to get the binding around those gentle angles.
Tumbler Stacks Cot Quilt for Quilt Now

A lady in one of my classes has already made this and it is beautiful (wish I’d taken a pic)!
If you’d like to make one of your own, then pick up a copy of Quilt Now (March). And if you subscribe to the magazine, you get a free bundle of Pitter Patter fabrics!!
Happy Tumbling!
Jude xo

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Spring Greens!


By Judith on February 15, 2016
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It was a beautiful Spring day here in Belfast.

The perfect day to show you my Spring Greens quilt.

Spring Geese Quilt for Popular Patchwork Mar16

 


I’ve used different sized ‘geese’ in Sandi Henderson’s ‘Secret Garden’ fabrics.

This was a lot of fun to make!

Spring Geese Quilt for Popular Patchwork Mar16

 
My mind starting thinking about our migratory Brent Geese (who occupy Strangford Lough during our winter months), which inspired me to quilt arcs across the geese. My thinking here was to give some ‘movement’ to the geese!  Do you think it works?

Spring Greens Quilt (back)
More Sandi Henderson in the back.


The quilt finishes up at 67″ x 72″ and if you fancy making your own version, you can find the pattern in the March edition of Popular Patchwork.

Spring Geese Quilt Popular Patchwork Mar16


Our Brent geese will fly away again in April!  So glad I’ve got my own resident geese, all year round!

Jude xo

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