Waaaaaaaay back, in February, I facilitated a very good friend’s special birthday request!
16 friends squished into my classroom, each of them charged with making a patchwork block about their dear friend.
Shirley has been a nurse, midwife, missionary and lecturer. She is one of the most generous, caring and just people I know and I feel truly privileged and blessed to call her ‘friend’ these past 21 years.
It took a wee while for a few postal blocks to come in, and then I set to work, finishing up the sketching details and chosen texts, as well as assembling and quilting the quilt.
And then the final handover happened last week (took a while to get us both in the same country at the same time!).
I’ve made a little mosaic of the individual blocks so you can see more of the details (I promise they aren’t as curvy as they seem here – I took pictures of them while the quilt was on the line! It was windy!)
There is so much thought, love and creativity in all of these blocks, a moving tribute to our funny, coffee loving, brilliant friend!
Even though I had already gifted Shirley a quilt for her birthday back in February (read more about this quilt and the sew-in here), I wanted to contribute a block to her Friendship Quilt.
And here it is….
That’s Shirley in the middle (portraits were never my strong suit!) between me on the left (I told you portraits weren’t my strong suit!) and Rosie (amazingly this actually looks like Rosie!). We first met 21 years ago at Bible College, and are the self named ‘Breakfast Club’ (we still meet once a month for breakfast, coffee and catch-up!).
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this very special quilt and its very special recipient!
This is my Autumn Rail Fence Quilt (as featured in August ’17 issue of Pretty Patches magazine).
If, like me, you have a healthy supply of scraps, then this is a great scrap buster project for you!
In August I am hosting a Scrap Buster Saturday, and this is one of the many quick and easy ideas folks can use to dig in to those overflowing scrap boxes!
Here’s how to make the Scrappy Rail Fence Block (12.5″ unfinished):
1 You will need a variety of scrappy strips, at least 13″ long and of varying widths (don’t go wider than 3″). Press them and make sure they have straight parallel sides. Don’t worry about trimming the lengths, you get a more accurate block if you leave the trimming to the end.
2 I went for a ‘late summer’ colour theme of teals, oranges, pinks and golds. But you could easily use whatever colours you have for a more ‘random’ rail fence.
3 You will notice I have included a brown striped fabric at the edge of each block. These strips are cut 2″ wide and give a little uniformity to the scrappiness of the blocks. If you are going for random and bright colours, try a narrow black and white stripe here.
4 If you are working to a colour theme, try to get an even number of colours per block. The order doesn’t matter, just sew enough together using a 1/4″ seam, not forgetting the stripey fabric on the end, until you can get at least 12.5″ wide. Set the seams (pressing the seam as you have sewn it) before pressing the seams to the darkest fabric.
5 Trim the block to 12.5″ square. If there is excess on the width make sure you don’t take any off the stripey/end fabric. You want these end strips to be of uniform width. I used my 12.5″ square ruler for easy trimming, but you can trim these blocks to any size, just make sure they are square!
6 Make lots more blocks until you have enough for your quilt (or until you have used up all your scraps!).
These beautiful ‘Butterfly Garden’ quilts are stunning on every level (my poor photos not doing them justice at all!).
I love how different fabrics or placement of colour value can completely change the look of the same quilt. In this pattern, drunkard’s path units are combined with squares to make up these curvy blocks.
Aren’t they wonderful! A huge well done to my ladies for ‘going large’ with their curvy project (especially as temperatures soared inside and out!).
If you like what you see here and want to have a go at your own ‘layer cake friendly’ Butterfly Garden quilt, you can get the pattern here.
I won’t have any classes in July, but you can find out all about my summer programme of classes and workshops here.
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!
We have just had a wonderful bank holiday weekend here in UK. And what made it so wonderful? The beautiful sunny weather!
I spent the bank holiday Monday in Florence Court, Enniskillen, with 2 of my girls, having lots of photo fun, and enjoying this wonderful National Trust house.
It was a beautiful day, learning all about the women (upstairs and downstairs) in Florence Court’s history.
Also this week, the current issue of Quilt Now hit the shops, and in it you can find my Octosaurus Rex Quilt, designed for Makower using their Rex Collection of fabrics.
This quilt design is full of secondary patterns, and the larger Placement print is perfect for fussy cutting.
Here’s what I wrote as my source of inspiration:
“I live not far from the Giant’s Causeway, a 60 million year old formation of multi-sided volcanic stones. So I thought it would be fun to design Jurassic sized shapes around these cute dinosaur fussy cuts and fabrics. The Octagon blocks slot neatly side by side just like the stones at the Giant’s Causeway!”
There is a lot of piecing in this quilt, and it is a decent size at 60″ x 72″. However you could easily reduce the number of blocks and make a smaller quilt for a younger dinosaur lover!
So if you have a little one who is mad about all things Jurassic, then these fabrics are your perfect choice!
You can see the full collection here, and my Octosaurus Rex Quilt pattern is also available via the Makower UK website.
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.
As a single mum to 3 gorgeous girls, her strength, courage and love for life has been (& will continue to be) my inspiration. Over the past 13 years we have laughed and cried together, prayed and worked together, and sewed together (Heather was a very talented quilter).
3 weeks ago, she had her last birthday, in hospital sadly. I had made her a quilt, which she got to see. It made her smile!
I wanted a bright, colourful and happy quilt for Heather, to reflect her sunny personality. These fabrics are called Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler, and the symbolic cream motifs are Friendship Stars.
She had a great sense of humour and was selflessly devoted to her girls. I’m blessed to have had many opportunities to spend with Heather these past 18 months during her illness.
We loved a good rummage in charity shops (she knew all the best ones), hours and hours in coffee shops (she was the best listener) and nights out at the flicks (even if she did nod off occasionally!). And of course, we both shared a love of fabric and sewing. She was even attending my classes until a few weeks ago (I finished the quilt she was working on and it was on her bed when she passed).
I will miss my lovely friend, and my heart is breaking for the 3 beautiful girls she leaves behind, on the eve of Mothers Day.
But we share the same faith, and while we said ‘goodbye’ on Monday, through love and tears, we both know that it is only ‘farewell’ until we see each other again in heaven. And then we will have endless years of fun, frolics and friendship together!
Goodbye my friend. You had courage, grace and dignity right to the very end. See you on the other side.
How is your week going so far? I hope you are getting time to fit in a little sewing therapy!
My eldest daughter has recently started to work for me on a part-time basis, which frees me up to attend to pressing deadlines! Oh how I love having a creatively talented assistant!!
Last summer I was asked by the fabric distributor Makower UK if I would consider coming on board as one of their designers!
I said yes straight away, and my first design for them is not only available for free on their website, but is also featured in the current issue of Quilt Now magazine.
Not only that, if you are a regular watcher of Sewing Quarter (Freeview channel 78) you may have seen Kitty featured! It gets a mention in the programme introduction, and then has a much lengthier feature with sections of the quilt demonstrated here.
This medallion quilt is based around a panel, which I chopped up and spaced out with sashing.
Simple checkboards and drunkard’s path scallops create the feature borders.
So if you love your feline friends, I know you’ll fall in love with this fabric collection.
And if you didn’t want to make a big quilt, why not make the central panelled section as a cute baby quilt instead! Purrrrrrfect!
Last November I became a Great Auntie for the first time! Can you believe it!
Sweet baby Rose was born and of course I wanted to make her a quilt!
Now it took me until the Christmas holidays (and then some!) to get going on this quilt.
Firstly I was stuck for inspiration, and then my quilty friend Geraldine of SophieBelleDesigns over on IG gave me the perfect idea! Hearts! (Thank you G!).
I had already picked up a girly bundle of floral fabrics from the quilting shop where I used to work, some ‘Fleurs Petite Bouquet’ (Brenda Riddle Acorn Quilts) and with the odd Tilda print thrown in I now knew what to do with them!
In quilt design, the terms ‘advanced’ or ‘technical’ can be quite subjective, depending on which part of the quilt the term refers to.
For example, a quilt can look ‘uncomplicated’ due to the fabrics used, but the piecing technique may require complete accuracy or many instructions.
At the other end of the spectrum, a quilt can look cleverly complicated with really straightforward piecing.
Crossed Paths falls somewhere in between! The repeating 15″ blocks are based around 2 elements: (1) Foundation pieced quadrants are made separately, papers removed then pieced around the central square using (2) a partial seam (tutorial on partial seams coming soon!).
However, close attention must be paid to the cutting instructions and fabric placement, to achieve the gradation of background from dark to light and the reverse gradation of the ‘crossed paths’.
This is a quilt where lots of labels and plastic bags are recommended to keep yourself organised!
So if you like making quilts with a little more ‘bite’ then this one’s for you!
In class this week, our ‘5 minute lesson’ was all about HSTs (Half Square Triangles), QSTs (Quarter Square Triangles) and HRTs (no not that type of HRT! Half Rectangle Triangles!).
These versatile and clever units form the many building blocks of quilt and quilt block design!
They are component parts that follow the same construction principles but with their many design possibilities, they just keep on giving!
Sewing with triangles can be tricky, especially as those naughty bias edges can flex and stretch! But despite the word ‘triangle’ being mentioned in the names of all of these techniques, at no point are individual triangles sewn together! How cool is that!
Let’s start with the humble Half Square Triangle.
Half Square Triangles (HSTs):
Method 1 (yields 2 identical hsts):
Start off by putting 2 squares right sides together.
Draw a pencil line corner to corner on the wrong side of one of the squares and sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to create 2 identical half square triangle units. Press the seams open (always press bias seams open where possible).
How easy was that!
Method 2 (yields 4 identical hsts):
Place 2 squares right sides together and sew 1/4″ around all four sides.
Cut in half from corner to corner, and then into quarters through the opposite corners.
As before, press the seams open.
And now that you have cracked hsts, the design possibilities are endless! Here are a couple of my own HST quilts, but for lots more variations, including sizing charts, check out my HST Pinterest Board!
Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs):
This time you need 2 lots of half square triangles. You can work with 2 fabrics, or like I’m doing here, 4 different fabrics.
Now take 1 hst from each pair and place them right sides together so that their seams are lying on top of each other.
Draw a line corner to corner perpendicular to the existing seam. Sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to separate and press the seams open. Now you have 2 identical QST blocks, with each of the 4 fabrics in each unit.
See if you can spot the QSTs in my friend Susan’s gorgeous ‘Blue Moon’ quilt.
I have a little QST quilt in the works, but I can only show you this sneaky peak for now ……..
So when Popular Patchwork said they were going for a colourful and cheery February issue, I had an idea!
This is Log Cabin Bouquet!
With a few adjustments, the log cabin block can be turned into a heart shape. And when you put the hearts together, you get a flower shape! Neat!
If, like me, you have a ‘Fabric Bucket List’ it’s always a joy when you finally get the opportunity to work with some long desired collection or fabric line.
When Art Gallery launched their Denim Studio, I swooned! Already a long time lover of all things denim, my heart skipped a beat when I saw how creative Art Gallery got with this unassuming textile. Oh boy! The different weights, patterns and textures – so many to choose from.
Imagine my delight when the Editor of Popular Patchwork approved my design! I stuck to denims that were 4oz or 5oz and I thought I’d go braver with the background this time.
The background is Painterly Wash and the backing Ragged Daisies. Wouldn’t these make beautiful tunic dresses (that’ll be another addition to the bucket list then!).
If you are considering Denim Studio, I recommend using the 4-5 oz ones for quilting and the 10 oz ones for bag making and soft furnishings.
So that’s another fabric itch scratched! I definitely see more Denim Studio in my future!
I spent a lovely afternoon sewing today, with my fellow Bee Blessed buddies. The room was a hive of activity as we kicked off the new year getting more quilts ready to gift to those in need of comfort.
A few months back I made a quilt for Popular Patchwork. They sent me a lovely collection of fabrics called Japanese Garden by Makower.
When I first saw the fabrics I was a little unsure what to do with them. There are many motifs and shapes in the fabrics to draw from, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies.
But I have a bit of a thing about curves (!!) and just had to scratch that itch!
As a patchwork and quilting tutor I often come across a fearful response to the mention of curved piecing!
But the bigger the curves, the easier the piecing!
So if you haven’t tried making a drunkard’s path block before, these large scale ones are a great place to start. I use a ‘no pin’ method, which means you get quickly into a repetitive rhythm piecing the curves.
This quilt is currently in the January issue of Popular Patchwork …..
…. and it is also hanging up in my new classroom.
So my new students had better beware! I’m hatching a plan that involves ‘curves’! After all, real women have curves!
Last day to enter my celebration giveaway. Enter here.
How is your new year going so far?
I’m trying to get back into running (been soaked twice!) and eat healthier (took 4 days to get through a sweet potato & carrot salad…… yawn!).
I’m a little behind in blogging about my January magazine commissions, so I’d better get a shimmy on!
This is ‘Snow Stars’, my quilty ballad to the wintery wonder of snow!
We don’t often get significant snow here, and I have a paradoxical relationship with it when it does show up! The romantic in me loves the peaceful stillness of a virginal snow fall, but the damp practicalities of travelling and trying to do life in it, well it’s ……. trying!
I’ve represented these stark contrasts in Snow Stars by using Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) as the background, allowing the low volume stars to pop out.
The half square triangle technique for making the blocks means you get 2 identical star blocks at a time!
A friend of mine quilted Snow Stars on her frame, using the perfect snowflake pantograph.
Isn’t it perfect! And trusty Ikea ‘Numbers’ on the back completes my ‘Ode to Snow’!
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!
I’m happy to see the actual frost (& snow) on the ground disappear this week! And instead show you my scrappy quilt in icy blues, which is featured in the January issue of Quilt Now.
As you know, I LOVE using scraps. Sticking to a particular colourway while just using scraps is a little more challenging than just using a random selection of colours. Scraptastic challenge accepted!
I started with a spikey block (my trust Sizzix helped me out with the cutting), then dropped the pale aqua and soft blues into it. I only needed to beg a small amount of blue from a willing friend!
You can get a better idea of the block from the cushion above. Katy the editor asked for a cushion of the same block, but in a different colourway. I used Kona solids for the cushion, and went for a more masculine vibe. This is to give the readers an alternative way of seeing the versatility of the block.
My background & binding is Kiss Dot by Michael Miller, and the backing is Vintage Market by Lori Holt.
The weather never matches the quilts when I’m photographing them!
So that’s Frost. I hope you like my scrappy quilt.
I’m in the process of making my very last quilt of 2017. Sadly you won’t get to see it until March ’18.
And with less than one week until the ‘big day’ I hope you are a lot more organised than me!
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!
Happy November to you all! Aren’t the weeks just flying in!
There have been a few exciting developments in the Hollies Household, which I will be able to tell you all about in 2 weeks time (can’t wait!!).
In the meantime, I can tell you about a quilt I made earlier in the year, which was featured in the September issue of Quilt Now (apologies for the late posting).
This is another scrap-busting project, using medium to low volume prints which have a ‘vintagey’ vibe (‘volume’ refers to the ‘loudness’ or brightness of the fabric).
I had a ball dipping in and out of my scraps drawers, using wee pieces, leftover jelly roll strips and scraps of vintage sheets.
And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!
This improvisational style of piecing is quite addictive! You just start with a few small pieces, keep adding and trimming as you go, and before you know it, your scraps have grown into a sizeable panel.
I got so carried away that I made too many sections! Not wanting to waste them, I sewed them altogether and used them as a central panel in the back, pieced between 2 vintage sheets!
Even the binding is another vintage sheet!
I appreciate that maintaining a healthy ‘scrap stash’ takes organisation and space, but here are a few advantages you get from it:
You can make an entire quilt using just scraps!
Make your scraps go further using yardage for the background.
Enjoy the satisfaction & frugality of turning leftovers into many wonderful and new projects.
Put them to good use in charity bee blocks, like Bee Blessed.
Use scraps to ‘test’ blocks or measurements when resizing a block
I’m sure you can think of lots more advantages to keeping your fabric leftovers. And you can be even more creative thinking up genius ways to store them!
Despite this being a sizeable quilt (72″ x 82.5″) I wish I could tell you I made a significant dent in my scraps stash making it!!
But that just means I have lots of lovely gems waiting for another chance to be transformed!
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.
It’s going to be a very significant month for me, the start of a new chapter. But more on that when the time comes!
My ‘Meet the Maker’ interview this month is a lady who is special to me from when we both joined Brit Bee in 2011.
Susan is not only an incredibly talented quilter and designer (you will see her amazing work in leading quilting magazines such as Love Patchwork and Quilting and Quilt Now), she also has a wicked sense of humour and is an incredible cook and baker! I’ll let her do the talking!
I’m Susan Standen, a Canadian living in the middle of England. I used to blog at candianabroad-susan.blogspot.com but as I haven’t posted in a year it is uncertain whether I will resurrect the blog or not. Time constraints and demands of life meant something had to give and my blog was that something. But I am very active on IG as canadianabroad. I can also be found on Pinterest as Susan Standen – though you are as likely to find recipes pinned there as quilting inspiration!
2. What is your craft/s? When did you start? Who/what inspired you to get started?
I am a quilter. I have two teenage daughters and I was a stay at home mum. When they were younger I searched for a hobby that would be something just for me. I tried beading – seriously no patience for that, card making – bored me (sorry to all those card makers out there, no offence meant) and then I bought a cheap sewing machine. I made a Halloween costume, and then a friend fell pregnant with her second child and I decided I would make a quilt. I had no family history of sewing, let alone quilting. I had never made a quilt. I did not know anyone who quilted. But I made a quilt. I was hooked!
3. What do you most enjoy about your craft? Where do you find your inspiration? Who inspires you?
I love coming up with a new idea. Even when I started quilting I never used patterns. I would look for inspiration on the internet and when I found something I liked I would work out the quilt maths for myself, changing up the design to suit my needs. Now I sketch all the time on my tablet, twisting ideas around until they suddenly take a form that makes my heart sing. I don’t get pattern inspiration so much as colour combinations that inspire me from the amazing and prolific quilters that are online. Just a few people that I follow who have an amazing eye for colour are (these are all ig names) fionapoppymakes, sewgoclimbing, littleislandquilting, fabricmutt, slostudio, lizfromshush
4. What are your thoughts on the online quilting community, locally and internationally?
I wouldn’t be quilting the way I do if it was not for the online community. I quilted in a wilderness of my own until I found the incredible online community that is out there. I have never found it any less than inspirational, supportive, educational and fun. Happily I have never experienced any controversy personally, though I know it does exist at times. The very best thing that came out of connecting with people online is the bees I have joined and the closer friendships that I have made via these bees. The best bee, Brit Bee, has resulted in life long friendships that I treasure and have made my life a better place to be.
5. In your opinion, is there still a place for bricks and mortar quilting shops, or is shopping for fabric online the future? Which do you prefer?
While I shop mostly online, and am also in the enviable position that I get a great deal of the fabric I use given to me by manufacturers, I don’t think anything can beat a good bricks and mortar shop. Many fabrics that have not appealed to me online I have instantly fallen in love with when seeing them in person. Buying fabric in a shop is a tactile, and often out of control, experience that I would not want to live without.
6. What are your creative goals for 2017? Are there new things you would like to try; projects you would like to get finished; competitions to enter etc.?
2017 is turning out to be my busiest quilting year ever and the flow of commission work has been so constant that I haven’t been able to turn my mind to goals or WIPs. That being said, as I get to make my own designs, usually in the fabrics of my choosing, I’m pretty much living the dream here. I have found the past couple of years I have not participated in online swaps due to a combination of time constraints and past disappointments (as shallow as that sounds, sorry) and I have never really entered competitions.
7. If a fairy godmother could grant you one creative wish, what would it be?
If a fairy godmother could be so kind as to provide me a quilting space of my own that would be awesome. Seeing as this is the stuff of dreams the new space would be very spacious, allow for copious fabric storage, another machine for quilting with a throat space that makes quilting far easier, and room for friends to join me in there when the opportunity allowed. I’m not asking much but I may have to move to achieve this dream space!
Thank you Susie for sharing your amazing work!
I always look forward to seeing Susan’s next quilt design. I hope you have enjoyed reading a little about my lovely friend.
Hi everyone, my name is Judith of Just Jude Designs and it’s my turn this month to tell you a little about myself as one of the 2017 Finish-A-Long hosts.
I was born in Northern Ireland, and apart from 7 years living in England, I have lived here all my life. I currently live 5 minutes away from where the famous RMS Titanic was built in Belfast 1911.
I started sewing when I inherited my Nanny Maud’s singer treadle sewing machine at the age of 11. I had already been crocheting clothes for my dolls from the age of 9, but now I could sew them blankets too!
When I started high school (11) I took Needlework. On my first day, I walked into the Needlework room and saw it was filled with electric sewing machines, but tucked away in the corner was a Singer Treadle machine! I pleaded with the teacher to let me use it, and then spent the next 3 years making garments on it! The start of my happy place!
I continued sewing on my Singer Treadle, teaching myself naive patchwork from recycled clothes, curtains and scraps. (I still love working with recycled textiles today!) I made my first little quilt, a pram quilt, when I was pregnant with my first daughter (1995).
2 days before my 3rd daughter was born, I turned 30, and my family bought me my first electric sewing machine. I’d been sewing for 20 years and had never used an electric machine! I fell in love with my Brother machine, and then upgraded to a Pfaff Quilt Expression a few years later, which I still use today.
When my youngest daughter started school, I went ‘back to school’ myself, studying City & Guilds Textile and Design. I thought it was time I learned how to sew and quilt properly! My motivation for taking this 2 year course was therapeutic, a kind of ‘play therapy’, recommended by my counsellor to overcome depression. It worked!
I finished and passed my course and was invited to teach patchwork to a group of women with mental health issues at a local community centre. I didn’t even know how to teach patchwork, but I overcame my nerves and quickly started on a new passion for teaching and inspiring others to love patchwork too.
For 2 years I taught women suffering from a wide range of mental health problems and saw first hand the therapeutic benefits they experienced after only a few short weeks of sewing. One lady in particular, old before her time, stooped with low self worth and heavily reliant on a walking stick, made her first patchwork cushion and within 6 weeks was coming to class without her stick and walking tall!! Like many others, learning a new skill within a caring community, and having something to show and be proud of, elevated her self-esteem and ignited hope and positivity in many areas of her life.
Over the past 10 years I have continued teaching in different venues, running my own programme of classes and also teaching for others. I also design quilts, cushions and bags for a number of UK based quilting magazines, and sell my patterns via my website, Etsy and Craftsy.
As a sole trader it is important for me to connect with other creatives, both professionally and personally. Being part of the quilting blogging community for the past 6 and a half years has been a hugely positive and affirming experience for me, and it has been my privilege to be a part of many bees, swaps and charity groups.
Brit Bee 2012
If you have made it this far, thank you! Thank you for taking the time to read this and being part of Finish-A-Long 2017.
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!).
In the Siblings Together Quilting Bee (2) I took a 2nd turn at Queen Bee for February.
Spurred on by Sue’s donated wonky star blocks, we all embraced our inner ‘wonk’ and made lots more bright and beautiful star blocks.
And here is the finished quilt:
What a blast of colour!
I’ve a few thank you’s to mention with regards to this quilt.
Firstly a big thank you goes out to Sue and my bee mates for contributing lots of blocks to make this colourful quilt a possibility.
And also thanks to a good friend for quilting it so beautifully too!
Finally, thank you to Sarah (Narcoleptic in a Cupboard) for contributing the Ikea backing. It was the perfect backing for the scrappy mix of colours in the front!
Measuring 60″ x 72″, this quilt will be going in the post this week well in time for this year’s summer camps. It is sent with our love and blessings, knowing that it will bring comfort to a young person separated from her siblings by the care system.
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!
We have had a sunny start to the new month – doesn’t the sunshine make everything seem much better!
Well a new month means a new ‘Meet the Maker’ interview, and it is my delight to introduce you to a very special lady!
This is Trudi, aka Quilting Prolifically. Trudi is a fellow Brit Bee member and an astoundingly talented long arm quilter. She is known for her ‘feather’ work, which are all ‘free hand’ quilted. Enjoy!
Introduction: Who are you? Where do you live? Where do you blog?
Hi, I’m Trudi, I live in Lincolnshire and quilt in a very posh shed at the bottom of my garden. I can be found at my very neglected blog Quilting Prolifically and more visibly on Intagram as @trudi_wood
2. What is your craft/s? When did you start? Who/what inspired you to get started?
I am a professional Longarm quilter, designer and patchwork and quilting teacher. I learned to sew when I was about six from my mum, piecing scraps from her basket into clothes for my dolls. My mum taught me to make my own clothes, and so for many years I was a dress maker, making my own clothes and bridesmaids dresses and ball gowns for others. I was introduced to quilting by a colleague when I was working in Belgium. They gave me a catalogue for an American quilting shop, and my eyes were opened to so many more possibilities. This was back in the day when machine quilting was regarded as a dirty word and cheating, so I hand quilted all my quilts because that’s what everyone did. There came a point when there were more tops than I could ever dream of hand quilting in a traditional way, so I taught myself to free motion quilt on my very old domestic machine that didn’t even drop the feed dogs. In 2007 I bought a table top frame and soon learnt my Bernina was not up to the job so added a Juki 98P and learned how to quilt on a frame. In 2014 My Innova Long arm arrived and I love it! Last year I took the leap and left my day job and now quilt full time. I’ve also been teaching Patchwork and quilting, free motion quilting, and designing quilt patterns for magazine commissions.
3. What do you most enjoy about your craft? Where do you find your inspiration? Who inspires you?
I love the creativity, I have always created, loved colour, and sewing, so to be able to inspire others, help people see more than they thought about for quilting and to work on so many different quilts is a real joy. Inspiration can strike from almost anywhere, from the fabric itself, the design of the quilt or even the purpose of the quilt. I love my customers to be involved in the process as much as possible, as they will usually have a good strong idea and starting point . I have my feet firmly set in the traditional field from the word go, inspired by UK quilters like Barbara Chainey and Amy Emms, US quilters like Daine Gaudinski and Karen McTavish. I do love to mix in the traditional with a more modern feel to the quilting.
4. Why did you start a blog? What do enjoy most about blogging? Do you see a future in blogging with the rise of other social mediums?
I started reading blogs back in 2008/09, and just figured, you know what, I could do that! I set up a blog and posted wondering who would read it, and people did. I was quite shocked. My blog has been neglected over the last year or two, as the time required to dedicate to it became more than I could muster, and Instagram seemed so much easier with the demise of Flickr also. Its quick, its a snapshot of time. Its a really great community. Yes I’d love to get back into some regular blogging, because I still think there is a place for it. Sometimes there is so much more to that snap in time than a few words can express, quilts have stories, and its always worth recording those stories and sharing with other. You never know who you might inspire.
5. What are your creative goals for 2017? Are there new things you would like to try; projects you would like to get finished; competitions to enter etc.?
I strive to grow creatively each year, and this year is no different, my words for this year are to Shine and Adventure, so to use those as inspiration for the work I do makes a great focus. I really want to get back to the traditional patterns and see what I could bring to them with a modern slant using today’s quilting techniques. I have so many ideas in my head, I need to get them into my notebook and pick just one for the Festival of Quilts.
6. If a fairy godmother could grant you one creative wish, what would it be?
Oh that would be easy, more time! Time to create, time to play, time to just see where ideas take me. To be able to do all that and still work a full week with time for a weekend would be just grand.
Isn’t Trudi’s quilting amazing! Hard not to be inspired under her tutelage.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about this month’s Maker!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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) here, here, 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!
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.
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.
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.
After a wee break in December, we were back making bee blocks in January for Siblings Together (Bee 2).
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!
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!
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?
Only this gorgeous package of cuteness from Ange!
Isn’t it adorable! And I have a feeling it will come in handy for travelling to our retreat!
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.
(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).
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.
This little quilt comes in at 50″ x 56″ and is in the January issue of Popular Patchwork.
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!
I have a particular soft spot for Tilda fabrics. I love the calming colours and the vintagey feel the ditsy florals and spots evoke. ‘Autumn Tree’ is a collection that came out last year, and is still available to purchase. I went with simple 16 patch ‘on point’ blocks with appliqued hearts for my autumn quilt submission to Pretty Patches magazine.
And they put it on the front cover! Woohoo! I definitely think there will be more Tilda quilts in my future! Happy sewing!
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.
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.
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!
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!
So it’s goodbye summer, and hello beautiful Autumn!