Almost 2 years ago I launched our first appeal for Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Care in Antrim Hospital.
As the name suggests, the bags carry Syringe Drivers, the vehicle for administering pain or sickness medication. The patient receives the meds via a tube, which means they have to carry the Syringe Drivers around with them all the time. Sometimes they have one syringe driver, sometimes 2.
Providing bright and colourful bags instead of the standard issue grey ones is a small way of bringing a little cheeriness to the patient, especially when they get to choose one they like!
For our first appeal we had a brilliant response from generous sewists across Northern Ireland. So much so, we were able to pass on some bags to other palliative care units.
These bags can’t be reused, and the supply of bags from the first appeal has been exhausted.
Macmillan have asked us for more, so we are launching our 2nd Syringe Driver Bag Appeal!
If you have some sewing machine experience and cotton fabric, would you consider making one or two bags for those receiving palliative care or cancer treatment? You can find the tutorial here.
Previously we have only made for adult males and females, but now we also have a request from The Children’s Hospice, N.I., so we can receive bags in child-friendly fabrics too!
I launched the 2nd appeal on Facebook 10 days ago and we’ve already received 25 bags! THANK YOU!
I’ve always known how generous our sewing community is! Please, please help us to make many more bags! The bags can be posted or delivered to me at home. Email me at email@example.com for my address.
And if you live locally to Belfast, keep your eyes and ears open for an announcement about a free Syringe Driver Bag Workshop at our studio in Conway Mill!
(All sample blocks were made using Handmade fabrics by Makower)
Now in my introduction to this series, I described this part as the Mystery section!
That’s because this post is all about Partial Seams!
Just like the other Log Cabin Family members, in these examples fabric is pieced around a central shape.
1 Log Cabin
You may have noticed that the ‘logs’ in the Log Cabin block above are equal length in each round, unlike the Log Cabin Block from Part 1.
This is made possible by starting each round with a partial seam (denoted here with the number 0.5 instead of 1!).
The first ‘log’ being attached is stitched only half way along the seam. It is then pressed out allowing the 2nd ‘log’ to be fully attached. This one is then pressed out before attaching log 3 and the same for log 4. Now you can bring the unsewn section of log 1 right sides together to log 4 and finish sewing the starting (partial) seam.
I love how clever this technique is. Without prior knowledge of partial seams, it would be difficult to work out how to construct this block. Therein lies the mystery!!
2. Rail Fence
In this example, the ‘rail fence’ sections are pieced separately, before being attached to the centre square.
Welcome to part 3 of my series on Log Cabin blocks (part 1 available here; part 2 available here).
So far we’ve looked at the variations within Log Cabin and Courthouse Steps blocks.
This post is all about the Pineapple Block.
Like me, you may be surprised that the Pineapple block is included in the Log Cabin family of blocks.
But there are definite similarities. Fabric strips of equal width are added in rounds from the centre square outwards (just like Log Cabin or Courthouse Steps).
The main difference this time is each round is trimmed ‘on point’ to create a diamond shape, before the next round is added. By alternating the background and main fabrics each round, pineapple shapes start to emerge.
There are several ways to create the Pineapple Block:
1 Foundation Pieced:
For my block (above) I printed and enlarged a paper template and sewed directly onto the paper, only removing the paper on completion of the block.
While this is a time consuming method (especially for a full quilt!) it results in precision piecing and accurate points and edges.
Welcome back to my Spring into Summer ’19 series of posts.
In part 1 (available here) we’ve covered items 1, 2, 10 & 12 on our display table.
Today it’s all about one of my favourite quilt and fabric designers, Lori Holt.
3 Farm Girl Vintage Book, by Lori Holt:
This is Lori’s first Farm Girl Vintage book of blocks which is no longer available in the UK (FGV2 is just about to hit the shops!). I have sold quite a few in class already, and any that are left will be listed in our shop next week.
FGV shows you how to make all of the blocks shown on the front cover quilt, in both 6″ and 12″ size options.
The instructions and illustrations are really clear. And at the back of the book there are several larger blocks & lots more patterns & ideas on how to use the blocks to make other projects like cushions and table runners.
4 Farm Girl Vintage inspired Table Runner:
I made a table runner using 5 x 12″ blocks from the FGV book. I chose blocks that followed a food/kitchen theme, and they were such fun to make.
The pears are one of my favourite blocks in the book, and I’m working them into another bee quilt (a UFO Brit Bee quilt).
5 Farm Girl Vintage Chick Cushion:
I first made this cushion for my Easter table display last year. I turned a 12″ Chick block from the book into a quilted cushion. Isn’t he cute!
You may remember seeing my aprons on display last term. I decided to leave my dressed mannequin again this term because we are running our 3rd Apron workshop in August (booking available here). In this workshop you can choose from either a tie back apron (pictured) or the Japanese style cross back apron (see here).
2 Kids Tote Bags:
These simple and fun makes are samples for my upcoming children’s workshop.
I have 4 girls and 2 boys registered to learn how to use a sewing machine and let their textile creativity loose!
Children are a joy to teach because they don’t overthink it and are so creatively uninhibited! We adults could learn alot from them!
This is my big and roomy beach bag (first featured in Pretty Patches magazine). It features water resistant Rip-Stop Nylon lining, mesh or cotton exterior pockets and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your soggy bikini, or drippy sun lotion bottles!
I’ve made a few of these practical bags over the years, and they’ve even been road tested by my girls on their holiday!
If you’d like to join us at our Beach Bag workshop, you can book in here.
As a self-confessed workaholic I have to really focus on ‘not working’ and allowing my mind some down time (not easy for a self-employed sole trader!).
As part of my ‘word for the year’ – CULTIVATE, I’ve been working on cultivating rest and regeneration, not just physically but creatively and spiritually too.
I’m still learning how to do this well, and am very much a work in progress! One way I’ve been doing this is by reading inspiring authors on personal leadership, like Brene Brown.
In her book ‘Daring Greatly’, Brene talks about the importance of being our vulnerable and authentic selves, not bowing to the ‘never (good, thin, happy, wealthy, successful ….) enough’ culture but instead resting in the knowledge that our best effort is always enough; we are enough. The strive for perfectionism and the glorification of busyness erodes the mental health of individuals, families, societies, nations. I know this to be true because I’ve seen it and I’ve felt it.
So if, like me, you want to learn how to cultivate authenticity, self-compassion, a resilient spirit, gratitude and joy, intuition and trust, meaningful work, creativity (yes!), and play and rest (yes, yes!) then I highly recommend to you Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Her honesty is refreshing and her professional research in vulnerabililty, shame and wholeheartedness eye opening!
“Dare to be the adults we want our children to be.” Brene Brown
Another opportunity for me to cultivate rest and regeneration comes with good weather, a beautiful location and a camera!
We were blessed over Easter with some cracking weather, which meant I could get out and about a bit with my camera.
Taking pictures enables me to notice details, to stay in the present, to connect my surroundings with those I’m with, to stop and smell the roses (sometimes literally!).
If you’ve never tried it, next time you go out to a beautiful park, garden, beach, woodland walk, bring a camera. You don’t have to be skilled at taking the photos. But I guarantee your mental and emotional health will benefit greatly!
(All the photos I took are available here in my Facebook Albums)
And this week I’ve had the best Mothers Day present ever!
All my chicks are back home for a few days, yay!
It’s been so good to hang out together, laugh, be silly, and have precious family time, including the future sons-in-law!
The times when we can all be together at the same time in the same place are becoming fewer, so we make sure we make up for it when we can!
I’m not only blessed with a faithfully loving mum, but I also get the privelege of being a mum, 3 times over!
I was so excited in my first pregnancy to become a mum, but nothing prepared me for how tough the exhausting role of mother would be!
To be honest, I found the earlier years much harder than the teenage ones! I continually lacked confidence, never knew if I was doing the right thing, perpetual exhaustion, extreme loneliness and post natal depression all played their part.
Despite it being the toughest job I’ve ever had (the wages and pension benefits are rubbish!) it’s also been (& still is) the most rewarding. The thing about having kids is they force you to go beyond yourself, to step outside your comfort zones and defaults and face your weaknesses and selfishness.
I’m thankful to my girls for stretching me and making me the person I am today. They inspire me every day and I’m ridiculously proud of the beautiful women they are, inside and out.
To all you mothers out there, you are amazing, keep going. It will be hard at times, but the rewards are deep and infinite. A great mother isn’t perfect (no such woman exists), she’s the one who gets up each morning and invests, sacrifices, referees, feeds, counsels, advises, all for no thanks, and then gets up again the next morning to do it all again!
Already we are coming to the end of our first block of 2019 classes. This week we will wrap up our Necessary Clutch wallets and New Year projects.
I can’t wait to show you all the finished clutches!
And I’m a little bit excited to show you our (optional) class project for the Feb-April block.
In our next block of classes I will be showing 3 different weaving techniques, 2 of which use the Wefty Weaving Needle.
A Wefty Needle comes in 2 sizes, 1″ and 0.5″ and enables weaving both simple and complex designs with little/no fabric waste.
Once you have a deliciously woven panel you can turn it into a pretty basket, a tactile cushion, a useful notebook cover, anything you like!
I’ll have notes available on how to make my 3 examples, but you don’t have to stick to these projects. Just check out my Weaving Pinterest Board for lots more mind blowing inspiration!
Linen Basket Weave Cushion
This is a beginner friendly project, keeping the strips wider and easy to weave into a traditional basket weave pattern.
We don’t use the Wefty Needle on this project, a large safety pin will suffice, though there will be a little fabric waste at the end of each woven strip.
And if you haven’t already them sussed, how about trying some buttonholes and self covered buttons as your cushion closure?
Houndstooth Journal Cover
These 0.5″ strips are woven with the Wefty Needle into a houndstooth pattern.
Again we are using a traditional basket weave here, but clever placement of strips produces the secondary pattern.
I turned my woven panel into a journal cover (my notebook cover pattern is available here), but you could easily use this as a decorative panel in a bag or add some borders for a textured placemat or cushion.
Triaxial Woven Basket
Triaxial means 3 angles. Unlike a basket weave (with only vertically and horizontally woven strips) triaxial weaving involves strips woven at vertical and 2 thirty degree angles.
For my cute basket I’ve used the 1″ Wefty Needle. Triaxial weaving is more complex than basket weaving designs, but once you get your head around it, there are many more amazing designs which can be produced from the 3 angles.
So if you fancy a spot of weaving over the next 7 weeks, or just want to carve out some therapeutic sewing time to work on other projects, why not come join the fun and book into one of our 6 weekly classes.
Ayumi’s brilliant tutorial is for the largest tray you see here. They are so easy to make and resize to suit your own requirements (keep the width the same, and simply shorten the length: L:13″, M:10.5″, Sml:7.5″).
The changes I made to the pattern were to use Flex Foam Bosal instead of wadding, to give more structure, and to sew a few stitches at the corners to help them retain their shape.
I’m sure like me you can think of a multitude of uses for these handy organisers (desk tidies perhaps?).
And keeping with the organising theme, how cute are these!
These are literally made from scraps – Tilda and leather scraps from other projects, and offcuts of Flex Foam Bosal.
The bosal was a little tricky to work with when it came to the smallest basket! But I think this will be the case with any interfacing stiff enough to give these little pots the structure they need. Just cut your interfacing smaller to try and keep whatever interfacing you use, out of the seams.
What an amazing year it has been, both inside the classroom and outside it!
One of my professional highlights in 2018 was attending Patchwork in the Peaks Quilters Retreat, Morzine, France, as guest tutor.
And on a personal level, hosting a memory quilt party for my special friend’s 50th birthday in February was a wonderful day!
Helping 2 charities, Shared Threads and Flourish, launch their new sewing initiatives, both aimed at improving the lives of women, locally and internationally was (and continues to be) a pleasure and a privilege.
Among the many highs and lows that come in a year, I’m reminded of my ‘word for the year’ back in January ’18 – RHYTHM.
I set a word at the start of each year to give me a focus to my professional and life goals.
After a massive year of change in 2017, I feel I definitely achieved some rhythm, allowing life to settle some, and to get into my stride with the new classroom and home.
Of course there were still changes in 2018, some happy, some sad, some expected, some unexecpted; the normalcy of life demands it.
But amidst it all, I have much to be thankful for and am content to leave 2018 with a smile, and embrace the exciting new chapter that is 2019.
Come back soon to find out all about my word for 2019!
I promised to check in again and tell you about my makes at Patchwork in the Peaks (though they pale into insignificance compared to the fabulous makes of my fellow sewers).
Not fully understanding the brief of the weekend, I arrived with no personal projects to work on! Doh!
However, Elita has a very healthy ‘scraps stack’ which she generously makes available to all at Peaks.
So with that in mind, I rustled up a sizeable ‘Quilt As You Go’ pouch.
I always find that other people’s scraps are much more interesting than my own, so it was fun rustling through the scrap boxes for this project.
One of the ‘games’ we played at the weekend was a ‘Roll the Dice Fat Quarter swap’.
It’s much too long winded for me to try and explain how it works, but the essence of the game is that you bring 3 fat quarters to the table and after much hilarity, competitive threats (of the lighthearted kind of course!!) and fast hand action, you end up with 3 different fat quarters!
One such fat quarter is the glorious yellow that I used for the lining of my pouch!
Aaaahhhhh! Sunshine in a pouch!
Following my Denim Applique Bag workshop, there was a nice little pile of offcuts and discarded denim bits.
So in keeping with the denim/upcycling theme, I made another zippy pouch (a girl can never have too many pouches, right?!).
A little ‘Aurifil’ decorative stitching and feature tabs, loops and labels add the perfect finishing touches.
Another of my ‘fat quarter swaps’ made it as the perfect pouch lining!
On Saturday evening we shared our ‘Secret Sister’ gifts (surprise, anonymous gifts left for each person throughout the weekend) and then Gina presented the ‘Mystery Make’.
This is a fun, quick make in keeping with the theme of the weekend. Several little jeans legs were made available with a finished sample of the cutest wee fabric bucket! So we set to it and in no time at all, a family of re-purposed fabric buckets appeared! (see pics in previous post)
Despite the flowers being upside down (!!) I’m going to use mine as a purposeful little thread catcher.
And last but not least, another rummage in the scraps box and my heart started to flutter as I discovered some adorable vintage vibe browns!
Now I appreciate brown is not a universally loved fabric colour, and there are some browns I just can’t do.
But on my bucket list of makes is a vintage brown quilt (I have a secret hoard of brown vintage fabrics in my loft!). So I grasped the nettle and started making log cabin blocks, with no other plan in mind than to enjoy the browns and worry about a design much later!
So considering I arrived at Peaks with no fabric or sewing equipment, I did pretty well don’t you think?
It’s about time I posted another tutorial here, don’t you think?
Before all the sniffles and colds get going, how about pretty, quilted tissue box covers. I’d much rather see pretty fabric sitting in my room, than a functional cardboard box!
And this tutorial will explain how to cover a box of any size, so let’s get started!
You Will Need:
Heavy Sew-In Vilene
Non-permanent fabric marker
Cardboard or template plastic
Measure your box:
Take measurements A (short side), B (long side) and C (top). Then add 3/4″ (0.75″) to each measurement (1/2″ for seam allowances, 1/4″ for ease) to get the cutting out sizes.
You can see my measurements in the example below:
So now that you have the cutting out measurements you can either ….
apply all measurements to your exterior fabrics, lining fabric, wadding and heavy sew-in vilene
instead of cutting out the sides, cut and baste an 11″ x 12″ piece of exterior fabric, wadding and sew-in vilene. Once quilted, this is big enough to cut out all 4 sides.
You will also need this template for the openings. I use the larger shape for rectangular boxes and the smaller shape for cube boxes. Cut out the openings and transfer them to card or template plastic.
Use 1/4″ seams
1 If you haven’t already done so, spray baste the exterior fabrics, wadding and vilene together.
2 Quilt as desired (I marked and quilted a 1.5″ diagonal grid, see photo above).
3 Pin an exterior short side (A) right sides together with the exterior top (C). With a pen, mark 1/4″ in from each corner on the short side (wrong side).
4 Sew from marker to marker, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch. Repeat for the other short side.
5 Press the short ends out before attaching the long sides in the same way (remember to mark your 1/4″ points).
6 Repeat steps 3-5 for the lining pieces.
7 Find the middle of the lining top piece (I simply folded it in half lengthways and widthways and finger pressed).
8 Centre your chosen template opening onto the wrong side of the lining top piece and draw around it.
9 Pin the exterior and lining pieces right sides together. Sew along the drawn line, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch.
10 Carefully cut out the opening, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Snip at 1cm intervals all the way around the opening, taking care not to cut into the stitches.
11 Push the lining through the opening and all the way round to the back of the exterior. Iron around the opening to neaten.
12 Top stitch around the opening, 1/8″ from the edge.
13 Pin the exterior sides right sides together. Sew adjacent exterior sides together, sewing from the top down to the 1/4″ marker (fold the top piece out of the way so you can get right down to the 1/4″ marker). Start and finish with a reverse stitch.
14 Repeat step 13 for the lining pieces.
15 Turn the exterior right side out, by folding it out over the lining. On the inside you should be able to see the right side of the lining.
16 Push the lining well into the corners of the exterior cover. Pop in the tissue box and trim off any excess cover and lining level with the edge of the box.
17 Machine tack (large stitch) around the raw edges 1/8″ from the edge.
18 Make enough double fold quilt binding to get around the bottom edges with a couple of inches overlap. Attach, join and finish the binding as you would for a quilt.
Pop in the tissue box and adorn your bedside table!
Or how about a scrappy tissue box cover ….
…. or have some free motion sketching fun!
Whatever shape or design you choose for your cover, have lots of fun!
A good friend of mine recently celebrated a milestone birthday.
Now this friend is uber creative and talented, especially when it comes to ceramics.
Rachel has a workshop in Conway Mill, just 2 floors above me, and makes the most stunning ceramic house pictures and brooches #weecolouredhouses
I’m lucky to be the proud owner of 2 such creations!
So from one maker to another, I knew my gift had to be handmade!
My ‘Wee Coloured Houses’ pouch is inspired by Rachel’s adorable little houses. They have been free motion sketched onto Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax). Those tiny windows were a challenge!!
I know Rachel loves colour, so I went with a patchworked back and a bright, funky lining.
So here’s to many more creative years Rachel!
And if you would like to purchase one of Rachel’s pictures or commission her for a custom order, you can contact her here.
Also, keep an eye out for her at Frock Around the Clock Fares and the Fine & Dandy Markets, as well as seeing her stock in The Designerie (Bushmills), Belfast City Airport, The Crafty Barn (Carlingford) and Klover (Hillsborough) to name a few!
We’ve had wonderful weather this summer, so I shouldn’t be sad to see the rain! After all, the gardens are crying out for it!
As well as working on some non-work related sewing commitments, I’ve been beavering away on some new patterns for upcoming classes and workshops (more on this very soon!).
But I’ve also managed to snatch a few ‘dressmaking’ moments here and there!
I once remember my dearly passed friend, Heather, telling me about when she used to make her own trousers. After her first successful pair, she made lots more from the same pattern, but just in different colours!
So as a novice dressmaker, I am unashamedly going to follow my friend’s canny philosophy!
Last summer I made this tunic from a charity shop find of Liberty cotton. The pattern is beginner friendly (New Look pattern 6068) and I love the shape and fit of it.
So I cut out 2 more, in vintage fabrics that I’ve collected over the years!
No. 1 The ‘A Little Touch of Granny’ Tunic:
I can’t remember who or where this exotic themed fabric came from, but I didn’t have enough width in the main fabric for a complete front. So I improvised and added in a coordinating navy panel.
Also I wanted a slightly longer length than the original pattern, so I added a mock under-skirt in a contrasting fabric (I call this my granny fabric!).
I’m sure you will think I’m bonkers (!!) but I love my cobbled together tunic!
I have long been trying to set my inner granny/hippy free, and I think I’ve taken another step closer to embracing a very individual and creative style!
And for tunic no.2?
Tune in next time for another ‘eyebrow raising’ post!
I’m back from a little holiday over on English soil, enjoying the amazing Cumbrian countryside with my #sewingbesties …..
….. and visiting family and friends in my old Dorset stomping ground.
The weather was hot, hot, hot! What a cracking summer break.
And I’ll be jet-setting off again in September, as the guest tutor of Patchwork in the Peaks in Morzine, France.
Patchwork in the Peaks is an Alpine Quilt Retreat, hosted twice a year by Busy Needle Quilting.
The retreat is held over 4 days, in a 4 storey chalet with the most spectacular views!
You get to take part in workshops, tutorials and have some free time to relax, explore Morzine, or fit in more sewing! There’s even an ‘in chalet’ quilting shop and you can avail of the Juki long arm quilting machine (tuition provided).
Doesn’t that sound wonderful! You can read lots more about this quilters heaven here and here.
I’ll be teaching my Applique Denim Bag, showcasing techniques such as twin needling fusible bias, satin stitch applique, re-purposing textiles and a zippered pocket (to name a few).
So if you fancy a creative and relaxing retreat surrounded by inspiring scenery, why not come to Patchwork in the Peaks (only a few places remaining)!
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.
During the 5 Wednesday evenings in August I will be running my ‘Machine Sewing for Beginners’ Course.
I have run this course many times in the past, and it has always proven popular. The course is designed for folks who want to learn how to use a sewing machine, or refresh their machine sewing skills from long ago!
Here’s a run down of the topics we cover:
threading the machine
filling a bobbin
understanding the various buttons, dials & stitches
practising the different stitches
understanding tension & troubleshooting
how to change needles and feet
understanding uses of different feet
sewing control skills
understanding fabric (warp, weft, bias)
measuring & cutting fabric
seams (1/4”; 3/8”; 5/8”, overlocking; french)
Project: Single skein cushion cover with a zippered back
Cost: £45 (includes a non-refundable deposit of £20)
Course in Conway Mill (2nd Floor), Conway Street, Belfast, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Disabled Parking and Access available
Places are limited so book early
Limited number of machines available to hire (pre-booking required)
Full list of materials/requirements emailed in July
So if you fancy learning a new skill, or brushing up on an old one, just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes are fun and relaxed!
For the third installment in my series of summer workshops, we will be looking at what we can do with cotton clothesline rope and a zig-zag stitch!
The rope bowl making phenomenon hit the online quilting community about 2 years ago, and is still going strong!
When I started making these, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to achieve the variety of 3d shapes. The fiddliest part is getting the rope wound tightly enough at the start, but after that, it’s a doddle!
I experimented with a couple of different ropes, one softer and one coarser. While my machine still coped ok with the coarser rope, it had to work a little harder, and cheaper threads broke more often. However, the softer rope was much more maliable and took both the Aurifil and cheaper threads with ease. I will be supplying the softer rope to the workshops.
There are many different ways to add colour to your baskets – dip-dyeing, painting, coloured thread or adding scraps. Check out my Kitchen Pinterest Board for many more examples of this versatile craft.
Due to the popularity of this project, I am running 2 workshop dates, 18th August and 8th September. All workshops are £30 (includes a non-refundable £15 deposit). Just drop me an email to email@example.com for more information or to register.
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!
In keeping with our ‘curves’ theme this term, my monthly ‘5 minute lesson’ in classes this week was all about Improv. (improvisational) curves.
As the name suggests ‘improv.’ means you pretty much go with the flow and make up the curves as you go. No two curves are the same, and there are much fewer rules to abide by than with standard pieced curves. You don’t even have to worry about an even seam allowance (gasp!).
You can imagine how well this technique went down with all my rebellious non-conformists (you know who you are!!).
There are many examples of improv. curves on Pinterest (see my Curves Pinterest Board here). And to give an example of these in class, I made some improv. curved placemats, in the lovely coastal Beachcomber fabrics by Makower.
Here is the tutorial on how to make my Improv. Curved Placemats (makes 4 x 15 1/4″ diameter mats).
You will need:
Between Nine and Twelve 10″ squares (I used Beachcomber by Makower)
50cm of Wadding or Insul Bright Heat Resistant Wadding
50cm of calico
1 metre of Heat Resistant Non-Slip Table Protector (at least 35″ wide)
4.5 metres of 3/4″ wide bias binding
505 Basting Spray
Method:Assume 1/4″ seams
1 Place 2 squares of fabric on the cutting mat, right sides facing up, and overlapping. The wider the overlap, the deeper the curves can be. I usually overlap by 2-3″ (I am using up a smaller piece of fabric here to overlap the 10″ square).
2 Using a rotary cutter, cut a curve up through the overlapped section.
3 Remove the excess pieces (this will be the smaller piece of the right hand fabric and the smaller/underneath piece of the left hand fabric). The remaining pieces should fit neatly together.
4 Sew the 2 pieces right sides together. It is easier to do this by straightening the underneath piece with your right hand and lifting up the top piece with your left hand. Don’t worry if your seam allowance isn’t even the whole way down, just make sure there are no tucks.
5 Press the seam to the darkest fabric.
6 Repeat steps 2-5 for a third piece of fabric, over lapping the left hand edge of the first piece.
7 Spray baste the curved pieces, wadding and calico together (tutorial on spray basting available here).
8 Quilt the mats, starting centrally and working towards the outer edges. I quilted in the ditches and then’echo’ quilted the curved seams 1/2″ apart.
9 Place a round plate or bowl on top and draw around it. Cut along the line and remove the excess. Put to one side.
10 Place the same plate/bowl onto the felted side of the non-slip table protector. Draw around it and cut out.
11 Machine tack the table protector to the wrong side of the mat, making sure the felted side is on the inside. Machine tacking means using a large stitch on your machine, and stitching close to the edges. If you find the rubberised table protector resisting or sticking to your sewing machine, make sure the rubberised side is facing up and engage the dual feed/walking foot on your machine. If you don’t have these, stick some matt scotch tape to the underside of your presser foot keeping clear of the needle opening.
12 Open out the bias binding, and leaving a few inches unsewn at the start, attach the binding around the edge of the mat using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, stopping a few inches short at the end (remember to use a quilting size stitch length here, not a tacking stitch).
13 Place the end of the bias binding over the start and measure and mark 1/2″ overlap. Trim off the excess.
14 Open out the binding and sew the short ends together using 1/4″ seam allowance.
15 Finger press the seam open and finish sewing down the remaining binding to the mat.
16 Snip all around the edge of the mat at 1cm intervals, taking care not to cut the stitches.
17 Push the binding over to the back of the mat. Pin in the ditch from the front, making sure the binding is caught at the back.
18 Stitch in the ditch from the front side finishing with a reverse stitch.
And you’re finished!
Adorn your table with your beautiful mats and wait for the compliments!
So why not have a go at this organic and fun technique!
I hope you enjoy your venture into improv. curves!
If you are a regular subscriber to Quilt Now magazine, you may recognise someone in the ‘Designer Spotlight’ this month.
It was a privilege to be asked by Quilt Now to feature my new classroom and classes in the latest copy of their magazine (issue 48).
I have very much enjoyed working with Katy and designing for Quilt Now in recent years, but now I’m giving almost all of my design attention to my classes.
I’m nearly 4 months into running Patchwork & Quilting classes here at Conway Mill, and I’m delighted with the response and feedback so far.
My ladies are loving the wonderful light and space in the room, and I try to keep them inspired with themed quilts and project displays.
One of the things I love about working here is being surrounded by the wonderful story of what it used to be, a 19th Century Flax Mill.
Some of the original features of the Mill have survived, even through the Belfast blitz of 1941 and being set on fire during our political troubles here in the 1970’s.
How serendipitous to be bringing the art and love of textiles back into this beautiful Victorian Mill!
If you would like to know more about my classes, click here, or pop in to see us on the 2nd floor, grab a coffee (or lunch) in the Little Mill Bistro, or come see the many other businesses, trades, creatives and artists who work here!