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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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.
So, I’m going to completely ignore the impending snow forecast and pretend it is spring and enjoy my narcissus and daffs and the blissfulness of denial!
With just over 2 weeks to Easter, let’s crack on with part 2 of my classroom Easter table.
At the top right hand side of the picture, you will see my Garden Shed Tidy.
This was made for the May ’16 issue of Pretty Patches magazine. As the garden starts to come to life again, I get sporadic urges to amble down the ‘garden’ isles of my local homeware shop, buying packets of seeds with renewed vigor that this year I will plant them (!!)
And if (like me) you aren’t much of a gardener, you could easily use this cute tidy in your bathroom, the teenagers room, or in the study keeping stamps, envelopes and stationery organised (people do still write letters, right?).
Hanging on my diy Easter tree are my Easter Egg Zippy Pouches, made with older children in mind who might prefer money or vouchers for Easter! You can get the free tutorial here.
Also hanging on my Easter tree are some crochet bunnies. I followed this tutorial, however mine seem to resemble some kind of dysmorphic bat!
Now one of the cushions on my table is an old friend. You may recognise her from this quilt!
My trusty Woodland Hare, Harriet, has been enlarged and appliqued onto a bespoke cushion cover. She’s been stuffed and in the absence of piping cord, I top-stitched the side seams.
Seeing Harriet’s endearing smile always brings me joy!
Finally, for part 2, all of these items are sitting on my Picnic Bobble Blanket.
This was another magazine commission, this time the August ’16 issue of Popular Patchwork.
It’s a great pattern for showing off a larger scale print.
It is double backed, the outer layer being a machine washable shower curtain (we don’t want any soggy bottoms!).
This is another pattern I will commit to re-write for general sale!
There is a lot of work involved in converting a pattern from a magazine template to one of my own formatted patterns. I have a long ‘to do’ list and will be announcing some new releases soon! Thank you for your patience.
There are still 2 projects left on the table to tell you about. But I will give them a post all of their own!
When I was at Primary School we had a ‘Nature Table’, decorated according to the seasons, with items mucky hands would triumphantly find and trophy into class the next day!
The Autumn Table was my favourite. I can still see the bright orangey-red ovals of rosehips, shining like jewels among the tattered leaves and empty conker casings.
Well I may be all grown up now (sort of!), but in the childhood-spirit of celebrating the season, I thought it would be nice to have an ‘Easter Table’ in class!
Not all of these items are strictly ‘Easter’ related – I’m using a little Spring inspiration (& a lot of creative license!) too.
So over the next 2 posts, let me talk you through my table and I’ll give you the links to the free tutorials too!
We’ll start with the left hand side of the table. The items are sitting on my blue chenille mat. If you’ve never tried chenilling before, I highly recommend it. Great fun and super easy too!
Chenille involves lots of layers of fabric, sewn together on the bias in half inch channels. The fabric between the channels is then cut, through all layers except the bottom one. Give it a rigorous wash and tumble dry, and hey presto, you have the fluffiest fabric which you can then turn into anything you like!
So far, I’ve chenilled a baby play mat, a bath mat (below) and a heart cushion!
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.
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 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 ……..
How would you fancy another Just Jude Designs tutorial! It’s been a while so I thought it was time to share one of my handy pouch patterns!
If you attend regular sewing classes, a Quilting Guild or charity sewing groups, you will know there’s a lot of stuff to remember to bring with you each time!
So a travel sewing pouch might be just the thing you need to keep your essentials compact and portable.
And there’s a handy little zippered pocket in the back!
So before we get started, here are a few essential points:
Use quarter inch seams throughout
Avoid directional prints for the main/outer fabric (it will be upside down when the flap folds over – ask me how I know!!)
All cutting instructions are shown width x height
Right, let’s go!
For main/outer/flap cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
For front/small pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 10”/25.5cm)
For lining cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
For medium pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 13”/33cm)
For large pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 16”/40.5cm)
For zippered pocket lining cut: 2 x (8”/20cm x 9”/23cm)
From sew-in vilene cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
You will also need:
Elastic hair bobble
Basting Spray (505)
5” plastic zipper
Non-permanent marking pen/tool
1 Spray baste the vilene to the wrong side of the main/outer fabric.
2 Iron all 3 pockets in half widthways, wrong sides together. Top stitch along top/folded edges.
3 Place the small and medium pockets together (aligned at the bottom & side edges). Chalk & sew lines onto the small pocket to create dividers as required. Use a reverse stitch at the top/folded edge. Do not sew a central line through all layers as this will be sewn in the next step.
4 Place the small and medium pockets on top of the large pocket, again aligning bottom and side edges. Mark a line that runs vertically through the middle of the small and medium pockets only. Sew on this line, through all layers, again using a reverse stitch at the top edge.
5 Place the pocket section on top of the lining (right side facing) aligning the bottom and side edges. Machine tack together. Put to one side.
6 Make the back/zippered pocket: Hand or machine stitch the open end of the zipper closed to hold in place.
7 Place one of the zippered pocket linings right sides together with the outer fabric, aligning the bottom and side edges.
Draw a line on the pocket fabric, 2” (5cm) down from the top and 1.5” (4cm) in from each side.
8 Next draw a line ¼” (6mm) above and below the first line. Join up the sides and draw > shapes ¼” (6mm) in from each side.
9 Pin the layers together and sew on the outer lines only through both layers. Do not sew on the centre line.
10 Carefully cut along the centre line and > lines into the corners. You need to cut right into the corners without snipping the stitches. A small pair of embroidery stitches are useful here.
11 Push the pocket fabric through the letterbox opening to the back. Press well so no pocket fabric is seen.
12 Place the zipper into the letterbox opening, so that the ‘teeth’ are showing on the right side. Pin and carefully sew around the opening using 1/8” (3mm) seam allowance.
13 Pin the remaining pocket lining piece right sides together with the first pocket lining piece. Do not pin through to the main/outer fabric.
14 Clip or pin the outer fabric back out of the way before sewing around all sides of the pocket linings.
15 Complete the pouch: Machine or hand tack an elastic hair bobble to the top edge of the outer fabric, centred and with the main loop pointing down.
16 Place the outer piece right sides together with the lining/pockets. Pin and sew around all edges, leaving a 3” (8cm) gap in the top of one of the sides. Carefully snip the corners at an angle to remove the bulk.
17 Turn the pouch right sides out, push the corners well out and press well.
18 Hand stitch the gap closed and sew on a button 2” (5cm) up from the bottom edge and centred.
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’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.
Hi there! I’m Karen and blog at CapitolaQuilter . I’ve been participating since the beginning of Finish-A-Long and am honored to have joined in as one of the International Hosts this year. It’s hard to believe we are already wrapping up 2017.
Pre-QCon Selfie 2017
Have you enjoyed reading the FAL Meet the Host monthly guest blogger posts? Well, now it’s my turn to to be featured in the series! Here goes a picture filled post starting with most importantly, my beautiful family.
I am married to a wonderful guy and we have two grown boys. We are incredibly proud of the men they have become and adore the women they have chosen to spend their lives with. Enjoying time with our granddaughter and watching her reach milestones that we remember when our kids were young like it was yesterday and yet a lifetime ago is quite the mind game.
Look how cute and little they were!!! My oversized glasses and shoulder pads date our family portrait and the “Big Hair-Skinny Tie” picture was the perfect share for my first ever swap called I heart the 80’s a Flickr group. I wish I still had that hand-dyed silk dress although in reality, we prefer jeans and a t-shirt. This summer marks our 35th anniversary.
Flashback Family Photos
In 2002 we adopted two German Shorthair pointers. Always underfoot, Dottie’s trick was to step on my foot pedal (until I upgraded my sewing machine with a start/stop button) and innocently walk in the way of photos. Chase perfected the skill of lying on a quilt if I glanced away – for a minute – while basting.
Sadly, we recently lost them both to sudden illness after long full lives and have no animals at the moment. Pets are considered family members to us and Hubby wants a puppy but I am not ready.
Frequently mistaken for “Capitol, a Quilter” or “capital A quilter” , my blog name is easily misunderstood if you don’t happen to be familiar with the small town on the coast of California USA where I live, Capitola. Spanning less than 2 square mile with a population of about 10K, it isn’t a big city but is rich in history and a constant source of inspiration.
BeeSewcial “Reflections” Capitola Photoshoot
Although our house is not one of the big beautiful oceanfront ones you see in the picturesque backdrops when I take my quilts on a photoshoot, we’re still pretty lucky to be able to walk to the beach and enjoy mild weather.
Santa Cruz quilt photoshoot by Anne Sullivan
Thanks for indulging me – now on to the QUILTS!
The Early Years – Quilts from Patterns
Among the first quilts I made was a gift for my mother-in-law that included a picture of her seven grandkids. It is sweet with coordinating prints, fussy cornerstones, sashing and a border. Image transfer was high-tech at the time but peeling their faces off to iron down was totally creepy. Thank goodness Spoonflower came along!
1998-1999 one of my first quilts
My Scrappy Maximalist style had a kickstart when my friends brought fabric to a surprise Quilt-themed birthday party in my honor. The assortment received did NOT go together so I used black and white with uniform shapes to bring order and incorporated quote blocks. It is one of my most sentimental quilts and the beginning of my desire to create original works.
My Birthday Quilt-themed party Quilt
Following patterns from books, I made these wedding quilts out of batiks, traditional and modern stash. I had the chance to meet Anita Grossman Solomon at Quilt Festival Houston 2014 and see her Old Italian Block quilt in the exhibit. I subtitled my blog SecondHandScraps because I eagerly accept leftovers from friends who know my reputation for scrappiness.
Old Italian Block 2012 and Split Nine-Patch 2011
In 2013 local quilt store SueDee’s featured my quilts on display in a solo show. Using the MoStash and Friends+Fabric =AMSB bee blocks that I received and adding my own enlarged blocks, the Giant xPlus was a hit and is what I keep on our bed.
It didn’t seem like an ambitious task when I set out to make each of my nieces, nephews and my own kids a 21st Birthday quilt. I stayed on track until the final three and thankfully all twelve are finally delivered. Among the tardy is this Full size quilt that rolled over from quarter to quarter on my FAL list frequently. I included a jumbo delectable mountain for the backing and two matching shams.
a rare “Guy” quilt
Early on I only sewed for gifts and charity giving away all of my quilts. I didn’t have a single one in my house! Since then I’ve kept a few – as evident by this adorable photo:
More than Quilts
Quilting came into my life as an adult but I grew up wearing handmade and learned to sew clothes in 4-H as a kid excelling in HomeEc in Jr. High and High School. Somewhere along the way I misplaced the confidence and skills and have had little success making myself garments. I’ve dabbled with clothes for my granddaughter since she’s much easier to please and fit than I am.
Hart’s Fabric, a family owned independent brick and mortar fabric store since 1969 (a rarity these days) is still the same place I go to shop. My improv seagull, poppy field and mountains design was chosen for their 2016 Row by Row Experience pattern.
Bags are quick and rewarding makes. I enjoy browsing thrift stores for handwork and feel compelled to rescue the abandoned treasures like the patchwork cat needlework used in The Wasted Swap tote (lower right).
Original Designs and Influences
Most of what I make now are original or modified designs rather than from patterns. Perspective was designed using Play Crafts tool Equal, made in a whirlwind 10 days and displayed at Hart’s to show off the Loominous fabric line. An edgy improv butterfly seemed fitting use of the Sweet Rebellion fabric line for Ink & Arrow’s blog hop.Goats Askew pushed a lot of technical boundaries. I loved being one of the Score for Bias Strip Petals testers and part of Sherri Lynn Wood’s gallery here even though it was not published in her book. I’ve taken two workshops with her and got to show and tell in person at the last one.
I didn’t make an All-Solids quilt until 2014 which seems crazy since that is the majority of what I work in now. Capitola Crossing was directly inspired by an antique quilt, details blogged here. It was displayed at Amish: the Modern Muse, a juried exhibit representing three Modern Guilds in the FiberSpace section of the San Jose Museum of Quilt and Textiles.
Perspective, Dare to Fly, Goats Askew and Capitola Crossing
My style has expanded to include Improvisation with Meaning in the Make since joining BeeSewcial. The Graphic and Minimalistic focus also comes from Quilt Design A Day, QDAD a Facebook group that I am admin for. Both encourage exploration and push me beyond boundaries more than I’d ever imagined.
The transformation of a design mock up to a finished quilt is a process I highly recommend trying. Here are four samples: Two challenges for our local show, “Resonate” for the AGF Heartland Tour Blog Hop, and Castle in The Sand a collaborative quilt with valued mentor Pam Rocco. As you can see I’ve deviated from he original design but have captured the essence which is more my goal.
Examples of #QDAD2Reality
Contributing blocks for QuiltCon First Place group bee winners: 2016 Debbie Jeske’s Mod Mood and 2017 Stephanie Ruyle’s Direction Optional was such an honor. Fortunately I had the opportunity to be there to see the quilts up close in person and help celebrate. Thanks to the QDAD Showcase and Quilt of the Month Special Exhibit, my own quilts hung in Savannah at QuiltCon East.
Left: Me & my Quilts, Right: BeeSewcial at QuiltCon
QDADers being silly
This year I’m going to enter my absoulutely stunning Reflections BeeSewcial quilt and hope, hope, hope it is accepted. Now that I’ve puzzled this one together I should have no trouble with the next two, right?
Reflections BeeSewcial Quilt
Here are just a few of my favorite BeeSewcial blocks that I’ve made and a mosaic from 2015:
I was diligent about documenting blocks back in the Flickr days and am sentimentally fond of them despite how different in style they are.
2012 Flickr Group Bee Blocks
Quilting with friends is really special to me. Fortunately this happens on a regular basis with a small local group and annually with our guild. I’ve also managed to crash a couple of sister guild retreats too! My wish is to have a larger Multi-Chapter or Regional sewing meet up, a casual no frills opportunity to hang out with nearby peeps that I “know” from social media someday.
Local Friends, Sew and Stroll
SBAMQG Annual Fall Retreat 2012-2017
I’m also lucky to meet up with my sis who lives far away at quilty events like QuiltCon, Quilt Festival and Empty Spools. For the 90’s themed party at Glamp Stitchalot we had fun dressing up and although my closet may still have authentic garments from the era, I repurposed a plaid blazer into a skirt.
We’ll be together at another QuiltCon in February – say “hi” if you see us. She’ll be the one perfecting her skills in back to back workshops and I’ll be the one striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger, embarrassing myself with fangirl selfies and sporting a blue volunteer t-shirt.
Looking Back and Moving Forward
Being part of our MQG guild chapter South Bay Area MQG from the beginning, serving as VP and chairing committees has made a huge impact. Learning from one another and being part of something bigger holds a special place in my heart.
QuiltCon Charity blocks 2013
I never would have guessed the first tutorial as a brand new blogger, Polaroids Chain Pieced would generate the highest traffic to date and show up on tons of Pinterest boards. A special shout out to my blog followers!
This summer I had the pleasure of teaching my first workshop, a technique and design rather than project based class. Students did great playing with parts and possibilities and their enthusiasm made for a fun time. I hope to have more opportunities in the future and am developing a spin off class that I’m excited about.
Last but not least, My Workspace
Once upon a time, I had an organized sewing space in a small L-shaped room of our house as a legit place to create. Yardage stored on comic boards in bookshelves and FQ-ish bundles kept in an antique cabinet with scrap tubs lining the perimeter of the ceiling on a shelf. Some weekends I would rarely step away and loose all track of time. It was all inclusive but a little lonely and cramped.
To be more centrally located I temporarily put up a portable design wall, sewing and cutting table in the living room only I have never moved back. My old room is now a glorified closet, piled high with projects in buckets and bags waiting to be put back where they belong – or better yet, finished.
Sewing in the Living Room
When I get in the productive zone, I just push aside what’s in my way or brush it to the floor and keep going. I may be sewing fewer scrappy quilts these days but I am certainly not making less scraps!
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about me and the creative frenzy that has been my journey so far. I wish you all the best of luck with your FAL goals and hope you continue to carve out a quilty path that brings you joy.
Thank you for your patience in waiting until today for my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
Well I can finally reveal that I will be starting up again my own programme of patchwork and quilting classes! Woohoo!
For the past 3 years I have been teaching in Quilter’s Quest, Belfast. But their announcement at the end of October to close gave me the push opportunity I needed to look elsewhere for premises.
Before I joined Quilter’s Quest, I had taught my own programme of classes for 5 years. A sudden change in personal circumstances meant I had to stop, but it was always my dream to one day return to inspiring and motivating others into Quilting through my own programme.
And now that dream is coming true!
Conway Mill is a beautifully converted Linen and Flax Mill (you can read more about their history and ethos here). It is jammed packed with lots of other creative enterprises, from artists, to architects, hairdressers, dressmakers, media tech, charities and much more! It also has the most gorgeous coffee shop & bistro too (that’s lunchtimes sorted then!). I’m on the 2nd floor, but don’t worry there are lifts and lots of convenient parking.
I acquired the last available unit, all 525 square feet of it! No pictures just yet as it needs painted and fitted out. But don’t worry, I’ll give you the obligatory before and after shots!
I will finish out the current term at Quilter’s Quest in December, and start my new programme w/c 8th January (get more details here).
But before that, I will be having an open day on Saturday 9th December, 10am -4pm. This is your opportunity to come and see the newly fitted out premises, get more info on the classes, have a cuppa, chat and a traybake (or two!) and smooch around the room and the Mill.
I hope you can come and share this exciting new adventure with me!
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!