Machine Sewing for Beginners


By Judith on June 18, 2018
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During the 5 Wednesday evenings in August I will be running my ‘Machine Sewing for Beginners’ Course.

 

Machine Sewing for Beginners Class May13

 

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:

 

Week 1:

  • threading the machine
  • filling a bobbin
  • understanding the various buttons, dials & stitches
  • practising the different stitches

 

 

 

Week 2:

  • understanding tension & troubleshooting
  • how to change needles and feet
  • understanding uses of different feet
  • sewing control skills

 

 

Week 3:

  • understanding fabric (warp, weft, bias)
  • measuring & cutting fabric
  • seams (1/4”; 3/8”; 5/8”, overlocking; french)

 

 

 

Weeks 4-5:

  • Project: Single skein cushion cover with a zippered back

 

Single Skein Zippered Cushion Cover

 

Extra Info:

  • 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 justjudedesigns@hotmail.co.uk.  Classes are fun and relaxed!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Rope Bowls Workshop


By Judith on May 31, 2018
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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!

 

Rope Bowls Workshop

 

The rope bowl making phenomenon hit the online quilting community about 2 years ago, and is still going strong!

 

Rope Bowls Workshop

 

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!

 

Rope Bowls Workshop

 

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.

 

Rope Bowls Workshop

 

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.

 

Rope Bowls Workshop

 

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 justjudedesigns@hotmail.co.uk for more information or to register.

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Easy Peasy Pouches Workshop


By Judith on May 30, 2018
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Next up on my series of Summer Workshop posts are my Easy Peasy Pouches!

 

Zippy Pouches Workshop11th August, 10am-4pm2nd Flr, Conway Mill, Belfast

 

It’s funny how often I come across folks with an inherent fear of zippers!

 

I remember my own fear of them once upon a time. But oh, the wonderful freedom I experienced once I faced my fear, able to make and enjoy many zippered projects and gifts.

 

I want to enable others to experience this freedom and fun, and to embrace their zipper foot once and for all!

 

Easy Peasy Zippered Pouch Workshop

 

For the complete ‘Zipper Novice’ I have designed the Easy Peasy Pouch, simple construction without compromising on the little details that matter, like pretty zipper tabs and a boxed corner base.

 

Easy Peasy Zippered Pouch Workshop

 

And for those feeling a little more adventurous, you could try The Gracie Pouch.

 

The Gracie Pouch Workshop

 

These have the same simple construction as the Easy Peasy Pouch, just with a few added features and a little more quilting.

 

The Gracie Pouch Workshop

 

When I need a handmade gift idea, zippy pouches are my go to project!

 

Bookings for this workshop are now open!  All workshops are £30 (includes a non-refundable £15 deposit). Just drop me an email to justjudedesigns@hotmail.co.uk.

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Scrap Busting Saturday Workshop!


By Judith on May 29, 2018
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Hello there!

 

How is your week going?  We are (still) basking in the most gorgeous sunny weather here, leaving us with stunning, glorious sunsets!

 

Sunset (Seapark) May18
Sunset (Seapark) May18

 

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 ……

 

Sat 4th August10am-4pm2nd Flr, Conway Mill, Belfast

 

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!

 

Organising Scraps (Workshop)

 

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.

 

Stacked Coins Cushion: (pattern available at workshop)

 

Scrappy Stacked Coins Cushion

 

If you have a plentiful supply of scraps, you may be able to group them into colourways like I’ve done here.

 

Scrappy Stacked Coins Cushion

 

Let your scraps dictate how wide your stacks can be!  The only preparation here is some pressing and making sure the sides are straight.

 

Scrappy Stacked Coins Cushion

 

Equally you can go completely random, and sew a variety of scraps together in the same ‘stacked coins’ way!

 

Scrappy Stacked Coins (Workshop)

 

French Braid Handbag: (pattern available at workshop)

 

Scrappy French Braid Handbag (Workshop)

 

This is another example of grouping scraps into colourways.  The French Braid piecing technique is super easy, and you don’t even need the pieces to be of equal width.

 

Scrappy French Braid Handbag (Workshop)

 

I’ve quilted the bag exterior onto bosal (flex foam) which gives it lovely texture and structure without losing softness.

 

(Hinged Faux Leather Handles available from Fabric Yard)

 

Strip Pieced Quilt: (pattern available at workshop)

 

Scrappy Strips Quilt (British P&Q Sept16)

 

My technique for making strip pieced blocks doesn’t involve a foundation layer.

 

Scrappy Strips Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept16)

 

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 (pattern available at workshop)

 

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)

 

The simple sewing together of strips means you can easily make up this quilt top in a day.

 

Summer Rail Fence Quilt (Pretty Patches Aug16)

 

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.

 

‘Birch’ Quilt (in progress):

 

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!

 

Birch Quilt in progress

 

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!

 

And if you need even more inspiration, check out my Scrap Busting Pinterest Board!

 

All Saturday workshops are £30, including a non-refundable deposit of £15 to register.  Just drop me an email to justjudedesigns@hotmail.co.uk to book a place.

 

Happy scrapping!

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Improv. Curved Placemats Tutorial


By Judith on May 4, 2018
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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.

 

Improv Curves Placemat tutorial (2)

 

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

Co-ordinating threads

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!

Improv Curves Placemats

 

Adorn your table with your beautiful mats and wait for the compliments!

 

Improv Curves Placemats

 

So why not have a go at this organic and fun technique!

 

I hope you enjoy your venture into improv. curves!

 

Happy curving!

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Spring into Summer Table Projects


By Judith on April 28, 2018
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Hi everyone!

 

My, isn’t April whizzing by too quickly!!  I managed a little sewing this week, despite the chaos of having more work done in my home!  But more on that another day!

 

In the meantime, here is a run through of the projects on my Spring into Summer table.

 

Spring into Summer Classroom Display

 

At the front of my table are 2 little Dumpling Pouches.

 

Medicine (Dumpling) Pouches

 

The original tutorial is for the small size, and I characterised it into a handbag friendly medicine pouch with a little applique!

 

Medicine (Dumpling) Pouches

 

To achieve the larger pouch, simply enlarge the template on a printer and use a longer zipper.

 

Medicine (Dumpling) Pouches

 

Also at the front of the table are my Flex Frame Glasses cases (tutorial available here) and my Travel Toiletry Bag.

 

Travel Washbag

 

I’ll be teaching the Toiletry Bag as a Saturday Workshop on 16th June (pattern available here).

 

Next up is my Beach Bag.

 

Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)

 

This roomy bag is lined with water-resistant Rip-Stop and includes a useful ‘wet bag’ for your soggy swimsuit and lotions!

 

Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)

 

The pattern is available here!

 

Finally, 3 summer bags!

 

Pineapple Bag for Quilt Now

 

My Pineapple Tote was a fun design for Quilt Now, mixing a little scrappy piecing and foundation paper piecing.  You can read lots more about the features of this tropical tote here!

 

Beach Ball Bag (Sewing World June16)

 

My Beach Ball Bag uses the porthole technique to cleverly turn a square pinwheel block into a round beach ball.

It’s another roomy bag for keeping all your summer shopping secure!  Read more about it here.

 

Summer Flowers Bag (Popular Patchwork Bag special May16)

 

And finally, my Summer Flowers Shopping Bag!

 

I used ‘economy’ squares to showcase the prettiest floral fabric and a sweet stripe border, mitred at the corners (look closely!).  Aren’t they lovely with the Essex linen background!

 

 

 

While the faux leather handles can be a little tricky to sew-in, they are totally worth it!  I love the finish they give to this sturdy shopper! And here’s where I get them!

 

Well, including previous Spring into Summer posts (here and here), that’s the roundup of the projects currently on my classroom display table.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing a little more about them!

 

Happy sewing!

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Quilt Now Designer Feature


By Judith on April 13, 2018
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If you are a regular subscriber to Quilt Now magazine, you may recognise someone in the ‘Designer Spotlight’ this month.

 

Quilt Now Designer Spotlight

 

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).

 

Quilt Now Designer Spotlight

 

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.

 

Conway Mill/QN Designer Feature

 

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.

 

Conway Mill

 

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.

 

Conway Mill/QN Designer Feature

 

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.

 

Conway Mill/QN Designer Feature

 

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.

 

Conway Mill/QN Designer Feature

 

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!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

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Tutorial: Quilted Plant Pot Cover


By Judith on April 10, 2018
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As promised, here is my tutorial for these uber cute Plant Pot Covers (fits an Ikea small plant pot).

 

Quilted Plant Pot Cover

 

Measurements listed are width x height

Assume 1/4″ seams

Finished Size: 4.5″ (w) x 5″ (h) x 4″ (d)

 

Quilted Plant Pot Cover

 

You will need:

Exterior: 2 x (9″ x 8.5″)

Lining: 2 x (9″ x 8.5″)

Sew-in Flex Foam (Bosal): 2 x (9″x 8.5″)

505 Basting Spray

20″ length of lace or trim

 

Make the Exterior:

1 Spray baste the exterior pieces to the flex foam pieces & quilt as desired.

 

 

2 Measure and cut out 2″ squares from the bottom corners of both exterior pieces.

 

 

3 Pin both exterior pieces right sides together. Sew both sides and bottom edges, using a reverse stitch to start and finish (leave the corners unsewn).

 

 

4 Put your hand inside the basket and push the base down flat. Then push the side seam down on top of the base seam – this brings the raw edges of the corners together. Pin.

 

 

5 Sew along the corners, using a reverse stitch to start and finish. Turn right side out.  Put to one side.

 

 

Make the Lining:

6 Repeat steps 1 – 5 for the lining, leaving a 2″ gap in a side seam for turning (do not turn right side out).

 

 

Assemble the Basket:

7 Place the exterior basket inside the lining, right sides will be together. Align & pin the side seams and top edges.

 

 

 

8 Sew around the top edge (removing the accessory tray from your machine will help here).  Start and finish with a reverse stitch.

 

 

9 Turn the basket right sides out through the gap in the lining.  Push the corners well out and hand or machine stitch the gap closed.

 

10 Push the lining into the basket and pin around the top edge, making sure the lining isn’t sitting proud above the exterior.

 

 

11 Sew around the top edge, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch.

 

12 Pin and sew the lace around the top edge, pointing upwards, and overlap the start and finish by 1/2″.

 

 

13 Fold the top of the basket out and pop in your potted plant!

 

Line ’em up and wait for the compliments!!

 

Quilted Plant Pot Cover

Happy sewing!

 

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Spring Into Summer


By Judith on April 9, 2018
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Hello there!

 

It’s a new week and a new season of Just Jude Designs classes!

 

Our focus in class this term is ‘Curves’ in particular the Drunkard’s Path, and the ‘no pin’ method of sewing this wonderfully versatile block (read all about the projects here).

 

I can’t wait to see my ladies conquer a new challenge!

 

To celebrate our new term, I have changed the quilts on display in my classroom, and also my little display table has been given a new theme!

 

Spring into Summer Classroom Display

 

Spring into Summer!

 

Gone are all the Easter projects, and we are now focusing on lighter evenings, temperatures on the rise (finally) and a building excitement of Spring into Summer!

 

Spring into Summer Classroom Display

 

As before, I’ll be doing a series of posts on the items displayed, pointing you in the direction of patterns and tutorials.

 

Spring into Summer Classroom Display

 

And to kick us off, I’ll be giving you a free tutorial tomorrow on how to make these cute pot plant holders!

 

Quilted Plant Pot Covers

 

Tune in tomorrow for more creative fun!

 

 

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New Class Project: Drunkard’s Path


By Judith on April 2, 2018
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Happy April to you all!

 

Well despite it being ‘Spring’ with sweet crocuses in full bloom in my garden, today I drove through snow showers with 2 degrees registered on my dashboard! Brrrrrrr!

 

So let’s leave the present for now, and think ahead 1 week instead, when hopefully the weather will be much better as my new term of classes start up again after the Easter break!

 

For a while now I’ve been threatening exhorting my ladies to confront their fears and give curved piecing a try!

 

So we’ve decided to get our ‘big girl’ pants on and jump in to this exciting new technique!

 

 

I will be teaching the ‘no pin’ method of curved piecing, as well as how to trim a drunkard’s path unit to achieve different effects.

 

Small Projects:

 

For those who want to make a smaller project, I have designed and written several patterns.

 

‘Ripples’ Cushion:

 

Ripples DP Cushion (class project)
19.5″ x 19.5″

 

 

In this cushion you can use up lots of your colourful scraps, alternate with just a few colours, or use a different fabric in each ‘ripple’ as I have done here.

 

Ripples DP Cushion (class project)

 

The cute ditsy fabrics I’ve used here are ‘Katie Jane’ by Makower, which were leftovers from this quilt project.

 

Pattern available here.

 

‘Baubles’ Table Runner & Mats:

 

DP Table Runner & Mats (British Patchwork & Quilting, April'16)
Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting

 

 

There are 5 ‘bauble’ shapes in this runner, but you could easily add more or less to suit your table.  Wouldn’t this be lovely in Christmas fabrics for a festive table dressing!

 

The pattern includes instructions on how to make & attach bias binding, and 4 complimentary mats.

 

Pattern available here.

 

‘In The Round’ Heart Cushion:

 

In The Round Heart DP Cushion (Class project)

 

I love the versatility of the drunkard’s path block, and the heart shape in this pom pom trimmed cushion is a great example.

 

For the background I have used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) (available to purchase here).

 

Pattern available here.

 

Quilt Projects:

 

And for those ladies who want to ‘go large’ here are my quilt designs:

 

Butterfly Garden Quilt:

 

Butterfly Garden DP Quilt (class project)
48″ x 64″

 

 

The drunkard’s path block here creates pretty wing/petal shapes, a lovely way to showcase your floral fabrics and some echo quilting.

 

Butterfly Garden DP Quilt (class project)

 

Pattern available here.

 

Autumn Garden Quilt:

 

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)
56″ x 56″

 

 

By not trimming the drunkard’s path units, you can get a different effect, as shown in this lap quilt.

 

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

 

I’ve used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) as the background in this quilt (available to purchase here).

 

Pattern available here.

 

Drunken Hearts Quilt:

 

Drunken Hearts Quilt - Sewing World Feb16
79″ x 76″ Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting

 

 

Just like the ‘In The Round’ Heart Cushion, this quilt is made from drunkard’s path heart blocks.

 

For the background of this quilt I have used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Black) available to purchase here.

 

Pattern avaialable 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.

 

Hippy Blush Quilt (Popular Patchwork March18)
Hippy Blush Quilt – read more here.

 

 

Oriental Clamshells Quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan18)
Oriental Clams Quilt – read more here.

 

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.

 

Happy curving!

 

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Easter Table (part 3)


By Judith on March 26, 2018
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Hello everyone, well with less than a week until Easter day, I thought it was about time I finished off my Easter Table series.

 

 

As promised, I’m giving this post over to the 2 remaining items on my table.  Can you spot them?

 

The totally brilliant book ‘Farm Girl Vintage’ by Lori Holt is jammed packed with lovely blocks and quilt ideas.

 

Easter Chick cushion

 

A long while ago I made the 12″ chick block from the book.  I had thought about putting it into a quilt, but instead decided to turn it into a cushion for my Easter table!

 

 

Cushions are basically mini-quilts, so you can always have a little more fun with the quilting without getting overwhelmed by a big quilt.

 

Easter Chick cushion

 

And the 2nd converted block is Mama Hen!  I have made a few 12″ Mama Hen’s, along with some bee mates, for a Siblings Together quilt.

 

Mama Hen Kitchen mat

 

This time, I have converted the block into a fun kitchen mat!  I have even used some of the text which came on a Lori Holt Bee Basics panel! Cute or what!

 

Mama Hen Kitchen mat

 

If you haven’t already gotten hold of this book, I highly recommend it!  (There is a copy of the book in the class library for my ladies to borrow.)

 

 

So that concludes my Easter series!

 

I hope you enjoyed it and have fun getting creative for Easter.

 

Keep sewing!

 

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Flex & Framed Purses Workshop


By Judith on March 21, 2018
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Last Saturday we had my first all day workshop at the Mill.

 

Flex & Framed Purses workshop

 

Myself and 9 adventurous ladies settled in a for a St.Paddy’s Day knees-up with a difference!

 

Flex and Framed Purses were the order of the day, with lots of tea, coffee and craic thrown in!

 

Saturday Workshop (Flex & Framed Purses) Mar18

 

By lunchtime the ladies had reached the half-way mark by conquering the tricky glue stage on one side of their purse frames!

 

Saturday Workshop (Flex & Framed Purses) Mar18

 

Then it was onto the flex frame glasses cases.  Sadly I forgot to take some pictures, so trust me when I say they turned out brilliantly!

 

Saturday Workshop (Flex & Framed Purses) Mar18

 

I think it’s safe to say that everyone had a lot of fun, and now have 2 more handmade gift ideas for next Christmas!

 

 

And if you enjoy a little EPP (English Paper Piecing) but hate all the cutting out, my newly listed Hexie Framed Purse Kits are available again in my Etsy shop.

 

Happy sewing!

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Easter Table (part 2)!


By Judith on March 16, 2018
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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.

 

Garden Shed Tidy (Pretty Patches May16)

 

At the top right hand side of the picture, you will see my Garden Shed Tidy.

 

 

Sewing with clear vinyl isn’t as tricky as you might think!

 

 

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.

 

DIY Easter tree

 

Also hanging on my Easter tree are some crochet bunnies.  I followed this tutorial, however mine seem to resemble some kind of dysmorphic bat!

 

Harriet Hare Cushion

 

Now one of the cushions on my table is an old friend.  You may recognise her from this quilt!

 

Harriet Hare Cushion

 

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!

 

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

 

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.

 

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

It is double backed, the outer layer being a machine washable shower curtain (we don’t want any soggy bottoms!).

 

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

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!

 

In the meantime …..

 

Keeeeeeeeep sewing!

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Easter Table (part 1)!


By Judith on March 14, 2018
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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

 

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!

 

 

In my trug we have my Carrot Cornets ….

 

Easter Carrot Cornets tutorial
filled up with mini eggs!

 

 

……and my Bunny Bags ……..

 

Easter Bunny Bags tutorial

 

The large and small baskets are based on this tutorial by Pink Penguin.  These are so versatile, with a multitude of applications!

 

Easter Basket

 

Above the trug we have my easy cutesy baby bibs ….

 

 

… and my large and small Bunny Tote Bags.

 

 

These were made for Pretty Patches magazine last year.  One day I will get around to re-formatting the pattern for general sale!

 

And above these Bunny Tote Bags are my hanging Scented Houses.  I ran this as a workshop a few years ago, but I need to update the pattern. So it’s not available just at the moment, soz!

 

Scented Fabric Houses Feb13hang them in your wardrobe to keep clothes smelling fresh!

 

I think that’s enough to be getting on with!

 

Tune in later in the week for Easter Table Part 2!

 

I’ll leave you with my crocheted spring garland (another invention of mine for which I haven’t yet written the pattern! Soz again!).

 

 

Happy sewing!

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Disappearing Blocks!


By Judith on March 11, 2018
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In my classes last week, I gave another ‘5 minute demo’.  This month the demo was all about Disappearing Blocks!

 

No, not magic tricks or a trick of the eye.  But how to turn a well known quilt block into something rather special (without lots of intricate piecing)!

The following are pictorial instructions on how to make the disappearing blocks.  A few notes to consider before we get started:

 

    • please work on the basis of colour placement being the same in each series, even if the fabrics are slightly different! (A big thank you to my daughter for making all the blocks)
    • I haven’t included sizes here.  You need to start with the finished block size and work backwards allowing for extra seam allowances per cut.
    • The position of the ‘cut’ lines can vary to give different effects, as long as they are equidistant from each seam.
    • check out my pinterest board for tutorials, sizes and variations.

 

1. Disappearing 9 Patch:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

2. Disappearing 9 Patch Variation:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

3.  Double Disappearing 9 Patch:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

4. Disappearing Hourglass:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

 

5. Disappearing Pinwheel:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

6. Disappearing Pinwheel Variation:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

7. Disappearing Four Patch:

(assume finished block is in same fabrics!)

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

 

8. Disappearing 4 Patch Variation:

Start with another 4 patch block.

 

 

 

These are just a sample of the many disappearing blocks you can make! Aren’t they cool!

 

photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine

 

And if you make a quilt with one of these disappearing blocks, you can get some lovely secondary patterns emerging too, like my Disappearing 9 Patch quillow (pattern available here.)

 

I hope you have been inspired and have fun making some impressive (yet easy) quilt blocks!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Goodbye My Friend!


By Judith on March 10, 2018
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Today I lost a very dear friend to cancer!

 

 

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!

 

Heather's Quilt Feb'18

 

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.

 

Heather's Quilt Feb'18

 

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.

 

Heather's Quilt Feb'18

 

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).

 

Heather's Quilt Feb'18

 

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.

 

 

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Birthday Quilt & Sew-In


By Judith on February 26, 2018
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A few months back, a good friend approached me with an idea for her 50th birthday celebrations – a ‘Sew-In’ at The Mill.

 

Her wish was to gather around her closest friends and equip them to each make a personalised quilt block for a birthday memory quilt.  Isn’t that a lovely idea!

 

50th Birthday Sew-In at the Mill

 

So at the weekend, 18 of us had a wonderful breakfast in The Little Mill Bistro, before heading upstairs to my classroom to get creative!

 

50th Birthday Sew-In at the Mill

50th Birthday Sew-In at the Mill

50th Birthday Sew-In at the Mill

While not all of the ladies were confident sewers, creativity and ideas weren’t lacking!

 

50th Birthday Sew-In at the Mill

 

My daughter Shannon assisted with a little free motion sketching where needed, and by lunchtime, we had 15 almost completed blocks (not all displayed here).

 

50th Birthday Sew-In at the Mill

 

All that is left to do, is machine sketch some text the ladies have requested, and make the blocks into a quilt for my friend!

 

It was a really fun morning and all the ladies (& the birthday girl!) left with big smiles and happy memories!

 

Of course I couldn’t not make my friend of 20 years a quilt myself!!

 

Shirley's Birthday Quilt
63″ x 63″

 

These fabrics are mostly Honeysweet by Fig Tree Quilts, with a little complimentary Tilda thrown in for good measure!

 

Shirley's Birthday Quilt

 

Working from a layer cake, I wanted to stretch out the yardage as far as it would go, so I kept the cutting to a minimum.

 

Shirley's Birthday Quilt

 

Some Tilda Harvest Bird Tree (Ginger) seemed like the perfect yardage for the back!

 

Shirley's Birthday Quilt

 

I gifted the quilt to my friend at the sew-in yesterday and it was very well received! Yay!

 

 

Another successful day!

 

“The noblest art is that of making others happy!” P T Barnam

 

Happy sewing!

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‘Take Wing’ Classes Roundup


By Judith on February 17, 2018
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This was the last week of our ‘Take Wing’ Butterfly wallhanging series.

 

31 brave ladies have been diving into the exacting and at times demanding technique of foundation paper piecing using Lillyella’s ‘Take Wing’ butterfly pattern.

 

And just look at some of the results!

 

Take Wing Butterfly Class Feb18

 

Aren’t they majestic!

 

Each one a unique metamorphosis of creative energy and courage into raw talent and beauty!

 

Some will be transformed into wallhangings and some into cushion covers.

 

I’m so proud of all my ladies for undertaking this project, especially for those who found themselves well and truly out of their comfort zone!

 

Well done everyone!

 

Enjoy your amazing creations!

 

 

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‘Hearts Full of Roses’ Quilt


By Judith on February 11, 2018
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Every now and then I get to make quilts as gifts.

 

Hearts Full of Roses Quilt (for Rose!)

 

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!

 

Hearts Full of Roses Quilt (for Rose!)

 

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!).

 

Hearts Full of Roses Quilt (for Rose!)

 

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!

 

Hearts Full of Roses Quilt (for Rose!)

 

Using the fabulous ‘Heart Blocks in Multiple Sizes’ tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew, I made 9″ blocks with 1″ sashing between them.

 

Hearts Full of Roses Quilt (for Rose!)

 

It wasn’t until after I finished quilting it that I realised all the fabrics have Roses in them!  How cool is that!

The quilt finishes at 42″ square, which made a cute little bundle when wrapped up, ready to post to another cute little bundle.

 

Hearts Full of Roses Quilt (for Rose!)

 

And I’m pleased to say that both Rose and mummy love her new quilt!

 

 

Now the observant among you will know I usually photograph my quilts outside in natural light!

 

Well here’s why all of these photos were taken indoors!

 

Hearts Full of Roses Quilt (for Rose!)

 

Happy blowing sewing!

 

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HSTs, QSTs and HRTs


By Judith on February 2, 2018
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Hi everyone!

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!

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)
Autumn Boho Quilt made with giant hsts!

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
Chevron Heaven!

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)
Modern Houndstooth – hsts and squares
Rainbow Geese (photo courtesy of Sewing World magazine)

 

 

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 ……..

 

 

….. but check out my QST Pinterest board for lots more clever ideas & sizing charts!

 

Half Rectangle Triangles (HRTs):

As with HSTs and QSTs we will be sewing either side of a diagonal pencil line, but this time, because we are working with rectangles, the layering is different.

 

 

Placing the fabrics right sides together, make sure the pencil line runs to the opposite corners of the other rectangle.

When these have been sewn, separated and pressed, you will need to trim off the excess fabric at the corners before using them.

 

 

And if you change the direction of the pencil line in other units, you can achieve lots of different effects.  Here’s a little Twizzler block I made for the class lesson.

 

 

I haven’t made an HRT quilt yet, but it is most definitely on my bucket list!

But please check out my HRT Pinterest board for inspiration overload! Oh my! I want to make them all!

If you’ve always wanted to design your own quilts but have been unsure of where to start, then why not give HSTs, QSTs or HRTs a try!

I hope you feel inspired!  Thank you for tuning in!

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Travel Sewing Pouch Tutorial


By Judith on January 20, 2018
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Happy weekend everyone!

 

I hope you’ve had a good week.

 

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!

 

7.5” x 17.5” (19cm x 44.5cm) opened;  7.5” x 9” (19cm x 23cm) closed

 

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!

 

Materials/Cutting:

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

Button

Basting Spray (505)

5” plastic zipper

Zipper foot

Non-permanent marking pen/tool

 

Method:

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.

 

 

Fill with all your sewing essentials!

 

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Snow Stars Quilt


By Judith on January 3, 2018
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Last day to enter my celebration giveaway. Enter here.

 

Hello everyone!

 

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!

 

Snow Stars Quilt (Pretty Patches Jan18)

 

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!

 

Snow Stars Quilt (Pretty Patches Jan18)

 

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.

 

Snow Stars Quilt (Pretty Patches Jan18)

 

The half square triangle technique for making the blocks  means you get 2 identical star blocks at a time!

 

Snow Stars Quilt (Pretty Patches Jan18)

 

A friend of mine quilted Snow Stars on her frame, using the perfect snowflake pantograph.

 

Snow Stars Quilt (Pretty Patches Jan18)

 

Isn’t it perfect!  And trusty Ikea ‘Numbers’ on the back completes my ‘Ode to Snow’!

 

Snow Stars Quilt (Pretty Patches Jan18)

 

And it’s always nice to make front cover!

 

Snow Stars Quilt (Pretty Patches Jan18)

 

Keep warm!

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Starry Christmas Night Quilt


By Judith on November 16, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

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!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
50″ x 60″

 

This is called ‘Starry Christmas Night’ using the evocative ‘Countryside Christmas’ collection from Lewis & Irene.

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Perfect ‘fussy cut’ fabrics!

 

When Popular Patchwork sent me the fabrics, I immediately thought of cosy winter evenings snuggled up by the fire!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Applique Stars

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 Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Background: Kona Shadow

The Countryside Christmas fabrics have beautiful motifs of cute robins, night owls, foxes, deer and winter scenes.

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)

 

And of course, when there’s a stripe, there will be stripey binding!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)

 

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!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)
Ah, the blue skies of summer!

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.

 

It’s really easy to spot because I’m cover girl!

 

The Night Before Christmas Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov17)

 

Happy sewing!

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Capitola Quilter


By Judith on November 15, 2017
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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.

Family

Summer 2016

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.

Capitola Quilter

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.

Opening Reception
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.

Sewing Sisters

 

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.
Happy Stitching, Karen aka CapitolaQuilter

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New Quilting Classes!


By Judith on November 14, 2017
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Hello everyone!

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!

 

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Vintage Improv Quilt


By Judith on November 3, 2017
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Hello my friends!

 

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).

 

Vintage Improv Quilt (Quilt Now September17)

 

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.

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

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!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

Even the binding is another vintage sheet!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

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!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

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 wonder what my next scrappy project will be?

 

Happy scrapping!

 

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FAL 2017: Q3 Proposed Finishes Linkup is Open!


By Judith on September 24, 2017
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It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the third quarter of the 2017 FAL and it’s time to link up your Q3 finishes!


The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:

  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland
  • Sandra – Sew of Course – Ireland (also Social Media Director)

 

Before you link up, let’s give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:

 




For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule of fantastic tutorials, so you can visit them all:

The 2017 Q3 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs – you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up “rules”:


  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
 
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter). Feel free to and tag your photos #2017FALQ3yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
 
  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let’s applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishalong. 
 
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
 
The Q3 Finishes link will stay open from now thru September 30 at 11 pm EST – link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don’t miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts’ blog.

And don’t forget to start making your Q4 lists as the Q4 list link opens on October 1.


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FAL 2017: Q1 and Q2 Winners!


By Judith on September 19, 2017
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Today is the day we are privileged to announce the winners for Q1 and Q2 of the 2017 Finish-Along.

If you are low on inspiration or maybe your sewing mojo has been missing lately, we highly recommend you visit some of the finishes from the first half of the year.  There are a lot of beauties linked up and ready to inspire you!

Thank you again to our generous sponsors. Without further ado, the winners – each picked by the random number generator – of the Q1 and Q2 FAL prizes are:

The Q1 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Just Jude Designs goes to Laura who blogs at Scraps of Life for finishing this beautiful quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Just Jude Designs goes to Vicki who blogs at Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting and made this lovely quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop goes to Kirsten who blogs at Gemini Stitches who made this lovely dress:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop goes to Julie (@julieschloemer) who made this cheery quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Charm About You goes to Shady on instagram (@shadylynnb) who made this pretty quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Charm About You goes to Karen who blogs at Weekend Textiles who made this gorgeous quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop goes to Mandy on instagram (@burbankquilts) for finishing this lovely quilt:


The Q2 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop goes to Pippa (@pippaspatch) who made this fantastic Amethyst project bag:


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The Q1 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Elven Garden Quilts goes to Sue who blogs at Sue W Sews for knitting this cute doll:

The Q2 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Elven Garden Quilts goes to Anita who blogs at Quilts in a Not-Shell and she made this lovely quilt runner:

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The Q1 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Tartankiwi goes to Aimee on instagram (@aimeeturd) for this fun quilt: 




The Q2 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Tartankiwi goes to Karin (@kpud) who made this adorable quilt (don’t you just love the little car on the bottom left!):

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The Q1 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Blossom Heart Quilts goes to Pamela on instagram (@pamelajoyce84) for making this wonderful wallet:

The Q2 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Blossom Heart Quilts goes to Heather who blogs at Quilting and Beyond and made this great baby quilt:

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The Q1 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Mad About Patchwork goes to Jennie at Jennie’s Threads for finishing this special quilt: 





The Q2 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Mad About Patchwork goes to Amy who blogs at Swimming in a Sea of Estrogen and she made this super cute knit shirt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from During Quiet Time goes to Said with Love for finishing this beauty: 

 

The Q2 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from During Quiet Time goes to Kirsten who blogs at Gemini Stitches and made this pretty crochet shawl:

 

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The Q1 Winner of your choice of 3 individual patterns from Happy Quilting goes to Diane who blogs at Random Thoughts,… do or di for finishing this faux cactus:

 

The Q2 Winner of your choice of 3 individual patterns from Happy Quilting goes to Katy (@pudgypenguincrafts) who made this fantastic sewing date traveler bag:

 

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The Q1 Winner of 2 PDF patterns from Cooking Up Quilts goes to Audrey who blogs at Hot Pink Quilts for making this stunning pillow:

 

The Q2 Winner of 2 PDF patterns from Cooking Up Quilts goes to Laura (@drlbennett) who made this cute quilt and has an even cuter helper:

 

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The Q1 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Sew Sweetness goes to Ann who blogs at Brown Paws Quilting for finishing this bright quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of 3 PDF patterns from Sew Sweetness goes to Pondering It All who made this pretty quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Knotted Thread goes to Heather who blogs at Quilting and Beyond for finishing this fun present for her nephew:

 

The Q2 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Knotted Thread goes to Kristin who blogs at Gumdrops and she made this super sweet triangle baby quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the Camp Bag Pattern Pack from The Littlest Thistle goes to Magdalena, on instagram (@magdalenadetz) for finishing this beauty:

The Q2 Winner of the Camp Bag Pattern Pack from The Littlest Thistle goes to Jennifer (@crimsonconfection) who made this adorable dress for her Niece:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $15 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Judy who blogs at Sew Some Sunshine for making this bold quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $15 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Katie Mae Quilts who made this lovely log cabin quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Quilting Jet Girl goes to Helen, (@archiewonderdog) on Instagram for making this beautiful cushion:

 

The Q2 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Quilting Jet Girl goes to Linda who blogs at The Pieceful Kingdom and she made this lovely winter themed quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $30 gift certificate from Sunny Day Supply goes to Swooze who blogs at Swooze’s Quilts and Tall Tales for making this lovely charity quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $30 gift certificate from Sunny Day Supply goes to Jenna who blogs at The Thorned Rose Sews and she made this holiday Marcelle Medallion pillow cover:

 

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The Q1 Winners (3) of a six month subscription each to Make Modern Magazine goes to

1. Veronica, (@vdizzledazzle) on Instagram, for finishing this lovely mini quilt:

 

2. Teresa who blogs at Aurea’s Kitchen for finishing this adorable mini quilt:

 

3. Saskia, on Instagram (@saskia253) for this finishing this amazing blanket:

The Q2 Winners (3) of a six month subscription each to Make Modern Magazine goes to:

1.   Teresa who blogs at Aurea’s Kitchen and she made this lovely (with cute details) pouch:

 

2.  Christina who blogs at Christina’s Handicrafts and she made this great table runner:

 

3.  Audrey who blogs at Hot Pink Quilts and she made this precious knit Geranium dress:

 

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The Q1 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Clover & Violet goes to Ellyn who blogs at Ellyn’s Place for making this lovely shirt:

 

The Q2 Winner of a $30 gift certificate from Clover & Violet goes to Beth who blogs at The Anonymous Blueberry Muffin Thief Sews and she knitted this amazing shawl:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $20 gift certificate from Sew Me A Song goes to The Running Hare for finishing this beautiful quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of the $20 gift certificate from Sew Me A Song goes to Beth (@blue_dragonfly5) and she finished this lovely seat cushion:

 

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The Q1 Winner of the $40 gift certificate from Imagine Gnats goes to  Melinda, on Instagram (@mamasan_gerber) for finishing this stunning quilt:

The Q2 Winner of the $40 gift certificate from Imagine Gnats goes to Rachel (@intelligenceatplay) and she made this unique baby quilt:

 

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The Q1 Winner of a $25 gift certificate from Studio 39 Fabrics goes to Staci who blogs at The Confused Quilter for finishing this amazing quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of a $25 gift certificate from Studio 39 Fabrics goes to Brown Paws Quilting who made this great quilt and honestly you should look it up because the back is just as fantastic as the front:

 

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The Q1 Winner of two pin bowls from Laurel Bee Designs goes to Cathy who blogs at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting for finishing this beauty:

 

The Q2 Winner of two pin bowls from Laurel Bee Designs goes to Terry who blogs at On Going Projects and she made all of these fabric stars for her retreat mates (how nice):

 

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The Q1 Winner of $25 gift card from Frangipani Fabrics goes to Crystal who blogs at Crystal’s Creations for making this cute baby quilt:

 

The Q2 Winner of $25 gift card from Frangipani Fabrics goes to Dianne (@quiltova) who made this beautiful quilt:

 

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Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the sponsors!!  I hope you are having a successful Q3. Be prepared to start linking up those finishes starting September 24, 2017.

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Selvedge Bookmark Tutorial


By Judith on September 17, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

How are you doing?

 

I haven’t done a tutorial here in a long while, so I thought it was time to rectify that.

 

 

You know how I’m always saving fabric scraps? Well I even keep the part of the fabric most people chuck away!

 

If like me you love to read, or know an avid reader, how about a selvedge bookmark? The perfect fabric/book loving combo!!

 

The key to keeping usable selvedges is to allow at least a quarter of an inch of fabric above the text (the edge below the text is a sealed edge, not a raw edge).

 

 

Here’s the tutorial:

 

Materials:

 

A selection of selvedges (with at least 6mm/0.25” above the text)

4” x 10” piece of heavy sew-in vilene (or wadding)

4” x 10” piece of cotton fabric (back)

1 x 10mm eyelet

12” length of narrow ribbon

 

Method:

Assume ¼” seam allowance unless advised otherwise

 

  1. Angle the top corners of the vilene/wadding by measuring 1” from each corner along the top edge and 2” down from each corner along the sides

 

 

2. Place your first selvedge level with the bottom edge of the vilene/wadding (remember ¼” will be absorbed by the seam allowance).

 

 

3. Place the next selvedge on top, with the sealed edge covering the raw edge of the first selvedge. Stitch close to the sealed edge.

 

 

4. Continue adding selvedges in this way until all of the vilene/wadding is covered.

 

 

5. Flip the bookmark over to reveal the original shape of the vilene/wadding. Trim away the excess selvedges.

 

 

6. Place the backing fabric right sides together with the bookmark and sew around all sides, leaving a 2” gap in the middle of the bottom edge. Trim away the corners.

 

 

7.  Turn the bookmark right sides out through the gap in the lining. Push the corners well out and press.  Press under the raw edges of the gap.

 

8. Top stitch 1/8” from the edges on all sides, closing the gap as you go.

 

 

9. Insert an eyelet at the top of the bookmark, using the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 

10. Thread the ribbon through the eyelet and knot to secure.

 

And you’re done!

 

 

Time to curl up in a squishy sofa, with a snuggly quilt and hot chocolate, and allow a good book to take you and your imagination to far flung places!

 

Happy selvedging!

 

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Sew Me


By Judith on September 15, 2017
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“So, tell us a bit about yourself.”

Aren’t those fearsome words?  I get all a bit tongue tied, don’t know where to start and wonder how on earth to make myself sound even mildly interesting.  Sweat beads form, my voice wobbles a little and 20 seconds later I’ve usually run out of things to add!  But, one of things I love about meeting people in a sewing context is that already we have something in common.  I find it’s great ice breaker and conversation flows much more naturally.  So, here goes for my 2017 FAL ‘Meet The Host’ post.

Hi everyone!

I’m Sarah

 

 

and this is my family.

The handsome one and the mischief maker!

 

I’m wife to my hubby (first love and childhood sweetheart) and mum to our two children – a teenage boy, who has long since passed me in height, intelligence and wisdom too it seems (what do mothers know?) and my Cutesy Tootsie daughter who is now two years old.  Yes, big age gap, long story and no, I am not the older, wiser and more mellow mother people kindly assured me I would be during my second pregnancy.  Well, older yes, but not the other two.

We live our hectic daily routines out here in a tiny little crossroads of a place called Annahilt in Northern Ireland, where it rains a lot I’ll admit, but oh my, is it beautifully green when we are lucky enough to have sunshine to appreciate it!

I prefer tea to coffee, chocolate or cake before crisps, suburbs rather than city, white wine not beer, Buble rather than Bieber, (don’t judge).  I cannot dance but I make a great chocolate cake!  I don’t seem to choose favourites easily which makes me feel a bit odd when I can’t answer what my favourite book or movie or colour is.  Colour might be red, but a good pink is in contention too.

 

I work to feed my fabric habit!

Sadly, there is a day job – how else could I afford to keep those fabric orders coming?  I work in finance and administration from home for the company my hubby and his business partner own.  There’s a knack to working and living with your spouse. Since we haven’t strangled each other yet we must be getting the hang of it reasonably well.  Of course, I’d love to “retire” and sew all day but really, it might get dull if my WIPs actually made it from beginning to end with no 10 month lulls and 3 more projects started in the meantime, right?

Oh yes, I dream of stitching more, much more, because I love it.  Knitting needles, crochet hooks, binca and floss, cross-stitch – they have all been part of my journey with stitching and getting creative.  I look back very fondly, though with cringing embarrassment, at having tortured my Aunt every Christmas first to teach me and then to help me with my knitting.  I remember getting excited in the senior primary school classes when Friday afternoon needlework came around and, as I got older there always seemed to be some kind of needlecraft project on the go at our house.  It fell by the wayside a little when I started working and had my son, but it wasn’t too long before I was looking for some crafty outlet in my life.  I tried a few things that I thought might work for me.  Soap making, and card making were fun for a while but they weren’t quite the long-term fit I was after.  I enjoyed them but they weren’t quite “me”.

In the summer of 2010 I pulled out some fabric I’d bought 9 years earlier (!) and started making a hexagon EPP quilt (pic above).  As I stitched and stitched that summer I knew I’d found my creative, soul-feeding hobby and if that wasn’t enough of a sign, just before I went on my summer hols armed with pre-cut hexies and papers, an email dropped into my inbox telling me that my lovely friend, Judith was just about to start teaching classes.  Patchwork on a sewing machine?  Was I up for it?  Well, I’d try it and if it was a disaster I could always stick with EPP .  Fair to say, I’ve not looked back since that first night at quillow class.  My creative spark was fully alight and soon my cup and house began to overflow with fabric and spools and ribbons and I even learned a few designers names and could tell you what that fabric line was!

 

 

Discovering blogs was a MASSIVE game changer of course, because there was so much out there to learn, and generous and talented people were willing to share.  Blogging myself was another epic  moment in my stitchy life.  I joined the online community at just the right time (2010) I think, to catch a wave of flickr groups, online bees, swaps and general bloggy interaction with other people who share my passion.  It has been amazing!  And, of course the FAL is all part of that.  Sharing the journey of project finishes and having virtual cheerleaders is definitely better than sitting at home talking to a pile of UFOs alone!

Most of all, I love to make quilts.  Simple quilts, tricky quilts.  Big quilts, small quilts, mini quilts.  Machine piecing, hand-piecing, embroidery, EPP.  All have their place in singing to my heart. I enjoy bag making and crocheting and making small items too, though I need to draw myself away from the quilts to do them.  I think I have quite a broad range of tastes and likes when it comes to designs and fabrics but will admit to a particular penchant for Bonnie & Camille fabrics and colours (which I’m sure is no surprise to regular readers).

I love that when I sew I can switch off from the world for a while and just focus on what I’m doing.  I love that I can choose, depending on my mood, to sew intricate and brain-fuddling foundation pieced blocks or just simple squares and the results of each will be equally pleasing to me.  I take pleasure  that in my sewing, the creative and the intellectual come together (quilt maths, anyone?) and I adore that I have a hobby that the internet has allowed me to share and make friends through.  This is much more “me” than soaps and cards, it’s “Sew Me”.  See?

Anyway, my lovely readers and FAL friends, I hope you feel you know me a little bit better now after all that. And remember, tea or white wine when we meet, ok?

Now, I’ve kept you back from your stitching for long enough, so off you go and keep making progress towards those finishes!! I’ll be cheering you on from here.

Sarah Elwood

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Syringe Driver Bags Tutorial


By Judith on August 23, 2017
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Hi everyone!  How are you doing this week?

 

Summer seems to have left us here!  But I have some good news!  My sewing room is finished and I’m fully operational once more!

 

And what better project to christen my new creative space than sewing for a good cause.

 

 

These are Syringe Driver Bags, used by patients to keep essential medication on their person as they move around. Earlier this year we received a request from Marie Curie Cancer Care to make Syringe Driver Bags for their unit in Belfast.  The response from the sewing community was incredible, and we donated enough bags for the hospice and a local hospital cancer unit.

 

Well I’m putting out a call to all generous and creative sewers, to make more Syringe Driver Bags, this time for Macmillan Cancer Support unit in Antrim hospital.

 

I have been approached to make these bags, for current and future patients in the unit, and any bags donated over and above what is needed will be shared around the other cancer units too.

 

The bags required this time around are for adult males and females, in bright, cheery fabrics, and come in 2 sizes.  The small bag takes a single syringe driver and the large bag takes 2 drivers.  Both sizes have a velcro flap, and while the dimensions vary, the construction method is the same for each.

 

I do hope I can count on your generous spirit to support brave patients in this small way.

 

Here is the tutorial:

Measurements listed are width x height

Use 1/4″ seam allowance

Use reverse stitch to start and finish each seam

 

 

  1. Make the Handle:  Iron under 1/4″ along each long edge.

 

 

2. Now bring both long (folded) edges together and press. Top stitch 1/8″ from the edge down both long sides, starting with the open side. No need to top stitch the short ends. Put the handle to one side.

 

 

3. Make the Flap: Place the outer and lining flaps right sides together. Sew around 3 sides, leaving one short side open.

 

 

4. Carefully snip the corners at an angle (to reduce bulk) before turning right side out.  Push the corners well out and press.

 

5. Sew the soft side of the velcro to the lining side of the flap, 1/4″ away from the closed end of the flap.  Put to one side.

 

 

6. Make the main bag: Attach the remaining piece of velcro to the front bag piece. The top of the velcro should be 1.5″ down from the top edge (or 2″ for the large bag).

 

 

7. Join the front and back pieces and the sides, right sides together (as shown) stopping 1/4″ short at the bottom of each seam.

 

 

8. Join the remaining edges together to create a box (remember to stop 1/4″ short at the bottom).

 

 

9. Insert the base: Pin the base to the bottom of the outer bag, right sides together.

 

 

10. Sew the base in place, stopping 1/4″ short at each corner to pivot & turn (leave the needle down in the fabric and lift up the presser foot).  As you pivot the corners, flip the underside of the bag away from you (see below).

 

 

Stop 1/4″ short at the corner, leave needle down, lift up presser foot and turn.
While presser foot is raised, flip underside of fabric away from you. Return presser foot and continue sewing next side.

11. Turn the bag right side out. Push the corners out and press the seams into a nice box shape.

 

 

12. Machine tack the flap onto the back of the bag, right sides together.

 

 

13. Machine tack the handle onto the sides of the bag (take care not to get a twist in your handle). Put to one side.

 

 

14. Make the lining: Repeat steps 7-10 for the lining, leaving a 2″ gap in a long side seam. Do not turn right side out.

 

 

15. Insert the outer bag into the lining, tucking the flap and handle inside between the layers. Align & pin the side seams and top edge.

 

 

16. Sew around the top edge (you may find it easier to remove the accessories tray on your machine here).

 

 

17. Pull the outer bag through the gap in the lining, and hand or machine stitch the gap closed.

 

 

18. Press the bag before pushing the lining into the outer bag. Sew around the top edge again, making sure to keep the flap and handle well out of the way.

 

 

And you’re done!

 

 

It would be wonderful if you could help me with this small measure of kindness.  The 2  bags I’ve made have already brought smiles to the faces of the 2 recipients!

 

I will be the collection point for any donated bags, so please get in touch with me directly and I’ll give you my address (justjudedesigns@hotmail.co.uk)

 

Thanking you all in advance of your support and generosity.

 

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Charm About You


By Judith on August 9, 2017
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Hello! I am Lucy, Charm About You blogger and one of the Finish-A-Long hosts, here to share a little more about myself.

 

I come from a creative family, everyone is an artist or crafty type – whether it’s by profession or a hobby. My creativity and love of art was encouraged as I was growing up but it wasn’t until I was at university when I made my first quilt. It was really, really bad. I used the type of wadding meant for furniture, it was nearly impossible to quilt and it put me off for a long time. Fast forward and after breaking my elbow in a roller derby accident, with two small children to look after at home, I needed a safer hobby and I returned to quilting.

Eager to learn, I got some great advice and support from the two women in my family that quilt, I read lots of blogs, tutorials and quilt books and then went for it. I made simple quilts and a sampler quilt, building up my skills trying out new patterns and techniques. The addiction gripped me and the more quilts I made the more I discovered which elements I was good at, enjoyed and wanted to do more of!

I live in Manchester, UK with my husband and our three kids. They are wonderfully supportive of me and put up with the piles of fabric and works in progress that have filled the house. During the evening I love to do hand sewing, whether that be English Paper Piecing, hand piecing or quilting. It’s my time to relax and I find it really hard to sit without sewing now!

I was lucky enough to get a job at Patchfinders, a local quilt shop, where I also began teach quilting classes (and still do!). It was brilliant to be able to ‘talk fabric’ with so many people – I learnt a lot about style, colour, print etc. from being in the shop and witnessing the whole process of how people chose fabrics for their quilts. The same sort of inspiration and delightful insight into creativity comes from the people in my classes and is one of the many reasons I enjoy teaching.

Then this year I also started doing demonstrations on the Sewing Quarter shopping channel. It involves travelling to work and train journeys equal sewing time! One of my recent finishes was the Everything In It’s Place Bag, which I wanted to make to hold all the sewing ‘stuff’ I can’t live without. It feels so good having my supplies with me and there’s such a buzz that comes with using handmade.

The tangible products we create, the snuggly comfort of quilts and the fact that they are enjoyed and used is a big part of the joy of making. I am also drawn to all the possibilities of patchwork and quilting, the various techniques you can use, the choice of fabric – prints / solids / colours and all the patterns. Machine sewing is my choice for quick sews, the precision of foundation paper piecing and meditative chain piecing. More recently I have had to hone my skills at machine binding because I just don’t have the time to hand sew binding on the quilts I make for work. Hand sewing would generally be my preference for patchwork and quilting, though I really love being able to switch between the two and do machine sewing when I have that need for speed.

Having insatiably explored various patchwork and quilting methods I share tutorials and tips on my blog, from cross hatch quilting to cleaning your cutting mat;  free patterns and fun things to make.

Visit my Etsy shop for patterns like the popular Stitchy Pie needle case and my most recent A Piece of Me pouch. Later this year I will be adding quilt patterns too, all being well!

I have a ‘to sew’ list, along with a notebook of design ideas – making them into patterns is my intention and my goal for the next few months is to make time to do that. I would love for you to come and visit me at Charm About You or jump over to Instagram and follow me there, I share all my finishes and everything I’m working on.

So how is everyone getting on with their Finish-A-Long list? Any finishes checked off yet? If not, don’t fret – there’s still about 7 weeks before the link opens… just remember that time flies when you don’t stick to one project!

Hope you all have a great week!

Lucy

 

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Saying Goodbye!


By Judith on July 22, 2017
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Hello everyone, sorry about the radio silence.

 

It has been a momentous and significant few weeks here.  After 15 years raising my children in a beloved family home, we have finally had to say goodbye to our home.

 

 

It has been a difficult few years for me and my girls, and now the door to one chapter has closed.  Letting go is hard, but on 17th July we moved into our new building site home and into a new chapter.

 

There are immediate challenges in front of us, as we learn to adapt to a much smaller space in need of renovation and decoration. But in time, it will feel like home as we step into new territory, new beginnings and new opportunities.

 

Occasionally I like to write poems when I need to express deep emotion.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing one with you today:

 

“Goodbye Old Girl”

Tall and serene you have stood,

Through decades of change, trouble and peace.

Never flinching;

Loyal to your heritage.

 

It was love at first sight;

Your rustic beauty drawing us in.

A little neglected, worse for the wear

Of many noisy, boisterous families

Taking you for granted.

 

Your faithfulness to yet more change was steadfast

As we moved in and embraced your protective air.

Your return to us was ten-fold what we gave to you.

Fresh paint and paper for security and stability.

Even when we extended your boundary, you didn’t fight or resist.

Your breath moved through the space,

Affirming

Nurturing.

 

And what an experienced nurturer you are.

You have seen the best of us,

And the worst.

Watched us thrive, succeed, fail and overcome.

And still you remained

Faithful,

Unwavering,

Unconditional.

 

Like a beacon in the night,

You guided us, anchored us

So we could return to you time and again,

Comforted and calmed by your ethereal essence,

HOME.

 

These Victorian roots are resolute

In your mission to care.

To safeguard those entrusted to you,

Harboured from the elements of time and tide.

And so you will continue, long after we have gone,

Embracing the next family with your ageless arms.

For you are eternal,

Immoveable

Tenacious.

 

Our short 15 years in your presence

Will be treasured and stored.

Immortalised in pictures and memories which can never fade.

We say thank you, a thousand thank you’s,

As we empty your rooms and close your indomitable door for the final time.

We will not be sad.

To mourn is to betray you,

To deny the depths of good you bestowed in us.

 

So we say ‘Thank you old girl’.

Thank you for the life and joy and triumphs you embraced in us.

Grant us your blessing as we move on

And start afresh with a little piece of you always with us.

You will be forever in our hearts.

 

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Dizzy Quilts


By Judith on July 15, 2017
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Hi – I’m Izzy from Dizzy Quilts and it’s my turn to tell you a little about myself!

I’m a mother, step-mother and foster mother to six children, grand-mother to one gorgeous little girl and wife to my soul mate. During the day, I manage a team of e-Learning designers/developers at a global financial company.

All of this keeps me pretty busy, but I’ve always made time to be crafty – when I was a little girl, my mom taught me how to knit and I made all my teddy bears knitted sweaters!

During my teenage years, I was a little too busy with school (and with boys!) to craft, but a few years later, when I had my first child, I started sewing.  I made some baby clothes and I made curtains mostly. I even took a sewing class to learn how to make garments for myself, but I never got the hang of that – nothing ever really fit right.

About 9 years ago, I walked into JoAnn’s to get fabric for new curtains and spotted the cutest little quilt kits. I bought one, put it together and haven’t looked back since! I was completely and totally hooked.

The first few quilts I made were very traditional – lots of small pieces, small florals, etc. I really had no clue what I was doing, but learned so much with the making of these quilts.

A lap size log cabin quilt made for my step-mom

I started making these quilts for pretty much everyone in my family.  And pretty soon, every bed in the house had a quilt on it.

Quilt I made for my sister-in-law – this is Bronx testing it.

 

I even made quilts as curtains!!

Around 2010, I discovered quilt blogs and the online quilting community.  That literally changed my quilting life!!  I started my own blog, met some amazing people and a couple of years later, found the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild.

Through the members of this guild, I learned about modern quilting and I fell in love with quilting all over again.

I started making modern quilts and building a stash of really colourful fabrics and solid neutrals.

 

When I first started quilting, my least favourite part of the whole thing was the actual quilting. My sewing machine was pretty small and wrestling with a big quilt in that tiny little space was painful and I very often ended up with puckers on the back of my quilts.  And then I changed two things: my sewing machine and my basting method.

I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q. It is literally a dream to quilt with. Lots of room to the right of the needle and super consistent, fast stitching.

I also learned how to board baste my quilts – which has saved my knees, my back and to a certain extent, my sanity!  🙂

And now quilting is actually my favourite part. I look forward to finishing a top just so I can get to the quilting. My dream is to some day own a long-arm machine, but I would need to get a much bigger house before that could happen!

 

Last year, I became the Vice-President of the Montreal MQG and that has been a lot of fun. The group is growing and we have such amazing people and quilters.  Each meeting is a great source of inspiration and I’m learning so much.

When I was approached to become a FAL host last year, I was so flattered and so happy. I love hosting these link-ups – so much inspiration and so much talent every quarter.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions, please leave a comment!  🙂

Izzy

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Liberty Summer Tunic


By Judith on June 26, 2017
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Hi everyone, how was your weekend?

 

It was a jubilant weekend in the Hollies’ house, with my eldest daughter home for the weekend, and as we celebrated mine and my youngest daughter’s birthday!

 

Sweet 16 – The birthday girl on the left!
Fooling around with my Mum, sister and 3 daughters!

 

What a fun time we had with our crazy family!

 

Sadly the sun wasn’t around much over the weekend, but I did manage a wee photo shoot last week when the sun was out.

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

This is my Liberty summer tunic.  Approx. 6 years ago I found some yardage of liberty cotton in a vintage shop.  It was so reasonably priced I snapped it up!

 

Then in April 2015 I made a basic tunic with it, using a New Look pattern 6068. I wasn’t so happy with the fit and finish of it back then, so parked it (for several years!).

 

 

The recent glorious sunny weather recently motivated me to unearth the tunic, fix the fit and add some finishing touches.

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

The simple additions of vintage lacey trim and patch pockets have transformed the tunic, and now I totally love it!

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

It has been a joy to wear it recently, and I’m pleased to report it has withstood the washing machine too!

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

I would love to make more of these simple tunics, but my sewing room is all packed up and won’t be unpacked until August!  Let’s hope the sun is still shining then!

 

Liberty Summer Tunic

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Ebb and Flow Quilt


By Judith on June 21, 2017
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Happy Wednesday everyone!

 

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!

 

Ebb & Flow quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)
Finished quilt 64″ x 76″

 

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!

 

Ebb & Flow Quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)

 

I went for simple mitred piecing in columns to give a contemporary twist to these classic prints.

 

Ebb & Flow quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)

 

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.

 

Ebb & Flow quilt (Popular Patchwork July17)

 

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.

 

May the wonderful weather continue!

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Denim Maker’s Tote


By Judith on June 18, 2017
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Hi everyone!

 

It’s getting pretty hot around here!

 

As I enjoy the wide open windows and the washing on the line, I’m also progressing well with packing up ready for moving house at the end of this month.  A small challenge when there’s 15 years worth of ‘stuff’ to thin out ready for our down-size!

 

I have also packed up my sewing room, but not before I got a class sample finished for classes in the new term.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

I’m a great admirer of Anna’s fabulous bag designs and patterns, and her Maker’s Tote is a particular favourite of mine.  I’ve had it bookmarked for a while, but am only now getting around to making it!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

I thought this would be a good bag pattern to teach in class because of the variety of bag construction elements and skills involved.

 

But of course I couldn’t just stick to the pattern, could I!

 

I love using denim for bags, it makes them more durable and useable in my view.  And besides, I already had 2 ‘uneven brick’ panels sewn together for another project long forgotten!  They were the perfect size, so I got to *quilting them, first in the ditches, and then some feature quilting using Aurifil 12wt wool thread.

 

*the original pattern uses a foam interfacing like Bosal to give structure and reinforcement to the bag.  I wasn’t able to get any in time, so substituted with a layer of wadding and heavy weight sew-in vilene spray basted together.

 

I used a size 100 Jeans needle for the quilting and construction

 

 

The front and back of my bag are slightly different.  I didn’t think the prescribed front pocket would work on my version of this bag, but I did include the zippered back pocket.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

One of the joys of working with recycled denim is thinking of ways to use the loops, tabs and unusual features attached to a pair of jeans.

 

Self-covered button with vintage chintz

 

 

I decided my Maker’s Tote could be used as my everyday bag, not just a class sample, so I incorporated another one of my favourite textiles, vintage chintz linen.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

A few vintage style Lecien prints coordinated beautifully for the internal pockets and facings.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The handles are made from a re-purposed denim belt, reinforced with webbing and lined with more of the chintz linen.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The belt was a little on the wide side, so by cinching in the edges along the top section, they are now the perfect fit for my hands and have lovely structure too!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The bag is finished off with self-made bias binding, another great skill to have under your belt.  If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that the first lot of bias binding I made is different to the one on the finished bag!

 

 

I decided I didn’t like choice no.1 (after I had attached it!). In my opinion the chintz linen binding works much better, even though it was a little trickier to attach.

 

So there we have my version of Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote!  A fabulously roomy bag, gorgeous shape, and versatile elements.

 

And I’ll leave you with an ‘out take’ of the ‘helper’ on my photo-shoot!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

Linking up to Nicky & Leanne’s Scraptastic Tuesday!

 

Happy Sewing!

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FAL 2017: Meet the Host – Marci Girl Designs


By Judith on June 15, 2017
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Hello!  My name is Marci Debetaz and I blog over at Marci Girl Designs and this month it is my turn to share all about myself as one of the 2017 Global Finish-A-Long hosts.  So here it goes…

Here I am, 4′ 11.5″ tall, so yeah I’m short and this photo was taken a little over a year ago but I mostly look the same, or at least I like to think so.  I am currently 36 years old in case any of you were wondering because I know I have somewhat of a baby face.  I was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA but have lived most of my life now in Louisiana.  My family moved a lot when I was growing up, back and forth between Florida and Louisiana to finally settle in Louisiana much to my disliking, because honestly who wants to leave the beach for swampland?  Not me.  Anyways I went to Middle and High School in New Iberia, Louisiana and then attended College in Lafayette, Louisiana (about a 40 minute drive.)  I met my husband in my second year of College, we both were majoring in Industrial Design and we fell in love.  (Oh so sweet!)  So we dated a few years, got engaged and then married all before we finished College.  We graduated College together a semester after the wedding, both with degrees in Industrial Design.  We found jobs, worked, you know, regular married life and then a few years later we bought our first house.
Here is our MAJOR fixer upper 13 years ago when we bought it (though this photo was taken after some serious cleaning up of the yard.)
 Here is our home today, and what you can’t see on the back corner of this house is the major addition we are adding and have been working on since February of this year, doing ALL of the work ourselves.  We are hoping to be finished by Christmas, but who knows,  fingers crossed.  I had to mention our house because it has been a major focus of all my free time this year, which stinks because I miss sewing and quilting but will totally be worth it when we are done.
 
Ok, I got off track.  So after we bought our house we had three kids, two boys, 9 and 5 and our little girl who just turned 2.  I don’t post about them directly on social media for their privacy but I promise they are super cute.  It was after my first child was born that I really picked up the sewing/quilting bug again.  I say “again” because I grew up sewing and quilting.  My mom did both and taught me.  I started by making Barbie doll clothing, then that turned into small quilts and sewing my own clothes through High School.  Then when I was in College (and falling in love) I didn’t have much time for those hobbies and they fell by the wayside.  After my first was born I became a stay at home mom and discovered I had lots of free time during naps.  Thus my hobbies began anew!
 
 
I started up my hobby again making handbags and pouches which I quickly realized I had way too many handbags and pouches, so I opened up an Etsy shop.  I had my shop open for a few years until I closed it at the end of 2011 right before my second son was born.  I always had intentions of opening again after his birth but alas it never happened.  I do hope to one day open up my shop but for now I am enjoying sewing for my family and friends.

 

It wasn’t long after I started sewing again that I discovered the world of blogs and designer fabric.  Let’s just say that was a total game changer for me and the true obsession began.  I decided to start my own blog in February of 2010 and have been doing so on and off ever since.  I use my blog as a form of diary or portfolio of things I have made through the years and though I find the writing difficult I am glad that I push myself to do so because it is so nice to go back and read about my own projects, many of which I have already forgotten about.
 I love participating in Quilt and Sew Alongs and the occasional competition (for fun, I don’t want to stress about it.)  The above quilt was created for the Emerald Pantone Quilt Challenge (I can’t remember the year.)  It currently hangs in my bedroom.  This quilt is my original design and entitled, “Emerald Cut.”
I will still occasionally make handbags and pouches, I design my own patterns plus make them from independent pattern designers.  The pouch above is one of my designs.
I make way more quilt tops than finished quilts, sadly I have a huge WIP pile.  The photos above and below are examples of two of these quilt tops awaiting quilting.  The top is a One Block Wonder quilt created from just one large scaled print fabric. The quilt below is another Pantone Quilt Challenge, the color that year was Radiant Orchid, this quilt is also my own design.  It is one of my personal favorites.
In 2014 I was chosen to be a contestant in an online sewing challenge called “Sewvivor.”  The bag below was my entry for the very first round, which was nautically themed.  Though I didn’t make it past the first round, I made a great new set of online sewing friends and had a ton of fun in the process.
Within the first year or so of blogging I also found Flickr and through Flickr I found out about online Quilting Bee’s.  I quickly joined several and have never looked back.  I made friends in those first groups, that I still have today and we are still sewing bee blocks for each other.  Though Flickr isn’t as predominant these days, things have shifted over to Instagram and the fun continues.  A few years ago most of my quilting bees were coming to a finish and two of my fellow bee mates decided to create a new hand picked group that they named Bee Sewcial.  The concept of the group is that we stay connected and in touch, use only solids and work in improv.  This is our third year together and honestly one of my favorite things to do every month.  The creativity involved and the friendship is just so fantastic.  At the end of our first year together we opened up the sewing prompts to everyone interested and anyone can now sew along with us using the hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial.
 I guess that about sums of my life.  Stay at home mom to three, in between running the kids to school and nap times I sew and quilt.  I have tried crochet, knitting, tatting, beading and about every other craft you can think of but in the end I always return to sewing and quilting.  I love improv but I also love traditional quilt blocks.  I love to sew clothes, handbags and pouches.  Don’t ask me to alter your clothes or to iron like normal people.  It isn’t going to happen.  I have a huge pile of WIP’s and have been participating in the Finish-A-Long since its inception.  I was thrilled to be asked to host this year and I have been slowly working through that pile.  I do so hope you join us this year!
 
I’ll end my post
reminding everyone that in 10 days the second quarter finishes link up
opens, you still have time to finish those projects so get to work!
Thank you for joining me today, Marci

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FAL 2017 Meet the Host: Just Jude Designs


By Judith on May 15, 2017
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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.

 

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FAL 2017 Meet The Host: Sew of Course


By Judith on May 8, 2017
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This month in FAL we get to hear from 2 hosts.  The first is from Sandra of Sew of Course.

“The 2017 Finishalong has a global team of hosts, and one by one they are introducing themselves in the “Meet the Host” posts throughout the year.

Now I am NOT a Finishalong host, but I have the honour (!) of being the person behind the Finishalong Instagram and Facebook accounts (Social Media Director). And in that role I have been asked to introduce myself, too.

If you are here for the first time, you are very welcome!

Who am I?

I was born and raised in The Netherlands. And before you think, “tulips, clogs, and windmills” that is not quite how it is living there. I never lived in a windmill, for one, though I lived in many places!

However, I did cycle every day to school at the other end of town – yes, everyone does cycle in The Netherlands! As a student I even went on a cycling/camping holiday to England with friends.

 

And I did not wear clogs… until I started doing a lot of
gardening in our first proper “adult” house in Kent (UK). They do take
some getting used to, but are perfectly warm and dry, and so easy to
slip in and out of!

 

I also LOVE cheese, any cheese! And nowhere can you find such a wide selection of cheese as in The Netherlands, I think.

I studied at the Agricultural University in Wageningen, and thoroughly enjoyed living in this small university town. I spent a half year doing my internship in New Zealand, and eventually ended up with a MSc degree, and a future husband just months before he finished his studies and left to do a PhD abroad.

And so started my international life… Following my heart, and his work opportunities, we lived in many countries for relatively short periods of time. From three months to five years in one place, we lived in many different countries, in between coming back in The Netherlands for a while as well. And now we have ended up in Ireland, and have lived in this house longer than anywhere I have ever lived…

 

my first quilt, completely hand stitched

 

Growing up, I was often crafting, learning crochet and dress making from my mother, knitting from a neighbour, and many other crafts from magazines and books.
In England I came across my first patchwork quilt, and from then on I needed to learn how to make them. Beginner’s classes started me of with drafting blocks, making templates and hand sewing (no rulers and rotary cutters at first!), followed by more classes, workshops, books and magazines, always wanting to learn more. A visit to a quilt exhibition has me peering closely at the way certain effects have been achieved, even now, so many years later. I just LOVE to learn new things!

 

Moving so often, quilt making also gave me an opportunity to find new people and make friends wherever I went. In some places it took a while to find out about them, but always I did find some group or other of friendly and welcoming quilters. And soon enough I was teaching quilt making, too.

 

Then in 2012, I started a City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate course, and as part of that we set up a (private) blog to share notes and work between us students. Which led me to start reading blogs, and starting my own blog soon after. Since I have a compulsion to stitch and sew (I sew, of course!), and fill the blog with my creative works, its inspiration and anything that takes my fancy, I named it Studio Sew of Course, and followed by being “sewofcourse” for all social media. I am very active especially on Instagram, but can be found elsewhere as well if you are so inclined.

Of course, I learned so much again in the course! The range of techniques covered in City & Guilds is enormous, and the design process poses challenges of its own. The course includes many, many samples and small projects, as well as five main items to be made, see my City & Guilds page for some of it.
Since the course my way of quilt making has changed, too. I have always been easily tempted to try something new, but now I’d try anything. And of course I made the most wonderful friends!!

 

In all those years I mainly hand quilted my quilts, not having a lot of confidence to use my domestic machine for quilting. This has led to a rather large number of half-quilted quilts, and unquilted quilt tops! Then I discovered the Finishalong a couple of years ago, and joining in has helped me to reduce the number of WIPs to a more acceptable amount. I also got a lot of practice in machine quilting as part of the City & Guilds course, so my confidence has grown somewhat. Now I have to just put it into practice some more… and remember to quilt with a less stops and starts – I hate tying in a million threads! I may be finishing some of my projects a bit quicker.

 

 

 

What’s next?

My current Finishalong list contains some rather varied projects, and is not in danger of being finished very soon. Besides, there are more projects in the house that haven’t even made it on the list (yet). I can see my list grow longer before it will get any smaller!

I still teach a weekly quilt group in our local library, and we hold a yearly exhibition of our work there, too.
I am also working on another pattern or two (my few available patterns can be found on the Patterns page), I have plans to improve and extend the blog/website, and ideas for several quilts are being turned over in my head…

Besides that, I have a part-time job, and we have three boys, and a large (and rather unconventional) garden:

 

And I love going on walks and taking photographs:

 

 

One thing is for sure: I won’t be bored for a long time yet!!”

Sandra
I hope you can call back on the 15th when ‘yours truly’ will be the featured host.

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Chevron Heaven Quilt


By Judith on April 7, 2017
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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.

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
12 shades of Kona made it into the final 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.

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
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!

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

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.

 

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The magazine also includes a double page feature on how to style a room around Chevron Heaven!  What a neat idea!

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The April issue of Popular Patchwork is in the shops now!

And Chevron Heaven is now listed in my shop for sale!

Happy sewing!

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Meet The Maker: Quilting Prolifically


By Judith on April 4, 2017
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Welcome everyone!  And happy April to you all!

 

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!

 

  1. 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!

 

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Finish-A-Long’17: Q2 Open!


By Judith on April 2, 2017
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As one quarter closes (well done everyone on your amazing finishes) another one opens.
It’s time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q2 of the FAL. I truly hope you are facing a new quarter with a brand new list – because you finished so many UFOs in Q1!
The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah – Sew me – Northern Ireland

Social Media Director

 

For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

 

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors.

 

There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish.

 

The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

 

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q2 of the FAL – you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):

 


As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them.
If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

 

It’s time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects – pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the “finish” is when they are a completed, usable project.

 

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ2yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly – especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

 

The 2017 Q2 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog – and that link will show up on all of the blogs.

If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

 

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others – visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too.

 

When creating your list there is one thing to remember….No deductions for not completing something so ….. Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!

 

Well Now….. Get those lists together and get linked up.

 

The Q2 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, April 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.

 


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Feedback Survey Results


By Judith on January 4, 2017
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As part of my 6 year blogiversary giveaway in December, I asked you to complete a simple survey about what your struggles are in quilting and what you would most like available to help.

 

 

The first 2 questions were

What are your biggest struggles when it comes to Patchwork and Quilting?

 

and

 

What are your biggest struggles when following/using patterns?

 

But we’ll get to those in a minute!

 

Let’s jump first to the graded questions, where you gave a value of 0-5 for each answer (0 = not interested 5 = very interested). You can get a refresher on the 7 questions here.

[visualizer id=”46935″]

 

You can see from the pie chart that the highest scoring question was “Patterns with lots of photos and well explained steps”!

 

Your frustrations with poorly worded and illustrated patterns came through loud and clear, and you further backed this up with your ‘suggestions’ comments.

 

As a pattern writer this is a topic close to my heart, not only through my own struggles in following patterns, but also as a Quilting tutor, seeing first hand how much even experienced learners can feel defeated by a pattern.

 

But you can see through the close percentages that ‘up there’ among your top interests are informative and topical articles and discussions (16.9%) and a ‘Sewing Surgery’ where you can ask questions and engage with a community of like minded sewists (15.7%).

 

On the latter, you are most welcome to join my ‘Sewing Surgery’ Facebook group.  

 

 

Here we can ask for help, talk about swaps, sales, events, ‘show and tell’ and more!  And a growing membership means a wider community with a wealth of shared knowledge, experience and inspiration to draw from.

 

I know how important ‘community’ is to creatives. It’s affirming, healing and uplifting when we can share a little of ourselves and connect through what we make. But if you aren’t on Facebook, please feel free to leave me a comment, use my contact form, or chat to me on Instagram.

 

Now back to the first set of questions.  Your answers were wide and varied, and in addition to ‘any other comments’ I’ve grouped your feedback into 5 main categories: Patterns, Fabrics, Cutting, Techniques, Personal.

[visualizer id=”46947″]

As I mentioned previously, your concerns around using ‘Patterns’ was the front runner. From ‘patterns making assumptions’ to ‘not understanding jargon/abbreviations’. But once again, the complaint that surfaced more than any others was ‘insufficient pictures and diagrams’.

 

‘Techniques’ covered issues such as accurate seams & matching points, fixing common errors, basting, sewing curves, maths, scaling patterns up and down, machine quilting and free motion quilting, paper piecing & inserting zips.

 

In the ‘Fabrics’ category, the most common struggle was putting fabrics and colours together for projects.

 

Under ‘Personal’ I included feedback about your lack of time to sew, self doubt and lack of confidence, narrowing down ideas, working in a small space & fear of your sewing machine!

 

Last but not least, we have the ‘Cutting’ department – how to cut accurately, how to gain the best yield from the fabric, squaring half square triangles and corners, cutting angles, making accurate templates among others!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your informative and honest feedback.  I will be using these results to shape what I deliver through my website and how best to serve you.

(And if you would like to have your say, complete the quick survey here).

 

One thing I know in reading your responses, is that you aren’t alone in your struggles. We all have struggles in one area or another, even experienced sewists! So let’s try and help each other make this year a positive creative experience!

Keeping sewing!

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Shape Sorter Street Quilt


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Jude xo

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Hoooked Zpagetti!


By Judith on February 24, 2016
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Today I get to tell you about something totally cool!

This is Hoooked Zpagetti (not a spelling mistake!).  This stuff is made from ……. T-shirts! How cool is that!

And if you’re wondering what on earth can you knit or crochet with it, just take a look at this for inspiration!

Hoooked Zpagetti Yarn - Fabric Yard
Source – Pinterest

And there’s more!

 

This is Hoooked Ribbon, made from ………….. recycled yarn!!  Super duper cool!
If you love recycling as much as me, and also enjoy crochet and knitting, then check out all the wonderful Hoooked Yarns over at Fabric Yard!
And to tempt you even further, Fabric Yard are having a Spring Sale!
You’ve got until 1st March to bag yourself a bargain!  And remember, only £1 shipping on all UK orders.
Happy Shopping!
Jude xo

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Spring Walk!


By Judith on February 13, 2016
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Spring Walk
This is Spring Walk by Sarah Betz/Little Cube. Aren’t they gorgeous!  I particularly love the cute umbrellas and swans!
I’ll be working on these this weekend for a magazine commission.
There was plenty of the wet stuff about today, but isn’t it lovely to see spring winning out!
Spring Drops

And walking of a different kind happened yesterday!
I took my family to Gaol!!
We have long been wanting to visit the historic and Victorian Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast.
An informative and engaging tour, and well worth a visit.  
But don’t worry, they let you out again!!
Have a great weekend!
Jude xo

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Back to it!


By Judith on February 9, 2016
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On Saturday I returned to Bee Blessed, after a 7 month break!

It was wonderful sewing with old and new friends again, and seeing all the wonderful in-progress quilts.

This month we are working on reverse churn dash blocks, to compliment last month’s churn dashes.

I got these 3 made, and there’s a lovely collection of others growing too.

Reverse Churn Dash blocks for Bee Blessed

We would love it if you could make us a block or two. You can find the tutorial here, and check out more wonderful pics of donated quilts and blocks on the Bee Blessed blog.

Jude xo

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Cushion Love!


By Judith on February 6, 2016
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Continuing the ‘Love’ theme this month, here are the 2 cushions I submitted for publication:

Quilt Now (Feb issue):

My DP Heart Cushion in Feb16 Quilt Now

Similar to my ‘Drunken Hearts’ quilt, this cushion is made using drunken path units to form the curved tops of the heart (Katy the editor named it ‘Dunk Your Heart’ because it reminded her of Jammie Dodger biscuits!).

I chose the sweetest red Lecien 30’s Fabric Collection with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Flax for the background.

DP Heart Cushion in Feb16 Quilt Now

Frumble sell a wonderful range of pom pom trim and I couldn’t resist going for giant red pom poms to finish off this round cushion.

Sewing World (Feb issue):

Chenille Heart Cushion Feb16 Sewing World

This is my Chenille Heart Cushion, with a positive and negative front and back.

Chenille

Chenille is a ‘layering and slashing’ technique, creating raw edges which turn fluffy when washed. It’s a wonderfully tactile finish, perfect for a snuggly cushion don’t you think!

Chenille class sample
So if you are looking for a valentines gift idea for that someone special, grab yourself one of these magazines and get cracking!  You’ve still got time!
Jude xo

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Feeling the Love!


By Judith on February 2, 2016
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February is the month of Luuuurrrrrvvvv! (so I’m told!)

So I submitted a few ‘heart related’ projects to magazines!

Drunken Hearts Quilt - Sewing World Feb16
This is my ‘Drunken Hearts’ quilt in British Patchwork & Quilting (Feb), so called because I used ‘drunkards path’ units to make the heart blocks. 
I have to say I ‘fell in love’ with this quilt as I was making it, and can’t wait to get it back from the magazine. 
I used Art Gallery’s ‘Bijou’ and ‘Dreaming in French’ for the hearts and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Black for the background.
My sweet Trudi did a beautiful job quilting this for me on her long arm machine (you can just about see the hearts quilting pattern).
Tune in again for another ‘Luuuuurrrrrvvvvv’ installment!
Jude xo

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Leaping Into February!


By Judith on February 1, 2016
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How wonderful to leave January!

Storm ‘Henry’ decided to usher in February here, very kindly sending the contents of my recycling bin up and down the length of my street!!

On a happier note, it’s nice to see at a glance my makes & bee blocks for January.

Jan16 Roundup

Technically, not everything here was made in January, but if they are published in January then I’ve decided to include them! The usual clues are in there for future reveals.

Bee Blocks Jan16
L-R: Brit Bee; Siblings Together Bee 2; Bee Blessed

It was a good month for bee blocks too.

So what will February bring?  2 family birthdays, a trip to prison (!!), guests and lots more running and sewing!

Another regular month then!!

Stay safe!

Jude xo

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Giveaway Winner!


By Judith on January 29, 2016
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Thank you to everyone who entered my blogiversary giveaway!

(If you didn’t receive a reply to your entry comment, it means you are a ‘no reply comment’ blogger & therefore I had no way of getting in contact with you.)

Somewhere along the line I lost a year!  I’ve actually been blogging for 5 years and not 4!!!  Talk about feeling old!!
Anyway, onto the winner!
Mr Random Number Generator picked no. 27, who is my amazingly talented bloggy friend Josie!!
Congrats J!  I hope you enjoy your winnings!
So tomorrow I’m doing another round of Couch to 5K training, even though snow is forecast!  Let’s hope I don’t resemble an out of breath Yeti by the end of it!!
Have a great weekend!
Jude xo

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12 Hens-A-Laying!


By Judith on January 27, 2016
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To enter my giveaway until Friday 29th January, click here.

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Don’t worry!  I’m not regressing back to Christmas, or stuck in the wrong season!