Now that we are into March, the focus turns to Easter!
With just over 3 weeks to go, there’s still plenty of time to get in some fun Easter crafting (especially if the weather continues like this)!
Over the next week or two I’ll be running a mini-series of tutorials on ‘Easter makes’ (as you can imagine, most of them involve chocolate in some way or another!).
But before I get to that, let me show you my Bunny Bags currently featuring in the March issue of Pretty Patches Magazine.
I love piecing more than applique, and so designed a patchwork bunny with hand embroidered details on the face. I knew this bunny would become a bag, (perhaps for collecting eggs during an Easter egg hunt) but thought it was a little too big for a smaller child. And so the mini bag was born!
The ‘heads’ are both worked to the same dimensions, despite the mini bunny looking bigger!
They are called ‘Big Sis, Little Sis Bunny Bags’ and I used my trusty Essex Linen for the main bags.
So if you need fun bags for collecting Easter eggs, or just love bunnies, then pick up a copy of Pretty Patches for the patterns for both bags.
My June is always a little crazy, but exams are over, Uni daughter comes home for a visit on Thursday, so all is right with the world!
Did I ever tell you that I love recycling denim (only once or twice right! Wink! Wink!).
Sometimes an idea just comes on me and I have to run with it.
This started out as a little denim ‘play therapy’! I had a clutch of Aurifil 12wt wool threads which I knew would marry the denim perfectly!
And so a little fun applique project turned into a cushion commission for Pretty Patches Magazine.
This was my first time using Aurifil 12wt threads in my machine. I used them for some of the details, but not the main satin stitch applique.
I had used Coats Creative thread before in this way, and really liked the effect. But it’s difficult getting a wide range of shades in Coats Creative thread. Aurifil however have a lovely range of 12wt colours, and with a size 100 needle, it ran through my machine like a dream (I used normal cotton thread in the bobbin).
My favourite bit is the uniquely worn part of the ‘sea’ – can you guess which part of the jeans this came from!!
You could easily substitute the denim for quilting cotton if you don’t have spare jeans lying around!!
So if you fancy dreaming of sailing away on the summer seas, then pick up a copy of Pretty Patches (July) today!
I’m a closet hippy! Born a decade too late, I’ve been repressed ever since!!
So nothing delights me more than sewing with retro, funky fabric!
Fabric is ‘Linen Cupboard’ by Emma Jean Jansen for Ella Blue
This is my Retro Beach Bag in the August issue of Pretty Patches.
I love the simplicity of beach bags – roomy, sturdy and with ‘make it easier’ features like webbing for handles and mesh for outside pockets.
I also love projects that are functional and practical, so I’ve made the lining with wipeable Rip-Stop nylon, and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your swimming costume and drippy sun lotions.
I know some of you have a ‘zip phobia’, but trust me when I say this is one of the easiest ways to insert a zipper. The entire bag is made first, and then the zip is top stitched onto the top of the bag.
Here’s the same pattern done in Ikea ‘deco’ weight fabrics (unquilted).
So if you don’t want an over-complicated, summer bag, have a go at this beginner friendly pattern and get in touch with your inner hippy!
Now that I am embracing Autumn, I can show you one of my favourite makes of this year!
This is ‘Autumn Tree’, an applique wallhanging measuring 27″ x 30″, which I will definitely be displaying in my home.
I adore the warm autumnal purples and pinks in Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee range, especially on a Kona Bone background. In fact, the leaf shapes are the by-product of the Sizzix Drunkard’s Path Fan die!! I always keep these shapely leftovers, and was so pleased to be able to turn some of them into a seasonal project.
Useful tip: Quilt your background first before appliquing on the shapes. This means you don’t have those head-scratching moments when trying to decide how to quilt around the shapes.
Satin stitch is my favourite applique technique, and I think it suits the clean lines of the leaves and trunk.
The pattern for this wallhanging is in the October issue of Pretty Patches Magazine.
And maybe one day I will make Spring, Summer & Winter/Christmas versions to hang up with each changing season!!
I have a particular soft spot for Tilda fabrics. I love the calming colours and the vintagey feel the ditsy florals and spots evoke.
‘Autumn Tree’ is a collection that came out last year, and is still available to purchase.
I went with simple 16 patch ‘on point’ blocks with appliqued hearts for my autumn quilt submission to Pretty Patches magazine.
And they put it on the front cover! Woohoo!
I definitely think there will be more Tilda quilts in my future!
In the December issue of Pretty Patches magazine, you might find this cheeky chappie making a song and dance of things!
Many of you will know that my first love in ‘all things fabric’ are recycled textiles. I have a particular obsession fondess for tweed, linen, wool and corduroy.
The only items officially ‘purchased’ in this cushion are the background (Tilda) and the berries!
I love mixing textures and textiles! Here we have sumptuous tweed, soft red wool, tactile cord, a vintage curtain remnant and a few scraps of good old fashioned quilting cotton. Oh what fun I had playing putting these together.
I also love satin stitch applique, but I knew with these thicker fabrics standard thread would disappear into the nap.
So out come the 12wt Aurifil wool threads! These are thick enough to use for hand embroidery, but not too thick to put through the eye of a size 90 machine needle. Win, win! (You can find a great selection here.)
As the design came together, I knew I wanted ‘berries’ in the corners. I scratched my head for a few minutes, and then came up with a plan!
I un-threaded some jumbo pompom trim I had leftover from another project. Then I ‘couched’ or satin stitched 3 thread stems together to create a little cluster of berries. This made it super easy to sew them into the corners of the cushion.
A simple envelope backing and you have the perfect gift for all bird and nature lovers everywhere (not forgetting all the tweed & corduroy lovers too!).
My recycled, chirping Robin may be in the Christmas issue, but like the loyal and territorial real birds, I think he’ll stick around all year long!
So what type of fabrics make your heart skip a beat?
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!
I had a fun few days with my best quilty buddies, up a mountain, with glorious sunshine and sheep for company (there may also have been lots of cake and buns)!
There was lots of sewing done too, but alas I can’t show you that just yet.
What I can show you is a summery table cloth I made for the May issue of Pretty Patches magazine.
The clever peeps at Tilda Fabrics came up with a beautiful collection earlier this year called Bumblebee.
If you are a regular visitor here, you will know how much I adore Tilda fabrics. And this collection is no exception. Ditsy flowers and some of my all time favourite colours together – what’s not to love!
So when Pretty Patches offered me a bundle of Bumblebee to work with, I jumped at the chance!
I wanted to keep the design large scale to let the fabrics do all the talking.
Also, to maintain some drape, I didn’t use wadding, but simply ‘bagged’ the top and backing together.
One of the reasons why I love Tilda fabrics so much is because of their vintage vibe (and I love all things vintagey!). So a lacey trim around the edge seemed a fitting finish.
All I need now is for the summer sunshine to return for a little al fresco dining on my new table cloth!
We are slowly getting outnumbered by cardboard boxes here, as we prepare to move house later this month!
So as a little distraction from all the packing, I thought I would tell you about 2 pretty little cushions I made for Pretty Patches magazine.
Back in 2013 I made my daughter these cushions for her birthday. I thought I would have another go using my design, but this time with the summery fabrics from Lewis and Irene, called Flo’s Little Garden.
I’ve called them Garden Trellis. The Kona Snow trellis in one cushion provides little windows to view the pretty flowers, while in the other cushion, the ditsy florals are climbing up the trellis.
Simple ‘echo’ quilting make this a beginner friendly project, with an easy envelope closure at the back.
I finished the cushions with a crochet trim. To do this, hand sew a blanket stitch first with the crochet cotton (I used DMC Natura Just Cotton in Ivory). You will need a sharp darning needle with a big enough eye to take the crochet cotton.
The blanket stitches act like a foundation row to start crocheting into. Work 3 double crochet into each blanket stitch, then 3 chain loops into every 3rd double crochet. Finally, work 1 double crochet, 4 treble crochet, 1 double crochet into each chain loop.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a crocheter. The cushions are complete without adding a crochet trim. Alternatively, sew a ready-made crochet trim into the seams between the front and back of the cushion before the final assembly.
So there we have it! 2 pretty, summery cushions, sadly ready for the packing boxes!
It’s a happy day here at the Hollies Household because not only is the sun shining, we have just had gas installed in our new home! This means we now have long awaited hot water, cooking facilities and a little heat on chilly evenings! #livinglikekings
The quilt I’d like to show you today is long overdue its reveal!
My middle daughter turned 18 last February, and I got her birthday quilt started at Brit Bee Retreat.
My daughter loves travel/world themes as well as old style items, images and graphics. Also, she isn’t into pink or girly colours so much, so I knew I had to get the fabrics and colours just right.
I was browsing travel themed fabrics online and came across this Makower fabric called ‘Airmail Travel Stamp, Special Delivery!’ It was my perfect starting point and this became my ‘headline’ print. I used the colours in this print to guide me through the rest of my stash and scrap boxes.
I didn’t want to chop the Airmail print up too small, so designed an ‘on point’ block where large sections of the headline print would appear in the secondary pattern, with scrappy pieced dividers. A little white on white to separate the busyness and it all came together beautifully.
Keeping the scrappy prints to softer tones and small scale prints helped create an overall calm feel to the quilt. My daughter’s bedroom is mostly neutral creams and greys so I didn’t want the overall look of the quilt to be too bright.
I managed to get the quilt almost completed by the end of February, just a few weeks late of the birth date. And then a request came in from a magazine editor requesting a quilt for a summer edition!
This was the only quilt I had available in the tight timescale, so off it went to England, with an apology to my daughter for yet another delay on her quilt (she was most forgiving)!
The quilt was published in the August issue of Pretty Patches (still in the shops now) and it was returned to me yesterday!
I could finally present it to my girl, who I’m pleased to say, loves it!
She travels to Norway in September for 6 months and only wishes she had room in her luggage to take it with her (she might well be needing it over there!).
So that is the story behind ‘Around the World’ Birthday Quilt. Always a special make when it’s for a loved one, and only 6 months late!!
Thank you for offering to make Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you missed the post and would like to be involved in this worthy cause, you can read more about it here.
If you are noticing the evenings getting shorter, you’re not alone! Sadly, summer seems to be waning and the first signs of Autumn are sneaking in.
Especially when the ‘Autumn’ issues of quilting magazines are already hitting the shops!
This is my ‘reverse’ Autumn Irish Chain quilt on the front cover of the September issue of Pretty Patches.
Scrappy quilts are my favourite kind to make. I wanted to stick to autumnal shades but thought I could switch things up a little. So I flipped a traditional Irish chain around, making the large negative spaces the colourful feature of the design.
Deep purples and aubergine tones are my favourite autumnal colours. They remind me of blackberry picking and harvest time! In fact I’ve got blackberry bushes in my new house producing fruit right now!
I went with a soft grey dotty background, and of course we can’t have autumn without the warm yellows and oranges of crisp falling leaves.
This pattern is perfect for beginner quilters, basically you are just sewing squares together in a particular order, or for folks like me with a overflowing healthy scrap stash!
I hope you like my first quilty step into Autumn. I love the season of Autumn, but I’m not quite ready to give up on summer just yet!
I’ve had a great week, especially as my builder finished all his amazing work in my house on Monday. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting out treasured trinkets, favourite cushions, putting up pictures, and finally making this new space feel more like home.
It seems like an age since I made my first magazine commission in this house, back in July!
The lovely Editor of Pretty Patches magazine sent me some Alison Glass Sun Print fabrics (you can see the full collection here).
What a wonderful explosion of colour! I kept the design simple with half square triangle diamonds in the wonderful rainbow rounds of the prints.
Sadly I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the quilt on completion (due to the building site that surrounded me!) but I promise I will when it is returned to me.
In the meantime, I will leave you with the wonderful pictures in Pretty Patches magazine.
Last day to enter my celebration giveaway. Enter here.
How is your new year going so far?
I’m trying to get back into running (been soaked twice!) and eat healthier (took 4 days to get through a sweet potato & carrot salad…… yawn!).
I’m a little behind in blogging about my January magazine commissions, so I’d better get a shimmy on!
This is ‘Snow Stars’, my quilty ballad to the wintery wonder of snow!
We don’t often get significant snow here, and I have a paradoxical relationship with it when it does show up! The romantic in me loves the peaceful stillness of a virginal snow fall, but the damp practicalities of travelling and trying to do life in it, well it’s ……. trying!
I’ve represented these stark contrasts in Snow Stars by using Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) as the background, allowing the low volume stars to pop out.
The half square triangle technique for making the blocks means you get 2 identical star blocks at a time!
A friend of mine quilted Snow Stars on her frame, using the perfect snowflake pantograph.
Isn’t it perfect! And trusty Ikea ‘Numbers’ on the back completes my ‘Ode to Snow’!
I promised to post this week about the projects on my ‘Spring into Summer’ Table.
Never one to break a promise, I’m starting with my Denim Applique Sailboat Cushion.
I originally designed this cushion for a summer edition of Pretty Patches Magazine.
I loved re-purposing some denim and scraps for this nautical cushion. My recent discovery of Aurifil 12wt wool thread also made a significant contribution! You can read more about my designing process here.
The great news is that I’ll be teaching a workshop on this cushion on Saturday 19th May at my classroom in Conway Mill.
And not only that, kits will be available with everything you need to make the cushion, including lush Essex Yarn Dyed Linen, denim pieces, stripey binding and a bright red button for the back!
How cool is that!
So if you would like to spend a fun Saturday with other like minded creatives learning new skills like appli-quilting and free motion sketching, then just drop me an email to register: firstname.lastname@example.org