Some were for my next free tutorial (remember my Scrappy Hexie Basket? Well I’ll be releasing the pattern for this one as a free tutorial very soon).
And some were just an excuse to have fun with teeny pieces of fabric!
These baskets are only 4.5″ and 6″ tall and are ‘improv. pieced’. This means your pieces of fabric aren’t pre-cut to a specific size, rather you just keep adding pieces until you have a section that can be joined to another section.
Improv. piecing for small projects is the perfect way to use up tiny pieces that are too small for English Paper Piecing or regular piecing patterns.
To give you a sense of scale, my smaller basket is holding large spools of 50wt Aurifil thread.
I create my baskets with an inset base with piping. I think the piping gives the basket more definition and shape.
And the structure is provided by the heavy sew-in vilene that the exterior is quilted on to.
I can think of a tonne of uses for these cute baskets, not least filled with goodies and gifted to loved ones!
Tune back soon to hear all about my free Hexie Basket YouTube Tutorial!
(And now there’s a mini tutorial on how to make these improv.pieced versions of my Hexie Baskets here.)
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! Apologies!
Nothing to do with the current pandemic. I got creatively and mentally very tired after a busy first quarter, but I’m pleased to report that life is settling down for me (ironically, as Covid-19 causes chaos!) and I’m back at the sewing machine!
If you know me at all you will know my love of scraps and Tilda! Put them both together and you get lots of EPP (English Paper Piecing) projects using even the littlest pieces (see some past examples here and here)!
I had been keeping my precious Tilda scraps in an unattractive plastic bag!
But now look what I’m keeping them in!
These are 1″ hexies, hand stitched together and quilted onto heavy sew-in vilene, then magically turned into a cute basket to perfectly house my pretty scraps!
I wanted a defined cylindrical shape so added some piping to the base and narrow binding at the top.
I’m hoping you can’t see where the short sides of the panel are joined together to make the cylinder! With EPP, the shapes at opposite sides will slot together (like a jigsaw) so trim away the excess stabiliser before joining the hexies with some discreet whip or ladder stitches.
My chosen lining isn’t Tilda but a pretty Lecien floral. But as a lover of all things ‘ditsy’ I’m confident it blends beautifully with the Tilda prints.
Now, what will I make next with my favourite scraps!!
I promised to check in again and tell you about my makes at Patchwork in the Peaks (though they pale into insignificance compared to the fabulous makes of my fellow sewers).
Not fully understanding the brief of the weekend, I arrived with no personal projects to work on! Doh!
However, Elita has a very healthy ‘scraps stack’ which she generously makes available to all at Peaks.
So with that in mind, I rustled up a sizeable ‘Quilt As You Go’ pouch.
I always find that other people’s scraps are much more interesting than my own, so it was fun rustling through the scrap boxes for this project.
One of the ‘games’ we played at the weekend was a ‘Roll the Dice Fat Quarter swap’.
It’s much too long winded for me to try and explain how it works, but the essence of the game is that you bring 3 fat quarters to the table and after much hilarity, competitive threats (of the lighthearted kind of course!!) and fast hand action, you end up with 3 different fat quarters!
One such fat quarter is the glorious yellow that I used for the lining of my pouch!
Aaaahhhhh! Sunshine in a pouch!
Following my Denim Applique Bag workshop, there was a nice little pile of offcuts and discarded denim bits.
So in keeping with the denim/upcycling theme, I made another zippy pouch (a girl can never have too many pouches, right?!).
A little ‘Aurifil’ decorative stitching and feature tabs, loops and labels add the perfect finishing touches.
Another of my ‘fat quarter swaps’ made it as the perfect pouch lining!
On Saturday evening we shared our ‘Secret Sister’ gifts (surprise, anonymous gifts left for each person throughout the weekend) and then Gina presented the ‘Mystery Make’.
This is a fun, quick make in keeping with the theme of the weekend. Several little jeans legs were made available with a finished sample of the cutest wee fabric bucket! So we set to it and in no time at all, a family of re-purposed fabric buckets appeared! (see pics in previous post)
Despite the flowers being upside down (!!) I’m going to use mine as a purposeful little thread catcher.
And last but not least, another rummage in the scraps box and my heart started to flutter as I discovered some adorable vintage vibe browns!
Now I appreciate brown is not a universally loved fabric colour, and there are some browns I just can’t do.
But on my bucket list of makes is a vintage brown quilt (I have a secret hoard of brown vintage fabrics in my loft!). So I grasped the nettle and started making log cabin blocks, with no other plan in mind than to enjoy the browns and worry about a design much later!
So considering I arrived at Peaks with no fabric or sewing equipment, I did pretty well don’t you think?
It’s about time I posted another tutorial here, don’t you think?
Before all the sniffles and colds get going, how about pretty, quilted tissue box covers. I’d much rather see pretty fabric sitting in my room, than a functional cardboard box!
And this tutorial will explain how to cover a box of any size, so let’s get started!
You Will Need:
Heavy Sew-In Vilene
Non-permanent fabric marker
Cardboard or template plastic
Measure your box:
Take measurements A (short side), B (long side) and C (top). Then add 3/4″ (0.75″) to each measurement (1/2″ for seam allowances, 1/4″ for ease) to get the cutting out sizes.
You can see my measurements in the example below:
So now that you have the cutting out measurements you can either ….
apply all measurements to your exterior fabrics, lining fabric, wadding and heavy sew-in vilene
instead of cutting out the sides, cut and baste an 11″ x 12″ piece of exterior fabric, wadding and sew-in vilene. Once quilted, this is big enough to cut out all 4 sides.
You will also need this template for the openings. I use the larger shape for rectangular boxes and the smaller shape for cube boxes. Cut out the openings and transfer them to card or template plastic.
Use 1/4″ seams
1 If you haven’t already done so, spray baste the exterior fabrics, wadding and vilene together.
2 Quilt as desired (I marked and quilted a 1.5″ diagonal grid, see photo above).
3 Pin an exterior short side (A) right sides together with the exterior top (C). With a pen, mark 1/4″ in from each corner on the short side (wrong side).
4 Sew from marker to marker, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch. Repeat for the other short side.
5 Press the short ends out before attaching the long sides in the same way (remember to mark your 1/4″ points).
6 Repeat steps 3-5 for the lining pieces.
7 Find the middle of the lining top piece (I simply folded it in half lengthways and widthways and finger pressed).
8 Centre your chosen template opening onto the wrong side of the lining top piece and draw around it.
9 Pin the exterior and lining pieces right sides together. Sew along the drawn line, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch.
10 Carefully cut out the opening, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Snip at 1cm intervals all the way around the opening, taking care not to cut into the stitches.
11 Push the lining through the opening and all the way round to the back of the exterior. Iron around the opening to neaten.
12 Top stitch around the opening, 1/8″ from the edge.
13 Pin the exterior sides right sides together. Sew adjacent exterior sides together, sewing from the top down to the 1/4″ marker (fold the top piece out of the way so you can get right down to the 1/4″ marker). Start and finish with a reverse stitch.
14 Repeat step 13 for the lining pieces.
15 Turn the exterior right side out, by folding it out over the lining. On the inside you should be able to see the right side of the lining.
16 Push the lining well into the corners of the exterior cover. Pop in the tissue box and trim off any excess cover and lining level with the edge of the box.
17 Machine tack (large stitch) around the raw edges 1/8″ from the edge.
18 Make enough double fold quilt binding to get around the bottom edges with a couple of inches overlap. Attach, join and finish the binding as you would for a quilt.
Pop in the tissue box and adorn your bedside table!
Or how about a scrappy tissue box cover ….
…. or have some free motion sketching fun!
Whatever shape or design you choose for your cover, have lots of fun!
This is my Autumn Rail Fence Quilt (as featured in August ’17 issue of Pretty Patches magazine).
If, like me, you have a healthy supply of scraps, then this is a great scrap buster project for you!
In August I am hosting a Scrap Buster Saturday, and this is one of the many quick and easy ideas folks can use to dig in to those overflowing scrap boxes!
Here’s how to make the Scrappy Rail Fence Block (12.5″ unfinished):
1 You will need a variety of scrappy strips, at least 13″ long and of varying widths (don’t go wider than 3″). Press them and make sure they have straight parallel sides. Don’t worry about trimming the lengths, you get a more accurate block if you leave the trimming to the end.
2 I went for a ‘late summer’ colour theme of teals, oranges, pinks and golds. But you could easily use whatever colours you have for a more ‘random’ rail fence.
3 You will notice I have included a brown striped fabric at the edge of each block. These strips are cut 2″ wide and give a little uniformity to the scrappiness of the blocks. If you are going for random and bright colours, try a narrow black and white stripe here.
4 If you are working to a colour theme, try to get an even number of colours per block. The order doesn’t matter, just sew enough together using a 1/4″ seam, not forgetting the stripey fabric on the end, until you can get at least 12.5″ wide. Set the seams (pressing the seam as you have sewn it) before pressing the seams to the darkest fabric.
5 Trim the block to 12.5″ square. If there is excess on the width make sure you don’t take any off the stripey/end fabric. You want these end strips to be of uniform width. I used my 12.5″ square ruler for easy trimming, but you can trim these blocks to any size, just make sure they are square!
6 Make lots more blocks until you have enough for your quilt (or until you have used up all your scraps!). I laid out my blocks in a 5 x 6 formation (5 blocks across by 6 rows down) alternating the direction of every other block to achieve the rail fence design. Join the blocks right sides together in rows and press the seams of each row in alternate directions. Join the rows together making sure to butt/nest the intersecting seams.
7 Spray baste your quilt top, wadding and backing (Spray basting tutorial available here) before quilting as desired (I quilted in a free motion meander all over). Trim off the excess wadding and backing and attach the quilt binding (tutorial available here).
Now you’ll always be warm and toasty on chilly Autumn evenings!
I’m happy to see the actual frost (& snow) on the ground disappear this week! And instead show you my scrappy quilt in icy blues, which is featured in the January issue of Quilt Now.
As you know, I LOVE using scraps. Sticking to a particular colourway while just using scraps is a little more challenging than just using a random selection of colours. Scraptastic challenge accepted!
I started with a spikey block (my trust Sizzix helped me out with the cutting), then dropped the pale aqua and soft blues into it. I only needed to beg a small amount of blue from a willing friend!
You can get a better idea of the block from the cushion above. Katy the editor asked for a cushion of the same block, but in a different colourway. I used Kona solids for the cushion, and went for a more masculine vibe. This is to give the readers an alternative way of seeing the versatility of the block.
My background & binding is Kiss Dot by Michael Miller, and the backing is Vintage Market by Lori Holt.
The weather never matches the quilts when I’m photographing them!
So that’s Frost. I hope you like my scrappy quilt.
I’m in the process of making my very last quilt of 2017. Sadly you won’t get to see it until March ’18.
And with less than one week until the ‘big day’ I hope you are a lot more organised than me!
Happy November to you all! Aren’t the weeks just flying in!
There have been a few exciting developments in the Hollies Household, which I will be able to tell you all about in 2 weeks time (can’t wait!!).
In the meantime, I can tell you about a quilt I made earlier in the year, which was featured in the September issue of Quilt Now (apologies for the late posting).
This is another scrap-busting project, using medium to low volume prints which have a ‘vintagey’ vibe (‘volume’ refers to the ‘loudness’ or brightness of the fabric).
I had a ball dipping in and out of my scraps drawers, using wee pieces, leftover jelly roll strips and scraps of vintage sheets.
And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!
This improvisational style of piecing is quite addictive! You just start with a few small pieces, keep adding and trimming as you go, and before you know it, your scraps have grown into a sizeable panel.
I got so carried away that I made too many sections! Not wanting to waste them, I sewed them altogether and used them as a central panel in the back, pieced between 2 vintage sheets!
Even the binding is another vintage sheet!
I appreciate that maintaining a healthy ‘scrap stash’ takes organisation and space, but here are a few advantages you get from it:
You can make an entire quilt using just scraps!
Make your scraps go further using yardage for the background.
Enjoy the satisfaction & frugality of turning leftovers into many wonderful and new projects.
Put them to good use in charity bee blocks, like Bee Blessed.
Use scraps to ‘test’ blocks or measurements when resizing a block
I’m sure you can think of lots more advantages to keeping your fabric leftovers. And you can be even more creative thinking up genius ways to store them!
Despite this being a sizeable quilt (72″ x 82.5″) I wish I could tell you I made a significant dent in my scraps stash making it!!
But that just means I have lots of lovely gems waiting for another chance to be transformed!
I’m always a little conflicted when we enter a new season and a new term. I love the colours and smells of Autumn, a feast for the senses, but I always grieve a little for the ending of another brief summer.
So continuing the Autumnal theme, I can show you my Autumn Boho Quilt.
This is a bigger quilt than I usually make, at 72″ x 89.5″.
For a while now I’ve been wanting to use my stash of large scale prints. I have a number of fat quarters and half metres from wonderful designers like Sandi Henderson, Anna-Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Amy Butler to name a few.
What these designers have in common is their courage to use colour and pattern, even when it ‘clashes’.
So I kept the design large and simple – 17″ half square triangles with navy feature diamonds.
This is a great beginner friendly project. You can work from 20 fat quarters and a little yardage for the contrasting diamonds. The diamonds are important as it gives the eye somewhere to land among the busyness of the prints.
If you are a regular visitor to my blog then you will know how much I love scrappy quilts. I appreciate they are not to everyone’s taste, but if you like using up fabric, then why not have a go!
My advice is to be brave. Don’t worry when you look at a couple of fabrics together and think ‘they don’t go’. If you can push pass the ‘over-thinking’ & ‘trying to match fabrics’ stage you won’t be disappointed – the magic happens when you step back and look at the finished quilt. I even use fabrics that I’ve fallen out of love with!
I totally love the ‘boho vibe’ these loud and crazy fabrics give the quilt!
And you can find it in the September issue of British Patchwork & Quilting.
I’m getting a little behind schedule in showing you my recent magazine commissions.
The September issue of Quilt Now will be released very soon, but first I need to show you what made front cover of their August issue.
This is my Sun, Sea and Sky scrap buster quilt. I had so much fun making this, and rummaging through scraps and fat quarters to get a colour scheme that evoked the warm aquas and teals of the summer sea and sky, with little hits of bright sunshiney yellow!
I designed a pieced block, which would give me a connecting secondary pattern (not unlike my daughter’s Around the World quilt).
If you look closely, you will see an alternating colour pattern, between the placement of the aqua and teal fabrics in each block, rather like the way the sea reflects the sky and vice versa.
Small scale prints or tone-on-tone fabrics will work best here. That meant I had to discount one or two of my scraps and ‘borrow’ a couple from a fellow fabric addict quilter!
I decided on organic wavy lines for the quilting, to create some movement through the blocks and maintain a fluid theme.
The quilt finishes at 61″ x 73″ and is backed with a fresh aqua polka dot. A blue and white striped binding finished off the coastal feel.
So that finishes my July round up of magazine commissions. The September issues are being released in the next week or so and I will have 3 more exciting quilts to show you!
In the meantime, my sewing room is almost finished, so I might actually be able to show you some photos soon!
It’s a happy day here at the Hollies Household because not only is the sun shining, we have just had gas installed in our new home! This means we now have long awaited hot water, cooking facilities and a little heat on chilly evenings! #livinglikekings
The quilt I’d like to show you today is long overdue its reveal!
My middle daughter turned 18 last February, and I got her birthday quilt started at Brit Bee Retreat.
My daughter loves travel/world themes as well as old style items, images and graphics. Also, she isn’t into pink or girly colours so much, so I knew I had to get the fabrics and colours just right.
I was browsing travel themed fabrics online and came across this Makower fabric called ‘Airmail Travel Stamp, Special Delivery!’ It was my perfect starting point and this became my ‘headline’ print. I used the colours in this print to guide me through the rest of my stash and scrap boxes.
I didn’t want to chop the Airmail print up too small, so designed an ‘on point’ block where large sections of the headline print would appear in the secondary pattern, with scrappy pieced dividers. A little white on white to separate the busyness and it all came together beautifully.
Keeping the scrappy prints to softer tones and small scale prints helped create an overall calm feel to the quilt. My daughter’s bedroom is mostly neutral creams and greys so I didn’t want the overall look of the quilt to be too bright.
I managed to get the quilt almost completed by the end of February, just a few weeks late of the birth date. And then a request came in from a magazine editor requesting a quilt for a summer edition!
This was the only quilt I had available in the tight timescale, so off it went to England, with an apology to my daughter for yet another delay on her quilt (she was most forgiving)!
The quilt was published in the August issue of Pretty Patches (still in the shops now) and it was returned to me yesterday!
I could finally present it to my girl, who I’m pleased to say, loves it!
She travels to Norway in September for 6 months and only wishes she had room in her luggage to take it with her (she might well be needing it over there!).
So that is the story behind ‘Around the World’ Birthday Quilt. Always a special make when it’s for a loved one, and only 6 months late!!
But continuous use means they get a little ‘worse for wear’ over time. So I thought a replacement was in order.
I mainly store my scraps in colour order, in a tall drawer stacker! But when I have leftovers from a particular collection, I will keep them together.
I had one such little bag of small 2″ squares leftover from a quilt project a few years ago. I can’t remember which fabric collection these are from, but I had just enough to create 9″ square pot holder.
Instead of using Insul Bright Heat Resistant wadding, I tried an extra thick compressed wadding (sold in the shop where I teach as ‘oven glove wadding’!).
I increased the stitch length and was able to quilt through it no problem. I love the firmness and texture from the thicker wadding.
Curving the corners and adding co-ordinating bias binding & a loop finished this quick little gift. It only took an afternoon!
I love how this pot holder has turned out! Can you believe I don’t have a single one in my own kitchen! I really must make myself a few, especially as they don’t take long, and let’s face it, I have oodles of scraps to choose from!
Linking up this hot pot holder with the Scraptastic Tuesday queens, Nicky and Leanne!