My Patchwork Blog

Previous blog entries . . .

April - July 2015

March - January 2015

December - October 2014

September - July 2014

June - April 2014

March - January 2014

December - October 2013

September - July 2013

June - April 2013

March - January 2013

Wednesday 30th December
I hope that you are all finishing your projects that you started during 2015. If you have recently completed something that you made in one of my workshops, don't forget to send me a photo to put on the blog so that we can all celebrate the big finish!!!
My lovely friend Sarah sent me this postcard calendar in my Christmas card. There is a photo of a mini quilt for each month of the year. Aren't they lovely?

Tuesday 29th December
Back to reality! My Swirly Stars quilt pattern is in Popular Patchwork magazine this month. I love the chair that the quilt is draped over. What a brilliant colour to match the quilt. This is quite a quick quilt to make as the blocks are large so if you need a quick project grab a copy of the magazine.

Monday 28th December
Have just returned from a hot Christmas in St Lucia so hence the blog has been a bit quiet over the festive season. It has been great to relax in the sun and chill out. The later part of Christmas Day was spent on the beach with a glass of champagne listening to a steel band play Caribbean carols. It was such an amazing experience and I felt truly lucky to be there. Had to post a few photos. The little houses are made of gingerbread and had red and white sweets scattered around them but everyone kept eating them, hence the lonely houses! The tropical flowers were so vibrant.


Wednesday 15th December

I hope that if you have been reading my blog over the past year that you have enjoyed the journey or if you have been on one of my classes and your work has been featured here that you are proud of your finished project. Have a Very Merry Christmas and make sure that you get some stitching time in between the mince pies!

Sam has sent me a photo of her lovely Christmas Tree Quilt made in tartan fabrics. It just looks totally cosy and simply gorgeous and ready for Christmas. Thanks for sharing it with us Sam.


Sunday 6th December

Back to the Christmas theme. Who needs wrapping paper when you can make little felt gift bags to put your gifts in. They can be personalised with names or motifs and are fairly quick to make. I have included the instructions below:

Materials:
To make one bag:
1 rectangle of felt (these are usually approx 9” x 11”)
1 (1” x 10”) strip of torn fabric or ribbon
scraps of fabric for the motifs
bondaweb
coton-a-broder or embroidery thread

Method:

  1. Trace individual shapes (eg stars, stockings, trees, hearts etc) on to the smooth side of the bondaweb. Cut out each shape.
  2. Iron the shapes on to the reverse of the fabric scraps and cut out.
  3. Fold the felt in half. Bond the shapes on to the felt, taking care to centre the shapes on the lower half of the bag. Do not use the iron directly on the felt but use a pressing cloth or Teflon sheet.
  4. Use the cotton-a-broder to blanket stitch across the top edge. Stitch greetings or recipients name or messages around the shapes using a small running stitch. You can be as creative as you like here and add outline quilting or buttons, beads, etc..
  5. Fold the bag in half right sides together. Stitch along the side and bottom edge. Trim corners.
  6. Fill the bag with a special gift and tie with torn fabric or ribbon.

Saturday 5th December
I popped over to Patchwork Corner quilt shop in Hemel Hempstead today to drop off my projects for my classes in the new year. While I was there I had to buy some fabrics of course! Quite a random lot of fabric but hopefully it will all work in the quilt that I have in mind. I especially love the purple with the grey spot.

Patchwork Corner are having a sale on Saturday December 19th so if you live locally it is a good opportunity to stock up for fabric, thread and inspiration for stitching projects over the new year.

Wednesday 2nd December
It is that time of year when it is lovely to have some hand crafted Christmas bits to put out around the house; which then got me looking for inspiration... I found this really lovely website www.alicecaroline.co.uk which sells the most wonderful selection of Liberty fabric and patterns. After looking at all the fabrics and making a mental list of items to purchase in the very near future I found a great blog posting with instructions for making these delightful Christmas baubles. So simple but so effective - take a look at the website.....

Sunday 22nd November
I have been working away on a project for a magazine which is going to spread over several months. This weekend I have finally stitched on the binding. Finished at last! I always enjoy stitching the binding on a project as you get a real sense of satisfaction that you have actually completed a project. I just love the backing fabric - a retro style print. (Sorry can't show you anything else).

Friday 20th November
Yesterday found me at Ash Valley Quilters in Sawbridgeworth in Essex teaching an evening workshop on Fabric Christmas Crackers. Possibly the largest class I have ever taught - 60 quilters all making crackers! The crackers come apart so that a small gift can be put inside and can be decorated in all sorts of ways. There were some stunning crackers finished by the end of the evening.

Sunday 15th November
Not sure where this week has gone but it does feel as if we are hurtling towards Christmas. I belong to the Modern Quilt Group which is part of the Quilters Guild. It is an on-line group and has just had its first challenge which was to make a small quilt (20") square featuring equilateral triangles. Forty quilters took part and all quilts were displayed this weekend at the West Country Quilt Show in Bristol. My entry featured triangles in various arrangements with quite a lot of close quilting over the top.


Sunday 8th November

It is always good to accumulate fabric! I have started collecting some fabrics for my next project. Not quite sure what that will be yet and I still need to add to the collection. Perhaps some more purple and mustard fabrics to add to the mix?

Sunday 1st November
In between teaching classes and designing projects for magazines I have been working on a book which is soon to be released. I have always wanted to write a patchwork book and here it is - Simply Modern Patchwork Bags. I have had such fun designing the bags and working with some lovely fabric ranges. The book is available to pre order on Amazon and Search Press and as soon as I know the exact date that it is available I will let you all know!

Saturday 31st October
On Tuesday I taught a class at Sunshine Quilters in Essex. The ladies were making patchwork bags. These were messenger type bags and had quite a lot of work in them but actually came together quite quickly at the end. Here are some of the completed bags:

Thank you ladies - hope you enjoy your bags; they look fabulous!

Tuesday 27th October
Yesterday saw me at Keene Quilters in Stock in Essex teaching a worskhop on Flower Gift Bags. The process involves bonding fresh flowers, leaves and threads on to fabric and then using the fabric to make little gift bags. Although it is not the best time of the year for finding fresh flowers, the ladies had a good selection and some lovely little gift bags were made.

Sunday 25th October 2015
Isn't this quilt lovely? This was made by Julie in my Stars in the Cabin workshop. She has used a fabric range by Janet Clare. Julie has an online shop www.laughinghedgehog.com and she stocks this range of fabrics. If you are going to the quilt show at Duxford next weekend I know that Julie will be trading there and have these fabrics in stock.

Saturday 24th October
Today I have been at Just Between Friends in Essex teaching a Christmas class!!!!! I know it is only October but you have to start early if you want to get finished in time for the big day. We were working on a Christmas tree wallhanging which had nine appliqued Christmas trees on it. Some lovely fabrics were being used and by the end of the day everyone had a number of completed trees. Here is some work in progress:

Cathy also bought her quilt back which she had completed after the Stars in the Cabin workshop. Well done Cathy - a lovely quilt and beautifully stitched.

Wednesday 21st October
Last day of the magazine reviews. I have had fun buying all of these in the name of research!
Today I am looking at "Love Patchwork and Quilting" magazine which has been around for a couple of years now. The magazine has ten projects both small and large with some nice Christmas projects to get you started for the festive season. My favourite is this small quilt finished with pom poms. How cute is that? One of the things that I have always liked about this magazine is how beautifully styled it is.

We need to finish with "Popular Patchwork" magazine which is a magazine that I regularly contribute to so I am hugely biased about this. In this month's edition I have have made the front cover with my Basement Windows quilt. This is a traditional block with a modern twist to it. I loved these fabrics as soon as I saw them and as I am having a grey phase I had to add some grey background fabric. I have also written a short article which is on the back page on what to do and see in Hertford if you enjoy patchwork and crafting. It was such fun to write this and check out all of the shops and arty things on my doorstep.


Saturday 17th October
Still on a roll with the magazine reviews and day five looks at "Quilt Now". I must admit that I like this magazine. (I am slightly biased as I have been a contributer). There are always lots of projects in this magazine and this month is no exception with 15 projects both small and large plus features. If you are new to patchwork there is a section on making your first quilt - lots of easy step by step instructions to get you started. The quilt on the cover; designed and made by Lynne Goldsworthy is stunning.

Wednesday 14th October
Day four of the magazine reviews and today I am looking at "Pretty Patches". This magazine comes with a free booklet containing patchwork projects for the home. There are 15 little projects to stitch in the booklet which I think represents very good value for money. This isn't a magazine that I usually buy and I haven't purchased one for some time mainly because it always has lots of projects lifted from already published books and I prefer to see original projects in magazines but I was pleasantly surprised when I opened this to find lots of original projects photographed clearly on nice quality paper. There is a feature about textile artist Sandra Meech and her abstract landscapes which make interesting reading. There are also a number of projects in the magazine both big and small so all in all a good buy!

Saturday 10th October
Day three of my magazine reviews and today I am looking at a new magazine "Simply Moderne". This is issue one and is published by the people who produce Quilt Mania. It has a modern focus including a number of projects, a review of Quiltcon (I so want to go to this show one day!), an interview with Victoria Findlay Wolfe and some interesting articles. The projects are really innovative and the quality of the paper and the photography is second to none. I especially liked the interview with Victoria Findlay Wolfe - her quilts are a riot of colour, fresh, modern and heaviy quilted. The magazine is quite pricy compared to others on the market so it wil be interesting to see how popular it is.

Wednesday 7th October
Day two of my magazine reviews and a look at "Patchwork and Quilting" magazine. This is the October issue and has six projects - a lovely curved pieced project from Helen Howes and also my favourite project in the magazine which is a Bright Batik Quilt by Julie Alderson. The batik squares really sizzle and the electric blue sashing just sets it all off brilliantly. I always think that this magazine has superb features and I enjoy reading about quilters and designers and the exhibition reviews. (How could I have missed some of these quilts at the Festival of Quilts?)

Sunday 4th October
Where has the week gone? I have done quite a lot of sewing this week as I am working on a magazine project. Unfortunately I can't share it with you at present but it is keeping me busy. It is a combination of piecing and applique which are my two most favourite things.

There are so many patchwork and quilting magazines on the market at the moment including some new ones. I though that I would have a little dip into a few magazines over the next few days:

The first is this one - "Today's Quilter" and this is issue one. I think it is aimed at traditional quilting but with a fresh twist. The contributers include many well known quilters including Lynne Edwards, Pam and Nicky Lintott, Jen Kingwell and Carolyn Forster to name just a few. There is a nice block of the month project designed by Jen Kingwell, five quilt projects and a technique section on using templates. Accompanying the magazine is a 50 page booklet celebrating Kaffe Fassett and fifty years in textiles. As you can imagine it is a riot of colour, showcases his work and has patterns for some of his quilts. It is a super booklet and one to collect.

Saturday 26th September
Today I have been teaching a "Stars in the Cabin" workshop at Just Between Friends in Essex. The workshop involved cutting lots of strips to make log cabin blocks and then in between these blocks we added stars. Everyone worked so hard (I think it was all the cake) and produced lots of blocks. You can see here lots of work in progress:

It is always interesting to see how different people work - we all have our own way of organising ourselves! I think I am probably a bit OCD and like to have most things filed, in order, labelled or stored in a certain way but fabric and creating doesn't always allow us to be like that all the time. Here are a couple of photos showing how two students on the class worked in the workshop. I love the riot of having all the strips in a big pile and randomly using them, but part of me would have to be like the second photo and work in a very ordered way. Thank you to the two ladies who allowed me to take a photo of their piles of strips (they didn't want to be named!)

Martina bought her quilt back to show me, that she had started in one of my classes earlier in the year. It is called "Ladders" and uses a lovely range of fabrics. I just love the scrappy binding. Thank you Martina - a lovely quilt.

Saturday 12th September
Today I have been teaching a workshop at Libertys in London. I teach in the Heritage Suite and there is always a lovely display in there. Today the display featured Liberty sewing products. They were so imaginatively displayed! There were also vases of fresh flowers:

The class was all about working with 2 1/2" half square triangles. There are so many possibilities for this technique so we had fun using the triangles to create lots of designs for our quilts. I hope you enjoyed the day ladies and finish your quilts. Here is some work in progress:


Sunday 7th September
I have this really nice bundle of fabrics. They are a deep yellow/mustard in colour. I keep looking at them trying to decide what to put with them. I wondered about navy blues? What do you think?

I am working with these lovely Martha Negley Flower Market fabrics at the moment. Not my usual type of fabric as it is very very flowery but good for me to break out of my comfort zone.

Tuesday 2nd September
Can't resist showing you my quilt in the September issue of Popular Patchwork. This is such a quick and simple quilt to make but is really good for showcasing fabrics with larger designs on them. I do love the way it has been photographed. If you need to make a quilt in a hurry then this is one for you!

Here is a sneaky peak of something I am working on:

Sunday 30th August
Have just returned from a week in Cornwall. Seven days away of which it rained on six! In true British fashion we did not let the rain stop us. Lots of walks on the beach and on the coastal paths, a visit to the Eden project and of course lots of yummy food.

I thought that it would be a good time to review a couple of products. The first is a product called "Best Press". I bought this at the Festival of Quilts and thought that I would give it a try. It is a product similiar to starch but with no residue. It does give that starch effect to fabrics but what I have found it really good for is for getting the creases out of fabric - especially those really tough ones down the centre where the fabric is folded on the bolt. It works! The bottles come in various smells - mine is fresh linen and I love it.

The second product is thread. I use these Aurifil threads all the time for piecing and the sludgy grey ones are my favourites. They come on spools of 1000 metres so last for ages. You actually don't need any other colours for piecing. The orange spool ones are best for piecing and the green spools for applique or quilting.

Wednesday 19th August
I always think that we never stop learning and I like to update my skills when I can. I went on a couple of half day courses at The Makery in John Lewis in London. In the morning I went on a workshop on free machine stitching. I have done a little of this before but wanted to refresh the technique. I loved this and have lots of fabric samples with my "scribbles on". In the afternoon I learned how to make a clutch coin purse with a metal frame. There is a real knack for inserting the frame! I think I might need a little more practice! I got the frame in successfully but my measuring wasn't so great so there are gaps in the fabric at each side of the frame so the coins would probably fall out. I will make some more but only purses for notes and not coins!

Saturday 15th August
I have been on a workshop to learn how to use image transfer paper. I can see that there would be quite a few possibilities for using this technique, especially in art quilts or perhaps where you want to use photos. You can use this with any printed design and this is a little sample using a printed leaf picture coloured with pastels and transferred.

 

Wednesday 12th August
At the Festival of Quilts I taught five workshops over the four days so I thought that I would share some of the work that went on in the workshops. I taught a class on Cathedral Window. This technique has so many possibilities and could be extended in many ways. We were working on little pin cushions. The second photo shows Sarah's pincushion. She didn't quite get it finished in class but stayed up that evening until 1am to finish it and bought it back the next day. Thank you Sarah - well done!

Here are some photos from the Bumpy Circles workshop. These blocks look like interconnecting octogons when stitched together. Everyone had made different fabric choices so it was really good to see the variety:

I also taught some Italian corded quilting workshops which had a modern twist to the traditional design. We used a nice heart design with some coloured embroidery cotton and when the cord was inserted the raised design looked very effective.

Monday 10th August
The last four days have flown by at The Festival of Quilts. My days were filled with teaching classes, going on some classes, looking at quilts, meeting up with friends and of course shopping! There were so many lovely quilts to look at and the winning ones were spectacular. I am always amazed by the intricate work of the tent makers of Cairo and enjoyed their display. How do they get their stitches so small?

I spent ages looking at the quilts of Luke Haynes. I like the way the images of people are on log cabin pieced backgrounds. I also loved this striped quilt of his. It just seems to sparkle! What a talented man.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this. Here is my quilt on the Popular Patchwork stand. The pattern will be in the September issue.

Monday 3rd August
Have just started a project that I will be teaching at Libertys in London next month. A whole day working with two and a half inch, half square triangles! I have made piles of the half square triangles and have been playing around with various designs. It is such a versatile block. Work in progress...

 

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