Thursday, 11 July 2019

Wonky Hexies Free Pattern

Did you know my Newsletter subscribers receive a free PDF pattern every month? So far this year, we have been enjoying my block-of-the-month Mystery quilt which came to an end in June. So we are now returning to my beloved pre-cuts and stash-busting patterns, starting with a variation on a theme... 

My Wonky Squares Wall Hanging pattern proved very popular, especially when I made it on Sewing Quarter, so I started to wonder which other shapes would work - and of course, I had to have a go with the good ol' hexy! I also returned to my partially-seamed hexies, a tutorial for which can be seen here. Add in the freezer paper technique used for the wonky blocks, and hey presto, I have a new pattern.

Now, I have to admit, I think there is a little too much white/negative space in the wall hanging for me - you may love the space to create beautiful free motion quilting designs, or maybe embroidered motifs. If it's not for you, then you can simply decrease the size of the sashings and borders as below, just taking an 1" off the width of the strips makes such a difference.

As the wonky blocks finish at a 9" square, there are so many possible layouts - I have had a play with a few below... 

In this one I have bordered the 9" blocks with blue strips to add a little more interest, then added white sashings and borders.

Who says the wall hanging has to be square, or this would make a gorgeous table runner. Add light blue sashings and inner border and then a wider white border.

Finally, my favourite, which I think I will just have to make into a quilt when I get a minute! I have added the layout below so you can see the white strips that offset the blocks to create this circle. 

You can obviously also play around with the colours - what about using all black and whites for a monotone quilt? Maybe different tones of the same colour? If you would like to receive this free pattern, subscribe to the Newsletter today - these patterns are free to my subscribers for a month before going on general sale.

On to something completely different - Sewing Quarter have been holding their Christmas In July event and I appeared last Thursday to make my EPP Snowflake cushion and a gorgeous Scandi quilt by Lynne Goldsworthy - you can watch these shows and catch up on my past appearances here.

Wishing you all a happy, sunny and creative week! Linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Quilting Concentric Circles Tutorial

As many of you know, I send out free monthly patterns to my Newsletter subscribers, and for the last few months we have been working on a mystery block-of-the-month, the Birds of a Feather quilt. 
Well, last month saw the grand reveal, and then I thought I would add a bonus email with instructions for a pieced backing, and then ideas for quilting. 

I then one step further and made up a quick video on how quilted my own version in a concentric circles design using my walking foot on my home machine.

Even though this design does take a while, especially on a domestic sewing machine, it is still possible (though I strongly recommend an extension table and quilting gloves) and the time and patience is well worth the effort! I love the texture this design creates and I think it accentuates the idea of the birds flying out of the centre nest. I'm hoping to put this quilt together as a kit soon, so watch this space!

Elsewhere at Sewmotion, I'm in the middle of Festival of Quilt prep madness, surrounded by kits, papers and patterns that all need sorting into boxes! I also came across some tickets for this year's show, so I'm holding a little competition on my Instagram page for a chance to win not only two show tickets, but also one of my new Hoop Art kits - visit my page for more details here.

Wishing you all a fun and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Valuable Lessons Learnt Making the Lisbon Tiles Quilt

For my latest appearance on Sewing Quarter, I was asked to make the gorgeous Lisbon Tiles quilt by Jo Avery of My Bear Paw, which was featured in a recent Today's Quilter. As you can see below, Jo made her quilt in rich red and yellow scraps from her stash. 

I was asked to make the quilt in pretty floral prints from Moda, so I sorted out the colours according to the brief, the yellows and greens were like for like in the quilt which was fine, however, the pinks and blues were to replace the reds in the original quilt, which is where my quilt went in a different direction.

Once I had cut all the fabric pieces, I got stuck into a few hours of foundation paper-piecing, surrounded by the usual mess, am I alone in this? With all the trimming and different pieces, I soon find myself getting very untidy! Anyway, as Jo suggested, I made a few blocks at a time - the whole quilt is actually made of just one block, four of which make the star. As I made each block I laid them out on the floor beside me, and soon realised this was going to be even more scrappy that Jo's. 

Even though I tried to go for some pattern and had the red stars in the centre and four corners, with the blue stars filling the rest, I still think something was lost in having so many very similar prints close to each other, in some cases the star is lost completely. I realised that this came down to fabric values...

Fabric values, along with hues and saturation, are all interlinked in colour theory, and come in very handy with planning a quilt design. Hue is what people mean when they say 'colour' - red is a different hue than blue. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of the hue, so you could have reds of the same hue, but one is of a lighter value than the other. Whereas saturation is the intensity of the colour and is related to the hue and value. Fully saturated colours appear brighter and clearer, while less saturated colours are milky or greyer. A fully saturated yellow has a much lighter value than a fully saturated red. 

So if we apply this theory to my quilt, you can see that there is one red hue that stands out more than any other as it is the most saturated, while the other reds used to make up the star design are less saturated and very similar in value to the neighbouring yellows, making the overall star design less distinct.

When preparing for the Sewing Quarter show, I decided to make up another block using identical red and yellow prints for the four blocks to make up a full star to show how being less scrappy would give you a whole different look. As you can see above, I used the same strong red and yellow prints for the star shape, but still went scrappy for the smaller pieces. While I prefer this layout, I also still love the scrappy version I made for the show, and of course, just had to quilt it in wavy lines!

If you would like to watch the Sewing Quarter show with the riotous John Scott, you can catch it here on their YouTube channel

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Oh Scrap! and Needle & Thread Thursday 

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Completed Mystery Quilts & New Hoop Kits

After last week's grand reveal of my Birds of a Feather Mystery quilt, I've seen some lovely completed tops - I have a few prompt quilters who have religiously kept up with my monthly posts, one of which had saved them until the end and then made it during her last five weekly quilt group meetings!

The first of these quilts is by Justine, who had actually got ahead of me and finished the quilt before the grand reveal, clever girl!! ;) I was so happy to see the quilt made up in the luscious grey and purple fabric bundle - doesn't it look so rich and sumptuous! Justine tells me she plans to add a couple more borders to increase the size, which will look amazing!

You can see the close up centre of this colourway in Ann's quilt - made over five weeks in her quilt class, she also loves how the purples and greys work so well together.

Ruth was wonderful throughout this process and more or less made up each block on the same day she received the pattern, which was why she was the first to tell me of any hiccups! Thanks again Ruth :) In her version she used the Flora Pop fabrics, similar to my own, however, if memory serves, I think she bought two or three of the curated fabric bundles, so I can see her making at least one more quilt!

Finally, Jan went for her own choice of fabrics, and purchased some Linen Textures from the Sewmotion shop - I love these soft pastel shades, and it really does look like such a different quilt compared to the grey and purple. Next month I will be sharing quilting ideas and a free pieced backing design.

This free pattern will be available to my Newsletter subscribers until the end of June, sign up now and join in the fun - you will also receive subscriber-only offers, more free patterns and the latest Sewmotion news.

Meanwhile, in the Sewmotion shop, I have released two new EPP Flower Hoop Art Kits - these projects are mounted into 12" hoops and come in two designs. The first is in lovely 1930s-inspired vintage fabrics, while the second features Makower's Woodland range in soft blues and greys. Each of these kits include the fabric and wadding, embroidery thread, pre-cut papers, 12" wooden hoop and full instructions - the perfect holiday project! What's more, if you subscribe to the Newsletter, you can get 10% off these new kits today!

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers, Oh Scrap! and Needle & Thread Thursday

Friday, 7 June 2019

The Grand Reveal of the mystery quilt

When I came up with the idea of running a block-of-the-month mystery quilt for my Newsletter subscribers, it was primarily to give me a chance to get ahead with my free monthly patterns... of course this hasn't happened, and with month five upon us, I have still to write up the rest of the year's free patterns which was the plan. Ah well, forwarding planning was never my strong point!

However, I have found that my subscribers are loving the monthly blocks, with just enough to do each month to keep up, I've had some really lovely feedback. Up until now this has been a mystery quilt and this week I revealed the final layout, which you can see below. 

I have already had one customer send me pics of her own version which she made with the luscious greys and purples in one of my specially curated fabric bundles. Her quilt is beautiful, I'll be sharing more quilts next week once subscribers have had a chance to read the latest newsletter.

If you would like to learn more about this quilt and get free instructions for the past five months (now you know what it looks like) then sign up to the Newsletter now. This free patten will only be available until the end of June. As a bonus in July I will be sharing quilting tips and even a pieced backing pattern.

My latest Sewing Quarter adventure once again saw me on screen with John Scott where I demoed this stunning FPP quilt by Linda Clements. I do love foundation paper-piecing even if it is a little time consuming, and this project certainly put my skills to the test. 128 blocks!! 

I also showed how to make my very own Wonky Squares Wall Hanging, which did look amazing in those beautiful batiks! If you missed the show or would like to see it again, you can catch it on Sewing Quarter's YouTube page here. I also have my Wonky Squares pattern available on the Sewmotion website, both printed and as a digital download.

Wishing you all a happy, sunny and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Quilts UK and Sewing Quarter

I am back from this year's Quilts UK in Malvern. This four-day show is set in the beautiful Worcestershire countryside in Malvern and is the second largest quilt show in the UK after the Festival of Quilts. My week started with a four-hour drive on my tod across the country, this is the furthest I had driven on my own ever, so I was pretty pleased with myself when I finally got there!  Then I had to set up the stand, I was really close to my old employers, Doughty's - most of the time they were laughing at me, but they did help when it was needed. 

Doing Quilts UK also means I get to return to Hereford where I stay with Ruth, Mrs Doughty, over the show. It's always lovely to catch up and we have a good old chat, she also knew the short cuts on the way back to Malvern the following morning. On Friday, I had help on the stand from the lovely Sarah, another former Doughty worker who just comes for a laugh, and then Justin arrived Friday night, so thankfully I didn't have to drive home!

I had a lot of fun meeting so many familiar faces, including many fellow Sewing Quarter presenters. I also had some lovely viewers come up to tell me how much they enjoy my shows, which was really sweet of them, it's great to know the nerves don't show and my demos make sense haha! 

Now I'm back home, I feel pretty shattered, it's weird, it's like I'm jet lagged, hopefully a few days off next week will sort me out. Before then however, I'm back on Sewing Quarter on Bank Holiday Monday where I will be demoing this foundation-pieced Garden Paths quilt by Linda Clements, and then my own Wonky Squares wall hanging using jelly roll strips and some quick and easy cutting.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Month Four of the Mystery Quilt

Where is this year going!?!? I can't believe it's May and nearly time for Quilts UK at Malvern.  As you can imagine, I've being extremely busy cutting, folding and making up kits for this upcoming 4-day show - I'm also working on some new kits which will have their debut at the show.

Inbetween all this I have been on Sewing Quarter again, this time demoing a lovely summery quilt from the Big Book of Lap Quilts. This was a joy to make and the large flying geese blocks came together so quickly. In contrast, my second project was Lynne Edwards' Cathedral Windows table runner, which featured both machine and hand sewing, so it was nice to get back to some hand work.

You can catch these shows on Sewing Quarter's YouTube channel here, and you can see links to all my past SQ shows here.

The beginning of another month can only mean one thing, it's time for the next instalment of my block-of-the-month mystery quilt. This Birds of a Feather quilt is free to my Newsletter subscribers, and features half-square triangles, a little foundation piecing and some simple patchwork. If you would like to join us you can sign up here, and you will receive the latest Newsletter with links to previous months so you can catch up with the BOM.

Last week saw the release of a new EPP Flower Cushion kit, this time in this cute Red House Liberty print. This kit is a great introduction to curved English paper-piecing as the pieces are quite large and not too fiddly. And of course, you also have my four-part youTube tutorial to help you on your way. You can find out more about this new EPP kit here.

Wishing you all a fun and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Friday, 19 April 2019

Stunning Scotland and an Easter Sale

It has recently dawned on us that having lived so far north of the UK for a few years now, we had still not ventured into our neighbouring country, Scotland, and decided it was about time we did! As my husband can never just go to one place, he set about planning us a mini tour starting in Stirling, then up to Glencoe and the Highlands and then finally a few days in Edinburgh.

I have to say, even though we expected the landscape to be as beautiful as you see in the films, seeing it in real life really does take your breath away!

We even drove up to the bottom point of Loch Ness to see if we could spot the shy creature, alas, Nessy was keeping well and truly hidden that day :) The loch was stunning though.

Justin found the wonderful Lochleven Seafood Cafe down a wiggly road alongside the nearby loch where we had some amazing local seafood, I wasn't too sure about the razor clams to be honest but the langoustines were gorgeous!

We then headed back down to Edinburgh where we dumped the car (I highly recommend the city's Park & Ride scheme, the buses are frequent, and you don't have to worry about parking in a busy city) We stayed at the Brooks Hotel, a very nice and comfy boutique hotel where we had an afternoon tea and bottle of fizz included in the deal - not a bad start eh!?

We like to amble on our city breaks, and Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, you don't realise you're walking up and down so many hills! We made our way to Dovecot Studios to see the much anticipated Orla Kiely exhibition...

I have always loved Orla's strong and colourful graphic design, and with all those curved shapes as inspiration, I can't wait to start designing some more Hoop Art and cushion EPP projects! And just look at that stitching on the red bag, totally love it!! Dovecot Studios is also home to the Tapestry Studio where you can see artists in residence working on their extraordinary pieces of art. There is also a very interesting exhibit on the rescue and refurbishment of these former swimming baths.

Our visit to Edinburgh couldn't be complete without a visit to My Bear Paw to see the very lovely Jo Avery. The shop is normally closed on a Tuesday but luckily Jo was teaching an evening class so we managed to have a quick cuppa and chat before her ladies arrived. My Bear Paw is such a cute shop and you must go if you're in town, Jo's also going to stock some more of my kits, which is great news!

Talking of kits, back at Sewmotion HQ, I'm holding my annual Easter Sale with up to 20% off in the online shop. This is a great opportunity to grab that kit you may have had your eye on for a while, or maybe try a new technique with one of my cushion or hoop kits, or maybe you just need to stock up on your EPP essentials. No code needed - you can visit the shop here.

Wishing you all a peaceful and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

A Foundation Paper-Piecing video

As you may know, I offer my Newsletter subscribers a free PDF pattern every month, and currently we are making a block-of-the-month Mystery quilt - Birds of a Feather. Block 3 involves some simple foundation paper-piecing and more half-square triangles. 

Now I know foundation piecing can be quite daunting and confusing for some, it certainly was for me until I had that eureka moment when I discovered this technique using an A5 piece of card and an Add a Quarter Ruler - this tool really is invaluable! So as well as my comprehensive instructions in the pattern, I thought I would make a little video to provide even more help. If you would you like to try this technique for the first time, or maybe you'd like to see a different way of sewing the templates, then watch the video below.

If you would like to join in this mystery quilt fun, you can subscribe here to receive the latest Newsletter, which includes links to the previous two months' patterns.

As well as making up lots of new kits for Quilts UK next month, I've been working on some new projects, soon to become kits, including a new version of my zigzag quilt using Libs Elliott' gorgeous Tattooed North prrints, and another Curved EPP Flower cushion in Liberty's Red House print from their Cottage Garden collection. These kits will both be available in the online shop very soon.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Sewing Quarter Medallion Fun

A couple of week's ago I was sent the brief for my next appearance on the Sewing Quarter - the UK's first TV Channel dedicated to sewing and quilting. As well as being available on Freeview (73) and Sky (687) you can also watch the shows live on their website and then, the best bit, they then upload most of the shows up onto their YouTube channel to be watched as many times as you like, which I think is very handy if you buy a kit or pattern and need a reminder on how to make it.

Anyway, back to the brief - this time I was asked to make Lynne Goldsworthy's Rainbow Medallion quilt that had been featured in a recent Today's Quilter. I have to say, I have never made so many half-square triangles in such a short time in my life! Thankfully it was using the paper template method, my fave and by far the quickest - you can see my tutorial on this method along with free templates here. The one thing that worries me about Medallion quilts is that you really need to be careful that each round you add to the quilt is squared up nicely and that you're not going askew. I needn't have worried though, this Medallion is mostly made up of 2" HSTs and squares, so matching the seams was a joy and kept me nicely squared up.

My second project was this cute Beside the Seaside cushion, a little out of my comfort zone as I don't do a lot of embroidery, though I wish I had more time to! I think this is the best bit about working for Sewing Quarter, not only do I get to work on other people's patterns, but I also get the chance to try different techniques and styles that I wouldn't normally have time to in my work for Sewmotion.

If you would like to catch up on these shows, or rewatch them, you can see them here on Sewing Quarter's YouTube channel, the Medallion quilt is in the second hour, with the cushion in the fourth.

Wishing you all a sunny and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Friday, 22 March 2019

Quilting for Beginners Workshop

There are some great workshops coming up at TeesCreatives in Middlesbrough, including how to Make Your Own Jeans, and Design and Make a Cushion. I am also running Quilting for Beginners, a series of five 2.5hr workshops aimed at those totally new to patchwork and quilting, or those who need a refresher in the techniques. I will show you how to make four different quilt blocks using a variety of hand and machine piecing techniques, and then how to make them up into a wall hanging or a set of cushions.

TeesCreatives provides sewing machines and all the tools you need for each workshop so all you need to bring is fabric and enthusiasm. The on-site Sewmotion pop-up shop will be open an hour before the class to purchase your materials where you'll also get 10% off as you are attending a class. You can find out more about this workshop here and see TC's list of workshops here

Meanwhile, back at Sewmotion, I've been buried in half-square triangles making up a gorgeous Medallion quilt for my next appearance on Sewing Quarter TV Channel next Tuesday (26th March). You can watch me demo this and a lovely embroidered cushion at 9am and 11am on Freeview channel 73, Sky 687, online and on YouTube.

Wishing you all a creative and peaceful week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Sewmotion on the Road

Last weekend I was invited back to hold a Sewmotion popup at the Cleveland Lace Guild in nearby Eaglescliffe. This lovely group of ladies make the most stunning lace work, and also dabble in patchwork, well some of them more than dabble! After a couple hours of selling and chatting about quilting, all went quiet for a talk given by the wardrobe dressers of the Little Middlesbrough theatre. These two ladies were a great double act and showed off their collection of aged ballgowns that have been donated over the years which they now use for theatre productions.

I'm on the road again next week for this great little event run by quilting and textiles expert Beryl Frank of Knot Studio. As well as having the chance to get your machine PAT tested, Beryl will be on hand to help with any projects or UFOs, while I will have a collection of fabric pre-cuts, kits and patterns for sale.

I'm happy to finally have the Sewline glue refills back in stock, as well as the Heather & Rose fabric bundle for my Mystery Quilt block of the month, available to my Newsletter subscribers. To find out more about these free patterns, see my previous post.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Lets Bee SocialMidweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Block Two of my Newsletter Mystery Quilt

It's time for the second block in my Birds of a Feather mystery quilt - for those who missed last month's blog and don't know about my Newsletter, every month I offer my Newsletter subscribers a free pattern, usually based on my love of Pre-Cuts. This year, I'm trying something a little different and running a five-month block-of-the-month mystery quilt called Birds of a Feather.

This machine-pieced quilt finishes at approx 62" square and features half-square triangles, a little foundation piecing and some simple patchwork. If you would like to join in the fun, you can sign up here to the Newsletter and receive this month's block as well as a link to block one.

I had a great time with John Scott on Monday's show at Sewing Quarter, inbetween the giggles and silliness, I managed to demo a lovely hand pieced Hexy bag and a beautiful Riley Blake quilt - if you missed the show or would like to see the demos again, you can catch it on Sewing Quarter's YouTube channel - I'm on in the second and fourth hours.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday