A new project and the sketchbook challenge update

I am going to start with an apology to all those who have subscribed to my blog for the radio silence of the last couple of weeks. It probably appeared that nothing was happening the studio but this is far from the truth. I was asked to produce some kits and classes to introduce patchwork to compete novices. Introducing new students to patchwork & quilting is a passion of mine, I love seeing them fall in love with the craft and watching their skills grow. However this meant that normal work in the studio had to take a side line. Things will get back to normal in a couple of weeks when the kits go live. I will be able to post more about this project then.

I did manage to add some more to the sketchbook I am making following Laura Kemshall’s sketchbook challenge course. The second lesson was to add colour to the pages. I started with acrylic but think that I have added too much. It is going to be interesting to see how these pages change as more layers of colour are added.

This is not the only sketchbook I will need to work on over the next month. The date for the Festival of Quilts is getting closer and I will need to start work on a quilt soon if I want to enter this year.

I will have to try not to take on any more new projects.


Spring Flowers

Having had a busy couple of weeks, writing patterns, recording videos and preparing new projects it was lovely to spend time in the garden and on my allotment. The daffodils are providing a lovely splash of colour and it took all my will power not to cut a few for the house. This is their first year and I want to let them become really established before I take any.

However, a couple of week ago in my modern quilt group zoom meeting, one of our members showed us how to make fabric tulips. If I am not going to pick my daffodils this year, I can make some fabric flowers.

I used batik fabric for the flower heads and plain craft cotton for the leaves and stems. The stems are a piece of wooden dowel covered with fabric. Found turning the fabric tube the most fiddly part of making the tulips and will be researching easier methods before making more.

I am very pleased with how the tulips turned out and I have placed the vase so that I see them every time I look up from my computer. It certainly has brought a small piece of Spring into my studio.

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Happy Quilting


Continuous Line Quilting.

The zoom classes for the Ambleside quilt have been going well and it is now time to think about the quilting. Some quilts have to be quilted when all the piecing has been done and the quilt top is complete. Others, like this one, can be divided into smaller, more manageable pieces for a domestic sewing machine. This is called quilt as you go.

Each of the blocks are quilted and then the quilt assembled into the finished pattern.

As I am not a great fan of lots of loose ends to tie in, I like point to point, continuous line quilting. The picture below shows the start and end point for the quilting. I only have the four threads to tie in and I managed to start and end at the same point.

I have chosen to quilt in the same colour thread, (King Tut by Superior Threads, Red Sea – 926) on both the front and the back of the quilt. This is to prevent any small pin points of colour showing on either side. It also shows the pattern on the block and adds interest to the back of the quilt.

Perhaps this needs to be renamed this quirky quilting. What do you think?

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It was February – now it’s March

The last couple of weeks have gone by in a flash, The weather was quite mild for a while, so I took the opportunity of spending some time at my allotment. I am still harvesting carrots and parsnips and am starting to plan this years crops. I was very surprised to see my small peach tree in flower. We are still getting early morning frost, so it will need protecting for a few more weeks. There are signs of Spring everywhere. I planted daffodils around the fruit trees which are starting to show. They are a favourite flower at this time of the year bringing a welcome splash of colour on dull days. It is important to spend time outdoors but there are times that I wish there were more hours in the day.

When I have been in my studio it has been for zoom classes. I have enjoyed keeping in touch with everyone via the wonders of the internet, but am looking forward to getting back to teaching in person as well. It has been lovely to meet people from all around the country and to share my patterns and techniques. The Newlands table runner day was great fun and the runners looked fabulous at the end of the session.

Lynn shared her finished runner which compliments the colours in the room perfectly. I love her quilting patterns and the purple accent borders.

After the disappearing four patch block zoom lesson, Janet made these striking pillows. One of the most pleasurable parts of teaching is to see what is done with the techniques and patterns from the classes. The pillows are just beautiful, and look very welcoming.

This week saw the third lesson in the Ambleside quilt course, and the quilts are starting to take shape. It was lovely to receive an email today with a photo of Sally’s blocks. It is going to be a stunning quilt.

The backing fabric for the block swap quilt has now arrived. So this week I plan to get it layered up and to make start on the quilting. I also have a few ideas for some new patterns which need fleshing out. I can see that if the weather keeps improving I am going to be torn between spending time in the garden and allotment and in my studio.

Oh for a few more hours in the day.


Fabric Auditioning

Over the last couple of weeks I have spent a lot of time in the studio piecing the block swap quilt. The seam ripper was my constant companion as I kept changing my mind on border widths and fabric choices. This is not how I usually work and so was a new experience. Improvisational piecing can be liberating but can also bring headaches. It didn’t help that I ran out of the white background fabric and so had to change my mind over the corner block sizes.

But now after all the difficulties, the piecing is complete and it is time to decide whether to add borders or not. I left the quilt top on the design wall and pondered this question for several days we. I have gone from one border to two and finally three. Then there is the choice of fabrics. The choice for middle border are between the fabrics framing the blocks on the quilt top. The dark blue are the on-point blocks and the teal fabric frames the square ones.

I auditioned and photographed fabric combinations to make a decision. Finally I chose the dark blue, as it will give a more subtle effect to the border than the brighter teal fabric.

My aim was to complete the quilt top in February, which I am pleased to have done. I had thought that I could quilted it too. However as usual I don’t have sufficient fabric in my stash for the backing so I am now waiting for some more fabric to arrive.

This has been one of the frustrations of the last year, but hopefully with the vaccinations rolling out we will be able to visit our favourite fabric shops again soon. It has been good to use up fabric in the stash, as I am sure that I still have more than I will ever use.

Must keep quilting


A Fabric Basket

What do you do with left over blocks?

Do you make them into cushions, bags, or something else?

Sometimes, when I am designing projects, I have sample blocks left over. I had a block left from the Newlands table runner pattern, which I thought would make a lovely fabric basket or tray to compliment the table runner. It can have many uses from a bread basket to a cutlery and napkin tray.

The basket or tray can be made to any size square or rectangle by adjusting the length of the borders. The sides can be made shallower or deeper by changing the width of the borders.

Download instructions -Fabric Tray from the free content section of the website.

It is a lovely project to use up those odd blocks. I hope you enjoy it.

Due to unforeseen circumstances I have had to change the date for the Newlands Table Runner workshop to Wednesday 24th February. If you would like to join the online day class please message me.



When does Work in Progress become an UnFinished Object?

As a textile teacher I have over the years created many samples, partially finished examples, step by step pieces, and some actually finished. The samples that are finished are not the problem. The step by step examples are. They have a habit of becoming UFO’s. I have quite a collection of flimsy’s – these are un-quilted quilt tops. I think my problem is that as soon as I have finished the piecing my mind is already moving on to the next quilt design. I am determined that this year I will make inroads into this collection, although I may need to find a way of creating more hours in the day.

Clare’s Block for the block swap

I am making a start with one of my most recent quilts, The lockdown block swap quilt of my Modern quilt group. I receive the last block this week from Clare in France and it fits in beautifully with those I have already received. This afternoon I had time to get all the blocks out on to my design wall and have a play with the quilt layout.

When I photographed each idea it became apparent that some of the blocks were darker than others. This helped me decide where they should be in the quilt.

I think that this is the final layout, and I have started adding borders to the blocks, which has really made them pop. I am getting a feel for how the final quilt may look but I may change my mind as the quilt develops. However it ends up, this is my Finish in February challenge. Are you doing a Finish in February challenge?

Fingers crossed that it doesn’t end up in the pile of flimsy’s.


Free pattern download for the Twisting Bears and Tropical Bears Blocks

Newlands Table Runner

I can’t believe that it is Friday already, Where has the week gone? There is never enough time in the day to get everything done. But I started the week with a pile of fabric and have ended with a new table runner.

I name my patterns after places in the English Lake District and this one is no different. I had a short list of four and with help from my family and friends, Newlands was the chosen name. I can remember walking Newlands pass with my sisters, parents and two Dalmations, on many occasions. Bilberry picking on the slopes and watching the dogs play in the stream below Moss Force waterfall. Lots of lovely memories.

I have been working with Tudor Rose Patchwork to develop this table runner for an online class on Wednesday 24th February. If you would like to join in with this new project please get in touch with the lovely staff at Tudor Rose. Online classes are a great way to continue our crafting in a social way at this time.

If you are looking for fabric for this class or a new project, Sandra has a lovely range of fabrics called Wild Flower by Fabric Freedom I have added photos above to show the central panel of the runner in the different fabrics. It always amazes me how different the pattern can look by changing the fabric. Looking at them I am getting itchy fingers to get back to the sewing machine.

Have you got a project on the go at the moment?

Happy Quilting


The End of a Busy Week.

Or is it the start of a new one? I am never sure with Sundays. Whatever it is, it is a chance to update my blog.

I received another block for the block swap quilt my quilt group started during lockdown last year. I couldn’t resist getting them all out and have another look at them all together. The final placement and design will have to wait until I have received them all but it is exciting to see them so far. Although everyone started with the same traditional block – the bears paw – they all chose different blocks to merge with it to create new designs. They are going to very personal quilts for each of us, with blocks made specifically for us in our chosen colour scheme.

I was excited to receive a large fabric delivery this week and have spent a lot of time looking at the rainbow of colours I now have to play with.

Talking of a rainbow of colours I chose a few more pages for my sketchbook. I have cleared an area in my studio for the sketchbook challenge and need to make time this week for the next lesson.

Yesterday I started the Ambleside quilt block of the month quilt course. Even though the group is geographically apart, it is companionable to work together online. It was a busy day, everyone completed the first block, and we also looked at the sashing and cornerstones. I gave myself a challenge with a linear patterned fabric, and will have to be careful with the initial placement to ensure the pattern all goes in the same direction.

And finally today it started snowing. We couldn’t resist an afternoon walk round the park. It looks so different in its white blanket. There were lots of families out making the most of the snow by sledging and making snowmen. Looking at the weather forecast it is not going to last long, tomorrow we are forecast sun. Every day is different and we need to make the most of every day. It is going to be exciting to see what the new week has in store.

Happy Quilting


A New Sketchbook Started

At the end of the year I treated myself to Laura Kemshalls Sketchbook Challenge. At times we all need a bit of a push to get going and this is going to be a great way to start the New Year. Yesterday I had a couple of hours to myself and I took the opportunity to start the course. I didn’t have time to get my art equipment out so I looked through papers I had already painted, printed, scrunched and stitched for the first pages of my sketchbook. This is a selection of those chosen.

I have chosen this to be the first page in my book as it is very vibrant. It is an acrylic wash on card, over printed with spirals and overprinted again with Liquitex iridescent green. This shows how old this painted paper is, as it is now Liquitex iridescent medium which you can add to acrylic paint of your choice.

Next is scrunched tissue paper glued to thick paper with PVA glue. Ink wash and Markal paint stick stencil.

Below – crumpled brown paper with an acrylic wash. Highlighted with gold acrylic.

Finally a long page for the sketchbook. Black wax crayon mark making with acrylic wash.

Already the sketchbook is starting to take shape and I am excited to see where this challenge takes me over the next few months. I will stitch these pages in place and look forward to the next video in the series.

Have you started a new project this year?