Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Beauty and The Beast!

A few weeks back I was offered an industrial Singer Sewing machine!

The Beast

She was originally a factory girl, retired long ago!

I call her 'The Beast'!

She weighs an absolute tonne (it took 3 men to carry her upstairs!) and sounds like a jumbo jet taking off (I hope the neighbours don't mind)!

The Beast

But boy can she sew, through super thick layers like denim!  And she's fast too, so I'd better keep my fingers well out of the way!

And the latest Brit Bee block I've been working on, was a complete Beast to make (!) but turns out is a Beauty for who I was making it for.

Brit Bee R4 Block for Fiona
30" x 15"

This block was designed by our Brit Bee Mama Laura Jane (who has just recently become a mama herself!!) and took a lot of patience, unpicking and even more patience! It is by far the most involved block we have made in Brit Bee so far and my attempt is perfectly imperfect!

Brit Bee R4 Block for Fiona
Love these wee doggies!
I was making for Fiona, in her choice of colours, and I've had the thumbs up from Fi (phew!).

So it looks like my 'beasts' have inner beauty after all!!

Jude xo

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Garden Shed Tidy!

Despite the chill factor, the sunny skies we've been having recently mean it is gardening weather once again!

Have you got your summer seeds ready yet?  I've already planted some beetroot and sunflowers, and am trying purple carrots for the first time this year!

So here's a wee project for all you keen gardeners (& sewers) out there!

Garden Shed Tidy (Pretty Patches May16)
Photo courtesy of Pretty Patches
This is my Garden Shed Tidy, in the May issue of Pretty Patches.

Garden Shed Tidy

Handy see through pockets mean you can easily keep an eye on all those seed packets and smaller knick-knacks!  Don't worry, sewing with pvc isn't as tricky as you might think!

Garden Shed Tidy

And you can keep your scissors and string handy on the clip-on key fobs!

You could easily adapt this tidy to suit a bathroom or bedroom, or even keeping stray envelopes and stamps in order!

Whatever you decide to tidy, enjoy the process and the results!

Happy gardening!

Jude xo

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Light And Leaves!

We had the most gloriously sunny day today!

I tried to capture the light on the limited features in my small garden.

Light in my garden

Light in my garden

Light in my garden

Light in my garden

Isn't light so inspiring, and seems to make everyone feel much more positive! One of my daughter's names means 'bringer of light' and she does just that, every day!

And here are a few more leaves to tell you about!

Applique Leaf Cushion (Sewing World May16)
Photo courtesy of Sewing World Magazine


This is my Applique Leaves Cushion in the current (May) issue of Sewing World, out now!

Applique can be a little intimidating for novices, especially when thinking of satin or blanket stitching the edges. 

'Raw edge applique' is a great way to introduce new shapes and pictures to your quilting.


This pattern uses bondaweb to fix the stem and leaves in place, and simple top stitching close to the raw edges completes the picture. No special foot needed, no changing the stitch settings on your machine.  Simple, fun and quick!

So if you've never tried applique yet, why not have a go at raw edge applique!  The possibilities are endless!

Happy sewing!

Jude xo

Friday, 15 April 2016

Siblings Together Quilted Blocks

Since I started blogging over 5 years ago, I quickly became part of a wonderfully giving and generous community of quilters.

I have made friends with folks around the world, we have laughed and cried together, shared our achievements, disasters, tips and tricks!

And now and again I get to meet some of these wonderful people in the flesh!


This is an old pic of me and Marie, who comes to Belfast each year, all the way from Oz!
I'm so privileged to call Marie a friend, she is a talented quilter and a truly generous and inspirational person. Today we met again for coffee, and our short time together always goes too quickly!

And she ALWAYS has a gift for me!

Roses from Marie

Thank you Marie for my pretty roses, and your smiling and passionate heart!

Another way to be a part of this amazing online quilting community is to donate blocks.

QAYG Blocks for Siblings Together


Over on the Siblings Together blog, they have put out the call for quilted 20.5" blocks, following this tutorial.

These are super quick and easy to make, and if you want to practise your patchwork and especially your quilting, then what better way than on these 'mini quilts'.

QAYG Blocks for Siblings Together

The tutorial says you can either 'quilt in the ditch' (see my tips on ditch quilting here) or quilt them another way.

Here are some examples:

Echo quilting the seams (sewing at least 1/4" either side of the seams) ...


Diagonal lines (mark these out first with chalk or non-permanent fabric marker) ...


Free motion squiggles (you need to drop your feed dogs and attach a darning foot to do this).


Whatever way you decide to make your blocks, have fun with them, and know they will be made up into a quilt for a sibling separated by the care system.

Happy quilting!

Jude xo

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Spring Rain Quilt!

Spring rain is something we get lots of here in N.Ireland!!  In fact we also get lots of Summer, Autumn and Winter rain too!

But I'm hoping you could live with this kind of spring rain all year round!!

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)
63" x 63"

This is my 'Spring Rain' quilt, as seen in the April issue of Pretty Patches.

Pretty Patches very kindly sent me the cutest bundle of fabrics called 'Spring Walk' by Little Cube.

Spring Walk

While spring can inspire many images, I immediately thought of raindrops (I wonder why!!) and showcased the fabrics in raindrop shaped portholes.

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)

I really enjoyed making this quilt and it was such a lovely bonus to see it on the front cover!

Spring Rain Quilt (April issue Pretty Patches)

One of the many things I love about spring is that it is the season of growth!  I have been doing a lot of personal growing lately, getting fitter physically and mentally.

And all the new growth in my little garden is a lovely reminder that no matter what is going on in our lives, there are always new opportunities to grow!

My garden (spring)

My garden (spring)

My garden (spring)



Happy growing!

Jude xo

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Mama Hen Quilt Complete!

The drive to make 100 quilts for Siblings Together summer camps 2016 continues.

The lovely ladies in the Siblings Together Bee 2 have been helping me put together a quilt full of hens!

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

11 Mama Hens flew back to Belfast to join my blue Mama Hen!

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

Aren't they sweet!  And the backing was donated by Sarah (love this generous quilting community).

Siblings Together Bee 2 Mama Hen quilt finished!

So that's my ST quilt all labelled and ready to be posted.

The siblings who receive these quilts have been separated by the care system, and get to spend 2 weeks together each summer. The feedback from the charity is that these quilts mean so much to the children who receive them, especially when they realise they get to keep them!

You can read more here about Siblings Together and the stories behind the quilts.

And I'll have another post later this week on how you can help with the ST quilt drive in a super easy and quick way!

Happy Sewing!

Jude xo

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Dog Gone Cute!

This month in Siblings Together Bee 2 we were making doggie blocks.

Dog Block for STB2/April16
18" x 14"


This is the large block pattern by Sew Fresh Quilts, as chosen by Sally.

Sally gave us free reign regarding colour, as long as the background was bright! I really love how these blocks turn out, but be warned, they are stitch-ripper friendly!!

In other bee news, Bee Blessed are asking for Modified Bento Blocks this month, untrimmed and unquartered:

Bee Blessed blocks April16


At this stage the blocks are 16" square, but the talented ladies at Bee Blessed will work their magic on them to turn them into something like this.

If you would like to make a small dent in your scraps box, and contribute to a very worthy charity group, Bee Blessed would love to receive a few blocks.  You can get all the details and tutorial here.

And before I go, I'll leave you with a few pics of my own cute doggy, Poppy.
Poppy

Poppy

Happy sewing!

Jude xo