This months book review is of ‘Simply Modern Patchwork Quilts’ by Janet Goddard. It was released in May and I was lucky enough to bag a copy of it early that month. It contains patterns and step by step instructions for ten patchwork quilts as well as a section on the tools recommended to complete the projects and one on the techniques required to be successful. It has been produced beautifully by Quail Publishing and this makes it even more readable and ultimately far more usable than some other patchwork books. Each quilt, it is said, could be made in a weekend or over a couple of weeks – which I guess is in the evenings – which I think is very possible.
Of the ten quilts, seven are categorised as ‘Easy’ and three are categorised ‘Needs Experience’. Each one of the ten quilts is pleasing and would fit right into a modern home (in fact any home). Janet also encourages the reader to consider scaling the quilts up or down – which I think would be really easy to do. My first favourite from the book is the ‘Floating Triangles’ Quilt (Easy) which is a great way to show off your ability to create half square triangles and mount them as the feature in a plain background quilt. My second favourite is the ‘Starburst’ Quilt (Requires Experience) which is pictured cleverly using Tula Pink fabric for the sassy middle stars in the pattern.
If you follow my blogs you will know that I am far more drawn to modern quilting than pure traditional quilt (though everything has its place). This is a great starter book for those looking for modern patchwork designs. I have struggled to find the ‘next book’ for my beginners’ classes. I’ve been looking for something that I can encourage them to use and know that they will be successful in making the quilts from it. This is definitely such a book and the step by step instructions and pictures, and the technique section will help those pupils enjoy the project along the way.
To accompany the launch of this book there is a sew-along (on Instagram) of the ‘Floating Triangles’ Quilt (search for #floatingtrianglessewalong or @naomialicec). It starts in September, so there is plenty of time to buy the book (currently £7.70 on Amazon), find your fabrics (the Festival of Quilts is only around the corner) and limber up in readiness for this very easy going 10-month sew-along (just one row a month).
Simply Modern Patchwork Quilts is definitely a book I would recommend – the quilts are great, you can scale them up or down and add your own fabric choice touches to each one to make them your own. The production of the book is superb with great step by step instructions. I have decided to join the sew-along… so why not buy the book and join me!
If you would like to know more about Janet Goddard, you can follow her on Instagram at @janetpatch1. Janet is also a member of the Quilters Guild (@thequiltersguild) and the Guild’s Modern Quilting Group (@quiltersguildmoderngroup) – both of which are great Instagram accounts to follow.
Another classic from GillyMac TV 🙂
This Summer I will be running two challenges. Both can be completed by anyone (children as well), and neither needs anything complicated by way of equipment. The first one is my GillyMac Doodle Challenge.
What is it? Each weekday for the six weeks from 23rd July to the 31st August I will post a 2-3minute video of a doodle that you should practise that day. Then on the Saturday of each week, I will post a video and some pictures of the doodles sewn out on the sewing machine. After 6 weeks you will have learnt 30 doodles and if you manage to follow on with the weekend doodle sewing then there will be a bonus video showing you how to make these into a fabric book containing 6 pages and one front cover of your sewn doodles. This will be a brilliant reference guide for your free-motion quilting going forward. There will also be prizes and giveaways each week for those taking part.
What will you need? For the daily doodling, you will need an A5 or A4 notebook with blank pages and a sharp pencil. A notebook is better than sheets of paper, as single sheets can get lost. The notebook needs at least 30 pages in it.
For the weekend sewing, you will need a 12 1/2″ wadding square for each week (backing fabric, wadding and top fabric). It is best if the fabric is not patterned. Anything plain will do. You will also need contrasting thread and a darning foot for your sewing machine.
To make up the book at the end of the challenge, you will need an additional 12 1/2″ wadding square, 5 eyelets, 75 cm of ribbon (anything will do – about 1/2″ wide) and 1/2m of fabric to bind all the squares.
How do you join? I have created a facebook event on my GillyMac Designs Facebook Page where all the videos will be posted each day. You need to click ‘going’ to the event or you will not be sent each video – clicking interested will not work. Please note that although you will need to click ‘going’ for each day you don’t actually need to be standing by your computer at 10am each day .. it just guarantees you will get the video – which you then have access to throughout the whole challenge. For those of you on Instagram follow #gillymacdoodlechallenge not to miss a thing! 🙂
This week I held the first of my new Ruler Quilting Classes. I was really excited to show the five ladies all about how rulers can be used on a domestic sewing machine to create fabulous free motion designs. Ruler quilting offers the opportunity to switch the way you think about free motion quilting. By using rulers you are able to create smaller, manageable structures which are great to look at on their own, or you can embellish them with more traditional free motion designs, like pebbles, ribbons, figures of eights, feathers and zig zags. During the class, there is lots of practice in the morning (or on the first evening), and in the afternoon (or second evening) the class focusing on marking and making the cushion sampler below.
In the class, we learnt about ruler feet. The ruler foot looks exactly like your darning foot, except it is thicker. It doesn’t have the bar that fits over the needle screw and it doesn’t hop. instead, it will just glide over the material. Setting the ruler foot to the correct height is critical so that the fabric moves easily, but the height of the foot is not so great such that the stitches don’t complete properly or the ruler is able to slip under.
It is now possible to spend your life savings on rulers for use with a domestic machine – however, if you buy just a few, but good ones, then that is really all you need to get started. Rulers with good markings are equivalent to extra rulers, as you can use that one ruler in more dimensions with great accuracy. Before you buy any ruler, have a good look at it and see if there are options for you to use them in different ways, for example
- Do they have markings so that you can echo the lines you have drawn at ¼” or ½” or more
- Do they have degree marking at 45’ or 60’ so that you can accurately create a triangle or circle of your ruler work
- Do they have clear starting and end points that mark ¼” from the needle or have a lip to stop you going past the point
- Do they have both horizontal and vertical lines so that you can use the ruler at 90 degrees to your work with just as much accuracy without having to twist the quilt
There is more to the ruler than just the shape of the outside edge!
I buy Handiquilter rulers and have built up a little stock now. They are beautiful but expensive. In the class, each person can use my Handiquilter Rulers, but each pupil in the class had access to all four of the rulers that Angela Walters brought out earlier this year. They are versatile, the right size for domestic quilting and all four retail at around £90 in the UK, which is much less of an investment to make to continue with ruler quilting after the class.
As with everything, it is practising that makes us proficient. Ruler quilting is definitely something for you to try – for many people, I expect this to be the breakthrough in free motion quilting that they have been looking for.
For details of further information on my Ruer Classes 1 & 2 and other GillyMac class click here.
Years ago I bought a book called “Liberated Quiltmaking II” by a lady called Gwen Marsden. I found the whole technique that she used for improvisational piecing very refreshing. I like rules, but I also like to know how far I can bend them and this book showed me a new way to piece patchwork without so many rules or worries. Early on, I made a number of small items using this technique and gifted them away. I wish I had taken more photos of my very early work. Not because it was uber memorable, but so I could have better recorded my journey through quilting and more importantly my journey to find the things I like most in the wide array of techniques and genres that make up the patchwork and quilting world. After a lot of small pieces, I did make a quilt, very loosely based on ideas gleaned from Gwen’s book.
Around the same time as this, I found a blog by Kate Pedersen called Sew Katie Did . Kate’s improvisation technique was more controlled but created the most amazing edgy modern pieces. I remember on our first family holiday in the Lake District, taking my sewing machine and working my way through a number of the pieces in her book Quilting Modern (which funnily enough she wrote with Jacquie Gerring, who also wrote WALK, the book I reviewed for #fridayreads this month). This is a piece I made on that holiday whilst Brian fell walked with the girls.
These two pieces are strikingly different but are linked by the more free approach they take in piecing. I think with quilt making my heart probably rests somewhere between the work of Gwen and Kate. I would be more certain if I felt more confident in working around a blank canvas, the complete opposite of creating a quilt strictly from a pattern. However, I can say with certainty that this is the direction my own personal quilting is most likely to go in the coming years.
I currently teach a class once or twice a year on my own GillyMac version of Liberated Quilting. Last week there were ladies here at the studio, eating cake and challenging themselves with colour and a more relaxed approach to piecing. I am not sure if they were complete converts to throwing away patterns, but I know they all enjoyed the day, as did I in hosting it.